The events in Manchester last night were tragic and heartbreaking. To target innocent people, innocent children, is an act of unspeakable evil.
My heart goes out to the victims, their family and their loved ones.
In last nights barbaric and cowardly attack we saw the very worst of humanity. In the response of the people of Manchester and our emergency services we have seen the very best.
It is up to all of us in the days and weeks ahead to ensure that we remain united as a country and as a community and that we do not allow fear to triumph over hope.
Those who seek to destroy our way of life, to weaken our resolve, to divide us from our friends and neighbours, will fail.
As a mark of respect to the victims and their families I will be suspending my re-election campaign until further notice.
Like many of you, I am totally disgusted by the decision of the Tory-run Staffordshire County Council to shut the doors on our Sports Centre in Kidsgrove. I've been working with the Labour Councillors on Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council on alternative provision and a way forward since the Staffordshire Tories first suggested they were going to pull the plug on the pool in the last few weeks.
I can assure you that I won't rest until we have a proper level of leisure and swimming services re-instated in Kidsgrove. However, this may take some time to achieve, so I'm working with Newcastle-under-Lyme Council to ensure interim measures are in place while we develop a business case for a new facility. I will keep local residents informed of developments.
The reality is that we are seeing the true impact of Tory 'austerity' measures on our community, in this case implemented by the Tory administration in Stafford.
But I'll keep fighting for a new facility and proper provision for Kidsgrove.
It’s been the greatest privilege to represent you in the House of Commons for the last two years as your REAL Labour voice for Stoke-on-Trent North and Kidsgrove. I’m delighted that the Labour Party have today confirmed my candidacy fir the snap General Election on 8th June.
Since 2015 I have tried everyday to represent you, fighting for more local investment, better jobs, a Brexit deal that works for the Potteries and real support and recognition for our Armed Forces. I’ve also fought alongside local people against cuts to our schools and NHS services and to oppose the attempted sell off of our local cancer and end-of-life care.
I am proud of how much we achieved together in just two short years. But there is still so much to be done to ensure that everyone in Stoke-on-Trent North and Kidsgrove has the opportunity to live their lives in comfort and security, for our children to have the best start in life, and for our city to take its rightful place as the industrial heart and creative soul of Britain.
As I’m asking for your vote I think its important that you know what makes me tick. So my priorities as your representative will be:
- A brexit deal which works for everyone in the Potteries, making sure we eliver on last years vote.
- Strong national defences, making sure that our Armed Forces have what they need to keep us safe and ensuring that we look after them when they retire.
- Holiday Hunger – fighting to end the blight of hungry kids in our community.
You’ve been my priority since I got elected and I promise that won’t change after 8th June. So please make sure you vote and vote for your REAL Labour candidate. Vote for me!
And so it begins. This week the Prime Minster triggered Article 50 and began the process of leaving the European Union.
The goal for everyone now must be to ensure that Britain gets the best deal possible and to make sure the Government understands the needs of places like the Potteries and has a plan to deliver for them.
Stoke-on-Trent voted decisively to leave, and today their voices have been heard. But now we need to make sure that the aspirations that people placed on Brexit are met and ensure our local jobs and services are protected.
People here voted to leave, but no one voted to get poorer or to see our jobs go. Nor did they vote for us to close ourselves off from the world or become a smaller, more isolated nation.
What they voted for was greater opportunities for them and their families, and for greater investment in our NHS and public services. And they voted to put a stop to places like Stoke-on-Trent being left at the back of the queue.
My job now is to do everything in my power to help deliver a Brexit deal for The Potteries. That's why I have already met with ministers in the departments of Business and International Trade to talk about the threats and opportunities facing the ceramics industry.
It's why I have set up and lead the All Party Group on Ceramics to give our biggest local industry a voice in Westminster.
And it's why I am using every chance I get to shout about the incredible potential of Stoke-on-Trent.
This is our opportunity to transform our country for the better. But we can only do that if we work out together and hold the Government to account as they begin the long process of negotiating Brexit.
The events of yesterday were tragic and heart breaking. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.
This was a despicable and cowardly act by a man who sought to devastate and to divide. It is thanks only to the extraordinary courage of our Police and first responders that there were not even more casualties.
We owe all of them a debt of gratitude, but none more so than PC Keith Palmer, who lost his own life defending the lives of others. His bravery is an inspiration to all of us, and his loss is a stark reminder of the danger that the men and women of our police forces face every day in order to keep us safe.
The incredible outpouring of love and support we have seen in the last few hours is proof that those who seek to make us afraid or to destroy our way of life will fail. We will not allow this tragedy to divide us or to deter us from democracy.
Ruth Smeeth MP has said the chancellor has no post-Brexit economic plan for Stoke-on-Trent
Ruth welcomed the chancellor’s announcement of a further £2 billion for health and social care but said that the sums were ‘too little too late’ and would not address the challenges our local NHS faces.
Ruth said: “Our health and social care system is crying out for investment so any further funding is welcome. But when our local hospital trust is facing a £100 million deficit, the investment announced today is a drop in the ocean.
“The Tories are tinkering around the edges of a health and social care system in crisis.”
“Our social care system is facing a £4.6 billion black hole. This is too little too late after years of chronic underfunding of our NHS.”
And she raised concern that the Government’s ‘small and unimaginative’ budget fails to step up to the challenges the country faces.
Ruth said: “The glaring hole in this budget is clear: there is no plan for how Stoke-on-Trent can best benefit from Brexit.
“Our city needs proper investment in schools, skills and infrastructure. But the chancellor is choking the life out of the public education system while pouring £320 million into free schools.
“Schools in my own constituency are losing an average of £400 per pupil and our childrens’ centres are facing closure. How can we expect to train our young people for the jobs of tomorrow when their opportunities are being taken from them today?”
‘For me there is no greater privilege than representing the people of Stoke-on-Trent and I can't begin to imagine why anyone would walk away from that. I’m sorry that Tristram is stepping down but I wish him the best and I know he’ll continue to contribute greatly to public life as the new director of the V&A museum.
He leaves behind a track record of delivering for Stoke-on-Trent: saving the Wedgwood Collection, securing tax breaks for the ceramics industry, and helping to create a state of the art Maths Hub to improve our schools.
I hope the Labour Party will act quickly to select a strong, local candidate who can continue Labour's record of standing up for the Potteries. Now more than ever we need a Labour MP to champion Stoke-on-Trent Central in Westminster, to stand up for our NHS and to fight Tory plans to cut our childrens' centres.’