Leeds MP Richard Burgon backs Asda staff on contract changes and calls for readers to sign bike lights petition in memory of Charlie Fox

Parliament is over for the summer but of course politics doesn’t – and can’t - stop just because Parliament isn’t sitting, writes MP Richard Burgon.

Monday, 12th August 2019, 13:36 pm

People in our communities still need the help of their MP with benefits issues, housing issues and a whole host of other problems. And, of course, our whole country faces big issues that are a matter of lively debate. For me, the best thing about the summer is getting to be back home in East Leeds for an extended period.

In a normal week, I have to be down in Parliament Monday to Thursday and then I’m back home in East Leeds to work and attend community events in our area on Friday and over the weekend. The summer means more time in Leeds – which can only be a good thing. As well as catching up with family and friends and getting on top of jobs around the house, I’m also trying to get into a routine at the gym. We’ll see how long that lasts. Over the summer, my constituency office in Seacroft continues to be busy, helping local people day in, day out. Office manager Tracy, senior caseworker Nicole and the team do a great job, helping me to help people in East Leeds. The people who work in the constituency offices of MPs really are unsung heroes in our political system.

Something that came across my desk recently that made a big impression on me is a campaign by inspiring East Leeds resident Rebecca Roe and her family. Rebecca’s 14-year-old son Charlie Fox tragically lost his life when he was knocked off his bike and suffered a fatal injury. Rebecca is campaigning for a law requiring all bikes to be sold with working lights. Alongside other important measures to keep cyclists safe from vehicles, this is an idea that could help to save lives and places a responsibility on bike manufacturers rather than leaving it to individual cyclists - including children. It’s so inspiring that despite everything that Rebecca and her family have been through, and are going still going through, they are trying to help others. YEP readers can support Rebecca’s campaign by signing her petition at petition.parliament.uk/petitions/252772

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On Wednesday I’ll be speaking in City Square alongside Asda staff who are protesting against new contracts, which will mean staff are no longer paid for any breaks and are forced to work bank holidays. As a mark of how important the GMB trade union views this issue, its leader Tim Roache will be addressing the demonstration. Asda started as a Leeds family company and has a proud history. It should negotiate rather than forcing staff into an impossible position. I’m proud to be backing Asda staff and the union on this important campaign and I applaud the Yorkshire Evening Post for giving it extensive coverage.

I hope that all readers have a fabulous summer.