Blog posts

  • courtesy Mpande via Wikimedia Commons

    When in roam…

    Starting this week, an EU-wide agreement has once again slashed the cost of using phones and tablets abroad. Gone are the days when Brits returned home from a short break on the continent to the shock of a massive phone bill. The EU has capped the cost of mobile roaming at a lower level year […]

  • App

    Many appy returns!

    We MEPs represent much larger constituencies than MPs. There are two Labour MEPs — and four from other parties — who cover the whole of Yorkshire & Humber, with its 5.4 million people. I get around a lot, but it’s not possible to visit every single town and village in the region every month! (Fun […]

  • courtesy Dirk Ingo Franke via Wikimedia Commons

    The EU benefits the environment

    It’s a shame that environmental issues have featured so little in the referendum campaign to date. Not only is environmental policy a vitally important part of the decisions we take jointly at European level, but it’s also one of the EU’s biggest success stories. So I was delighted to read the results of a major […]

  • courtesy secretlondon123 via Flickr

    The EU and referendums

    A new line of attack by eurosceptics came my way the other day: the claim that the EU ignored national democratic decisions when it came to the French and Dutch referendums on the proposed EU constitution, Ireland’s initial ‘No’ to the Lisbon treaty, and the Greek referendum of 2015. They claim that all these decisions were […]

  • courtesy Ashokinder via Wikimedia Commons

    Steeling ourselves against China

    There are two main European angles to the ongoing debate over the future of the UK steel industry. Trade defence measures Europe acting jointly has the clout to put real pressure on the Chinese government over steel dumping — but our government opposed stepping up EU action. The EU has trade defence instruments to deal […]

  • Grimethorpe Colliery band

    Grimethorpe Colliery Band

    I gather that Grimethorpe Colliery Band is to invite me to be their honorary president, which would indeed be a great honour. In any case, I was delighted to meet and learn about one of Yorkshire’s, and indeed Europe’s, top brass bands. It turns out that brass bands, rather like football teams, have a national […]

  • Rhubarb farming

    Enjoying Yorkshire rhubarb

    Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting a number of farmers who work in the “rhubarb triangle” — the area between Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield which leads the world in the production of “forced rhubarb”. This remarkable growing technique involves developing the plant’s root system for an extended period, then transplanting it into dark warm […]

  • Handwritten letters

    Thoughts from a constituent

    I recently received a fascinating letter from a constituent, Eric Smith, which offers a unique perspective on the EU referendum and Britain’s historical relationship with its European neighbours. With his permission, below are the four pages of his letter. (You can also download the entire letter in PDF format by clicking here.)

  • courtesy Paul IJsendoorn via Flickr

    Brussels attacks

    I am still a little shaken by yesterday’s bomb attacks in Brussels. I had been at the station where the second bomb went off just a few minutes before. Brussels was a very tense city yesterday after the horrors of the attacks. The streets were deserted, all public transport was shut down, helicopters were flying […]

  • Doorstep EU

    Website updates

    In recent weeks, I’ve been involved in more and more conversations about the UK’s place in the EU — with journalists, constituents, colleagues and political opponents, among others. As the debate intensifies, I continue to use this website and my app, Doorstep EU, to provide useful information and to signpost content elsewhere. Recent updates include: […]

  • courtesy YouTube

    Benn’s five questions

    Tony Benn famously proposed five questions to be asked of anyone who holds power of one kind or another. One of the many organisations to fail his democracy test at the time was the European Commission. But, since then, the EU treaties have been changed to increase the accountability of the Commission. How would it […]