Paul Rowen's Letter from Parliament

June 11, 2009 12:00 AM

Paul Rowen MP - Putting Rochdale FIRST!What a ten days! Six resignations from the Cabinet, and Gordon Brown like a desperate man clutching at straws refuses to stand down or call a General Election.

In my view we need a General Election sooner rather than later as this government has clearly run out of steam and ideas. Instead he reshuffles his Ministers for the third time in two years! So we've had the unbelievable sight of Ministers in post for less than a day struggling to answer MP's questions. The Public Administration Select committee, which I am a member, has just completed an enquiry and one of the conclusions is that we need fewer Ministers and fewer ministerial reshuffles which I fully support!

Despite all the drama I've continued to get on with the job of representing Rochdale both in Westminster and locally. Last week I led two delegations to government departments. The first to was DEFRA and I organised this with my good friend Laura Heywood of Kleenstrike. The visit was to highlight the reuse of ink and laser print cartridges. Anyone buying cartridges for their printer will know how expensive they are. Printer companies are preventing companies like Kleenstrike from refilling them which would cost less, save energy and reduce our carbon footprint. We had an excellent meeting with the Minister and Civil servants who agreed to help take the issue forward.

The second meeting was about asbestos in schools with the three main teacher unions at the Department for Children Schools and Families. Again we made excellent progress and agreed to have a further meeting in September. I returned home on Thursday for the European Elections and was delighted that Chris Davies was re elected to represent our area in Europe.

On Friday I visited a Littleborough company to discuss the problems they are having getting export licences to sell their products abroad and I raised this with the Business and Enterprise Minister on Thursday. I then went on to a meeting with the Learning and Skills Council in Manchester to discuss Hopwood Hall's bid to rebuild the college. This was just as the government department that oversees these issues, and was set up less than two years ago, was being abolished!

On Saturday after my surgery I took part in the Milnrow Carnival with the Mayor and Mayoress and Deputy Council Leader Irene Davidson. Despite the cold, wet and windy weather there was an excellent turnout and the children and young people especially had made an excellent effort in their fancy dress. On Sunday I attended an event organised by the Churches together group at Broadfield Park. Again despite the weather there were plenty of people out enjoying the park.

I was also able this week to put down some questions to the Department for Work and Pensions about the support they are giving to former Woolworths employees. I had raised this with the former Minister Tony McNulty last December and constituents tell me it has got worse rather than better!

This Friday I am due to meet the directors of the Connections Trust led by John Kay to discuss how we might help young people and their families through family mentors. Doing something about youth unemployment has to be a priority.