There are 20 parliamentary committees in the European Parliament. A committee consists of between 25 and 71 MEPs, and has a chair, a bureau and a secretariat. The political make-up of the committees reflects that of the plenary assembly and they meet once or twice a month in Brussels in public.
The committees draw up, amend and adopt legislative proposals and own-initiative reports. In addition they consider Commission and Council proposals and, where necessary, draw up reports to be presented to the plenary assembly.
Since 2014 I have been a full member of the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee and a substitute member of the Transport and Tourism (TRAN) Committee.
The ITRE Committee concentrates on issues relating to industry, research and development, energy, telecommunications, information technology and the digital economy.
With green re-industrialisation as the overarching aim, the ITRE Committee has four priority areas:
- Ensuring that EU’s legal and economic framework enables the European industrial sector to become more innovative. This will require adapting and mobilising EU’s R&D and education programs to effectively respond to the actual needs of the industry.
- Boosting the development and growth of European small and medium-sized enterprises.
- Building a true European digital market.
- Exploiting the full potential of EU’s common energy policy. Only with secure energy can we make our economy globally competitive and avoid economic decline.
- Within ITRE, I am currently working on issues regarding energy poverty, the promotion of a digital single economy and the protection of IPR, I am also closely monitoring the implementation of the Clean Energy Package as part of the Energy Union.
In 2018 I promoted the adoption of measures to set national renewable energy and energy efficiency targets. The Clean Energy Package has now been completed and European can look forward to a future with cleaner, more affordable energy. Alongside fellow S&D MEPs, I have campaigned for the next EU budget and MMF to take full account of the social needs across Europe to enable the further development of a socially progressive Europe for the benefit of all EU citizens. As part of this I have also promoted a €20billion increase on the Commission proposed budget for Horizon Europe, the 2021-2027 research initiative that will replace the very successful Horizon 2020 scheme (2014-2020).
2018 Full details
- I have been working on the development of the Horizon Europe, the EU’s 7-year scientific research initiative that will succeed the highly successful Horizon 2020 program.
- As the S&D shadow rapporteur on the opinion for ‘Education in the digital era: challenges, opportunities and lessons for EU policy design’, I has been working towards ensuring that Europeans have the skills to live and work in this digital era. In the very near future extensive digital skills will be vital in order to participate in daily life as well as the workplace. This is why education will play a key role in incorporating the necessary digital skills to our lives.
- I have been working across several files to ensure a ‘Just Transition’ to upskill and retrain workers whose industries are changing, for example the electrification of the automotive industry. I also met with trade unions and industry representatives, including Jaguar Land Rover.
- I was very pleased to attend the Party of European Socialists (PES) congress in Lisbon to discuss S&Ds strategy for the future of Europe and select the PES Common Candidate, Frans Timmermans, ahead of the 2019 European elections.
In 2017 I promoted the adoption of measures to increase the security of gas supply and tackle energy poverty in Europe. Alongside fellow S&D MEPs, I also promoted the adoption of the European Parliament’s recommendations for the Panama inquiry that would introduce a series of measures to clamp down on tax fraud and money laundering.
2017 Full details
In 2016 I campaigned for the UK to remain a member of the EU. Since the EU referendum result of Leave winning by a small margin at 51.9% with a 72.2% national voter turnout, I have been scrutinising the government’s Brexit plan and its likely impact on the North West and the UK as a whole to ensure that we get the best deal for the North West and mitigate any adverse impacts of leaving the EU on the North West. I also voted for tighter measures around tax avoidance and tougher sanctions on tax havens, including a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) and the right of member states to tax the profits of shell companies in countries with a lower than 15% tax rate.
2016 Full details
In 2015 I held several events, including with the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) to address copyright and the “value gap” of digital platforms, with Universities UK to address EU funding to UK universities, and with EASAC and the Royal Society on reducing the impact of extreme weather on people’s lives. I also hosted an event with the DSW charity to celebrate World TB Day and highlighted Europe’s role in eradicating TB. I submitted evidence to a UK Parliamentary report on energy and climate change and presented the Socialists and Democrats’ (S&D) position on the energy union. I lead a progressive coalition to ensure the rejection of a regressive right-wing Opinion of the establishment of a Market Stability Reserve (MSR) for the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS).
2015 Full details
- In April 2015, I held an event in conjunction with the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) to address copyright and the “value gap”, which arises from the very significant mismatch between the value that certain digital platforms extract from music and the value that is returned to rights owners.
- In April 2015, I held a discussion with Universities UK to address EU funding to UK universities, with particular focus on European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).
- For World TB Day in March 2015, I hosted an event, in collaboration with charity DSW, to celebrate World TB Day and to push for more EU funding to be given to global health research and development. I also wrote an article outlining the leading role that Europe can play in the eradication of tropical diseases worldwide.
- In March 2015, I hosted an event in conjunction with EASAC and the Royal Society on reducing the impact of extreme weather on people’s lives. Changes in weather patterns and extreme weather are one of the principle effects of climate change. Thus this event was intended to raise awareness of the importance of increasing resilience to extreme weather events and discuss the role MEPs and other European institutions can play in combating extreme weather.
- In March 2015, I submitted evidence to this UK Parliamentary report on energy and climate change.
- On 24th February 2015, along with Kathleen Van Brempt MEP the S&D Group Vice-President responsible for sustainable development, I presented the presented the Socialists and Democrats’ (S&D) position on the energy union.
- On 22 January 2015, in my capacity as the Shadow Rapporteur on an Opinion of the establishment of a Market Stability Reserve (MSR) for the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), I led a progressive coalition to secure a ‘historic rejection’ of right-wing proposals to weaken the ETS. The final Opinion was rejected by the majority of MEPs. I believe that the Opinion as it stood would have been highly regressive and would have had an extremely negative impact on the ETS without benefiting industry in the long run. By voting against the ITRE opinion, we were fighting against a right-wing attempt to hijack the ETS
In 2014 I hosted a High Level European Parliament Hearing event with the Zero Emissions Platform (ZEP) as a platform for organising a development strategy for Carbon Capture & Storage (CSS) technology across Europe. This was part of my work promoting EU-wide energy efficiency and security through improved EU Energy policy.
2014 Full details
- In December 2014, I wrote an article on energy policy for The European Files, a political, economical and social magazine.
Energy policy has been at the centre of the European project since its start and it now becomes urgent that we improve the coordination of our national energy policies if we want to achieve EU-wide energy efficiency and security.
- On 13 November 2014, following the abolition of the Bureau of European Policy Advisers (BEPA) and the establishment of its replacement, the European Political Strategy Centre (EPSC), I co-signed an open letter with fellow Labour MEPs Clare Moody, Glenis Willmott, Jude Kirton-Darling and Seb Dance querying the European Commission’s commitment to science-based policymaking. The letter reflected our concerns over the absence of a dedicated scientific adviser role. We called on the Commission to propose a replacement consultative body for impartial and transparent scientific advice. We also emphasised that any scientific advice received by the Commission must be transparent, impartial, and draw on a broad base of the best available evidence.
- On 10 November 2014, as a full member of the ITRE committee, I hosted an event entitled: “Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) – An essential part of Europe’s industrial growth equation”, in the form of a High Level European Parliament Hearing. In collaboration with the Zero Emissions Platform (ZEP), the hearing aimed to act as a platform for organising a development strategy for CSS technology across Europe. I believe that it is crucial that we recognise the importance of CCS and what it will bring to industrial growth in my region and beyond. I hope we can go forward with a strategy for CCS across Europe. As we move toward a more sustainable solution to heavy industry and energy security, we must also keep in mind our climate objectives – CCS will be a key part of this. I will be working to ensure that CCS targets will be included in a 2030 energy and climate framework.
The aim of the TRAN Committee work is to ensure mobility while at the same time protecting the climate. After all, transport is not only responsible for 24% of all CO2 emissions in the EU but it has also increased its emissions by 28% since 1990. Over the same period, households were able to reduce their emissions by 24%, and industry by as much as 32%. Without changes in mobility, we shall therefore not be able to halt climate change.
The TRAN Committee is working towards effective and reliable infrastructure, fair rules for the whole transport sector, the highest standards of safety and binding rights for people travelling in Europe. We strive to guarantee clean, safe and affordable mobility in Europe – particularly across borders.
- I have been campaigning hard to improve EU legislation around tire safety after the fatality of a Merseyside boy on a bus due to its having old unsafe tires. Theresa has worked closely with Maria Eagle MP (for Garston and Halewood) to co-ordinate their effort at the EU and UK level, especially during Road Safety week in November.
Theresa has also been working to improve EU legislation regarding energy and technology to ensure that the EU achieves a ‘Just Transition’ to a smart carbon neutral energy system and a society that leaves nobody behind, such that nobody is in energy poverty and no one is left unemployed doe to new technologies.
I have been strongly campaigning for stricter EU tyre safety legislation to try to avoid any further preventable vehicle tyre related death as the current lax tyre safety rules directly cause the death of several people in the North West England region that I represent.2018 Full details
- I have been working closely with Lucy Anderson MEP (London) and Mayor Steve Rotheram (Liverpool City Region) to advocate for the improvement of tyre safety in the UK and across the European Union. This follows from the death of three people, from the North West of England, in a coach crash on the way back from Bestival music festival in 2012, due to the blow out of a 19.5 year old tyre. There is no mention of the lifespan of tyres in European legislation and I believe that this is something that needs to change. I am working to push the Commission to publish a study on tyre safety and to look at the issues of aged and second-hand tyres and to set up a working group on best practices around the EU. This is an area where the European Parliament could really make a difference to people’s lives.
I have campaigned in solidarity with people with disabilities seeking improvement to the substandard treatment of people with disabilities by airports, particularly Manchester airport.2017 Full details
- I am working on improving disabled access at Manchester Airport, which has a bad track record of poor treatment of and a lack of ability to cater for people with disabilities.
- Reviewing the closure of the Liverpool coastguard service at Crosby, with Gordon Marsden MP.