Politically Speaking - Mark Eastwood MP for Dewsbury

Clean-up:  MP Mark Eastwood with members of the New Friends of Dewsbury Cemetery during the litter-pick.
Clean-up: MP Mark Eastwood with members of the New Friends of Dewsbury Cemetery during the litter-pick.

Great to celebrate finally getting Brexit done

Since the election, it has been a pleasure to be out and about meeting people and community groups, something I am no stranger to through my role as a community campaigner over the past ten years.

At the weekend, it was an honour to represent the Dewsbury constituency at a moving and emotional memorial ceremony to commemorate the victims of the 1974, M62 coach bombing in which 12 people, including two children, tragically lost their lives.

It was also good to be able to join Christine and Geoff from the New Friends of Dewsbury Cemetery on Sunday, to help with the great work they are doing in cleaning up the cemetery, through litter picking and painting of the railings and park furniture.

It was a great turnout with many volunteers taking part from all sections of the community, demonstrating a fantastic sense of civic pride.

On Friday, many people throughout the country marked our leaving the EU.

From a personal point of view, it was great to celebrate finally getting Brexit done with a beer or two alongside Conservative friends and councillors at a private party within the constituency.

Having campaigned on the streets of Dewsbury and Batley for Vote Leave, I was hugely proud to have played a role in this and to actually take part in the process by voting it through in the Westminster lobbies was a real honour for me personally.

Whether you agree with Brexit or not, now that we have managed to vote through Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement, it means we can now focus on our manifesto commitments and move on to the other priorities we all care about, including 20,000 extra police officers, 50,000 more nurses and levelling up education so that all pupils are given the same opportunities in life.

On a local level, after being inundated with concerns from commuters in Dewsbury and Mirfield and raising the issue with the prime minister at a recent prime minister’s questions, I was pleased that the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, took decisive action by revoking the National Rail Franchise with effect from March 1.

A shortage of trains and qualified drivers is clearly a major problem and something that will not be rectified overnight, however, the new train operator has put in place a 100-day plan, which includes measures to purchase new trains quickly and to implement an accelerated driver training programme to ensure that the service improves sooner rather than later.

On a final note, after weeks of organising, I am pleased to announce that my new office will open very shortly in Dewsbury town centre, which will be staffed with my new team: Adam Gregg who will be running the office and working alongside Sajid Hussain, Coun John Taylor, Coun Martyn Bolt and Sarah Ward, who will be employed as caseworkers.

Once the office is up and running, we will be hosting regular surgeries there and around the constituency. I look forward to meeting you either at my surgeries or at future community events within Dewsbury, Mirfield, Kirkburton and Denby Dale.