We’re about to go head-first into elections season, with local elections taking place both in Leeds and Wakefield, Police and Crime Commissioner Elections in West Yorkshire and the EU referendum which follows not long after in June. I can’t believe it’s been a year already since the General Election when I was elected to represent the people of Morley and Outwood and I wouldn’t blame anyone for feeling a sense of election fatigue! Despite that it is incredibly important that you make sure you take the chance to make your voice heard in these vital local elections.
Some people like to complain that politics ‘doesn’t represent them’, that they don’t feel any affinity with the main parties. They even say that there is ‘no point voting’ because the result is the same no matter who wins. Well, if the past year has shown anything it’s that voting really does matter. The people who run our council and our police force play a vital role in deciding the services we receive and ensuring our safety. They will decide when the bins are collected; how we look after those most in need; what transport we should be providing to every community. It’s vital that residents get involved and cast their vote to make sure their voice is heard. Whatever side you choose to vote for, make sure you get out and make your voice heard. Though it’s too late to register to vote in the local elections you can still register to vote in the EU referendum at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote before June 7. I’m incredibly disappointed that doctors have chosen to go ahead with this deeply damaging and unnecessary all-out strike which puts patient safety at risk. The contract on the table is a strong one which guarantees improvements to patient safety, limits to working hours for junior doctors and a huge increase in basic pay. The conditions it offers on pay and weekend working go far beyond anything enjoyed by any other worker in the National Health Service. Despite 90 per cent of the BMA’s demands being met over three years of negotiations, they have still chosen to put people at risk with this strike which comes down to how much doctors get paid to work on weekends. They will tell you this is about spreading the same workforce from five to seven days. Thanks to this Government’s investment of £10bn into the NHS, we will have 11,000 new doctors by the end of this parliament allowing us to provide outstanding care seven days a week. I hope after this strike the BMA will accept the Government’s offer to talk and stop it from happening again.