I’m back in Parliament today after the Christmas recess, and I’m pleased that the week is starting with some good news. The Government will be tabling an amendment to their Higher Education and Research Bill in the House of Lords today on one of the issues that I pressed in the Commons – to toughen up the role of the Director for Fair Access and Participation, who’s responsible for getting students from under-represented groups into university and succeeding once there which. I’m working with Peers on other changes to the Bill that I’ve been pressing.
I’ll be in Parliament until Friday this week (and next). Usually I return to Sheffield on a Thursday, but as I’m now a Shadow Minister there are occasional Fridays when I’m needed in Parliament to cover any potential statements or questions about Brexit. As I’m in the Commons on Friday, I’ll be backing the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (Amendment) Bill, a Private Member’s Bill that a number of constituents have contacted me about.
During the week, I’ll be speaking about the future of teaching and research in higher education at the Professors and Heads of Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Conference; I’ll be meeting with Aberdeen Asset Management, who are working with the Council to redevelop the Moor; I’ll be in the House of Commons chamber for a debate on Yemen; and, among a number of Brexit commitments, I’ll be meeting with the Director General of the CBI.
I’ll be closing my Christmas Appeal for Sheffield Foodbanks on Friday. I’m delighted that it’s raised more than £4,000, including Gift Aid, which will help tackle food poverty in Sheffield this winter and beyond. Thanks to the nearly 100 people who have contributed – if you haven’t had the chance yet, and would like to, please do so here.