Friday, 30 July 2021

Back the Boundary Review

The Hexham Constituency is currently significantly smaller than other constituencies, and therefore must expand in size.

The proposals set out by the independent Boundary Commission for England expands the current constituency to include Callerton and Throckley, parts of Ponteland, and the Longhorsley Northumberland County Council Division.

The review aims to ensure that every constituency in the country has roughly the same number of voters, ensuring every vote has equal weight. The proposals do not affect the services provided by Northumberland County Council.

I am urging local communities to back the new constituency boundary proposals set out by the Boundary Commission for England. Whilst the ideal situation would be for the Hexham Constituency to remain unchanged, this is clearly not possible. 

As our local MP, I support the sensible additions of Callerton, Throckley, Longhorsley and parts of Ponteland to our constituency. Previous reviews have seen parts of Ponteland merged with Newcastle and I am delighted the Boundary Commission have listened and these proposals have been stopped.

The public consultation on the Boundary Commission for England's suggested new constituencies closes at midnight on 2nd August.

You can submit a response to the proposals here- 

Monday, 26 July 2021

Haydon Bridge High School

Haydon Bridge High School has undergone a transformation, and I recently visited the school to see the results of its £4.5 million refurbishment for myself.

Thanks to investment in recent years from Northumberland County Council, Haydon Bridge High School offers a variety of courses for students over 16, including hairdressing, engineering and catering.

I sat down with the school's new head teacher, Michael Smith, to discuss the huge range of courses and facilities on offer for students and how staff and pupils have been coping with the unprecedented challenges of the past year. 

It was great to be able to visit the school now that restrictions have eased and to meet Mr Smith, who I look forward to working with to take the school forward and provide the very best education for pupils across Tynedale.

Thursday, 22 July 2021

The Tour of Britain returns to Northumberland

When the world's best cyclists set off on The Tour of Britain in September, they will once again be racing through Northumberland.

World-class cyclists will head through the west of the county during Stage Six of the bike race on 10th September, with cyclists entering Northumberland just south of Allenheads, before cycling 64km through the county and finishing with a sprint through Prudhoe.

Previous Tour of Britain stages held in Northumberland have been brilliant events, and I am sure that this year's race will be no different. The Tour will attract fantastic opportunities for local shops, pubs and businesses, and I look forward to welcoming everyone to Northumberland for this exciting event.

Monday, 19 July 2021

Recognising a Hexham Community Champion

One of the best parts of my job is being able to recognise and thank the incredible people in the Hexham constituency who work so hard to make their communities a better place to live.

It was brilliant to be able to present one of my Hexham Constituency Community Champion Awards to Liz Clark of the No. 28 Community Project in Hexham.

Liz volunteers with the No.28 Community Project, based on Derwent Road, Hexham. No. 28 provides information and advice on issues such as housing, health, employment and domestic abuse to residents, as well as free training in gardening, IT skills, cookery and self-care.

Liz is one of twenty volunteers at No. 28, and it was great to be able to recognise Liz and all the team for the fantastic work they do, by joining Councillor Cath Homer to present Liz with her award.

If you would like to nominate someone who goes above and beyond in your local community, please do get in touch and nominate them for an award here- 

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Step 4 of the Roadmap

The Prime Minister has now confirmed that we will proceed to Step 4 of the Roadmap for easing restrictions on 19th July.

Thanks to the success of our vaccination programme, the link between infections and hospitalisations has been severely weakened, meaning that we are able to move onto Step 4 and lift the majority of legal restrictions.

It is important to remember that the pandemic is not over, however, and cases will continue to rise over the coming weeks. People are encouraged to remain cautious as we move away from legal restrictions, and instead to take personal responsibility towards themselves and others through informed choices, such as wearing face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces.

From 19th July:

  • There will be no limits on how many people can meet
  • Face coverings will no longer be required by law
  • The 1m social distancing rule will no longer be in place
  • Nightclubs can reopen, and restaurants no longer have to be table service only
  • No limits on wedding and funeral guests or at events such as concerts and sports events
  • Limits on care home visitors will be removed
  • Fully vaccinated adults will no longer have to quarantine for ten days after returning from amber list countries 

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Kirkley Hall- meeting the skills needs of the future

As we recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever that young people have the skills they need to be successful in the future. I recently visited Kirkley Hall with local County Councillors Lyle Darwin and Richard Dodd to meet with new Principal Nigel Harrett and for a tour of the campus.

Northumberland College is the only Further Education College in Northumberland, and plays a vital role in meeting the skills needs of the future for the community and employers across Northumberland. With a wide range of courses, from dog grooming and animal care to veterinary nursing, the campus is a fantastic asset to Northumberland, its businesses and economy.

Further Education Colleges will play a hugely significant role in our recovery from the pandemic. It was brilliant to visit Kirkley Hall's campus and meet with Nigel, who has shown such engagement towards local representatives, community groups and employers to ensure that our young people acquire the skills they need. 

Monday, 5 July 2021

Happy 73rd birthday NHS

Today we celebrate the 73rd birthday of our amazing NHS.

Over the past year, the NHS has been at the forefront of our response to the pandemic and its incredible healthcare workers have gone above and beyond in the most difficult circumstances.

I am delighted that Her Majesty the Queen has paid tribute to our healthcare workers by awarding the NHS the George Cross, and would like to thank NHS staff for everything they have done for us both over the past year and since its inception.

Happy 73rd birthday to the NHS.