Steve helps cleaning at Perivale Scouts working party

What better way to spend a soaking wet Sunday morning than at the 3rd Perivale Scout HQ in Perivale with Cllr. Tariq Mahmood, many local volunteers (including Maria from Selborne School !) and the top team from Amey who carted away all the rubbish we cleared from the site.

A real old Scouts working party that certainly took me back and nearly took me to casualty when the aches and pains kicked in on Monday morning!

Volunteers from McDonalds at the Target Roundabout and Ruislip branches also helped out and we were extremely grateful for all the help from Mr. Patel of Patel’s News in Greenford but the distinguished service medal has to go to Nick Shellis from Shellis Roofing who managed to re-roof the storage shed despite the driving rain. I feared for his safety as he clambered over the roof but all was well and a very large number of Scouts with First Aid proficiency badges were anxiously standing by!

Very grateful indeed to Suzy and all from McDonalds Westway Cross for nor only putting in a good shift but supplying the burger buns as well!

Probably more fun to look back on than to have experienced but if we were chilled to the bone we did all have the warm glow of satisfied achievement to console us.

Steve attends 20th anniversary of Omagh Bombing

As Shadow Northern Ireland  Minister I’m over the water on a regular basis and on Sunday 12th August I was at Omagh to commemorate the 20th.Anniversary of the horrific bomb that so nearly shattered the peace process as well as killing 29 people and unborn twins – 31 souls in all.

As usual – and I’ve attended many of the annual commemorations – this was a sombre and dignified affair suffused with sadness. The beautiful Omagh Community Choir sang so sweetly to remind us that there is always hope for a better future and that humanity is capable of great good as well as pure evil.

Next day we met with the Ulster Farmers Union to discuss Brexit, the Chief Constable of the Police Service of N. Ireland to discuss Brexit, the East Belfast community partnership to discuss – amongst other things – Brexit and then down to Ardglass in South Down to meet local MP Chris Hazzard and the fisher men and women who haul herring and mackerel from the Irish Sea  – to discuss Brexit.

I resisted the temptation to take a spin round the harbour on the elegant and well found MV Karen (see picture!).

There’s no doubt that the economy and civil society of Northern Ireland is being stretched to breaking point by the imminent imposition of a hard border between NI and the Republic.

I’ll keep doing what I can to ameliorate the impact but it is not going to be easy.