International development is a very important issue that is close to your heart. Can the country realistically afford to set money aside for international aid when the country is in so much debt?
Obviously at a time of global financial crisis there will be pressure on all manner of spending but international aid is still vitally important. We know that we pay a much higher price in countries like Afghanistan when things go wrong and military intervention takes place. Development assistance is a long term cheaper option. We know that issues like climate change require everyone to play a role and that is why Britain must continue to for practical reasons as well as moral or humanitarian ones; to be a key supporter of international development.
Do you believe that a place like East Manchester that statistically has high levels of crime and unemployment can be seen as a place where people can get a good job and get onto the property ladder?
Many people in East Manchester do get on to the property ladder and work hard for themselves and their communities. Crime has been going down in East Manchester although unemployment is still a massive issue, particularly for younger people. But even in the present recession East Manchester is still a great place to live and will only get better as new institutions like the new secondary school come in to being.
One Advertiser reader commented “that some local councillors and you see no problems within East Manchester and everything including employment is rosy.” Has there been a serious acknowledgement of the seriousness of the recession among you, other councillors and Greater Manchester MPs, and that voters cannot be smooth talked about jobs being created when unemployment is so dire?
I don’t know where the quotation has come from and certainly never said anything like this myself. At a time of global recession, we know that unemployment will increase; and it has increased. The action that the government is taking has diminished the very worst impact of the global recession but not done away with the problems. The Work Guarantee that the government has announced includes a guaranteed offer of work or training for every 18-24 year old at risk of becoming long-term unemployed. The government will also fund 250,000 jobs in the public and private sector with more than 150 companies and organisations having already signed up. We need to make sure that we fight for existing jobs and create new ones. No one can pretend that it isn’t a serious issue.
A problem with the recession is that skilled workers have to take on unskilled work that does not make the most of their skills and qualifications. Does Manchester Central have enough skilled jobs to be competitive?
The centre of Manchester is the economic capital of the north of England with many skilled jobs. The future of the economy in Manchester and in the UK is not in long term unskilled jobs but in upskilling the work force.
Seen as the leaders who are setting lengthy emission targets will not be in office, or even alive, are these targets truly realistic?
Setting targets for 2050 is important to making long term and sustainable reductions in carbon emission and it is important that the UK is the first country to introduce the idea of a legally binding target. A target for 2050 is not a way of putting off changes but of making sure that they form part of a long term plan. The Climate Change Bill which the government has laid out contains not only a target for an eventual 80% reduction in emissions, but crucially a carbon budgeting system to set out the trajectory to 2050.
The Guardian newspaper revealed that up to 120 Labour MPs will step down at the next election. As one of your constituents, will Tony Lloyd be standing for Manchester Central at the next general election?
I will be standing for re-election in Manchester Central at the next general election.
Do you have any ambitions to become a minister again?
I have never had particular ambitions for office apart from doing my best for the people of Manchester and the country.
Are you one of the more rowdy MPs in the chamber who likes to shout ‘Hear, Hear’? Who are some of the more rowdy MPs in the chamber, or what party has the more rowdy MPs?
I don’t tend to take part in the parliamentary noise!
Can you give me a sense of how a Labour Parliamentary Party meeting works and how it feels to chair the party?
Obviously meetings of the PLP are by its very nature private but they do vary enormously. Given the great variety of issues, they can sometimes get heated but it is always a great privilege to chair a meeting of the Parliamentary Party.
Do you tend to send the odd ‘tweet’ during sessions in the chamber like some of your colleagues?
No I can’t say that I’ve ever used Twitter in the chamber!
How did you spend your summer recess?
Most of the time I was working in the constituency but I had a short holiday.
Are you a football fan? What are your views on Manchester City’s spending this summer?
I am a lifelong Manchester United fan although I have always wanted to see Manchester teams do well. United have always been regarded as a rich club and certainly can’t cry foul when Manchester City spend. For all of us however, maybe football today is taking leave of reality for normal people with the ridiculous sums of money involved.