CHRISTIAN WAKEFORD: We would all do better for listening to one another more

The long summer recess comes to an end this week and MPs are preparing to return to Parliament to be greeted by a new Prime Minister.

The 9 millionth Tory Leadership hustings has finally ended with both candidates no longer having to deliver the same prewritten speech on autopilot like some sort of cyborg, so I thought I would use my latest column to give you a recess rundown of what I have been up to in Bury South.

It was great to finally have local football back on Saturday afternoons and I’ve been glad to be able to head down and show my support down at the Neuven for Radcliffe’s strong start to the season.

It’s also been wonderful to see so many people coming together for different community events with groups like The Greater Manchester Muslim and Jewish Forum and Eden Community Allotments Open Day.

I was also grateful to meet with Refugee Action Manchester and hear some of the lived experiences of their volunteers, including those now based in Bury South.

The determination and strength of many of those now living in the UK after fleeing war or fear of persecution is awe inspiring. It shouldn’t have to be that way though.

They are currently running a campaign to allow asylum seekers the right to work while they await their settled status and I admit the campaign has strong merits.

Rather than spending taxpayer money on keeping people in limbo we could let people work and pay into the system and feel a sense of self-worth and independence.

I am looking forward to continuing working with them and supporting their causes.

I also enjoyed spending time speaking to stakeholders at Manchester Caribbean Carnival about what more can be done with regards to racial equality and opportunities for those who are chastised in the media due to their race.

The next Labour government have already made great strides for this. We will introduce a new Race Equality Act and Keir Starmer has been clear that ending structural racism will be a defining cause for the next Labour government.

I spent a week in Cyprus with the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme who do great work in educating Parliamentarians on what the Armed Forces do both here and abroad.

The dedication these men and women have for our country is something that should resonate with us all.

Regardless of party politics, we surely just want the best for our country and to help others around the world too.

I’ve backed our posties who are currently on strike and demanding better from bosses who are profiting at their expense, cutting staff and wages while hiding behind excuses of “modernisation”. 

Royal Mail is one of our great British institutions and our postal workers deserve far more than a derisory pay offer after working and putting their lives at risk during the pandemic.

As I headed into the final week of recess, I was immensely proud to lead from the front at Manchester Pride with LGBT Labour.

I am proud of my record of standing up for people in the LGBT community.

Their rights are under attack like never before and with LGBT hate crime up year on year, it is a very scary time to be LGBT. They have and will always have me in their corner though.

I think that would be my message as we prepare to head back to Parliament.

We would all do better for listening to one another more, for showing a little more kindness to one another and working together more to find genuine compromise.

At what is a very scary time for many people, and no doubt will continue to be over the coming months, kindness, good sense and empathy should be the order of the day for the next Prime Minister.

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