My article for Walsall Advertiser – 12 October 2017

We stand with Barcelona. How many more times will we have to mourn the loss of innocent lives? People enjoying a visit to an iconic cultural spot, the youngest life lost – a 7 year old.

We stand with Heather Heyer, in Charlottesville -and will not forget her, the young paralegal who did not stay at home, but wanted to be counted in the opposition to white supremacists. Footage of their racist and anti-Semitic chants were chilling. In my view President Trump was wrong not to condemn them. And that is another reason why I cannot support his State visit to the UK.

We also mourn Bernard Kenny who died on 14 August. He came to the aid of my colleague Jo Cox when she was being stabbed by a far-right extremist. Bernard will receive his George Medal posthumously.

I was perplexed to hear that the Council have bought the lease on a shopping centre. Constituents raise with me the lack of school places in their local school, echoed by head teachers who want to expand their school but the Council will not prioritise their schools. Can the Council not invest in the lack of social housing? In the meantime the Council is closing libraries and proposing to sell off assets such as the Broadway Centre. I hope the Council’s strategy is justified.

August can be a nerve-wracking time for our young people awaiting GCSE and A Level exam results despite all their hard work and support from students’ teachers and parents. I would like to congratulate everyone on their achievements, especially as this year there was a change to the way some courses were examined. Whether you are pleased or disappointed with your results remember that you should not let yourself be defined by your results. There are many paths to achieving what you want to achieve. Education is a journey not a destination.

The Labour Party is committed to abolishing university tuition fees. A debt of over £40,000 will have a major effect on the choices young people make after they leave university or to go at all. Tuition fees have been abolished in Germany and state universities in New York, we can do it here too. Investing in our children’s education is an investment in all our future.

Let’s hope that when Parliament returns, the Government has more important things on its mind than when Big Ben will bong again.