We deserve a better deal for Hartlepool - Mike Hill MP
It’s been a hectic week in Parliament as the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill is thrashed out at record speed through its committee stages and onto the statute book.
The Government mantra remains ‘Get Brexit done’ and they are truly fixed on achieving that benchmark moment of 31st January; so much so that one of the amendments to the Bill actually calls for Big Ben to chime on Brexit day. It’s an occasion that folk have been impatient for but, as everyone knows, the date is purely symbolic and simply fires the starting gun for potentially long and protracted negotiations.
Another starting gun that fired this week was for the Leadership and Deputy Leadership of the Labour Party. I attended the first hustings for the leadership candidates on Tuesday at a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party. After four successive defeats Labour needs to learn lessons fast and re-engage with the grass roots, the membership and, most importantly, the electorate. We need to understand why we lost so heavily, not only in our heartlands but right across the country and elect a Leader and a Deputy who have the vision and energy to walk us out of the wilderness and make us relevant again to the voting public.
Don’t get me wrong, we had some great policies in our 2019 General Election Manifesto like the renationalisation of the railways which, as a recent Hartlepool Mail poll suggests, is still popular with readers. However, we were overly ambitious at times and less focussed on the things that mattered to ordinary people. Free Broadband for everyone was an ambitious plan but creating meaningful jobs, investing in our left-behind communities and building on our vision for the Green Industrial Revolution in order to put the pound back in peoples pockets and give them the choice and ability to invest in the local economy, is far more relevant for me. It’s something that’s been lost since 2010.
On the subject of our left-behind communities, in this Parliament I intend to continue fighting for Hartlepool and similar places up and down the UK by resurrecting the All Party Parliamentary Group for Coastal Communities. I started the Group just before the General Election and it’s mission remains as important now as it was then; in fact, arguably, even more important given the Government majority and the number of Tory MPs elected to represent coastal towns. There is a common consensus of opinion that small and medium sized towns and villages are suffering from the effects of too much wealth and investment being directed at the larger towns and cities but where does that leave our coastal towns? Long forgotten and left behind at the back of the queue for far too long. All you have to do is stand on the promenade at Newburn Bridge, look at the industry and tourism offer we’ve already got and think of the potential. With the right transport infrastructure, the right investment and the right focus by the Council and the Tees Valley Combined Authority led by the Metro Mayor we have everything going for us.
I am determined through my work with the APPG to make towns like Hartlepool a priority for investment in jobs, industry and energy production as well as for culture and leisure. We deserve a better deal for Hartlepool”.