Showing Parliament at its best and worst

Showing Parliament at its best and worst

Over the past couple of weeks in Westminster there have been two pieces of legislation debated which would make a real difference and are of great importance to the people of Batley and Spen.

Each one represents a different side of the Parliament, in one case at its best and the other at its frustrating worse.

Starting with good news, the Government decided to side with the Labour Party and support the ‘Protect the Protectors’ legislation.

In short, the legislation will give our emergency service workers greater protection from attacks at work.

Making it an aggravated assault to attack a firefighter, police officer, or a paramedic for the first time.

During the debate I asked whether PSCOs would also receive these greater protections and I’ve been given assurances that they will be.

And the legislation couldn’t be more necessary. In the last year alone a staggering 1,240 West Yorkshire Police officers and 134 Mid Yorkshire NHS workers have been assaulted at work.

These are people who give their lives to working in our interests, the absolute minimum we owe them is their safety, and if an incident does happen, they’re well protected.

I’m glad that this proposal is now well on its way to becoming a law and it’s not a moment too soon.

 As for the second example, on Friday just past, MPs were debating and supposed to vote on, whether 16- and 17-year-olds should be allowed the vote.

It was clear from the start of the day that certain Conservative MPs were going to try every trick in the book to stop the debate going to a vote.

MPs were filibustering (talking for an excessive amount of time) and even hanging around outside the chamber for so long that one of the clerks had to prod them with a sword!

It’s such a shame because I believe the argument on votes at 16 has already been won and it’s time for the law to catch up.

Take Batley and Spen’s very own Emily Warrilow. At her young age she’s already a political activist and ahead of last week’s debate launched her own petition, receiving hundreds of signatures in support.

Who are we to tell her that she shouldn’t have her voice heard at the ballot box?

I cannot help but think it is short-sighted by those who took steps to block the law, because although they’ve denied the 1.5 million 16- and 17-year-olds for now, they’ll be 18 soon...

 And of course, I couldn’t let this week pass without mentioning Doreen Kenny collecting the George Cross, awarded to her late husband Bernard Kenny, from the Queen.

Bernard was honoured for his incredible bravery when attempting to stop Jo Cox’s attacker. During the attack Bernard was stabbed, he went on to give evidence at the trial and earlier this year, sadly died.

When the George Medal was announced Bernard said he was ‘honoured’ and we’re incredibly proud of him.

A true hero. 


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