Ian Lavery column: 'Life and death decisions should not be made on cost'
Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery's weekly column from the Ashington & Morpeth Extra newspaper
In a debate earlier this week, I was shocked and amazed that the justice secretary made clear that the entire cabinet supports the proposal to reduce the prison sentence by half for all offenders if they plead guilty early.
The only conclusion I can draw from this is that the entire cabinet are out of touch when it comes to crime, punishment and the concerns of the public in Wansbeck and throughout Britain.
The proposal is an affront to justice: it will do nothing to increase conviction rates and is driven simply by a desire to cut costs rather than cut crime and protect the public.
I am one of the six sponsors who have tabled early day motion 1847, which commends the work, skill and dedication of the surgeons and staff at the children's heart unit at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, and calls on the Government to keep the unit open and invest in its future.
I have been contacted by constituents who are extremely concerned that the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) is to make recommendations to government that will deny many chronic myeloid leukaemia suffers access to drugs that could save their lives.
I share the concerns that my constituents have expressed and consequently I am one of the six sponsors who have tabled early day motion 1831 regarding the review of cancer drugs for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukaemia.
Our early day motion calls on the Government to act immediately to ensure chronic leukaemia sufferers acquire these drugs to deal with their health condition. In my view, decisions of this nature are a matter of life and death and cost should not be an issue.
I recently visited the Shoreline Polychaetes farm in the constituency, which is committed to the sustainable and environmentally-sensitive production of marine worms. The farm uses heated cooling water from Alcan's power station, enabling ragworm to grow throughout the year.
I welcomed the opportunity to meet with Robert Bing and the workforce and see first-hand the work they do. I also visited the newly-built Astec site, which is adjacent to Shoreline.
This week, I returned to Astec to say a few words at the official opening of the new Astec Aquaculture Business and Science Centre, which is a purpose- built resource that has been created to support the growth of the aquaculture sector.
Due to its strategic location on the Northumberland coastline at Lyne Sands, Astec is uniquely placed to pump a constant supply of near tropical temperature, flow-through seawater to its state-of- the-art aqua laboratories, which are fitted out with specialist equipment to support a range of commercial and research activities.
The centre has already attracted a significant amount of interest from potential business and research projects. I am keen to see this site develop and expand and deliver job opportunities for local people.
We'd like to hear from you. Send your stories, pics and videos to email@example.com