Archive | September, 2015

Big Pathwatch Logo

Chesterfield MP urges people to step up and join the Big Pathwatch

Toby Perkins MP for Chesterfield is encouraging people in across Derbyshire to step up and help survey their local paths as part of the Ramblers’ Big Pathwatch.Big Pathwatch Logo

With an enviable 140,000 miles of rights of way in England and Wales people can enjoy walking, the Ramblers needs people to step out in Derbyshire and walk their favourite paths and report back on what they find using a free smartphone app – and Toby is hoping as many people as possible get involved in the project.

Toby said: “The Big Pathwatch is the perfect opportunity for people to get involved in protecting the places they love to walk, as well as enjoying the health benefits of walking. We’re incredibly lucky to have the Peak District National Park right on our doorstep, as well as lots of other local paths around Chesterfield, and we all need to do our bit to make sure these places are well cared for.

“That’s why I’m supporting the Big Pathwatch and asking as many people as possible to step out and survey their local paths, reporting back on what they find.”

People can download the free Big Pathwatch app and share their experiences as they walk every right of way within a specific grid square. They’ll be asked to share the positive features of the walk, the beautiful views or interesting landscapes they see, as well as noting any problems they encounter.

The results of the Big Pathwatch will allow the Ramblers to create a comprehensive report on the state of the path network, which will be used to help identify ways to keep paths open. Where possible, Ramblers’ path maintenance teams will be heading out to fix problems found through the survey, clearing brambles and other overgrown vegetation, improving path surfaces and fixing bridges and gates.

Toby on the Gritstone Edge Walk near Baslow in the Peak District National Park

Toby on the Gritstone Edge Walk near Baslow in the Peak District National Park

Importantly, the results will enable the Ramblers to come up with the long term solutions to ensure the path network is protected for years to come.

Those who don’t have a smartphone can still get involved by downloading materials from the Ramblers website.

To find out more, or to take part in the Big Pathwatch, visit

Posted in Campaign, Featured, News, Press ReleaseComments Off on Chesterfield MP urges people to step up and join the Big Pathwatch

Toby Perkins questioning the Prime Minister in the debate on Monday

Update on Syrian Refugee Crisis

Toby Perkins questioning the Prime Minister in the debate on Monday

Toby Perkins questioning the Prime Minister in the debate on Monday

The last few weeks of media coverage have been dominated by the devastating global crisis we have seen in recent months in regards to the situation of refugees crossing the Mediterranean to Europe. I have received a large number of emails, letters and social media messages asking me to ensure Britain plays a full part in helping people in peril.

Like everyone, I was horrified to see the picture of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, washed up dead on a Turkish beach. And whilst that photograph became an iconic snapshot of the whole appalling tragedy, other human catastrophes occur every day, the desperation and suffering that these people have gone through is unimaginable.

Huge numbers of people are dying trying to cross the Mediterranean to Southern Europe from war-torn Libya and Syria. But millions more are stuck in refugee camps in Jordan, Libya and elsewhere. Lawlessness in these countries means that there is little authority to control the flow; some of the militias controlling the country are profiting from the perilous trade.

This is indisputably one of the worst human tragedies since the war and the desire to see Britain play its part in alleviating the suffering is widespread.

I welcome the steps the government has taken thus far in their approach, however, I strongly believe that more substantial, immediate action is needed, given the scale of the crisis we face.

My colleague Yvette Cooper secured a three-hour emergency debate yesterday, to analyse in detail what the government has proposed and to discuss what further humanitarian role Britain can make. I spoke in the debate and made clear to the Home Secretary that Chesterfield is fully pledged to supporting those who are seeking refuge.

Below is a link to the question I asked David Cameron on Monday about how the government can do more to harness the huge desire amongst British people to play our part to alleviate suffering of desperate Syrian refugees, as well as the speech I made yesterday:

Monday’s Question:

Yesterday’s Speech:

Speech 8/09/15 – Check on delivery:

I commend my right hon. Friend the Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper), the shadow Home Secretary, for securing the debate, and for the tremendous way in which she has led the fight. Labour Members are of the view that the Government’s response is inadequate, but the Government have responded more generously than they did a few weeks ago. The shadow Home Secretary deserves great credit for getting the Government at least to take the steps they have taken.

The tragic death of Alan Kurdi is a bucket of cold water over the whole of our nation and the Government. It was the moment at which public opinion changed and when people said we must do more. We recognise that the appalling suffering of those refugees is a moment in history. History will look back on our generation, and on this Parliament and this Government, and ask what we did when we faced this appalling moment. I believe that we are failing to live up to our historical role as a place of safe haven, and to live up to the incredibly proud role that Britain has played over many years to support refugees, whether that is the 10,000 of the Kindertransport in the late 1930s, the 300,000 Poles who came here after the second world war or the 42,000 Ugandan Asians who came to Britain after the historic situation there. When history looks at our generation and our current response to this appalling situation, it will judge us badly for the failure to take more refugees.

In the Government’s response, they not only fail to appreciate the suffering that people are experiencing, but underestimate the capacity and desire, which the harrowing pictures have evoked, to help people. I said yesterday to the Prime Minister that if ever there was an opportunity for him to make the big society something that means something to people, this is it. People all over our communities are saying that they want to make a difference.

People are saying that they want to make a difference. They are saying, “Please let me know how I can help.” Councils in Derbyshire have offered to act as reception centres for refugees. The Labour council in Chesterfield has said that it stands willing to do whatever is needed to support people in that terrible situation. The Government underestimate the capacity in our country to make a stand in the once-in-a-lifetime atrocious situation that we face.

The Government should explore the far greater potential that there is among proud Britons who are standing ready and willing to help people in their hour of need. In our history, when the world has needed heroes, Britain has so often come forward and shown how truly great our nation can be.

Let us not let this generation, when the world is expecting so much of us, be the one that lets our country’s reputation down. Let us not be the ones who, when we tell our children and grandchildren about the roles we played, have to look down at our shoes and say that when this country was needed we did not do what

we could. There is more we can do. We should be taking more refugees. In all our communities, we know we can do more. Let this Parliament and this Government be the ones to say we will do more. Let us lift what we are doing right now.

Posted in Blog, Featured, Uncategorized1 Comment


I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. If you would like to get in touch with me, my office is open and can be reached by phone on 01246 386 286. I also hold regular surgeries so that constituents can meet me and I can take up their concerns. If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact my office. Thank you for visiting.

Contact Toby

Tel: 01246 386286
Post: 113 Saltergate, Chesterfield, S40 1NF


I hold regular surgeries for my constituents.
Please call 01246 386286 or email to make a booking.

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