Dave's News Extras 2016

17/12/16 Protect our airport
23/11/16 What is government hiding about Orgreave?
16/11/16 Help for multiple birth families
07/11/16 'Shine the light of truth' on policing of strikes
05/11/16 Worry over AEI factory
03/11/16 Irish concerns expose May's lack of Brexit plan
01/11/16 Orgreave: The fight goes on
08/10/16 That's not cricket, says MP
28/09/16 A non partisan agent for change
02/09/16 No, Nicola, now is not the time
27/07/16 Dave urges cross-party and cross-border dialogue
19/07/16 'Despicable' attack on carers of former miners
18/07/16 North-East knows best
27/06/16 Dave appointed to shadow cabinet
13/05/16 'Gung-ho' government fails to spot competition problem
27/04/16 Hillsborough justice
18/03/16 Devolution deal selling North-East short
07/03/16 North-East mayor a 'con trick'
25/02/16 More money for well-off
18/02/16 Path Head stench 'gone on too long'
03/02/16 Dave stands down
31/01/16 Fire service cuts mean more fires
26/01/16 Movember
13/01/16 Dave wields the whip



Protect our airport

Newcastle Airport 17 Dec 2016

Dave has joined with other North-East MPs in calling for action to safeguard Newcastle Airport.

They feel that it is under threat of competition from Scotland after cuts there in air passenger duty which could lead to an estimated 10% drop in passengers using Newcastle.

The MPs have written to Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, asking the government to look again at action to protect the airport after they backtracked on a promise by David Cameron to take such measures. The government now says it will do nothing until after Brexit.

The letter, from twenty two North-East MPs states:

"We are seriously concerned about your failure to use the 2016 Autumn Statement to protect England's regional airports - including Newcastle International Airport and Durham Tees Valley Airport - from the effect of devolving Air Passenger Duty to the Scottish Government, and the continued commercial and economic uncertainty resulting from this.

"It is increasingly clear that English regional airports now face being placed at a significant disadvantage as a result of the internal tax competition Air Passenger Duty devolution will create.

"We would therefore urge you to look again at the Government's continued failure to clarify how it will support England's regional airports, to put an end to this damaging uncertainty."

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What is government hiding about Orgreave?

Police and miners clash at Orgreave 23 Nov 2016

Dave has argued that the Home Secretary should release all the papers about Orgreave.

Replying to a critical letter in the press, Dave says his recent visit to Scotland to discuss policing there was about Scotland, not Orgreave; he then argues that the facts should be revealed because of similarities in terms of police malpractice to Hillsborough.

Dave's letter to The Journal reads:

Andrew Lapping challenges my right to ask the authorities to open the books on the hidden collusion between politicians and the security forces across this nation.

My recent visit to Scotland cost the tax payer nothing and it wasn't about Orgreave, it was about the behaviour of police deployed to Scotland in operations that were dictated by national politicians and not the democratically elected people to whom they were accountable. It was to hear first hand from men whose communities were overwhelmed by what were in effect occupying forces.

But in relation to Orgreave does he really think that there is no case to answer simply because no one died? And is he aware that the reason that no one was convicted because the police evidence fell apart when it has been admitted by police involved that it had been fabricated by senior officers and dictated to the officers on the front line to produce convictions in courts in order to maximise the punishment doled out to innocent men.

Sounds familiar? It should, it's what happened at Hillsborough. And so is the simplistic line that it was just a bunch of mindless thugs looking for a ruck, just substitute mindless thugs for drunken yobs.

The Home Secretary says there was no miscarriage of justice at the same time as she refuses to release all of the papers related to this case. What has she got to hide? This issue isn't going away because it strikes at the heart of what kind of country we live in.


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Help for multiple birth families

16 Nov 2016

Dave is urging people to sign a petition to give a bit more help when there are twins born - or more!

Currently there is no extra maternity pay for multiple birth parents despite the cost being greater.

The statutory maternity pay at the moment is currently between £500-£600 a month which for a single parent is a large drop in salary, but doubled costs (or greater) for twice as many nappies, formula, clothes etc. means that this money is not sufficient for the needs of the family.

The first child receives standard child benefit, the second however is treated as if they were not born at the same time.

Sign the petition at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/170349

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'Shine the light of truth' on policing of strikes

7 Nov 2016

Dave has called on the SNP in Scotland to help right a wrong.

He urges the Scottish government to hold an inquiry into the policing of the miners' strike in Scotland.

Speaking at the National Mining Museum Scotland in Midlothian, Dave said,

"You've got a chance to right this wrong on behalf of the people of Scotland and also help us in England and Wales to get some justice as well. Michael Matheson [Scottish Justice Secretary] can resolve this, Nicola Sturgeon can resolve this, by saying we want to look into what happened in this country and shine the light of truth on what happened.

"There is a real chance for this country to prove that devolution was something worth fighting for, and I'm a passionate believer in devolution despite the fact I'm sad that it isn't my party that's ruling this country. That's the democratic choice that the people of this country made. So when you made that choice you made it and you said, we want these people to stand up for the rights of ordinary people. They've got the chance to do that in this case and if they don't they should be held to account be every one of us."

Over 500 people were convicted and over 200 sacked in Scotland during the miners' strike in the 1980s.

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Worry over AEI factory

AEI Cables, Birtley 5 Nov 2016

Dave has said that the news of the possible closure of the AEI factory in Birtley is very worrying.

Over 240 jobs are at stake and Dave says the company must fully involve the staff in their plans and if at all possible retain the factory.

Dave said

"This is very worrying. "The company needs to work with the workforce to limit the damage and ensure that, if at all possible, we retain this crucial company.

"Whatever the outcome, the staff must be fully involved at all stages."

AEI in Birtley goes back 175 years and is now owned by the Dubai based Ducab group. They were already in consultation over up to 100 redundancies but the company are now saying the complete closure is one option being considered.

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  Enda Kenny

Irish concerns expose May's lack of Brexit plan

3 Nov 2016

Dave has responded to the Irish Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, who has voiced concerns about Brexit.

Mr Kenny said there should be no return to the borders of the past, and he urged other EU leaders not to allow anger at Britain's decision to colour the negotiations.

Dave said,

"Enda Kenny's comments on Brexit show the huge level of concern in both the North and South of Ireland. Any hardening of the border will hurt the Northern Ireland economy but it will also disrupt the lives of the many people who live and work in border areas.

"Labour has been pressing the Government to spell out their plan, but it is clear they don't have one. As yet all we've heard from the Prime Minister are empty sound bites. It is time we had some real answers and some clarity, so we can see what the Government's intentions are.

"That is why it is so vital that Parliament has to get a grip over this process. We look forward to seeing the plans that the Government has now committed to bringing before the House as soon as possible."

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Orgreave: The fight goes on

The Battle of Orgreave, 1984 1 Nov 2016

Dave has expressed his shock and disappointment at the Home Secretary's decision not to hold an inquiry into Orgreave.

The Battle of Orgreave took place in 1984 during the miners' strike, in which Dave took part when thousands of miners and police clashed in a violent confrontation, resulting in 95 miners being arrested. All charges were later dropped.

Recently a number of former police officers have come forward to describe how they were instructed to write their statements using certain phrases to shift all the blame for the violence onto the miners while others have said they were ordered to use force from the start.

Dave said,

"The Establishment covers its own back and it has done forever and a day. But there's no doubt about it, the people involved will keep on fighting and take encouragement from the good people of Hillsborough who never gave up."

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That's not cricket, says MP

8 Oct 2016

Dave has gone in to bat for Durham County cricket over the sanctions imposed on the club.

The ECB has given the club a £3.8 million loan, but then has demoted the club, removed its test status and deducted 48 points before the 2017 season starts.

Dave said,

"The weight of this punishment will only increase the chasm of inequality between our region and others,"

Writing to the Chair of the ECB, Colin Graves, Dave wrote,

"Clearly mistakes have been made at the highest level but that should not lead to the people of this region being penalised so heavily.

"It appears that a wide group of people who had no knowledge, no control and no responsibility for the actions of the Club are being made to share in the punishment of those responsible for this desperately sad episode.

"I am not sure that you realise how deeply this club is regarded in our part of the world. They are "our team".

"Sport is one of the ways in which we show our pride in our home and gives us a chance to show the world what we are made of.

"It allows us to reach our full potential, despite the inherent bias in this country."

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A non partisan agent for change

Dave making his speech at conference 28 Sep 2016

In his speech to the Labour Party Conference, Dave, as Shadow secretary of Stare for Northern Ireland and Scotland, chose to concentrate on the special issues of Northern Ireland.

He paid tribute to his predecessors for their work and especially Mo Mowlem, for their work in securing peace in Northern Ireland. He said that he would always act in a non partisan way and in the interest of all communities in the province. He said that the 'peace generation', those born since the Good Friday agreement in 1998 had not befitted as they should, that there was skills shortage in Northern Ireland that was being addressed by the government. He said that the role of the EU in peace in Northern Ireland was under recognised and Brexit would create huge problems on that island. What Northern Ireland needs is a Labour government.

Dave's speech can be viewed at


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No, Nicola, now is not the time

Nicola Sturgeon 2 Sep 2016

Dave has countered a call by Scotland's First Minister for a second independence referendum.

He says in a statement as Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, that it is undemocratic to attempt to overthrow the result of one referendum with another and that the majority of Scots still think that Scotland is better off in the UK.

Commenting on today's call by Nicola Sturgeon for a second Independence Referendum, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, Dave said:

"Now is not the time to be focusing on an independence referendum or the notion of nationalism. The people of Scotland know this, as do the SNP. The Scottish people had their say on this matter less than 2 years ago. However, it would be foolish to remain ignorant to the fact that Brexit has caused considerable pressure to be exerted by those intent on removing Scotland from the UK, those of whom are well aware that it is clearly not in the best interests of Scotland."

"The Labour Party is dedicated to exploring all possible avenues of allowing the wishes of the Scottish people, expressed over the course of both referenda, to be honoured. We, as of yet, are the only party intent on fulfilling both of these wishes and do not under any circumstances wish to use the result of one referendum to try and change, influence or supersede the result of another."

"The people of Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain within the EU, and this cannot be overlooked. However, they also voted to remain within the UK, albeit by a smaller margin but with a much higher voter turnout. It would be unfathomable to attempt to use one referendum to supersede another, especially given how recently both referenda took place."

"Today, Nicola Sturgeon referenced a shift in public thinking towards an Independence Referendum. She must be privy to information that rest of us are not. Ironically, just today, YouGov's latest Scotland survey found that were there to be a re-run of the Independence Referendum, the results would be virtually identical to last time with 54% voting no."

"We currently have a Conservative Government at Westminster intent on wrenching Scotland from the EU against the country's will. Meanwhile the SNP, both at Holyrood and Westminster, seem to want nothing more than to see Scotland remove itself from the UK. Both of these outcomes are equally immoral. Both of these outcomes contradict the principles of democracy and both of these outcomes are contradictory to the wishes of the Scottish people."

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Dave urges cross-party and cross-border dialogue

Stormont Castle, Belfast (Photo: Robert Paul Young)
Stormont Castle, Belfast
(Photo: Robert Paul Young)
27 Jul 2016

As Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Dave has wished the Prime Minister well with her Irish talks.

He says Brexit is a huge issue for Ireland, both for Northern Ireland and the republic, and he says he will so all he can in the interests of the people.

Dave said:

"I wish the Prime Minister well in her talks with Northern Ireland and Irish leaders about finding a solution to the border and other problems created by Brexit. The PM should discuss the pragmatic views of trade unions, north and south, who I am visiting shortly. We need a careful cross-party and cross-border dialogue to make up for the previous Northern Ireland Secretary's failure to engage and prepare for Brexit, and especially those arising from what will be the only land border between the UK and the EU. The border issue is a huge problem for our closest neighbour and the people of Northern Ireland and Labour will do all it can to protect the interests of the peoples across these islands."

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  Coal miners

'Despicable' attack on carers of former miners

19 Jul 2016

Dave has joined with other MPs in condemning a DWP decision aimed at reducing the compensation to carers of deceased miners affected by pneumoconiosis.

He has sponsored a Commons motion calling on the government to end forthwith such demeaning practices.

The full Early Day Motion reads:

Session: 2016-17
Date tabled: 18.07.2016
Primary sponsor: Meale, Alan
Skinner, Dennis Campbell, Ronnie Anderson, David Morris, Grahame M Lavery, Ian

That this House is concerned about the decision of the Department of Work and Pensions to include a requirement that relatives of deceased mineworkers be required to accompany any application with a Grant of Probate, the purpose of doing so to apparently reduce the overall amount of compensation payable under the Coal Workers Pneumoconiosis Scheme 1974 to recipients; believes such a practice to be despicable and a direct attack on carers who have devoted much of their lives looking after loved ones terminally damaged by their employment; and calls upon the Government to end forthwith such demeaning practices.

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North-East knows best

18 Jul 2016

Dave has reacted to the appointment of Andrew Percy as 'Northern Powerhouse' Minister.

He said that that the whole concept was a sham and was more a PR exercise than a real attempt to correct the inequality between the north and south.

Dave said,

"The Northern Powerhouse was never more than a slogan by a prime minister and chancellor who believed in PR and nothing else. It was all a front and was never properly funded, it will be one of these things that slowly fade away.

"In principle I am a big believer in devolution but this was never that. It was unfair and was the devolution of responsibility, not finances. It would lead to government blaming our councils when things fell apart. If I am wrong and it does resurface I hope we do it properly.

"We in the North-East know what is best for our region, we know best what our desires, needs and beliefs are. If devolution is only done half-hearted then it is never going to succeed."

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Dave appointed to shadow cabinet

27 Jun 2016

Dave has been appointed shadow Northern Ireland Secretary in Labour's new shadow cabinet.

Dave says he is delighted and proud' to serve, especially in a capacity where he already has so much experience.

Dave said,

"I'm delighted and proud to be asked to serve in this capacity by my Leader. I have had long and fruitful experience of working with Irish colleagues for many years in the trade union movement and since coming into Parliament in 2005. I will be looking to all of those with whom I have worked across communities and borders to play my small part in facing up to the ongoing challenges facing us in these turbulent times"

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'Gung-ho' government fails to spot competition problem

13 May 2016

Dave has criticised the government over the award of the Northern Rail franchise.

The franchise was awarded to Arriva last year but now the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has challenged this, pointing out Arriva already run other rail and also bus services which means there is a lack of competition from other operators.

Dave commented,

"This Government is gung-ho in relation to privatising essential public services."

The CMA said:

"There is a substantial overlap between Arriva's network of bus services and the services offered under the Northern Rail franchise. The franchise award creates competition concerns in relation to these 'bus-on-rail' overlaps on 44 routes where there is limited or no competition from other bus or rail service providers, which could lead to higher prices or a reduction of service quality."

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Hillsborough justice

The Hillsborough 96 27 Apr 2016

Dave has called for the accountability for Hillsborough to be cast more widely.

He says in a tweet that those who aided and abetted the cover up for the twenty seven years since the tragedy should be held accountable, not only those who were responsible on the day.

Dave's tweet, posted on 27 April, read:

"Hillsborough justice will only be served when those who aided & abetted cover up are made accountable, not just those responsible on the day"

Dave's twitter feed may be read from this website.

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Devolution deal selling North-East short

18 Mar 2016

Dave has written to the region's council leaders urging them to think again about accepting devolution in the form offered by the government.

The letter is also signed by nine other MPs and union leaders and says '"economically dysfunctional; unequal in its application; reduces democratic control at local level; offers no more than a marginal increase in fiscal autonomy, and is inapplicable to the NECA area."

Dave said,

"All Labour MPs support genuine devolution to the North East but we have real concerns that George Osborne is selling us short. This is more about his political future than improving the lives of our constituents."

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North-East mayor a 'con trick'

7 Mar 2016

Dave has spoken out about the strings attached to devolution to the North-East.

At a public meeting he chaired in Newcastle on Saturday he said he was all for devolution but said the government's insistence on having a mayor was a 'con trick'.

Dave made the opening remarks at the meeting which included,

"This is not about being anti-devolution. We are passionate about devolution and we think we can make a better deal of running this part of the country than politicians in London.

"This deal is about us being given responsibility without the resources and, for me, it's a con trick."

Several speakers at the meeting said it was a way of government making it seems as of it was the local authorities and the mayor who would be responsible for cuts instead of cuts made by the government which meant a lack of funds for services.

Not all the regions councils are yet convinced of the deal, but if they can agree, a proposal will be put to government at the of this month.

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More money for well-off

25 Feb 2016

An extra £300 million of government is going mainly to Tory held councils.

Dave has written about this to the press and wonders what it is exactly that the government is offering the North-East for having a mayor imposed.

Dave's letter reads:

As local councillors get closer to having to decide the fate of regional devolution in our part of the world they may wish to dwell on this - after years of cutting local government to the bone, the government performed a handbrake U-turn last week.

All of sudden, £300m was pulled out of the hat to help councils through a transitional grant process. Great news you would think? Well it would be if you lived in one of the five least deprived councils in our country in Hart, Wokingham, Chiltern, Waverley or Elmbridge as they received a bung of £5.3m.

Less good news if you happened to live in the five most deprived councils in Liverpool, Middlesbrough, Knowsley, Hull or Manchester, who received absolutely nothing. In fact 85% of the grant is going to Tory areas while Labour-led areas receive a mere 4%.

And as local councillors are being asked to vote to impose a Regional Mayor on our region even before the legislative programme in Parliament is concluded they might just reflect on exactly what it is that this government is actually offering us in the North East. And it is only the councillors who can address the issue of just exactly whether the devolution of additional responsibilities will be matched by sufficient additional responsibilities because the people of this part of the UK are being denied a say by government diktat.


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Path Head stench 'gone on too long'

18 Feb 2016

Dave has written to local residents about the smells from the Path Head landfill site.

He explains that the visited the site on 12 February, demanding a full explanation, and that the Environment Agency agreed there was a problem.

He was informed that unfortunately to close the site immediately would only lead to greater problems in the long term. He promises residents he will continue the fight to ensure that the site is closed as quickly and as safely as possible,

Dave's letter:

Dave's letter to residents about odours from Path Head

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Dave stands down

3 Feb 2016 Northern Ireland Committee in session, Dave on the right

With regret, Dave is standing down from the Northern Ireland Select Committee.

He has served on that committee since entering Parliament in 2005 with a couple of short gaps.

Dave said:

"I've stood down as I couldn't give the time required as we travel regularly to Ireland and the whip role needs you to be in the House. I'm covering about 20 MPs from the North West as well as Justice, Transport and Scotland . I am staying on the Scottish Affairs Select Committee and continuing as Vice Chair of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly. I have worked over 30 years in Ireland and it was tough to give up the role but the challenges of being a whip were too much to ignore."

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Fire service cuts mean more fires

Dave with Jeremy Corbyn, local MPs and FBU representatives 31 Jan 2016

Dave has been continuing his campaign against fire service cuts.

He joined other local MPs and Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn along with Fire Brigades Union representatives in condemning plans to cut services; Northumberland suffering cuts, losing a station, a fire appliance and other replaced with smaller, less capable vehicles.

Dave said,

"The cuts are meaning the preventative work of the fire service is not being done like it was in the past.

"What we really want, in an ideal world, is a fire service that never has to fight a fire because they are prevented.

"But that is never going to happen when all you have got is an absolute emergency service that only deals with very serious incidents."

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26 Jan 2016

Dave has tabled a Commons motion about a Movember success.

He congratulates a parliamentary employee and urges MPs to continue their charitable generosity.

Dave's Early Day Motion reads:

Session: 2015-16
Date tabled: 26.01.2016
Primary sponsor: Anderson, David
Glindon, Mary Kinahan, Danny Hepburn, Stephen Robinson, Gavin Campbell, Ronnie

That this House recalls with pleasure the fundraising efforts of one of the House of Commons doorkeepers, Paul Kehoe, who raised £1,400 during last year's Movember campaign by growing a luxuriant full-set beard and then having it shaved off; thanks all those who donated and helped Paul to be able to send funds to Cancer UK, Help 4 Heroes and to other charities supporting those with prostate cancer, Alzheimer's and dementia; extends best wishes to Paul in his endeavours to repeat the campaign this year when he will seek to support these same charities, as well those supporting Crohn's and Colitis disease and issues with breast augmentation; and encourages hon. Members to repeat their generosity from 2015.

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Dave wields the whip

13 Jan 2016

Dave has been appointed to the Labour whips office by Jeremy Corbyn.

He says the party should concentrate its fire on this 'most vicious of governments' and their savage cuts to councils, trades unions and the threat of Brexit.

Dave said,

"I'm delighted to be asked by the Leader to work in the Whips office.

"It's vital that we move on from the internal navel gazing and personality clashes and started taking the fight to this most vicious of governments.

"They are hammering the poor, decimating our councils and the vital services they provide, attacking our democracy through the Trade Union Bill and pushing on with plans to redraw constituency boundaries with the aim of giving themselves a big advantage in future elections.

"Their actions are pushing us closer to the break up of the UK and the PM's lackadaisical attitude to the EU could see us losing our vital businesses in the North-East."

He added,

"I am committed to making our country and our region better places to live and work and to bring our kids up in.

"We in Labour can't do that if we are fighting each other. We can win if we can convince the nation that the policies of the Tories are not inevitable but they are, rather, a matter of political choice and we have a leadership team who want that message to go out and it is incumbent on us all to play our full role in that cause."

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