Sunday, 17 May 2015

Politics: Addressing poverty is key: new MP

Holly Lynch, the newly-elected Labour MP for Halifax, has said how proud she is to represent the constituency in Parliament.

Ms Lynch narrowly held the seat for Labour in a close election battle against Conservative candidate Philip Allott.

She held the seat against the national backdrop of a Conservative majority, with Labour losing 26 Parliamentary seats across the UK.

“We bucked the national trend in Halifax - I think we always do - so there’s a silver lining there,” she said.

“We had hoped that we’d have a Labour government -I’ve just got to work twice as hard on the same objectives.”

Ms Lynch said her priorities are to address poverty in Halifax, especially child poverty and the rise in food-banks.

Some of the key policies such as a getting rid of the spare room subsidy (known as the bedroom tax) and curbing the privatisation of NHS would be much more challenging to deal with under a Conservative administration.

“We’re not in a position to get rid of the bedroom tax, which looks like its only going to get worse,” she said.

“We’re not in a position to repeal the Social Care Act, which will lead to more privatisation and fragmentation of the NHS, putting more pressure on hospitals and frontline staff.”

Ms Lynch said that the most pressing issue is to re-build the Labour Party following its election defeat and the resignation of their leader Ed Miliband.

“The truth is we’ve got a lot to learn about why the result went the way it did,” she said.

“We’re going to be speaking to a lot of people and doing a lot of soul-searching - there’s no substitute for listening in politics.

“We’re going to have a period of re-building and finding a new leader is going to be a key part of that,” she said.

“There are lots of options for good leaders from our region, as well as plenty of options for women leaders as well - we may well have a Yorkshire candidate, if not a Yorkshire leader.”

Ms Lynch has spent the week since her election victory adjusting to her new life in Westminster.

“There’s a lot to take in - there’s a lot of traditions and etiquettes you have to pick up quite quickly,” she said.

“On top of that there are quite a lot of complex procedures in law-making that you’ve got to get your head wrapped around.

“Then there’s the practical aspects of finding an office in Halifax, finding a flat in London.

“What a change, what an opportunity, what a lot of work - I’m in a position where I can help people and make a lot of difference,“ she said.

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