If the EU sticks to its view that it cannot allow the UK to have any control over migration, the negotiations will be very short. The UK must refuse to continue with freedom of movement, so there will be no basis to reach a new agreement.

This means the Uk will simply need to withdraw from the EU and  rely for our trade with the EU on most favoured nation status under World Trade Organisation rules. Average tariffs are very low, though they can be higher against German cars and French agricultural produce. The UK does not want to impose tariffs, but if the rest of the EU does impose tariffs up to WTO limits the UK will obviously retaliate.

The UK could make a good living under WTO rules. The UK will still benefit from the main advantage of the single market, the fact that you can produce a product to the same standard to sell anywhere in the EU. The recent fall in the pound is bigger than the extra costs WTO tariffs and ruled could impose, so our competitiveness will still be better.

 

In some ways this makes it so much easier. If The EU does not want to listen to the UKs needs then they have to accept we can just leave and they may end up imposing obstacles to their very successful exports at a time when the fall in the pound has just made them dearer.

In what has been a busy week for the country as a whole, we all need to think about the next steps we can take individually and collectively to make our futures as prosperous as possible.

Accordingly, there's still chance to secure your place at Friday's Policy North event in Newcastle. The day will question what is on the horizon for the Northern Powerhouse, and how local businesses can thrive.

Some of the North East's leading business figures will provide an engaging array of talks, panel discussions, and questions and answers. More so, James Wharton MP, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse, will be providing us with a keynote speech detailing how the area will adapt in these uncertain post-'Brexit' times.

I've attached the poster below - if you would like to know more about the work Policy North does as a Think Tank, then they can be found here - http://www.policynorth.com/

Equally, if you have any more questions, or would like to come along, then please don't hesitate to get in touch.

 

Since Jeremy was elected by an overwhelming majority of party members, I have given him my loyalty and support without any quibble.

There are individuals who refused to accept the democratic vote and conspired to undermine him on almost every issue. Their behaviour has damaged the party and I deplore their disloyalty. The election results in the past year have been reasonable but it is clear that the appeal that Jeremy had to party members during his election as Leader does not work well with the majority of voters. We had a difficult choice of either an internal party civil war or little chance of a Labour Government.

A lot has happened in a week. What appeared to be a cleverly choreographed campaign organised to suit the rolling 24 hour media with resignations timed on every hour to maximise their effect. The jobs of the first people who resigned were quickly filled. Now the situation has changed. The numbers of resignations has passed the tipping point where adequate replacements can be made. The resignations now include the best of our shadow ministers-including almost all of the new left-wing future stars who were elected in 2015. In terms of the parliamentary party a future stable parliamentary team is now unachievable. Monday's meeting of the PLP was an ugly hateful row. Many disgraceful things were said. But there was an overwhelming impression that Jeremy should not continue as Leader because of the inadequacy of his responses. He repeated the speech he has made frequently in the past. It may be inspiring to people new to politics who were hearing it for the first time but to MPs it was patronising and trite. He failed to rise to the challenge.

I agreed with serial loyalist Margaret Beckett today when she said that the situation cannot continue.  I believe an alternative candidate will be put forward this afternoon and we must now face an election and risk the damage of internal divisions in the party.

Better hell now than a new Tory Government in future.

 

 

Last Thursday, the British public made a choice about the future of our country’s relationship with the European Union. The turnout here in Swindon was an impressive 76%, and I am delighted that so many of my constituents have taken this opportunity to have their say in one of the most important decisions facing our country in a generation.

Robert's Weekly Swindon Advertiser Article - 29 June 2016

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It is with great regret that I call on Jeremy Corbyn to stand down as leader of the Labour Party.  Jeremy has many great qualities but he is not a leader. The party and the country needs a strong united Labour Opposition at this immensely challenging time.  Jeremy earned the right to take up the leadership of the party with a big majority.  But he has failed and he has no right or mandate to stay in office despite his failure and take the party down with him.  Leading the party is a privilege not a right. You earn the opportunity to lead by being elected, to lead the whole party, our voters, members, councillors and MPs. But winning the leadership election does not give you the right to continue in post if you fail.  If Jeremy goes now, he will earn the respect and admiration of the party. If he stays he will be responsible for damage to the party on the gravest scale.  No-one has the right to do that.  Being leader of the Opposition is an immensely difficult task.  Much harder than it looks.  The starting point should be to support the leader and help them succeed. And that is what I have done over the past 3 decades and with 6 leaders through thick and thin.  But I have no right to stand by and let our party collapse in disarray.  That is what has happened under Jeremy and that has to stop.  I urge Jeremy to stand down.

Frank Field MP, whose local authority passed 8,274 Council Tax debts to bailiffs in 2014-15, is concerned that the abolition of Council Tax Benefit, and its replacement by discretionary local...

Karen Lumley, MP for Redditch County, has condemned in the strongest possible terms a string of apparently racially motivated attacks that have taken place across the country since the Brexit vote last Thursday (23 June 2016).

Karen said: "Redditch has a sizeable population of either first or subsequent generation immigrants from many countries who have arrived over a considerable number of years – including from Ireland, Pakistan, India, Poland, Romania and many other countries.

"While I voted for an exit from the EU, I most certainly did not vote for intolerance in any way, shape or form. Immigrants over the years have added immeasurably to the richness of our country and our town, and to our economy, and it is a source of utter revulsion to me to think of any of them feeling uncomfortable at this time.

"All of the reported acts about which we have heard over the last few days are outrageous and disgust me to the core, and I would like to think everyone in Redditch feels the same.

"We need time now to calm down and for the Government to consider its options in doing what the electorate have asked us to do and work out a way forward that is beneficial for all UK citizens, including those who voted to remain in the EU."

What an extraordinary day. Back to the Commons, where the mood was mixed. The Leave campaign MPs were clearly delighted with the outcome, while the Remain MPs were having difficulty dealing with the outcome of this referendum. I must say that I understand as I would have been equally anxious and frustrated had it gone the other way. The Prime Minister made a gracious and at times humourous statement to the House on the result, reinforcing the point that this was the only referendum in town and there would not be another one.

      

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Given that Brexit is now certain the UK has a challenging negotiation. It was to be expected that the UK would not immediately give notice to the EU under Article 50. What the UK needs to do ideally is to negotiate the settlement in substance before giving notice. Time and delay is in the UK's interest as is obvious from the comments by the EU Commission. The challenges to negotiate is how
In the EU referendum, the UK voted to leave the European Union. For all the reasons I have set out, recently and over 9 years,  I believe the people of the UK have made the right choice for our country. We must now form a Government willing to implement the dual mandate of the Conservative manifesto and the Referendum result. We know the public took this decision seriously and that many people disagree. After a Remain campaign which relentlessly stoked fear […]
This is not a column declaring my support for any leadership bid that Boris Johnson may or may not launch this coming week. But it does reflect my considered view of the 'Blond One', which is generally positive. Some of my friends cannot fathom why I like Boris, and are challenging me to explain. So here goes. And don't complain because you asked!! 

I first met Boris Johnson in 1997, when he was a parliamentary candidate in Clwyd South. One quirky fact I sometimes use is that I represent a seat where Boris was once a candidate. In 1997 Dyffryn Tanat, (where Owain Glyndwr lived) and is now part of Montgomeryshire was part of Clwyd South in 1997! Anyway Boris came to speak in Welshpool and I was deputed to taxi him to Shrewsbury Station. At the function Boris was the 'act' we know. But once in the car he transformed. Serious; informed; knowledgable and as non-pompous as it's possible to be. I liked him.

I'd long been enthused by his writing for the Spectator, which I've read for over 40 yrs. Its anarchic, hugely creative and readable (like his book on Churchill). He's a man with great imagination. I thought his interest in politics was a great loss to journalism. Eventually he was elected, but (unwisely in my view) carried on as a journalist, writing for the Telegraph and becoming Editor of the Spectator - where sales increased to record levels. But alas his journalistic flourishes, (and pressure from tight deadlines) led to a gross mistake. Might have been acceptable to a journalist but not a Shadow Minister. Not his finest hour and bit of a setback.

Next big move was to take on Ken Livingstone to be Mayor of London, a strongly Labour city. Only Boris could have won it for the Tories. And he did it twice. No-one else could have done it. During his tenure, London flourished. He showed himself to be a leader. And he quickly emerged as a leader when he joined the Leave campaign. Seems to me he's a leader, and a winner.

Part of the Boris appeal has been his anarchic approach to interviews, and life in general. But in my view it's always been an act. It's just his way of connecting. And it works. He is just not like that in real life. He's calm and considered. Recently I've seen him described as right wing. That's like calling me right wing! Boris is progressive and actually a Europhile. It's just that he's no supporter of the EU. That how I'd like to be described.

I've always found him to be courteous - a character trait which served him well in TV Debates when he was subject to personal attacks. Kept his cool. I accept that there are many people who do not like the Boris style. That's ok. It's what may lead to failure to reach No 10. But I rather like him. But must repeat I need to see the field, and hear what they have to say, before declaring for any candidate to take over from the outstanding David Cameron in October.
ROBERT SIEGEL (NPR): Ed Balls is a leading voice for the remain camp in the Brexit referendum. He’s a former senior member of Parliament for the opposition Labour Party, and he was influential in shaping Labour’s economic policies for 20 years. Thanks for joining us. ED BALLS: Good to be here. SIEGEL: Let’s say the […]

Many of you have written to me asking my views on the forthcoming EU referendum, so I wanted to respond by letting you know why I will be voting to remain. Like you I only have one vote - but as you elected me to serve as your MP I have a duty to explain to you why I have decided to vote this way.

Jeremy will be holding a hustings event on the EU referendum at Haslemere Museum at the Wilfred Noyce Centre, Godalming, on Tuesday 21st June at 7pm.

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I know that everyone who gathered in the House today holds the great honour of their presence in that place so very dear. But there are times when we gather, on much less sad occasions, that we test each other’s patience in debates where there is little hope of changing minds, times when we are all guilty of doing little more than repeating what has already been said. Today, we have come together in circumstances so solemn that none of us could possibly have foreseen them, which no one would have dreamt of just a few days ago.  And I am indeed left with little more to do than to repeat what colleagues and friends in all parties have said before me. But the reason for this repetition is truth, agreement and unity, and the only thing being tested is our emotional strength. Jo Cox embodied the ideals that we all wish to aim for, ideals which we sometimes miss, but that should always be on our mind, to do the right thing - for our constituents, for our country and for the world.  I can think of no better role model than Jo, for how best to do our work, with honour and determination, with passion and skill - and with a smile. It is this smile, even on such a difficult day that is so important to remember. Members of Parliament are not alone in this great country of ours, in wanting to make a difference, but each one of us has been blessed with the opportunity to try and do it, on behalf of the people who put us here. We should reflect today, more than any other day, about what a fantastic opportunity we have, to do what we can to make the world a better place. For Jo’s young family, and for every family in the country. We should be thankful for the chance we have in Parliament to try and make a differen...

With the EU referendum only a few days away, I wanted to write to all of my constituents to express my passionate belief that our future is so much brighter if we Vote Leave on Thursday.

You can read a copy of the letter here.

I look forward to celebrating our Independence Day with you all on June 24th.

The big day is almost upon us. As your MP I will vote to Remain in the EU and here are my personal reasons. Firstly this is about our children, their future not ours and they are voting 3:1 to Remain. This is their future we are voting on and they are the ones that will have to live with the consequences. Whilst older voters in Halsingden and Hyndburn have been clear to me, they want to

Tracey recently launched K Sports, a new and exciting model for sport, business, education and vocational opportunity in the community.

Tracey recently launched K Sports, a new and exciting model for sport, business, education and vocational opportunity in the community.

 

 

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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.  

As Attorney General from 2010 to 2014, I had plenty of opportunity to observe the workings of the EU and its impact on our country. The EU and its institutions exist to give effect to the Treaties by which its 28 member states agreed to create a single market in goods and services and promote co-operation in other fields including environmental protection, health and safety and security and policing. The UK enjoys a special position in not being bound by some parts of the EU Treaties.

Dominic Grieve on why Britain should remain in the European Union

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Sir Tony Baldry is to receive a new Award from the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Langton Award for Community Service.

The Award is named after Archbishop Stephen Langton, who was Archbishop at the time of the signing of Magna Carta.

The Award made from Fairtrade silver will be conferred on Sir Tony Baldry by the Archbishop of Canterbury during a ceremony at Lambeth Palace on 31st March.

For further information click here.

This morning, first thing, I dropped by the Esher and Molesey Royal Mail delivery office. It's an opportunity to see first hand just how busy our local postmen and women get at this time of year.

Mark Peters, the office manager, showed me round, how the systems work, and the kinds of challenges they have to grapple with - from rotweilers to bad handwriting on envelopes. I met a few of his team in the process. Good luck to all our postmen and women at this festive but hectic time!


Quietly and surreptitiously Osborne is marking out his pitch for the leadership,   The trouble is, it’s thoroughly bad pitch.   By denigrating opponents of privatisation he has set his face against the 70% of the population who earnestly want rail re-nationalised, a proportion so large that it must include nearly half who’re Tories.  ...
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Rory Stewart MP met with local producers in Penrith last week to discuss the upcoming ‘Cumbria Day’ in London, which he is organising along with fellow Cumbrian MP’s; John Stevenson, Sue Heyman, Jamie Reed and Tim Farron. It would be the second event of its kind, celebrating Cumbrian business, and in particular, it’s speciality food […]

The post RORY STEWART MP CHAMPIONS CUMBRIAN PRODUCERS appeared first on Rory Stewart.

With regards to today’s news from the High Court, my solicitors, Clifford Chance, have prepared this statement on my behalf: "This petition was part of Mr Ireland's continued campaign of harassment against our client. Our client believes that the p...
Between 2010 and 2015 I was the Minister of State for Pensions and continue to take an interest in pensions issues.  I tweet regularly (@stevewebb1) but occasionally 140 characters doesn't quite do justice to the wonderful world of pensions.   I have therefore relaunched this blog site as an occasional location for pensions thoughts.

Hello. If you are reading this it might be because you want to sign up for my campaign to be deputy leader of the Labour Party. There is a separate site for this which can be found at this Tom for Deputy link.

The Haringey Indepedent asked me to outline reasons why people should vote for me… Here’s my response!

“Starting with the very basic – I am local! I grew up in Haringey, went to Highgate primary, and still live in the constituency of Hornsey and Wood Green today.

“It’s so important to know the area you want to represent.

“I also have a 20 year record of working with residents and campaign groups to protect and improve our local services.

“If I had to pick the single most important campaign – it would be saving the Whittington A&E from the previous Labour Government’s closure plans. The second I got wind, I posted the information on my website (where it remains today!) and kicked off a massive campaign.

“Joining forces with local residents and campaign groups – I marched, I petitioned, I secured a debate and asked questions in Parliament, and together we were successful and Gordon Brown’s Government backed down. If we hadn’t saved it – I don’t think we’d still have a hospital.

“Nationally, I’ve fought for policies that benefit our borough. The Lib Dems in parliament have taken the lowest paid workers out of paying tax, and introduced the Pupil Premium to get extra money to schools in more disadvantaged areas.

“These measures mean that thousands of low-paid Haringey workers have be taken out of paying income tax altogether, and £13 million extra has been given to our local schools, teachers and pupils.

“In Government, I’ve used my ministerial positions to push a progressive agenda. As Equalities minister, I was the originator and architect of equal marriage. I then moved to the Department for International Development, where I announced a £35 million programme to end FGM within a generation, and protected the aid budget.

“Finally, I would like you to vote for me because there is still more that needs to be done – for all the reasons I got into politics. We need stronger public services. We need to continue to promote fairness and equality. We need to fight for a community where we take care of those less able than ourselves. I’d like to be a part of that work for the next five years.”
Am I the only one who has found that the rise and rise of twitter (and to an extent) facebook has eaten their blog? Despite the best of my intentions, I have ended up posting minute by minute stuff on Facebook and Twitter. Does this say something about our ever diminishing attention-spans as a society? Or just about me not being very good at managing the blogger app on my iphone...?   Who knows.  But be warned - this blog may not be updated as much as it should be. A big blue bird came and ate it up.

Make sure you stay up to date with all of James’s news by liking his Facebook page!

jamestwitter2-e1403712392869

So, avid readers will notice that I've been a little absent in the blogging world over the past few months.  I've been busy, which isn't an excuse as we are all busy, I know, but writing a blog can't be top on the list of my priorities so posts on here have fallen by the wayside a little bit, sorry.

Summer recess, however, is a great opportunity to catch up, take stock, and get on top of things as best as possible, so here I am again with a new (Parliamentary) year resolution to get back to blogging.

I hope I still have at least one reader left!
Shadow Fisheries Minister Tom Harris has welcomed a campaign by representatives of the smaller fishing industry to win a fairer share of UK fishing quotas.

Speaking on the day that Greenpeace and NUTFA (the New Under Ten Fishermen’s Association) launched their Manifesto For Fair Fisheries, Tom called on the government to take the lead in supporting small fishing communities. He said the case had now been made for a “radical overhaul” of the way fishing quotas are allocated within the UK.

Smaller “inland” fishing vessels make up three quarters of the UK’s fishing fleet and employ nearly two thirds of all full-time workers. But they are restricted from catching more than four per cent of the UK fishing quota, with 96 per cent being allocated to the larger industrial fleet.
 
Tom added: “Labour wants reform that tackles vested interests and rewards those who fish more sustainably and selectively, with less impact on the environment. It is unacceptable that fleets representing the smaller, sustainable end of the industry, and which employ nearly two thirds of full-time workers, should have to survive on just four per cent of the UK fishing quota.
 
“The Government should be taking a lead in supporting our small fishing communities that are the lifeblood of many coastal areas.

“The case has now been made for a radical overhaul of the way fishing quotas are allocated within the UK. The Government needs to issue a definitive list of who exactly owns the rights to UK quota, and begin urgent talks on significantly increasing the percentage quota allocated to the Under Ten fleet.”
I recently organised a meeting with a number of local residents about the upkeep and maintenance of Kew Bridge Railway Station. I met with representatives from Strand on the Green Association, St George's, Kew Green, The Kew Bridge Society, Express Tavern, West Thames River Group, a disability interest group, Friends of Stile Hall Gardens, Brentford Community Council and Network Rail.
Prior to the meeting, I had already been in touch with Network Rail, to strongly urge them to deal with some of the key issues around the station. Network Rail confirmed at the meeting that, as a result of my request, they had immediate plans in place now to paint the station, address the rodent problem, board up unused windows and clear graffiti They had also requested additional litter bins from Hounslow Council. At the meeting, St George's highlighted the work they had been doing too to clear up graffiti in the local area.
I am very pleased that Network Rail responded so well and are giving Kew Bridge Station a 'facelift,' which will help local residents. It will make the station seem cleaner and safer and I welcome their efforts to improve it for passengers. As a group, we are also in discussion regarding the future of the station building at Kew Bridge. As it is a Listed Building, it is obviously of architectural importance. It would be excellent if it could be restored to its former glory and put to good use.
The group is going to meet again within the next month to review progress and discuss next steps.
Maria Miller, MP for Basingstoke, has welcomed the Localism Bill published by the Government on 13 December. The Bill will give individuals, groups, and their local councils a much greater say in decisions affecting their local communities.

 

Maria said: “This new legislation will make a real difference to how local matters are decided. The Community Rights measures, for example, will give new rights to local community and voluntary groups to protect, improve and even run important frontline services that might otherwise close down, such as local shops, pubs and libraries,.”

 

Maria added: “This Bill offers great opportunities for Basingstoke. Among other things, it will radically reform the planning system so that local people have a greater say and influence over what Basingstoke looks like in the future. Giving local people the opportunity to shape the development of the communities in which they live is something that I have long campaigned for, and I am delighted to see it being enshrined in law.

 

“The Borough Council’s current consultation on the number of new homes needed in Basingstoke is part of this process of taking local people’s views into consideration in developing a vision for the future. I would urge all residents to let the Council have their views on this before the end of the consultation on 14 January.”

 

Starting with a Bang

The long parliamentary recess has started - weeks without time being spent in the weekly grindingly boring train ride to London and back. Mind you its a hectic pace back at Southport but you can control your agenda better.

Yesterday I found a little time for light exercise the odd game of table tennis and a workout with heavy weights.
I've done the latter all my adult life and it has a slight addictive quality. If you don't do it for a while you actually feel muscle cramps only relieved by putting the old system under pressure.
Constraints of time often mean I forego all the warm ups and warm downs etc. So there I was on Tuesday doing a few front squats in excess of 300lb. I finished, replacing the barbell on the shoulder-high squat stand or so I thought. The stand was not aligned right .It tilted sideways as I released the weight and as the weight crashed to the floor the stand was pulled rapidly down by it pausing on its way to hit the stooping me on the head and catching me on the hand.
If you wanted to dramatise it , it might be compared to being hit on the head by a 20 stone man with an iron bar from a short distance. I thought I'd better take a break. We've had enough by- elections recently
When the family saw me with a lump as though a tennis ball had been buried in my scalp I was advised to pop into A&E. So clutching a plastic bag filled with ice cubes to my temple and bleeding from my finger I was run there and tested by some very nice jolly staff who established so far as we could tell that there was no skull or brain damage.At any rate I could still recall who the Prime Minister and reigning monarch was. I left a wiser man with a determination to avoid photo opportunities for a few days.
Desperate to prove they are doing something about the rising toll of deaths from guns and knives the government have resorted to the old idea of an "amnesty." This will enable a few aging war veterans who collected a "souvenir" and some farmers who forgot to renew their shotgun licenses to hand over guns that would never have been used for any kind of crime. Some of the younger "wannabe" gansters may also find that their weapons, usually replicas, are handed in by angry mothers.

This will be enough for the amnesty to achieve its real objective - photos of a smiling Minister in front of an impressive looking array of guns claiming that the government have "taken action".

But make no mistake the serious criminals will continue to roam the streets without any fear of being stopped and searched, (human rights) and knowing that even if by some chance they are found in poossession of a gun or knife the sentence will be minimal.

The toll of death will continue to rise.