My Week in Parliament - 08/02/16

louisehaigh.jpgI want to start by paying tributes to my close friend, Harry Harpham, who sadly passed away last week.  Harry and I were elected at the same time and it was a true privilege to work alongside him. He was a rare thing in politics - genuine, decent and had a true working class background; he was the last deep coal miner to enter Parliament. What always struck me about Harry was how lucky he felt to represent our city in Parliament and how he never had a sense of entitlement. He was honoured to serve and we were honoured to be served by him. We will all miss him very much indeed.

 This week we will have a further session on Freedom of Information (FOI). This Government is seeking to water down the legislation around FOI and in my role as Minister for Civil Service and Digital reform, I along with other colleagues have set up this cross party commission to investigate how we can strengthen FOI to ensure those private companies who are in receipt of Public Contracts will be open to FOI. You can read more here 

  There will be a Westminster Hall debate on Asylum Support and Home Office contracts, which I intend to take part in. This is an important issue that has recently been highlighted by investigations by Channel 4 news into detention centres, where alleged abuse has come to light.  I'll also be leading a debate on Work Capability Assessments.

  On Thursday, I will be joining the TUC at a rally in Sheffield against the pernicious Trade Union Bill. I have spoken out against this Bill throughout its passage through Parliament. The Bill will act to curtail workers' freedoms and rights and doesn’t respect current industrial relations. It will also limit Trade Unions donations to Political Parties, whilst leaving big private donors' rules untouched.

  Also this week I will be attending the celebration of 40 years of the Prince Trust, meeting with Punch Taverns, attending a Fix Dementia Care event in Parliament and meeting with the Jobcentre in Sheffield.