Political heavyweights make borough visits

Any Questions being recorded at Winstanley College
Any Questions being recorded at Winstanley College

WIGAN’S political scene has been abuzz with activity with high profile visits and guest appearances throughout this week.

Winstanley College hosted a prominent radio debate show and later were paid a visit from a borough born political heavyweight.

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy is set to feature on Question Time this evening and in addition to this, former home and then foreign secretary Jack Straw will visit the Youth Zone tomorrow.

BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions, hosted by Jonathan Dimbleby, based itself at the college last week with panellists Ukip MEP Louise Bours, shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn and former Conservative chancellor Kenneth Clarke.

They faced questions on topical issues including the ongoing conflict in Syria and the imprisonment of a teenage boy from Blackburn for inciting terrorist acts.

And on Tuesday, Up Holland born Baroness Ashton, a former leader of the House of Lords and vice president of the European Commission, visited students for a question and answer session.

Ms Nandy, who has recently been installed as shadow energy secretary, will feature alongside new Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron MP, Tory MP Priti Patel and Scottish National Party MP Stewart Hosie.

The Wigan MP has this week hit out at the government for not doing enough to help bring down energy bills.

Responding to a speech by her opposite number Amber Rudd, Ms Nandy said: “Amber Rudd said she wanted to put the consumer in charge of energy policy.

“The Conservatives say they want to deliver climate policy at the lowest cost to consumers, but in reality they are doing the opposite.

“By making it much more difficult to build onshore wind and solar, the two cheapest forms of lower carbon available, they have left important but more expensive technologies like offshore wind, nuclear power and tidal to pick up the slack. The real terms cut in the number of homes to be insulated means more families will be left in the cold this winter, and paying out more for their bills.

“The government is risking the country’s energy security, and once again allowing families and businesses to be ripped off by energy decisions beyond their control.

Energy secretary Amber Rudd had told the Tory conference this week that enhancements to the Energy Ombudsman would ensure consumers were protected.

Adding: “Too many customers still suffer from woeful service at the hands of energy companies. Many households show their dissatisfaction by switching away but we need to do more.

“We want to give the Ombudsman real teeth so he can investigate systemic issues in the industry, not just individual complaints.

“We are on the side of consumers, we are doing this so consumers receive better treatment and we can build more trust in the industry.”

Mr Straw, the former MP for Blackburn who served in the New Labour governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, will appear at Wigan Youth Zone at a business breakfast event tomorrow.

He will give a speech entitled British politics is good for you.