I am delighted to have interviewed my MP, Rosie Cooper, who congratulated me on starting my blog. I was interested to hear her thoughts on why young people should support The Labour Party and if she thinks Labour can fight back and win the next General Election.
- How important is it that young people take an interest in politics?
“Decisions taken by governments and councils have an effect on, and consequences for, the lives of young people both today and in the future. Therefore, young people should have a voice in that decision-making process and to do so need to be engaged and involved.
In an age of social media and email it is increasingly easier for young people to be active participants in the political process, even for those who are not old enough to vote yet. They can do so in a variety of ways which can influence in the debate on an extensive range of issues.
Taking an interest and being involved in politics is more than just voting at election time. Technology is breaking down barriers for young people and is giving them much greater choice and opportunity to have their say on issues important to them.
This can only be good for the health and future wellbeing of our democracy.”
- Do you believe Labour can fight back after the General Election result?
“Yes. Throughout the 20th century the Labour has constantly fought back from election defeats. There is no doubt that the election result nationally was deeply disappointing. There is no immediate and quick fix though. It is important to understand the reasons why the electorate chose not to return a Labour government.
As a Labour Party we must respond and reflect the concerns of a majority of people across the whole of the UK and rebuild their confidence that a Labour government is good for them and the country. That we have a set of values and a vision for the country that chimes with their hopes for the future.”
- Why do you think young people should support the Labour Party?
“For the values of the Labour Party. For me the decision of which political party to support comes down to values. No member agrees 100% with every policy position of the party. Therefore, the bonds that tie a person to their party are the shared values.
For the Labour party those are values of fairness, opportunity, equality, and justice. A belief that as a society and communities working for the common good we can realise the potential of all people not just a select few.
What this means in practice is a Labour government that invests in education and Sure Start centres and supporting families to give young people the best start in life. That opens up access to colleges and universities so the are open to all who wish to broaden their choices and opportunities.
A Labour Party that legislated to tackle climate change to improve the environment for future generations.
The values at the very heart of the Labour Party that informs our actions are the reasons why young people who share those values should support the Labour Party.”
- Who did you nominate for Labour leader?
“All the candidates with a chance of returning the Labour Party to power had received the required number of nominations. Therefore, I did not nominate any candidate.”
- Are you friends with any high-profile members of the House, and what are they like?
“My friends are the people I have known for many years. The vast majority of whom are not involved in politics. Having been an MP for 10 years and involved in politics for over 40 I know a lot of the high profile members of the House, in particular the Labour front bench members.
I would say though that I have quite an eclectic mix of people that I know in Parliament and would have a cup of tea with. They are not all Labour Party people as you may perhaps expect. Through sitting on select committees, Bill committees, All Party Parliamentary Groups and the corridor on which my office is located I’ve met a variety of other Parliamentarians from across the parties. For example, I get on very well with Angus MacNeill of the SNP and Lord Cormack, previously Sir Patrick Cormack MP.”
- What are your number one priorities for West Lancashire over the next five years?
My overriding priority for West Lancashire is to deliver improvements and services that will improve the lives of local residents across all communities in West Lancashire. There is quite an extensive list. Below is a list of key issues:
- A railway station for Skelmersdale
- Protecting vital public services such as the NHS and policing
- Reinstatement of Burscough curves
- Delivery of a cemetery and crematorium
- Tackling flooding that threatens homes and food producing farm land
- Protecting greenbelt for the benefit of all not the gain of a few
- Concessionary travel for older people
- Redevelopment and renewal of our town centres
- Opposing the bedroom tax
- Investment in education for the benefit of young people
- If you could be a member of the cabinet, which role would you like to have?
“To be honest I’ve never had any ambition to be a member of the cabinet. I enjoy the day to day work of dealing with people’s cases and fighting their corner as hard as I can. It’s why I got involved in politics and what motivates me to continue doing the job.
If I am required to pick a position, then it would be the Secretary of State for Health having had 30 years involvement in the NHS and a passionate commitment to the principle of a health service free at the point of use.”