IT is a privilege as your MP to write in the first issue of the Denton Correspondent, a new local newspaper for our community.
Local journalism has really struggled in recent years and yet it is vital to both our democracy and our sense of place; it’s able to really understand what is important to local people – to celebrate and mourn, to promote the good work of local people, and, sometimes, to criticise with a true understanding of the area they serve.
Local journalism, when it’s done well, is something with the power to bring communities together and, as importantly, to hold those with power and responsibility to account. This is especially important at the current time when our country feels more divided and polarised than ever.
In Westminster, strengthening communities is at the core of the work that I do as Shadow Communities Secretary in Labour’s Shadow Cabinet. But alongside my front bench duties, I always pride myself on being a local MP first and foremost…and a proud Dentonian, too!
It’s almost 23 years ago that I cut my political teeth as a councillor in my home ward of Denton West and spent 12 years there serving my community before being elected to Parliament. In the first speech I made after my election as MP, I spoke of the honour and pride I felt to represent my community, the area where I have always lived, where I grew up, went to school and brought up my own family. This local link has always been core to everything I do as a politician.
I look forward to reading the paper when it hits the stands; to reading the independent journalism it will provide for Denton residents and to contributing stories and interviews from time to time.
Above all, may I wish the Denton Correspondent well.