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Trade wars

John Redwood (Wokingham)

The USA has temporarily suspended the tariffs it threatened to deploy against China. Apparently the trade talks are making progress. China accepts that the balance of payments surplus it enjoys with the USA is excessive, and wishes to help the USA find more ways to sell to China. Some of this requires market opening by China of a general kind, and some requires more successful US exporting relative to say Germany of products China already imports.

China is a heavy importer of transport goods, engineered products and technology. The USA is wishing to be more cautious about how much technology she sells, given worries about the way China has handled Intellectual Property in the past.  Boeing will be hoping a new trade deal strengthens their hand against Airbus, and the US car makers will  be wishing to do better against Mercedes and BMW.

The UK should win from some of the changes envisaged. China accepts she needs to liberalise her banking and financial services markets more, which could assist the UK as well as the US. We too have a substantial trade deficit with China.

I assume Mr Trump would prefer to find some common ground and show he has a “win”. So far China seems to understand and accept this, and is busy trying to find ways in which the US can do a  bit better. China can argue that her policy is to liberalise progressively anyway, as she has been doing at a slow pace since joining the WTO.  Accepting the idea that the trade gap must narrow a lot is one thing, but bringing about the day to day reality of more US exports or fewer US imports is still going to take time and will be difficult to deliver.


City MP leads grilling of DWP over huge ESA error

Stephen Morgan (Portsmouth South)

Department of Work and Pensions mistakenly underpaid £1.7 billion to vulnerable people

Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan today jointly lead the Public Accounts Committee’s hearing on the DWP’s error-strewn administration of Employment Support Allowance payments.

Since 2011, the Department for Work & Pensions has underpaid an estimated 70,000 people who transferred to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) from other benefits, according to a National Audit Office investigation. The Department estimates it will need to pay a total of between £570 million to £830 million more ESA than it previously expected by the end of the 2022-23 financial year.

The error related to people who may have been entitled to income-related ESA but were instead only awarded contribution-based ESA, and therefore may have missed out on premium payments.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is a benefit paid by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to people who have limited capability to work because they are disabled or ill.

The average underpayment is likely to be around £5,000 but some people will be owed significantly more. A review of a sample of 1,000 cases suggests that 45,000 claimants entitled to the enhanced disability premium only may be owed around £2,500 and that around 20,000 claimants who are entitled to the severe disability premium may be owed around £11,500 each. A small number could be owed around £20,000. 

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

‘It was helpful to join colleagues in leading this really important session for taxpayers and vulnerable people across the UK.

The DWP made a big mistake, then they made it worse by taking four years before even starting to put things right, despite warnings from frontline staff. If the department is to avoid a repeat of these hugely costly errors, we must find out what exactly went wrong and why.

What is especially concerning about this case is the fact that countless people on the poverty line who were denied the financial support they’re entitled to under the law still haven’t been properly reimbursed, I welcome the opportunity to press officials on their behalf.’

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said:

‘The facts of this case are that tens of thousands of people, most of whom have severely limiting disabilities and illnesses, have been underpaid by thousands of pounds each, while the Department for several years failed to get a proper grip on the problem.

The Department has now committed to fixing this error by April 2019, but not everyone will be repaid all the money they have missed out on.’



Video: DWP Oral Parliamentary Questions, 21/05/18

Kit Malthouse (North West Hampshire)

Today we had DWP Oral Questions in Parliament.  There is so much mythology around Universal Credit that I felt the need to correct this particular questioner…


A new report, Mental health Matters Too, launched in Parliament last week has revealed a shocking lack of mental health support for people with Parkinson’s and Toby Perkins, MP for Chesterfield, is calling for an overhaul of the NHS to deliver a more ‘joined up’ approach to care for all aspects of the condition.

Toby said, “Nearly half of all people with Parkinson’s experience mental health symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, yet only a quarter of those affected receive any treatment or support. This report highlights truly shocking findings that need to be addressed. I will be contacting local health authorities to discuss how we can ensure that people with Parkinson’s in Chesterfield get the timely and effective treatment they need for their mental health.

The inquiry was conducted by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Parkinson’s, with additional research from Parkinson’s UK. The results have shown that of those who experience psychological symptoms:

  • 72% say their mental health has affected their ability to socialise
  • 50% find it harder to leave the house
  • 27% have had suicidal thoughts

Toby added, “Unfortunately, for people with Parkinson’s and other long-term neurological conditions, the NHS often provides excellent care for the physical symptoms but sometimes falls short on providing the psychological interventions and support that is needed. I will be pushing for a more joined-up approach that ensures people in Chesterfield with Parkinson’s are getting the holistic care they need.”

Toby at the launch of the APPG on Parkinson’s report, Mental Health Matters Too

Toby at the launch of the APPG on Parkinson’s report, Mental Health Matters Too


Brendan O'Hara (Argyll and Bute)

Brendan O’Hara MP “Real dangers of tory power grab revealed”: Local Argyll and Bute MP, Brendan O’Hara has spoken of his deep concern for the Scottish food and drink industry following recent reports of a new trade deal with the US. Reports have emerged showing US trade representative are keen to dispense with important food … Continue reading US TRADE DEAL THREAT TO SCOTTISH FOOD AND DRINK

New Local Artist - Katie Noble

Patrick Grady (Glasgow North)

The office walls were brought to life once again last week by professional photographer Katie Noble, the latest artist to take part in my local artist project to promote creative talent here in the constituency.

MP visits Encocam

Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon)

Jonathan visiting Huntingdon manufacturer Encocam to support their 30th anniversary celebrations.

Shortlist announced for Marty's Coding Party 2018

Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith)

Young innovators from 33 Edinburgh schools are to compete in a battle of robots as part of a coding competition.

Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham has expressed his delight that a local team has been named regional champion in a prestigious competition to mark the NHS’s 70th birthday.

The NHS70 Parliamentary Awards, sponsored by IBM and Teva, recognise the massive contribution made by the individuals who work in and alongside the NHS.

Launched in February, it asked MPs to find and nominate those individuals or teams they thought have made the biggest improvements to health services in their constituencies across ten categories.

Alliance Integrated Urgent Care Services have been shortlisted nominated for the Excellence in Urgent and Emergency Care Award by Alex Cunningham MP.

Having been named champions by senior regional NHS experts, they will now vie with other regional winners from across England for the national award, to be presented at a special ceremony in the Palace of Westminster in July.

Alex said: “I know that everyone in North Tees and Hartlepool will share my delight and pride tha the Urgent Care Services team have been named regional champion.

“They are representing the thousands of staff and volunteers who work day in, day out across our area to shape, deliver and support health and care services, and we’ll all be backing them to win the national award in July.”

From more than 750 entries, senior experts in each region have chosen ten outstanding nominations, which exemplify the best of what the NHS and its partners do day in, day out.

All of the champions will be invited to the national awards ceremony, which will be held on July 4th, the day before the NHS’s 70th birthday.

The ceremony will be hosted by Dr Sara Kayat, NHS GP & TV Doctor best known for This Morning, Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls and GPs: Behind Closed Doors.

The regional champions will now go forward to a final round of judging by a panel including the leaders of Royal Colleges, the Unison trade union, and the Patients Association – collectively representing millions of health and care workers and patients.



For more information, contact Alex on 020 7219 7157 or on alex.cunningham.mp@parliament.uk

Unauthorised Encampment Consultation

Jon Cruddas (Dagenham and Rainham)

In March Jon Cruddas MP co-signed a letter to Jake Berry MP, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth pushing for a consultation on the effectiveness of enforcement against unauthorised encampments. The consultation had been promised by Ministers in 2017 but not delivered.

The government have now launched a 10 week public consultation which started on 5 April and ends on 15 June. The consultation seeks to understand more about the issues around the effectiveness of existing powers to remove unauthorised encampments.

Jon Cruddas MP said: “it is important to remember that this is not about the travelling community, but a criminal element operating within that community. Unauthorised encampments often result in fly-tipping and damage to private property with a large cost to local authorities dealing with the fallout. There isn’t a single solution to this, and it will take a multi-agency approach.”

In 2017 Barking and Dagenham Council made a successful application for an Unlawful Encampment Injunction from the High Court, this provided the local authority with new powers to move unauthorised encampments on. It also makes fly-tipping and setting up camp on land that isn’t yours an offense punishable by imprisonment.

This was successfully put into practice in March: http://www.barkinganddagenhampost.co.uk/news/crime-court/council-uses-powers-granted-by-high-court-to-evict-travellers-from-site-in-barking-1-5424681

The full government consultation on Powers for Dealing with Unauthorised Development and Encampments can be found by clicking HERE

Jon added: “as we move into the warmer months it is anticipated that constituents will once again be faced with issues surrounding unauthorised encampments. That is why I am urging as many residents as possible to take part in the consultation.”

The consultation can be found HERE

Gwynne backs Dementia Action Week 2018

Andrew Gwynne (Denton and Reddish)

Denton and Reddish MP, Andrew Gwynne, is backing Dementia Action Week 2018. Dementia Awareness Week is a campaign to help raise awareness on the risks of dementia, and is led by a broad charity coalition, the Dementia Action Alliance.

The Dementia Alliance was created as a means of bringing together organisations across England to connect, share best practice and take action on dementia, with members including leading charities, hospitals, social care providers, Government bodies, pharmaceuticals, royal colleges, and wellbeing organisations.

This year the alliance have launched Dementia Statements which will underpin the campaign and calls on everyone to recognise that people affected by dementia have a right to be treated equally and live the lives they want – free from fear and prejudice. At the heart of the week will be the voice of people affected by dementia and the actions they want to see. By all taking action and uniting we can make these visions a reality for people living with dementia. During the Week everyone will be asked across the UK to unite and take actions – large and small – that will make everyday life better for people affected by dementia. Whether this is taking the time to reach out to someone with dementia for a chat, or rallying your local community to clean up a park to make it more dementia-friendly – every action makes a difference.

A series of ‘Dementia Friends’ sessions will take place during the week across the country, hosted by Dementia Friends. For a full list of sessions taking place, please visit: www.dementiafriends.org.uk/WEBSession#.WwKtG-4vyUk

Andrew Gwynne said:

“I’m proud to help support the Dementia Action Alliance and their action week.


“It’s great to support such a varied group with representation from across the health, social care and charity sector who are all committed to taking action and achieving change to help improve the lives of people affected by dementia.”

RBS clogs ferry while threatening branches

Angus MacNeil (Na h-Eileanan an Iar)

Isles MP Angus Brendan MacNeil is writing to the Royal Bank of Scotland following the trialling of their mobile van in Barra which is taking up valuable deck space on the Sound of Barra ferry.

Commenting Mr MacNeil said:

“When travelling on the Sound of Barra ferry last week, I noticed a large and cumbersome RBS van on the deck taking up valuable car space.

“Clearly our ferries are very busy owing to the success of RET and the efforts that have been made, primarily by the Scottish Government, to attract people to the islands.  However, we do need every inch of deck space on the ferries.

“RBS needlessly sending a van to Barra is using up valuable deck space, inevitably people will be left behind because of RBS ill-conceived closure plans, which is bad for our island economy.  Using a ferry is simply not the answer, RBS should be keeping the local branch open.

“What would be helpful would be to keep the Castlebay branch open and Lochboisdale open as normal instead of this RBS are giving us a sub-standard service and also clogging our ferries which are our arteries of commerce.

“John Glen MP the Economic Secretary to HM Treasury will certainly be made aware of this when he visits in August.

“I appeal to RBS on yet another good reason to keep the branch in Castlebay open.”

RBS logo


Cuts to the Northumbria Police workforce

Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central)

This is graph shows how the Northumbria Police workforce has changed over the last seven years under the Conservatives:


  • Since 2010 the total police workforce has dropped by 27%
  • In 2010 there were 4,187 police officers, in 2017 there were 3,289
  • In 2010 there were 2,010 police staff, in 2017 there were 1,348
  • In 2010 there were 438 PCSOs, in 2017 there were 163

Over the past seven years of Tory government England and Wales have lost over 45,000 police officers and staff – a 19% drop in the workforce. Recent reports from the Office for National Statistics and police watchdog HMIC have found that forces are struggling to respond to demand due to budget cuts. Northumbria Police, the territorial police force responsible for policing my Newcastle Central constituency, is no different, and has seen a higher than average percentage drop in the police workforce from 2010 to 2017.

Cuts to the police force endanger communities and endanger police officers too. Labour’s approach to policing crime will be different.

We will support the police in the performance of their duties. We will provide officers, police community support officers and civilian staff with the equipment and people they need to provide effective policing services, including from the growing threat of cybercrime. We will also work to eliminate institutional biases against BAME communities.

We will work with the police to ensure that our communities are safer, for all of us.

Liz visits Macmillan Support Centre

Liz Kendall (Leicester West)

At the end of Dying Matters Week I visited the brilliant Macmillan cancer information centre at Leicester’s Royal Infirmary. Cancer can have such a devastating impact on families here in Leicester. Having somewhere people can turn to for support, advice or just someone to listen, at such a difficult time in their lives is essential. The partnership between Macmillan and LRI is so important and I am pleased to have visited the Macmillan information and support centre. The centre is a lifeline for local people and I was overwhelmed by the dedication of the nurses and healthcare professionals who support people living with cancer and their families.

I also met with Jane and Georgina who took me around the oncology and haematology wards. They have both worked for the NHS for over 30 years!

The post Liz visits Macmillan Support Centre appeared first on Liz Kendall.

Anne Marie's Weekly Column

Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbot)

Westminster Week

I was a lead member on the Public Account Committee’s inquiry into converting schools to academies last Wednesday. Committee members and I asked representatives from the Department for Education whether conversions to academy schools delivered the right results for students and taxpayers, how they addressed regional differences, and what they will do to ensure a better roll out of conversion for underperforming schools.

Are you the best filmmaker of the future?

Luciana Berger (Liverpool, Wavertree)

Film the House is again working with members of Parliament to talent spot the future of film-making in the UK.Film the house 2

Each year, Film the House showcases the work of the next generation of writers and directors from across the country and raises awareness of intellectual property rights among creators, legislators and the public.

UK film contributes over £5.2 billion to the national economy and is increasingly important here in Liverpool. The former Littlewoods HQ on Edge Lane will soon be home to the new ‘Liverpool Film Studios’ and the city has just put in a bid to host C4 when it moves outside London.

Film-makers can have a bright future in Liverpool, and I want to do all I can to encourage young talent. Film the House entries are submitted to local MPs who do the first round of judging and forward the best on to the national judges.

The categories for the 2018 competition are:

  • Best Short Film (under 16)
  • Best Short Film (16 and over)
  • Best Script (under 16)
  • Best Script (16 and over)

The key dates are:

  • September 30: Closing date for entries
  • January 28 2019: Shortlist announced
  • April 2 2019: Awards Ceremony, House of Commons, London

Film the house freyaThe competition is tough every year, but the rewards include valuable exposure to key industry creatives and the chance to have your work showcased.

Last year’s winners can be viewed by clicking here.

The winners from last year include 13-year-old Freya Hannan-Mills, who won Best Film Under-16.

Freya’s film, Turning Tides, was described as ‘a poignant portrayal of grief and friendship between two girls, aided by an evocative, piercing score, and some suitably grim weather’ on the River Mersey.

If you’re a student or independent filmmaker or scriptwriter, then please click here for more details about this parliamentary-based competition and full details on how to enter the competition.

Sholing Junior School 2018 Big Pedal

Royston Smith (Southampton, Itchen)

I was delighted to join Sholing Junior School recently to meet some of the pupils involved in the 2018 Big Pedal. This is a fortnight long challenge encouraging pupils and teachers to arrive at school on two wheels or on foot. Sholing Junior have a fantastic group of student ambassadors who have helped to encourage [...]

The post Sholing Junior School 2018 Big Pedal appeared first on Royston Smith - At the heart of Southampton.

Preet interviewed by BBC midlands

Preet Gill (Birmingham, Edgbaston)

On Friday, Preet was interviewed by BBC Midlands Today about reports of over fifty motorists caught speeding on the Belgrave Middleway - the site of a crash which killed six people last December. Preet is campaigning for safety mesaures to be implemented on that stretch of road.

Preet Gill MP on BBC Midlands Today
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The Office of Drew Hendry MP – Privacy Notice

Drew Hendry (Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey)

The Office of Drew Hendry MP – Privacy Notice

Drew Hendry MP and his office takes your privacy seriously. We aim to ensure that all processes in his office meet or exceed all relevant legal and regulatory requirements, including (from May 2018 onward) the EU General Data Protection Regulation/UK Data Protection BillEU Regulation 45/2001 and (prior to May 2018) the UK Data Protection Act. Drew Hendry has been registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office under registration reference: ZA157247

This privacy notice relates to the personal data processed by the Office of Drew Hendry.

Who is the Data Controller?

The Data Controller is Drew Hendry, Member of Parliament for the constituency of Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey.

What does the office do?

The office carries out the duties and functions of an elected Member of Parliament. As part of this work, the office responds to enquiries from constituents and undertakes casework to answer these enquiries on behalf of constituents. To do this we must process individuals’ personal data.

The office also maintains an opt-in mailing list for the purpose of sending newsletters and other information relevant to Drew Hendry and his duties as a Member of Parliament. If you join this email list through this website, emails will be sent with an unsubscribe option you can use to withdraw from the list at any time.

On occasion Drew Hendry MP will send out letters about issues of local concern or to publicise surgeries and public meetings to constituents in a specific geographic area or community. This will be only ever be done using data from the full electoral roll which is provided to Drew Hendry in his role as Member of Parliament. All letters will include details on how you can stop further communication done in this manner.

How do we process data?

The office processes constituents’ data under the lawful basis of “Public Task”. In instances where this lawful basis is not sufficient and explicit consent is required, Mr Hendry or a member of the office will contact you to establish your consent. The office is committed to ensuring that any information collected and used is appropriate for this purpose, and does not constitute an invasion of your privacy.

Will we share your data with anyone else?

If you have contacted the office about a personal or policy issue, we may pass your personal data on to a third-party in the course of assisting you, these third-parties include but are not limited to: local authorities, government agencies, public bodies, and regulators. We will clearly communicate to you any actions we are taking on your behalf.

Any third parties that we share your data with are obliged to keep your details securely, and to use them only for the basis upon which they were originally intended. When they no longer need your data to fulfil this service, they ought to dispose of the details in adherence with their own procedures under all relevant data protection legislation.

The office will not share any personal information of subscribers to the Drew Hendry MP mailing list.

In any case, we will not use your personal data in a way that goes beyond your reasonable expectations in contacting us.

How does this office use the personal data it collects?

Our Office will process (collect, store and use) the information you provide in a manner compatible with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We will endeavour to keep your information accurate and up to date.

Under what circumstances will this office contact you?

If you raise a constituency case with us we will contact you to update you on the progress of any issue you have raised, until the issue is resolved. We undertake not to ask irrelevant or unnecessary questions and will only request and store data relevant to your case. Moreover, the information you provide will be subject to rigorous measures and procedures to minimise the risk of unauthorised access or disclosure.

If you have opted into our newsletter mailing list then you will receive relevant weekly updates on Drew Hendry’s parliamentary work, and regular policy updates

How long will this office keep personal data?

Unless specifically requested by you, our office will hold your data for 5 years from last piece of correspondence sent or received.

Casework and policy queries are often revisited to provide the best service and representation for constituents, from whom we may continue to receive correspondence.

We are also required to retain information in accordance with the law, such as information needed for income tax and audit purposes. How long certain kinds of personal data should be kept may also be governed by specific requirements and agreed practices.

What rights do you have to your personal data?

Under GDPR regulations you have the following rights in relation of your personal data held by the Office of Drew Hendry MP.

  • Right of access – you have the right to request a copy of the information that we hold about you.
  • Right of rectification – you have a right to correct data that we hold about you that is inaccurate or incomplete.
  • Right to be forgotten – in certain circumstances you can ask for the data we hold about you to be erased from our records.
  • Right to restriction of processing – where certain conditions apply to have a right to restrict the processing.
  • Right of portability – you have the right to have the data we hold about you transferred to another organisation.
  • Right to object – you have the right to object to certain types of processing, such as direct marketing.
  • Right to object to automated processing, including profiling – you also have the right to be subject to the legal effects of automated processing or profiling.
  • Right to judicial review – if our office refuses your request under rights of access, we will provide you with a reason why. You have the right to complain.

What can I find out about the personal data that the Office of Drew Hendry MP holds about me?

In line with the above and at your request, we can confirm what information we hold about you and how it is processed. If we do hold personal data about you, you can request the following information:

  • Our identity and the contact details.
    •          Contact details of the data protection officer.
    •          The purpose of the processing as well as the legal basis for processing.
    •          If the processing is based on the legitimate interests of The Office of Drew Hendry or a third party, information about those interests.
    •          The categories of personal data collected, stored and processed.
    •          Recipient(s) or categories of recipients that the data is/will be disclosed to.
    •          If we intend to transfer the personal data to a third country or international organisation, information about how we ensure this is done securely. The EU has approved sending personal data to some countries because they meet a minimum standard of data protection. In other cases, we will ensure there are specific measures in place to secure your information.
    •          How long the data will be stored.
    •          Details of your rights to correct, erase, restrict or object to such processing.
    •          Information about your right to withdraw consent at any time.
    •          How to lodge a complaint with the supervisory authority.
    •          Whether the provision of personal data is a statutory or contractual requirement, or a requirement necessary to enter into a contract, as well as whether you are obliged to provide the personal data and the possible consequences of failing to provide such data.
    •          The source of personal data if it wasn’t collected directly from you.
    •          Any details and information of automated decision making, such as profiling, and any meaningful information about the logic involved, as well as the significance and expected consequences of such processing.

How can I contact somebody about my privacy?

You may contact our office by letter, email, telephone or in person using the details below. Please note that we will ask for identification should you choose to exercise any of the above rights in relation to personal data we hold, this is to ensure data is not disclosed to any unauthorised party.

The Office of Drew Hendry MP accepts the following forms of ID when information on your personal data is requested: Passport, Driving Licence or Birth Certificate. Our office may make take further steps or request further evidence to ensure data is only disclosed to the data subject.

Contact details:

Drew Hendry MP
Constituency Office
110 Church Street

01463 611024


In the event that you wish to make a complaint about how your personal data is being processed by Drew Hendry’s office or how your complaint has been handled, you have the right to lodge a complaint directly with the supervisory authority.

The supervisory authority contact details:

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane





The post The Office of Drew Hendry MP – Privacy Notice appeared first on Drew Hendry MP.

Ben Bradley MP is calling for submissions for Film the House, a parliamentary-based film and scriptwriting competition for student and independent filmmakers.
The competition deadline for entries is 30 September 2018. The competition has a number of stages but after the initial submissions are received, Ben will choose one entry from each category to put forward for judging by the Film the House panel.
Categories for the competition are as follows:
· Best short film – under 16
· Best short film – 16 and over
· Best original film script– under 16
· Best original film script – 16 and over
Film the House is sponsored by Sir Kevin Barron MP, Lord Tim Clement-Jones and Rt Hon John Whittingdale OBE MP. The competition was launched as a fun way to educate Parliamentarians and young people about the importance of the creative industries to the UK economy.
Commenting, Ben Bradley MP said:
“Entries for the 2018 Film the House competition are now open! I hope to receive entries from independent filmmakers and young people right across Mansfield and Warsop. It is a great opportunity to get creative and to unleash your inner writer or film director! Last year’s winners received prizes including private screenings of their work, mentoring from film industry professionals and work experience. I look forward to judging entries this autumn.”
It follows years of campaigning in Parliament by Frank Field, the Labour MP, for spare rations to be handed to those in need.

Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on their marriage, many people celebrating with you in Wiltshire today.

The post Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex appeared first on Michelle Donelan MP.

Click here if you would like to help Stephen make a difference

I have today written to the Secretary of State for Wales to ask what he and the UK Government will be doing to help with the vital work being undertaken by the Welsh Labour Government, Labour-led Swansea Council and local Labour AMs and MPs to support the 772 workers whose jobs are at threat following the announcement by Virgin Media concerning the closure of their Swansea Contact Centre.

Local MP predicts ‘havoc’ for Greenfield commuters

Debbie Abrahams (Oldham East and Saddleworth)

I am very concerned the new rail timetables, due to start on May 20, will ‘play havoc’ with the family lives of commuters using Greenfield station.

I have been campaigning to get better rolling stock, fares, and access for people with mobility issues at Greenfield Station. It’s really good that our campaigning has finally resulted in £30million worth of investment to the rolling stock.

But we now have to tackle issues around the new timetable which will mean many people will be leaving home earlier and getting home later which will play havoc with their family lives.  There will be huge gaps in the peak service, both in the morning and in the evening, adding more travel time time to many people’s working day.

The new timetable will also make life much more difficult for people who use Greenfield station to travel to Manchester, and work in the area around Victoria Station, because they will have to go to Piccadilly first and then travel to Victoria.

I’m teaming up with my fellow MPs – Thelma Walker, from Colne Valley and Johnathan Reynolds from Stalybridge and Hyde – to keep the pressure up on Trans Pennine Express and we’ll be campaigning to get the very best service we can for our constituents.

Mark Ashmore, Chair of Stalybridge to Huddersfield Rail Users’ Group (SHRUG), said: “We have had meetings with TransPennine Express (TPE) but to little effect.

We are still very concerned about the service from May 20. In particular the 08:17 from Mossley is probably going to be used by many current Greenfield users as the only train to arrive at a suitable time for a 9am start but is not being strengthened by TPE unlike the less popular ones an hour before and an hour later. 

As it will have come from Leeds it is likely to be  grossly overcrowded leading to people being unable to board and possibly losing their livelihoods. Similarly the 17:17 from Piccadilly which replaces two trains is also not being strengthened. In the period between 16:50 and 18:30 there is a reduction in capacity to Stalybridge equivalent to four current Northern carriages which equals about 400 passengers. That’s why we predict chaos.

Though it is too late to alter the May timetables it is not too late for TPE to arrange for the best trains to be strengthened. We recently learned that Arriva Rail North are offering advance fares that significantly undercut TPE’s fares between Huddersfield and Manchester on their peak trains. It is likely that these tickets will be available up to 15 minutes before departure. 

The aim of these fares can only be to attract passengers away from TPE’s express trains that do not stop at Greenfield and the other local stations with the result that there will be even less capacity for passengers to and from the local stations.

We are extremely concerned at the implications of Northern’s fares policy for passengers at Greenfield on the ability to actually board a stopping train when we have no alternative.”

Hurst Park Primary School

Dominic Raab (Esher and Walton)

This morning, I went along and spoke to Year 5 pupils at Hurst Park Primary School in West Molesey. I spoke to the class, who have been learning about democracy, about the role of an MP and what I do as Minister in the government. I then took some questions from the engaged youngsters on everything from local community issues to my favourite football team.

My thanks to the class teacher Mr Mantle for not only inviting me to speak to the pupils, but also inspiring the children to learn about the development of democracy, from Ancient Greek civilisation to modern-day Britain

MP gets first class experience as she turns postie for a day

Lesley Laird (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath)

MP Lesley Laird got a taste of what its like to work for Royal Mail when she became a postie for a day in Kirkcaldy.

She met the team at Kirkcaldy depot, where she was briefed, before being taken out on a local delivery round accompanied by postwoman Kelsey Gunn.

The MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath took up an invitation from Royal Mail to gain an insight into the logistics of Royal Mail delivering letters and parcels to households in the constituency.

Keith Fraser, Royal Mail Delivery Manager, said: “We’re delighted that Lesley is taking the time to experience the everyday challenges faced by our delivery postmen and women.

“The visit gave us the opportunity to show Lesley how we are continuing to modernise and transform our organisation.

“We have invested in new sorting and delivery equipment as we respond to the changing nature of the modern postbag.

“We are delivering more parcels and fewer letters than ever before and the tools for the job need to reflect that.”

Lesley Laird MP, said: “I wanted to get a real understanding of the work that goes into delivering the post and the best way of gaining that insight was to go out and do the job alongside members of the Kirkcaldy team.

“I’d especially like to thank Kelsey Gunn, one of the newest recruits in the office, for showing me the ropes and letting me accompany her on a round.

“There’s no doubt that postmen and postwomen perform an incredibly important function in our communities, not just by delivering mail but also by representing an institution which binds us together for the common good.

“I’d like to extend my thanks to the team for welcoming me – it was a pleasure to meet them all and appreciate what they do for our community on a daily basis.”

Royal Mail is continuing to modernise its operation, which means every part of the process from collecting, transporting, sorting and delivering the mail is being improved to further increase efficiency.

Caption1: Manager Keith Fraser (second right) with MP Lesley Laird and Kelsey Gunn (front right) at the Kirkcaldy office with other staff.

The post MP gets first class experience as she turns postie for a day appeared first on Lesley Laird.

After a sunny bank holiday weekend and an enjoyable day out at the Rushall May Fayre, it was back to Westminster and another busy week.

The Government is continuing to make progress in our Brexit negotiations, guaranteeing citizens rights and finalising the majority of issues related to our withdrawal. Meanwhile in the House of Lords or “Other Place” as it is known at Westminster, they continue to consider the EU Withdrawal Bill, making amendments that we in the House of Commons will look at and consider. With media outlets continuing to focus on the disagreements between the two Houses on this piece of legislation it is worth remembering that whilst scrutiny is an important part of the process, we must not lose sight of the result of the Referendum, which was to leave the EU, nor should the will of the House of Commons be undermined.

But, it’s not all just about Brexit. The Government remains focused on domestic matters and getting on with the day job of building a country that works for everyone.

Last Friday was a sitting day in the House of Commons and I was pleased to be there to support my colleagues take forward the Parental Bereavement Bill. The majority of employers are very understanding about the need for leave at such a time, but, sadly, a small minority are not. This important Bill, which in recent months has shown Parliamentary debate at its best, will provide a statutory entitlement to two weeks leave.

The announcement of a further £50million of funding to expand the number of school places at existing good or outstanding selective schools is to be welcomed too. It will give more pupils from a wider range of backgrounds the opportunity to attend these schools and is another step forward. Whether looking at maintained schools, grammar or academies, it is right to keep our focus on raising standards and opportunities, and giving children the best start in life.

It is often easy to think of the House of Commons in terms of primary legislation debated on the green benches, however secondary legislation also passes through Parliament, albeit in a slightly different way. A good example of this was legislation recently passed by Committee to extend licensing hours to celebrate the Royal Wedding this weekend. Many of you will be participating in local celebrations, and I am sure you will join me in sending best wishes from Aldridge-Brownhills and Streetly to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

In other news, it was a pleasure to round off my week, back in Streetly, attending the “Sheep Sale” at All Saints Parish Church! It was lovely to see so many of Ewe there, and the wonderful hand-knitted sheep were sold in aid of Acorns Children’s Hospice. My new flock of three has headed to Westminster with me.

This article was first published in the Sutton Observer on 18th May 2018.

Stephen Pound MP recently met with The Royal British Legion’s local Area Manager Ryan Allain to discuss support for the Armed Forces community in London.

The Royal British Legion is the country’s largest Armed Forces charity, and provides support for many thousands of veterans, serving personnel and their families. Stephen Pound MP attended a Legion event in Parliament to show support for the charity’s work, and met with the local Area Manager and other local staff to discuss current issues facing the Armed Forces community.

Legion research has found that the biggest issues currently experienced by working-age members of the UK ex-Service community include hearing loss and difficulty finding employment; among over-75s, physical health and care are among the most common problems. The Legion successfully campaigned for a £10m hearing loss fund, supports career transition through its Civvy Street website and delivers practical assistance through community outreach services and six care homes. A network of 16 high street ‘Pop In’ centres has also been developed to make it easier for beneficiaries to seek help.

Ryan Allain, the Legion’s Area Manager for London, said “I was delighted to see Stephen Pound MP and we were grateful that he took the time to drop in. The Royal British Legion provides lifelong support for the Armed Forces community – serving men and women, veterans and their families. This latest parliamentary event offered a great opportunity to spread the word about the range of services we provide, and it was a pleasure to discuss this in more detail with Stephen Pound MP”.

Stephen Pound MP added, “I enjoyed meeting staff from The Royal British Legion and learning more about the work being done in my local area. Members of the Armed Forces community make huge sacrifices in Service of our country and I am proud to support the work of the Legion in honouring the memory of the fallen and building a better future for the living.”

Skills Minister Visits

David Evennett (Bexleyheath and Crayford)

The Minister for Skills and Apprenticeships, Rt Hon Anne Milton MP, visited the Erith campus of London South East Colleges yesterday (17 May) at the invitation of Bexleyheath and Crayford MP, Rt Hon David Evennett.

Surgery time change (18th May)

Ian Mearns (Gateshead)

Please be aware that today’s surgery (18th May 2018) is from 12pm – 2pm rather than the usual 3-5pm.

Thank you.

The Hackitt Review which was published today examined the current system of building regulations and fire safety. It was commissioned by the Government following the Grenfell Tower fire.

New line for Fire Dragon fuel at BCB

Nia Griffith (Llanelli)

Great to be at BCB International in Llangennech today with amazing entrepreneur MD Andrew Howell.

We were there to celebrate the opening by MOD Procurement Minister Guto Bebb MP of the new line for making Fire Dragon fuel. Andrew’s brilliant ideas and determination to make them succeed is just what we need for our economy.

Also good to hear the Minister recognising the value of local jobs. Let’s hope he values contribution to the UK economy when making other procurement decisions.

Our Man - Minister visits Park Mall

Damian Green (Ashford)

Along with councillors and officers from Ashford Borough Council I had an interesting morning showing the Minister for Town Centres, Jake Berry, around some of our significant changes.

It was of course mostly a pleasure being able to point to shops open when they were empty a year ago, and buildings either newly finished or about to be opened. But it was also instructive to hear his reaction when he compared Ashford to other similar towns around the country.

Nationalisation would take us back to the bad old days, but franchising is too brittle and keeps falling over. John asks for reassurances about the future…

Basingstoke’s MP, Maria Miller called on the Solicitor General to ensure that members of the public have better understanding of the law, during a debate on “Public Legal Education” secured by a neighbouring constituency MP, Ranil Jayawardena.

Jock’s Lodge to receive vital Government funding

Graham Stuart (Beverley and Holderness)

Local MP Graham Stuart hailed the announcement of record funding for the East Riding as the Department for Transport unveiled £40 million to revamp the problematic Jock’s Lodge junction. The news comes after a long campaign where Graham took the Council’s bid to the very top of Government.

Following discussions with East Riding council officers and affected residents at the public consultation stage, Graham pressed the Transport Secretary to recognise the need for improvements around the accident blackspot at Jock’s Lodge, which is the East Riding’s busiest road junction. He followed up with further representations to Transport Minister, Jesse Norman, and Northern Powerhouse Minister, Jake Berry, highlighting the negative effect of the impact upon local road users.

Mr Berry recognised the need to improve the ‘pinch point’, however Graham said that the Jock’s Lodge bid remained an uphill battle with strong competition from projects across the country. The surprise announcement is therefore welcome news for local drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, with work on the revamped roundabout, extended dual carriageway and new segregated pedestrian and cycle crossing due to be completed by 2022.

Graham said: “It is fantastic news that the accident-prone Jock’s Lodge junction will be seeing major improvements after it was announced that a record £40m is being made available by the Department Transport to revamp the East Riding’s busiest intersection.

“For too long, residents, businesses and visitors have suffered as a result of long delays and accidents, which were threatening the future growth of this part of the world. It has been a challenging campaign against the odds but I welcome the Department for Transport’s decision and would like to pay tribute to the hard-working officers at East Riding Council for succeeding with this vital and much-needed bid.”

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “This Government is investing record amounts in our roads, spending £6 billion to improve journeys in our towns and cities and boost local economies.

“These upgrades will be hugely important in helping ease traffic and improving everyday journeys for residents and businesses around Beverley. Our commitment of more than £40 million for the scheme will transform journeys in the area.”

Emma Reynolds, Labour MP for Wolverhampton North East, is supporting Mental Health Awareness Week which runs until the 20 May 2018. The theme this year is about stress and how people are coping with it.

The charity, MIND, is focusing on helping employees and employers create a mentally healthy workplace where everyone feels valued and supported. They have a range of information, guidance and support on how you can achieve this.

Emma said, “We all know what it’s like to feel stressed – it’s part of everyday life. But when you’re overwhelmed by stress it may lead to mental health problems or make existing problems worse.

“Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 is a great time to think about how we can all address the causes of work-related stress or find advice and support on managing stress in our daily lives.”

You can find out more at MIND’s website here: https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/mental-health-awareness-week-2018/

May 2018



The post Emma is supporting Mental Health Awareness Week, 14 – 20 May 2018 appeared first on Emma Reynolds MP.

Greenbelt land at Junction 25, M6

Yvonne Fovargue (Makerfield)

I have received confirmation that a planning application will be submitted in the summer to develop greenbelt land at junction 25 Bryn/Winstanley. The development will comprise of 1.44 million sq ft of floorspace across 8 warehouses.

Let nobody be in any doubt, this application will destroy greenbelt land in the Bryn and Winstanley area and will have a huge impact on residents in nearby local communities. I do not believe that any ‘exceptional circumstances’ warrant release of greenbelt land at this site and I will be calling on the Planning Committee to reject this application.

I would encourage residents to attend the public drop in event to be held on Thursday, 24th May at St Aidans Social Centre between 4pm and 8pm or on Friday, 25th May between 5.30pm to 8pm at The Deanery High School, Frog Lane.

MP presses Government for early years numeracy investment

Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

999 Club Summer Night Shelter Campaign

Vicky Foxcroft (Lewisham, Deptford)

The wonderful 999 Club has launched a crowdfunding campaign to provide homeless people in Lewisham with a much needed summer night shelter.
I’m incredibly proud to have the 999 Club in my constituency. Its night shelters offer a fantastic service to rough sleepers, not only providing them with a safe place to sleep but also offering assistance with employment, benefits and access to healthcare.
It’s easy to assume that homeless people need more help in the winter, but the summer brings its own problems with increased risks from violence and anti-social behaviour.
If you can spare a few pounds, please consider donating: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/summershelter


Many of my constituents have written to me about the Palestinians murdered and wounded in the most recent protests in Gaza.

The use of live ammunition by the Israel Defence Forces must always be a measure of last resort. There is no justification for shooting unarmed civilians behind the border of Israel, inside Gaza. The Israeli Government’s response to legitimate protest by Palestinians was completely wrong. I welcome the condemnation of this action by world leaders and I join others in the call for an independent inquiry into the deaths.

The decision of the President of the United States to move his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has poured fuel on the already raging fire of conflict between the countries of the Middle East. Donald Trump’s reckless and ill-judged decision also flies in the face of decades of historical convention that ensured respect was given to the claims on Jerusalem of both Israelis and Palestinians. America’s foolish gesture, coupled with Netanyahu’s totally outrageous and aggressive actions, has created yet more obstacles to a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

I firmly believe that the only way towards achieving lasting peace in the Middle East is by bringing the differing sides together at the negotiating table. I fear President Trump’s foreign policies and this most recent confrontation between Israeli forces and Palestinians will set back the possibility of achieving that peace even further.

Hull North MP attacks East Coast Mainline fiasco

Diana Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North)

Diana Johnson MP today lampooned the Transport Secretary’s ‘Golden Ministerial touch’ as he announced in the Commons that the East Coast Mainline would be returned again to Government control.

Follow-up meeting on Lloyds closure campaign

Harriett Baldwin (West Worcestershire)

Lloyds Bank representatives have accepted West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin’s invitation to visit Upton-upon-Severn to discuss the proposed closure of the local branch. read more »

Richard’s contribution to the Westminster Hall debate on Historic Allegations Against Veterans, on Tuesday 15th May:   I am delighted to see my right hon. Friend the Minister here—as a Defence Minister, he can reflect this issue right across the Government. As a veteran of Operation Banner who has been involved in this issue for […]

Derek Thomas met with representatives of one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies in Westminster this week to discuss ophthalmology services in Cornwall.

The meeting with a team from the Bayer organisation, followed a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection of the Royal Cornwall Hospital which found that 1,200 patients were waiting for treatment for a disease called wet age-related macular degeneration (wAMD), the UK’s leading cause of sight loss.

The inspection found that patients were not being reviewed within a safe timeframe, and that delays in treatment caused at least four people to suffer partial sight loss or complete blindness between July 2016 and May 2017.

Mr Thomas said: “People who have suffered from sight loss are more likely to experience social isolation, depression and other psychological problems and there are also close links between eye disease and avoidable health problems, such as falls – particularly amongst the elderly. 

“The Royal Cornwall Hospital treats patients from all over Cornwall, and as Cornwall has a higher prevalence of sight loss caused by wAMD than the country as a whole it is important that ophthalmology services are prioritised to prevent more people losing their sight unnecessarily.

“The latest CQC report indicates there have been improvements to ophthalmology services at RCHT but it was good to discuss some of the very positive ideas that Bayer has to support the hospital and help prevent avoidable sight loss.”


Once or twice a year, Llandudno Rotary Club organises a “Great Day Out”, taking day-patients from St. David’s Hospice on a classic car ride along the lower part of the Conwy Valley and up to Bodnant Garden.  The next Great Day Out is Monday, 21st May.

Statement on the recent killings in Gaza

Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central)

Over the past couple of days I have been asked about recent events in Gaza.

I believe the role of Hamas in orchestrating both this event and similar ones to be utterly deplorable, but that killings such as those conducted by the IDF are equally deplorable and should not form a part of any country’s security policy.

Clarification from GEO Spokesperson

Penny Mordaunt (Portsmouth North)

Clarification from GEO Spokesperson:
“We have commissioned some research to test attitudes among same sex couples and opposite sex couples about civil partnerships to help inform us about what we do next. The Quotes attributed to Minister for Women and Equalities Penny Mordaunt by the Sunday Times at the weekend were not quotes from the Minister, but were taken from a policy paper on this research.
The Times did not speak to the Minister and she received no request to do so.
The Government’s position is that we are open minded on this matter, and want to hear people’s views.”

Statement on the killing of protesters in Gaza

Richard Burden (Birmingham, Northfield)

55 people killed by live fire in one day and over 2,770 wounded. It was the deadliest single day in Gaza since Israel’s attack in 2014. Hospitals in Gaza, already at breaking point from shortages of essential medical supplies report more abdominal, chest and head wounds than from shootings of demonstrators buy the Israeli military […]


Martin Docherty (West Dunbartonshire)

Post Offices provide a vital lifeblood for local residents and small businesses. But the Tory UK government isn’t doing enough to protect our communities from the damaging impact of local branch closures – as evidenced by the difficulties caused by the ongoing ‘temporary’ loss of Post Office services in Hardgate. Our network of Post Office branches is run by Post Office Ltd on behalf of the UK government; a government which claims to be committed to safeguarding the vital services...

Read More Read More

The post NEWSPAPER COLUMN: POST OFFICE CLOSURES appeared first on Martin Docherty-Hughes MP.

Parliament on the lookout for filmmakers!

Liz McInnes (Heywood and Middleton)


Parliament is searching for filmmakers to take part in a prestigious competition with fantastic prizes on offer, and Liz McInnes MP wants Heywood and Middleton creatives to get involved.

NHS Survey

Ruth George (High Peak)

As your Labour MP for the High Peak, lots of people have told me their experience of using local NHS services and social care.

In the past year we have seen major changes to health care in both the Buxton and Glossop areas. To get a better picture of healthcare across High Peak I am holding two Question Time style public meetings, with a panel of experts:

  • Thursday 17 May: 7.30pm at New Mills Town Hall
    Put your questions and concerns about the NHS to panel of local experts: Dr Debbie Austin (Deputy Chair of North Derbyshire CCG), Craig Whyles (Service Delivery Manager at EMAS), Rebecca Guy (Mental Health Practitioner and Unison Steward at Pennine Care), Dr Ian Bowns (Former Director of Public Health for High Peak), Wendy Alison (Unison Regional Officer for Stepping Hill Hospital) tbc, and a local GP.
    Dave Williams (Deputy Director of Operations at EMAS), Elizabeth Fry (Communications Manager at EMAS) will also be present.
  • Thursday 5 July: 7.30pm at Glossopdale Community School, Talbot Road, Glossop.
    Panel TBC 

If you are unable to attend these events, please complete my NHS survey:

Ruth George’s Survey of NHS Services in High Peak

Ruth George’s Survey of NHS Services in High Peak

Thank you. Your experience will help me to campaign for better services. Ruth


I’d be grateful for your experiences.

The post NHS Survey appeared first on Ruth George MP for High Peak.

BRITAIN must return to its roots as a “science and technology superpower” if it is to make the most of Brexit

Sam Gyimah, the universities and science minister, says Britain must rediscover its “spark of genius” and turn the bright ideas of universities and laboratories into commercial successes.

As traditional revenues from financial services to North Sea oil and gas decline, public investment must shift toward an “economy of ideas”. Writing in The Daily Telegraph, he argues that Britain must become a global hub for hi-tech and research-led businesses, adding that it must grasp the roots laid down by the likes of Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday and Frank Whittle.

Mr Gyimah says the Government is setting aside £4.7billion to fund the initiative. Today at the British Library, he joins Greg Clark, the Business Secretary, in launching UK Research and Innovation, an agency merging eight bodies that finance academic research.

Newcastle MP backs call to revolutionise Parkinson’s care

Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North)

Newcastle North MP, Catherine McKinnell, is marking this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (14th-20th May), by pledging to help overhaul local care for Parkinson’s after a report reveals a shocking lack of mental health support for the condition – despite anxiety and depression being amongst its most common symptoms. Attending the recent launch of a … Continue reading Newcastle MP backs call to revolutionise Parkinson’s care


MP Update No.298 – criminal justice; local housing; a chance to stay in the Single Market; Kashmir update; energy billsNEWS AND COMMENT FROM CHRIS LESLIE Friday 11th May 2018(for more news also see my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/chrislesliemp)

Nottingham News

  • Gregory Dickinson QC, one of Nottingham’s most senior judges, has warned of delays in trying people accused of several serious crimes. Mr Dickinson QC, who as Recorder of Nottingham is involved in the administration of Nottingham courts, suggested that ‘In an ideal world, we would have twice the number of courts and twice the number of judges’. If courts get clogged up, justice is delayed and the public risk losing confidence that crimes will be punished effectively. I will press the Ministry for Justice to do better than this.
  • Nottinghamshire Police have released a map showing every crime that was recorded during March, except for 109 crimes that could not be matched to a particular address. The map shows the location of 10,817 crimes including 1,120 in Nottingham City Centre and can be found here.
  • Nottingham City Homes won several awards at the National Housing Awards Night in London last week. At the awards, run by the Chartered Institute of Housing and Inside Housing, Nottingham City Homes won ‘Landlord of the Year’, ‘Innovation of the Year’ and the award for ‘Outstanding Approach to Tenant Involvement’. Nick Murphy, NCH chief executive, said: ‘‏Our vision of creating homes and places where people want to live goes beyond traditional housing services. We offer our residents a whole range of initiatives to help them create better lives and better futures for themselves, their families and their communities’.‏
  • Plans for 92 student flats, to be built on Lower Parliament Street, are due to be decided on by Nottingham City Council next week. The development which would be six stories tall and involves the demolition of several vacant shops is being proposed by Megaclose Ltd. Planning officers have recommended that the development be approved but that noise restrictions be put in place.
  • Nottingham teenager Mariam Moustafa was finally laid to rest this week following the release of her body to her grieving family after many weeks of post mortem investigations. The police and coroner needed time to conduct tests pending a decision on criminal prosecution and while this is clearly part of the process of inquiry it is distressing that this has taken such a long time. If justice is to be done, then the police need to be meticulous in gathering all the evidence. Nevertheless, I have been working with Mariam’s family to do all I can to ensure that no stone is unturned and that also lessons are learned by all agencies, some of whom have real questions to answer.


National & International News

  • On Tuesday the House of Lords defied the party whips and voted to keep the UK in the EEA Single Market. It was an amazing moment of hope and a victory for common sense. This means that MPs will thankfully have a chance to decide on keeping Britain in both the Customs Union and the Single Market if Brexit is to proceed, and with a dozen Tory rebel MPs suggesting they want this, it could be a real game-changer.But the baffling decision by Labour’s frontbench to abstain, although ignored by 83 Labour peers, could prevent this happening in the Commons unless they change their minds, which is why I am arguing as strongly as I can that Labour must not abstain again when this comes to the Commons. Can you imagine a situation where it is the Labour Party official line – faced with the chance of defeating the Tory government on a hard Brexit – which fails to take this opportunity? It seems utterly unconscionable for me to imagine that this could happen, which is why I suspect Labour’s frontbench will surely have to reflect on the chance of winning here and opting for the Single Market.

To throw away this chance would be to risk consigning Britain to a further decade of austerity, where even the Treasury predict that £55billion of cuts to public services will arrive if we don’t go for the EEA Single Market option. If you share my view, please write, email and make as many representations as you can to Labour’s leadership to ensure we come together and stop a hard Brexit. Your voice is crucial and this is a defining moment of choice where the country’s fate on Brexit lies in the Labour leadership’s hands.

  • The decision by Donald Trump to ditch the Iran deal has rightly dominated the news this week. The joint agreement which had been so carefully crafted multilaterally by President Obama, European leaders, Russia and China was designed to reduce the punitive sanctions on Tehran in exchange for guarantees that the Iranians would not enrich uranium and build nuclear weapons capacity. And the UN inspections process appeared to show that Iran was indeed abiding by this agreement. But Trump’s ‘hardball’ approach now risks harming moderate forces in the Iranian parliament and providing succour to Iran’s extremists, potentially spurring the regime towards nuclear capacity with greater fervour. The British, French and German governments all tried hard to dissuade the White House from this but to no avail, so are currently trying to salvage the deal minus the USA. This will be an uphill task, because few businesses will want to continue trading with Iran and risk American sanctions themselves. I hope that this is a temporary situation and somehow a return to moderation can be rediscovered, because the Iranian regime is already engaged in deeply irresponsible non-nuclear military behaviour in Syria and elsewhere and the last thing the Middle East needs is Iran unleashed. There are few easy solutions here, but if the Iranians have been complying with a nuclear weapons moratorium only to see Trump’s America breaking that agreement, then this will do real damage to the trust and confidence needed if further ‘deals’ are to be sustained in other tense situations.
  • As the UK chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir I have been monitoring recent developments in Jammu and Kashmir following the torture, rape and murder of an eight-year old Muslim girl and the arrest of eight Hindu men including a government official and police officer. The religious identities of the victim and her alleged attackers have enflamed strong passions and protests across the ‘line of control’ between Pakistan and Indian controlled Kashmir, exacerbating the fault lines between Hindu-majority Jammu and the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley. I am currently chairing an ongoing inquiry into human rights issues in Kashmir as I know this is an issue which very many constituents of Kashmiri heritage in Nottingham East feel strongly about..


What do you think?Is it a coincidence that the gas and electricity companies tend to raise their prices when people aren’t paying as much attention as warmer weather arrives? Today’s decision by Npower to increase energy bills by 5.3% – the equivalent of an extra £64 per year on a typical dual bill of £1200 – follows recent decisions by British Gas to raise prices by 5.5%, EDF by 2.7% and Scottish Power by 5.5%.Of course, the best thing for residents to do is continue to shop around and visit price comparison websites rather than stick with companies who may have once offered a good deal but are now uncompetitive. And there’s also Nottingham City Council’s own ‘Robin Hood Energy’ option at the link here.

But I’d be interested in your views about whether energy prices are sustainable for you and what you think could be done. Renewable investment and energy efficiency can in the long run make our sources of electricity sustainable, but the upfront investment – and shift to ‘smart meters’ – is costly. Is this a price that just has to be paid? Are the companies profiteering unfairly in your view? Or are global factors like the fall in sterling after the Brexit referendum pushing up wholesale energy prices unavoidably? You views would help inform me on where public policy should intervene here.


RegardsChris LeslieLabour & Co-operative Party MP for Nottingham East

Aberavon MP Stephen Kinnock joined Assembly Members and Members of Parliament from across the Swansea Bay Region for a meeting with management of Virgin Media, off the back of their announcement to close their Swansea operations by the autumn of 2019 with the loss of almost 800 jobs.

Mark's M.A.T.E.S out in Calverton!

Mark Spencer (Sherwood)

Thanks to all that turned out today for our litter pick session in Calverton. It was a fantastic turnout, and we managed to get a large amount of the village cleaned up! I was also really pleased to see a mixture of youth and experience coming together to support their local community. Top work everyone!
Fancy joining us next time round?
Our next litter pick is on Friday 29th June in Newstead Village, more details will be circulated closer to the time.
See you all there!

James Cleverly speaking in the House of Commons, May 2018

James Cleverly asks the Solicitor General about funding to tackle violent gang activity spreading out from London to Essex.

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