May Newsletter

Local elections – it’s time for the Tories to go

Labour took one seat from the Tories in Littleborough Lakeside and two from the Middleton Independents. Congratulations to all Rochdale Labour councillors elected on the 4th of May, in particular Richard Jackson, newly elected in Littleborough Lakeside. I would like to give my thanks to everyone who voted and those who did their part for their hard work and dedication during the campaign. Across the country, it was a bleak performance for the Tories as they lost over 1,000 seats, losing up to 40 local authorities. Voters want change and that is the message they overwhelmingly sent to the government. There is still more than a year to go to a general election and Labour must seize this opportunity to set out our response as a future government to the big challenges we face as a society.

Post-Brexit ‘bonfire’ of EU laws abandoned by Tories in humiliating U-turn

The Business and Trade Secretary, Kemi Badenoch, received an angry dressing down from the House of Commons Speaker when she answering an Urgent Question on the government’s decision to ditch plans to allow thousands of EU-inherited laws to expire by the end of the year. This government has often failed to announce its plans before members in the Commons, instead making their plans known in various newspapers. The Speaker was right to defend the rights of the House and the right of the public to have the Executive held to account. This isn’t trivial, it’s fundamental. Everybody knew that revoking all EU laws was madness, both in practical terms as to what would go as well as getting UK law up to speed with what was missing. Some of these touched on health and safety, some on food safety and many others on making sure there is a framework to regulate the things we as a society need, such as clean water.

TransPennine Express brought under public ownership

I have calling for the failing train service TransPennine Express to have its contract terminated immediately for a long time. It’s good that it’s now being done. People in Rochdale regularly tell me that TransPennine Express always lets them down, either through late services or cancellations. They tell me, and I agree, that enough is enough. That’s why I supported a motion in Parliament calling on government to step in and take over the contract. But this doesn’t guarantee that it puts the travelling public first because government ministers have made it clear that they will return TransPennine to the private sector. Read more here.

United Utilities dumped sewage in Rochdale — Tory government does nothing about it

I spoke to That’s TV News about this, which you can watch here.

The fact that any raw sewage is dumped in Rochdale should shock us all. Last year, the Conservatives allowed 110 days’ worth of raw sewage to be dumped into Rochdale’s open spaces, analysis has revealed. Underfunding of the Environment Agency means it can’t monitor the action of the companies as it should. Ofwat, the companies regulator, is a toothless body which simply doesn’t regulate. Water companies don’t have a right to pollute and it is an offence. The number of prosecutions has dropped well down but what has kept up well is the dividends paid out. Some at least of the £296 million paid as dividends by United Utilities could have been invested in overflow prevention but it wasn’t. That has to change. I’ve raised this in Parliament as have other MPs. We’ve got to insist that the right to clean rivers and seas is a priority. I spoke to That’s TV News about this, which you can watch here.

No fault evictions must go

I’ve called on the government to abolish no fault evictions. Section 21 notices allow landlords to evict tenants without a reason. I know, from what my constituents have told me, that Section 21 notices are on the rise. In the last year actual evictions have more than doubled. This is shocking and it lays bare the Tories’ failure to prevent families being kicked out of their homes despite doing nothing wrong. Labour in government will abolish Section 21, give new rights and protections to tenants but most importantly build more affordable social and council homes to return social housing to the second largest form of tenure. The government promised to ban no fault eviction in their 2019 manifesto and is once again making promises now. This continual promising of action is great, but they need to stop dithering and we need to see real action now. Read more here.

Homeless accommodation

Latest figures show that 100,000 families are now housed in homeless accommodation. That’s over 125,000 children who are without a permanent home. Rochdale’s housing shortage just mirrors exactly that situation. Too few houses being built and too little attention to brining the existing housing stock up to a modern condition.

NHS waiting lists

Latest figures from the NHS show that over 7million people are now waiting for an operation. Those who can remember pre-1997 when the Tories were last in power will recognise how familiar this growth in waiting lists is. Each one of these is somebody in pain, somebody concerned or somebody whose life is made smaller by the need to get an operation completed. It’s a scandal that the Tories won’t solve.

‘Warm This Winter’ Pledge

I’ve signed a pledge to show my support for further action to tackle the energy bills crisis through policies that will keep people warm every winter and bring down bills permanently. The pledge reads: “I pledge to help keep my constituents warm every winter by urging the Government to rapidly expand home retrofit schemes, support the swift deployment of homegrown renewables to speed up the net zero transition away from volatile fossil fuels, and provide further financial support to vulnerable households. I will work alongside Parliamentary colleagues to ensure the Government goes further to tackle the energy crisis at every available opportunity, including upcoming fiscal statements and the Energy Bill.”

Show Racism the Red Card

I congratulated the anti-racism educational charity, Show Racism the Red Card, for engaging one million people through their anti-racist educational programmes. Show Racism the Red Card has played an important role in increasing understanding of racism, not just in sport settings but also in workplaces and among adults and children in schools. We must do all we can to challenge racism and prejudice when it rears its ugly head and to have worked with a million people through their campaigning is a staggering milestone and one to be proud of. Read more here.


Watch my video here.

After the holy month of Ramadan, people in Rochdale and across the world came together to celebrate Eid with family and friends. You can watch my message wishing everyone Eid Mubarak. Watch here.


The arrest of Imran Khan and many others from the PTI Party sparked widescale protests. British politicians can’t take sides between Pakistani parties but I applaud the fact that the Supreme Court in Pakistan is steering clear from political influence. What is equally clear is that the army, despite the failure of military governments in the past, still tries to control things.


I joined Rochdale’s Mayor, Councillor Ali Ahmed, in writing to the Mayor of Lviv expressing our support and solidarity with the people of Lviv in the face of the ongoing Russian aggression. Rochdale is twinned with Lviv in Ukraine, and the letter is being delivered by Tom Hashemi who is cycling from London to Lviv to raise money to help clear landmines in the country. Tom recently embarked on the 2,150km journey from London to Ukraine, and you can follow his progress on Twitter.

The Labour Friends of Ukraine held an event to discuss the current military and strategic situation and the UK’s ongoing support for Ukraine. The event was led by Labour’s shadow defence secretary and academics whose expertise is on this subject. The speakers emphasised the importance of the West staying united in its backing for Ukraine through and beyond the coming counteroffensive and highlighted that Russia’s strategic aims haven’t changed and go beyond Ukraine.


I chaired a meeting of the Moldova All Party Parliamentary Group with Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister Dumitru Alaiba. We discussed the need for the UK to extradite individuals living here who are wanted in large-scale corruption cases in Moldova, some of which have also reportedly been acting in support of Russia’s attempts to destabilise Moldova. We also discussed the need to develop greater ties between the UK and Moldova, particularly in areas such as business and investment. Moldova is a frontline state in Russia’s war against Ukraine and the UK must do all it can to support it.

International Workers Memorial Day

Friday the 28th of April was International Workers’ Memorial Day where we remember those who have lost their lives to occupational illness or fatal injury and continue the fight for safe and healthy work. We remembered the dead, but continue to fight for the living. Unions make work safe, if you are not already in a union you can find one that’s right for you here.

Parliamentary motions I have co-sponsored

The Government must restore the Local Housing Allowance rates to account for rent increases, to invest in social housing, and to bring forward the Renters Reform Bill as well as implementing the policies suggested by the Renters’ Reform Coalition to ensure safe, secure and affordable homes for all. Read this motion

The Government needs to reform legal aid and restore proper funding. Legal aid is an important safety net for people on modest means and there are too many barriers to those wanting to work in the sector. Read

A report published by the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union found that four in ten of those working in the food industry reported having to skip meals for financial reasons, whilst one in five reported using food banks themselves. The Government must take immediate action to raise pay throughout food supply chains, outlaw exploitative zero hours contracts, and tackle the culture of rampant corporate profiteering. Read

It is 75 years since 750,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled from Palestine in what is now known as the Nakba. There are now over five and a half million Palestinian refugees worldwide and the Government needs to continue to fund the UNRWA which carries out important work with and for Palestinian refugees. Read

The Government needs to introduce new legislation covering all aspects of the control of dangerous dogs that protects the public, promotes responsible dog ownership and improves animal welfare. Dog attacks have been increasing and 13 people have been killed as a result of a dog attack since the start of 2022. Read

The Government must reform SATs, and in particular Year 6 SATs, which no longer reassure parents or teachers and put the wrong pressure on young learners. Read