MP pays tribute to his 'hero' single mother in Commons speech

A Yorkshire MP has paid tribute to his “hero” mother as he described his tough upbringing in the House of Commons.

Giving his maiden speech this week Dewsbury Conservative MP Mark Eastwood said he had stood for election six times before being successful in September.

He said: “A local newspaper once dubbed me ’the perennial loser’, much to the amusement of my campaign team, my friends and my family. It is a huge relief for me, and hopefully for them, to have lost that tag at last.”

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Mr Eastwood said: “Before I talk about my remarkable constituency, I want to mention the most wonderful person in my life: my mother.

Dewsbury MP Mark Eastwood. Photo: JPI MediaDewsbury MP Mark Eastwood. Photo: JPI Media
Dewsbury MP Mark Eastwood. Photo: JPI Media

“At the age of three, I was abandoned by my father, forcing my mother to move with me to a council estate in Thornhill Lees in Dewsbury, and then the Wilton estate in Batley. At first, it was a real struggle for my mother to raise a child as a lone parent while working shifts at Batley hospital and eventually at the newly opened Dewsbury hospital.

“There are significant challenges facing any single mother when raising a child, let alone one as difficult as me. Despite the heavy burdens, my mother forged a career, going on to become senior sister at the Dewsbury casualty department.”

Mr Eastwood said his mother made “monumental sacrifices” and moved up in her career in nursing. He said: “Witnessing the dedication, hard work and sacrifice of my mother has ensured that I take nothing for granted. She showed me the value of hard work and compassion, which she put into action every day on the hospital ward.”

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He added: “Ultimately, she demonstrated that even in the most difficult circumstances you can progress to where you want to be in this country. If it was not for my mother, I would not be here today. She is my hero.”

As well as his mother, Mr Eastwood said Leeds United centre back, Lucas Radebe, was one of his heroes, but he said coronavirus had changed the meaning of the term.

“After our experience with coronavirus, the definition of ‘hero’ has grown,” he said.

“We have seen heroes emerge all over the country. Alongside our NHS and emergency staff, there are the people who have kept us fed, cared for us, operated our public transport and those who have ensured we can still access the goods and services we rely on.”

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He said: “Across my constituency, there have been countless individuals carrying out potentially unnoticed acts of kindness to help out their neighbours.

“These people are heroes.

“I have been proud to work alongside some of these wonderful volunteers and community groups who continue to help the vulnerable through this difficult time. There are those I have not yet had the privilege of working alongside, but I am immensely grateful and thankful for all they have done.