Parliament has just begun its half term break, which means I have the chance to spend time at home in the constituency. Being MP for Stretford and Urmston is an enormous privilege, and I am so lucky to serve this amazing community.
However, the Labour Party is now beginning the process of selecting candidates for the next general election, and I have decided that I will stand down then, and am not seeking reselection as our candidate. This has been a very tough decision for me to make, but it will be the right time for me to move on to new experiences and opportunities. Of course, the election may be many months off, and in the meantime, I will continue to work to the very best of my ability to represent my constituents.
Half term is also very welcome after a rather a busy week in Westminster. I’ve just been appointed to parliament’s Public Accounts committee, which scrutinises all government expenditure. It is an incredibly busy committee, meeting several times a week, and covering a vast range of subjects. Already, in my first few days, I’ve attended meetings on the Serious Fraud Office and with the National Audit Office, read important reports on the so-called IR35 tax reforms, which I know affected many of my constituents, and on how government evaluates its programmes for value for money, and am now getting my head round everything from schools funding to the penal system. (Luckily, those are both subjects on which I have worked for many years, and I was pleased to have the chance to go into the chamber this week to ask a question about secure housing for women leaving prison).
Back home, it has been good to attend a couple of wonderful events with the Mayor of Trafford, my good friend Cllr Laurence Walsh. Last Friday, we visited the fabulous Gorse Hill Studios, to join young people who were discussing the impact the pandemic had had on their lives and our community. They had so many interesting things to say, and I hope we can continue our discussions. Then on Thursday evening, I was delighted to attend Mr Mayor’s fundraising dinner for his chosen charities at the always brilliant Aspire restaurant at Trafford College. Thank you so much to the talented and charming students who cooked for and looked after us so beautifully. Aspire is open to the public on Thursdays and Fridays, and if you haven’t already visited, I thoroughly recommend you do so. I can promise you a wonderful dining experience!