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Last week, politicians of all parties came together in Parliament to condemn the unprecedented and despicable use of a nerve agent in Salisbury at the beginning of March.

Such unity reflects the widespread sense of shock across our country, that a lethal chemical weapon was used on British soil with no regard to the consequences.

The critical condition that Sergei and Yulia Skripal have been left in shows how much worse this incident could have been - and that those responsible were clearly willing to endanger the public.

There was also significant risk for the police and paramedics who intervened, including Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, who remains in a serious condition. As ever, we should be extremely grateful for the efforts of the emergency services, who time and time again, rush towards danger in order to ensure our safety.

As the Prime Minister set out in Parliament, the target and nature of this attack has led the government to conclude that Russia is responsible.

The gravity of the situation, with the first offensive use of chemical weapons in Europe since the end of the Second World War, demands a robust response. Anything less would give the impression that their use can be tolerated or normalised, which would have potentially devastating effects.

That’s why it was right for MPs of all stripes to back the Prime Minister’s decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats, along with other measures to deter any further hostile activity.

While political parties obviously have their differences, one thing we can all agree on is that defending the security of our country and its citizens comes above all else.

The challenge for the government in the weeks and months ahead is to be firm but level-headed in holding those responsible to account.

We should be under no illusion that in recent years, Russia has engaged in a pattern of behaviour that is deeply disturbing – particularly in Ukraine, its support for the brutal Assad regime in the Syrian conflict, and repression at home.

The use of a chemical weapon on the streets of Britain raises the stakes even higher, and cannot go unanswered.

It’s important to recognise that we cannot take international stability, or our own rights and freedoms, for granted – and when these are under threat, we should all come together in their defence.

To read this article in the Sunderland Echo, click here

Bridget Phillipson MP: Chemical weapon use on our streets cannot be tolerated

Last week, politicians of all parties came together in Parliament to condemn the unprecedented and despicable use of a nerve agent in Salisbury at the beginning of March.

Bridget_Phillipson_MP_Coalfields_Regeneration_Trust_2_27-02-2018.jpeg.jpegOn Tuesday 27 February 2018, Bridget Phillipson, Labour Member of Parliament for Houghton and Sunderland South, attended a Parliamentary reception for the Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT) hosted her Labour colleague Conor McGinn MP.

The CRT is the leading regeneration organisation dedicated to improving the quality of life in Britain’s former mining communities. It is a charitable company and social enterprise with teams deployed across England, Scotland and Wales.

Since 1999 the CRT has invested hundreds of millions of pounds into projects that make a positive difference to the lives of people in our target communities across Britain.

It develops programmes and deliver activities that help people gain new skills, achieve qualifications, find work, set up and grow new businesses and become more active in their communities.

The CRT is now calling on the government to support its proposal to create a new £40 million fund for the coalfields. This fund will be used to deliver much-needed investment in new industrial and commercial property to help SMEs in coalfield locations such as those in Houghton and Sunderland South constituency.

Bridget_Phillipson_MP_Coalfields_Regeneration_Trust_3_27-02-2018.jpeg.jpegSpeaking at the event, Bridget Phillipson MP said:

“I was delighted to attend the Parliamentary reception for the Coalfields Regeneration Trust this week.

“The CRT are doing some fantastic work to support and improve the quality of life for the 5.5 million people living in our former mining towns and villages.

“I was particularly interested to hear about the Trust’s proposal to create a new £40 million fund for the coalfields.

“Former coalfield communities like those I represent in Houghton and Sunderland South desperately need the long-term economic growth this fund will help to create.

“That is why I am proud to support the CRT in calling for the government to give them the £10 million a year they need to make this project a reality.”

Bridget Phillipson MP lends support to Coalfields Regeneration Trust

On Tuesday 27 February 2018, Bridget Phillipson, Labour Member of Parliament for Houghton and Sunderland South, attended a Parliamentary reception for the Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT) hosted her Labour colleague...

Bridget_Phillipson_MP_Burnside_Community_Hub_23-02-2018.jpgOn Friday 23 February 2018 Bridget Phillipson, Labour Member of Parliament for Houghton and Sunderland South, visited Burnside Academy carry out the official re-opening of their new Community Hub.

Alongside Acting Headtecher Leona Kelly, Bridget unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion. Burnside successfully secured thousands of pounds from the Big Lottery Fund and the Houghton Ward Community Chest grant to renovate the building.

Community Chest grants are designed to provide support for 'one off' projects that are of benefit to the local community. Local ward councillors have a grant allocation to award to community groups and organisations to deliver activities, events or purchase equipment. Projects must address local priorities and provide genuine community benefit or address community need at a ward level.

Speaking after the visit, Bridget Phillipson MP said: 

“It was an honour to visit Burnside Academy today to re-open their fantastic new Community Hub.

“I know that this space will prove to be a real asset to the local community and businesses in our area, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of Community Chest funding allocated by local Labour councillors in Houghton Ward and the Big Lottery Fund.

“I want to congratulate Acting Headteacher Leona Kelly and her team for all their hard work – they’ve really created something special for the school and the wider community in Houghton.” 

Bridget Phillipson MP re-opens Community Hub at Burnside Academy

On Friday 23 February 2018 Bridget Phillipson, Labour Member of Parliament for Houghton and Sunderland South, visited Burnside Academy carry out the official re-opening of their new Community Hub.


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