Thank you to everyone who emailed me or wrote on my Facebook page with suggestions for what you’d like to ask David Cameron at Prime Ministers’ Questions last week. I asked about a change in the law to mean that pensioners’ concessionary travel to include trams. Whilst the answer was disappointing I will continue campaigning on this issue in Westminster. Continue reading
This week I have had some fantastic meetings with young people in the constituency; I always enjoy visiting schools and youth groups to talk about what an MP does and who I am but this week they were particularly rewarding experiences. First I was invited to Christ Church Primary School to help announce the results from the school elections. The six boys and six girls who were elected as school councillors will serve for the next year, working together for better school community. School councils are a really great way to teach children about the role they can play in democracy and a practical way to explore the issues of pledges, accountability and representation. A great many children stood for election and well done to every single one of them, I know they all put a lot of effort into it, and congratulations to the new school council. Continue reading
This week in Westminster I have voted against the Trade Union Bill which was brought forward by the government as a divisive piece of legislation which puts to bed any notion that the Government is taking a one nation approach. This Bill is the most significant, sustained and partisan attack on the trade union movement in a generation. The key measures in the Bill which have been widely reported in the media include a 50% turnout threshold in all strike ballots and a 40% affirmative vote of all those entitled to vote in ‘important’ public services. What is less reported is the human rights implications. Continue reading
Like many of you, I am wondering just how much longer I’ll have to keep boiling the kettle in order to drink the water. Last week, I took my questions, and many of yours, to the United Utilities headquarters in Warrington to put them directly to the Chief Exec Steve Mogford. Continue reading
I don't believe any MP wants to break their party's whip, so it was with a heavy heart that last night I joined 47 other Labour colleagues in breaking the Labour whip to vote against the Tory Government’s welfare bill. This was my first vote against the whip, and it was a decision I thought long and hard about, but it was the right one. Continue reading
Since the news that NatWest Bank have decided to close their Knott End branch the community has really come together to fight it. Local people have given up their own time to run petitions, online groups, and have even grabbed national newspaper headlines with the Save Our Bank campaign. The strength of feeling really shows; this is the bank many of you have used all your life, the bank you use for your small business, and the bank you had hoped would serve our Over Wyre community for many years to come. It seems that although the bonuses are back for the bankers in The City, in our rural part of North Lancashire there is nothing to celebrate. Continue reading
Last weekend was a highlight in the Fleetwood calendar – Tram Sunday! I've always been a big fan of Tram Sunday, and love seeing all the old trams, buses, vans and cars which come into our town. Last year I also brought my Goddaughter with me. She had great fun on all the fairground rides which pop up on Lord Street, as well as all the side streets. It really is fun for all the family. However, because this year was my first year as your local MP it was the first time I've been part of the parade. To see the sun shining and the crowds of people out enjoying everything Fleetwood has to offer was a real treat for me. Well done to everyone who plays their part in making Tram Sunday happen – there are too many to name though as this really is the product of the whole town.
Take action: The brother of the new Energy Secretary runs the lobbying firm working for Halite, the company behind the plan to store millions of tonnes of gas under the River Wyre. Given this, it's now unclear who will be making the final decision on the plans. Continue reading
To help local people with their problems, Cat Smith MP is currently advertising for a caseworker to join her staff team in the constituency. The successful applicant will need to: attend surgeries and other meetings as appropriate manage and progress a portfolio of casework appropriately liaise with government agencies, voluntary sector and others to resolve constituency matters develop knowledge in specialist areas be sympathetic to the values of the Labour Party and wider Labour Movement have a current full UK driving licence ability to operate in a political environment For full details please see the advert on W4MPjobs.org.
I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to all those who placed their trust in me at the election. I now look forward to working for all the people of Lancaster and Fleetwood, whether you voted for me or not, or indeed whether you voted at all. I pledged to be an open and accessible MP and I want to put this into practice as soon as possible, continuing to meet thousands of people as I did during the election – at school gates and on the doorsteps. Also, if you’re from a local organisation, whether a community group or business, and you think we should meet, please do get in touch. I’m in the process of setting up a permanent office and employing staff to assist constituents who have received a raw deal, but please do get in touch if you’ve got a problem where you think I may be able to help (if you live in the Lancaster and Fleetwood constituency, south of the River Lune). This website will also be redeveloped shortly. Given we now face some incredibly tough times, my major priority will be to defend our essential public services, especially the NHS, from the impact of the government’s plans. I look forward to working for you in the years ahead. Cat Smith MP