These are the facts about Helen Jones and how she has actually represented Warrington North, (with some opinion).
Helen Jones's voting record is generally poor, following the New Labour Whip 97.8% of the time. Her positive voting record is noted by her abstentions rather than actual votes but she has rebelled occasionally and voted progressively.
Her positive voting record concerns the creeping privatisation of essential public services. She voted against the creation of Foundation Hospitals on 19/11/03 and abstained from the vote on Tuition Fees on 27/01/04. This is what I would expect from my Labour MP.
However, Helen Jones voted to support the illegal invasion of Iraq on 26/02/03 and 18/03/03. Which I would not have expected if my Labour MP was truly representative.
With regard to civil liberties her record is also poor. She voted for 'Anti-Terrorism' legislation giving the government the right to detain foreigners without trial on 21/11/01. She also voted in favour of 'Control Orders' on 28/02/05, which means the end of many civil liberties, in addition to detention without trial, we now potentially don't have the right to freedom of association or freedom of speech, this without being told what you are supposed to have done and having no right to defend yourself or question any charges. On a positive note she did abstain from the vote on ID Cards on 20/12/04.
Parliamentary Questions & Debate:
Helen Jones has asked many parliamentary questions with regard to services in Warrington and it is good to see she takes an active interest in her constituency. However with regard to one of the most pressing issues of the day, Iraq, she has shown no interest. She hasn't asked a single question in an attempt to hold the Government to account for it's actions, this is very disappointing.
She has however, partaken in some good debate and asked some good questions in the commons with regard to International Development:
"To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress has been made with the review of Government policy on aid conditionality." (10/02/2005)
To the Chancellor, "...Can he report any progress on urging the US Government to increase their contribution to development aid and to recognise that to make the world a safer place, there must be a war on poverty as well as a war on terrorism." (23/01/2003)
To the Secretary of State for International Development,"What recent discussions she has had on improving access to primary education in developing countries?...Only 2% of aid budget goes on education. Will my right hon. friend therefore give a commitment that she will try to persuade the World Bank to address that financing gap in education?...Will she do all she can to encourage our international partners to give greater debt relief to those countries that have proper education plans in place?" (17/04/2002)
Helen Jones voted against Foundation Hospitals and abstained on the Tuition Fees vote but why hasn't she partaken in any debate to attempt to hold the Government to account or make plain her opposition to them? She has been very quiet all together in criticising Blair and the Government, this isn't representative of Warrington at all.
Early Day Motions Signed:
Helen Jones has signed a few progressive Early Day Motions which reflect the views of her electorate.
Here is an interesting example, although it makes a good point, after 8 years of 'Labour' Government why does practice such as this still exist?:
EDM 673 House of Commons Cleaners - That this House recognise's the invaluable contribution made by House of Commons cleaners towards ensuring the smooth running of this House; is dismayed with the poor pay and working conditions of the cleaners who are paid a miserly £4.85 per hour with only 12 days paid holiday per annum, statutory sick pay only and no company pension; find these employment terms and conditions shameful and totally unacceptable in 21st century Britain...and urges the House authorities and the contractors that employ the cleaners to accept their claim of £6.70 per hour, 20 days paid holiday, company sick pay and a company pension to ensure they receive a fair deal.
Another good example is:
EDM 2 Make Poverty History in 2005 Campaign - Calling for action aimed at trade justice, dropping the debt and providing more and better aid to make poverty history in 2005.
And on a personal note:
EDM 349 Boddington's Brewery - That this House supports the continuing campaign by workers and trade unions at Boddington's Brewery to keep brewing Boddington's beer at this historic building; and further supports the application made by 'Campaign Group to Save the Cream' for protection of this authentic local and geographically defined product.
However, there are many progressive Early Day Motions which Helen Jones did not sign, use the EDM link above to explore. Personally I'm disappointed Helen Jones did not sign the following, (although not surprised considering it would not be popular with her New Labour bosses and their corporate backers):
EDM 362 Tax Avoidance - Call for clamp down on artificial tax avoidance schemes including offshore tax avoidance loop holes that enable millionaires and big business to avoid valid UK tax.
To conclude, looking at the facts, i.e. Helen Jones's voting record, parliamentary questions and EDMs signed. I conclude that her performance as my MP has been poor. Her support for international development and voting against foundation hospitals is good. However, the rest of her voting record is poor, supporting the Iraq War and severe attacks on our civil liberties is a disgrace. Additionally, although she voted against foundation hospitals and abstained on the tuition fees vote, she has been silent in her criticism of Blair and his Thatcherite policies and has completely failed to hold the Government to account for it's actions.
If Helen Jones is your MP contact her regarding issues which affect you and your community. Follow the links at; http://powertothepeople.org.uk/content/gov/HelenJones-MPReview.htm for all sources and to explore what Helen Jones has done in your name. You'll also find her contact details there for use if you are a constituent of Warrington North.