Letter from Parliament - Paul Rowen MP
Parliament has not been sitting this week - a welcome relief I suspect for Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister who has been having a torrid time. Most MPs spend their time in their constituencies catching up and meeting people.
I have been able to do that but like many Rochdalians had an extra special reason to go back to London and 'back the Dale' at Wembley Stadium. It was great to see so many local people there - over 15,000 I believe. We outnumbered and out sang our opponents from Stockport. I met up with Trevor Butterworth of Butterworth Sports who now lives in Spain and Mrs Storey who is 90 year's young and has been following our team for over 60 years!
It was great to see so many Councillors at the match including Zulfiqar Ali, Peter Clegg, Peter Rush, Tom Bailey, David Clayton, Andrew Abbott and William and Wera Hobhouse.
The result was slightly disappointing but so close and illustrates how far that Keith Hill and the lads have come in just over a year.
Next season, we will be gunning for automatic promotion and the way the players and fans conducted themselves gave me enormous pride!
I was pleased that our Council organised a Civic Reception for our club - a fitting end to our Centenary Season!
I hope that everyone who invaded London can continue to back our team and cheer them onto the title next season.
Last week we dealt with the Human Embryo and Fertilisation Bill which my colleague Jim Dobbin wrote about so well about last week. I was sorry that Jim could not make it because he has done so much work organising opposition to many of the clauses of the bill. I wish Jim a speedy recovery from his recent operation. I was disappointed that none of our reasonable amendments and clauses was accepted.
The Bill now goes to the Committee Stage before coming back onto the floor of the House of Commons.
Last Friday, I attended an excellent meeting with Councillor Dale Mulgrew, Andrew Jessop and care workers together with similar workers from Sunderland who have set up their own worker's co-operative. I am totally backing the staff's efforts and as the MP for the home of the Co-op Movement. How can I not back them!
I also enjoyed attending the opening of the India Lounge Restaurant on Spotland Road and ended up being hypnotised!
I am very pleased that the owner Tariq donated all the proceeds to the Royal British Legion. Chair - Councillor Tom Bailey was on hand to represent them. They do an excellent job looking after ex-serviceman and their families and I was touched to see this excellent new restaurant making a sizable donation.
Next week, I will be dealing with the Lord's Amendments to the Child Support Agency Bill which should then get Royal Approval.
I will also find out which Post Offices are threatened with closure. I know from talking to colleagues that the Labour Government refused to back down from most of their controversial decision in places where they have already gone through this process. I know that our Postmasters do an excellent job and I sincerely hope that none are highlighted for potential closure in Rochdale.