Tribute to selfless people who put others first

There are those in our society whose brave, selfless and quick-thinking actions reverberate beyond the horrific moment in which they put their lives on the line to save others.

Sunday, 27th May 2018, 6:00 pm

I can think of no finer example of this than the heroism of the two police constables who apprehended Jo Cox’s killer, Craig Nicholls and Jonathan Wright.

The two police officers, who I had the honour of joining at the Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace last week, were modest as ever about their bravery as we shared stories with community champions from across the nation.

Craig and Jonathan are now becoming regulars at the Palace after being awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal last year. The duo are tremendous ambassadors and local role models, and deserve every honour that is bestowed upon them.

While they were in London we had another cause for celebration in Westminster with the Protect the Protectors bill passing into the House of Lords.

The bill, which will ensure tougher penalties for those who attack emergency services workers, is one step closer to becoming law.

And this is thanks in large part to the campaigning of Holly Lynch MP, a passionate public servant who went above and beyond in supporting Jo’s staff and the people of Batley and Spen in the wake of the attack.

I have backed the bill all the way and I look forward to better protections for Craig, Jonathan and all the other life-saving emergency services workers we rely on to keep us safe.

In a final salute to the two West Yorkshire police officers last Wednesday, the Speaker in the House of Commons led a tribute to the two PCs as they watched on from the gallery during Prime Minister’s Questions. A thunderous round of applause from all MPs then rang around the chamber in a moving display of gratitude.

Recently, I received the distressing news that Batley Food Bank’s shelves are almost bare. This vital service, run solely by volunteers, should not need to exist in an age of such plenty.

But sadly it does and millions of people, many of whom are in work, rely on foodbanks to put food on the table.

The latest figures from the End Child Poverty Coalition show that a staggering 8,572 children in Batley and Spen are living in poverty – that’s almost 32% of children in the constituency.

It’s clear that for many children, going hungry is the new norm. The Tory Government will tell you that eight years of cuts, stagnating wages and insecure employment have nothing to do with this. But I strongly disagree.

We are fortunate that locally there are so many community-minded people and businesses who will step-up in a time of crisis, and that’s exactly what has happened since Batley Food Bank appealed for urgent help.

But they still need more, and I’d urge anyone who is able to give what they can. More information about what items are needed and the locations of drop-off points can be found on their Facebook page or by calling 01924 474999.