The general election has finally been called for July 4.

I have been proud to be the Member of Parliament for Barnsley East over the last seven years, and I will be standing for election as the Labour candidate for the new constituency of Barnsley South.

As your local MP, I have had the privilege of meeting thousands of local people, charities, schools, organisations, and businesses.

Over the last seven years my team and I have dealt with over 21,000 casework issues. I have spoken in Parliament over 1,800 times, and have always tried to champion our town and the concerns and issues that people have come to me with.

After 14 years of power, people are feeling worse off than they did in 2010, as energy bills and food prices soar, antisocial behaviour is on the rise, and getting an NHS appointment is increasingly difficult. I have pressed the government on these issues, the decline of our public services and the rising cost of living, but after 14 years they are out of energy and ideas.

I was proud to secure the cross-party Parliamentary report into the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme, which concluded that the government should not be in the business of profiting from miners’ pensions, having taken £4.8bn to date.

This is simply not acceptable. I spoke about this issue and our town’s proud mining history in one of my last speeches in the House of Commons before the general election was called, and I will continue to campaign for justice on the miners’ pensions.

Campaigning alongside Johnny Wood, following the tragic loss of his sister Jackie, we succeeded in changing the law to allow judges to give out tougher sentences for those who are found guilty of death by dangerous driving. Though this cannot bring back those who are lost, I hope it brings some small comfort to know that perpetrators are being made to pay for their crimes.

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Over the last year I have been campaigning alongside the Barnsley Chronicle to end the petrol price premium for motorists in Barnsley, presenting our petition to Parliament last week. I have organised an annual school uniform exchange to help share pre-loved uniform for parents struggling with the cost, and I ran a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide, securing and distributing over 400 alarms to local households.

There has been a lot of talk about ‘Levelling Up’ over the last few years. By all the government’s own measures, Barnsley East is deserving of funding, yet we have received no money. I have pressed the government on this on a number of occasions in Parliament.

It has been a privilege to fight for local people, but the reality is you can do more in one day in government than a year in opposition. It’s incredibly sad and shocking that across Barnsley, over 35 percent of children are growing up in poverty, people are struggling to eat with the number of local children needing support from a foodbank at 46 per cent, and NHS waiting times in the area at an average of 10 weeks, with some even waiting longer than a year for treatment.

That is the reality of Tory Britain.

It is time for a change.

A Labour government will tackle the issues that matter to local people and we have outlined our first six steps to get Britain moving again.

Labour would deliver economic stability with tough spending rules, so we can grow our economy and keep taxes, inflation, and mortgages as low as possible. We would cut NHS waiting times, with 40,000 more evening and weekend appointments each week, paid for by cracking down on tax avoidance and non-doms.

On border safety and immigration, we would launch a new Border Security Command with hundreds of new specialist investigators and counter-terror powers to smash criminal gangs and strengthen our borders.

We would lower energy bills by setting up Great British Energy, a publicly-owned clean power company, paid for by a windfall tax on oil and gas giants. We would crack down on antisocial behaviour, with more neighbourhood police paid for by ending wasteful contracts, tough new penalties for offenders, and a new network of youth hubs. Finally, we would recruit 6,500 new teachers in key subjects to set children up for life, work and the future, paid for by ending tax breaks for private schools.

It has been a privilege to be MP for Barnsley East, and I hope that you will once again put your trust in me as I serve as the Labour MP for Barnsley South.

I ask you to vote Labour on July 4.