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The Customs and Trade bills

John Redwood (Wokingham)

I welcome the fact that the government is pressing on with taking the necessary legal powers to run our own customs and trade policies.  They tell us the bills will allow them to set tariffs, impose trade penalties and do what it takes to be a full voting member of the WTO. So far so good. I support that.

Buried in the detail of the legislation are some areas where I and others sought reassurance or amendment. The government has agreed to make improvements. The government should not  have the power to put us back into a customs union or similar arrangement without needing primary legislation. Parliament has agreed to leave the EU Customs Union – voting decisively three times on this matter  after extensive debate. Any wish to reverse this decision should also need substantial debate and a formal legislative process. I agree with Dominic Grieve’s line on the need for primary legislation in such circumstances, as he required us to do for the Article 50 letter and all aspects of leaving the EU in the Withdrawal Act.

We also want to see the UK outside the EU VAT system. On March 29 2019 VAT must become a UK tax which we can change as we see fit. The government agrees.

The government supports an amendment that rules out a customs or tax border between the island of Ireland and the UK. All parties to the negotiations tell us they do  not  want such a border, so we might as well make that clear in legislation. The amendment proposed makes clear Northern Ireland will  be part of the same customs and tax arrangements as the rest of the UK. I have always thought the Irish border issue was much exaggerated by the EU for their own purposes. It already is a Vat, Excise and currency border, but these matters are settled away from the border itself. The UK government does not  want to put in big barriers and seek to calculate customs or VAT at the border point, nor does it need to. What we have today can handle customs as well if that becomes necessary as it already does for non EU trade.

The government has also agreed to accept an amendment which says that the UK would not collect EU customs duties  for the EU unless the EU collected UK customs for the UK.

Yesterday’s debate was dominated by people who have never run complex supply chains who were unwilling to accept they work fine with  non EU as well as with EU parts. We needed to explain all over again how TIR, Authorised Economic Operators, the WTO Facilitation Agreement, electronic manifests and calculations and checking loads away from the border currently operate to speed goods across borders. The electronic paperwork is detailed and sometime complicated, but it is also needed by the customer and required for product audit purposes. If you supply a part into the supply chain for a complex and safety crucial product like a plane or truck, you do need to supply the customer with very detailed information about  where it came from, when and how it was made, and how it has been tested. Your computer can share the parts of this information that is needed with the Customs, Vat, Excise and other authorities electronically.


Hinchingbrooke Hospital's open day

Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon)

Jonathan joining celebrations of our NHS' 70th birthday at Hinchingbrooke Hospital's open day.  read more »

Lower Broadheath store return moves closer

Harriett Baldwin (West Worcestershire)

The return of the village store and post office at Lower Broadheath has moved closer following the intervention of West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin. read more »

Stephen Morgan MP calls on all of Portsmouth to learn about the fight for suffrage

Stephen Morgan, MP for Portsmouth South, has invited people across the city to visit an important new exhibition which tells the story of the fight for women to have their say in Parliament.

As we celebrate 100 years since some women gained the right to vote, the hard-fought battle to make this happen is detailed in Voice and Vote: Women’s Place in Parliament.

The exhibition not only tells the hidden “her-story” of the UK Parliament: the campaigning, the protests and the achievements. It also examines where we are today, and shows that anyone can make change happen and exercise their democratic rights.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“Having visited the exhibition myself, I can vouch for it as a fantastic and engaging basis for a conversation about the history and legacy of those women who pioneered in this House and outside of it in strengthening and equalising our democracy.

One feature, the wall containing the names of female MPs, is shamefully small considering the centuries of Parliamentary democracy we’ve enjoyed.

This is why I’m taking so seriously my Vote100 Portsmouth campaign, encouraging women in Portsmouth and across the country to further the progress made by their ancestors.

 I’d urge everyone to come and visit the exhibit not just to celebrate this proud anniversary but also to take ideas and inspiration back to our city.”

Among the items in this innovative exhibition are re-creations of lost historical spaces of the Palace of Westminster, rare and previously unseen historic objects, pictures and archives from the Parliamentary collections and elsewhere.

Visitors will delve into the past and discover what women would have experienced in: The Cage, The Tomb, The Chamber and The Ventilator.

Melanie Unwin, Co-Curator of the Voice and Vote exhibition, said:

This innovative exhibition immerses visitors in lost historical spaces, and shows the barriers that women had to overcome to participate in democracy.

For the first time, we have recreated the sounds and atmosphere of the uncomfortable spaces which women were confined to – to show the magnitude of what campaigners and early women MPs achieved despite the limitations placed on them. Revealing this hidden history should help inspire us all to make use of the rights that women of generations past have dedicated their lives to.”

Rare historic exhibits from around the country, some of which have never been on public display before, help to tell the story of the battle for women to gain the right to vote.

Mari Takayanagi, Co-Curator of the Voice and Vote Exhibition, said:

“We have been working on the Voice and Vote exhibition since 2014 and we’ve made some fantastic discoveries along the way. In particular we’ve delighted to display for the first time items from private collections which beautifully illustrate the story of women and Parliament.

The exhibition helps people relive the fight, struggles and sacrifices made by the early suffrage pioneers, and remind us all of the importance of what they fought for.”

Immersive spaces

The Ventilator

200 years ago, this loft space above the House of Commons Chamber was where women watched and listened to Parliamentary debates. Women were banned from the public galleries. Those who were politically engaged and wanted to watch discussions of issues they were campaigning for, such as the abolition of the slave trade, would make their way to this space to watch and listen.

The Cage

After the 1834 fire which destroyed the old Palace of Westminster, the new House of Commons included a Ladies’ Gallery which allowed women to view the Chamber from high up above the Speaker’s Chair. The gallery was closed off by brass grilles, deliberately placed there to stop MPs seeing the women. The grilles restricted women’s view and the Ladies’ Gallery was hot, stuffy and soon nicknamed “The Cage”.

The Tomb

From 1918, women could stand for Parliament for the first time. An office called the Lady Members’ Room was provided but it was poorly furnished and became increasingly overcrowded as more women were elected as MPs. They had to share the space, which became known as “The Tomb” despite their differing politics. Once the few desks provided were all taken, women MPs had to sit on the floor to do their paperwork and hold meetings in corridors.

The Chamber

The final part of the exhibition will be the Chamber, exploring the experience and work of women MPs and members of the House of Lords today. Women have now occupied the highest positions in Parliament, including Betty Boothroyd, the first, and only (so far) woman Speaker and Baroness Hayman, the first Lord Speaker in the House of Lords.

Vote 100

2018 marks 100 years since The Representation of the People Act 1918 extended the right to vote to all men over 21 and the first women, making this one of the most important centenaries in British democratic history. Ten years later all men, and women over 21, were given the equal right to vote under the Representation of the People Act 1918 (Equal Franchise Act 1928.)

Four significant milestones in the fight for universal suffrage in 2018 are:

  • Representation of the People Act 1918, which gave all men over 21 and women over 30 who met a property qualification the right to vote. (100 years)
  • Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act 1918 – allowing women to be MPs (100 years)
  • Equal Franchise Act 1928 – giving women the vote on the same terms as men (90 years)
  • Life Peerages Act 1958 – allowing women to sit in the House of Lords as life peers (60 years)

These acts followed years of campaigning, with the first petition to Parliament asking for votes for women presented to the House of Commons on 3 August 1832.

There will also be an exciting programme of talks and tours in Parliament, and a number of UK-wide events, such as UK Parliament Week 2018 to mark the centenary.

About women in Parliament Today

Earlier this year The House of Commons Library published new research and statistics on women in Parliament and politics. The research shows that:

  • There are currently 210 women were elected to the UK Parliament, a record high of 32%. In January 2018 there were 206 female peers, 26% of Members of the House of Lords.
  • There are currently six women in Cabinet including the Prime Minister, 26% of the total 23 permanent Cabinet posts.
  • Just over one-third (36%) of members in the Scottish Parliament are women, compared to just over two-fifths (42%) of members of National Assembly for Wales and 30% of Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Following the 2014 European Parliament elections, 41% of UK MEPs are women.


Did you know the person behind some of our country’s biggest national celebrations – including the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and the Fly the Flag for our Armed Forces – is a Gorleston resident? As Pageant Master, Bruno Peek is the …


This month, draft findings of the Electoral Commission’s investigation into Vote Leave, the official pro-Brexit referendum campaign, were leaked, revealing Vote Leave of being guilty of breaking electoral law, on multiple accounts. They are expected to face the most hefty fines in the watchdog’s history. Then there was Cambridge Analytica, the disgraced big data company that was using misappropriated Facebook data to sell elections to the highest bidder and saw Facebook receive the maximum fine of £500,000. Then who could forget Nigel Farage's Leave.EU – the unofficial Brexit campaign bankrolled by the infamous insurance tycoon Arron Banks – which was recently found guilty of "multiple breaches of electoral law", fined £70,000 and referred to the Metropolitan Police for suspected criminal offences.

I share your concerns on this important issue.

The Trade Bill gives the Government unprecedented powers to implement international trade agreements without a vote in Parliament. The Government argues that it simply aims to maintain after Brexit agreements that we are already party to as a member of the EU. However, legally the agreements in question would in fact be new ones. Indeed, documents published alongside the Trade Bill make clear that it allows the Government to implement substantial amendments to the terms inherited from existing trade agreements. This could involve new obligations, including – as 38 Degrees’ legal briefing highlights – provisions relating to controversial issues such as chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-treated beef. I believe this is completely unacceptable in a democracy.

At the 2017 general election, I stood on a manifesto that included a commitment to ensuring proper transparency and parliamentary scrutiny of all future trade deals. I was therefore disappointed that at the Trade Bill’s committee stage, the Government rejected Opposition amendments that would have guaranteed proper parliamentary scrutiny before trade deals could be implemented.

Nevertheless, I can assure you that I will continue to press for proper scrutiny of trade agreements when the Trade Bill returns to Parliament on Tuesday 17 July.

The post Parliamentary scrutiny of trade deals – Amendment 8 and New Clause 6 of the Trade Bill – 38 Degrees campaign appeared first on Lesley Laird.

Preet speaks at Rising Girl fundraiser

Preet Gill (Birmingham, Edgbaston)

Preet was invited to speak on the issue of honour based violence and forced marriage at a fundraising event put on by the charity Rising Girl last week. Rising Girl will be working with Barnado's to deliver school workshops in Birmingham, raising awareness of these issues and providing much needed support.

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Preet Kaur Gill MP at Rising Girl Fundraiser

welcoming our friends from Stuttgart

Conor McGinn (St Helens North)

Last weekend the borough of St Helens welcomed a large delegation from our twin city of Stuttgart and I was happy to join with them as we celebrated together the strong ties, forged at the end of the Second World War and still going strong 70 years later. In a series of events including a food and drink festival, arts exhibition and the opportunity for the Mayor and politicians from […]
Ben Bradley, MP for Mansfield has welcomed Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s decision to review their current diagnostic and treatment pathways for patients that present with lung health concerns.
On Tuesday, representatives from the local authority Public Health team and clinical leads and managers from Nottinghamshire CCGs met to decide on the best course of action to determine the robustness of lung treatment pathways for ex miners and other occupational groups as part of the general respiratory service.
They will be asking regional experts to consider whether their current pathways represent the gold standard of treatment for all occupational lung afflictions, including at the diagnostic stage. This includes whether it might be more appropriate to use High resolution CT Scans for some testing rather than standard X-rays.
This follows a sustained campaign from MPs Ben Bradley and Mark Spencer, along with the Union of Democratic Mineworkers to allow all former mineworkers to have CT Scans to detect pneumoconiosis, rather than X-Rays which are cheaper but much less effective at detecting the disease.
Ben Bradley held a Westminster Hall debate on this subject earlier this year to lobby the Government to support the campaign. The debate was followed by a roundtable meeting in Westminster with Government Ministers and nationally renowned lung experts.
Commenting, Ben Bradley MP said:
“It’s great news that this long campaign is starting to bear fruit and it’s great to be working with Mark Spencer and the UDM on improving healthcare for former miners. We’ve taken it to Government, and we’ve taken it to local health authorities, and as a result they are going to properly review and assess how this works, and look at improvements. That’s good news for former miners across our whole area.”
Commenting, Jeff Wood, President of the Union of Democratic Mineworkers said:
“I hope that with the continued support of Mark Spencer and Ben Bradley, that the group will meet them face to face to give a verbal update, and confirm that the Gold Standard will include CT Scans for those mineworkers with lung affliction."

Crook Log Conservatives Coffee Morning

David Evennett (Bexleyheath and Crayford)

Crook Log Conservative branch held a fundraising and social coffee morning on Saturday (7 July) in the lovely Bexleyheath garden of Committee Member, Sheila Vickers.

Test Post One

Emma Lewell-Buck (South Shields)

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Emma celebrates annual Black Country Day

Emma Reynolds (Wolverhampton North East)

Emma Reynolds, Labour MP for Wolverhampton North East, celebrated Black Country Day this weekend. Events have been taking place throughout July as part of the overarching Black Country Festival, now in its fifth year across all parts of the Black Country including Wolverhampton. This year Black Country Day took place on 14 July. The date marks the anniversary of the invention of the Newcomen Engine, the World’s first steam engine, built in Dudley in 1712.

Emma said, “Black Country Day is a fantastic way for people in our city and across the rest of the Black Country to come together and celebrate our proud history. There were some fantastic photos of people celebrating our region’s heritage with pride.

“The Black Country was at the centre of the Industrial Revolution and it is that history which is depicted on our Black Country Flag. Today the Black Country continues that proud tradition. It is home to world leading steel, aerospace and automotive companies. Black Country Day is a great way of promoting the Black Country throughout the UK and abroad.”

July 2018


The post Emma celebrates annual Black Country Day appeared first on Emma Reynolds MP.

Basingstoke MP Maria Miller met up with young people taking part in the National Citizen Service (NCS) scheme in Basingstoke to learn about what they have been doing as part of the programme. 

Celebrating Squadron 1444!

Wendy Morton (Aldridge-Brownhills)

It was once again a pleasure to join the 1444 (Brownhills) Squadron Air Cadets at their Annual Dining In and Presentation Evening last weekend.

Locally our Air Cadet squadrons do some fantastic work to support our community and it was a real honour to be invited to be part of their annual presentation evening at which awards were presented to those who have excelled over the previous 12-months.

It was also an opportunity to celebrate their recent success, as a Squadron, in taking first place at the recent Wing Field Day. Congratulations to you all!

Anne Marie's Weekly Column

Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbot)

Westminster Week

Woolenwick Infant and Nursery School invited Stephen McPartland, Member of Parliament for Stevenage, as a special guest to their summer exhibition. The children showcased their creative learning, based on their discovery of a sheep's skull on the school's site and sculptures by Simon Axford-Jones in Symonds Green.

Stephen McPartland MP commented. “The video and exhibition were amazing and the imagination of the children is awe-inspiring. The exhibition stems from the children's discovery of the sheep's skull and that there may have been a sheep farm here in the past.”

The exhibits included the children’s felt collages, models and sculpture as well as a life sized sheep family, created in wire by artist, Emma Walker, returning sheep to the Woolenwick landscape.

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MP Derek Thomas says that Transport Minister Jo Johnson ‘totally gets’ the argument that West Cornwall’s diverse group of food and drink producers should be able to send their products to London by train.

The Minister travelled to Penzance last week to discuss the issues with Mr Thomas, who has championed the need for such a service since first being elected as MP three years ago.

In March 2016, Derek hosted a Parliamentary event when Cornish producers travelled with 7.5 tonnes of goods to the House of Commons, meeting more than 40 London-based purchase managers and last year he hosted trade fair at Porthleven, again showcasing local produce and canvassing support for the rail freight service from guest visitor Prince Charles.

There has been a limited train freight service available from Penzance for the past couple of years which has been used by meat and dairy producers, brewers, cider makers, gin distillers, seafood suppliers, artists and even an ‘Extreme Cake-Maker’.

However, the new Hitachi Hi-Speed trains, which come into service on the Penzance to Paddington route next month, will not have any space for freight.

Mr Thomas, who met Mr Johnson at the station with local businessmen Robin Turner and Tristan Hugh-Jones, said: “The Minister totally gets the arguments that the train should be taking more of our Cornish goods from Penzance up to London.

“Our road infrastructure is struggling to cope with the ever-increasing amount of traffic which is clogging up the main roads into Cornwall.

“Sending some of our much sought-after produce by train will reduce the number of road haulage journeys to London with a corresponding cut in emissions while customers will have much greater certainty that their order of fresh Cornish produce will arrive on time and in good condition.

“I am very pleased that the Minister has agreed to write to Cornwall Council and the LEP, encouraging them to find funding for a feasibility study into the requirement for freight on the service from Penzance to Paddington.”


Spaceport selection ‘hugely disappointing’

Angus MacNeil (Na h-Eileanan an Iar)

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil says it is ‘hugely disappointing’ that North Uist has missed out on selection as the site of the UK’s first spaceport.


Mr MacNeil was involved in discussions on the proposal with the Scottish Government and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar earlier this year.


He said: “It is hugely disappointing that North Uist has not been chosen as the site for the UK’s first spaceport.


“Uist is an ideal site due to its location and also because of the expertise and experience already in place at the Hebrides Range.”


photo 3 April 2018

Earlier this year Angus MacNeil MP met with Scottish Minister Paul Wheelhouse MSP and Roddie Mackay and Joe Macphee from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to discuss the Spaceport proposal in Uist.

(for more news also see my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/chrislesliemp)

A week is definitely a long time in politics. Theresa May must look back longingly to just last weekend when she thought she’d brought her Cabinet behind her ‘Chequers Agreement’ plan for Brexit. But it fell to pieces after 48 hours when hard Brexiteers David Davis and Boris Johnson threw their toys out of the pram in resignation. Their ideological attachment to a hard Brexit was never going to survive contact with economic – or parliamentary – reality. The Prime Minister should have forced them to confront this before triggering Article 50.

The truth was always that our trading future must be in a close partnership with our nearest European neighbours. Boris and David Davis have figured out that the Chequers Plan is not a ‘final offer’ but an opening gambit. And there are serious problems with the package the Prime Minister proposes. It seems to me that there are ten things to know about the Government’s proposals:

  1. The Chequers Plan would still be a hard Brexit that would damage our economy
  2. It won’t deliver the ‘exact same benefits’ as EU membership
  3. It would be devastating for our services sector – totally neglected by the Government plan
  4. It would turn the UK into a rule taker
  5. The proposed customs system is unworkable
  6. It wouldn’t even deliver the Government’s promises about new trade deals
  7. Ending free movement would hurt our economy and young people’s life chances
  8. The white paper says nothing about the future of the NHS
  9. The proposals risk damaging our security
  10. There is no majority for this type of Brexit in the House of Commons

Today Donald Trump has pulled the rug from beneath the Prime Minister’s feet, saying that her Chequers plan may have killed off a chance of a US trade deal (which in reality was never very likely anyway). All the more reason to offer a People’s Vote on any Brexit deal so we can at least keep our European alliances on the table.

I hope that Labour will do the right thing for the country and put the principles of jobs, growth and the interests of future generations first, as I set out in my Evening Standard article this week here. With the Trade Bill & Customs Bill due for debate next week, MPs are going to have to avoid the temptation of short-term partisan tactics and seriously act in the national interest first and foremost.


  • Nottingham’s criminal justice system depends on the consistent and dedicated work of those working in our courts, police, prosecutor services and prisons – and more besides. So it was a real insight to have the chance to visit the Bridewell custody facility next to the Magistrates Court on Thursday, where Inspector Tracey Lovegrove (pictured below) showed me how those arrested and awaiting trial are processed, charged and detained. The building is now showing some signs of age and there are plans to replace it with a newly built facility near Radford Road Police Station. Officers manage the facility and have to monitor those remanded in custody closely, taking account of health needs and self-harm risks. They had 26 prisoners in the facility when I visited but have space for up to 110 and sadly it can get very busy especially on Friday and Saturday nights. I want to pay tribute to the often unsung efforts of the officers working at the Bridewell who are in the frontline of making sure that evidence is collected effectively and our justice system can succeed.

IBridewell Custody Suite


  • Nottingham City Council and Nottingham City Homes are undertaking works to connect four low-rise apartment blocks in Sneinton to the District Heating Network and make them more energy efficient. On Thursday I visited the site for myself to see how these measures will benefit residents. As part of the city’s Greener HousiNG programme, 94 households in Bryon, Keswick, Morley and Haywood Courts will also be receiving measures including external wall insulation, new roofs with solar systems and battery storage. The idea being to make the flats warmer whilst reducing bills and ensuring that the energy comes from low-carbon sources. These homes are the final scheme to be delivered as part of the EU funded REMOURBAN project which has benefitted 400 homes in Sneinton.

 I also visited the homes that are part of a UK pilot by Nottingham City Homes to retrofit properties with wrap-around pre-fabricated wall and roof panels, using a ground-breaking approach called “Energiesprong”.  The adaptations are intended to improve older houses using measures to save and generate energy, and they should dramatically reduce household energy bills and make homes warmer, while being near zero-energy.  They finished results also look very fresh and attractive.  You can find out more about this pioneering approach here : https://www.energiesprong.uk/projects/nottingham

NCH Energiesprong

  • POW Nottingham is a peer-founded charity supporting individuals involved in or affected by sex work. I took time this week to visit the charity and hear for myself about the work they provide as a clinic for sexual health and drug dependency, and the help they give those affected with health information and outreach into the community. We have got to provide support to those who are caught in this trade, especially those exploited or drawn into what can often be a situation of modern slavery. If we fail to offer support and preventative intervention it not only has a human cost, but will end up costing the rest of the public services much more in the long run. Investing in these local community services saves cost and harm for the wider society.

POW Nottingham advice centre


  • 87 percent of people in Nottinghamshire agreed with Nottinghamshire Police’s policy that misogyny should classified hate crime. These figures come from a survey commissioned by Nottingham Women’s Centre and funded by the Office for Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner. However the survey also showed that despite strong support for the policy amongst the public, misogyny hate crime is still highly prevalent but under-reported.
  • The environmental measures adopted by Nottingham City Council means that it is now no longer considering the introduction of a Clean Air Zone. On Monday, Portfolio Holder for Energy and Environment, Sally Longford told a full council meeting that new and existing environmental measures will reduce air pollution to below the legal levels. Cllr Longford said: ‘Results of air quality modelling showed these measures will have a significant effect in reducing emissions, bringing Nottingham into compliance by 2020. Although we considered a Class B Clean Air Zone – which would have affected HGVs, buses and taxis – the actions we’re taking will have a positive impact across the whole city, rather than just in one area.’
  • Domestic and General have announced that they will be creating another 70 jobs in Nottingham in the next six months. The company which insures, services and repairs over 5000 household appliances already has a large presence in Nottingham East. The news jobs, which will be a mix of full and part-time roles, form part of a plan by the company to make their Nottingham offices a central part of their international business. Jo Hale, the company’s Client Contact Director, said ‘We are really pumping money into Nottingham and wanted to make Notts a flagship for us’.



  • England’s loss in the World Cup semi-final against Croatia was a disappointment to the millions watching the match across the country, but there was nevertheless a massive sense of collective pride in the teamwork, dedication and achievement at getting as far as we did. Gareth Southgate has been an impressive, calm and grown-up leader and the jokes about him taking over running the country began to look quite appealing at various points this week! We did have some trouble in the city centre earlier in the week after the match against Sweden when a taxi was attacked – but the Police have responded well and I’m glad that the vast majority of people have been enjoying the World Cup and reflecting the respect and honour which this young set of England players has come to represent.
  • Liam Fox, International Trade Secretary, appeared before my Trade Select Committee this week for questioning. He was clearly uncomfortable defending the Prime Minister’s Chequers Plan and was so half-hearted that I wondered whether he would also resign half way through the committee hearing. I wanted to press him in particular on the concept of a ‘Facilitated Customs Arrangement’ which in no way can substitute for the Customs Union. It doesn’t have any precedent anywhere in the world, and may possibly be illegal under WTO rules. See a clip from the session at the link here.
  • The peace deal on the horn of Africa between Ethiopia and Eritrea has been little reported but is actually a major achievement this week that deserves recognition. The conflict has seen tens of thousands of deaths in the past two years but it has been brought to an end by some patient work in a border commission to resolve disputed territorial issues. The arrival of Abiy Ahmed as Ethiopian Prime Minister has evidently helped end the 20 year long dispute. I hope that the international community will help support and encourage any settlement that endures.


Donald Trump’s visit to the UK this week has unsurprisingly grabbed the headlines; his brash and arrogant approach representing a serious threat to the rules-based international institutions such as NATO and the World Trade Organisation. The many protests occurring across the country are a testament to how many people are concerned at the lurch to the right-wing and protectionist attitudes he represents. I’d be interested to know your views on this Trump visit. Do you feel that Parliament should have resisted this visit, or do we have to accept that – as the President of one of Britain’s closest allies – we have a responsibility to engage in dialogue? Is the reputation of the United States as a whole tarnished by Trump or should we distinguish between Trump’s administration and the (often exasperated) other elected representatives and general American public? I hope that Theresa May is forthright in expressing her opposition to his attitude towards migrants, women, child refugees and on many many other matters. But I fear she will hold back her criticisms for fear of offending such a thin-skinned bully.


Chris Leslie

Labour & Co-operative Party MP for Nottingham East

Last week, I asked the Defence Secretary to update the House about the threat to British citizens from the Russian State following the tragic announcement of the death of Dawn Sturgess in Wiltshire. I will work with the Home Secretary and MP for Salisbury, John Glen to ensure that Wiltshire is safe and properly supported.

The post Asking the Defence Secretary to update the House about the threat to British citizens from the Russian State appeared first on Michelle Donelan MP.

Tenovus Choir and Kidwelly Carnival

Nia Griffith (Llanelli)

Great community spirit this weekend with Tenovus Cancer Care Choir entertaining shoppers in the St Elli Centre with Steve Eldridge doing a solo turn…. my generation music!

Then on to Kidwelly Carnival Parade and fun day. Thanks to all who work hard to put in community events.

Durham Miner’s Gala

Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central)

Wonderful to see the #LabourMovement out in sunshine & solidarity for the #BigMeeting with friends, comrades, brass bands, & a more equal vision for the future #durhamminersgala

Jeremy Corbyn @jeremycorbyn

Today’s @DurhamGala reminds us what we can achieve when we stand together to fight for our common goals of peace, prosperity and social justice.

A specialist Learning Disability Centre has won the local nomination of a prestigious National award. As part of the celebrations to mark the 70th birthday of the NHS, Hillside Ward at Ash Green Specialist Learning Disability Centre, were nominated by Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins for a NHS70 Parliamentary Award for Care and Compassion.

The NHS70 Parliamentary Awards is a scheme designed to find and celebrate health heroes and to thank staff for their outstanding contribution, hard work and care across the NHS. Hillside Ward provides specialist assessment and treatment to patients with complex needs and is part of the learning disability services at Ash Green.

Toby said “I believe it is vital that we recognise the tremendous effort and dedication of NHS staff. I saw the great work the team at Hillside Ward do with some very vulnerable patients. The team fully deserve to be recognised in this way and I am very proud to have nominated them for the NHS70 award.”

On a recent visit to the Centre, Toby was shown around by Ward Manager Sue Hedley and Mary Holbrook. Mary said “It was great to get this recognition via the Parliamentary Awards from our MP and to welcome him to see the work which the ward does at first hand.”

Toby with Ward Manager Sue Hedley and Mary Holbrook

Toby with Ward Manager Sue Hedley and Mary Holbrook

Breaking the glass ceiling

Luciana Berger (Liverpool, Wavertree)

The AllBright Academy is offering 20 FREE places to women across Liverpool Wavertree for its freshly launched programmes to help all women gain the skills, confidence and network to help achieve career ambitions.Academy

The AllBright Academy is designed to support working women, whatever stage of their career journey they’re at to build resilience, manage the work-life balance and how to own a room. It is completely free to join.

Over 50 inspiring women have agreed to share their expertise, from business leaders to athletes, including design entrepreneur Cath Kidston MBE, Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Farrah Storr, GB Olympic gold medallist Crista Cullen and Propercorn founder Cassandra Stavrou.

There are two specialist streams led by academy co-founders, Debbie Wosskow OBE and Anna Jones: one for female founders, and the other on smashing the glass ceiling, whatever industry you’re in.

Debbie’s course gets into the nitty gritty of running a business, from taxes and sales to building and promoting a brand, while Anna’s equips women with the skills to ask for what they want at work, with modules on communication styles and how to negotiate to get what you want.

Both programmes start on September 10 and run online for 10 weeks. All the content is accessed online, wherever you are. You’ll just need to put aside three to four hours each week to complete the course.

Applications are open till the end of July, but it is worth applying as soon as you can by clicking here.

You will be asked for some information on your background and why you’d like to join, then enter the code Luciana20 when prompted to be considered for one of the 20 places for the constituency.

People contact their MP for numerous reasons – it may a campaign they are interested in, an issue they feel passionately about or something they want to celebrate, writes Tracy Brabin MP in her latest column.

There are also those who get in touch when they are at their lowest ebb or when they feel they have nowhere else to go.

To put it another way, they go to their MP when the state has failed them. These people, who are often the most vulnerable in society, are crying out for help.

I bring this up because I’ve recently had several constituents contact me about their Personal Independence Payments (PIP) being abruptly cancelled as a result of punitive reviews.

This is nothing new – but figures from the first three months of this year show that 71% of those who appealed the decisions won. In other words, they should have never had their PIP stopped in the first place.

Among those who contacted me was Joanne, a local woman whose debilitating condition means that she needs 24-hour care. Her PIP was reviewed a full year before her claim was due to run out and ultimately stopped, leading to what she describes as a “catastrophic loss financially”. Joanne and her family now rely on the foodbank to put food on the table.

I had the opportunity to raise her case in the House of Commons with the Government Disabilities Minister; her response was patronising, cold and demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of a system she is employed to oversee.

These decisions have real human consequences. As Joanne so articulately put it, PIP allowed her to “have something beyond merely existing”.

Another constituent who voluntarily gave up PIP after feeling well enough to return to work later discovered how cruel the system can be.

She suffers from PTSD and her vivid flashbacks led to her employer eventually advising that it was unsafe for her be at work.

But the good people at ATOS – a private contractor whose repeated failings saw them rewarded with a multi-million pound extension of their contract – found her fit to work.

ATOS, along with Capita, have had a staggering 14,805 of their PIP decisions overturned in the first three months of this year, and yet the Government is throwing vast sums of cash at them.

The Tories are rewarding failure while the most vulnerable suffer the consequences, and it needs to be stopped.




Jesse’s Ross Gazette column: an update from Jesse

Jesse Norman (Hereford and South Herefordshire)

Hello again! This column dropped out briefly from the pages of the Gazette, but it's a pleasure now to be able to bring it back.

Following the recent completion of an Interim Traffic Report on the B197, Grant Shapps has welcomed its recommendations, which move the road one step closer to seeing a 30mph limit outside a popular local school.

MP Grant Shapps met with parents and the headteacher of St Michael’s Primary School last December to discuss safety concerns on the 40mph B197. A traffic feasibility study was subsequently carried out between January and May of this year.

The local MP discussed the issue with Welwyn County Councillor Richard Smith, who commissioned the study and recently briefed locals on the Interim Report at the annual meetings of both Woolmer Green and Welwyn Parish councils. While the report is yet to be fully reviewed by County officials, he has recommended short-term measures to include a controlled crossing outside of St Michael’s Primary School and upgrades to existing Zebra crossings and bus stops on the road.

More significant changes, which will have to be considered in the context of the A1(M) becoming a ‘Smart Motorway’, include reducing the width of the B197 and the speed limit to 40mph throughout and 30mph outside the two schools.

Jan Martin, Head Teacher at St Michael’s Woolmer Green said, “I was of course delighted to hear the details of the Interim Report about the Traffic Feasibility Study. It would be great to have a controlled crossing outside St Michael’s and to upgrade the zebra crossing; this would go some way to ensuring the safety of our families.”

Following the report’s findings Grant commented “Reducing the speed limit to 30mph and making the crossings safer for children is a subject that I and other local parents have been campaigning on for some time. With two primary schools on this road it is vital that we keep our school children safe.

“I was therefore pleased that the interim report has recognised that the road is a genuine safety risk, and it now proposes a number of solutions – some of which can be implemented soon.

Meanwhile, I will continue to push for more significant changes in the long-term. So, as far as I’m concerned, the direction of travel is right, but there is still more to do.”

These aren’t normal times…

John Penrose (Weston-Super-Mare)

I don’t often write about national issues in this column. But these aren’t normal times and, with the EU ‘Chequers agreement’ and Cabinet Ministers resigning, this week is an exception!

There will be a huge amount of hot air about what we should or shouldn’t be asking for in the Brexit negotiations. But, for me, there’s a simple test.

Forget people hyperventilating about obscure details most of us had never heard of a year ago. The first question is whether we’re really, genuinely leaving at all.

However each of us voted in the referendum (I was Remain), we’re all democrats first and foremost and, as one of the oldest democracies in the world, we’ve got to be able to look ourselves and our neighbours in the eye and say that we did what the vote decided. Otherwise, when the next General Election comes along, why should anyone pay any attention to the result then either?

So if, six months after we’re supposed to have left, a European judge decides a case which still directly affects us here in the UK, we won’t really have left at all.

That’s why the ‘three freedoms’: to control our own laws, money and borders, matter so much. An EU deal which includes them means we will have genuinely have left. One that doesn’t, means we won’t.

The good news is that, once we’ve delivered the three freedoms, we can have the softest, most frictionless, cleanest Brexit we want.

And before everyone gets too excited about the ‘Chequers Deal’, remember that no-one knows what Brussels will say in reply. Chequers is only the opening shot, and the final deal will inevitably be different. But at least the test gives us an easy way to work out if it’s any good or not. Let’s see!

Privacy Policy

Steve Pound (Ealing North)

Under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) personal data is defined as:

any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘data subject’); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person”.

 How we use your information

 This privacy notice tells you how STEPHEN POUND MP’s office will collect and use your personal data.

Why does STEPHEN POUND MP need to collect and store personal data?

For us to be able to deal with casework for constituents and to keep residents updated about campaigns and local issues we need to collect personal data. We are committed to ensuring that the information we collect and use is appropriate for this purpose, and does not constitute an invasion of your privacy.

 The lawful basis for processing casework data has been identified as public interest.

 In terms of being contacted for marketing purposes/campaigning STEPHEN POUND MP’s office would contact you for additional consent

Will STEPHEN POUND MP’s office share my personal data with anyone else?

We may pass your personal data on to third-party service providers while corresponding with you, such as local authorities, government agencies, public bodies, health trusts, regulators, and so on. Any third parties that we may share your data with are obliged to keep your details securely, and to use them only for the purpose they were provided. When they no longer need your data to fulfil this service, they will dispose of the details in line with our procedures. If we wish to pass your special categories of personal data to a third party we will only do so once we have obtained your consent, unless we are legally required to do otherwise.

STEPHEN POUND MP’s office contracts third parties to undertake work that involves our data: casework software maintenance, data entry, website hosting and maintenance, email management software and shredding. Our contractors are either EU based or based in countries deemed “adequate” by the EU for data protection terms. In all cases contractors and sub-contractors have signed contracts which guarantee that appropriate technical and organisational measures are in place to protect the data.

 Personal Data and the website of STEPHEN POUND MP

Our website uses Google Analytics to track our visitors. This process uses Cookies to recognise returning visitors. For full terms of the Google Analytics process see http://www.google.com/analytics/en-GB/tos.html.

A cookie is a tiny text file that is stored on your computer. We may use cookies to tailor your experience on our site according to the preferences you have specified. 

 How will STEPHEN POUND MP’s office use the personal data it collects about me?

 STEPHEN POUND MP’s office will process (collect, store and use) the information you provide in a manner compatible with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We will endeavour to keep your information accurate and up to date, and not keep it for longer than is necessary. STEPHEN POUND MP’s office is required to retain information in accordance with the law, such as information needed for income tax and audit purposes. How long certain kinds of personal data should be kept may also be governed by specific requirements and agreed practices. Personal data may be held in addition to these periods depending on individual needs.

 Under what circumstances will STEPHEN POUND MP’s office contact me?

 To process casework, it may be necessary to contact you to get further information from you or to feedback any responses we receive.

 If you have provided consent to be contacted about local campaigns and news we will contact you when required. You will always have the option of withdrawing consent.

 Can I find out the personal data that STEPHEN POUND MP’s office holds about me?

 At your request, STEPHEN POUND MP’s office can confirm what information we hold about you and how it is processed. If STEPHEN POUND MP’s office does hold personal data about you, you can request the following information:

  • Our identity and the contact details.

  • Contact details of the data protection officer.

  • The purpose of the processing as well as the legal basis for processing.

  • If the processing is based on the legitimate interests of STEPHEN POUND MP’s office or a third party, information about those interests.

  • The categories of personal data collected, stored and processed.

  • Recipient(s) or categories of recipients that the data is/will be disclosed to.

  • If we intend to transfer the personal data to a third country or international organisation, information about how we ensure this is done securely. The EU has approved sending personal data to some countries because they meet a minimum standard of data protection. In other cases, we will ensure there are specific measures in place to secure your information.

  • How long the data will be stored.

  • Details of your rights to correct, erase, restrict or object to such processing.

  • Information about your right to withdraw consent at any time.

  • How to lodge a complaint with the supervisory authority.

  • Whether the provision of personal data is a statutory or contractual requirement, or a requirement necessary to enter into a contract, as well as whether you are obliged to provide the personal data and the possible consequences of failing to provide such data.

  • The source of personal data if it wasn’t collected directly from you.

  • Any details and information of automated decision making, such as profiling, and any meaningful information about the logic involved, as well as the significance and expected consequences of such processing.

 Contact the data controller STEPHEN POUND MP by using the details listed below.

 What forms of ID will I need to provide to access this?

 STEPHEN POUND MP’s office accepts the following forms of ID when information on your personal data is requested: passport or driving licence.

Contact details of the Data Controller

Contact Name:


Address line 1:

House of Commons

Address line 2:


Address line 3:





020 7219 1140

How to make a complaint
If you wish to make a complaint about how your personal data is being processed by STEPHEN POUND MP’s Office (or third parties as described in 3.4 above), or how your complaint has been handled, you have the right to lodge a complaint directly with the supervisory authority and STEPHEN POUND MP (the data controller).

 The details for each of these contacts are:


Supervisory authority contact details

Data protection controller

Contact Name:

Information Commissioner’s Office


Address line 1:

Wycliffe House

House of Commons

Address line 2:

Water Lane


Address line 3:



Address line 4:










01625 545 745

020 7219 1140

Gwynne concern over GM police cover for Trump visit

Andrew Gwynne (Denton and Reddish)

Denton and Reddish MP, Andrew Gwynne, has expressed his concern as the Home Office and Greater Manchester Police confirmed that the force are committing 250 officers to help with the weekend visit of Donald Trump to the UK.

Greater Manchester Police are sending 250 officers to help with increased security and to deal with the large protests expected across the capital ahead of the visit of the US President.

It has been reported that the National Police Coordination Centre had requested over 400 officers from Greater Manchester, however that request was purportedly rejected from the force.

It is understood that 4,000 officers from other forces in the UK will be mobilised to support Met Police colleagues in areas Trump is visiting.

Andrew Gwynne said:

“Given that communities across Greater Manchester have lost over 2,000 officers due to Government cuts since 2010 and with the 101 emergency line in chaos, I’m really concerned of the capacity of Greater Manchester Police to cover the whole conurbation over the weekend.


“With England playing at the World Cup again on Saturday, as well as the hot summer weather and further Trump protests in Greater Manchester itself the police are already over-stretched.


“The Government should have had a better plan in place ahead of this visit.”

MP campaigns for free-to-use community cashpoints

Susan Elan Jones (Clwyd South)

Susan Elan Jones MP has been campaigning in Parliament for free-to-access cashpoint machines.

The Clwyd South MP who met recently with consumer champions Which? is a strong supporter of free-to-access cashpoints. She has called on the Government and financial regulators to ensure that every community has at least one free-to-use cashpoint.

“I had a really good meeting with consumer champions Which? to discuss our local needs”, said Susan Elan Jones MP. “We also discussed Which?’s national campaigning and the need for greater regulation of the LINK machine network.

“I have also had a very productive meeting with the Payment Systems Regulator about the local towns and villages that make up the Clwyd South constituency. This regulatory body has now confirmed that under their new guidance the LINK machine network has committed to maintaining the current geographical spread of free-to-use ATM cashpoints by protecting any machine that is more 1Km from any others. That is really important in an area like ours with so many villages and small towns. I asked them the question directly and am pleased now to get formal confirmation about this vital matter.”

Cashpoints are under threat because LINK – which runs the UK’s largest cash machine network – has cut the amount that banks pay operators for withdrawals, making some machines no longer financially viable to run. Over 500 ATMs across the UK close every month, with 2,611 machines having disappeared in the five months between December 2017 and May this year.

SEJ with Which (3)

What a busy few weeks!  Armed Forces Day was a huge success for Llandudno and Conwy Council and they deserve praise for the way in which the event was managed.

I have had nothing but praise for the event from colleagues within the Ministry of Defence and I must confess that welcoming the Princess Royal and the Prime Minister to Llandudno as the local MP and a Defence minister was a very proud moment.

Congratulations to all who were involved and a heartfelt thank you.

With over 500 ATMs closing across the UK every month, Alex Cunningham is backing a campaign to save Stockton North’s cashpoints.

Along with Which? and the Federation of Small Businesses, Alex is demanding that the regulator urgently intervenes before more communities are left without free access to cash withdrawals.

Cashpoints are under threat because LINK – which runs the UK’s largest cash machine network – has cut the amount that banks pay operators for withdrawals, making some machines no longer financially viable to run.

With 2,611 machines having disappeared in the five months between December 2017 and May this year, fears are mounting that Stockton could lose its cashpoints, impacting highstreets, local trade and peoples’ ability to pay for local goods and services.

Alex said:

“Our community cannot afford to lose its cashpoints, which local businesses and people rely on. These machines are vital to the local economy and important to peoples’ daily lives – from buying groceries to paying bills – access to cash is essential.

“That’s why I’m backing the ‘Save our Cashpoints’ campaign and will be calling on the regulator to ensure local people aren’t suddenly left being unable to pay in cash.”

These reductions mark a twelve-fold increase from a steady rate of fewer than 50 closures a month since 2015 and accelerated as operators began to learn of the plans from LINK.

Of concern to Alex, is that almost four percent of the ATM network was lost across the country in the five months up to May this year.

The ‘Save our Cashpoints’ campaign calls on the Payment Systems Regulator to conduct an urgent review to fully evaluate the impact that these changes could have on communities and peoples’ ability to use cash payments.

Harry Rose, Which? Money Editor, said:

“With hundreds of cashpoints closing every month we have serious concerns that many people will be left struggling to access the cash they need – with severe consequences for communities and businesses.

“The impact of these funding cuts is already clear – with machines closing at a frightening pace. The regulator must act now to stop further closures and ensure that people aren’t suddenly stripped of their free access to cash.”


Letter to Rail Minister

Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North)

Catherine has written today to the Rail Minister, following his attendance at the All-Party Parliamentary Group meeting on 26th June. Click on the images to read this letter.
SNP MSP Richard Lochhead is calling on the Home Office to prioritise visas for teachers as a matter of urgency by including the entire teaching profession in the Tier 2 Visa ‘shortage occupation list.’   This echoes calls from the TES #LetThemTeach campaign which launched following their investigation showing that international teachers are either being denied visas … Continue reading CALLS FOR THE HOME OFFICE TO SCRAP THE CAP ON TEACHING VISAS  

High Peak MP Ruth George is inviting parents to a meeting to share their experiences of trying to access support at school for their children’s special needs.

“I am very aware that schools and the local education authority have seen their budgets cut considerably in recent years, leaving schools in a very vulnerable position – and special education funding has been squeezed still further.

“Parents have told me of very worrying cases where their children, often with very severe additional needs, have been refused support at school by Derbyshire County Council.

“Derbyshire agreed in February to cut spending on educational psychiatrists and is planning reduce spending this by a further £114,000 next year.

“This service – which helps to assess and diagnose children and young people behavioural, emotional and learning difficulties –  is already overloaded with work, forcing schools and parents to seek outside help.

“I raised the matter in the House of Commons with Secretary of State for Education who asked for examples of children who have been refused support.”

If you have been affected, or if you feel your child needs more support – please come along and I will take up your case directly with him.  If you can’t come along, please email me at: ruth.george.mp@parliment.uk

The meeting is on Thursday 19 July, 12noon to 1.30pm at Glossop Labour Club, Chapel Street.

The post Ruth George invites parents to discuss special needs education appeared first on Ruth George MP for High Peak.

Local MP Damian Green is supporting a campaign run by charity The Reading Agency to encourage all primary school children to take part in this year’s Summer Reading Challenge, which launches across England and Wales on Saturday 14 July.

Joy and sadness

Richard Benyon (Newbury)

Before joining the madness of Westminster last Monday I had a morning of joy mixed with great sadness. I started by visiting the soon-to-be-opened renal and cancer care unit at West Berkshire Hospital. Whilst this is being staffed and run by the NHS, it has been built with over £4 million of local donations. A […]

My new role as Minister for Housing

Kit Malthouse (North West Hampshire)

I am very pleased to have been appointed to the role of Minister of State for Housing in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government by the Prime Minister. I look forward to joining ministerial colleagues to work on one of the priority areas for the Government.

Although brief, my time in the Department for Work and Pensions was very rewarding and it was a pleasure to see the transformative power of Universal Credit to help people into work and stay there. The reform will make the world of difference to people who had been let down by the previous system and touring job centres around the country and meeting the brilliant staff gave me a huge amount of confidence in the Government’s marquee social reform. I wish my replacement, Justin Tomlinson MP, all the best as he takes over.

Everyone deserves a safe, affordable and secure place to call home and fixing Britain’s broken housing market is of paramount importance to me and is the generational challenge of our time. As I start the job it will be safety, affordability, environmental quality and my longstanding commitment to strong local plans and neighbourhood plans in the forefront of my mind. Let’s get started.

South Birmingham Bus Network

Richard Burden (Birmingham, Northfield)

Many local residents will be aware that National Express have announced changes to some bus routes in and around South Birmingham. These changes will come into force from Sunday 22nd July and include small changes, such as timetable amendments, as well as some larger route changes. National Express believe these changes will help to provide […]

Ayes to the Left Podcast: The Collapse of the Centre Left

Liam Byrne (Birmingham, Hodge Hill)

Across Europe the centre left is in trouble. Of the 28 EU states only six have a left-wing government and most of those are minority administrations.In the last elections the workers party in Holland came eighth.In the French elections the socialist party’s Benoit Hamon came fifth with 6% of the vote.It is a similar story in Germany, the Czech Republic, Greece and Italy. Centre left parties which were in power for much for the second half of the 20th century are now locked in a battle for survival.In the latest Ayes to the Left podcast Jason Beattie talks to Labour MP Liam Byrne and Stewart Wood, a former adviser to Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband, on why support for mainstream social democratic parties has collapsed.They discuss how Jeremy Corbyn has bucked the trend and whether his brand of socialism offers a way forward.And they talk about how the left needs to respond to the tide of populism and anti-immigration sentiment sweeping across Europe and America.Is there hope for moderate social democratic parties? Listen and find out.

The post Ayes to the Left Podcast: The Collapse of the Centre Left appeared first on Liam Byrne MP.

The Prime Minister has promised quicker progress towards Brexit, responding to a question from Matt Warman, MP for Boston and Skegness. Matt urged the Government and the EU to make progress on striking a deal, following the Cabinet’s Chequers agreement for Britain’s new relationship with the EU.

In the Prime Minister’s statement on Leaving the EU yesterday, Matt pointed out that his constituency returned the highest leave vote in 2016 and that his constituents are keen to “just get on with it”. He asked, “The deal negotiated at Chequers delivers on bringing decisions on immigration, money and law back to this House. Please will the Prime Minister get on with it, and will she urge the European Union to get on with it?”

Agreeing with Matt, the Prime Minister said, “I am happy to agree with my hon. Friend. I hope and expect that we will now see a greater pace and intensity in the negotiations, because we want to ensure that we meet the October deadline for coming to an agreement.”

Commenting afterwards, Matt added, “I know how important delivering on the results of the referendum is to my constituents, so am pleased with the Prime Minister’s assurances that she is getting on with the job. We all want to see an end to free movement, a sovereign Parliament and an independent trade policy, and I will continue to support the Government in striving for the best possible Brexit deal for the UK.”


On your marks, get set, decorate!

Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith)

Pupils unveil Meadowbank masterpieces to brighten building site.

SNP MP, Drew Hendry has called on the UK Government to deliver on its responsibilities to the Highlands & Islands on Airport Passenger Duty (APD) exemption.

The Highland MP made the comments today during a Westminster debate on Airport Passenger Duty.

The Scottish Government plans to reduce the tax which is one of the highest of its kind in Europe by 50%, to benefit the Scottish economy and to encourage more flights at Scottish Airports.

However, implementation has had to be delayed because the way APD has been devolved by the UK Government, puts at risk the long standing Highlands & Islands exemption. 

Highlands and Islands airports have had exemption from Air Passenger Duty since 2000, because of the area’s low population density as a definition of its peripherality.

This arrangement increases the viability of flights to the region and reduces costs for air travel for Highland & Islands residents.

Even with this exemption in place, air fares to and from the region remain higher than many other areas of the UK.

In the current form APD has been devolved, it is likely that the existing exemption would need to be assessed by the European Commission, under EU State Aid rules and can only be resolved through UK Government intervention.

During the debate, Mr Hendry told Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Robert Jenrick, the UK Government had devolved a power not fit for purpose.

Commenting, Mr Hendry said:

“Air Passenger Duty is one of the most expensive taxes of its kind in the world and hampers Scotland’s ability to secure new direct international routes and maintain existing ones.

“That is why the Scottish Government remains committed to a 50% reduction through its new Airport Departure Tax and want to get on and deliver it.

“However, the Scottish Government cannot do this, until the issues around Highlands and Islands exemption have been resolved.

“The Scottish Government recognises how crucial this exemption is to the Highland economy. Even with the introduction of new flights our air connections remain some of the most fragile across these isles.

“The Smith Commission was very clear when it stated that: ‘the power to charge tax on air passengers leaving Scottish airports will be devolved to the Scottish Parliament. The Scottish Government will be free to make its own arrangements regarding the design and collection of any replacement tax’, yet, as we have seen time and time again with this Government, the arrangements on offer, limits the ability of the Scottish Government to make changes to benefit the Scottish economy. 

In his response to the Highland MP, Mr Jenrick confirmed that his department was willing to work closer with the Scottish Government to find a solution to the problem, recognising the commitment outlined in the Smith Commission.

Responding after the debate, Mr Hendry said:

“I am glad that the UK Government recognises it has failed to hand over APD in a workable way, and that Airport Departure Tax cannot be implemented by the Scottish Government without a solution to this problem.

“I hope that the assurances from Mr Jenrick today, are followed up by meaningful action from the UK Government, to enable the Scottish Government to introduce its reduced Airport Departure Tax, while protecting the Highlands and Islands exemption.


The post “UK Government must do more to protect Highlands & Islands Airport Passenger Duty exemption” appeared first on Drew Hendry MP.

Stewart Hosie MP backs 'Trauma Teddy' scheme

Stewart Hosie (Dundee East)

Dundee East MP Stewart Hosie has given his backing to a scheme started in Longhaugh Police Station in Scotland that sees police officers utilise knitted teddy bears to break down barriers with young children in potentially traumatic situations such as domestic violence call outs, road accidents and assaults.
Since starting the scheme earlier this year hundreds of teddy bears have been donated to Longhaugh Police Station. As well as helping to break down the communication barriers between Police Officers and young children the teddy bears – a symbol of comfort and safety in childhood - can also help prevent or reduce the possible long-term damage that an adverse childhood experience (ACE) can cause to young children.
Schemes such as this one are currently common practice in Australia and in parts of England and Wales however this is the first part of Scotland to adopt such a scheme. It is hoped that all Scottish Police divisions will soon follow suit – with a number currently looking to adopt it in the near future.
On a visit to Longhaugh Police Station Mr Hosie met with Inspector Chris Boath, PC Lynsay Jackson, PC Andy Kerr and Janie Mair – Service Manager of Children First Dundee and Tayside – to learn more about the scheme and ACE awareness as well as to discuss how he can help promote the trauma teddies. Stewart also donated a teddy to the station.
Commenting Dundee East MP Stewart Hosie said:
“The scheme is so simple but the impact it can have on young children is extraordinary.”
“I was thoroughly impressed, not just by the officers perseverance and dedication to this scheme but by the amazing response from the local community and organisations like Children First. Some of the teddies take a number of days to knit and the fact that they have received over 500 of them from local people is phenomenal. This is a prime example of the real sense of community spirit that is alive and well throughout my constituency.”
“On the visit I assured the officers that I will do everything that I can to assist in the rollout of this fantastic scheme in Dundee and across the country.”
Commenting Inspector Chris Boath said:
"Longhaugh Community Team and Police Scotland would like to thank Mr Hosie for his support and taking the time to visit and learn more about the Trauma Teddy initiative. Mr Hosie was very supportive and recognised the value of the initiative - not only as a gesture but a genuine opportunity for Police Officers to engage with children across Scotland."
Media enquiries contact:
Jack O’Neil
Communications – Office of Stewart Hosie MP
Email: Jack@dundeesnp.org
Phone: 01382 623200

James Cleverly welcomes the use of the reserve forces to recruit cyber-experts but calls on the Government to ensure that their career options are not limited because of their niche specialisation.

– Brexit update –

Royston Smith (Southampton, Itchen)

I campaigned for a referendum on our relationship with Europe for over 20 years. I began my political career in the Referendum Party in 1996. I have always been a eurosceptic. I will never forget (although it seems some have) that it was the Conservative Party led by David Cameron who gave the country an [...]

The post – Brexit update – appeared first on Royston Smith - At the heart of Southampton.

Gordon's next Advice Surgery - Friday 13th July

Gordon Marsden (Blackpool South)

Gordon is to hold one of his regular advice surgeries this coming Friday (13th July).

This will take place from 3.00pm to 4.30pm at his constituency office at 304 Highfield Road, Blackpool, FY4 3JX.

Appointments are required and can be made by either calling 01253 344143 or emailing gordonmarsdenmp@parliament.uk

The health of our citizens is a top priority, and the harmful effects of air pollution are well known. This year’s Clean Air Day highlighted the importance of clean air and looking after our environment as well as showing what Nottingham people can do in their own lives to make a difference. We’re proud of the work we’ve been doing to address air pollution in Nottingham; introducing greener transport, including one of the largest all-electric park and ride bus fleets in the country, and expanding our successful tram network, as well as investing in cycle infrastructure and ultra-low emission vehicles.

We know there is more to do though and that is why we have used July’s Full Council to layout our plans to bring down Nitrogen Dioxide by 2020 and also take measures to reduce particulate matter. Our motion will commit to go beyond government requirements by continuing our commitment to clean public transport, take action to reduce engine idling, helping people to shift to Ultra Low Emissions Vehicles and reducing the Council’s emissions of pollutants.

The electrification of the midlands mainline would be enormously beneficial to Nottingham’s air quality too as it would reduce the number of diesel trains coming into the city centre every day. Instead the new trains being proposed by the government – bi-mode trains – would continue to emit high levels of nitrogen dioxide into the city centre – an area of our city that the Government has already identified as having poor air quality. If the Government can commit to the £30 billion Crossrail 2 project which will mainly benefit London and the South East then they can commit to the electrification of the Midlands Mainline for Nottingham. It’s simply not good enough and our motion reaffirms our commitment to continue to campaign for this.

Cllr Sally Longford
Portfolio Holder for Energy and Enviroment

The post Nottingham Labour Commits to Tackling Air Pollution in the City appeared first on Nottingham Labour.

Soft Landing, not Soft Brexit

Paul Scully (Sutton and Cheam)

There has been plenty of coverage of the government position settled at a meeting of Cabinet last Friday at Chequers. Many think that this is a pragmatic starting point for the final rounds of negotiation with the EU. However most of the negative feedback cries betrayal but doesn’t really explain why the critic is against the deal, just that it is not Brexit. We have had a three page statement from the Prime Minister and now, a round of media articles and interviews but the detail comes next week in the White Paper. So rather than relying on the same journalists that both sides have been arguing are biased against remain/leave (delete where applicable), I rearranged my Saturday morning to go to a briefing in Downing Street to hear from those closest to the PM. On Monday I will attend another briefing with more colleagues and hear from the Prime Minister herself before reading with interest the White Paper when released. What I have heard so far satisfies me that whilst this approach is not where I would have wanted to be as someone who campaigned and voted for Leave, but is the most pragmatic offer that we can give at this stage.

When I was debating during the referendum campaign, the main pillars of the argument to leave were sovereignty – taking control and putting the UK parliament in control of our decisions, pooling sovereignty only when we chose to for our advantage; controlling immigration, so introducing a system that was fairer, allowing people with the skills and experience that we need and want into the UK no matter which country they were from rather than allowing unskilled economic migrants from parts of the EU with high youth unemployment to jump the queue and thirdly, to be able to expand our trade through ambitious free trade agreements with countries whose economies are booming and are predicted to become dominant in decades to come, all the time whilst keeping on friendly terms and continuing to trade with our closest partner, the 27 remaining countries of the EU, albeit their economy had been stagnating for the last decade and decreasing in size of our proportion of global trade. I was often asked what my Brexit looked like, to which I would always reply that I could tell them but that would preclude them from having a say. We were giving the government a mandate to leave and the way that we would leave would be arranged through debate and negotiation. So here is why I believe that this proposal fully meets the terms of the referendum in getting us out of the EU, rather than BRINO (Brexit in Name Only)

1. We will be leaving

Nothing changes in terms of our leaving date. We will still formally leave the EU on March 29th 2019. Assuming we reach a deal, we will have an implementation period, something that has already been agreed. This is simply to allow businesses to ready themselves for the trading arrangements that we agree. It’s not practical to reach a technical customs arrangement for example in April and expect businesses to be able to handle this just two months later. We need customs officers, particular technology in place. It’s complicated but deliverable with political will and a reasonable notice period. The agreement reached is that the implementation period will come to an end no later than December 31st 2020.

2. We will stop paying in large sums of money after we leave

The agreement that was completed last year means that we will be paying a final sum which includes the months of the implementation period and brings us to the end of the EU budgeting period that we were involved in preparing the budget for. However as we will be leaving the political organisations of the EU and will no longer be a member, there will be no huge membership fee to pay. Anything that we do end up paying will be based on our decision to buy into particular projects such as ERASMUS, the student exchange programme that comes with EU membership but is also open to third countries like Turkey and Taiwan. We can pick and choose which of these projects we join, if any. The money that we are then not spending on EU membership can be spent within the UK. Some of this will clearly replace the funding that is redistributed from the EU at present to farmers, universities and regeneration projects for example but again, we will decide where and how this is spent so it can be better targeted and spent more effectively.

3. Freedom of Movement will end

The automatic right of EU citizens to come to the UK to live will come to an end. The proposal talks about a mobility framework so that UK and EU citizens can continue to travel to each other’s territories, and apply for study and work. Travelling to each other’s territories is important so we don’t burden holidaymakers and travelling business people with a complicated visa application system, thus hindering travel. Applying for study and work is very different from having the right to walk in and study or work. There may be a preferential system for EU member states in this regard but only on the same basis as our top tier trading partners pushing for one in a free trade agreement, countries such as India, USA, Australia. So again, this is a visa system agreed as a sovereign government in exchange for preferential access to their markets and is reversable.

4. The European Court of Justice will no longer be the highest court in the UK

Once we leave, the Supreme Court will be the highest court in the UK, so UK courts will not refer cases to the ECJ. Clearly the EU will still have the ECJ as their highest arbiter. Ironically if the EU tried to change this at our request, the ECJ would strike the deal down as illegal under EU law. So in any trade disputes, each party will refer cases to their own court system. Our courts will keep an eye on case law set by the ECJ but will not be bound by it. They will try to ensure that they keep a common interpretation in cases where we are applying a common rulebook, such as disputes relating to the movement of goods. (Note, the European Court of Human Rights is a different body and entirely separate from the EU. It will remain.)

5. We will be leaving the CAP and CFP

We will no longer be subject to the Common Agricultural Policy or the Common Fisheries Policy. This means that although we will have some agreed restrictions on exports of agricultural products to the EU and imports, we will not have the EU micromanaging our farmers telling them which crops to grow and how. In leaving the Common Fisheries Policy we can reclaim our fishing waters.

6. There will be no hard border in Ireland, nor will Northern Ireland be treated differently from the rest of the UK

There are no Free Trade Agreements anywhere in the world that completely get over the need for checks. This proposal avoids the demand from the EU that Northern Ireland be kept within the EU Customs Union. However the proposal would bring us to near-frictionless trade with the UK and EU working together on the phased introduction of a new Facilitated Customs Arrangement that would remove the need for customs checks and controls between the two. The UK would apply our set tariffs on goods coming to stay in the UK and the EU’s tariffs on goods passing through to the EU. In the vast majority of cases businesses would pay the right or no tariff upfront and otherwise through a repayment mechanism. It is estimated that only around 4% of businesses will have to engage in the repayment process.

7. We will be able to do our own independent trade deals

By completing this bespoke customs arrangement, we would be liberated to secure our own trade deals with the rest of the world. Some of the conditions of the proposal will mean that some of the deals may not be able to be comprehensive for all sectors. Common rules on agri-foods for example will mean that we would be unlikely to be able to bring in hormone-treated beef from Australia for example, but that would likely be controversial in itself when Parliament considers any agreement. Australia would be content with increasing the amount of non hormone-treated beef that it sells to the UK. The only area that we are proposing to have ‘dynamic alignment’ with the EU is around State Aid. We are proposing to commit to not reduce environmental standards or workers’ rights and a few key areas. Apart from these, we will be free to diverge away from EU rules on the understanding that this will have a consequence on our future trading arrangement with the EU from that time on. Again it is our sovereign decision. There may come a time when we are more confident as a nation to drift away from dependency on the European markets towards the emerging markets that are predicted to grow significantly. This agreement gives us a soft landing from undoing forty years of a constrained partnership with the EU and the ability to take off again in the future when we are ready and importantly, when we ourselves decide.

8. We are stepping up preparations for No Deal

I’ve always believed that a bespoke deal is by far the best option but that we should be confident enough and prepared to walk away with no deal. This gives some steel in our negotiating position. I am pleased that the government has recognised the need to build on the work that they have already been doing to prepare for a no deal scenario. It is the responsible thing to do in continuing preparations for a range of potential outcomes. There is only a short time before we are due to conclude talks so the government has agreed to step up such preparations.

This is not a perfect deal by any stretch of the imagination and there is much more to examine and to achieve. The common rulebook means that we don’t end up with a clean break from the EU. However in talks with businesses, it is clear that many will continue to keep to the EU rulebook anyway in order to keep their existing trading arrangements in place. We are not restricting ourselves in our services-based economy which represents 80% of our GDP and the vast majority of future opportunities. We will be aiming for arrangements on financial services that preserve the mutual benefits of integrated markets and protect financial stability. Much of the pipeline of regulation of financial services markets is on a global basis. These ties are not ideal but help get formalised access and move us on. We need to keep our eyes on the prize and get this deal done. The next stage will be to see if Michel Barnier can accept this, since we are cracking open a gap on the EU’s four treasured pillars of freedoms, the free movement of goods, capital, services and labour, but he would be well advised to understand the consequences of rejection. Whereas he is the custodian of the EU ideology, the leaders of the 27 member states will have far more of a view of the effect on jobs, prosperity and the political climate in their own countries if the 6th largest economy walks away.

Having campaigned to leave, I take my responsibility for getting through this seriously. So if you are taking a view, take the time to look at the whole picture first. It’s complicated, hence this isn’t a tweet or a Facebook post. People may be distracted (rightly) by the World Cup and getting Brexit fatigue but at this stage it’s about detail. The Prime Minister has done a remarkable job in the most difficult circumstances. There is enough in this proposal for me to back her and I look forward to the White Paper on Thursday.

Time flies!

David Linden (Glasgow East)

It’s hard to believe I’m already a third of the way through my internship. And yet at the same time I’ve already had the chance to work on more than I expected to by the end of it. My internship schedule was designed so I can experience every aspect of work in an MPs office, while leaving flexibility to focus more time on the areas of most interest to me.

Casework has been the standout element for me. I’m really enjoying its variety – no two cases are the same. Plus I’m coming across cases I can relate to, either because I’ve had a similar problem, or know someone who has. It’s very rewarding to be able to advocate for or give a bit of support to someone when they feel like they’re getting nowhere on their own. The fact that so many in the East End know David and feel comfortable approaching for support is testament to the massive efforts he puts in to be as accessible as he possibly can. I love the fact that drop-in surgeries are currently happening in Asda, Tesco and local pubs too!

I’ve also had my head down in reports for much of this week, as I’ve been helping with some policy research. As a student, I’m quite used to this and actually really enjoy it. It’s interesting to cut through the spin and jargon from every opposing source and root out facts. The project we have been working on this week is collaboration between many MPs and has the aim of doing just that – making sure straightforward, factual information is easy for everyone to access.

Of course, I haven’t spent all week at my desk, as there’s always so much going on outwith the office to be involved in. I’ve been door-knocking to find out any issues constituents wanted to raise in Wellhouse, assisting at the surgery in Cranhill this week and accompanied David on a site visit to resolve a long standing issue in Garthamlock.

And finally, I’ve been doing some planning for a couple of events coming up in the constituency. The bar has been set pretty high by the success of the recent EqualiTeas afternoon though. So, if you see any advertised over the next couple of months, please, make me look good and come along 😁!

Survivors Speak Out - 10th Anniversary

Bob Stewart (Beckenham)

Recently at Westminster, Bob attended the organisation 'Survivors Speak Out' 10th anniversary reception. The charity aims to help victims of torture, normally political refugees, get over their appalling experiences and help them settle in the United Kingdom.


Martin Docherty (West Dunbartonshire)

Coming from an Armed Forces family – where three generations, including my father, brother and now nephew have served – I recognise the importance of paying tribute to the contribution and sacrifice of our forces personnel past and present. It’s always a privilege to attend local events as the Member of Parliament for West Dunbartonshire, and I was delighted to be part of this year’s Armed Forces Day parade in Clydebank. The procession from Three Queens Square to the Town...

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Job Vacancy: Part-Time Administrative Officer

Patrick Grady (Glasgow North)

I’m recruiting for a part-time Administrative Officer to work in my Glasgow office and assist my team in dealing with constituent enquiries.

Key responsibilities include dealing with correspondence from constituents and other organisations, diary management and supporting the constituency office team in their duties.

Click to read the job description and person specification.

Please send your CV with a covering letter (no more 3 pages in total) matching your skills and experience to the job description and person specification to apply@patrickgrady.scot.

The closing date for applications is 5pm on Friday 27 July 2018. Applications received after this will not be considered.

Interviews will be in Glasgow on Monday 06 August 2018.

Charles Walker MP speaking in the House of Commons on proxy voting for MPs

Following the lack of time to debate proxy voting for MPs in the House of Commons, Charles Walker, who chairs the Procedure Committee which published a report on the issue in May, calls for the issue to be debated as soon as possible. [read more] about Charles Walker calls for debate on proxy voting for MPs in the House of Commons

Nick Robinson’s Political Thinking Podcast

Dominic Raab (Esher and Walton)

Earlier today, I chatted with the BBC’s Nick Robinson on his ‘Political Thinking’ podcast.

We discussed my career before politics, the World Cup, Brexit, and – of course – what I have for lunch.

You can listen to the episode here.

Made by @davorg / Last built: Tuesday 17 July 2018 08:24