Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

'I Want to Give Middlesbrough an Enduring Voice in the Corridors of Power' Government and Teesside

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

'I Want to Give Middlesbrough an Enduring Voice in the Corridors of Power' Government and Teesside

Article excerpt

Byline: Andy McDonald

ANDY McDonald, MP for Middlesbrough, said: "During my time as an MP constituents have asked for my intervention on many issues: from child poverty to the environment, the living wage to animal welfare, from public services to regeneration. "There are multiple ways an Opposition MP can bring the issues important to those he or she represents to the attention of those in power.

"The first, and most obvious to the public, is asking questions to ministers in the Commons. "I take full advantage of the regular opportunity to get answers from the executive, having asked the Department for Work and Pensions about the Bedroom Tax, the Treasury about assessments of absolute poverty rates in Middlesbrough, as well as asking a question at Prime Minister's Questions.

"Yet while oral questions can be helpful for publicising an issue, written questions to ministers and departments are often more useful at obtaining information. "These do not always need to be combative.

"While helping a local firm that wished to regenerate a building in the town centre, I clarified the status of a particular investment programme by contacting the Treasury minister directly. "The written response proved most helpful.

"On other occasions however, written questions can confirm one's reservations as to the wisdom of some of the government's decisions, as with the lack of proper assessment of the impact of restricting workers' access to compensation by the DWP prior to the passage of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill through the Commons.

"In these situations information obtained from the DWP was useful in progressing the argument that the consequences of poorly thought through legislation could, and should, be avoided.

"Another way I can bring the concerns of my constituents is via my role on committees and All Party Parliamentary Groups.

"As a member of the Justice Committee I have a direct way of contributing over issues such as the prison regime and the running of the court service. …

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