With the referendum now less than two months away, and so much at stake, my involvement in the campaign to keep Britain in the EU is taking an increasing amount of my time. This week I’m meeting with the Youth Engagement Officer at Britain Stronger in Europe to discuss how to get more young people involved in the referendum, attending our regular Labour In for Britain campaign meeting, and going along to the PLP’s ‘Labour In’ group. If you haven’t seen it already please check out my new webpage, which outline my views and provides other useful information.
I’ll be speaking in Parliament today as we have the final debate on the Immigration Bill, following its consideration in the House of Lords. I spent several weeks on the Bill Committee, opposing many of the Bill’s main provisions, and I’ll be supporting amendments from the Lords on a number of key issues. Then tomorrow morning, I’ll be at the Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) Select Committee, where we’re questioning Ministers as part of our inquiry on exports and the role of UKTI.
I’m continuing the fight to save Sheffield’s BIS Office, and will be making the case for a special debate on the issue to the Backbench Business Committee. I’ll also be watching closely when Martin Donnelly, the Department’s top civil servant, comes back before the Public Accounts Committee on Wednesday. He’s likely to come under more pressure to give the full cost-benefit analysis for the devastating decision to move 247 Sheffield jobs to London – especially after my parliamentary questions revealed that office space costs three times more in London than in Sheffield.
Also this week, I’ll be speaking to education attaches from the embassies of around 40 countries on the Government’s plans for a ‘Teaching Excellence Framework’ for universities, meeting with the Chief Executive of Commercial & Private Banking at RBS as a member of the BIS Select Committee and joining colleagues on the Sub-Committee on Education, Skills and the Economy, for a session as part of our inquiry into apprenticeships.
I had planned to come back to Sheffield on Thursday to speak at an event organised by Sheffield TUC for Workers Memorial Day, but am now staying in London for a special meeting of the BIS Select Committee to question Business Secretary Sajid Javid on his handling of the crisis in the steel industry. On Friday and over the weekend, I’ve meetings, surgery appointments, casework and correspondence catch-up back in Sheffield, as well as knocking on doors to meet constituents, and an appearance on the BBC’s Sunday Politics show.