Barnoldswick & Earby Times, Colne Times and Nelson Leader Column: Friday 30th June 2017

With Brexit negotiations now underway in Brussels, it was a relief to see negotiations closer to home come to a good conclusion, with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party agreeing a deal with the Conservatives to ensure an overall majority in the House of Commons.

This means the country will have stable Government for the foreseeable future, whilst we negotiate leaving the EU. I know many will be pleased to see the deal included keeping the winter fuel payment and triple lock for pensioners. Most importantly, the DUP will be supporting the Government on matters of national security and on the economy.

Both parties reaffirmed their commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant. Having spent time last weekend at the Barnoldswick & Earby Royal British Legion’s Armed Forces Day, this is a timely reminder of the debt of gratitude we all owe to those who serve to protect us.

Too often, veterans and their families have not been properly supported, whether they are looking for decent housing or help continuing their careers after serving our country. Government committing to improve this is therefore welcome.

Even with the best army and security services in the world, we can never be totally safe, as recent events have tragically reminded us in Manchester and in London. Just over a year ago one of my own colleagues, Jo Cox, was brutally murdered in broad daylight whilst out and about doing her job by a white supremacist who had been radicalised online. It was a chilling moment and devastating for those who knew Jo well.

I was pleased on my return to Parliament to find a plaque in the Commons Chamber to remember Jo, unveiled by her husband Brendan and their two young children over the weekend. A Yorkshire MP born and bred in Lancashire, her coat of arms has both red roses and white. Jo’s perfect motto is written underneath – “More in Common”. Let us always try to remember that in the weeks and months ahead.