Bradford’s MPs were recently urged to work closer together for the betterment of the District.
A Chamber of Commerce lunch in the city recently heard from three of the city’s five MPs, and faced some tough questions on what they are doing to represent the city.
John Grogan (Keighley), Philip Davies (Shipley) and Naz Shah (Bradford West) heard from a business audience about the things concerning them, and what they feel are the priorities that the Parliamentarians should be focusing on.
While the MPs highlighted devolution and Northern Powerhouse as key areas to drive forward further economic success for Bradford, they were pressed on the need to work collaboratively, and to not let party politics disrupt local aspirations.
While John Grogan and Philip Davies have both spoke at previous events run by West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, it was the first time for Naz Shah. All three were keen to take as many questions as possible, and only constituency surgeries later in the afternoon prevented John and Philip from meeting more business informally after the proceedings had closed. Naz stayed on to speak to guests.
Topics raised from the floor included: maintaining Bradford’s good business start-up rate; securing better transport connectivity and high-speed rail; securing jobs and investment to Keighley if the Marley waste-to-energy incinerator scheme fails; obtaining more tangible gains from the Producer City concept; and the inevitable questions surrounding Brexit and international trade.
Bradford Chamber President Nick Garthwaite, who chaired the event, said afterwards: “It was a lively, interesting and successful lunch event. They always are, and so well-worth coming along to. The MPs showed that they are keen to listen to the concerns of local businesses, while our members have always got plenty of questions for them, too. We appreciate that the House of Commons can be an un-naturally divisive place, especially in the Chamber, where opposing views come to the fore. So it’s good to know that MPs from different parties can, when required, work together for the local area.”
A recent example of the MPs working together is the campaign to bring a medical school to the city. This initiative would help train local GPs and address the current shortage. West Yorkshire currently has only one place where students can train to become doctors, and that’s Leeds.
A separate meeting between Chamber of Commerce members and government officials involved in Brexit is to take place in Leeds later this month. This is the latest in a series of Brexit-based meetings to help secure a good and relevant deal for Britain, and to ensure the concerns of business are being monitored.
The next Chamber MPs’ Lunch is in Leeds on 9 February, when Hilary Benn is expected to cover the latest on Brexit (he chairs the Committee on Exiting the EU) aswell as other current policy topics. Call 0113 247 0000/01274 206660 for more details or visit http://members.wnychamber.co.uk/WNY_Members/Events/WNY_Members/Events/Events_List.aspx?DisplayAreaOptions=No&hkey=e2a41341-e1bf-45f7-94c3-fc2c872d4044
(The event was held on Friday 12 January – before Transport for the North’s announcement to include Bradford on a new rail line as part of its plans. Left-Right in the above photo are John Grogan, Naz Shah, Philip Davies, Suzanne Watson and Nick Garthwaite.)