The big issue this week was the Trade Union Bill, which was debated on Monday. The Bill has drawn criticism from a wide range of individuals and groups from all ends of the political spectrum, including Liberty and the veteran Conservative MP, David Davis. This is because some of the measures represent a worrying attack on civil liberties; for example, if the Bill is passed in its current form, striking workers will have to tell their employers of all their plans to protest – including what they will post on Facebook and Twitter – two weeks before they strike.
Despite attempts by the government to portray trade union members as radicals or revolutionaries, they are just ordinary people who want to defend their rights at work. When I spoke in the debate, raised the example of the Vauxhall car plant, where the Unite union worked in partnership with the management in order to save the plant. The new Astra has about to be launched, securing the future of the plant for now, but the situation could have been very different. We have a factory there which we should all be proud of, providing many jobs and opportunities for people in the area.
This week Jeremy Corbyn also stood at the despatch box for his first Prime Ministers Questions and it was refreshing to see that his new approach was able to dampen to some extent the rowdy atmosphere that so many people dislike (myself included). I thought the idea of taking questions from the public was a good one and there is no doubt that many people are attracted to Jeremy Corbyn because he is not afraid to challenge the conventional views about how politicians should go about their business. Given the level of cynicism and disconnection with politicians of all persuasions Jeremy Corbyn’s Leadership could mark out a change in the way politics is done, for the better.
The House rose for another recess for the Party Conference season, so I was able to return to the constituency on Thursday, when I visited my kids old school, Sutton Green Primary. There I spoke about my role as an MP before taking a number of excellent questions on a wide range of subjects which showed the children have a really impressive grasp of current affairs. Finally, on Friday I was offered a Shadow Ministerial role in the Health team, which I was very pleased to accept. The NHS faces many challenges in the years ahead and will continue to be a major political issue.