David Cameron’s announcement that there will be a referendum on our European Union membership has dominated the weekend news, and will be a big part of my week ahead. Today starts with a Labour In for Britain campaign meeting, and then I’ll be in the Commons chamber for David Cameron’s statement. The referendum will be a critical moment for the UK. The EU is vital for our economy – and has delivered important protections for workers, consumers and the environment. I’m deeply worried that we’re stumbling to exit, for all the wrong reasons, and will be campaigning to stay for the next 18 weeks. If you could lend a hand, drop me a note and I’ll get in touch.
Europe will be a big issue in Foreign and Commonwealth Office Questions on Tuesday, where I’ll be supporting our team as part of my role as PPS to the Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn. Then on Thursday, I’ll be at the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Committee at which we’re meeting with EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom to talk about TTIP, protection for the steel industry and other trade issues.
I’ve been co-ordinating a campaign to stop the closure of the BIS Office in Sheffield (see here and here), and on Wednesday we’ve secured a Parliamentary debate on the issue, where we’ll be pushing again for publication of the ‘business case’ for the closure and a full review of the decision. Also this week, I’ve been drawn for Home Office Questions where I’ll be challenging Theresa May on police funding. The Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Committee will be continuing our Inquiry on the Digital Economy, and at the Select Committee on Education, Skills and the Economy we’ll be doing more work on our Inquiry on Careers Advice. On Tuesday I’m chairing an APPG on Students roundtable to mark Volunteering Week 2016 and the fantastic volunteering efforts university students get up to throughout the year.
Back in Sheffield on Friday, I’ve meetings with the Salvation Army and the International Trade Centre of South Yorkshire, I’ll be visiting the Ar Risala Mosque in Upperthorpe for a Q&A session and I’m meeting staff from Sheffield University’s Engineering Department to discuss the Women in Engineering campaign. On Saturday I’ll be at the Labour Party’s Regional Conference, where I’m joining a panel with Shadow Education Secretary Lucy Powell and speaking on the issues facing small businesses. Finally, on Sunday, I’ll be knocking on doors and meeting constituents in Manor.