The Political Studies Association has named, NE Derbyshire's, Natascha Engel MP as

the Parliamentarian of the Year for 2013. This is in recognition for her work as Chair

of the Back Bench Business Committee which has quietly transformed the way that

the House of Commons works. By creating the space for debate on subjects that might

otherwise be overlooked, the Committee has empowered back bench MPs and helped to

hold the Government to account on issues as diverse as black-listing and contaminated

blood supplies. Previous winners include Margaret Hodge, Tony Benn and Dennis Skinner.

Natascha receives her award from BBC Political Correspondent Iain Watson with

Mark D'Arcy the Radio 4 Parliamentary Correspondent

Natascha Engel MP 2012/13 Parliamentary report highlights PDF Print E-mail


Derbyshire County Council elections

Locally, the biggest story of the year was our winning back Derbyshire County Council with a spectacular

result that put Anne Western in as Council Leader and Kevin Gillott as Deputy in Matlock. It is testament to

their campaigning zeal and efforts that we achieved one of the best results in the country.

HS2 and Chesterfield canal

This is another cause that I am continuing with. HS2 destroys most of Renishaw and large swathes of Killamarsh.

It stops dead the Chesterfield canal project which, in terms of our local economy, really does regenerate, bring

jobs and money. The national economic arguments used by the government for HS2 will not benefit people in

North East Derbyshire but rather the project will create a double disadvantage by having to pay the tax for it

(£42bn and rising) and with the impact on people’s homes.

Bus services

We are still fighting for decent bus services in the north of the constituency, especially Apperknowle. But we had

a great victory on the 253 service when, using a survey and letter-writing campaign in concert with the hard work

of local councillors, especially Brian Ridgway and Michael Gordon, the new Labour County Council transport portfolio

holder ensured that the service was saved. Thank you to Andy Botham.

Hilltop opencast

Another success for now has been stopping the opencasting at Hilltop on the A61 by Tupton going in to Clay Cross.

Particular thanks are due to Brian Wright who has led the campaign and worked closely with the Hilltop Action Group.

Fire station closures

The most recent campaigns have been around Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service’s consultation on fire station

closures. All fire stations are affected but Dronfield is particularly hard hit losing the best-performing fire station in the

whole county in the most populated part of the constituency. I am working closely with Graham Baxter on this issue.

We are fighting with everything to make sure that this goes no further than consultation. Details of how to take part in

the campaign, sign petitions and write letters can be found on my website.


Backbench Business Committee

I have continued to chair the Backbench Business Committee in Parliament which schedules backbench debates about one

day a week. We have continued to select debates which have proved awkward for the Government and have often forced

them to change or drop their policies. Most notably, we tabled a motion to tell the Prime Minister to return to Parliament

and vote before taking any military action in Syria. This meant that in the summer recess, rather than being able to call

air strikes, Cameron had to recall Parliament. In a devastating blow to him Labour defeated him and as a result we did

not go to war in Syria. This also had the effect of stopping America from bombing and as a consequence, we have now

seen independent monitors stripping Assad of his chemical weapons facilities. But without the Backbench Business

Committee, the original vote to force the Prime Minister to return to Parliament would not have happened. We also

scheduled an important debate on deaf children. This was part of a national campaign including an e-petition that reached

100,000 signatures and is particularly close my heart as I used to write subtitles for deaf and hearing-impaired people and

learned sign language to find out better what it was that deaf adults and children needed when they were watching

television with subtitles.

Park Homes

After campaigning for a change in legislation covering Park Home sites for the last eight years, we finally saw the

introduction of the new Mobile Homes Act which gives people who live in park homes greater protection from

unscrupulous site owners. We are still fighting for more changes but this has been a significant victory for us which

was helped by a very vocal group of park home residents in North East Derbyshire. Congratulations to them.

Badger Cull

It was also the year when the Tory-led coalition Government decided to have a badger cull. This one issue raised

more correspondence from constituents than any other. We have also seen the results of the cull. It has been a

disaster seeing the random slaughter of many perfectly healthy animals. North East Derbyshire is, of course, very

rural and there are many farmers concerned for their livelihoods because of the threat of TB to their cattle. But even

they would have their doubts about this mindless policy.


I have continued to work with UCATT and the GMB to expose the horrors of blacklisting. We are now calling for a full

inquiry into blacklisting as many people who are on blacklists do not even know they are. It has ruined so many lives,

is illegal and must be exposed.

Interest Rate Swaps

After several constituents came to see me about their businesses being affected by being mis-sold Interest Rate Swaps,

I have taken up the campaign in Westminster. I have worked closely with the All-Party Group on Interest Rate Swaps and

will be taking a delegation to meet the Minister about it in the next few weeks. This is an issue which neither the banks,

the Treasury nor the FCA are taking responsibility for while thousands of viable businesses are going to the wall because

they have been mis-sold these financial products.

Work and Welfare

I have continued to campaign on work and welfare issues which have always been my greatest interest in Parliament.

The contract that the Department for Work and Pensions has with ATOS to carry out its Work Capability Assessments is

actively encouraging ATOS to find people “fit for work” when they are clearly not. They say that if someone is found fit for

work and isn’t, then they can appeal the decision. There are so many appeals that it takes months (and up to a whole year

in some cases) to have the appeals heard. Meanwhile, people who are not fit for work are forced to sign on at Jobcentres

which they are often too ill to get to and as a result are sanctioned. We even have the tragic examples of people found

"fit for work" who are dying while waiting for their appeals. People are being forced into abject poverty, into foodbanks and

then into the arms of payday lenders and loan sharks.

TEDx talk: Democracy and the Tea Towel Test

In the summer Parliament held its own TEDx talk event in Westminster and invited me to do a talk. I spoke about political

engagement and the dangers of a widening rift between politicians and the people who elect them. You can see the talk

by visiting:

Electoral conduct

This year I also chaired an All Party Group that looked into electoral conduct and found shocking evidence of third-party

campaigns that used racism, xenophobia, homophobia and sexism as tools to defeat opponents in elections. We made

several recommendations about how to make improvements to ensure that good candidates are not put off putting

themselves forward for election. The report can be found at:

UK Youth Parliament and Votes at 16

I have continued to campaign on lowering the voting age to 16. The announcements that 16 and 17 year olds will be able

to vote in the Scottish Independence Referendum as well as Labour’s support for the issue, is bringing success ever closer.

Once again this year, I wound up the session when the UK Youth Parliament held its annual sitting in the Chamber.

European referendum

I continue to support the campaign for a referendum to be held on our continued membership of the EU. I have joined the

newly-founded Labour for Referendum and vote in favour of a referendum whenever I can. I did not support the Tories’

Private Members Bill to have a referendum in 2017, however. This is quite clearly a gimmick to get them through the election

without losing too many voters to UKIP. All being well, the Tories will not be there in 2017 and it’s so far off that it really

does create uncertainty. I think we should have a referendum as soon as possible and get the issue over and done with.

Further information

These are just a few of the highlights from the past year but if anyone would like any more information on any of the

above or on anything I have not mentioned, please get in touch. If you have not received my e-bulletin but would like to

please email me at the address below.

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

01246 439018 (Eckington)

020 72191015 (Westminster)

@nengelmp (Twitter)

House of Commons London SW1A 0AA

All Member Meeting on Health Policy PDF Print E-mail

Chaired by Cathy Goodyer, members gathered at North Wingfield Community

Resource Centre, on 21 June, with guest speakers John Healey MP and Dr. Reg Race plus

Natascha Engel MP.

After the keynote speech and a presentation on the patient experience, members

broke into two discussion groups facilitated by Lilian Robinson and Nigel Barker.

The following ideas were proposed:

Lilian's Group

· Organisation: good leadership and management is needed along with a period of stability. The NHS should ideally be a 100% public service and always free at the point of use. Doctors trained in the NHS should treat NHS patients exclusively.

· Preventative care: a good home-help service is essential and will reduce admissions to hospital. Community based care, post-natal for instance, needs better resources.

· Hospital care: domestic/cleaning services should be provided in-house rather than contracted out to improve hygiene and cleanliness; health care assistants are being over relied on and should not be asked to undertake care for which they have not had proper training. The use of private hospitals for weekend procedures/operations, with a quick in and out, is a cause for concern with the cost of care picked up by NHS organisations.

· Funding for the NHS should be derived from tax/NI revenues. If additional funding is needed, the use of (up to) 16 hour contracts by companies to avoid employers NI contributions should be ended; employers NI should be based on a percentage of the total wage bill rather than be based on individuals.

Nigel's Group

· Integration of Health and Social Care: in principle a good idea but there needs to be clarity about who/which body is responsible to/for the patient; the focus should be on the outcome. Social care is fundamental but initial integration of services will need to be properly funded. The key factors to get right are: management, control, delivery, cooperation amongst the different professions and adequate money/resources.

· The NHS: should be publicly funded but there was no consensus about tax hypothecation.

· Health authorities need to be local rather than regional and a sense of ownership needs to be achieved; this may be by giving more powers to Health Watch to scrutinise and question and by reducing the power of the medical profession.

The North Wingfield Manifesto for the NHS PDF Print E-mail

On Friday 21 June, a group of NE Derbyshire Labour Party members gathered in North Wingfield to look at health policy. Here is one set of outcomes from the discussions.

§ The NHS must be free at the point of use and funded from taxation; but we should think about earmarked taxes.

§ We must listen to patients. “The Informed Patient” is key. Patients with better information have better outcomes and will help control spending.

§ We must strengthen inspection: The Care Quality Commission was the FIRST national inspection regime in the history of the NHS and it now needs radical surgery.

§ We must strengthen the commissioning system; there are too many Clinical Commissioning Groups and they cost more than Primary Care Trusts. The focus should be on modernising services.

§ We must strengthen the mental health and learning disability services; we are not sure whether many interventions currently used actually work at all.

§ We must strengthen community services. District Nursing, Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy must be better organised and funded. The aim should be to keep people out of hospital as much as possible.

§ We must deal with the crisis in nursing and restore confidence in the profession; the key issues are supervision and (non-medical) caring.

§ We must focus on clinical outcomes.

§ We need well informed, strategic Ministers. Localism will not work without central support; Ministers need clear national standards and drive.

§ We must establish financial incentives for Trusts to implement quality programmes.

§ We must not reorganise again; billions would be spent for uncertain benefits; we should spend the money on services instead.

The new regime at Matlock PDF Print E-mail

Anne Western's team has hit the ground running at County Offices with our local Councillors are now at the heart of things. This includes Kevin Gillott and Brian Ridgway serving in Anne's cabinet. Cabinet responsibilities are as follows:

Strategic Policy and Budget

· Council Leader Councillor Anne Western, Council Leader and cabinet member

Children and Young People

· Councillor Kevin Gillott, Deputy Leader and cabinet member

Jobs, Economy and Transport

· Councillor Joan Dixon, Cabinet Member

Health and Communities

· Councillor Dave Allen, Cabinet Member

Adult Social Care

· Councillor Clare Neill, Cabinet Member

Council Services


· Councillor Brian Ridgway, Cabinet Member

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