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Leader/Times Column 14th October 2016

On Monday this week, I was one of hundreds to attend the funeral of long-standing Borough Councillor for the Old Laund Booth ward, John David, at St. Thomas Church in Barrowford. 

Although we came from different political parties, John was someone I respected deeply. I was not alone. He was hugely popular – having served on Pendle Council for 28 years and been involved in countless local groups.  I know his tireless efforts for our area will long be remembered. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Judith, and all who knew him.

In Parliament, Tuesday was dominated by an emergency debate on the situation in Syria, particularly Aleppo. The images we have seen of buildings destroyed and lives ruined are tragic. It has become quite clear, and for some time, that war crimes are being committed by the Assad regime with support from Russia.

My role was to help the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, and his team respond to the debate. Fortunately however, not much help was needed as this is a topic he is keenly interested in and has focused on since taking office, with the UK taking a much tougher stance on Russia’s role in the conflict. 

On Wednesday I was fortunate enough to be called to ask a Prime Ministers Question, the second time since Theresa May took up office.  Given the £32million transformation of Brierfield Mills gets underway this week, thanks to central government funding I helped secure, I took the opportunity to push for even more investment in Pendle.  

The latest round of Government Growth Deals is worth £1.8 billion, with bids currently being considered from 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships, but is severely over-subscribed.  Therefore I am lobbying Ministers hard, but didn’t want to miss this opportunity to again make a plug for Pendle’s bids. We expect to hear the final funding decisions on or around the time of the Chancellor's Autumn Statement.

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