MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

I was disappointed, but not surprised, when Lancashire County Council cabinet members chose not to reverse the authority’s decision to close four out of five of Fylde’s libraries this week.

There had been a glimmer of hope that councillors may at least look again at their plans when the council’s scrutiny committee sent the decision back to the cabinet for review.

However, the cabinet stuck with the original decision with many members simply using the session on Monday as a chance to try to score political points, rather than discussing any kind of solution for those communities devastated to be losing such worthwhile facilities.

I obviously have various concerns over the way these decisions have been taken and feel there are examples from around the country where councils have been able to protect services by thinking creatively.

I have asked various questions over the way the council reached its decisions on where to close libraries, but have as yet not had the courtesy of a response.

That is why I have asked the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to undertake a thorough review of the process and I hope that the council is told to think again and come up with a plan which is fair for all residents of Lancashire.

Before Parliament went into recess last week I was able to attend an event to launch Holocaust Memorial Day 2017.

During the event, John Hajdu spoke about surviving the Holocaust in Hungary and about the importance of the annual event, which is commemorated each year on 27 January – the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, and asks people to apply lessons learnt from history to create a safer, better future.

As someone with a large Jewish community in his constituency, I know how important it is to fight persecution and this year will also see British Jews celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street.

On October 4 1936, large numbers of Jews and supporters took to the streets of London’s East End to stop Oswald Mosely and the British Union of Fascists (BUF) marching through the heavily Jewish and immigrant area.

It is estimated nearly 100,000 anti-fascist demonstrators turned out to block the march and for many British Jews, the event symbolises part of a proud and longstanding history of fighting racism and fascism.

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