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The government still has a lot of questions to answer on Brexit


Here's a snapshot of what I've been up to over the past week in Stretford and Urmston and in parliament.

A great visit to Standguide, based in Stretford, which supports long term unemployed people to get back to work. I ask lots of questions about the new contracts the government is planning.

Local solicitors' firms come in to brief me on government plans to change rules on access to compensation for personal injury. They're worried that people who've been in accidents won't receive compensation. The Justice committee, of which I'm a member, is holding a session in parliament next month on this matter.

Cllr Jane Baugh and our local NUT rep meet me to discuss the government's proposed new schools funding formula. Schools in Stretford and Urmston could be £443 per pupil worse off by 2019. We agree to campaign together against these unfair cuts. Read more about the campaign http://www.schoolcuts.org.uk/#/.

I round off the day with a meeting with the Clinical Commissioning Group to hear about plans for GP practices in my constituency. A number of practices in Old Trafford are exploring finding new premises together.

The weekend
Spent in London, unusually. I'm chairing the annual Fabians conference, with keynote speaker Jeremy Corbyn. There are also great sessions with Keir Starmer, Stella Creasy and a host of others, attended by hundreds of delegates, including some from Stretford and Urmston. The Fabians are the country's oldest think tank, 133 years old this year. Why not think about joining us? There's an active group in Greater Manchester. Find out more here: http://www.fabians.org.uk/members/join/.

Charity Clinks meet me in Westminster to talk about the treatment of women offenders. This is an area I work on a lot. We have some really innovative projects to support women in Greater Manchester.

A quick catchup meeting on the legal position on caste discrimination. It was outlawed in the 2010 Equality Act, but all sorts of obstacles are being thrown in the way of the legislation.

Over to the Ministry of Defence for a briefing on progress against Daesh in Iraq and Syria. There are some very challenging times ahead as coalition forces seek to retake Mosul, but Daesh is losing territory. The news from Syria remains very grim however.

Into the chamber to ask about local planning and new housing. A big concern for people in Flixton right now, where residents are opposing plans to build 750 new homes on green space.

Then off to the weekly meeting of the parliamentary Labour party.

The Prime Minister's big speech on Brexit. But, disgracefully, she doesn't make it in parliament. David Davis comes along instead, to answer MPs' questions. I ask about the risk to the UK economy while we renegotiate international trade deals with Canada, Japan and others. Davis says everything will be fine, there won't be a gap between the old deals ending and new deals. I'm very doubtful...

Davis is in the chamber for nearly two hours. I manage to get away to attend the last few minutes of Maternity Alliance's briefing on pregnancy discrimination.

Then a constituent comes to visit me in Westminster to talk about the crisis in mental health services.

I stay in parliament in the evening to attend a dinner for MPs, hosted by Intu, who own the Trafford Centre.

The morning is spent in a meeting of the Justice committee, hearing from experts about prison performance.

Then prime minister's questions, in which Theresa May is challenged again and again about her plans for Brexit.

Lunch with the Howard League for Penal Reform. I'm part of an inquiry they're conducting into the criminalisation of children in residential care.

Then a meeting of the European Scrutiny Committee. We've asked the Leader of the House to come and explain how the government will make proper time available for debates on the EU and Brexit matters.

I host the launch of an important report on foreign retailers' attitudes to setting up business in the UK. My second event in two days with Intu!

In the evening, I attend a really interesting seminar on the Prime Minister's plans for Brexit. It's fair to say the expert view is that exit negotiations could be a lot more complicated than she's portraying....

Two meetings in Westminster, one with Breast Cancer Care, and one with a campaigner who wants to see the law changed to criminalise the purchase of sex. It's a complex issue, but legalising prostitution, as some countries have done, absolutely isn't the right answer.

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