On Wednesday 2nd December Parliament voted on whether to proceed with air strikes in Syria. Let me be clear, there is no harder decision for an MP to make than whether to send British forces to war and I like many others listened carefully to the arguments on both sides.
As with all important decisions that I take as the MP for Liverpool Walton I canvassed opinion and took full cognisance of the views of my constituents. I received a huge volume of correspondence and a large majority believed that Britain should not take military intervention on this occasion. I attended and listened intently to the debate in the Chamber of the House of Commons and in my opinion the Government failed to make a compelling case for military action in Syria. There were excellent points raised on all sides, but in the end I voted against military action.
I believe the comments by the Prime Minister that anyone voting against military action is a “terrorist sympathiser” to be one on of the most distasteful slurs I have ever heard from a senior politician and he was wrong not to unequivocally apologise immediately to the House. There is no room for this sort of language in modern politics.
There have been, and will continue to be, genuine and honest opinions expressed by all sides on this issue, and those members of the Labour Party that voted differently from me did so because they believed, on balance, that direct intervention against ISIL was the right decision for them to make. I do not agree that they should be the target of vitriol from those that think different and think we should all respect their right to vote with their consciences just as I did.
Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, was in Liverpool last week following an invitation from Steve Rotheram MP to visit the City.
The last time Mr Corbyn was in Liverpool he was in the midst of a Labour Leadership contest, giving a rousing speech to almost 1000 people at a TUC rally in the Adelphi Hotel.
Three months on and he made his journey up North as Leader of the Opposition.
Arriving into Lime Street at 10.20am he was swiftly on the road, making his way to Cunard Building for a meeting with Mayor Joe Anderson along with Liverpool MPs and Local Councillors.
The meeting was an opportunity for the Liverpool representatives to present Jeremy with key facts and figures pertaining to Liverpool and how Government Policies have had a detrimental effect on the region.
A range of issues were discussed in the meeting from Housing, Unemployment, Funding and Transport.
The next engagement took place at the £25 million development and State of the Art Mental Health Hospital, Clock View, based in the Liverpool Walton constituency.
Both Steve Rotheram MP and the newly appointed Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Luciana Berger MP, were present.
Jeremy has stressed the importance of Mental Healthcare in the past and took the opportunity to engage with staff members of the hospital.
During the visit Jeremy, Steve and Luciana were given a tour of the facilities by Joe Raffery, Chief Executive of Mersey Care NHS Trust, who provided an insight of the day-to-day work of the hospital and information about the facility.
In the afternoon, at Steve’s refurbished constituency office awaited Local Councillor’s, Labour Party members, staff and friends to greet Mr Corbyn. After a quick sandwich and meeting with Trade Union officials, Mr Corbyn gave a short speech before officially unveiling a plaque of the office and taking photographs with attendees.
The next visit was at the joint Merseyside Fire and Police command centre situated in Bootle. Chief Constable Jon Murphy and Chief Fire Officer Dan Stephens both gave a short presentation to Mr Corbyn on their respective authorities, highlighting the devastating impact Government cut-backs have had on the Merseyside blue-light services.
Discussions took place between Mr Corbyn, local politicians and representatives from the authorities.
Finally, the Labour Leader made his way to the University of Liverpool where he met with Vice-Chancellor Professor Janet Beer to discuss Higher Education.
Shortly after he was escorted to Mountford Hall where over 900 students awaited his arrival for a much anticipated speech to the Guild of Students. Cheered onto stage following introductions by Steve Rotheram MP and Margaret Greenwood MP, true to form, the Labour Leader delivered a passionate speech.
Urging students to become active Mr Corbyn said:
“Doing nothing is not an option. Doing something is an option. Doing everything you can. Our rights and democracy didn’t come from the divine right of kings and queens. Every single step of the way our rights were fought for. Stood up for the rights of trade unions, women, LGBT, against racism. They were prepared to go out and demonstrate”.
Upon conclusion of his speech students took to their feet to offer a rapturous applause, with a strong sense of excitement throughout the hall, Jeremy left to answer questions from student media and took photographs with Liverpool Young Labour.
A special Peace Memorial was today unveiled in memory of those who lost their lives in World War One.
The event was very well attended with Steve joining Veterans, Councillors and local community members at Walton Hall Park for the commemorations.
A marble plinth was unveiled by Lord Mayor Cllr Tony Conception, as part of an initiative spearheaded by Cllr Roy Gladden. It was in response to concerns from Walton Community Members that there was no tribute for those who sadly lost their lives in WW1.
School children from Gwladys Street and Alsop Primary Schools’ will maintain the site, in conjunction with Glendale.