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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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Looking back at a career in politics

Monday, March 23, 2015

The following was published in The Heeley Voice

It has been a huge privilege to be the Member of Parliament for Heeley for 14 years and I will be sad when I step down this spring. 

I grew up in the constituency and being its representative in parliament has been very special for me. And what a place the local people who make it special, combined with the beautiful parks and open spaces, an abundance of small businesses making a vital contribution to the local economy, and those who help those in need. They are all part of the fabric of our society.

During the 14 years we have had new health centres opening, modernised and new schools and now the roads and street lighting being upgraded (at long last!). I am particularly proud of the investment we have made in our young people, giving them opportunities for the future they deserve. This year we will see a new 6.8 million four-storey extension for the Sheffield College engineering centre.

Recent years have brought tougher times for local people - it’s heart-breaking to see we now have three food banks in the constituency. There are so many local people and groups providing important support to vulnerable people who are suffering with the recent erosion of public services.

One part of the MP’s job is helping individual constituents with their problems, intervening with the council or departments of central government. Another is taking forward campaigns on issues of importance. I’m proud to have secured the extension of national health treatment for people with dystonia, persuaded the government to change the law to allow local authorities to regulate body piercing and lobbied extensively on road safety.

I have also been campaigning to tackle the skills shortages across industry, including by increasing the number of women in science, engineering and technology. This has been exciting and productive, and we can already see a real difference in the region. It’s been a pleasure to work with the many businesses, schools and universities who champion this cause.

I was also able to play a role as a minister in a Labour government. As Minister for Women and Equality I steered the Equality Act 2006 through parliament establishing the Equality and Human Rights Commission. I oversaw the government’s work on closing the gender pay gap, and am proud to have introduced civil partnerships and the gender neutral drafting of legislation into the UK. As a Foreign Office Minister I focused on women’s empowerment and I have continued to work to increase women’s political participation in newly emerging democracies. 

I also changed legislation for the better as a back bencher for instance during the passage of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 I helped ensure unmarried couples could adopt. I also used my previous experiences in social work to press for improvements to child protection legislation. 

But by far the favourite part of the job, and what I will miss the most, are the visits to local schools and conversations with children. Their sensible questioning of what I was up to, and why I took a particular position, is something I will miss. I am delighted and humbled to hear that Arbourthorne primary are to name a new playground after me. 

Although my time as an MP is coming to an end, my passion for the area I grew up in is here to stay and the memories will be lifelong.

 


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