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It has been a tumultuous year since the UK referendum in June 2016, with barely a day to sit back and enjoy life’s pleasures. Thank you to everyone who continues to campaign at each and every opportunity - with your help and under Jeremy’s leadership we are slowly but surely winning the argument and I believe that a Labour administration is within our sights. 

However, with Theresa May’s chaotic government weakened and in hoc to the dangerous and divisive DUP we are set for many more battles ahead, not least in respect of Brexit which continues to dominate politics and the media, whilst devaluing the £ in our pocket before we have even left the EU, threatening to strip away our social rights and limit freedom of movement. You can read my latest web-post on Brexit here.

Although the European Parliament is now in recess for the summer, MEPs continue to carry out a multitude of duties. My offices are open and my staff continue to be at your service. I myself am volunteering at various youth empowerment projects such as The Children's Press Centre with whom I am working to make the European Parliament more child friendly and CATS where for the third year running I have had the opportunity to meet inspirational children and young people such as Merseyside teenagers Alex and Olivia who are children of prisoners and benefit from the work of the social enterprise Person Shaped Support to help them cope. 

Each year since I have been elected I have been involved in supporting children and young people in occupied Palestine. In particular, I join with The Big Ride who combine a love of cycling with activism and fund-raising. This year I was pleased to speak at the very start of The Big Ride in Liverpool, sharing the stage with Unite Community Organiser & Hillsborough campaigner Sheila Coleman and children's author Alan Gibbons. I rode the first leg of the journey to Stockton Heath, Warrington, with 100s of activists from across the UK. Big thanks to my friend Faisal Rashid, recently elected Labour MP for Warrington South who gave us a big welcome. I was very muddy! The fundraising page is still open so please donate if you can to help support healing sports projects for the children of Gaza. 


With the school holidays upon us it is time to recharge our batteries before the conference season begins in the autumn. We may find ourselves in election mode again so taking a break is important. I hope therefore that you can enjoy being with family and friends. If you are going abroad you will be pleased to know that mobile roaming charges across the EU have now been abolished due to the hard work of MEPs over the past few years. It is not yet known how Brexit will affect this new legislation in the long term so do take advantage of this EU benefit whilst you can.

As an inveterate bookworm and as a member of the European Parliament’s Culture and Education Committee I am involved in a MEP Library Lover’s group. I and many of my colleagues have therefore contributed summer reading recommendations to a public libraries campaign website. I have chosen books by North West writers Qaisra Shahraz and Gulwali Passarlay along with an anthology of stories, poems, testimonies, photos and drawings by Syrian artists. Please have a look at the website, tell your friends about the initiative and get down to your local library. We know that the Tory cuts are affecting this vital service so your interest and enthusiasm will mean a lot to hard-pressed staff who do far more than stack shelves and stamp books, for example lending a sympathetic ear to the lonely, encouraging family learning, helping the unemployed, providing a safe space for vulnerable people, and so on.


With ongoing job insecurity and the uncertainties of Brexit affecting the exchange rate many constituents will be looking for cheaper holiday options and alternatives this summer. I am proud that the North West region is home to many world-class events and excellent festivals, with something to suit all tastes. I was able to catch a few events at Manchester International Festival recently and I also joined the amazing samba parade at Liverpool’s Brazilica Festival. I hope to catch the Just So Festival in Cheshire this weekend and C-Art in Cumbria next month. Please do support our region’s cultural initiatives as the arts are another area where Tory cuts have been devastating with more to come, I fear. You can find comprehensive listings for outdoor arts at home and abroad here.

I had a lovely time recently at a Bastille Day summer fair in the Lancashire village of Croston. I was invited by Cllr Alan Whittaker of the Town-Twinning Association to open the annual event where I presented a European Beech to the Croston Together group which was set up after the devastating floods of winter 2015/16. Croston residents have been friends with the people of Azay le Rideau for 3 decades and they are determined to maintain and strengthen these relationships despite the disappointment and difficulties of Brexit. 

I believe that people-to-people contact is even more important in the current times, with hate speech on the rise, attacks on mosques and dreadful acid attacks on innocent citizens. You might like to read my report on Intercultural Dialogue for Education, Diversity and Fundamental Values which was voted through the parliament in January 2016 in response to terrorist attacks the year before. The report sets out a vision for a tolerant pluralistic society that recognises the richness that refugees and migrants bring to our society, and the importance of sharing one another’s culture.


You may have heard on the news recently that the Lake District is to be inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, joining our other world class sites in the North West, Hadrian's Wall and Liverpool's Maritime Mercantile City, and others across the UK including, Stonehenge, the City of Bath, the Forth Bridge and many more.

The north west European parliamentary constituency stretches from Crewe and Nantwich in Cheshire all the way up to the Scottish border, encompassing Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Cumbria. I am pleased that the unique heritage of the Lake District is being given such a prestigious status. After the devastating floods of recent years it is great to see Cumbria in the media because of a good news story. The increased visibility conferred by the UNESCO status is estimated to bring in an additional £20 million into Cumbria, a region that already sees £1.2bn into it's local economy from the 18 million people that visit each year. This is money that will be sorely needed as Tory cuts continue to bite and the flow of EU money comes to an end.

As a member of the European Parliament’s Regional Development Committee I have seen first hand the huge difference made to peripheral areas as part of EU targeted pro-active policy to invest in poorer regions. The North West, along with other peripheral regions such as the North East, Cornwall, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Scottish Highlands and Islands, have all been net gainers in respect of the EU, and there is no guarantee that a government in London will ever match the high level of funding we have experienced through our membership of the bloc. However, we remain a Member State until we actually leave the EU and it is still possible to apply for EU funds, and indeed there are organisations set up to help potential applicants such as the Cumbria Growth Hub.


Finally, I am honoured to announce that I have been nominated as President of Stand Up To Racism (Greater Manchester). As many of you will know I was elected to be your MEP in 2014, winning a third seat back for Labour and getting rid of Nick Griffin, the BNP Holocaust-denier, in the process. I am thrilled that my friend and fellow anti-racist campaigner Wajid Khan from Burnley has just joined Theresa Griffin and myself in the European Parliament, replacing our colleague Afzal Khan who is now MP for Gorton Manchester. All three NW Labour MEPs remain at your service as we continue to represent you and our diverse region in our committee work, in plenary debates and in the difficult complex times ahead.

Have a well-earned break. Meanwhile, I hope to see you at various conferences and events over the next few months. And if you would like me to come and talk at a CLP meeting or similar please get in touch with my office here.

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Summer Newsletter 2017

It has been a tumultuous year since the UK referendum in June 2016, with barely a day to sit back and enjoy life’s pleasures. Thank you to everyone who continues...


We live in extraordinary and worrying times, with particular concerns for our diverse communities. After the spate of recent awful attacks at Manchester Arena, London Bridge and Finsbury Park it was upsetting to hear about the despicable arson attack at the Nasfat Islamic Centre in Manchester.

This is the third suspicious fire to take place at a mosque within the UK over recent years. The freedom to practice a religion of choice is one of the cornerstones of British values, and no Muslim should  fear to practice their religion.

This was nothing short of a ‘Hate Crime‘, with a devastating damage to the main hall and three classrooms within the mosque. Thankfully no-one was hurt and the Fire Service was very efficient. This arson attack has happened at a time when Greater Manchester Police confirm hate crime has increased by an astonishing 500% since the Manchester Arena Attack. The huge rise in Islamophobia is not acceptable; we all need to do more to root out division and hatred in our communities.

I will never forget the heart-warming experience of witnessing Muslims from all over the country volunteering in Cumbria following the December 2015 floods. In times of greatest need these people showed us the true face of Islam. It was honour for me to work closely with the Al-Imdaad Foundation and others who did a tremendous job, cleaning up and providing food and comfort to the victims.

As the President of Stand up to Racism (Greater Manchester), I am really proud of our activists who on Friday 21st July joined the congregation from the Nasfet Mosque, to show solidarity and send out a clear message that racism will not divide us.

My thoughts are with everyone that was affected by this appalling arson attack, especially those who are psychologically and emotionally affected. It is important that the safety of our mosques and the wider Muslim  community is taken seriously. I fully support the joint investigation being carried out by Greater Manchester Police and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, and I hope those responsible will be brought to answer for their crime through proper judicial process. 

Statement on Newton Heath Mosque

  We live in extraordinary and worrying times, with particular concerns for our diverse communities. After the spate of recent awful attacks at Manchester Arena, London Bridge and Finsbury Park...


We have stopped the Conservatives in their tracks, denying them another 5 years as a majority government. I am exceptionally proud of Jeremy Corbyn and the campaign he, the shadow cabinet and thousands of members and supporters across the UK ran for this snap General Election. It was particularly wonderful to see the creative community get behind the campaign with posters, songs, poems, comedy and endorsements from a whole host of artists such as Billy Bragg, Lily Allen, Maxine Peake, Julie Hesmondhalgh.
We increased our vote share not just because of the positive and ambitious future we laid out in our manifesto, but because thousands of our members and supporters came out to campaign for local candidates. From Warrington and Withington to Worsley and Wirral, from Bury to Blackpool and Manchester to Morecambe,  from Chester and Crewe to Carlisle and Copeland,  I was pleased to support our candidates - many of whom have now been duly elected, including excellent women candidates such as Laura Smith, Yasmin Qureshi, Liz McInnes, Margaret Greenwood, Cat Smith, Rosie Duffield, Emma Dent Coad and many more.

With analysis showing more than 50% of people under the age of 39 voting for Labour
, and a significant increase in youth turnout, this was a fantastic result for Labour. We showed young people that their vote does matter, that they can shape the course of history and, through our manifesto, we gave them hope and aspirations for their futures.

This General Election was a chance for people to choose between a hard Tory Brexit that threatens workers’ rights and living standards and Labour‘s desire for a new collaborative partnership with the EU that promises to protect our hard-won rights and ensure our living standards are not adversely affected by being outside the union.

The Tories misread the public mood, foolishly suggesting that they knew best. The reality is that they know very little about life for ordinary hard-working people, or the daily struggles of the elderly and people with disabilities, or the despair of the homeless, including many veterans. Voters hated Theresa May‘s arrogant autocratic attitude and people came back to Labour in their droves, whilst many lifelong Tories and LibDems also voted for us.
The people have indeed spoken. Now more than ever we need to be on top of Theresa May and her band of Brexiteers and ready to challenge whoever takes her place when she is toppled from power. We need to make it clear that as a minority government, the Conservatives do not have the support necessary to govern our country or chase their hard Brexit at any price. And as we mark the first anniversary of the terrible murder of Jo Cox it is particularly incumbent on us to fight the xenophobia, racism and hatred that was exposed during the referendum campaign and to stand up for Labour values of social justice, equality and peace.


The Conservatives are on the verge of civil war
, recovering from a manifesto dubbed the ‘worst‘ ever by their own Tory MPs, and facing a coalition of chaos with the far-right DUP. A united Labour Party under Jeremy’s leadership has shown we can offer this country a better future and we really can make a difference by doing politics differently.

Congratulations to all those new Labour MPs who were elected on June 8th, especially my Eurolabour colleagues Afzal Khan (now MP for Manchester Gorton) and Anneliese Dodds (the new MP for Oxford East). Whilst they will be greatly missed we look forward to welcoming excellent replacements, especially Wajid Khan from Burnley who will hopefully be joining Theresa Griffin and myself to represent the north west of England in the European Parliament. Many thanks and congratulations to those comrades who stood for re-election as well as new candidates, many gaining spectacular majorities. Commiserations to those candidates who just missed out such as Vikki Singleton in Morecambe, Ruth Alcroft in Carlisle, Liz Savage in Southport, Wayne Blackburn in Pendle, Julie Hilling in Bolton, Gill Troughton in Copeland and Chris Webb in Blackpool North & Cleveleys.  I look forward to being out on the campaign trail again, be it next month, later this year or whenever this coalition of hard-right chaos inevitably falls apart.

Meanwhile, in the European Parliament I have been working hard in my committees and in my delegations, maintaining my record as one of the top three performing British MEPs. For your information I will be preparing a mid-term report for members and constituents during the summer months with the help of my staff team who will all be together in Manchester in mid-July. If you wish to meet them or myself please get in touch for details of availability.


Finally, I would like to inform you of an initiative I have taken in collaboration with New Europeans regarding the submission of a Priority Written Question to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk,  asking that the citizenship rights of British nationals residing in the EU 27 be unilaterally guaranteed regardless of the position taken by the UK government. This is intended to stop the two sides using people as bargaining chips in the Brexit negotiations. As well as this, I have also co-signed a letter alongside many of my Labour Party colleagues both in Europe and in Westminster, calling for a rejection of 'Hard-Brexit' and to defend the single market.

Thanks to all those who came together across diverse communities over the weekend to share our common humanity, standing strong against hatred and division in memory of Jo Cox. We will not be divided but go forwards stronger and more united.

In solidarity
Julie Ward, MEP

Click here to learn more about my role in the European Parliament and the work I do for you in the North West.
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A proud day for the Labour Party

We have stopped the Conservatives in their tracks, denying them another 5 years as a majority government. I am exceptionally proud of Jeremy Corbyn and the campaign he, the shadow...

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