Author Archives: John Leech

Help me pile pressure on Royal Mail to offer free post for care homes

Times have never been tougher, and this Christmas will be one of the most challenging yet. We’ve got to come together like never before. That means reaching out and staying connected with the most vulnerable and isolated members of our community.

It would be heartbreaking if family members or friends in care homes went without love this Christmas.

Earlier this year, An Post—Ireland’s postal service—announced it would carry letters, large envelopes, packets and parcels up to 2Kg addressed to residents in nursing homes, residential accommodation in the mental health or disability sectors and convalescent homes for free until 31st January 2021.

It’s a wonderful gesture that will support families and loved ones living in care homes, who have been so terribly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

That’s why I wrote to Royal Mail last month and asked them to follow An Post’s lead and offer free postage to and from care homes in the UK.

The Royal Mail’s role in response to the Covid-19 pandemic cannot be understated. Their staff have battled through in the toughest of times with professionalism and dedication.

By October, they had already handled more letters and parcels than they did in the whole of 2019—and the peak Christmas period for 2020 is only just beginning.

But with the national lockdown reimposed, and evidence suggesting that restrictions could be in place until the New Year, this is one small way to ensure that no one is left behind this winter.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 12 Comments

John Leech writes: Come and help deliver a knockout blow to Labour and hard Brexit in Gorton

Having spent the last few weeks delivering leaflets and talking to residents in Manchester Gorton I wanted to share my thoughts on the by-election.

Manchester Gorton presents a huge opportunity for us as a party. The response that we are getting for our candidate, Jackie Pearcey, is really very impressive. I have been struck by the number of people who have told me on the doorstep how much better their local area was when they were represented by local Lib Dem Councillors like Jackie. This is a constituency that voted 65% remain, had 19 out of 21 Lib Dem Councillors just a few years ago and where we used to get a very substantial vote at the general election. This is a real chance to show that we can do to Labour in Manchester what we did to the Tories in Witney. We are the only party that is openly campaigning against Theresa May’s Hard Brexit agenda in this election. The Labour candidate even said he agreed with Corbyn to 3 line whip the vote to trigger article 50!

Quite simply the only barrier to us winning this seat right now is people not thinking we can win and not coming to help. When we won Manchester Withington in 2005 our biggest challenge was persuading people that the effort there was worthwhile. In Manchester Gorton it really is. This is our opportunity to deliver a knockout blow to Labour and show up their hypocrisy on Brexit. Getting a good result in Manchester Gorton improves the chances for all of us facing Labour in elections in the future.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 11 Comments

John Leech writes…Help save fire-rescue hero from deportation

If I asked you to imagine your ideal community, who and what would be in it? What kind of people would you choose to have as your neighbour? Would you want a neighbour who would be there in your moment of need – maybe even go as far as risking their life for you?

Well, you may have heard that just over a month ago, a resident here in Manchester did just that.

Robert Chilowa ran to the scene of a ferocious blaze engulfing a neighbour’s house after hearing screams of terror. He rescued two young children from the flames and assisted another who had broken her ankle in the disaster that had already claimed the lives of their grandparents. His heroic efforts were the only saving grace in an otherwise tragic event.

Now, I’ll take a pretty good guess that you’d want this man as your neighbour, right? Well, despite braving the devastating fire in Withington, rightly garnering national headlines, he has now been threatened with deportation.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , and | 2 Comments

John Leech MP writes…My Voice, My Vote

Ballot paperBritain is suffering from a crisis of alienation. Despite a wave of democratic reforms since 1997, including the rebirth of localism in 2010, the UK remains one of the most centralised European States. Even after devolution to Scotland and Wales, the majority of power is still concentrated in London and held by a narrow class of professional politicians most of whose lives seem increasingly detached from the people they represent. Local councils struggle to make an impact on their communities, and in vast swathes of the country voter turnout continues to sink as the electorate loses faith in the system’s ability to deliver the services they need.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 16 Comments

John Leech MP writes… Remembering the reasons for Leveson

The Manchester Evening News has a regular slot in the paper where they get a number of MPs to write an opinion column on topical issues of their choice. This week just happened to be my turn, so I thought that I would comment on the eagerly awaited Leveson report, due out on Thursday.

For those of you who don’t know, the MEN is owned by Trinity Mirror, and along with other major newspaper groups, are totally opposed to independent regulation of the press. They claim that regulation will be the end of freedom of expression. How ironic then, that the …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , , , , , , , and | 8 Comments

John Leech MP writes… It is not just the Leader’s job to sell the Pupil Premium

The Pupil Premium is one of our biggest achievement in government, and helps the poorest children in our country bridge the gap when it comes to the quality of education they receive. Manchester has had an extra £19 million this year, and the overall spend is some £1.25 billion this year, increasing to £2.5 billion by 2014/15.

The Pupil Premium ticks all the boxes for the Party. It is designed to help the most disadvantaged, it allows schools to spend the extra money flexibly, and it is new money on top of the school budget.

So why are we not shouting about …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 22 Comments

John Leech MP writes: New £1bn nuclear windfall must be taxed

On Monday, MPs will be asked to vote through £1 billion in windfall profits to existing nuclear operators for doing absolutely nothing new. We fought the last general election on the promise of opposing new nuclear power and certainly reject public subsidies for nuclear power.

Whatever your take on nuclear power though, surely it’s unjustifiable and politically untenable to hand out £1 billion to EDF and Centrica directly from consumer purses, when people are already feeling the squeeze.

The windfall will do nothing to ensure new electricity generation, nothing to help us meet our renewable energy targets and nothing to build popular …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 8 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • Christian Davis
    I get the impression from Newsnight that behind the scenes Lab and the Lib Dem’s are working together. So in Chesham, Labour activists went on Holiday and in ...
  • John Roffey
    Oh wise ones - Confucius he said: Do what is right - for no good can arise from the devious* - only shame! * This, most certainly, includes decisions base...
  • Michael BG
    Caron, Why do you think those by-elections are the ones remembered? I thought Bermondsey in 1983 was one. Croydon North West in 1981 was the first win for...
  • Barry Lofty
    Jayne Mansfield: Thanks for your kind thoughts, yes I will enjoy the moment but come back down to earth soon enough and quite agree about the opposition party's...
  • John Marriott
    Continuing on the initial theme (C & A), one could add that this wasn’t just any by election victory; this was an M & S by election victory by any st...