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Leaving the EU and transition

John Redwood (Wokingham)

I am pleased to see the government does intend to put the departure date into the Withdrawal Bill. It needs to be there to ensure continuity of law on the day we leave, which will be 29 March 2019 according to the Treaty procedure. I accept the addition of the proviso that were the UK to request to stay in for longer and were all 27 to agree Parliament would need to change the date. Parliament could do that anyway. That seems very unlikely.

The next issue is so called Transition, or Implementation. The Prime Minister has always been very clear. She has said we will need an Implementation period, assuming we have an Agreement to implement. She rightly says it would not make a lot of sense of exit on 29 March 2019 going over the WTO arrangements for trade and making other arrangements for issues not covered elsewhere, only to switch systems again a year or two later when the new Agreement with the EU comes into effect.  She has also rightly said this Implementation period should not be longer than needed, and could be of variable time depending on the issues concerned and the complexity of completing the arrangements for the new Agreement.

Were there against her aim and wish to  be no deal because the EU was unreasonable in its approach, there would be  no need for an Implementation period. It  would be best to pass straight to the new arrangements for out without a special partnership on 29 March 2019. The government assures us they are planning for just such a contingency, whilst stressing it is not what they want to happen.

During transition it would be best if the UK were not subject to the ECJ, the freedom of movement provisions and the restrictions on negotiating trade deals. Because we are assured we are leaving on 29 March 2019 none of these will apply unless the UK enacts them into UK law for a period in furtherance of an Agreement with the EU.

The opponents of the government include numerous opposition  MPs and lobbyists who want to slow down or delay Brexit. They see Transition as effectively another two years in the EU, paying our contributions and accepting all old and new laws as if we were still full members, without any voice or vote over what the EU does. This they see as a period for further negotiations over what might happen next. Some of the government’s opponents want to use the next year and the Transition to effectively mirror everything the EU currently requires of us into UK law and into an Agreement which is membership in all but name. This is clearly not the Prime Minister’s view. She repeatedly argues we are leaving the EU, the customs union and the single market. We will take back control of our laws, our borders and our money. Leave voters knew exactly what they were voting for and expect no less.

The issue is now one of timing. Many Leave voters feel they have waited too long already. They can accept waiting until March 2019, but do not want another two years in the EU thereafter. As the government sits down to talk about Implementation it needs to stress three things. One, the issues that do need settling even without a  wider deal can be settled  prior to March 2019. We have unilateral fixes, but agreements would be better. Two, the UK does need to be free to negotiate its own trade deals with others, to put in its own migration policy, and to get on with reforms of fishing, agriculture and the rest from March 2019.  Three, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. The UK cannot legislate for the draft Agreement so far without having agreement on the wider partnership. The public are not in favour of making large payments to the EU without good reason, or even at all in many cases. The government will need to show a good wide ranging Agreement to persuade people to accept  a generous settlement.

The Christmas Tree

Bob Stewart (Beckenham)

Shortlands Christmas Trees is a small business started by friends William and Matthew in 2012. Positioned in the car park at Shortlands Station it is where Bob Stewart normally goes to get his family Christmas tree. On Saturday 16 December he did just that again. The attached photograph shows William, Matthew and Bob with his Christmas tree before putting it into his car.

Conservative Ladies Christmas Lunch

David Evennett (Bexleyheath and Crayford)

Bexley Ladies Luncheon Club held their Christmas Lunch at the Marriott Hotel on Thursday 14 December when the guests of honour were Rt Hon David Evennett MP, his wife Marilyn, and Cathy Brokenshire.

A festive feast of turkey and trimmings, followed by Christmas pudding and mince pies was the order of the day for the ladies and their guests. There was also a bumper fundraising raffle.

My New Appointments

Paul Scully (Sutton and Cheam)

Since being re-elected in June I have continued to work hard to stand up for Sutton, Cheam and Worcester Park in Westminster.

I have also resumed many of my roles from the last parliament, including being re-elected by my colleagues to sit on the Petitions Committee and the International Development Select Committee, chairing the Sub-Committee on the Work of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI), and chairing/being a member of the All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) for the British Curry Catering Industry, Tamils, Bangladesh, the Ahmaddiya Muslim Community, Domestic Violence, Taxis, Burma and London.

However, I am delighted to have been appointed to some new positions in this Parliament. I am sadly no longer a member of the British Parliamentary Delegation to the Council of Europe, but I have been pleased to use my short time there to speak about some very important issues, such as refugees, migration and security, including having the chance to see the refugee relief effort in Greece for myself.

In August I was appointed the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Burma, Brunei and Thailand. This is a very exciting role, but also a very personal one as my father was from Burma. I believe that Britain’s trade post-Brexit will, and should, have a more global outlook. The Secretary of State for International Trade, Rt Hon Liam Fox MP, has been doing some excellent work, laying the foundations to build new trade deals with countries all around the world, and I am happy to have a chance to be a part of this, expand the UK’s soft power and help find new and exciting trading opportunities.

Last month I was appointed as the Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Baroness Evans, the Leader of the House of Lords. As the Lords is going to be the focus of debate on all the Brexit legislation, it will be essential that contacts between MPs and Peers are clear, unambigious and well-informed. I want to use this opportunity to strengthen the relationship between both Houses of Parliament, ensuring that we have a mutual understanding on important issues like Brexit, but moving forward encourage more cross House conversations.

Most recently, I have this week been appointed as Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party for London. I was incredibly pleased at my own election result in June, and I look forward to having the chance to working with colleagues from across London to build on this across our City.

I am humbled to have been selected for these roles, but my first priority has always been and will always be, working hard to represent the residents of Sutton, Cheam and Worcester Park and continue to be their strong, local voice in Westminster.

City MP thanks local charities

Stephen Morgan (Portsmouth South)

Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, has used Local Charities Day to thank all those who work or volunteer for the city’s charitable sector.

Local Charities Day, held on Friday 15 December aims to highlight the work of small charities that are making remarkable differences in their communities.
The Lloyds Bank Foundation has published a report highlighting the challenges faced by small charities and has called for the government to also tackle the issues holding the sector back.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Research tells us that two thirds of people are unable to name a local charity, yet often it is these small, grassroots organisations that make the biggest difference to people’s lives.

That’s why days like today are so important, because they allow us to shine a spotlight on the unsung heroes in our communities and celebrate the commitment of those people who devote their time to improving the lives of others.

I thank all those working on the frontline in our city for their efforts in tackling disadvantage and delivering positive change in Portsmouth”.

Anything that celebrates and highlights the important contribution made by small and local charities is welcomed by Stephen, a former charity chief executive, but government must do more to support these vital organisations.

Stephen regularly visits local charities in his constituency and this Friday was delighted to join Churches Homeless Action as part of their Christmas campaign fundraising event at St Mary’s in Fratton.

At the event local charities were present as well as Portsmouth Churches Housing Association, Portsmouth Domestic Abuse Service, the LifeHouse and the EC Roberts Centre who have benefited from the fundraising.

The Labour MP for Portsmouth South, added:

Homelessness has more than doubled in our great city in recent years and it has often been left to our brilliant local charities to step up and fill the void. Smaller organisations remain vital in providing invaluable support.

It was fantastic to attend the event with local charities by Churches Homeless Action today. They are a prime example of the powerful impact our community can have in tackling the greatest issues of social justice we face today.

They do, however, need our support too and I will be keeping the pressure up on Government to do far more to help local charities on the frontline in our city and across the UK”.

 

 


ELM Transport Q Metro

In light of the shocking announcement on 4th December that all Maternity Services will be “temporarily” closed in South Shields until the New Year, Emma secured an Adjournment Debate in the House of Commons this week. The Debate gave Emma the opportunity to voice the concerns of the people of South Shields and to hold the Government to account over their mistreatment of the NHS.

The decision to deprive South Shields of its Maternity Unit raises more questions than answers. Will Sunderland Royal Hospital be able to cope with a sudden influx of expectant mothers? What will happen to those who can’t afford to get to Sunderland or any other hospital to give birth? When, if at all, will our maternity unit be returning?

In Parliament Emma explained passionately how she believes that the Tories are dismantling our NHS by stealth. The Minister dismissed Emma’s concerns as “a conspiracy” despite the fact that Emma highlighted that proposals to close parts of South Tyneside Hospital have been on the cards for some time.

The Minister responding to Emma (Philip Dunne MP) insisted that the temporary closure has been enforced purely due to staffing issues. However Emma informed the Minister that there is in fact a whole medical team – including midwives, consultants and medical experts – reporting to work at South Tyneside hospital, despite having no babies to deliver. The Minister was clearly reading from a script supplied by the Hospital Trust and his response was simply what everyone has heard before.

Incredibly, the Minister responded to Emma’s concerns regarding home births by claiming, “A number of women have opted for a home birth”. The fact is that women are giving birth at home not out of choice, but out of necessity.

Emma will carry on fighting for the return of Maternity Services to South Tyneside and urges residents to join the campaign too.

Speaking after she delivered her speech Emma said, “The very thought that the last baby to be born in South Shields could be in 2017, both upsets and appals me, and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. I’m deeply concerned for those mams who will struggle to travel to Sunderland or even Newcastle or Gateshead to give birth. This is an outrageous decision, the people of South Shields have a right to a fully comprehensive, accessible, local hospital service, just as much as people in any other part of the country do.”

Broadband Universal Service.

Christina Rees (Neath)

Christina Rees Shadow Minister (Justice):

My hon. Friend is making a powerful case. As he will know, Wales, including my Neath constituency, has some of the most rural communities in the UK, and despite the Superfast Cymru project we still lag behind England on coverage and take-up. Does he agree that the Government should underwrite the additional �20 million needed, and currently being sought from EU funds, to get the job done?

Ian Lucas Labour, Wrexham:
It is essential that we put the infrastructure in place that will deliver for the whole of the United Kingdom; that is the thrust of my speech.

I represent Wrexham. We have heard about rural areas that do not have access to broadband, but Wrexham is a manufacturing and exporting constituency that has many businesses and many modern technology parks around it. Many of those businesses have been telling me over the past few years that they have not been able to access the type of broadband services that are essential for modern businesses to be able to compete.

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP has announced the winner of West Dunbartonshire’s parliamentary Christmas card design competition. The 2017 winner is Aila Muir of Bonhill Primary whose winning design was picked from hundreds of entries from local schools across West Dunbartonshire. Primary 6 pupil Alia joined runners-up Carla Currie (Aitkenbar Primary P2) and Alyssa Glass (St Mary’s Primary P3) at a prize giving ceremony at the MP for West Dunbartonshire’s local parliamentary office. Thanks to generous sponsorship provided by local businesses the...

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The post MP ANNOUNCES WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE CHRISTMAS CARD COMPETITION WINNER appeared first on Martin Docherty-Hughes MP.

A Christmas Message

Steve Pound (Ealing North)

Gazette December 2017: 

There’s a lot of nonsense spoken about the “spirit of Christmas” and very often the season is seen as an excuse for massive self-indulgence and the most conspicuous consumption. Sometimes it’s hard to remember what most of us are actually celebrating when we’re blinded by the extravagant window displays in the shops, deafened by the music and stunned by the avalanche of advertisements pouring out of the television.

Fortunately there are other aspects to this wonderful time of the year. Come with me if you will to Greenford Baptist Church for Christmas Day lunch.

For many years now my good friend Tariq Mahmood and I have joined Warren McNeil and David Wise – the Pastors at Greenford Baptist – to help serve lunch to a hall full of people who might otherwise have been home alone.

Tariq and I – the Muslim and the Christian – happily join in with people of all faiths and none in a spirit of fellowship and friendship.

Huge thanks go to Ealing Community Transport and to the volunteers who bring the guests in for lunch and get them home safely afterwards. I know from experience how exhausting this can be but what a sense of achievement suffuses the senses when the washing up is done, the hall cleared and everyone is safely home.

I say “safely home” but there will be some who have no home to go to on Christmas Day and it is here that the Ealing Churches Winter Night Shelters come into their own.

Providing hot meals and warm beds all around the borough this charity is –literally – a life saver. Contact them on 07930 378263 if you’d like to know more or if you need their help,

Like the massively oversubscribed food banks the night shelters are both an example of true compassionate charity and an indictment of a world in which there is an undercurrent of human tragedy below the surface of our selfish society.

I’d suggest that this country will not be a good place for any of us to live in until it is a good place for all of us to live in and while this may seem ridiculously unworldly and impracticable I’d also suggest that is an ideal well worth fighting for.

It’s not just the Christmas lunch and the night shelters that allow us a glimpse of what the magic of Christmas can mean. There will be thousands of small acts of kindness from showing gratitude to those who will be working over the holiday to sharing some of your time or your hospitality with those for whom this is a difficult time. There is an essential decency and kindness to be found in people and sometimes we have to look for it but be assured that it is there.

Look past the tat and the tinsel to see something more special and more sustainable. Please take a moment away from the self-gratification to spare a thought for those around you. Not just at Christmas but throughout the year. A better warmer and kinder world is the prize!

Wishing all my friends and constituents in Ealing North the very happiest of Christmases and you all have my very best wishes for a healthy and happy New Year.

Robin Hood Line - update

Mark Spencer (Sherwood)

I was very pleased to receive some important assurances from Network Rail this week. Last week I wrote to them expressing my concerns that they planned to remove some of the infrastructure on the track between Edwinstowe and Ollerton on the old Robin Hood Line. I had heard that there are plans afoot to remove the spur at Thoresby Colliery, and was concerned that the removal of any such infrastructure would be detrimental to any future bid to reopen the Line, in light of the Government’s recent announcement that it will consider the reopening of some of the lines which closed during the Beeching cuts in the last century.
Network Rail have offered me their assurance that the points to be removed have been unused for a number of years, and that their removal will improve track quality at this location and remove the derailment risk. The local Track Maintenance Engineer has given his assurance that these changes will have no impact on the aspiration to reopen the Edwinstowe to Ollerton line for passenger services.
I am very encouraged by this assurance and am very grateful to Network Rail for providing it. I am satisfied that it does not pose a risk to our campaign to reopen the Robin Hood Line for passenger carriage, and so I’m going to keep fighting and making the case.
crime, policing

This week Steve McCabe MP  met with the Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability (Victoria Atkins MP). The meeting was designed to follow up a number of issues Steve raised in a parliamentary debate in the Commons in October and had originally been arranged with Sarah Newton MP who left the Home Office in the recent reshuffle.

 

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Launch of Year of Engineering 2018 – lack of diversity

Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central)

 

 

Gordon backs Blackpool's independent artists

Gordon Marsden (Blackpool South)

Gordon has been giving his support to independent Blackpool artists and the town's growing creative arts scene this Christmas, by visiting a new pop up gallery on Talbot Road.Its_A_Gallery_1.jpg

He was invited to “It’s A Gallery” by Robin Ross, who runs the “The Old Rock Factory” in the town centre. He was taken around the gallery by photographers Kate Yates and Dawn Mander and saw a range of prints, paintings, collage and other artworks being produced by locally- based artists from and around Blackpool.

The pop up gallery is open every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, up till and including 23rd December. Gordon described the gallery as a “celebration” of Blackpool’s growing and “diverse” independent art scene.

He said: “It was a great treat to see so much diverse, striking and innovative work on show, and reflecting the creative talent in and around the Blackpool area. There were some particularly powerful and unusual depictions of the townscape, coast and the people who make Blackpool such an exciting place for artists and creative people to work on. Whether self-taught or coming up through printmaking, photography and increasingly digital image making backgrounds, it represents a burgeoning of talent that is starting to echo some of the vibrant creative scene in Manchester and Liverpool. It also can contribute to the more diverse locally based economy and small business start-ups encouraged by the Council's 'Get Started' initiatives that I’ve strongly supported.

“Set alongside the new works currently on show at Shaw's Cafe Bar on Clifton Street by Robin Ross, who as both artist and creative promoter has done much across Blackpool, not least through the Sand, Sea and Spray festivals across the town in recent years, it represents a great display of creative talent and original work - much of it very competitively priced , not least as potential unique gifts over the Christmas period..
'Robin himself I have known for a number of years -there is no one more passionate about Blackpool and discovering emerging local artistic talent.'

Robin, who’s been recently promoting his work in Moscow, said: “I want to thank Gordon for showing his support. This is about local businesses and independent artists working together to create a better Blackpool for both residents and the many visitors we have each year. The independent art scene is alive and well across the town.”

To find out more about “It’s A Gallery”, you can find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/itsagallery/ or follow Robin Ross on Twitter at @Robinprint .

Picture taken by Dawn Mander. 

Local MP supports decision to protect Community Transport and School Crossing Patrols
 
Hampshire County Council’s “Balancing the Budget Consultation” sought residents’ and stakeholders’ views on high level, strategic options for balancing its budget, including changes to Community Transport and School Crossing Patrols funding.
 

LBC Interview: Early intervention and violence reduction

Vicky Foxcroft (Lewisham, Deptford)

Yesterday I spoke with Iain Dale on LBC in response to the rise in the number of under 18s cautioned or sentenced for knife possession. Instead of looking at the symptoms, we need to look at the root causes. 

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Over six thousand people in the UK are on the organ transplant waiting list. Last year, 457 people died while on that list. That is 457 lives that I believe could have been saved if we had used an ‘opt-out’ organ donation system. This is because, under the current system, many people simply do not register as organ donors despite their willingness to donate.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus Brendan MacNeil is again calling for the Emergency Towing Vessel to be based in Stornoway following an incident with the cargo vessel Fame which lost power west of Scarp on the west side of Harris.

Commenting Angus MacNeil MP said:

“It took 14 hours for the ETV to reach this stricken vessel – how many times do we have 14 hours to save a life!

“The UK Government continue with their cost cutting while risking lives around our shores.  We have no insurance policy on the west coast of Scotland.

“We are fortunate to have skilled and dedicated lifeboat crews on the Stornoway and Leverburgh lifeboats who have been battling bad weather conditions all night to keep the vessel from grounding.  I understand that the vessel is now under tow and being taken to a safe shelter.”

Cargo Vessel Fame

ENDS


Primodos Drug Scandal

Mike Penning (Hemel Hempstead)

Sir Mike Penning leads debate on the Primodos drug scandal.

Thank you to our postal workers

Luciana Berger (Liverpool, Wavertree)

Liverpool South Eastern Delivery Office

Liverpool South Eastern Delivery Office

Today, I’ve been visiting our local postal workers to thank them for all their hard work over the last year, delivering mountains of letters and parcels to our homes and businesses.

As you would expect, this is the busiest time of year for our posties, who are out in all kinds of weather making sure that our post and gifts get delivered.

Mossley Hill Delivery Office

Mossley Hill Delivery Office

It is the dedication of our local postal workers in collecting, sorting and delivering post during the busiest period of the year that helps to make Christmas happen.

The Christmas operation to collect, sort and deliver all the mail is a huge operation, as I saw when I had the great privilege to meet postal workers at Mossley Hill and South Eastern delivery offices this morning to say a big thank you.

Communication Workers Union members are understandably pressing Royal Mail, which has paid some £700 million in dividend to its shareholders since privatisation, for improved pay and conditions. It is also clear that without teamwork and co-operation across the whole of Royal Mail, the system couldn’t operate.

The Tories are forcing Royal Mail to compete like any other company in the private sector by cutting jobs to force down wages and costs, but Labour will always back our Royal Mail postal workers.

Labour will bring Royal Mail back into public ownership so that profits are put back into the business again to the benefit of consumers and workers.

Thank you to Royal Mail and all its staff.

The last recommended posting dates for Christmas are:

Wednesday December 20              2nd Class

Thursday December 20                  Signed For 2nd Class

Thursday December 21                  1st Class

Thursday December 21                  Signed For 1st Class

Thursday December 21                  Special Delivery Guaranteed

Friday December 22                       Special Delivery Saturday Guaranteed

 

This week the Government voted against giving support to the most vulnerable in society, and decided to press ahead with a plan to hand back almost £5bn to bankers by 2022. With no extra funding in this year’s Budget, councils up and down the country will continue to struggle to deliver children’s services – across …

Alex supports the ‘Dying to Work’ Charter

Alex Cunningham (Stockton North)

Stockton North MP, Alex Cunningham, has joined with the Trades Union Congress (TUC), to demand better protections for workers with terminal illnesses and encourage other employers to sign up.

Alex met with the TUC this week to sign the ‘Dying to Work’ Voluntary Charter – which now protects over half a million employees. The campaign was set up following the case of Jacci Woodcock, a sales manager from Derbyshire who was forced out of her job following a terminal breast cancer diagnosis. The ‘Dying to Work’ campaign is calling for changes in the law to ensure workers with terminal illnesses are protected from instant dismissal.

Alex said:

It’s appalling to think that if someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness, they could be forced out of their jobs – adding stress and worry about their financial situation on top of their health concerns. That’s why I proud to be supporting the TUC’s ‘Dying to Work’ charter to protect employees, and encourage other businesses in Stockton North to follow suit.

I also hope the Government will take note of the TUC’s ‘Dying to Work’ Charter, and do something to ensure that every individual with terminal illness will receive the protection and support they deserve.

Companies such as Santander, Co-op, Carillion, Rolls Royce and E-On are already signed up to the ‘Dying to Work’ Voluntary Charter, as are many local and police authorities.

 

Cyrus RW

Stephen Kinnock (Aberavon)

34534984912_49a76ddb9b_k.jpg

Commenting on the news that Cyrus RW have been put into administration, Aberavon MP Stephen Kinnock said:

“It is disappointing to learn of Cyrus RW being placed into administration, and for all of those employed by the company this will be an incredibly worrying time.

“The priority must now be finding a solution that protects the jobs, particularly those in Briton Ferry where I believe there are up to 50 people employed in highly skilled, well paid jobs.

Ruth chats to volunteers.

High Peak MP Ruth George has launched a parliamentary petition to save Serpentine Community Farm in Buxton.

High Peak Borough Council have asked the volunteers who have worked to build up the farm from scrubland to vacate it so that the site can be developed.

Ruth braved Sunday’s wintry conditions to call in to meet Madeline Hall and fellow volunteers at the Winter Gathering of Serpentine Community Farm.

“To suggest moving what has so quickly become an established part of the Buxton life to another area of the town makes no sense at all. It is in the perfect place, easily accessible to all has built productive partnerships with a number of local groups,” she said.

The site is also part of the picturesque Serpentine walk, enjoyed by thousands of local people and tourists too.  Now that it is part of the High Peak Circular Walk it is even more important to keep this conservation area special.

“After all the work that the volunteers have done, it is not right to ask them to move.  I have often passed the farm in the beautiful walk along the Serpentine, but Sunday was the first time I had visited. It is much bigger than I had imagined – and the amount of work the volunteers have done is incredible.   I never expected to see kiwi fruit growing in Buxton in the middle of a snow storm!”

“I have offered to help in any way I can, and am pleased to launch a petition to present to Parliament.

“The site is very much a part of the community so I hope that their application for it to be registered as an Asset of Community Value will also be successful.”

Ruth’s petition calls for High Peak Borough Council to grant the farm a long lease and not sold off for housing.

Petitions to Parliament have to be on paper rather than online.  You can sign Ruth’s petition at Serpentine Community Farm or at Ruth’s office at the foot of Station Approach:

Crowther House, The Quadrant, Buxton, SK17 6AW.

 

Ruth takes a look at what’s growing in the poly tunnel

The post Ruth George launches petition to save Serpentine Community Farm appeared first on Ruth George MP for High Peak.

'The Church made a major error on George Bell. The same authorities have now publicly said they did. There should therefore be quiet satisfaction and pride that a body so important can publicly...

On Tuesday 12 December, Oxford West & Abingdon MP, Layla Moran sang in the choir of the 2017 flagship “Singing for Syrians” concert. Over 600 people attended the event at St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey, which was organised by neighbouring MP, Victoria Prentis, and raised money for the Hands Up Foundation who support a number of projects to help the most vulnerable who remain in Syria.

Alongside the choir, which was made up of fourteen Members of Parliament, a number of celebrities read at the concert, including Samuel West, Julie Christie and Martin Jarvis. Alexander Armstrong performed “Winter Wonderland”. The event raised over £32,000 through sponsorship, the retiring collection and ticket donations.  

Victoria Prentis MP said: “I was delighted to recruit Layla to the MP choir. Singing together is a simple yet effective way to raise money for those most in need in Syria. It is really important to me that the choir is cross-party – it shows that we can all work together to help some of the world’s most vulnerable people. They all sang beautifully and showed that the plight of the Syrian people has not been forgotten.”

Layla Moran MP added: “It was a privilege to sing in the choir at such a magical event. In my youth I went to Damascus when my family lived in Jordan. My heart breaks for the people whose lives have been affected by the conflict, and so when Victoria told me about this event I jumped at the chance to do my little bit. I’d like to thank all those in Oxfordshire who held similar events, the Hands Up Foundation for the amazing work they do, and Victoria for putting the event together. I hope to participate again next year!”

Investing in our Tech Industry

Dominic Raab (Esher and Walton)

The UK has been named as the world’s best prepared country for Artificial Intelligence (A.I) and high-tech industries by a report from the Oxford Insights Team. This follows the welcome news from the Autumn Budget that the government is investing £500m in a range of technology initiatives, from driverless cars to 5G mobile networks. In total the Chancellor announced a further £20 billion of investment over the next 10 years to innovative start-up businesses with high-growth potential.

This investment is crucial to unlock the potential of businesses bringing to life ideas that will ensure the UK economy is fit for the future. These new technologies not only have the potential to change the way we live and work, but also improve living standards, boost wages and productivity and create jobs.

I hope you enjoyed the reindeer parade this year. What you may not have been aware of is that Saturday 2nd December was also Small Business Saturday, a day for encouraging people to go and see what their local independent businesses have to offer.

Taking a closer look around town, I found some excellent businesses I’d overlooked or forgotten about. In many instances, by actually going in to chat to shopkeepers and see what they had on sale, I noticed items that I would not usually associate with their shops.

But it is not enough just to support independent Llanelli town centre businesses for one day. They need our support all year round. This year, Lee Waters AM and I will be visiting and promoting local businesses throughout December.

With people turning increasingly to the internet to shop, the challenge for our town centres is becoming ever greater. Even the towns selected by government to receive special funding and the expertise of retail guru Mary Portas failed to find any easy answers.

There have been many physical improvements to various parts of the town centre. It is good to see the Stepney Arcade being done up, but we still need to think of new ways to bring people in.

Lee Waters AM and I are holding two daytime events this week – in Llanelly House and upstairs in the library – and I hope many of those attending will also take time to pop into the shops.

Certainly, making sure there are places to work and live both in and around the town centre helps to increase footfall, as do good transport links and easy parking, but we also have to define clearly what it is that we want from our town centre. And, as they say, use it or lose it.

 

This article appeared in the Llanelli Star on Wednesday 13th December.

Adam Afriyie, the MP for Windsor, is encouraging the public to join the collective response by the No 3rd Runway Coalition (N3R Coalition) opposing expansion at Heathrow. The N3R Coalition are an umbrella group representing nearly every major anti-3rd Runway pressure group.

The N3R Coalition is asking members of the public to download and sign a document expressing their opposition to a 3rd Runway at Heathrow. Anyone can let the government know about their concerns by downloading the template here, signing it and emailing it to RunwayConsultation@dft.gsi.gov.uk.

The N3R Coalition is backed by Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs as well as five borough councils, Stop Heathrow Expansion, RAAN (Ascot, Bracknell, Winkfield), the Eton Community Association and more.

The signatures is part of the N3R Coalition’s response to the government’s consultation regarding its recently revised draft National Policy Statement.

 

The MP for the Windsor constituency, Adam Afriyie welcomed the figures:

“As a founding member of the No 3rd Runway Coalition I am very proud of this latest step to ensure that the voices of ordinary people affected by a 3rd Runway is heard loud and clear.

“Expanding Gatwick would be better for the environment, cheaper for the taxpayer and wouldn’t come with the significant legal challenges that a 3rd Runway at Heathrow faces.

“Every day the case against expansion at Heathrow gets stronger. Recently the Government released its revised figures as part of its extended consultation. They showed that the passenger benefits of a new runway at Heathrow had previously been overestimated and that an additional runway at Gatwick would be better for the economy.

“I welcome the Government’s transparency and willingness to listen to people on this subject and very much hope that they will quickly come to a decision that an additional runway at Gatwick makes better sense

“I would encourage all my constituents to spend a few minutes by joining in this response and ensuring that the Government is aware of the overwhelming grassroots opposition to this misguided proposal for a 3rd Runway at Heathrow.”

 

ENDS

Note to editors

  1. Adam Afriyie is the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Ghana.
  2. He has a strong background in science, technology and innovation.
  3. He is currently Chairman of the Fintech APPG, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) and President of the Conservative Technology Forum (CTF).
  4. He was shadow Minister for Science from 2007-2010 and has a background in the information services and technology sector.
  5. To sign the N3R Coalition pledge please download and sign the document here and email it to RunwayConsultation@dft.gsi.gov.uk.
  6. Adam has opposed a 3rd Runway at Heathrow consistently since he first became an MP in 2005. To read more about is campaign please click here.

Office of Ivan Lewis MP Relocation

Ivan Lewis (Bury South)

We have moved our office to 11 Deansgate, Radcliffe, Manchester, M26 2SH

Alternatively we can be called on 0161 773 5500 or email us at lewisi@parliament.uk

 

 

The latest employment figures released by the Office of National Statistics make great reading. Since 2010 there are three million more people in work - more than the entire population of Greater Manchester.

Locally, unemployment is down 18% over the last year, with youth unemployment specifically down 19%. Since the Conservatives entered government in May 2010 the same figures are 52% and 64% respectively.

Brexit debate on Henry VIII powers

Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon)

The vote last night was not about stopping or delaying Brexit; neither was it a reflection on the performance of the Prime Minister, who I have publicly congratulated on a remarkable deal on the EU Withdrawal phase one negotiations.  read more »

Catherine McKinnell MP is calling on all primary schools in Newcastle North to sign up to Premier League Primary Stars, after attending an event in Parliament about the Premier League’s flagship programme for primary age children at the invitation of the Newcastle United Foundation. Premier League Primary Stars is open to all primary schools across … Continue reading Newcastle North MP calls on local schools to sign up to Premier League Primary Stars

200 Years of Parkinson’s

David Hanson (Delyn)

This week I joined charity Parkinson’s UK to mark 200 years since Parkinson’s was first recognised as a condition.

At the parliamentary reception in Westminster on Tuesday 5 December, I met with representatives from the charity and people affected by Parkinson’s to hear about the charity’s ambition to bring forward the day when no one fears Parkinson’s.

I talked to staff and volunteers about the strides that have been made in understanding the condition since James Parkinson’s Essay on the Shaking Palsy in 1817, but also the work that is still to be done as there is no cure for Parkinson’s and current medication can’t stop the condition from progressing.

Parkinson’s UK highlighted the issues faced by people with Parkinson’s, including getting the right financial support to help with the extra costs of living with the condition.

I heard how 25 per cent of people with Parkinson’s are losing some or all of this support as they are moved from Disability Living Allowance to the replacement benefit Personal Independence Payment, leaving people unable to pay for aids and adaptations, energy bills and transport.

Parkinson’s affects one in 500 people in Delyn, and can cause a myriad of symptoms including insomnia, depression, and hallucinations, robbing people of their independence. But through more research, improved services, and empowering people with Parkinson’s to take control, their lives can be turned around.

I also met crime writer Jessica Mann who spoke at the event about her own Parkinson’s diagnosis and the need for better mental health services for people living with the condition.

Parkinson’s UK wants to see quality services as standard for the 127,000 people like Jessica with Parkinson’s in the UK. They also want people with Parkinson’s to feel empowered to take control of their lives, and to take part in clinical trials in their local area to help find better treatments and a cure in years not decades.

I want to help ensure that people in Delyn are not losing out as they are moved to Personal Independence Payment.

I look forward to raising this issue nationally to ensure people get the support they need and feel empowered to take control of their life with Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s UK Chief Executive Steve Ford said:

“With 2017 marking such a significant anniversary for us, we wanted to reflect on what we have achieved and what we have yet to do in order to improve the lives of everybody affected by Parkinson’s, but we can’t do this alone.

“That’s why it’s brilliant David Hanson MP has pledged to help us ensure people with Parkinson’s are getting the financial support they desperately rely on.

“We look forward to seeing the difference David can make in Delyn, and how he can help us to keep Parkinson’s on the political agenda.”

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what the overall percentage of business rate retention is and whether local authorities will be able to retain all of the new growth element announced in Autumn budget 2017.

John Penrose MP speaks with the BBC about Amendment 7 and how for many of the opposition it is being used as a vehicle to postpone Brexit…

Christmas/New Year office opening hours & useful contacts

Debbie Abrahams (Oldham East and Saddleworth)

My constituency office will close on Wednesday 20th December 2017 at 1pm and re-open on Wednesday 3rd January 2018 at 9am. Constituents requiring urgent support for issues such as homelessness can email me on abrahamsd@parliament.uk. Please be aware this email address will be checked intermittently.

 

Below are some useful contact details for the Christmas period:

 

Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council

Council housing repairs – 0161 624 8286

Emergency Duty Team (social care) – 0161 770 6936

Sewers – 0845 602 0406

More information about Oldham Council closures and contact numbers can be found on the website.

 

Environment

Environmental Agency to report pollution, damage or danger to the natural environment or wildlife – 0800 807060 (Freephone *24 Hour)

Floodline (24-hour service): 0345 988 1188

To check for flood-warnings, visit here.

 

Health

In medical emergencies visit your local hospital 

Call 111 for non-urgent medical advice.

 

Utilities

Gas – 0800 111 999 (24 hour emergency helpline)

Electricity – 0800 195 4141 (24 hour emergency helpline)

 

Police 

101 (non emergency)

For details of neighbourhood police teams click here.

Always call 999 in an emergency

Recognition of Veterans

Michelle Donelan (Chippenham)

The Prime Minister has announced proposals which could give 2.5 million former Armed Forces personnel driving licences identifying them as veterans in recognition of their service to the nation. Members of our Armed Forces give so much for our country and it is only right that they are recognised for it.

The post Recognition of Veterans appeared first on Michelle Donelan MP.

Bill Wiggin MP welcomes record levels of employment

Bill Wiggin (North Herefordshire)

Bill Wiggin, MP for North Herefordshire, has today welcomed figures that show unemployment remains at a record low. The latest figures show employment at 32.08 million, a rise of 325,000 from last year and a rise of 3 million since... Continue Reading →

Emma Reynolds MP wishes the Jewish Community a happy Chanukah

Emma Reynolds (Wolverhampton North East)

Emma Reynolds, Labour MP for Wolverhampton North East, is wishing the Jewish community in Wolverhampton and across the country a very happy Chanukah. Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday celebrated in either November or December.

This year Chanukah, also spelt Hanukkah, and known in English as the Festival of Lights, began yesterday (on the evening of Tuesday 12 December) and will end of the evening of Wednesday 20 December.

The word Chanukah means ‘rededication’ and the festival honours the Jewish people’s struggle for religious freedom more than 2,500 years ago.

Emma said “To everyone celebrating Chanukah: Chag Sameach! I hope you have a wonderful holiday. May the light vanquish the darkness that blights the world.”

December 2017

 

The post Emma Reynolds MP wishes the Jewish Community a happy Chanukah appeared first on Emma Reynolds MP.

 Damian Green, MP for Ashford, will be hosting his jobs fair in Ashford at the Ashford College on Friday, 16th February 2018 from 10am till 2pm.

The Ashford job’s fair, which is hosting all types of businesses, from Network Rail to Barclays bank and The National Citizen Service to John Lewis at Home, and has a diverse range of jobs to offer, from full time, part time, and apprenticeships and is open to all age groups and backgrounds.

NHS Confederation Reception

Derek Thomas (St Ives)

West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas says that making the best possible use of digital innovation is key to ensuring that we have a National Health Service that is fit for purpose.

Mr Thomas  hosted a Parliamentary reception on behalf of the NHS Confederation which attracted 130 guests including Health Minister Philip Dunne, NHS  trust chief executives and chairs, providers from across the NHS, MPs and wider stakeholders from the health and care sector.

The event saw Lorraine Galligan, from the Birmingham Community Trust, discuss the ‘Use of Technology to Support Staff Engagement’ and Chris Holt, from the Rotherham Foundation Trust, talk about ‘Innovative Data Sharing’.

Mr Thomas said: “Everyone has a different idea or viewpoint on how to get the best NHS that we can but there is something that unites us all.

“We all believe in the NHS, we all want our health system to diagnose as early as possible, we all want access to the best treatment available as quickly as possible and we all want the money to get to where it is most needed.

“The reality is that the full use of digital technology offers the best method for delivering these asks for patients.

“Digital innovation enables access to up-to-date accurate health records, enables improved management of long-term conditions and early diagnosis, it enables remote access to the best consultants and to training and career progression for staff and it enables improved workforce management of NHS frontline staff making better use their skills.

“This reception demonstrated that there is widespread agreement from key figure in the NHS that investment in the best possible digital technology is absolutely vital if we are going to make the most of our valuable NHS resources.”

 

 

MP supports jobs charity in Parliament

Susan Elan Jones (Clwyd South)

“We should do every we can to support long-term unemployed people, people with disabilities, and others who may find it difficult to get into the world of work.”

That was the message from Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones who was the keynote speaker at an event in Parliament for the Shaw Trust.

Susan Elan Jones MP said:

“The Shaw Trust is a major national charity that supports almost 50,000 people every year, providing job opportunities, skills development training and other practical help. The charity which operates in 200 places across the UK is a major commissioner of services from the Department of Work and Pensions, the National Offender Management Services and other bodies.

“I think there are few things more important in our country than supporting people into the world of work. The Shaw Trust is an excellent organisation – and I am really pleased to promote their work in Parliament in this way.”

Brexit Negotiations

Damian Collins (Folkestone and Hythe)

The Brexit negotiations met and passed a significant stage in the process last week, with the agreement in principle that sufficient progress has been made in settling the terms of our departure, to allow discussions to move on to the future relationship of the UK with the European Union. This agreement addresses one of the main concerns that some constituents have brought to me, where they or close family members are living in the UK but remain nationals of other EU member states. A clear agreement has been reached that UK citizens will have the right to remain living in the European Union, where they are resident in another member state, and the right to bring close family members from this country to live with them. The same rights will also be given to EU citizens living in this country. This means that those who are resident here when we leave the EU at the end of March 2019, will have the right to remain in the UK.

Another key area of agreement was on the future border on the island of Ireland, which all parties have agreed should be kept open, allowing people and goods to flow freely. This principle also has significant bearing on the potential impact of Brexit on Kent, in terms of how we manage the border points at Dover and the Channel Tunnel. To support the free movement of goods, we have proposed maintaining regulatory alignment with the rest of the European Single Market and Customs Union. Should there be a divergence, as with the freedom to make and apply our own rules we may wish to differ from those set by the European Union, we would need to create the infrastructure necessary to allow trade to continue. This could include computerized systems to pre-register cross channel trade and electronic scanners at the points of entry and departure, to track vehicles coming in and out of the country. I discussed this last week at a meeting with one of the leading road haulage businesses based in our area, and they believed that such a scheme can be created to allow goods to be moved without delay.

The agreement reached in Brussels last week, also states areas where we will continue to make payments to the EU. This would cover costs relating to our continued membership of the European Single Market, during the two-year transitional period following Brexit in 2019. We have also agreed in principle that we will continue to fund projects we had committed to support as a member state, up to the end of the current budgetary period, which ends in December 2020.

The next phase in the negotiations will address our future trading relationship, and this will be of vital interest to the whole country, but particularly to everyone who lives and works in East Kent. It is welcome news that progress is being made in the Brexit negotiations, but we must also bear in mind the important caveat written into the agreement published last Friday, that ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.’

The post Brexit Negotiations appeared first on Damian Collins.

The Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, set out plans on Tuesday to strengthen animal welfare laws and enshrine animal sentience in domestic UK law. The new draft Bill will mean: Recognising and enshrining animal sentience in domestic UK law Increasing the maximum prison sentence for animal cruelty tenfold, from six months to five years Retaining the […]

PROPOSED CLOSURES OF RURAL RBS BRANCHES (UPDATE)

Brendan O'Hara (Argyll and Bute)

Brendan O’Hara MP “Shameful betrayal” of rural communities:         In a blistering attack on the Royal Bank of Scotland,  Argyll & Bute MP Brendan O’Hara accused the majority state-owned bank of a “shameful betrayal” of the rural communities of Argyll & Bute, following the announcement that the RBS is to close 62 … Continue reading PROPOSED CLOSURES OF RURAL RBS BRANCHES (UPDATE)
Charles Walker MP speaking in the House of Common, 12 Dec 2017

Charles Walker proposes amendments that would create a new European Statutory Instruments Committee - or ‘sifting committee’ - which would have the job of sifting negative statutory instruments proposed under the Bill by looking at each and recommending which require a debate and a vote in the House of Commons before they became law. [read more] about Charles Walker tables amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill

Government consults on Great Western franchise split

Harriett Baldwin (West Worcestershire)

The Government is considering a major shake-up of local rail services by consulting on splitting Great Western rail franchise to encourage better investment in local services. read more »

The latest UCAS figures reveal that Bristol South still has the lowest percentage of 18-year-olds going on to higher education out of every area of England, in what MP Karin Smyth calls ‘very disappointing’.

The 2017 End of Cycle report shows that just 16% of 18-year-olds in Bristol South are entering higher education – the average for the UK as a whole is almost 42%.
Full figures available here: UCAS Report

Karin says: “It is very disappointing to see Bristol South bottom of the list again, with so few school leavers going to university.

“While progress has been made, with Bristol South seeing the biggest rise in the number of young people going into higher education compared with a decade ago, to remain bottom of the list shows that there is still a long way to go.

“In a big prosperous city such as Bristol, with two internationally-recognised universities as well as Learning City status, it’s hard to see so many young people potentially being left behind – not sharing in that prosperity.

“I will continue to work with schools, families and universities to improve opportunities for young people in Bristol South. This statistic also reinforces the need for other avenues of post-16 training in Bristol to enable young people to go on to secure skilled work.

“We must remember that university isn’t for everyone and I have been – and will continue -working relentlessly to improve quality apprenticeship opportunities in Bristol South.”

Trussell Trust Annual Food Collection

Conor McGinn (St Helens North)

Conor visited the Tesco store in Earlestown to meet store manager Sam Aldred, Leslie and Linda and to support the Trussell Trust annual food collection, which last year alone collected 3.6 million meals for people in need. 2,600 Tesco stores across the UK are taking part in the annual Food Collection, which encourages shoppers to donate to The Trussell Trust to support to people who might otherwise go hungry this […]

Finance Bill Speech, 11/12/17

Kit Malthouse (North West Hampshire)

Here’s my full speech during the Second Reading of the Finance Bill on the need to get British people investing in businesses, the need to spread ownership to give everyone a stake in the country’s balance sheet, with a word of caution on upholding the rule of law for HMRC.

A letter to the EU Citizens Living in the UK

Royston Smith (Southampton, Itchen)

I know our country would be poorer if you left and I want you to stay As Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, I am proud that more than three million EU citizens have chosen to make your homes and livelihoods here in our country. I greatly value the depth of the contributions you make [...]

The post A letter to the EU Citizens Living in the UK appeared first on Royston Smith - At the heart of Southampton.

Anne Marie's Weekly Column

Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbot)

Westminster Week

Final Say on Brexit

Geraint Davies (Swansea West)

Today Geraint Davies Labour MP for Swansea West published his Bill to give People the Final Say on the EU Exit Package - a vote to accept the negotiated deal or to maintain the status quo and stay in the EU.

Said Geraint 

“People who voted to leave the EU did so in good faith for more money - £350 million a week for the NHS - Single Market access - to secure jobs and investment - and to ‘Take back control’.

“But now Theresa May’s ‘Bad Friday Agreement’ means every Welsh family must pay thousands towards the EU divorce bill, our Welsh export jobs - that’s 25,000 in Swansea Bay - are at risk from tariffs - and the European Court of Justice will protect the rights of EU citizens but not British people.

“People in Swansea are saying ‘that’s not what we voted for’ . Over half of voters now want a referendum on the Exit Deal as they realise they will face a massive bill, higher prices, lost rights and protections  and an exodus of companies and jobs.

“My Bill pulls the controls from incompetent ministers agreeing shoddy deals behind closed doors and gives the people the Final Say on the Exit Package and the right to stay in the EU if the deal is rejected.

“Wales should not be forced to pay more money just to lose jobs and investment when they voted for the opposite. That’s why we must have the Final Say on the EU Exit Deal and my Bill creates that opportunity.

 

“If you thought the Bad Friday Agreement was Bad the worst is yet to come as the two year transition period is like Death Row as it enables an organised Exit for British companies and lost Welsh jobs.”

 

“The fact that Theresa May was summoned at 5.00 in the morning to be told she must pay €40 billion with no guarantees on trade shows we can’t rely on the Tories to deliver for Britain. It’s time to give the people back control and the opportunity step back from the precipice before it’s too late” 

Divestment_picture.jpg

On the eve of an international summit on climate finance, 100 MPs including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith call on the Parliamentary Pension Fund to drop investments in oil, coal and gas companies. 

Jeff is among a cross-party group of 100 MPs who demand that their £612 million MPs’ Pension Fund removes its substantial holdings from fossil fuel companies to reflect their concerns about climate change.

The Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund (PCPF) continues to invest millions of pounds of MPs’ savings in fossil fuel companies. Both BP (£5.6 million) and Shell (£4.9 million) are among the fund’s top 20 holdings - along with mining firm Rio Tinto, British American Tobacco and Amazon -which were made available for the first time in March 2017.

This week, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell became the 99th and 100th MPs to sign the Divest Parliament pledge. This milestone comes as 50 heads of state, including UK Prime Minister Theresa May, arrive in Paris for an international summit on climate change and finance.

MPs are responding to a rising call for divestment, with over 800 organisations and investors worth over $5 trillion having already committed to divest from fossil fuels.

Jeff said: “Two years on from the Paris agreement, and with the devastating impacts of climate change already apparent, there is no room for continued investment in companies whose business is incompatible with our climate obligations.

Divesting from fossil fuels would be a great way for MPs to show leadership on the issue of climate change, and send a clear message that we must move away from fossil fuels in order to save our planet.”

Patrick Killoran (22) from the Divest Parliament campaign said:

‘Like the rest of my generation, I’m deeply concerned about the impacts of climate change here and around the world. It’s great to see MPs listening to their constituents and showing political leadership on climate action.

Investing in companies such as BP and Shell, who continue to dig for more fossil fuels and lobby against climate policy to line executives’ pockets, is dangerous and wrong.

I hope more MPs will join those committing to Divest Parliament today, and prioritise concrete action to build a clean, fair energy system for all.’

The full list of signed MPs is available here. The full Divest Parliament pledge can be found here

Visit to Google Digital Garage

Louise Haigh (Sheffield, Heeley)

Restalrig is Edinburgh's 50th conservation area

Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith)

Edinburgh’s 50th conservation area, Restalrig, was announced today by the City of Edinburgh Council.

NEWS AND COMMENT FROM CHRIS LESLIE – Friday 8th December 2017

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

Theresa May’s late-night Brussels deal may at first glance appear to give her some temporary relief ahead of next week’s European Summit. The European Commission were insisting that the main ‘separation’ issues should be settled before moving on to discuss the future relationship. So the British Government have agreed to pay something around £40billion, plus have said that citizens’ rights will be respected, and have found a form of words on the Irish border to avoid upsetting too many people.

But if ever there was a case of ‘the devil is in the detail’ then this is it. It is obvious now to almost everyone, including the Prime Minister, that continuing with the Single Market & Customs Union is the only viable option – although Theresa May has to pretend that isn’t really the case. By promising EU ‘alignment’ with the proviso ‘should this not be possible the UK will propose

specific solutions’, the PM is merely postponing the moment when she breaks this news to the hard Brexiteers. The trouble is, drafting an obscurely worded communique like this, denying a Cabinet discussion, avoiding Impact Assessments and side-stepping a figure for the divorce bill – these are all characteristics of a Prime Minister desperately trying to avoid upsetting the ideologues on her backbenches.

Unfortunately she won’t be able to hide the dangerous cliff edge that still looms ahead for much longer. If no trade deal is compiled before exit day, massive problems remain. We still risk leaping out of the EU into the unknown, because Phase 2 isn’t trade talks – it is talks about talks. Merely gaining the EU’s permission to work towards a ‘framework’ for a future relationship is not the same thing as a detailed trade deal. In my view, Parliament must therefore be very wary of exiting before seeing a detailed draft trade agreement.

You wouldn’t agree to move house without knowing where you’re moving to, or how much it would cost, or exchanging a detailed legal contract. So too we shouldn’t ditch our existing trading deal until we know we’ve got something sensible to replacing it with.

NOTTINGHAM

  • Parents of stillborn babies and those experiencing neonatal baby loss should have the right to expect somewhere private and appropriate to come to terms with the loss and prepare for life once they leave hospital. So I am delighted to support the hard work of local charity ‘Forever Stars’ who have raised significant amounts of money to provide a bereavement suite at Queen’s Medical Centre  – and today also open a second Serenity Suite at the City Hospital Maternity Unit. Today’s official opening by Anne Davies, presenter of BBC East Midlands Today, was also attended by the Sheriff of Nottingham and many other friends and associates of Michelle and Richard Daniels (pictured below with their new baby Monty) who established ‘Forever Stars’ in 2014 following the stillbirth of their daughter Emily. These facilities are a real achievement and will benefit other parents going through incredibly difficult and traumatic times.

Forever Stars Serenity Suite city hospital December 2017 official opening Richard & Michelle Daniels baby Monty and Anne Davies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Nottingham Trent University has been awarded ‘University of the Year’ in the Times Higher Education Awards. The Judges highlighted the University’s record on outreach work as well as pointing to their leading analytics improving retention. It comes just two months after Nottingham Trent celebrated being named the Times and Sunday Times Modern University of the Year, acknowledging success in both the National Students’ Survey and recent league tables. I believe it is important, especially in what has been a difficult year for Universities, to celebrate such local excellence.
  • There has been a halt to the rollout of Universal Credit across Nottingham until October 2018. This means that from New Year’s Day, there will be no new Nottingham claimants placed on Universal Credit for another 10 months, with people directed to continue to claim the relevant existing benefit such as Jobseekers Allowance.
  • The pressures on HM Prison Nottingham from drugs and smuggling need real action and reform, which is why I spoke in yesterday’s Commons debate on the Prison Service. The availability of the drug ‘mamba’ inside the prison and the reoffending of prisoners released on licence returning with smuggled contraband should be solvable – and I urged the Minister to address this (see my remarks at the link here) .

 

NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • Social care didn’t even merit a mention in the Chancellor’s Budget – a dreadful illustration of how this massively important issue has been neglected for so long. So I pressed the Minister this week in the Commons to address this issue more seriously (at the link here), responding to the damning CQC Report that said the number of beds in nursing homes is decreasing with contracts being handed back to local authorities because the finances are no longer stacking up. Without decent social care provision, hospitals waiting times get longer as elderly people have fewer options but to remain as in-patients. I believe a long term solution requires all parties to work together in a Social Care Convention and agree to take difficult decisions.
  • We still aren’t being told the precise amount of the ‘divorce bill’ settlement that the Prime Minister has agreed to pay the European Union – which is why I tabled an amendment on Wednesday calling for a specific and free-standing vote on this multiple £billions to be approved by the House of Commons. Nobody was told about these sums before the Brexit referendum, which could amount up towards £1000 for every man woman and child in the country. For all this money, we are only moving to ‘phase 2’ talks about the possible ‘framework’ of a future relationship, rather than an actual trade deal, which is bound to be inferior to the tariff-free frictionless trade arrangements we currently have. Unfortunately my amendment didn’t win a majority of support from MPs but I still believe that if ‘taking back control’ was the aim of the referendum then bypassing Parliamentary accountability in this way is the total opposite of this. You can watch the full debate at the link here.
  • Donald Trump has decided to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, uniting almost everyone against him for being the only country to think that this will in some way benefit the peace process. It has unsurprisingly caused outrage from even allies in the region because although Israel has always asserted the city as its capital, until now no other country has agreed with this. Palestinian anger at this is now palpable and there is a real risk that endorsing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in this way will play into the hands of what King Abdullah of Jordan calls extremists looking for a reason to respond with violence. The real damage is to any remaining claim that somehow the Trump administration is a fair ‘broker’ of a peace deal between the two sides. This biased approach will harm progress towards a two-state solution where the rights of Israelis and Palestinians can be respected equally.

 

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

A consultation has started over the possible redevelopment of Sherwood Library on the corner of Spondon Street and Mansfield Road. While there are no specific plans currently on the table a newly redeveloped library complex could involve shops, homes and offices, as well as a new library with a police contact point and public toilets.

I’d be interested to know your views on this so that I can make views known to the City Council. Do you use the existing library building? What sort of services should a modern library offer? Depending on the outcome of the consultation, tenders from developers are apparently to be sought in January. If bidders come forward, the plans would have to get planning permission before going ahead. I’m told that local residents can send their thoughts to the City Council to regeneration@nottinghamcity.gov.uk

But do let me know if you have any views on how this redevelopment should proceed.

Regards

Chris Leslie

Labour & Co-operative Party MP for Nottingham East

Brexit Phase 1: Delivered

Wendy Morton (Aldridge-Brownhills)

Last week’s announcement from Prime Minister Theresa May and her statement in the House of Commons earlier today bring the assurance of starting phase two of the Brexit negotiations on trade and security in the New Year. This is welcome news and demonstrates her perseverance and achievement for Britain as we seek to deliver a ‘Truly Global Britain’ ahead of exiting the European Union in March 2019.

Since Brexit negotiations started we made clear that there were three clear priorities which had to be achieved. A deal on the rights of UK nationals living abroad and EU Citizens living in the UK, ensuring that there would be no return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic and a financial settlement which is fair to hard working families. All three of these priorities have now been achieved.

The next stage of our negotiations will be the development of a special partnership with the European Union which will allow us to trade freely, whilst ensuring that we leave the Single Market and the Customs Union as well as the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, honouring the outcome of the Referendum.

The Prime Minister’s steely determination has ensured that we will start 2018 with a renewed optimism to ensure that we will have a Brexit which works for Britain and which will work for all hard-working families across Britain. The outcome of phase one of the Brexit negotiations brings us closer to creating a ‘Truly Global Britain’ where we will begin to embrace the opportunities of the wider world with new friends and old allies alike.

Richard Burden MP, Chair of the Britain-Palestine All Party Parliamentary Group, has today written to the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson concerning US President Donald Trump’s recent announcement of his decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. A cross-party group of 90 Parliamentarians have added their names to the letter to express their collective […]
Dave Cross / Sunday 17 December 2017 07:20