Terror laws: my position explained
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My decision to support extending police powers to help combat international terrorism was one of the hardest I have had to make.
Before reaching a decision about how to vote on extending the pre-charge period to 90 days I met with the Head of the Anti-Terrorism Squad, the Home Secretary, his deputy, Hazel Blears MP, and the Chief Constable of the Northern Ireland Police Service. I also attended many meetings and read every view and opinion I was sent.
I passed all issues raised by constituents on to the relevant ministers and forwarded all replies I received.
In the end, I asked myself whether I could vote against something that may save someone's life; I could not.
Ultimately, Parliament agreed to a compromise of 28 days. I sincerely hope that this will be sufficient and that we in future neither lock up innocent people nor let terrorists go free to kill again.
Dave, as Chair of the All-Party Muscular Dystrophy Group (see below), meets campaigners, Michaela Hollywood, Michael Hollywood and Maurie Hollywood of the Northern Ireland Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.
I had only been in the House of Commons for a month when I was contacted by children at Ryton Comprehensive School to seek my support for a lobby of Parliament at which their teacher, Danny Smith, would be present.
His son, Sam, suffers from Duchenne MD which attacks young boys and results, tragically in them usually dying before they reach twenty.
I met with Danny on the day, and I was very impressed by the commitment of all concerned. My own family had been his very hard by a different strain of Muscular Dystrophy and, over the last few years, I have lost a brother, a sister and a nephew.
I was asked if I would be involved in the Parliamentary group, and I was eventually elected as the Chairman.
We are hoping to convince the government that they should increase the grants available to progress research that will give real hope of finding either a care or, at worst, medication which could extend the lives of these young lads.
I am also engaged with Health Minister, Andy Burnham, on pulling together best practice so that we can learn from those areas of the country which look after these young people best.
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