There is one thing the IFS and I agree about. When we leave we will be able to spend the money we send to the EU and don’t get back on our priorities. That will boost the UK economy by around 0.6% (they say 0.5%). We can hire more doctors and nurses, create more jobs, pay more incomes in the UK. Will the Treasury now admit there will be a boost to our economy when we spend our own money?

On leaving the EU  wages should go up a bit for the lower paid. We will be able to take control of our own borders and limit the numbers of people coming in from the rest of the EU to take lower paid jobs. The Chairman of the Remain campaign himself, Lord Rose, has stated wages should go up when we leave and put in a fair and sensible migration policy.

Some on the pro EU side delight in selling the UK short and forecasting a worse outcome for us if we leave. The one thing the forecasts of the Treasury and the other international bodies have in common is they all think that we will better off in five and in fifteen years time if we leave  than we are today. They just think we be even better off if we stay in. Those of us on the Leave side think we should be a little  bit better off if we leave than if we stay. After all, we know we can spend our own money on making more people in the UK better off  by providing them with decent jobs with better public services.

So the argument is not over whether individuals will still have a job or not. It is not even over whether individuals will get a pay rise or not. The argument is will you get a bigger pay rise under Brexit or by staying in?

If we cut the numbers of potential workers coming here, that will help wages rise. If we create more jobs here by spending our own money on our own priorities that will advance our prosperity.

So why are there several pessimistic forecasts? Some say we will lose out on trade if we leave. I don’t see that happening. The rest of the EU sells us much more than we sell them, so they won’t want to impose new barriers and tariffs in the way of our trade with them. They have five million jobs on the continent making goods and services for us.

Anyway we and the rest of the EU are members of the World Trade Organisation. Bound by its rules, the rest of the EU would not be able to increase tariffs on most things under WTO controls. It is true the WTO would allow a 10% tariff on cars, but Germany has made very clear that’s the last thing they want given how many VWs, BMWs and Mercedes they sell here.

Out of the EU we will be able to rebuild our fishing industry, We will be able to generate our own power and develop our own energy reserves in ways we wish without having to be part of a common energy policy.

These are  of the reasons I am voting to leave. I could not recommend something which I thought would make people here worse off. I also want to restore our democracy and regain the right to make our own laws and set our own taxes. It is time to take back control.

  • My Lords, the theological understanding of grace is of the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to deserve it. In these early days in your Lordships’ House, it is grace that I have experienced—wonderful kindness and a warmth of welcome from your Lordships, the staff and all who work in this place. It has been entirely undeserved but a truly heart-warming experience. It will be no surprise to your Lordships that one of the loveliest and warmest welcomes came from the late Lord Walton—a fine and godly man, and a distinguished son of the north-east.
    I grew up in the 1950s on a large London overspill council estate. In those large sprawling estates there were precious few community facilities and the school I attended had two classes of 45 children in each year group. The life chances of many growing up on that estate were very limited. Out of the 90 children in my year group, only 10 went to grammar school.
    Two things were key in supporting me through those childhood years. The first was to be fortunate enough to be born into a loving family and the second was to be blessed by some truly inspirational, vocational teachers, who gave so generously of their free time to expand our horizons above and beyond the ordinary. One of those teachers was Mrs. Boyd, who started a debating society at our school. She had a passion for the art of debating and wanted us to catch that passion. Her sister, the late Lady Birk, had just been introduced to the Lords as one of those pioneering early women life Peers. Through Lady Birk’s good offices, Mrs Boyd brought our little debating team to this place to inspire us by witnessing debating at its best. How could I have imagined, as a 16 year-old girl up in that Gallery, that one day I would find myself making a maiden speech in your Lordships’ House?
    I have the privilege of being the 12th Bishop of Newcastle. I would like to pay tribute to my predecessor, Bishop Martin—a fine Bishop and one of the longest-serving Bishops in your Lordships’ House. I will do my best to be a worthy successor, with the important exception that I will probably spend slightly less time in the smoking shed.
    My diocese stretches from the River Tyne in the south to the River Tweed in the north and encompasses the city of Newcastle, North Tyneside and the county of Northumberland, together with a very small area of eastern Cumbria and four parishes in northern County Durham. Newcastle diocese is wonderful, with extraordinary contrasts: from the vibrant regional capital of Newcastle upon Tyne, with two world-class universities and 50,000 students, to the remote hill farms, some still without mains electricity and water; from the Northumberland Church of England Academy with 2,500 students in Ashington, to our smallest Church of England school on Holy Island with just four children. We have the stunning Dark Skies at Kielder and the bright lights of the big city, alongside places of pilgrimage such as Holy Island—or St James’ Park. The beauty of my diocese takes my breath away.
    The gracious Speech emphasised the importance of increasing life chances for the most disadvantaged, supporting economic recovery, creating jobs and apprenticeships, and creating the kind of infrastructure that businesses need to grow. All these issues are absolutely key to economic and human flourishing in the north-east. The issues around the development of the northern powerhouse are also of great significance. I therefore warmly welcome the commitment from the noble Lord, Lord O’Neill, earlier in this debate to regional growth in the north and the Midlands.
    The people of the north-east are warm, hospitable, proud and resilient. Our workforce is famed for its loyalty, with a very low staff turnover. The north-east is not a problem to be solved by the rest of the country but an asset to be valued. We are one of the very few parts of the UK with a surplus of both water and energy. Rather than transporting these vital resources to other parts of the country, we should be looking to relocate water-and energy-intensive businesses to the north-east. We are the only region in the UK with a consistent positive balance of trade and we export nearly a third of everything we make and do.
    As I have journeyed around the diocese in my first five months, I have seen more signs of hope than I have time to talk about. Let me give just one example— Port of Blyth. Blyth, on the coast in the south-east corner of Northumberland, is one of the most deprived areas in the whole of England. With the closure of the Alcan Lynemouth aluminium smelter in 2012, the future of the port looked bleak. But with great leadership, a determination to find new trade and a policy of recruiting local young people who stay, Port of Blyth is now facing an increasingly optimistic future. It has just announced record results for 2015, with a doubling of pre-tax profits to £1.2 million.
    Human flourishing in all its forms, including economic flourishing, depends above all on our most precious resource: our people. If these signs of flourishing are to be sustained and grow, we need the commitments in the gracious Speech to be made real in everyday lives. The most important of these commitments is to our children. There are many areas of poverty in the north-east, Blyth among them, where children’s life chances will continue to be curtailed without the determination and ambition to give such children the start in life that they deserve.
    As I experienced so powerfully in my own early life, education can be absolutely transformative. Northumberland is the most sparsely populated county in England, so it is not surprising that our schools are inevitably among the smallest in the country. I therefore warmly welcome the commitment in the education White Paper to provide sparsity funding for every single small rural school, but I hope that this will not be at the expense of schools in urban areas. We need to support schools in all disadvantaged areas if the commitment to life chances is to be realised. That is made very clear in the report on northern schools issued this week by the IPPR North and Teach First, where the gap in secondary education for disadvantaged children is particularly highlighted.
    The northern powerhouse will be anything but unless there is a 100% commitment to adequate funding—funding for education, apprenticeships and the infrastructure that the north-east needs. It would be this kind of vision and commitment that would make a real difference.
Spoke in the debate on the 'Gracious Speech' for the first time today. Always enjoy the pomp and ceremony which accompanies the Opening of Parliament, especially the glorious sight, smell and sound of the magnificent horses which accompany Her Majesty as she arrives at the Palace of Westminster. But for several reasons, today was first time I've spoken in a Queen's Speech debate. I spoke about the Wales Bill we are expecting to be introduced over the next few weeks.

Though not knowing precisely what will be in the Bill, we can make a pretty good guess at it, because there was the 'Draft' Wales Bill' that ran out of steam during the last Parliament. We know the range of powers to be 'reserved' to Westminster will be much reduced from previous proposals. We also know that the 'Necessity tests', which caused so much concern, has been totally removed. So more chance of agreement. 

Today I spoke about vesting in the Welsh Government the responsibility to levy a significant proportion of Income Tax. For me this is fundamental. My strong views on this issue were developed when I served as Conservative Finance Spokesman in the National Assembly for Wales more than ten years ago. We used to have what was termed the annual budget process. But it was not a budget at all. It was no more than an annual spending plan. A budget involves consideration of both sides of the ledger  - how Govt money is raised as well as how it is spent.

The key line in my speech was "If devolution of Income Tax is not included in the Wales Bill, it deserves to fail. It deserves to be rejected. Without the inclusion of a responsibility placed on the Wales Government to levy a significant proportion of Income Tax, not one iota of extra power should be devolved"

Though some of most contentious proposals in the Draft Wales Bill have been removed, there remains potential areas for disagreement. How is the small but growing body of Welsh law to be formally considered? Do we need a separate Welsh Juridiction? Should Policing be devolved along with other emergency services such as ambulance and fire services? Should we consider devolution of broadcasting? Plenty of potential for disagreement.

Taking a Wales Bill through the House will not be easy. Big challenge for new Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns. It will need a willingness to compromise on all sides, and a genuine desire to take devolution forwards. I hope I can play a part in that.

 

 

The following blog post was wrote by Katie Pert, who I was delighted to host in my Westminster office this week as she completed her work experience.

 

How our electoral system is undemocratic and produces an unfair result:

Even though the ‘First-Past-The-Post’ system has the benefit of having constituencies with Members of Parliament representing different regions, maintaining a link between the people and the happenings in Parliament, it is not at all a fair way of representing the citizens of the UK. It can even be said to be corrupt as in 2005 it took an average 26,906 votes to elect a Labour MP, 44,373 to elect a Tory MP and 96,539 votes to elect a Lib Dem MP. This is simply not equal nor democratic and a contributing cause of the democratic deficit.

FPTP provokes tactical voting. People may not vote for their favoured MP if they know that there is no chance of election. They often vote for another party that does stand a chance in order to make sure the party they wouldn’t want in Government won’t get a seat.

If in Westminster, we had a different voting system such as STV (Single Transferrable Vote) it would create a result where everyone’s voice is properly heard.

Switching to STV this would put Westminster in line with other institutions in the UK as it is already used for electing the Northern Ireland Assembly and in local elections in Scotland and Northern Ireland as well as European Parliament elections.

It’s disappointing that there is no mention of this electoral reform in the current government’s manifesto but it seems that the Conservative Party is not concerned about the fairness of the people. Only more cuts. Their version of electoral reform is to "address the unfairness of the current Parliamentary boundaries", by reducing the number of MPs to 600, which they say they are doing “to cut the cost of politics". But is this really a priority? Does the importance of cutting costs outweigh whether every single person’s vote is counted and equally represented in Parliament?

It seems that the government believe that just because they called for a referendum on the ‘Alternative Vote’ system and it got a ‘No’ majority, that there is no need for reform. When actually the referendum put people in the position of being not properly educated, with the ‘No’ campaign having much more spent on it than the ‘Yes’. This is also something that the Conservative Party can’t hack: educating the people without being biased.

For the upcoming referendum, should Cameron have spent £9.2 million on taxpayer-funded flyer with the government's recommendation to remain in the European Union? Isn’t this yet another example of the Conservative Party not fairly educating people on a matter, but inflicting their own views upon them? 

 

Katie Pert

 

 

 

This week my conservative colleague Peter Lilley put forth an amendment to the Queen’s speech regarding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the NHS. The text of the amendment was as follows: At end add ‘but respectfully regret that a Bill to protect the National Health Service from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership was not included in the Gracious Speech.’. I gladly supported this amendment and it had such widespread crossbench support that the Government chose to […]
Last week the referendum campaign got going properly with Boris Johnson kicking off a nationwide tour for the Leave campaign starting in Cornwall and with local volunteers delivering thousands of leaflets to get the message across the county.  These volunteers play an important role because the pro-EU campaign have benefited from over £9 million of tax payer funded support on a pro-EU leaflet.

I took a decision in February to join the Leave campaign because I didn't like the way our Prime Minister was sent back from Brussels empty handed after he tried to argue for the return of powers.  He got nothing.  So I think we should show them we are serious and act decisively to end the supremacy of EU law.  We should replace our membership with a different sort of partnership where we stop sending £350 million a week to Brussels and stop European Courts undermining our democracy.

None of the arguments put forward by the pro-EU campaign have been very persuasive.  In fact, as the volume of scare mongering propaganda has increased, the credibility of those arguing we should remain has gone down even further.  We have had all sorts of bankers and bureaucrats wheeled out to tell us how to vote.  These are usually the same sorts of people who said we should join the euro and have a track record in being wrong.  We have also had an American president ordering us to get to the back of the queue while other EU countries want us to stay because they need our money.

In my view, as a country, we should do what is right for us in this referendum and vote to leave.  We should not allow ourselves to be told what to do by other countries.  We will always have an international outlook, but this is one occasion when we should think about the UK.  Here in Cornwall, I am detecting a growing consensus that we would be better off if we were to leave, but nationally this contest is going to be very very close.  

Who should you trust more? Thousands of personal investors who risk their own money in the marketplace? Or the career politician who doubled our national debt in six years?

The Share Centre's new survey of 1,800 personal investors poll shows 56% support Leave, compared to 39% for Remain. 53% believe Brexit will have a positive impact on Britain.

Let's put this in perspective. These are people who invest their own money. They have a personal interest in Britain's prosperity. They have no ulterior motive.

On the other side is George Osborne.

The Chancellor who broke his promise to balance the books. Who spends other people's money without worrying how future generations will pay it back. Who fills every budget with tricks and gimmicks designed to bamboozle the British people.

Oh – and whose career depends on the result of this referendum.

Who's more credible?

Trusting the Downing Street doomsayers means turning a blind eye to the real economic effects of European integration.

To believe that the EU brings economic prosperity, we would need to pretend there was no never-ending debt crisis in Greece. No permanent youth unemployment in Spain. No stagnation across the Eurozone.

We're better off than our neighbours on the Continent today mainly because we didn't join the disastrous single currency. The lesson is the less Europe, the better.

Under national self-determination, Britain went from backwater to industrial powerhouse.

Under the EU, Europe has gone from world-leader to the world's only declining trading bloc.

The high-risk option is to ignore the evidence in front of us. Britain will be better off out.

Labour has a great incentive to give the government a punch on the nose

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Earlier today Kate Green MP (Shadow Minister for Women & Equalities), Seema Malholtra MP (Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury), Angela Eagle (Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills) and I held a press conference at Church House, Westminster to highlight the importance of women in the campaign to remain in the European Union.

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See the ITV Hub for the full episode.
This is something I really support. Smoking kills. Improving lives and improving life chances in Hyndburn is vital. Date: 19 May 2016 13:08:43 BSTTo: "'graham.jones.mp@parliament.uk'" Subject: Cancer Research UK: Standard cigarette packs are here from tomorrow