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Congestion, traffic jams and roadworks

John Redwood (Wokingham)

Wokingham has suffered a long run of road works, closures and partial closures. The work on the town centre has removed main road capacity around the town hall and blocked neighbouring roads. Meanwhile utility works, road works and new building works have led to many blocked lanes and temporary lights.

I have stressed to the senior officials at the Borough Council the need to avoid parallel closures where the alternative route is blocked at the same time. I have urged more new or replacement utility cables and pipes to be put in away from roads. I have requested speeding up road works by those  disrupting the highway. Councillors, like me, are keen on changes that cut congestion.

I am also working with the Council on an improved strategic local network with more capacity and safer junctions, as we need more capacity to cope with expanding numbers. I have proposed a junction review to optimise layouts and ensure good traffic sensing tehnology to help move traffic through light sets more quickly.


Bob Stewart (Beckenham)

Today (Saturday 16 June) Bob Stewart went to the annual Shortlands Station Fair.  At the fair he received his annual pasting in the stocks.  The attached photograph shows the Mayor of Bromley, Councillor Kim Botting, sorting him out!

Local Parking

Michelle Donelan (Chippenham)

This week I held a debate in Parliament on parking charges and Wiltshire Council’s proposal to increase parking permits by up to 145% and introduce Sunday and Bank holiday parking charges. I also called on the Government to publish best practice on parking to assist and encourage councils to listen to the stack of evidence nationally which highlights the success of making sure that prices are set appropriately as well as ensuring that there are enough spaces in each area.

Watch the speech in full and please email Baroness Scott jane.scott@wiltshire.gov.uk and ask her to think again about this proposal.

I oppose the implementation of the proposal ANYWHERE in the constituency but believe that they will have the most acute impact in Chippenham town. Chippenham now has on average the highest parking charges across Wiltshire and suffers from a severe lack of spaces to cater for the need.

I have no say over parking but can act as a local champion and put pressure on the Council to reverse the decision. This is extremely serious and would mean job losses for local people as businesses are saying they would leave the area.

The current proposals would kill of our high streets and drive businesses out of our towns. This is not just what I predict will happen but what the local business community have told me will happen! For example in Chippenham alone, Alliance Pharma and Little Waitrose have said that they would leave and Mander Duffill and Good Energy have said in the long run they could have to consider doing the same. It is important to remember that a number of companies locally pay the permits for their employees so these increases would have to be paid by them, making it simply too expensive to be based locally. In addition the staff of these businesses spend money at lunch and in the evening so retail, bars and restaurants would also suffer if they leave and they will be hit hard by the Sunday and Bank Holiday policy especially the independents.

I do have serious concerns about how the recent consultation was conducted, as very few residents and businesses seem to have been aware that it was even taking place. Key stakeholders such as the BID, Chambers of Commerce and the FSB only found out towards the end of the consultation window and had not been notified or engaged with direct. There are notices in small print on the parking metres but if you have a permit you would not be using a parking metre.

We currently have little choice but to use a car to shop or work and we cannot alter the pricing again without the infrastructure changes such as cycle routes.

Chippenham’s car parks in particular are regularly at high occupancy and this is a common argument used to defend the prices. However these are simply two separate problems and a much more lucrative plan would be to double deck a car park – providing more spaces which would bring in more revenue without driving businesses out of town. In fact it offers part of the answer to raising more money – i.e. increasing the number of spaces not pricing.

We are also creating a massive on street parking problem around the constituency with the charges and availability of spaces – something my office fields complaints about each week.

I do fully appreciate that the Council uses parking revenue to subsidise rural bus services. I am not thinking for one moment that we should take away these valuable bus services that act as lifelines. However damaging our high street to pay for these services is not the answer. I have long argued for the Council to look at smarter and more sustainable models like regional bus contracts to fulfil these needs rather than rely on parking revenue, which isn’t working given a number of services are being ceased every year. The Sunday and bank holiday charges are expected to raise only £78,000 across Wiltshire – which will not save all our bus services in the long run but may kill off our town centres. I know the response to topic may be that local government financing has forced the decision but the key point is that starving towns of customers and encouraging business to leave only serves to reduce the business rates pot and thus does not make any financial sense.

On another note I do not think it is right to introduce Sunday parking charges anywhere – given that the vast majority of Wiltshire’s town churches do not have parking facilities. This change will make it harder for people to go to church from a financial perspective and cannot be dressed up as anything but a tax on worship.

I will not sit by whilst businesses are forced to leave our town which as I have stressed will reduce the business rate pot and therefore reduce not increase the money our Council has. I urge you to email to Baroness Scott jane.scott@wiltshire.gov.uk and ask her to think again about this proposal to increase season tickets and charges on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
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The post Local Parking appeared first on Michelle Donelan MP.

Portsmouth MP recognises city’s hard working carers

Stephen Morgan (Portsmouth South)

City MP Stephen Morgan started Carers Week this year by attending a special speednetworking event with carers and charities in Westminster, pledging his support to unpaid carers in Portsmouth.

He also ended the week with a visit to Portsmouth Carers Centre where he met with staff and some unpaid carers from across the city, listened to concerns and offered his support.

Carers Week celebrates and recognises the vital contribution made by the 6.5 million people across the UK who currently provide care and support to a family member or friend who has a disability, illness, mental health problem or who needs extra help as they grow older.

Eight national charities have come together to call for urgent support for unpaid carers to be Healthy and Connected as new research released at the start of Carers Week reveals the toll that caring can take on many carers’ own health and wellbeing.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“It was good to be able to show my support for the carers in our great city by meeting with representatives this week. 

As someone who used to run a charity which supports young carers I know how valuable support to carers is. Unpaid carers make a huge contribution to our communities in Portsmouth, providing vital and often hidden support to friends and family members, and it is right that we value them and ensure they have the right support at the right time.


I look forward to working with the Carers charities, and, with unpaid carers across the city, to make a difference to their lives.”

Heléna Herklots CBE, Chief Executive of Carers UK, on behalf of Carers Week, said:

“Without the unpaid care provided every year by family and friends, our health and care services would collapse. Yet, caring for a loved one too often means carers neglect their own mental and physical health.

Finding the time and space to be healthy, get enough sleep and maintain relationships with others are all huge challenges identified by carers. By working together during Carers Week we have a huge opportunity to make our communities more Carer Friendly and make a difference to those who contribute so much.”


Carers Week 2018 is made possible by Carers UK joining forces with Age UK, Carers Trust, Independent Age, Macmillan Cancer Support, the Motor Neurone Disease Association, MS Society and Which? Elderly Care and kindly supported by Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition.

Brexit update – 15th June 2018

Lesley Laird (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath)

Thank you for contacting me regarding the EU Withdrawal Bill and for making me aware of your views.

Sadly, the UK Government decided that when they were drawing up the timetable, that 12 hours would be sufficient to debate and vote on the most important issue facing the UK since the Second World War. The Labour Party opposed that timetable and forced the government to hold debates and votes over two days. We still did not believe that this was sufficient, but the UK Government were not prepared to move any further on this.

It is also worth clarifying that due to the Government’s deal with the DUP, the only way the combined opposition can win any vote is if Tory members do not support the government position.

Over the past few days, there have been a number of votes on a whole host of different issues posed by Brexit. I have outlined what happened in these votes below.

Meaningful vote

The UK Government managed to bluff their way out of a defeat on giving Parliament a meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal by striking a deal with some of their rebel backbenchers, who originally appeared to be prepared to support Labour amendments.

However, this has already begun to unravel with Theresa May saying that the deal struck meant one thing and the rebel backbenchers saying that the deal meant another. Dominic Grieve MP (one of the backbenchers) said on Question Time this week that we would be pressing the government further over the next week to clarify their position on this matter, and if necessary he will use parliamentary mechanisms to ensure that parliament does have a meaningful vote at the end of the process.

To us in the Labour Party, it is so important that Parliament has a meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal. It is vital that the government is under no illusions that the UK Parliament will not endorse a ‘no deal’ Brexit and will instruct the government to go back to the EU and renegotiate if it looks like ‘no deal’ is the likely outcome.

The Scottish devolution settlement

From the outset of the EU Withdrawal Bill process Scottish Labour has made clear the devolution process must be protected.

We have made clear that we support efforts to improve the deal but would not stand for any political game playing.

The initial Clause 11 proposals were completely unacceptable. We have supported work from other parties, as well as making attempts ourselves, to put down amendments to the legislation.

While there has been some progress in strengthening the proposed legislation, voting against the current proposals earlier this week could have taken the legislation back to the very original offer, which would be far more damaging.

To be clear, if Clause 15 had been defeated it would have reverted back to the even more flawed Clause 11 resulting in all powers in devolved areas which are coming back from Brussels by-passing Scotland and going straight to Westminster. Scottish Labour could not vote for that to happen.

There is no question that the blame for this situation lies squarely at the door of the Tories. However, the behaviour and vote of the SNP in the Commons was the worst example of the political game playing we have consistently pledged to avoid on this vital and important issue.

The Labour Party proposed further amendments to the devolution element of the bill. Our amendment would have removed the odd definition of consent that meant consent constitutes giving consent or not giving consent. We also proposed a reduction of the ‘Sunset Clause’ from 5 years to 3 years after the we leave the EU and that the only time the UK Government could legislate without the permission of the Scottish Parliament is where the UK Government have reason to believe that not acting would leave them in breach of international obligations – a provision that is already contained within the Scotland Act.

I have written to the UK Government calling for immediate cross-party talks and to bring in legal and constitutional experts to assist their discussions and to ensure that the Scottish devolution settlement is protected. It is incumbent upon the UK Government to fix the mess that they have created.

The Labour Party is the party of devolution, and I can assure you that we will continue to protect it at every turn.

European Economic Area

It’s vital that any final Brexit agreement delivers a strong relationship with the Single Market and that there is no drop in rights, standards or our ability to trade freely in services after we leave the EU. Labour has been clear in its six tests that we will not support any Brexit deal that fails to deliver that and that the government needs to do far more to prioritise the benefits of the Single Market.

The Lords amendment on this issue set out a very specific way to achieve a new relationship with the Single Market – by remaining in the EEA, the so-called Norway Model.

I understand why there is sympathy for this approach. Norway has a high-level participation in the Single Market and it has strong protections for rights and standards.

However, there are also real drawbacks and limitations to the UK adopting this model. There is almost no flexibility in accepting the four freedoms (including freedom of movement), having very little say over EU rules and, crucially, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are outside of a customs union with the EU. As it stands, the EEA cannot meet the commitment to no hard border in Northern Ireland.

So this is far from an ideal solution for the UK, which is why I did not support this amendment.

Instead, I supported an alternative Labour amendment tabled by Jeremy Corbyn and Keir Starmer, which would require the government to negotiate a new UK-EU Single Market agreement that would protect jobs, the economy and rights.

The other tabled amendments, to the Customs Bill and Trade Bill, would require the government to negotiate:

  • Full access to the Single Market
  • No new impediments to trade
  • Common rights, standards and protections as a minimum
  • Underpinned by shared institution and regulations

Rather than binding the UK to follow the EEA route, this amendment set out a framework for a close future relationship with the EU and would ensure that Brexit does not lead to a race to the bottom on rights or to new barriers for UK businesses. Taken alongside Labour’s commitment to negotiate a new customs union with the EU, it also provides a viable solution to prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland.

Sadly, the UK Government were unwilling to support this amendment, even though it would have been in line with their manifesto commitment to leave the Single Market but maintain a close and collaborative relationship with the EU – one that includes no barriers or impediments to businesses.

On Monday 18th June there will be a further opportunity to persuade the government to come to the negotiating table and I will be setting out once again Labour’s proposals to move this debate on the devolution settlement forward.

I hope that helps outline my position the EU Withdrawal Bill and the events of this week.

The post Brexit update – 15th June 2018 appeared first on Lesley Laird.

Today is one of those rare Fridays when I’m in Parliament rather than Llanelli to support Private Members’ Bills like the one Gina Martin has been championing to make upskirting a specific sexual offence. I met Gina earlier this week to hear about her tireless campaigning to change the law so that creeps who take photos up women’s skirts can be prosecuted properly.

We in Labour have supported this Bill from the start and I’m glad the Government has finally decided to back it too. Unfortunately one Tory backbencher has shamefully objected to the Bill and pushed it back, but we will keep fighting to make upskirting an offence and work with the Government to get this Bill passed.

here if you would like to help me make a difference

Emma Reynolds, Labour MP for Wolverhampton North East, went along to celebrate the collective achievements of pupils from across the city who were taking part in ‘Go Run For Free’. Go Run For Free is a national initiative supported by schools, the city council and many other partners. It aims to inspire children to be more active through well-organised running events.

Emma said, “It was lovely to join the Mayor of Wolverhampton, councillors and others in seeing so many youngsters taking part and clearly having such a great time. I watched children from Rakegate Primary school in my constituency, who took part in a one mile run and they looked to be having a great time.

“The event was supported by pupils from secondary schools who have taken up leadership roles for the campaign, including some from schools in my constituency, Our Lady and St Chad Catholic Sports College; Ormiston NEW Academy; Coppice Performing Arts; Heath Park; Aldersley and Westcroft.

“Many congratulations to the organisers but especially to the young people taking part, who knows, they may yet be the sporting stars of the future.”

June 2018

The post Emma supports ‘Go Run For Fun’ Great School Run encouraging primary school children to take up sport appeared first on Emma Reynolds MP.

MP’s Surgery Tiree Friday 29th June

Brendan O'Hara (Argyll and Bute)

Related Images: [See image gallery at www.brendanoharamp.scot]

MP Backs Action on Acquired Brain Injury

Jon Cruddas (Dagenham and Rainham)

The United Kingdom Acquired Brain Injury Forum recently contacted Jon Cruddas MP seeking support for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Acquired Brain Injury. The group which was formed in 2017 to seek improvements in support and services for people directly affected by ABI, and for their families and carers.

The Forum explains that All Members of Parliament have constituents living with the consequences of ABI. The APPG on ABI have tabled a debate in the House of Commons for Monday 18th June raising issues which span across health, social care and welfare.

Jon Cruddas commented: “having had a look at the APPG and the work they are doing, I can see how far reaching this issue is. One of the key aspects for me is the impact ABI has on many children and young people in education with varying needs. It is clear that there needs to be more linked up thinking between health and education professionals, as well as the families of young people living with ABI.”

The statistics for Acquired Brain Injury are staggering with an estimated 956 admissions per day, which is one every 90 seconds. Men are 1.6 times more likely to be admitted for a head injury, with female head injuries increasing by 24 per cent since 2005/6.

Many individuals with an ABI require early and continued access to neurorehabilitation to optimise their recovery. Neurorehabilitation is one of the most cost effective services that the NHS provides, and the APPG recommendation is that a review of the service is carried out to ensure that the provision is adequate and consistent throughout the UK.

Jon added: “the statistics are astounding and it makes sense that the standard and level of provision for head injury and ABI is assessed and increased if need be.”

Jon is unable to attend the debate on Monday due to other Parliamentary commitments however he is supportive of the group and its aims, which undoubtedly will have an effect on residents living across Dagenham, Rainham, South Hornchurch and Elm Park.

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust

Royston Smith (Southampton, Itchen)

I’m supporting Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust during Cervical Screening Awareness Week (11 – 17 June) to recognise the fact that Smear Tests aren’t easy for everyone. Every woman should have the support they need to book and attend cervical screening because #SmearTestsSaveLives. Click here for more information.

The post Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust appeared first on Royston Smith - At the heart of Southampton.

Conservatives Office Manager Retires

David Evennett (Bexleyheath and Crayford)

Sue Ayers, Bexleyheath and Crayford Conservative Association Office Manager, has retired after a 13.5 year stint in the role.

Association Officers held a farewell reception for her in the Conservatives HQ in Bexleyheath on Thursday evening (14 June), which was organised by Deputy Chairman, Maureen King.

Connect Breakfast with the Chancellor

Dominic Raab (Esher and Walton)

This morning, I was delighted to welcome the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, to my business breakfast club.

Philip gave a great talk to the audience, made up of local business owners and professionals about the economy and the future of technology and how this will shape our lives. He addressed the UK productivity challenge, and then kindly took questions on taxation, infrastructure and innovation.

My thanks to Philip for giving such a positive and forward-thinking talk, to Mike Cumper for organising the breakfast, and to the Hilton hotel for hosting. I am pictured below with Philip, Elise Dunweber who is Chairwoman of the Esher and Walton Conservative Women’s Association and her two daughters.

A week of showmanship

Brandon Lewis (Great Yarmouth)

For some time, I’ve observed that there are no longer any certainties in politics. At the beginning of the year who could have guessed that President Trump would pull off another “Greatest Showman” moment as he shook hands with the …

Alex Cunningham MP attended the RSPCA’s annual drop-in in the House of Commons last week. As part of this, he heard directly from RSPCA Inspectors about their frontline work to protect animals in Stockton North and across the UK.


At the event, the scale of animal cruelty complaints across County Durham were revealed. In 2017, the RSPCA investigated 3384 complaints about animal cruelty in the county, with the charity’s nationwide 24-hour cruelty line receiving over a million calls.


The RSPCA has been investigating and prosecuting animal welfare offences since its foundation in 1824. To this day, they are increasing their work to prevent cruelty occurring in the first place and to educate the next generation of animal lovers.


Alex Cunningham MP said:


“I’m proud to support the RSPCA and the work that their Inspectors do to protect animal welfare in Stockton North. It was fantastic to meet some of their hard-working Inspectors and to thank them on behalf of the animal lovers in our area for all that they do.

“However, I am saddened that the RSPCA’s latest statistics show animal cruelty complaints are continuing in County Durham. We all have a duty to be vigilant against abuses of animal welfare and I will continue to work closely with the RSPCA to help improve standards of animal welfare in County Durham and across the UK.”

Christina Rees, Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, has joined with clinicians and disabled people living with Brittle Bones and associated conditions to celebrate the wonderful care given by NHS specialist centres to children with the condition across the UK.

At a parliamentary reception held on 6th June, the MP for Neath congratulated the Brittle Bone society on its 50th anniversary and applauded those NHS specialist services which had been presented with awards to celebrate the difference which the service is making to children’s lives.

The charity also highlighted the discrepancies that exist between child and adult services, and the need for continued and multi-disciplinary services for this lifelong condition.

Patricia Osborne, CEO of the Brittle Bone Society, said, “We were incredibly honoured to be able to hold this reception at the House of Commons and to celebrate our 50 years of supporting people with OI. It was an absolute pleasure to be able to thank and reward all the wonderful NHS staff who work tirelessly in supporting us and our members, and to recognise the advances in healthcare achievements throughout the years. There is much to build on as we ensure that adults with the condition also feel fully supported.”

Samantha Renke, disability campaigner and actress, said, “It was great to see the Brittle Bone Society have this opportunity to raise awareness of this rare condition and highlight the needs that so many of us living with OI come across on a regular basis. The treatment when you are a child is excellent, but the minute you turn 18, you end up being the expert on your own condition.”

The Parliamentary Reception is one of a number of special events the Brittle Bone Society is running to commemorate its 50th year. This includes a four day conference in August this year at the Apex Hotel in the charity’s home town of Dundee.


Jesse’s Hereford Times column: Supporting local businesses

Jesse Norman (Hereford and South Herefordshire)

Last Friday was a day for me to visit businesses, big and small, local and national, up and down my constituency. In the morning I was able to join the great Steve Thorpe from Royal Mail on his morning postal delivery route in Hereford. Steve soon had me wheeling his trolley full of letters and parcels on his round down Widemarsh Street, through to High Town and Eign Gate.

Steve Pound visited Our Lady of the Visitation Primary School in Greenford, Ealing today to see how students are taking advantage of an award winning money skills programme.

The workshops are part of a mission to increase financial capability from a young age, and create positive attitudes to saving. The ‘Kickstart Money’ project is delivered by the charity MyBnk and funded by a coalition of 20 financial services firms.

Research by the Money Advice Service has found that early intervention is key and that behavioural attitudes to money are formed by the age of seven. Only one third of parents talk to their children about money, and there is a significant lack of financial education provision in schools for children in the UK.

Steve joined 9-11 year olds as they tackled everything from understanding the value of money, and deals to needs vs. wants and saving.

Steve Pound said:

“This is a fantastic initiative that tackles the root cause of some of the most pressing issues in society today. It goes right to the heart of tackling a huge issue in Ealing and does so at exactly the right time for kids”

Jane Goodland, responsible business director of Quilter plc, and KickStart Money lead said:

“Politicians are at risk of slipping into the mistaken belief that being competent with numbers equates to being good with money. While basic numeracy skills are helpful for budgeting and saving, many of our financial habits are in fact motivated by our attitudes and behaviours learned at a young age, and not by our ability to do complex maths.”

KickStart Money aims to get to children when those behaviours are learnt for the first time, and through visits such as today’s we’re hoping politicians will see the benefit and be encouraged to add financial education to the curriculum in primary schools.

Further information on the KickStart Money programme can also be found at www.kickstartmoney.co.uk


There’s a hint of sunshine peeping out from behind the grey clouds of austerity.

After eight long years of belt-tightening, we’re living within our means at last.

Our taxes cover our day-to-day spending on things like health, education, policing and defence, so we’re only having to borrow to invest in long-term infrastructure like roads and rail.

So we can relax, right? Time to bid a not-very-fond farewell to tight budgets, open the spending taps, and let the good times roll.

Errr no. That would be a like an alcoholic celebrating staying sober with a double vodka. There’s a bit more money around, yes, but we can’t afford to go mad.

Take the national debt. Even though we’ve stopped adding to it, it’s still higher than its been for half a century. And, at some point, it’s got to be repaid.

Big government debts hamstring economic growth, crowd out private sector investment so wealth-creating projects can’t happen, and drive up interest rates to stifle growth and wealth creation for years.

Even worse, like that alcoholic with his double vodka, we’re lying to ourselves about the size of our problem. The real debt is much, much larger than the already-eye-watering level of government bonds.

If we’re honest about what we owe, we should include all the IOUs in the state pension and benefits schemes. We wouldn’t let financial firms like Prudential or Aviva ignore them, so why should governments be allowed to run a double standard? No company finance officer would last long if they tried to do the same.

It’s time to look ourselves squarely in the mirror, and admit our problem: we’re addicted to debt and, rather than another spending splurge, we’ve got to sober up.

The answer is a pool of assets, so we’ve got something to pay for all those IOUs when they come due. In other words, a British sovereign wealth fund, like Norway’s. Theirs is worth more than a trillion euros, investing in everything from West End London property to Facebook, Google and Amazon.

How can we pay for it? There are several choices but they all involve putting a little away for a long time, so the future costs don’t fall unfairly on any one particular generation of taxpayers.

For example, we could take the money we’re already spending on interest for the national debt, and carve it out of income tax as an identically-sized “National Debt Charge” (NDC), rather like National Insurance contributions.

As the economy grows while the debt interest stays level, the NDC would steadily yield small surpluses for investing in the fund. With compounding, it would solve the problem over several generations.

Or we could use publicly-owned assets as seed capital to get the fund going. We already have the National Fund, a £400m registered charity set up in 1928 to pay off our national debt. Or publicly-owned assets like the British Business Bank, or unused public land and buildings.

Then there are future new taxes from things like fracking. Norway’s fund was built on oil revenues, and while it’s too late for us to do the same, we may use other natural resources in future. If we’re depleting our natural capital, we should match and replace it by building up financial capital instead.

Or we could put aside a small fraction of the fabled Brexit dividend once we’ve left the EU, to invest for our long-term future.

Or, now that the government’s day-to-day budget is balanced after 10 years of austerity, we could invest the surpluses from good years so we’ve got something to fall back on in the bad ones.

Whichever of these options we take, the important thing is to start now. Like a pension, it’s far better to save a little when you’re young, so investments have plenty of time to grow, rather than trying to make it all up later.

Because the clock is ticking. The demographic timebomb of ever-more elderly people, with ever-bigger medical bills, social care costs and state pensions, funded by ever-fewer working-age folk, will go off in about a decade’s time.

If we do nothing, our children and grandchildren face a cold, mean future of much higher taxes and poorer public services throughout their lives.

However, if we get this right, we’d transform our nation. We would be more generationally-just, because we wouldn’t be saddling our children and grandchildren with massive, unfunded IOUs, and socially-just, because rich and poor taxpayers would all own the same stake in the new fund.

We’d be the biggest and most equal asset-owning democracy on the planet. Sobriety might be its own reward.

Registration opens for new garden waste service

Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith)

Registration for garden waste collections will open next week ahead of the introduction of a new service in October.

Celebrating Ryders Hayes School Success

Wendy Morton (Aldridge-Brownhills)

It was a pleasure to join pupils, staff and Head Teacher Mrs Sally Miner at Ryders Hayes Primary School in Pelsall recently, to present them wit

h their Respecting School Award from Unicef UK.

Unicef is the world’s leading organisation working for children and their rights. The Rights Respecting Schools Award is granted to schools that show commitment to promoting and realising children’s rights and they are working with schools to create safe and inspiring places to learn, where children are respected, their talents are nurtured and they are able to thrive.

The Silver Award is a great achievement and everyone at Ryders Hayes School can be very proud of their achievement. Well done to you all.

Eid Mubarak

Keith Vaz (Leicester East)

Eid Mubarak to all celebrating Eid in Leicester and beyond.

The post Eid Mubarak appeared first on Keith Vaz.

Twice in a matter of days in Parliamentary debates, West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas has pressed home the need for a reform of business rates.

Speaking first in a debate on the Retail Sector, which has seen the loss of 21,000 jobs across the UK in the first three months of the year, Mr Thomas called the current system of business rates “indefensible” and “outdated”, adding that the system reflected a business building rather than the business itself, causing significant harm to the high street.

Noting that some businesses in his constituency had seen “extraordinary increases”, Mr Thomas said: “In St Ives, we have seen the rate re-evaluation, high rents often charged by absent landlords, and a quick rotation of businesses that come into town thinking that St Ives is the place to be in business and will pay whatever rent is asked for.

“For several stores, that has led to year-on-year increases since 2016. Despite the voluntary support available from the local authority – they have not benefited.”

Mr Thomas made three “urgent requests” of the Government: to halt the increases above the consumer prices index that businesses are facing; for measures to allow town councils to retain 1% or 2% of the business rates collected in their area to support the high streets  and a commitment to scrap business rates altogether – perhaps with a transaction tax replacing it.

Just a few days later, at a debate on business rates led by York Central MP Rachael Maskell, Mr Thomas repeated his demand for a percentage of business rates to be used to support high streets and also highlighted the issue of holiday let ownership.

“If someone has a property that they own and which they choose to use as a holiday let, it can be registered as a business and they can avoid paying council tax altogether and then claim small business rate relief,” he argued.

“We have a cross-party campaign in Cornwall on this issue. The real tragedy is that it is possible for a second-home owner to advertise his property as available for rent and also claim small business rate relief.

“There is an opportunity for the Government to close the loophole and collect more tax, completely fairly.”

Treasury Minster Mel Stride responded to Mr Thomas’s speech by saying he would meet him to discuss issues about holiday lets and also listen to individual cases of businesses paying differing amounts of business rates.

Mr Thomas said he would continue to press the Government to change the current system of business rates.

“I was very glad to have the opportunity to make the case for reform of the business rate system twice in a week and I will continue to press for change whenever there is an opportunity.”

This week Ben Bradley MP attended a Carers Week speed networking event with carers and charities in Westminster.
The event was in support of Carers Week which celebrates and recognises the vital contribution made by the 6.5 million people across the UK who currently provide care and support to a family member or friend who has a disability, illness, mental
health problem or who needs extra help as they grow older.
The event matched up MPs and carers to share experiences of caring and the support that they need to take care of their own mental and physical health and well-being.
Eight national charities have come together to call for support for unpaid carers to be Healthy and Connected as new research released at the start of Carers Week reveals the toll that caring can take on many carers’ own health and wellbeing.
Commenting, Ben Bradley MP said:
“I was pleased to be able to show my support for carers in Mansfield at the Carers Week event in the House of Commons. Figures show that there are over 12,000 carers in Mansfield and I am keen to support them through my work in Parliament. Unpaid carers make a huge contribution, providing vital and often hidden support to friends and family members. This Carers Week, I want to personally thank carers in Mansfield for all their hard work and selfless dedication.”

This week is Carers Week and I joined Carers UK to pledge that I will do all I can to support carers through my work in Parliament. There are 100,000 people in Leicester and Leicestershire who are looking after a parent, partner, child or friend, including 8,952 in my constituency.  I am backing the call from Carers UK for the introduction of up to 10 days of paid care leave a year. I pledge to encourage more businesses in Leicester to provide paid care leave to their staff, and to continue pressing the Government to act now and support the UK’s three million carers. 

You can read more about Carers Week here.

The post Carers Week – Liz pledges to support carers in Parliament appeared first on Liz Kendall.

Grenfell Tower - One Year On

Louise Haigh (Sheffield, Heeley)

I’m pledging to build a carer-friendly community

Luciana Berger (Liverpool, Wavertree)

Carers Week 2016Carers Week this year celebrates and raises awareness of the 6.5 million people in the UK who care, unpaid, for an ill, older or disabled family member or friend. I’m pleased to be backing the pledge to build carer-friendly communities.Carers-week-HC-logo

Around one in eight people in Liverpool Wavertree is a carer. Caring is something that will increasingly affect all of us in some way, whether we are providing, or receiving care. There are an estimated 700,000 young carers.

Caring is part of being human and at the heart of family life. As our population ages and people live longer, often with complex health conditions, more and more of us will find ourselves caring. Yet many still see caring as a private matter.

Many people don’t identify themselves as carers, they feel they are just doing what anyone else would so they don’t always know what support is available.

Carers Week is our chance to raise awareness and to build communities that support carers to stay healthy and connected.

Communities that support the health and wellbeing of carers are places where local people and services support carers to look after their loved ones well, while recognising that they are individuals with needs of their own.

Carer friendly communities are aware of the part played by unpaid carers within their community, encouraging everyone – whether employers, public services, local amenities or businesses – to do something to make life better for carers.

Caring can be a hugely rewarding experience, but it can also come at a cost to the carer’s own health and wellbeing if proper recognition and support is not available.

I’m pledging to play my part in building a carer-friendly community, you can join me by clicking here.

If you are a carer in Liverpool, you can find out about support services by clicking here or telephone 0151 709 0990.

Tracy Brabin MP was taken aback by the horror stories relayed to her by members of the public at Batley Railway Station who slammed local services as ‘overcrowded and primitive’.

The Batley and Spen MP spent Friday morning speaking to constituents and commuters about their experiences of the local rail network.

She was joined at the station by campaigners from across the political divide who gathered to protest the shambolic introduction of the new Northern Rail timetable.

Ms Brabin said: “Having had numerous conversations and email exchanges with constituents about the dire situation I thought nothing could shock me – but I was wrong.

“Some of the stories I heard – one where a woman spent her journey crammed into a train toilet with six other commuters – were beyond belief.

“A young girl I spoke to was left extremely distressed when her train was delayed as she was on her way to a vital GCSE exam. Thankfully a good Samaritan helped her to book a taxi, but it could have been a different story.

“And these were just the tip of the iceberg. Consistent cancellations and delays, too few carriages, extortionate fares and nonsensical timetabling – the list goes on.These aren’t just stories – they are people’s lives.

“Last week I had a meeting with Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling as well as speaking to bosses from Northern Rail and Network Rail, and I did not hear a single thing that gave even the slightest impression that the Government has this under control.

“Time and time again we have been promised better transport links and a vastly improved rail service is integral to this.

“How can we have an interconnected Northern Powerhouse if we struggle to get from one town to the next?

“The Tory Government is failing the north on transport and we have a man in charge of it all who refuses to accept any responsibility whatsoever.

“It’s time for the Government to end the failed experiment in franchising and bring rail back into public ownership before any further damage is done.”

Ms Brabin is asking commuters to send her their experiences of the rail network locally with a view to compiling the responses to send to the Secretary of State for Transport.

She added: “We need to show the Government the reality of what is happening on the ground – and the more examples we can give, the more compelling a case we can build.”

Responses can be sent to tracy.brabin.mp@parliament.uk or to Tracy Brabin MP, 286 Oxford Road, Gomersal, BD19 4PY

Remembrance services have taken place to mark the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower disaster. During the night on 14th June 2017, a fire broke out in the 24-story tower block and 72 people were killed.

Isles MP walks out of PMQs in protest

Angus MacNeil (Na h-Eileanan an Iar)

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil joined his SNP colleagues in walking out of the House of Commons yesterday (Wednesday) following repeated attempts by the Tory government to silence Scotland’s voice on Brexit.


snpwalkout 1

Angus MacNeil MP with SNP Westminster Group Leader Ian Blackford MP and his SNP colleagues outside the Parliamentary Estate following the walk out from Prime Minister’s Questions.

Mr MacNeil joined the SNP’s Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP in protest, after the Speaker asked him to leave during Prime Minister’s Questions.


Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP Ian Blackford called for the House of Commons to sit in private, following the Prime Minister’s failure to bring forward emergency legislation on Brexit to ensure the Scottish Parliament’s position is considered as the UK leaves the EU.


Mr MacNeil said Scotland’s voice needed to be heard as Brexit will have major implications for vital sectors such fishing and crofting.


He said: “I walked out of the House of Commons because Scotland – and my constituents – have been silenced on Brexit.


“The UK Government’s Brexit legislation ignores the will of the Scottish Parliament and devolution as we know it  – which the people of Na h-Eileanan an Iar, indeed, the whole of Scotland, voted overwhelmingly for.


“Westminster needs to realise they can’t push Scotland about. We’re not in a union of equals and enough is enough.


“Currently we have boats without crews that cannot go to sea due to lack of support from the UK Government in addressing this issue – after Brexit we could have only EU boats in our waters.


“The Westminster Parliament is going to grab powers over agriculture as those powers come back from the EU and this could have serious repercussions for crofting.


“The UK government’s shambolic Brexit is putting jobs and livelihoods at risk and the SNP is the only party who will stand up for Scotland.”

MP secures Lloyds pledge on cashpoint solution for Upton

Harriett Baldwin (West Worcestershire)

Lloyds Bank has committed to ensure 24 hour cash point cover as part of a series of pledges to help the town as it closes the last bank in Upton-upon-Severn. read more »

Yesterday in Parliament (Wed 13th June), Susan Elan Jones MP called on the UK Government to do more to engage charities and social enterprises with the North Wales Growth Deal.

Questioning Wales Office Ministers, the Clwyd South Labour MP asked:

“North Wales has a thriving voluntary sector and some excellent social enterprises. What engagement are Ministers in the Wales Office having with them?”

Speaking afterwards, Susan Elan Jones MP said:

“I welcome the fact that Minister Stuart Andrew MP said he’s spoken to the main Council Leader in charge of this area of engagement. However this can’t just be about the odd conversation.

We need a serious and strategic plan for growth, engagement and development. Our North Wales charities and social enterprises need to be involved at every point in the process. And as North Wales has so many small towns and villages, we need to recognise that it is natural territory for the setting up of more local, community enterprises. The Welsh Labour Government has made a massive commitment to enterprise by setting up a Development Bank and situating it in Wrexham. We need the UK Government to be providing more support too.”

Susan Elan Jones MP’s questioning of Ministers comes a day after the Clwyd South MP chaired a meeting in Parliament of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Charities and Volunteering in which the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, the Charity Tax Group, community development organisation Locality, the Institute of Fundraising, Big Society Capital and the Charity Finance Group put forward their ideas of how this year’s Budget can help charities and social enterprises. The All Party Parliamentary Group, which is co-chaired by Susan Elan Jones MP, will present a formal submission to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in advance of this year’s Budget.


Last week while visiting a sunny Loftus Road, home of the Championships Queens Park Rangers, Labour’s Shadow Sports Minister announced that a future Labour government would work with clubs and safety authorities to create safe standing areas at football matches as the calls for change continue to intensify.

Over the past decade we’ve had consultation after consultation with the issue always kicked into the long grass from this government. That’s why Labour are demanding the government drop their plans to start yet another review of safe standing and instead back Labour’s plan without delay.

After years of campaigning from official club supporters’ groups as well as some football clubs, the drumbeat for safe standing areas at English football grounds intensified.

In light of this, the Labour Party has decided to support our fans and football clubs by presenting proposals which would cap the number of safe standing spaces at 7,500 per stadium, which is in line with what the English Football League have already proposed.

After months of conversations with club hierarchy, supporters’ clubs and trusts, safety authorities, and football leagues, as well as meeting with Hillsborough families to discuss the move, Labour decided to undertake a full review of opinions around Safe Standing in football.

By working with those in football, as well as local safety authorities, we decided that the best way to rollout this strategy would be to give the power to decide to fans, clubs and those who keep us safe.

Clubs, fans and local authorities know their stadium and the area around it far better than anybody in Whitehall and we believe that the decision should rest with them as to whether to create a small area inside a stadium to be designated for Safe Standing.

In light of Labour’s decision, outgoing Premiere League executive chairman Richard Scudamore, confirmed (just last week) that the Premier League has decided to come out in favour of allowing its clubs a “local choice” as to whether to introduce safe standing. This follows the decision already made by the English Football League last month which called for clubs to be given a choice on whether to install standing areas – this is really positive and shows that the appetite for change means the government can no longer sit on its hands.

Closer to home, fans of both Manchester clubs are enthusiastic about the proposals with supporters of both United and City backing Labour’s proposal saying that it would improve the overall atmosphere at games as well as improving the fan experience and hopefully lead to decreases in some ticket prices. In fact both the Manchester United Supporters Trust and City’s

1894 Group travelled down to London to meet Labour’s Shadow Sports Minister Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, and discussed the issue at a roundtable.

The matter of safe standing at football grounds is due to be debated in Parliament on 25 June, but Labour are clear, the laws which prevent standing at grounds in the Premier League and the Championship have to be changed, and should be changed within weeks.

It’s about time that we allow fans to enjoy our national sport safely, and in a way that includes their wishes – it’s about time we put fans first.

How not to flounce

Richard Benyon (Newbury)

I have made a study of flouncing. Some do it well and some don’t. The Scottish Nationalists got it wrong in Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday. The best flounce is at a table. You stand up, ostentatiously throw your napkin on the table, gaze down pityingly at your aggressor, turn on your heel and leave. […]
Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said he walked out of the House of Commons to stand up for his constituents following repeated attempts by the Tory government to silence Scotland’s voice on Brexit. The MP for West Dunbartonshire joined the SNP’s Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP in defence of the will of Scotland’s parliament, after the Speaker asked Mr Blackford to leave during Prime Minister’s Questions. The SNP’s Westminster Leader had called for the House of Commons to sit in private, following...

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In this week’s votes in the House of Commons on amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill, all MPs, irrespective of Party, had a duty to cast our votes in a way that we genuinely believe is in the interests of the country. These votes were not about whether or not Brexit takes place. The decision […]

Debate on Lords Amendments to Brexit Bill

Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon)

Speaking in the second day of debates on the Lords Amendments to the Brexit Bill, Jonathan Djanogly explains why he accepts the Prime Minister’s position that amendments relating to the customs union and membership of the EEA would undermine her negotiation position.  read more »

Video Update: 13th June 2018

Kit Malthouse (North West Hampshire)

Here’s my latest video update from Parliament on the progress of the EU Withdrawal Bill, protections for the countryside in North West Hampshire, the Hampshire Country and Garden Fair at Bere Mill and my Facebook and contact policy.

My votes on the Great Withdrawal Bill Lords Amendments

Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central)

On Tuesday and Wednesday this week we are voting on the amendments to the Great Withdrawal Bill. Fifteen amendments returned to us from the Lords, and then further amendments were made by colleagues in the Commons. There has quite rightly been a huge amount of interest in my voting intentions and I am sorry that I have not been able to make them public as my time has been taken up listening to the arguments as well as preparing for my Adjournment Debate on Long Term Support for the Victims of Sexual Exploitation.

Some of the social media comments have suggested it is a choice between country and party.  I am a Labour Party MP and the vast majority of those who voted for me did so because I represent the Labour Party. I joined the Labour Party at the age of 16 because I support and hope to embody its enduring values of equality, solidarity and fairness. I believe a Labour Government is in the interest of the vast majority of my constituents. And I believe that is why they voted for me. That said, I also believe my primary duty is to my constituents and my conscience. There may be, and often are, difficult decisions where constituents themselves are divided or when it is a choice between competing bad options– but I am clear where my duty lies.

That is why I have always supported Labour’s position of a ‘jobs first’ Brexit – jobs are clearly in the interests of my constituency and as an exporting region, the European Market is of huge importance. I have been pleased to be a part of the way in which the Labour Party – under Keir Starmer’s reasoned and reasonable, pragmatic and inclusive approach – has led the debate from a jobs first Brexit to a transitional agreement to a Customs Union and now to continued access to a new Single Market – all whilst keeping the vast majority of Labour MPs united.

And that is important. Labour’s great strength on Brexit is that we represent the full diversity of Britain’s Brexit vote. There are many Labour MPs whose constituencies voted overwhelmingly to leave, many whose constituencies voted overwhelmingly to remain, and many, like myself, whose constituencies were divided right down the line.  We need to move forward as a party because that is to bring the country together, difficult as that may sound.

There are two existential threats to our country which I believe are more profound even than Brexit. The first is to our existence as a democratic country whose Government is legitimate in the eyes of its citizens. The second is to our existence as a nation with a commonly held sense of purpose. Decades of Thatcherite division and neo-liberal indifference to inequality, followed by extreme-right austerity has divided our country. Brexit was both a symptom of that and a cause of deepening division. The country needs to come together around a Brexit which enables as far as possible the prosperity we so need everyone to benefit from.

The amendments which our Labour team negotiated in the Lords help to do that: such as on the environment, on a meaningful vote, and on working rights.

The amendment requiring membership of the European Economic Area does not. For the following reasons:

It is the Norway model and we are not Norway, we have ten-times more people, and an economy approximately seven times larger in which agriculture does not play as significant a part. Norway are not in the Customs Union. We do not want to be rule takers but  active participants in a Single Market that reflects both the value of immigration and the ways in which freedom of movement is current exploited by the unscrupulous, as I set out in my 2016 article and which my colleague Alison McGovern described today.

For these reasons I will not be supporting Amendment 51. And there is one other reason. It has no chance of being agreed. As we saw yesterday, Tory rebels are much fewer in the lobbies then they are on the front pages. I am all for symbolic gestures where they make a real difference to the lives of my constituents. This is a symbolic gesture which by dividing the party and the country pushes the possibility of a long term constructive, unifying relationship with the EU further away.

Since the referendum, the Conservative Party have done everything possible to further divide the nation. They have acted as if the 48% who voted to remain should have no voice, and the 52% who voted to leave voted en block for a hard Brexit. I have watched with dismay the increasing division in the Brexit debate, the uncontained venom apparent on both sides. Those who call all Brexiteers racist, ‘Gammon’ isolationists and those who treat all Remainers as at traitors to the Union Jack would be well served to join me on Newcastle’s doorsteps this weekend. As we voted 50.7% to 49.3% to remain an hours door-knocking would provide a range of views and even the most rabid ideologue would learn that reasonableness, national interest, kindness or logic are not the preserve of any one ‘side’.

These last few days have demonstrated that there is a limit to our ability to manage Brexit in the national interest so long as we have a government that literally doesn’t know what it’s doing. We to move to a close relationship with the European Union but we need to do so through thoughtful negotiations. The paralysis and division of the Tories means the only option is to attempt to manage the process by Prime Ministerial edict–and there are limits to that approach.

We need a government that is unified around doing the right thing for Britain–not one that is fundamentally divided and unable to engage in productive dialogue with the EU about our mutual interests.

Matt Warman, MP for Boston and Skegness, has met the new Home Secretary, Sajid Javid MP, to press the case for reform of the requirements for medical visas, highlighting how this would help address wider recruitment challenges at Pilgrim Hospital.

In a meeting with the Home Secretary this week, Matt outlined the current recruitment challenges faced by the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust. While paediatricians are already exempt from the cap on visas, a wider reform of the rules on medical visas would make it easier for the Trust to recruit staff for other departments, strengthening the overall service it can offer across Lincolnshire.

Currently, there is a cap on the amount of Tier 2 visas, which are needed by non-European migrants who have been offered a skilled job in the UK, but concerns have been raised about the impact of this cap on the wider NHS. Both the Home Secretary and the Health Secretary have said they would like to see reform to medical visas, and the Prime Minister has committed to looking at it.

Matt said, “I was pleased to have the opportunity to lobby the Home Secretary about medical visas, and urge him to do all he can to consider the impact of the Tier 2 visa cap on the NHS. In the longer term, the forthcoming Lincolnshire medical school will help to address the NHS workforce challenges faced in our county, but in the short term we need to look at options to relieve pressure on services, and relaxing visa requirements for some clinicians will help towards this. I want to see all those people who want to work in our brilliant NHS and have the right qualifications get the opportunity to come and contribute to our health services, so I hope to see Government action on this matter soon.”

Matt Warman MP and Home Secretary The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP

Matt Warman MP and Home Secretary The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP


CCG Chief orders review into Withernsea’s troubled 8 to 8

Graham Stuart (Beverley and Holderness)

Withernsea’s MP, Graham Stuart, has welcomed the announcement that East Riding CCG will be reviewing the troubled 8 to 8 service in the town following a number of complaints from local patients. CCG Chief Officer, Jane Hawkard, admitted that the review was necessary “in view of continued concerns” about the Centre at Withernsea Community Hospital and the NHS 111 referral system that supports it.

Responding to mounting criticism, Ms Hawkard confirmed that she has instructed the CCG’s Urgent Care Steering Group to meet this week in order to assess the feedback from the first weeks of the 8 to 8 Centre’s operation and to discuss possible improvements to the CCG’s communication methods with residents in Withernsea and the surrounding villages.

Following pressure from Graham, Ms Hawkard has also agreed to meet with him and South East Holderness Councillors Lyn Healing and Dave Tucker this Friday at 1pm at Cross Street in Beverley. Representatives from City Health Care Partnership (CHCP), who administer the 8 to 8 on the CCG’s behalf, will also be present at the crunch talks.

Patients’ concerns have focussed upon confused messages from the CCG, CHCP, and NHS 111 and often conflicting advice over what kind of treatment they require. Other issues frequently raised include the difficulty of accessing services in Beverley, Hull or Bransholme for those who have been triaged there, and concerns over the ability of the reduced minor injury service to cope during Withernsea’s busier summer months.

Ahead of the meeting, Graham said: “I welcome the recognition by the CCG that the service introduced in April is not working as it should. Alongside the meeting with Jane Hawkard and the CHCP this Friday, this review is an opportunity to rectify serious flaws in the 8 to 8 service that are negatively impacting upon local patients.

“I am clear that the CCG’s Urgent Care Steering Group have a lot of work to do, not least in coming up with a communication strategy that more accurately directs patients to the right service and in quicker time. Thank you to South East Withernsea Councillors Lyn Healing, Dave Tucker and Jackie Cracknell for their continuing efforts to air residents’ views and their support in the fight to protect health services in Withernsea.”

Cllr Lyn Healing said: “I am delighted that CCG’s Urgent Care Steering Group are at last meeting to discuss the obvious problems with in the 8-8 Centre and the NHS111 line that is having an adverse effect on the residents of South East Holderness.

“Jane Hawkard has also shown her concerns on how the CCG will communicate with residents locally in future and I will be requesting the CCG and CHCP come and meet the with residents in the very near future.”

When asked about Army, Navy and Air Force heroes most people think about soldiers, sailors and airmen.  However, the countless animals that have served in our armed forces are often forgotten, despite animals playing crucial roles in military campaigns going back thousands of years.


Stewart Hosie (Dundee East)

Dundee East MP Stewart Hosie has described his anger and disgust at the Conservatives and Labour for their failure to protect the Scottish Parliament and stop a blatant powergrab.
Last night the House of Commons voted on the EU Withdrawal bill, which would not only seek to take Britain out of the EU but would strip several powers from the Scottish Parliament and hand them over to Westminster.
An amendment, tabled by the SNP, sought to ensure that the powers would stay with the Scottish Parliament and that the devolution settlement was respected. In the 15 minutes allocated for the debate not a single Scottish MP was heard and the debate was filibustered by an English Conservative MP.
When Ian Blackford, SNP Group leader in Westminster, asked what options are open to MPs from Scotland for a proper debate on devolution and Brexit, Conservative MP Ian Liddell- Grainger shouted “Suicide” from the backbenches.
Commenting Stewart Hosie MP said:
“Last night only 15 minutes were allowed to debate the Tories powergrab. In that 15 minutes no Scottish MPs were called to speak and the "debate" was filibustered by an English Tory MP.”
“It just goes to show, once more, the conservatives utter contempt for the people of Scotland and our democratically elected parliament.”
“The vote was a real opportunity for the Labour party – who are usually so quick to claim credit for devolution – to prove to the people of Scotland that they are on their side and have the backbone to stand up to the Tories but as usual they sat on their hands and allowed the Conservatives to force through their undemocratic proposals.”
Media enquiries contact jack@dundeesnp.org 01382 623200

Preet's May-June newsletter

Preet Gill (Birmingham, Edgbaston)

You can read Preet's latest newsletter here: www.preetkaurgill.com/content/report-back-may-2018

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Preet's May-June Newsletter

MP secures key exemption for Northumbrian Pipers’ in Ivory Bill

Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed has secured a key exemption for Northumbrian Pipers’ from a Government Bill to enact a ban on commercial dealing in ivory in the UK that could directly or indirectly fuel the poaching of elephants, as well as the import and re-export of ivory for commercial use.

MP Catherine takes a stand against cancer

Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North)

Newcastle North MP, Catherine McKinnell, has joined forces with Cancer Research UK to back the charity’s life-saving appeal for more NHS cancer staff. Cancer Research UK’s new campaign, ‘Shoulder to Shoulder Against Cancer’, encourages everyone to stand shoulder to shoulder with the NHS by calling on the UK Government to tackle the chronic shortage of … Continue reading MP Catherine takes a stand against cancer
East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight has joined other MPs across all major political parties to highlight the growing problem of scams. He is backing a motion in Parliament welcoming ‘Scams Awareness Month’ – which is this month. It is … Continue reading

Take a stand against cancer

Liz McInnes (Heywood and Middleton)


Last week I met representatives from Cancer Research UK to hear about their appeal for more NHS cancer staff.


Maria Miller (Basingstoke)

Basingstoke’s local MP, Maria Miller, is backing a life-saving appeal from Cancer Research UK for more NHS cancer staff. Maria joined local campaigner, Effie Grant in Westminster at the launch of the charity’s new campaign - ‘Shoulder to Shoulder Against Cancer’.

Politicians to take advice surgery to ‘every part’ of the Borders

John Lamont (Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk)

For dates, please see: https://www.johnlamont.org/events

Local Scottish Conservative politicians John Lamont MP and Rachael Hamilton MSP are joining forces this year to bring their summer advice surgery tour to 84 stops across the Scottish Borders.

The dates, which have just been announced, start on Friday 6th July with Ancrum and finish on Friday 3rd August in Ayton, taking in 82 locations in between.

This week the House of Commons will be asked to determine the type of Brexit our country seeks.

Will MPs back a sensible lords amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill that instructs Theresa May to negotiate a deal keeping Britain inside the European Economic Area, or will we risk a bad deal such as a Canada-style Free Trade Agreement which would do nothing for our services industries and lead inevitably to a hard border in Ireland?

Or, worse still, will we allow the government’s profound incompetence to take us over the cliff edge into a "no deal" scenario, where tariffs and non-tariff barriers destroy the jobs and livelihoods of the very people we were elected to represent?

New rules on GDPR - My Privacy Policy

Kate Hollern (Blackburn)

My Privacy Policy

I am the MP for Blackburn and Darwen. As your MP, it is important that I and my office can keep in touch with constituents about my work, take up casework on their behalf, and ask for views on local issues and wider political questions.

As a Labour MP I also have access to other information which I and my office, or volunteers working with me, will use for campaigning purposes or for communicating with Labour Party members. In respect of that information, the Labour Party is the data controller, and you should consult their privacy policy (https://labour.org.uk/privacy-policy/) for details of what information they hold, why, and how they use and process that information.

This page explains how I collect and use personal data, the legal basis for doing so and provides information about your rights in respect of your personal data for which I am the data controller.

I reserve the right to modify this policy at any time. My responsible officer for data protection can be contacted at damian.talbot@parliament.uk

Data collection and use:

My office will only collect and use personal information for the specific purpose for which it has been obtained.

I will undertake casework using personal information provided by or on behalf of a constituent. It may be necessary for me to share your information with third party organisations. I will only do this where it is necessary and reasonable to do so, and I will share only the minimum amount of personal information necessary in order to advocate on your behalf. Please see the “who I share your information with” section for further details.

When registering with this website or by completing a form or survey sent to you by my office, you may be asked for personal information. In each case, I will ask for your explicit consent to use your information, and I will only use it for the purposes for which you provide it.

I may communicate by post, email, phone or text message about my work and to give you the latest news on my campaigns and opportunities to get involved. I have a legal entitlement to the full electoral register for my constituency, which includes the full name and address of every registered elector and I may write to you in connection with my activities as an MP.

The Labour Party may contact you for campaigning purposes around election time by telephone, leaflet or email. As mentioned above, the Labour Party is the data controller for this information and you should consult their privacy policy for details of the information they hold and how they use that information. In my role as your Member of Parliament, I will only send emails, texts or contact you by telephone where you have provided explicit consent for me to do so. You may withdraw your consent or unsubscribe at any time from communications in any medium by contacting our responsible officer for data protection or by using the unsubscribe option I provide in all communications.

I will not use personal data for any automated decision making or profiling.

Who I share your information with:

When I take up casework on your behalf, it may be necessary for me to share the details you provide with government departments, local authorities and other public bodies. I will only share as much information as is necessary to take your case forward. If you have any questions or concerns about how information you provide as part of a casework request is used, please contact my responsible officer for data protection for more information.

Other than in the circumstances above, I will not share personal information with other organisations without your explicit consent.

In order to communicate with you about my work as the MP for the Newcastle upon Tyne East Constituency, it may be necessary for me to transfer personal information to countries or jurisdictions outside the EU. In each case, I will take steps to ensure that the suppliers I use comply with the General Data Protection Regulation or are subject to the Privacy Shield scheme agreed between the European Union and the United States. This would be a very exceptional circumstance that I would only consider if it was essential to the progress of a constituent’s case.

Retention of personal data:

Information relating to casework will be retained for seven years in the event that you contact me again for help or there are further developments in your case. In exceptional circumstances, where it is deemed necessary, this period may be extended. All other information prior to 2011 has been deleted.

You can at any time ask me to delete any personal information I may have on you and I will, of course, comply.

If you have consented to receive information about my work, I will only retain your personal information so long as I am the MP for the Newcastle upon Tyne East Constituency, or you ask not to be contacted further.

I will regularly review the personal information I hold to ensure that its use is necessary and proportionate.

IP Addresses and Cookies

This site does not automatically capture or store personal information, other than logging the user’s IP Address or the location of your computer or network on the Internet, for systems administration and troubleshooting purposes. I also use IP addresses in the aggregate to track which pages people visit in order to improve the quality of the site.

A cookie is a tiny text file that is stored on your computer. Cookies may be used in order to tailor your experience on this site according to the preferences you have specified. Cookies on this website do not contain personally identifiable information, other than your IP address, which itself is only very rarely enough to identify you as an individual. In the rare opportunities that it is possible to do so, I will never use this information to identify you as an individual.

Links to other websites:

This website contains links to other websites. I am not responsible for the content or privacy practices of these websites.

Your rights:

You have a number of rights in relation to your personal information and the opportunity to choose how it is used. You can:

  • Obtain copies of the personal information I hold about you (known as a “subject access request”)
    • Request that I correct or update any personal information held about you
    • Ask that we erase or restrict the way in which I use your information
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Click here for letter in full

I felt it was more than necessary to write a letter to Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, regarding the shambles which Northern Rail has fallen into. Strength of feeling runs so high that the letter has been co-signed by 82 of my Labour colleagues from all three Northern regions.

The blame for the thousands of cancellations and delays which Northern Rail passengers have faced must lie at the top, with Chris Grayling.

The letter in full is attached.

I will update my constituents as soon as I receive an answer.

Following the publication of KPMG reports into plans for a new arena in Bristol, Bristol South MP Karin Smyth said:

“However you cut it up, the KPMG reports are very bad news for south Bristol. The top line is no arena and no investment – in fact, the only guarantee that residents have is years of uncertainty around the Temple Meads site.

“Bristol South needs investment, jobs, improved infrastructure – and a signal from those running the city that they are not forgotten. Instead, we are looking at a process which has not only failed to deliver in every regard, but actually cost millions of tax payers’ money to achieve precisely nothing. My constituents deserve better than this.

“In many ways, these reports pose more questions than they answer. They lead the reader through a maze, hedging bets throughout, and relying on the purposefully narrow terms of reference they accepted to avoid assessing crucial issues.

“Too often, Bristol South seems to be at the back of queue for crucial investment, and this announcement is similar to the recent Metrobus mess. Where there are challenges – financial or otherwise – I’ll work with anyone to overcome them. But I will not support proposals which will leave Bristol South worse off.”


Football is a global game which brings everyone together - and last night’s (Sunday’s) fantastic Soccer Aid for Unicef match at Old Trafford was no exception.
Every pound that the British public donates to Soccer Aid this year is to be matched by the UK Government, up to £5million.
This will double the difference the donations make for children around the world.
It will be transformational for so many, by helping to stop preventable diseases in children and end child hunger. It will save the lives of new born babies.
I want to say a huge thank you to the British public for all their support and generosity to Soccer Aid for Unicef this year.
But the UK government is not just doubling donations to Soccer Aid.
In 2017/18, twenty-five charities across the country have benefitted from UK Aid match funding.
Together with public donations, this means, that through UK Aid Match, more than £66million was raised for life-changing projects in 20 different countries around the world over the year.
The UK Aid match scheme sees the Government match public donations for qualifying schemes £1 for £1.
It gives the British public a say in how aid is spent and helps these projects achieve even more.
UK Aid Match programmes have helped save lives and create new opportunities for thousands of people across some of the poorest parts of the world.
It has helped vaccinate children against preventable killer diseases, given people clean drinking water and food, stopped infectious diseases from reaching our shores and helped to create jobs so people can earn a living.
These charities do vital work improving the lives of some of the world’s poorest people.
We could not have done all this without the extraordinary generosity of people in the UK and their determination to support others in need.
The real winners from last night’s game are the children who will benefit from the generosity of the British public.
The money raised will help tackle preventable deaths of new and expectant mothers and children under-five.
It will go towards Unicef programmes in Lesotho and Eswatini, improving the lives of the most vulnerable women and children, and ensuring access to quality maternal care and HIV services.
The project will improve the quality of nutrition they receive.
Overall, it will benefit close to 180,000 women and children under-five.
DfID has supported Soccer Aid since 2012, backing projects across the world.
The impact of Soccer Aid and DfID’s support of it through UK Aid Match are global – and crucially lasting.
But more work still needs to be done.
Everyday around the world 830 mothers die and 7,125 babies are stillborn.
Some 7,200 babies die in their first month of life.
The majority of these deaths are entirely preventable through better nutrition and improved health care.
This is the work that Unicef will be able to do more of because of the Soccer Aid campaign.
UK Aid Match will mean the donations of the British public will go twice as far.
So thank you again to everyone who has donated and raised awareness of Soccer Aid for Unicef.
The British public can be proud that its donations are once again transforming children’s lives.
This article by International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt first appeared in the Huffington Post on Monday 11 June 2018:


Following the Prime Minister’s statement on the G7 summit in Quebec, James Cleverly calls on the PM to ensure that the education, empowerment and emancipation of women remains high on the Government agenda.

This week will see important votes in Parliament on some of the 15 amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill which were agreed in the House of Lords by peers from all parties.

We do not yet know which amendments will be voted on by MPs, but as you know I have taken very seriously my responsibility on Brexit as High Peak’s representative, and have sought views and impacts from people and businesses across the constituency as much as I can.

I would like to thank the 1,300+ High Peak residents who completed my detailed survey on what you would like to see from our deal with the EU.  I have found your responses very interesting as they give a far more detailed picture of the range of opinions on our Brexit options, among both Leave and Remain voters.

Together with the evidence from my Brexit Summits for businesses and for young people – links to the reports on my website are below – the survey gives me very valuable information on views across High Peak to help inform my voting.

I attach a full report of the survey’s findings, which I have presented as fairly as I can.

Some of the key points I have taken are:

  1. Priorities for Leave Voters: taking back control of our laws and courts were the main priorities for Leave voters, with over 80% thinking they were very important. Saving money by not paying the EU was very important to over half.  Restricting EU citizens’ access to the UK by immigration was the least important priority, cited by less than a third as very important.
  2. Priorities for Remain Voters: Remain voters were most concerned about collaboration on academic and scientific research, cited as very important by 76.5%, probably reflecting High Peak’s relatively high proportion of academics and scientists. Safeguarding the economy and jobs was the next highest priority, followed by safeguarding ‘free movement’.  None of the priorities rated less than 50% feeling they were very important.
  3. Access to EU Markets: 16% of Leave voters want to retain full access to the Single Market, but the majority of Leave voters were evenly split between wanting access to the EU Free Trade Zone and wanting to be out of the Single Market. When responses were balanced between Leave and Remain voters, full access to the Single Market was the most popular option with 54% supportive.
  4. Immigration:5% of Leave voters want to retain Free Movement, but most Leave voters (55%) want a more vigorous visa system. The overwhelming majority of Remain voters wanting Free Movement, combined with some Leave voters, mean it was the option preferred by a majority (52.6%).
  5. Compromises to safeguard jobs: on balance, around a net 20% more Remain voters are likely to accept compromise on the 3 issues asked of access to EU markets, law-making and immigration. Leave voters are not overly concerned about access to EU markets but a net proportion of over half are very unlikely or unlikely to accept compromise on law-making and immigration, even to safeguard jobs.
  6. Who should confirm the final Brexit deal: just over half of Remain voters (52.4%) wanted the people to confirm the deal, with the remained wishing Parliament to do so. 7% of Leave voters wanted a people’s referendum on the deal, but the remainder were fairly evenly split between the PM and Parliament confirming it.  Overall, when the responses were balanced, Parliament confirming the deal was the most popular option with 42.2% supporting, and 37.9% wanting a second referendum.
  7. If a deal cannot be reached: a large majority of Leave voters (76.9%) wanted to leave with no deal if no agreement could be reached, however 23% would prefer joining the EU Free Trade Zone. Not surprisingly, an even higher proportion of Remain voters (88.4%) wished to remain in the EU if a deal could not be reached, meaning that this option was the most preferred of the 3, but it was not supported by any Leave voters.
  8. Have people changed their minds? Very few people who voted in the 2016 referendum would now vote differently if the referendum was held again. However, a group of voters who were 16 and 17 in 2016 would now be entitled to vote and would vote Remain by around 4:1, giving a shift of around 1% towards Remain in High Peak.  However, as re-running the Referendum is not on any agenda, the question is of limited use.

All responses have been analysed separately for Leave and Remain voters, and where results are combined I have calculated a balanced result which is representative of the 50.5% Leave and 49.5% Remain votes in High Peak in the 2016 referendum.

Overall, in deciding how to vote on Brexit, I have always started with the commitments in the Labour manifesto on which I was elected last year – to seek to retain the benefits of the Customs Union and the Single Market, with a system of managed migration.  However, now we know more details we have more understanding of what will and will not be achievable.

As well as votes on our Brexit deal, the EU Withdrawal Bill proposes to hand enormous ‘Henry VIII’ powers to government ministers and this is one of my primary concerns, especially with a precarious government and a Prime Minister who could be replaced by an alternative with very different and possibly quite extreme views.  As you can imagine, one of my top priorities is to protect our democracy and this will continue to be a key focus for me in the next few days.

I am very conscious that votes in Parliament over the coming months will impact heavily on our future as a nation and I will do my very best to vote in the interests of our country and of the residents of High Peak.

The right path to take is unlikely to be simple or clear-cut, but I thank you for letting me know your views, and for the support that so many people have given me in helping to take the difficult decisions ahead.

I have always tried to make political decisions based on sound evidence and local views.  I hope that you find the evidence I have gathered useful and interesting.


Business Brexit summit report:

Youth Brexit summit report:


With kind regards


Ruth George MP

Member of Parliament for High Peak



The post Brexit – my letter to constituents – Ruth George MP appeared first on Ruth George MP for High Peak.

Anne Marie's Weekly Column

Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbot)

Westminster Week

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