This page shows how Kevin Barron‘s entry in the Register of Members’ Interests has changed over time, starting at the most recent and working back to the earliest we have managed to parse. Please be aware that changes in typography/styling at the source might mean something is marked as changed (ie. removed and added) when it hasn’t; sorry about that, but we do our best with the source material.
Parliament Week is a UK-wide festival which aims to engage people, especially young people, from different backgrounds and communities, with the UK Parliament and empower them to get involved.
It is part of Parliament’s Vote 100 programme, celebrating equal voting rights and other milestones in the UK’s democratic history. A record high of 32 per cent women MPs were elected to the House of Commons in the last election. Other centenaries coming up this year include the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act, which gave women aged over 21 the right to stand for election, and the 1918 general election when women over 30 and all men over 21 voted for the first time.
As the MP for Rother Valley, I welcome the involvement of people in the constituency during Parliament Week. I am determined to ensure that the voters and citizens of tomorrow understand how vital their participation is in our democracy. And I’m excited to see so many schools, girl guides, scouts and local groups taking part. I have also been visiting schools in my constituency this week to explain the work I do.
In 2017, Parliament Week reached more than 360,000 people. This year’s festival is the largest ever and will see more than 7,000 registered events. Schools, workplaces and community groups across the country have a chance to get involved in their democracy, and to also celebrate one of the most important centenaries in British democratic history. We can only work towards a more equal society if we all engage with democracy.
A survivor of the Rotherham child exploitation scandal has spoken out calling for a change to the law after the man who raped her as a teenager was offered parental access by the council.
Arshid Hussain, who was jailed for 35 years in 2016 after being convicted of 23 child sex offences, was told by Rotherham Council that he could seek visits from the child, The Times reported today.
The newspaper said that Hussain, the boy’s father, was listed as a “respondent” in a Family Court case involving the boy, and was therefore contacted by the local authority, who promised to keep him informed of all future proceedings.
During a hearing last year, the boy’s mother was told that the convicted sex offender would be allowed to attend court and make legal representations.
Victim Sammy Woodhouse has now waived her anonymity, posting an emotive video online calling for a change to the law and revealing that the child involved is her son.
In a video which has been viewed over 200,000 times, she said: “This story is about myself, about my son, about the man that raped me, and about the fact that Rotherham Council have offered him to apply for parental rights for my child.”
Miss Woodhouse said Hussain had been proved to be “a danger to myself and to other children”.
She added: “I’ve also been able to prove that he is a direct danger to my son. This is happening all over the country, and it needs to stop.
“Children are being removed [and] being given to rapists, to murderers.”
Appearing on Good Morning Britain on Wednesday morning, Miss Woodhouse said she was “mortified” when she found that her rapist could be allowed access to her child.
Miss Woodhouse said after Hussain was jailed for 35 years she thought she would “never have to deal with [him] ever again”, but was left “in shock” after the move by Rotherham Council.
She also said when she applied for a passport for her son, she was told by the Passport Office she had to seek her rapist’s permission first.
Miss Woodhouse was one of the key witnesses in South Yorkshire Police’s Operation Clover investigation which led to a number of Rotherham men being given lengthy jail sentences in 2016, including Arshid Hussain and his three brothers.
She subsequently waived her anonymity and now speaks widely about child sexual exploitation and has written a book about her experiences.
The campaigner revealed on Tuesday that she and Louise Haigh, MP for Sheffield Heeley, are calling on the Government to change the 1989 Children’s Act to “ensure rapists can’t gain access to children conceived through rape and abuse”.
A Rotherham Council spokesman said that it could not disclose information relating to proceedings hearing in the Family Court, adding: “Like all councils we must comply with legal requirements, including Practice Directions, and that would include giving notice of proceedings to parents with or without formal parental responsibility.
“Often and understandably, cases before the Family Court are emotive and arouse strong feelings amongst those affected.
“We do understand that the legal requirements can cause upset to those involved and so we welcome a debate around this issue, which applies across England and Wales.”
A Ministry of Justice statement said: “This is obviously a very distressing incident and the relevant departments and local authority will work urgently to understand and address the failings in this case.
“Local authorities can apply to courts to request permission not to notify parents without parental responsibility about care proceedings, and courts should consider the potential harm to the child and mother when making this decision.”
An NSPCC spokeswoman added: “We need to understand if this is a one-off failure or a system-wide problem that needs to be addressed, so no other survivor and their child have to go through the same trauma.”
There is little I can say on the day which commemorates 100 years since Armistice Day, that hasn’t been stated more eloquently or comprehensively by others.
Television, newspapers and online media have given us moving and worthy tributes to those who died in World War 1 and other wars since, over the past few weeks, culminating in today’s remembrance services, parades and commemorations across this country, and further afield.
World War One was one of the deadliest conflicts in the history of the human race, in which over 16 million people died. The total number of both civilian and military casualties is estimated at around 37 million people – almost 7 million civilians and 10 million military personnel. Staggering figures that are difficult to comprehend.
Armistice Day began first thing this morning in Maltby with the sound of a lone piper playing When The Battle’s O’er, a traditional tune played after battle, with 2,000 pipers playing in unison across the UK and other parts of the world.
The display’s of poppies around the town and exhibitions of memorabilia at St Barts, Wesley Centre and Maltby Academy have taught us much about our history and people of all ages have felt the significance and closeness of the awful loss to Maltby and surrounding villages.
There will be a march to the war memorial on Blyth Road where wreaths will be laid and silence observed in remembrance of those who lost their lives too soon. At least one horse and many dogs who will march as well, in remembrance of the thousands of animals who also played such an important role in the war. Later, a beacon will be lit along with many others across the country.
Of course, it is naive to imagine that because of our knowledge and understanding of wars past, that we could from this day, look forward to a future of peace and harmony in this country and around the world. But without that hope and commitment to this possibility, there is little chance of that happening.
Perhaps we can go forward with the conviction of persuading those who “lead” us to work for the betterment of society by example, and less for the “glory” of power and fame. With this aim we have some chance of achieving a future that we can be proud of, and so honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
The report makes it clear that there is a small number of sitting MPs who are reported to engage in bullying and harassment on a regular basis. It is also clear that this is a long-running issue, so does the Leader of the House agree that we should scrap any limits on how far investigations can go back and get on with making this a workplace to be proud of?
mb: Historical allegations of bad behaviour by MPs, of any kind, should surely be investigated thoroughly, regardless of the time scale since the alleged events.
“I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman raised that point. He will be aware that when the working group looked at the issue of historical allegations, we were really keen—unanimously—that the new procedure would be able to look at all historical allegations.”
mb: Well said, Ms Leadsom
” However, the internal legal advice that we took suggested to us that it would not be possible to create some kind of system that looked back and judged behaviour that happened a long time ago on the basis of something that had just been agreed. We checked that with external counsel, who indeed confirmed that the further back we go, the more problematic it is. ”
mb: “external counsel” seem to be speaking the obvious here about “the further back we go, the more problematic it is. ” However, this doesn’t make it ok to ignore an issue because its “problematic”, does it ?
” I see that, in her report, Dame Laura challenges that advice. I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman raised that point, because it is something that I will be very pleased to add to the list of things for the review that will start in January.”
mb : Well said, Dame Laura.
Perhaps this review will highlight other “historical allegations” which have not been investigated due to them being “problematic”.
A minister for suicide prevention has been appointed in England by the prime minister as the government hosts the first ever global mental health summit.
Theresa May said the appointment of Health Minister Jackie Doyle-Price to the new role will help tackle the stigma surrounding suicide.
While suicide rates are falling, 4,500 people take their own lives every year.
The appointment comes as ministers and officials from more than 50 countries assemble in London for the summit.
Wednesday’s meeting – hosted by Health Secretary Matt Hancock and attended by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – coincides with World Mental Health Day.
The government has also promised more support in schools, bringing in new mental health support teams and offering help in measuring students’ health, including their mental wellbeing.
Ms May said: “We can end the stigma that has forced too many to suffer in silence and prevent the tragedy of suicide taking too many lives.”
Alongside the announcement, the prime minister pledged £1.8m to the Samaritans so the charity can continue providing its free helpline for the next four years.
Manchester University’s Prof Louis Appleby, one of the country’s leading experts on suicide, said having a minister for suicide prevention would “open doors” and make it easier to have conversations about the role such things as benefits and online gambling have in suicidal people’s lives.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the appointment would also help with getting support for mental illness on a par with services for physical health.
“There is a long road to travel to get there. This is not something you solve overnight,” he said.
Others have criticised the government’s record on mental health.
Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of mental health charity Sane, said there had not been enough improvements to services since Mrs May pledged to tackle the issue two years ago.
“While we applaud the intention [of the announcement], it is striking that the UK should be hosting such a summit when we hear daily about people left untreated due to a lack of nurses and doctors,” she said.
“The prime minister must examine our own mental health system before addressing other countries.”
By the Prime Ministers plans to decrease austerity measures, she has acknowledged that austerity has helped no one – financially, socially, physically and emotionally – except perhaps those so well off that they don’t notice the impact on the general public.
The shambles of the Benefits System of PIPS, ESA and Universal Credit and it’s negative effects on so many people’s lives must also be acknowledged here as a factor in suicides – but that is another blog post.
Twitter has this morning responded to Piers Morgan’s post on there suggesting that the term “Mental Health” should be changed to “Mental Strength” and that we teach children resilience in this so as to be able to cope with situations in adult life. The view of those who disagree with him is that if this was the case, by nature of the language used, anyone experiencing “poor” or “bad” mental “strength , would be “weak”.
I’m not sure where I stand on this one.
How about you ?
Where to go if you need help
If you, or someone you know, is struggling, there are a number of charities here to help.
The Samaritans are open 24 hours a day. Call 116 123 or email email@example.com
The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) offers support to men. Call 0800
Thousands of women are preparing to march across London tomorrow, Wednesday 10th October 2018, in protest over changes to the female state pension age.
Though I will not be there in person, I will be there with them in spirit, myself being one of the women affected, born in the 1950’s (1957 to be precise)
The protest will see thousands of women march from Hyde Park to Parliament Square in a bid to ‘set the record straight for any doubters’ and create a ‘pressure point’ for government ( Waspi – Women Against Sate Pension Increases)
Their anger has, until now, gone largely unheard, but the widespread impact is beginning to show.
The 1995 Pensions Act increased the state pension age for women from 60 to 65 in order to.supposedly, equalise the age with men, with the change to be phased in over ten years from 2010 for women born between 1950 and 1955.
This transition was later sped up by the 2011 Pensions Act . These changes came as a shock to many women (me included) who hadn’t been made aware of them. Some women discovered they would have to wait up to six years longer for their state pension which affected not only their retirement plans, but the years leading up to their retirement.
WASPI was formed in 2015 by five women to campaign for the government to provide transitional payments to women born in the 1950s receiving their pension after the age of 60. They also call for compensation to women who now receive a state pension but had to wait longer.
The group crowdfunded £100,000 to pay for legal action in order to challenge these changes. The money was used to take legal advice and on 8 March 2017, the group wrote to the Department for Work and Pensions threatening legal action if the government did not help lessen the impact on the affected women. This move coincided with International Women’s Day and a march in London that many WASPI members attended.
The organisation also has a number of groups across the country who campaign locally, including by asking their constituency MPs to sign the WASPI pledge. (Have you signed this Kevin ?)
The issue of the state pension age has now become more prominent leading to its discussion in a number of parliamentary debates. The issue played an important part in the 2017 general election with Jeremy Corbyn raising it in a session of Prime Minister’s Questions and the SNP pledging their support. The Conservative Government however, rejected the calls and argued that they had to make the state pension more affordable for taxpayers.
It is clear to most of us that with increases in life expectancy there has to be some changes made to the way that pensions are paid but a “fair” way of this being done is elusive. As a “victim” of this scenario, I feel as if I will never reach the age when I am eligible for the State Pension.
Maybe as I near the age of 67 I will find myself at the back of the queue, like one of those nightmares where you are trying to catch something that is continually further away than you thought. Like Sysiphus, I might be pushing my metaphoric boulder up the hill, only for it to roll to the bottom and me to begin again. Perhaps it will be abolished in the near future and those of us fortunate to have family will have to rely on them for financial as well as emotional subsistence.
Good luck to the protesters tomorrow. I think you need and deserve all the support you can get.