Jeff Smith, MP for Manchester Withington, viewed an original ballot box used in the first secret ballot to elect a Member of Parliament in the Houses of Parliament. The box was on display in Parliament as part of the Festival of Freedoms.
The ballot box was on loan from Pontefract Museum, Wakefield Council’s Museum Service. It was used during an historic election by-election in the town of Pontefract on 15 August 1872, was won by Liberal candidate H. C. Childers. This was the first time British people voted in secret, marking ‘X’ next to their chosen candidate. The election was marked as a remarkable event by the Times newspaper for its absence of violence and drunkenness, which, up to this point, had been the norm at all elections. This was because that this election was the first after the Ballot Act of July 1872, which made provision for voting in secret, despite fierce opposition within Parliament.
Jeff Smith said: “It was fascinating to view the original ballot box that was centre stage in the first secret ballot in Britain. The box is an important symbol of electoral reform; it received the votes cast in the first election held in secret in August 1872, which is a freedom we still hold dear today."
Jeff Smith, MP for Manchester Withington, viewed an original ballot box used in the first secret ballot to elect a Member of Parliament in the Houses of Parliament. The box...
Jeff Smith MP listened to Otto Deutsch, who was rescued by the Kindertransport during the Holocaust; and Martin Stern, a Holocaust survivor; at the launch event for Holocaust Memorial Day 2016. Martin is a former resident of the Manchester Withington constituency having previously lived in Didsbury.
Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) is commemorated each year on 27 January – the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death and concentration camp. HMD provides an opportunity for everyone to learn lessons from the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. HMD asks people to apply these lessons to the present day to create a safer, better future.
The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) promotes and supports HMD activities in the UK. Each year HMDT selects a theme around which HMD activities can focus. The theme for 2016 is Don’t stand by.
Otto spoke about his experience of being forced to leave his native Austria at the age of ten, travelling to Great Britain as part of the Kindertransport programme. He would never again see his sister or parents who were left behind. Otto highlighted the difficulty of moving to a distant land where he didn’t speak the language but used the kindness of those who looked after him to encourage the gathered MPs and invited guests to mark the theme of HMD 2016: Don’t stand by.
Jeff met with Martin Stern (pictured), who grew up in the Netherlands under Nazi occupation and survived the camps of both Westerbork and Theresienstadt.
‘Otto and Martin’s stories are a reminder of the importance of marking Holocaust Memorial Day – a day where we remember the millions who were affected by the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. I want to encourage people in Withington to mark HMD on 27 January 2016.’
Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, said:
‘We were delighted that Jeff showed his support for Holocaust Memorial Day. We hope that many more people in Manchester Withington will use the free resources available through our website to organise activities for next year’s HMD – adding to the record 3,600 activities which took place for HMD 2015.’
Jeff Smith MP meets survivors of the Holocaust at launch of resources for Holocaust Memorial Day 2016
Jeff Smith MP listened to Otto Deutsch, who was rescued by the Kindertransport during the Holocaust; and Martin Stern, a Holocaust survivor; at the launch event for Holocaust Memorial Day 2016....
Jeff Smith MP wears it pink in Westminster in aid of Breast Cancer Now
Jeff Smith MP for Manchester Withington has shown his support for women with breast cancer by dressing up in pink and encouraging his/her constituents to take part in Breast Cancer Now’s flagship fundraiser, wear it pink, on Friday 23rd October.
wear it pink, the UK’s biggest pink fundraiser, calls on supporters across the country to ditch the day-to-day colours and pull on some pink to raise money for Breast Cancer Now’s life-saving breast cancer research.
Jeff Smith joined fellow parliamentarians in wearing it pink in Westminster this week to encourage people across the UK to get involved. Now in its 14th year, wear it pink raises over £2 million each year for world-class research into breast cancer, and this year it is back and bigger, brighter and bolder than ever before.
Anyone can take part, whether in school, at work or at home. All you have to do is wear something pink and donate whatever you can.
Jeff Smith MP said:
“Right now breast cancer is at a tipping point. Every year in the UK around 50,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer, and sadly nearly 12,000 women still lose their lives to the disease. This is why we all must come together to support Breast Cancer Now’s cutting-edge research, and, in wear it pink, there is a fun and simple way for everyone to get involved.
“Together, we can make a big difference for women with breast cancer, now and in the future; I hope everyone in the local community will join me in wearing it pink on Friday 23 October and show their support for Breast Cancer Now.”
"Launched in June 2015 with the ambition of ensuring that no one dies from the disease by 2050, Breast Cancer Now is the UK’s largest breast cancer charity, created by the merger of Breast Cancer Campaign and Breakthrough Breast Cancer. This is a day when we stand out, stand together and stand for something: wear it pink on Friday 23 October to support Breast Cancer Now’s life-saving research. For more information or to register for wear it pink visit www.wearitpink.org."
Jeff Smith MP wears it pink in Westminster in aid of Breast Cancer Now Jeff Smith MP for Manchester Withington has shown his support for women with breast cancer by...
Residents from South Manchester are being urged by their local MP, Jeff Smith, to make time for their health by taking part in Blood Pressure UK’s ‘Know Your Number! Week’.
A survey from the charity Blood Pressure UK has revealed that a shocking 33% of people haven’t had their blood pressure checked in the last year as they don’t think it affects them, yet just a couple of minutes spent thinking about health could save their life.
The independent survey of over 1000 Britons also showed that out of those people who hadn’t had their blood pressure taken in the last year, 25% don’t even consider it as a health issue. It also revealed if they had a few extra minutes of time in their day, rather than undertaking a potentially life-saving blood pressure check (11.6%), top of their list of things to do would be to make a cup of tea (44%)!
The Know Your Numbers! campaign is the UK’s biggest blood pressure testing event and this, its fourteenth, year aims is to highlight that in the time it takes to boil a kettle, you could have taken a blood pressure reading which might save your life. A shocking 16 million people in the UK suffer from high blood pressure, which is the biggest risk factor for stroke and heart attacks yet 63% did not know their blood pressure numbers.
Professor Graham MacGregor, Chairman at Blood Pressure UK, said: “We wanted to find out what people were spending their time doing rather than spending time thinking about their health and checking their blood pressure. This year we are urging everyone to make every second count - it’s quick, free, painless, and could save your life.
“Over half of the estimated 16 million people in the UK living with high blood pressure are unaware they have the condition, as it is symptomless. The only way to ‘Know Your Numbers’ is to have a blood pressure test at one of our free Pressure Stations in your area, your GP, local pharmacy, or by using a home blood pressure monitor”.
High blood pressure is the UK’s biggest silent killer, responsible for 60% of strokes and 40% of heart attacks. High blood pressure is also a risk factor for kidney disease and dementia. Volunteers hosting the ‘Pressure Stations’ provide information and advice on simple steps to keep blood pressure under control.
Jeff Smith, MP for Manchester Withington, said: “I am supporting Blood Pressure UK’s Know Your Numbers Week from 14th – 20th September because in the time it takes to boil a kettle you could have taken a blood pressure test. It’s so simple and something that could save the lives of people in my constituency”
For further information on Blood Pressure UK and Know Your Numbers! Week, go to:
To find your nearest check visit:
Residents from South Manchester are being urged by their local MP, Jeff Smith, to make time for their health by taking part in Blood Pressure UK’s ‘Know Your Number! Week’....
In the last few weeks it's been my privilege to meet with members of Manchester's Syrian community, who have established the Rethink Rebuild Society to provide a voice for Syrian people and campaign on Syrian issues.
They have produced a thoughtful and interesting policy document with a set of proposals for British domestic and foreign policy, which I'll post a link to when the finalised document is published.
One of the proposals is to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees to the UK through the Vulnerable Persons Relocation (VPR) scheme.
It's time for us to do this.
The desperate situation faced by the Syrian people has been brought into focus by the heartbreaking scenes we have witnessed in recent days. We now face probably the most serious humanitarian crisis since the Second World War. It's time for the UK to step up and show compassion and leadership on this issue, because the response by our country and by most EU countries has so far been insufficient. We must take our share of people who are fleeing the most desperate circumstances in the hope of nothing more than safety and a decent life for themselves and their families.
I'm pleased that senior Labour figures are speaking out on behalf of them (http://www.yvetteforlabour.co.uk/letter_to_david_cameron) because the response of David Cameron yesterday was woefully inadequate. Yes, of course we need to stabilise the situation in Syria and work for a long term solution. But we can't wait for that to happen, because this crisis is happening now.
When parliament returns next week, Labour will be raising the issue at the first opportunity, and calling for the government (with the help of Councils) to take concerted action to address the issue.
I'm supporting calls for the UK to step up and take responsibility, and to take a fair share of people looking for our help.
I'd urge people to sign the following petition to parliament calling for action on the crisis.
Rethink Rebuild are holding a protest in Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester, tomorrow (Friday 4th), the details of which are here
This country has a long record of supporting people fleeing war and persecution. Now is a time to continue that proud tradition.
In the last few weeks it's been my privilege to meet with members of Manchester's Syrian community, who have established the Rethink Rebuild Society to provide a voice for Syrian...
I’m a Labour MP because I want stand up for working people and for the most vulnerable people in society. That’s what Labour stands for and that’s why, last night, the Labour Party in parliament voted against the Welfare Reform and Work Bill.
You might not appreciate it by reading the media coverage, but all Labour MPs supported an amendment which explained why we disagree with the Bill, and why we were voting to stop it going through.
Had Labour’s amendment passed, the Bill – as it stands – would not have been given its second reading.
We did this because it was important to outline the things in the bill we oppose, as well as the things we support. There are some things we approve of in the Bill; a commitment to three million apprenticeships; measures to cut social housing rents; and extra support for troubled families. These will benefit our communities – indeed, some of these things were Labour ideas – so it would be wrong to oppose them.
But the Tories tried to set a trap for Labour by including these proposals in a Bill with other measures that, as Labour MPs, we know to be wholly wrong: like abolishing the child poverty targets, and cuts to support for sick and disabled people.
That’s why the vote on the Bill as a whole was so sensitive.
Make no mistake - the Tories desperately wanted Labour to vote against the Welfare Bill. My view is that if the Tories want us to do something, it’s probably not a good idea.
Even if every Labour MP had voted against every provision in this Bill, it would still have gone through. The SNP and Lib Dems are trying to mislead people into thinking the government could have been defeated, but the government had a majority of MPs in parliament – there is no way this Bill could have been defeated.
Instead, the government would have used the opportunity to accuse us of voting against apprenticeships, and try to paint us as the party of welfare. After the 2010 election, the Tories managed (unfairly) to label Labour as the party of financial irresponsibility. Now they’re trying to label us as the party of welfare, not work.
The truth is that Labour will always be the party of working people – and the party that stands up for the most vulnerable. But the best way we can stop the Tories putting through legislation like this is for us to get a Labour Government. And to do that we need to avoid Tory traps like last night’s vote, sowe don’t allow them to misrepresent us.
So what happens next?
The Bill now goes to committee stage, where we’ll try to amend it clause by clause. Labour are putting down a large number of amendments. We’ll force individual votes on the things we disagree with, and make clear what we do and don’t support.
And if we don’t get the changes we want, when the Bill comes back for the third reading we will have an opportunity to vote against.
I’m a Labour MP because I want stand up for working people and for the most vulnerable people in society. That’s what Labour stands for and that’s why, last...
Manchester Withington MP, Jeff Smith, has slammed the 2015 Summer Budget and described it as ‘leaving working people worse off and leaving a crucial big decisions on infrastructure ignored’.
Cuts to tax credits will hit working people on middle and lower incomes. Over three million working families will be worse off as a result of the changes. A family with one earner on average earnings and two children will lose over £2,000 in tax credits next year from the changes announced in George Osborne’s budget. There are currently 5,200 families who claim Child Tax Credits in the Manchester Withington constituency.
The Government has not announced a Living Wage. The new rate when it’s introduced will be lower than the Living Wage this year. Furthermore families on low incomes will see almost half the benefit of a higher National Minimum Wage taken away from them by the Chancellor’s new work penalties in the tax credits system. Despite the higher National Minimum Wage, a couple with two children where both parents work at the National Minimum Wage will be worse off by nearly £700 per year thanks to cuts to tax credits.
Failure on infrastructure spending. A modern economy needs modern infrastructure; investment is key for building a more productive economy. But the Tories’ record on this area is one of dither and delay. Infrastructure output is lower than it was five years ago. Even worse, since the election the Tories have pulled the plug on the electrification of railways, undermined renewable energy investment, and failed to make a swift decision on airport expansion.
Jeff Smith MP said: “This isn’t the type of Budget that Manchester people need. Talk of a national living wage - which falls well short of an actual living wage - will do very little for the 5,200 families across South Manchester who will be worried about having their tax credits slashed.
“George Osborne has also ducked big decisions on infrastructure; he claims to be creating a northern powerhouse but has pulled the plug on the electrification of the TransPennine route.”
Manchester Withington MP, Jeff Smith, has slammed the 2015 Summer Budget and described it as ‘leaving working people worse off and leaving a crucial big decisions on infrastructure ignored’. Cuts...
Jeff Smith is backing the Manchester Evening News campaign to reverse the shelving of plans to electrify the Manchester to Leeds train line.
Earlier this week Jeff raised his concerns over the delay in Parliament with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and asked whether discussions had taken place with Secretary of State for Transport over what impact this delay would have on business and growth.
The Manchester Evening News are calling for a firm commitment to completing the electrification project and – at a time when 92% of all transport network spending is in the south east - an assurance that London’s Crossrail 2 plans won’t take priority over northern rail electrification.
Jeff Smith: “If the Chancellor is serious about his wish to see a northern powerhouse, then the pause in plans for the electrification of the TransPennine route from Manchester to Leeds must be reversed. I raised this issue in Parliament earlier this week and I welcome the MEN’s campaign to stop the #northernpowercut.”
You can keep up to date with the stop the #northernpowercut campaign on the Manchester Evening News website.
Jeff Smith is backing the Manchester Evening News campaign to reverse the shelving of plans to electrify the Manchester to Leeds train line. Earlier this week Jeff raised his concerns...
Jeff Smith MP was one of a number of MPs who attended a ‘Halfway to World AIDS day’ event hosted by the Halve It campaign.
Halve It is a national campaign that focuses on the expansion of HIV testing services, on the basis that early testing of HIV saves lives and also results in substantial savings to the public health budget. Since its inception in 2010, Halve It has galvanised national and local cross-party support for HIV testing.
This year’s event included exhibitors who are organising Halve It Local groups designed to drive implementation of HIV testing guidance in specific regions by addressing specific issues relating to late diagnosed and undiagnosed HIV in their area. During the event leading HIV clinicians and representatives of patient and policy organisations, spoke with parliamentarians about HIV testing and related sexual health issues.
Jeff Smith said: ‘HIV is a significant public health issue in this country. I am proud to show my support for the 107,800 people living with HIV today in the UK. It is inspiring to see so many local and national stakeholders working together to drive change.’
Professor Simon Barton, Consultant in Genitourinary medicine from Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, said that the event was ‘a critical opportunity for parliamentarians to commit to combatting HIV in the lifetime of this parliament. It is imperative that MPs across the country show their support for local implementation of HIV testing policy.’
In the UK an estimated 107,800 people live with HIV every day of the year; 24% of these are undiagnosed and 42% are diagnosed late. The sooner HIV is diagnosed the sooner appropriate care can begin, and thanks to medical advancements the life expectancy of someone living with HIV has increased markedly in recent years. By ensuring that HIV testing becomes routine there will be significant long-term savings; with one early HIV diagnosis saving the NHS £63,061.
Jeff Smith MP was one of a number of MPs who attended a ‘Halfway to World AIDS day’ event hosted by the Halve It campaign. Halve It is a national...
This week Jeff Smith met campaigners from a wide range of organisations fighting for action on climate change.
Ahead of the international climate negotiations in Paris at the end of the year, The Climate Coalition organised a mass lobby of Parliament so people from across the country could meet their MPs to discuss what actions should be taken to tackle climate change.
The Climate Coalition is a grouping of over a hundred organisations, comprising of over 11 million people, from across the UK who are dedicated to taking action on climate change and limiting its impact on the world’s poorest communities.
Jeff Smith said: “Climate change is the biggest global challenge of our time and it was refreshing to meet dedicated campaigners from south Manchester in Parliament this week. We must work hard at home and internationally to tackle it. Britain should be investing in low-carbon technologies and renewable energy as well as creating high-skilled green jobs; we should also be ensuring people in developing countries are able to protect themselves from the effects of climate change.”
2015 is set to be an important year for climate issues with the United Nations Climate Change Conference taking place in Paris between 30th November and 11th December. It is hoped that a legally binding and universal agreement on how to tackle climate change will be achieved.
Jeff is pictured here with a garland of messages presented to him by climate campaigners.
This week Jeff Smith met campaigners from a wide range of organisations fighting for action on climate change. Ahead of the international climate negotiations in Paris at the end of...