Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury writes for the World as he celebrates his two-year annuversary in the job...


IT’S hard to believe that two years have passed since I was given the huge honour of becoming the MP for Weaver Vale.

Even in this relatively short space of time, our political landscape has changed beyond all recognition.

Brexit has become the defining issue of our time and internal government conflict has again led to the downfall of yet another Conservative Prime Minister.

There are strong views on all sides and while it’s clear Brexit is the biggest issue our politics is currently having to contend with, it’s a shame also that it’s managed to overshadow virtually everything else.

Thousands of civil servants have been redeployed to tackling the various aspects of Brexit, and it’s come to take up virtually all political discourse in the media, as well as led to upheaval in the inner workings of government itself.

But this has all come at a time when there are other huge issues we have to contend with as a country.

Child poverty and food bank use are continuing to increase, while flagship welfare policies such as Universal Credit have been so badly rolled out that they’ve plunged many thousands of people into economic despair.

These challenges have been all too apparent in Weaver Vale, from the people who come to see me at my regular surgeries, as well as the 8,000 cases we’ve dealt with as an office in the past two years.

Cuts to schools and further education funding have also been something I’ve fought against.

A survey of 49 schools in Weaver Vale carried out by my office revealed they stand to lose more than £3.4 million, with 60% of schools having to make staffing cuts.

But looking to the future, I also see much to be optimistic about.

This generation of young people are more engaged politically than perhaps at any time since I joined the Labour party myself as 17-year-old.

Whenever I visit schools in Weaver Vale I’m struck by their passion and level of insight. They utterly reject bigotry, they care about the environment, they want to change this country for the better, and I’m absolutely certain that they will.

In Runcorn and Frodsham I see two areas that have very distinct differences but also their own challenges.

We’re finally on the cusp of seeing the derelict East Lane House be given a new lease of life, with a new hotel development that could hopefully prove the catalyst for further regeneration.

Riverside Housing’s £20 million fund for Hallwood Park and Palacefields will also see major investment in these communities, with a range of potentially very exciting developments in the pipeline.

Halton hospital is something I have raised concerns about in the past, joining protestors outside the building when it was feared it may be under threat. In conjunction with my Halton Labour colleague Derek Twigg I will continue to press for a brand new hospital building which retains or expands services available to my constituents, and will strongly resist any attempt to withdraw any services.

I am – and always have been – completely opposed to the tolling of the Mersey Gateway bridge.

It should be funded by the exchequer, something I’ve repeatedly campaigned for over the last two years – and something I will not give up on.

In Frodsham, the reopening of the Halton Curve will have a transformative impact on rail travel, with new services opening up access to the Liverpool City Region, John Lennon Airport and – eventually – more areas of North Wales.

Progress is continuing on the Goods Shed, with a local businessman hoping to bring it back into community use.

And I have continued also to oppose fracking. Keeping the issue in the public eye and ensuring the big energy companies are under no illusions that it is not wanted or welcome here.

The battle against illegal fox hunting has also been a big issue in Weaver Vale.

Last year I called for the Police and Crime Commissioner to launch an investigation into how Cheshire Police looks into these incidents.

This investigation was concluded earlier this year and produced a number of findings which have been largely welcomed by the anti-hunt community and local residents.

These last two years have been eventful no doubt, but exciting too. I go into the next two years full of optimism that by working together, Weaver Vale will continue to thrive.