It has been another very busy week in Westminster and the steep learning curve continues; familiarising myself with how the many Parliamentary systems work. I have already made so many useful contacts that will help me in my work, representing the people of Burnley and Padiham, and my brain is buzzing with plans and ideas which I am keen to get started on.
The election of the Speaker on Monday was my first opportunity to see the House of Commons in action. All of the benches and aisles were absolutely packed. It isn’t particularly obvious from watching television coverage, but there is nowhere near enough space for all the MPs to be seated at once. Luckily I managed to get a good spot, close to Harriet Harman.
I was particularly pleased to see a recent visitor to Burnley and a great personal source of inspiration, Sir Gerald Kaufman, become Father of the House. This is a title awarded to the longest serving MP in the House and Sir Gerald certainly qualifies, having given 45 years of committed service. On a personal level, I will always be grateful for his support and encouragement during my campaign.
On Wednesday, I was formally sworn in as a Member of Parliament and I took my oath of allegiance to the British Monarchy: a proud moment indeed and a great honour. I also now have been allocated an office space in Parliament; again there is not enough space to go around and competition for offices is fierce! I am delighted that my next door neighbour is Kate Hollern MP, the Member for Blackburn.
This is the first time in 10 years that I have missed the town’s Mayor Making Ceremony. Burnley’s new Mayor is Councillor Elizabeth Monk, she will be well known to many of you as a committed Councillor who has served the people of Trinity for many years and I know she will be an excellent Mayor for the Borough.
After an action packed week it was lovely to return home to Burnley on Thursday. I was particularly pleased to see the direct rail service to Manchester up and running. Many people have worked hard to achieve this over very many years and at last it is a reality. I am certain that this will make Burnley an even more attractive option to investors and business, and will inevitably lead to more and better jobs.
Alongside this I have been busy along with my new staff, preparing to establish a new office in Burnley. We have already tackled a lot of casework and I will soon begin to hold surgeries around town (times and venues to follow shortly.)
It was heart breaking to see Burnley relegated to the Championship. The team provided some fantastic entertainment this season and they are definitely better than their league position suggests. I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the efforts of all the team and to the passion and commitment of Sean Dyche. It certainly hasn't put this supporter off renewing her season ticket and I'm already looking forward to next season and regaining our rightful position in the top flight. In the meantime, the local Derby's will definitely be interesting!