During my superb visit to Frederick Gough School I was quizzed by the School Council. The discussion was wide and varied picking up the many issues of our day including possible Scottish devolution and the challenges of the UK finding its new place in the world outside the European Union.

But the question that got me thinking was the one about fake news. How do we know which news sources to trust today?

I reflected that we are no longer in a world where the news comes to us mainly through sources whose provenance and perspective are well understood whether that be the BBC or the Daily Mail.

Now our news comes to us through a myriad of sources, splintered through electronic media.

How do we know who to trust? Or who to be healthily sceptical of? Or who to definitely not to trust?

With an American President who embraces Twitter and condemns the BBC the old certainties are long gone.

The students’ teacher, who had been a student of mine at John Leggott College some 10 years previously, remarked that when he was in the sixth form it was ‘Myspace’ not ‘Facebook’ or ‘Twitter’ that was the platform for group conversations.

Myspace! Who can remember ‘Myspace’? And then it was occasional not ever-present, not ubiquitous like now.

For the youngsters I was chatting to these platform are part of their everyday lives in a way in which they weren’t as recently as 10 years ago.

Global change continues to accelerate so we can’t know now if Instagram and Snapchat will become as obsolete as Myspace or if they are here to stay as part of what shapes our lives and determines our world view manipulated by algorithms and other things I can hardly start to understand.

What the Fred Gough students and teachers agreed is that we need to equip our young people as well as the rest of us to be able to ask the questions about sources. To be healthily sceptical about fake news. After all it is nothing new.

The Zinoviev Letter published by the Daily Mail four days before the 1924 general election was a forgery designed to undermine the Labour Party with its lies which it successfully did.

Another thing to be healthily sceptical about is my running ability. For reasons that now escape me I find myself committed to spend St George’s Day this year running the London Marathon.

I am not convinced I will slay the dragon of the challenge before me!

But I will be raising money for the three pancreatic cancer charities who I champion as Chair of the Party Parliamentary Group on Pancreatic Cancer and two amazing local charities – Lindsey Lodge Hospice and Scunthorpe Food Bank.

Another thing we didn’t have 10 years ago was Just Giving pages.

If you fancy encouraging me this St George’s Day you can go to uk.virginmoneygiving.com/nicdakinmp

Nic Dakin is the Labour Member of Parliament for Scunthorpe

An MP has many different ways to raise issues and campaign for things to change. And there are no shortage of people encouraging us to do this or that. Constituents, local businesses and other organisations head a list that includes professional lobbyists as well as amateur enthusiasts.

One mechanism is the 10 minute rule bill – a slot of prime time in the House of Commons on Tuesdays and Wednesdays where an individual MP can speak for 10 minutes on a particular issue without interruption.

Theoretically a colleague can speak against, though this rarely happens. Occasionally there is a vote.

When there is a speech against and/or a vote it’s really a bit of theatre to draw more attention to the issue as both government and opposition front benches usually stay out of the vote which the government has no obligation to take any notice of!

Theoretically the ‘bill’ will then be listed for further consideration on a sitting Friday though everyone knows it will never be debated again before finally falling off the future agenda as this session of Parliament concludes and a new Queen’s Speech sets out the government of the day’s next chapter of legislation.

So why does any MP bother with a 10 minute rule bill at all? More particularly why have I claimed the slot on February 28 to go through the rigmarole of preparing a draft bill and accompanying speech?

I have presented two previous 10 minute rule bills.

In both cases I worked with outside bodies so that my bill was part of a wider campaign.

I worked with the charity Sue Ryder on the first bill which sought to exempt hospices from certain VAT costs.

This was accompanied by various other pressures on government including parliamentary questions and meetings with ministers.

Although the bill went nowhere a measure was incorporated soon after in to a government bill to make the very changes in the law that my bill was looking for.

Likewise with my bill to give 16-18 year olds who attend colleges the same right to free school meals as those that attend schools sixth forms.

After working with the Association of Colleges, using my bill as part of a strong cross-party campaign the government changed the rules so that students attending colleges like John Leggott and North Lindsey in my constituency are no longer discriminated against in their entitlement to free school meals.

My bill next week will argue that colleges should have access to school students in their schools to talk to them about the options available.

For the last six years we have been going backwards in the quality of careers information, advice and guidance available to our young people.

Sadly some schools put barriers in the way of their students learning about options other than their sixth form.

This is not in the students’ interest and it is not in the country’s interest.

Hopefully the government will be listening again and will before very long adopt my latest 10 minute rule bill into law.

And by doing so they will be benefiting young people across our great country!

Nic Dakin is the Labour Member of Parliament for Scunthorpe

If it’s not too far into 2017 to say it, Happy New Year to everyone! Everything seems back in full swing now with politics on both sides of the Atlantic continuing to read more interestingly than fiction!

The thing I am most concerned about at the moment is the continued pressure on local health services.

With the British Red Cross saying there’s a ‘humanitarian crisis’ in UK hospitals it needs to be taken seriously.

It’s clear that we are not the only area struggling with pressure on our system.

In meetings with North Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group it’s clear everyone is trying their very best to make a system under real pressure work. But with an ever ageing population and insufficient resources our national and local health systems are creaking.

As a local GP said to me there really just needs to be more money put into health if it is to do everything we want it to.

Only last week Scunthorpe General Hospital had to cancel a number of appointments as it ran out of beds to put people in who were turning up needing treatment.

Thankfully within a day – thanks to the incredible work of staff – they were able to get back to something resembling normal service.

Nationally A&E departments have turned patients away more than 140 times between December 1, 2016 and January 1, 2017. And one day last month 15 hospitals ran out of beds with elderly patients languishing on trolleys in corridors, sometimes for over 24 hours.

We will have all seen the picture of a child being treated on two plastic chairs pushed together in a corridor. The problems in the NHS need urgent action.

Rather than stepping up to the plate and taking action ministers have blamed patients for the troubles.

Then the Prime Minister blamed the NHS England boss Simon Stevens and now, astonishingly, she is blames family doctors.

Frankly, rather that pointing the finger at others, the Conservative government needs to take responsibility for this crisis.

After all they inherited an NHS with the patient highest satisfaction rates ever and it is their cuts to adult social care that has put the very real pressure onto hospital discharges that is a large part of the cause of the current crisis.

And it doesn’t make any sense to me for the government to be cutting community pharmacy budgets.

This is the part of the health service closest to patients that investment in is likely to be well rewarded.

One of the reasons people voted to leave the EU was because of the promise to give £350 million a week to the NHS. This does not seem to be forthcoming!

So I am pleased that Labour is calling on the government to bring forward the £700 million of social care funding planned for 2019-20 now and to pledge a new funding settlement for health and social care in the Budget in March.

It’s time to listen to the public and take action.

Nic Dakin is the Labour Member of Parliament for Scunthorpe

+ More stories