Northwich MP on Labour party conference, Boris and karaoke

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My day-to-day focus is normally about holding the Government’s feet to the fire.

Whether that’s over Captain ‘Chaos’ Johnson and rising energy bills, the National Insurance hike, queues at the petrol station, cuts to Universal Credit or the failure to plan in terms of HGV driver shortages.

But last week I was at the Labour Party conference in Brighton where we made a good start in developing our alternative programme for Government.

I joined Labour at 17 and have been going to conference for more than 30 years. Always close to my mind are those I represent in Northwich and beyond.

For example, I know many constituents struggle to buy a decent home. So I’m delighted Labour has announced it would deliver support for first-time buyers and homes available at genuinely affordable rent.

Tackling the climate crisis is a top priority. Our £28bn per year Green New Deal would include upgrading 19 million houses with energy efficiency measures and how about no more building on flood plains!

Sadly, my postbag often features adults and children struggling to access underfunded mental health services. Under our plan, nobody would wait more than a month for treatment.

I was also pleased the Shadow Chancellor committed to replacing our broken business rates system with a fairer regime to create a level playing field between the High Street and the online giants.

Education was a key area stressed by Labour leader Keir Starmer. A government serious about levelling up should be investing in early years and family support, in our schools and colleges – rather than closing them down – and in universities and apprenticeships.

It was great to have fun too and catch up with old friends like Andy Burnham in a bar near the conference centre.

Andy suddenly disappeared only to spring up on stage singing karaoke with another mate of mine, Angie Rayner. It wasn’t the most tuneful rendition of 500 Miles by the Proclaimers! But in fairness it was probably no worse than when I duetted with Angie to sing the Oasis classic Cigarettes and Alcohol on a previous occasion. Thank goodness there’s no video!