The Speaker’s ruling was a good one on the government’s Withdrawal Agreement. It has twice been decisively rejected. On the second occasion the government tabled additional documents and argued it was a amended proposal, but many in Parliament thought the changes did not amount to much. As I wrote at the time, ask the same question and you probably get the same answer. From this clear ruling it seems the government cannot now table the same Agreement and vote again on it before the end of this week when the PM goes to the European Council.
If she goes to the Council and gets some material change to the Agreement then she could return to the Commons next week and seek another vote. Meanwhile the ruling should also have implications for some other hardy perennials that this Parliament likes to go over and over again. Several times we have voted down staying in the customs union. We have voted down a second referendum. We have voted down the Cooper-Boles-Letwin idea of taking over the Commons agenda to legislate for Brexit delay. Perhaps now these cannot be put again either.
It is also true that the Commons approved a motion against leaving without an Agreement. That however contradicts the legislation the House has passed, where the legislation will take precedence unless amended.
I am urging the Prime Minister to go to the Council at the end of this week and tell them we ware leaving without signing the Withdrawal Agreement. I am asking her to table a free trade agreement and to invite them to talks as we leave the EU in accordance with their timetable. I do not see why the UK would seek an extension to Article 50. So far Ministers have been unable to come up with any plausible reason why the EU should grant us an extension.
Denton and Reddish MP, Andrew Gwynne, joined MPs and peers to take part in the official Red Nose Day Parliamentary reception at Westminster to celebrate the charity’s campaigning work.
Chaired by Sir Lenny Henry following his recent trip to South Africa, the reception heard from Nozandulela Samela and Thulani Manci, who travelled to the UK parliament to describe first-hand what their projects are doing with support from Comic Relief.
Nozandulela Samela, an HIV activist and communications professional who works at mothers2mothers, told the audience how funds raised by Red Nose Day enables their organisation to equip and empower their Mentor Mothers, who work in clinics and communities across eight countries. In turn, this ensures that more children are born HIV-free and mothers are supported and educated.
Thulani Manci described how his project, the Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading programme, has been enabled to produce citywide safety surveys to provide evidence for their work. He also spoke about the increasing importance of social technology in his work to create safe and sustainable neighbourhoods.
Representing Comic Relief, Liz Warner (CEO) and co-founder, Richard Curtis spoke of the generosity of the British public, and the extraordinary funds that are raised to support local champions here in the UK and around the world to change lives. At last week’s fundraiser, £63,548,668 was raised to support projects at home and abroad.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“It was inspiring to hear about all of the good work being done in both this country and across the globe in helping to tackle poverty.
“I also want to pay tribute to all that were involved in fundraising this year, and the role you have played in helping vulnerable people in the UK and the world’s poorest communities.
Chi visits local guesthouse in National B&B Week
Today Chi Onwurah Member of Parliament for Newcastle Central visited The Brighton Guest House in Newcastle as part of this year’s National B&B Week (18-24 March 2019).
“ There are over 25,000 B&Bs, guesthouses and small family-run hotels across the UK, and many in Newcastle providing quality accommodation for tourists and those undertaking temporary work in the area.
“ B&Bs are a great success story – home-grown small businesses with a turnover of well over £2 billion.
Ms Onwurah believes that the often excellent service at reasonable cost provided by B&Bs should be celebrated and not be forgotten.
She is keen to support such local businesses which are too often put under undue pressure by large online bookings companies using their market power to demand special payments, additional discounts or excessive commissions. Ms Onwurah want to see a level playing field!
Notes for Editors
1) The Brighton is a long established 2 star guest house: https://www.thebrightonnewcastle.co.uk/
2) For further information about National B&B Week: http://www.bandbassociation.org/
In September 2018 Jon Cruddas MP launched a campaign ‘Calling Time on Crime’ as a response to rising violent crime across Dagenham and Rainham. Knife crime has dominated the headlines for the last few months as more young lives have been needlessly lost across London, and more recently right here in Barking and Dagenham, Havering, and Redbridge.
Despite the evidence, which includes a Home Office analysis, Theresa May still maintains that there is no correlation between falling police numbers and serious violent crime. Jon Cruddas commented: “It is difficult to find anyone who shares her view. The numbers simply don’t add up.”
Since 2010 cuts to the Metropolitan Police have totalled £850m in funding which in real terms means 3,230 fewer PCs and 3,381 fewer PCSOs on our streets, and 120 police stations have closed. Meanwhile across Dagenham and Rainham knife crime has increased by 10-30 per cent.
Last week Jon joined every Labour MP in London by co-signing a letter demanding Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, invest more in the Metropolitan Police as part of his Spring Statement. The Chancellor pledged £100m for police across the country. Which Jon described as “a drop in the ocean compared to what has been taken out by the Tories.”
Jon is aiming to get 10,000 signatures on his ‘Calling Time on Crime’ petition so that he can take it to Downing Street, demanding that the Prime Minister gives our police the support they need to keep our streets safe.
Jon commented: “the only way I can see things improving is if government intervene in a meaningful way with more investment and more bobbies on the beat here in Dagenham and Rainham. People power has delivered colossal victories against the odds in the constituency before, so I’m urging the community to join my campaign – enough is enough.”
Over 100 residents are currently collecting signatures down their streets, will you help? Contact Jon’s office on 020 8984 7854 or via email email@example.com
Bexleyheath and Crayford Conservatives held their AGM on Friday evening (15/3) at the Bexleyheath Conservative Club and elected Cllr. Howard Jackson to take the Chairmanship for the coming year.
Last week we saw the Chancellor give his Spring Statement to Parliament.
The independent figures published in the statement demonstrate that our economy is growing increasingly resilient, with employment forecast to continue to rise, faster levels of growth as compared to other European economies and wages rising faster than at any point for a decade.
The Government is committed to creating a digital economy in which people can have confidence. We are also redoubling our commitment to skills and world-class infrastructure, staying at the cutting edge of clean growth, whilst tackling the big challenges, such as knife crime, head on.
As we are all too aware, knife crime continues to be a persistent problem. This bothers me. Having met with Policing Minister, Nick Hurd, a few weeks ago to press for increased funding to deal with this matter, I was pleased to see the Chancellor commit a further £100 million to help tackle this important issue. The funding will be provided directly to Police and Crime Commissioners and a majority of the money will be coming to metropolitan areas, including the West Midlands region.
I was also pleased to see the Spring Statement reiterate that from this April hard-working families will once again be rewarded with a further increase in the National Living Wage and an increase in their personal tax allowances rising to £12,500 next April, up from £6,475 when the Government came to power in 2010.
Home ownership is something that for too long, too many young people have only been able to dream of. The ambition to restore this dream was clear in the Spring Statement with a commitment to a further £3billion to deliver 30,000 more affordable homes.
In a week that was dominated by Brexit, I feel we should not overlook the Spring Statement and as your MP I feel it is important to highlight some of the key points.
On 12th March I voted against Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement. It isn’t what people were promised during the Referendum, it’s a worse deal than we have now, and it doesn’t answer any of the fundamental questions about our future relationship with the EU so the uncertainty facing our country will go on for years to come. You can watch my interview on Sky News about my opposition to May’s Withdrawal Agreement here.
On 13th March, I voted to rule out leaving the EU without a deal because of the all the risks and uncertainty this would cause.
On 14th March, I voted to in favour of an extension to the Article 50 process so we don’t crash out of the EU on 29th March and to give us more time to try and sort this mess out. I was proud to put my name to another amendment that would have enabled MPs to vote on different options about where we go from here, and I was disappointed that this was narrowly defeated. You can read more about the amendments here.
The post Liz votes against Government’s Withdrawal Agreement and a “no deal” Brexit appeared first on Liz Kendall.
Susan Elan Jones MP has met with WINGS Wrexham organisers Suzanne Nantcurvis and Kath Goodchild to talk about their work in tackling period poverty.
WINGS Wrexham is a community project aimed at providing free sanitary products to schools, the Foodbank and other agencies where a need is identified.
Following the meeting, the Clwyd South MP said: “It was good to talk with Suzanne and Kath about this remarkable and worthwhile project. I am pleased to hear that the project is hoping to expand into Clwyd South and I will do all that I can to support it. It’s infuriating to know that so many women and girls face risks to their health and the indignity that period poverty often causes. I have nothing but praise for WINGS Wrexham who give their time to carry out this excellent work”.
The organisation has placed collection points across Wrexham where people can donate sanitary products. A list of WINGS drop-off points can be found on the project’s Facebook page.: https://www.facebook.com/wingswrexham/.
Here’s my update video on the the latest Brexit developments and the proposed Incinerator in Whitchurch.
Local MP Jesse Norman joined a large gathering of local people last Friday to celebrate the move of NMITE, the New Model in Technology and Engineering, Herefordshire's new university, into its first campus buildings at Blackfriars in the city.
On Tuesday, I voted against the Withdrawal Agreement. Having failed to secure substantial changes to the Withdrawal Agreement, the Prime Minister was unable to allay my fears over the UK possibly remaining trapped in the deal permanently. My full criticism of the Agreement can be found on my website.
Bridlington’s MP Sir Greg Knight is backing a Parliamentary motion highlighting the role B&Bs, guest houses and small family run hotels play in our tourism economy and drawing attention to National B&B week which runs from 18th-24th March.
The motion emphasises that B&Bs and small hotels form the backbone of UK holiday accommodation and play a key role in supporting local livelihoods.
Sir Greg said: “In tourist areas like Bridlington it is important that we have a range of accommodation available to holiday makers from hotels, to serviced apartments to B&Bs. I am pleased that visitors to our area are almost spoilt for choice with over 100 small hotels and B&Bs on offer. Bridlington is certainly open for business when it comes to tourism.
He added: “The wider tourism economy in East Yorkshire benefits from the good quality accommodation we have on offer.”
Sir Greg also urged people to book their holiday or break with small local hotels and B&Bs as they are great value for money.
Theresa May has wasted time flogging her dead deal over and over again and been defeated by massive majorities. On Wales Live last night I set out the urgent need for MPs from all parties to come together and find a sensible way through the mess that the Prime Minister has led us into.
A Fife MP has stepped in to ongoing dialogue over accessibility funding for Burntisland, warning against “setting false expectations”.
Lesley Laird’s intervention comes after David Torrance MSP recently rubbished Cllr Kathleen Leslie’s calls for “greater clarity” over the way communities apply for UK-wide Access For All funding.
The MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath is due to meet stakeholders in Burntisland next week to discuss details of her meeting with Transport Scotland – the body responsible for drawing up a final shortlist for Scotland.
Lesley said: “I wholeheartedly supported Burntisland’s latest application for Access for All funding but feedback afterwards from Transport Scotland suggested our chances of success were slim.
“I requested an urgent meeting to discuss my concerns and the sad reality is there are significantly more stations which meet the criteria ahead of Burntisland on a priority list of stations across Scotland.
“That’s not a fact which is palatable to me or those passionately campaigning for full accessibility at Burntisland station, but it’s the truth, plain and simple.
“Scotland shortlist for a UK fund which comes around every five years and based on my discussions with Transport Scotland we’ve more chance of getting a Brexit deal done than getting full access at Burntisland.
“It was evident that due to the rail line being the main rail route north, the logistics of undertaking this work will undoubtedly cause severe disruption.
“It would be disingenuous of anyone to raise false expectations by claiming Access for All funding will fix Burntisland station’s accessibility issues soon.
“That’s why I’m meeting stakeholders next week to discuss this matter in more detail and to consider what other realistic options could now be looked at to help the community reach a longed-for solution.”
The post Burntisland station won’t be fully accessible “any time soon” appeared first on Lesley Laird.
I believe that Brexit should be about redefining the UK’s relationship with the EU, and redefining Westminster’s relationship with the rest of the UK. To do only the former would be to ignore many of the reasons that motivated people to vote Leave, and would also mean that the UK is ill prepared to deal with a future outside of the EU.
It is therefore, vitally important that we secure the best possible Withdrawal Agreement, as this will lay the foundations of our future relationship with the EU. I know from the conversations I have had with my constituents that the public are understandably impatient for progress and certainty. They want us to move on to the next stage of our negotiations, and want the Government to begin tackling the many other challenges that our country faces. However, we cannot make that progress without reaching an agreement in Parliament.
This morning I visited local tech company Mobius who have recently moved to the Sheldon Business park having outgrown their previous offices. Mobius Logistics uses a real-time tracking system that lets clients see scheduled deliveries. It uses GPS data to plot the exact location of trucks, showing progress, expected arrival time, consignment temperature and more.
They plan to grow over the next few years meaning more jobs for local people. There are also exciting opportunities ahead for this company with Brexit and I shall be linking them up with the Department for Exiting the European Union.
There have been a long series of debates and votes on BREXIT in the House of Commons over the last few weeks.
Stephen McPartland MP met with Patricia McDonnell, a Marie Curie Rapid Response Healthcare Assistant, and Marie Curie Ambassador Stephen Mangan to celebrate the launch of the Great Daffodil Appeal.
Stephen McPartland MP said, “Every five minutes, someone in the UK dies without getting the care and support they need at the end of their life. The money raised from the Appeal will help Marie Curie be there for more people living with any terminal illness such as terminal cancer, dementia, heart failure, and motor neurone disease.
"I am proud to pledge my support to the Appeal and know that many local people in the Stevenage area help fund vital care and support for people living with a terminal illness, and their families."
Patricia McDonnell added, “Behind every daffodil, there’s a story. Whatever your story, donating and wearing a Marie Curie daffodil will help make sure we can be there for more people when they need us the most. Marie Curie services rely on the generosity of the public, so I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who gives a donation and wears a daffodil pin during March.”
The charity's free national Support Line now also offers clinical support, enabling anyone with a terminal illness to access a Marie Curie Nurse. The Information and Support Nurses can answer any clinical questions or concerns people may have, from understanding a diagnosis to explaining treatments, or talking about painful and distressing symptoms.
West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin has today repeated her desire for an orderly Brexit delivering on the result of the 2016 referendum. read more »
Graham Stuart, MP for Beverley and Holderness, was delighted to visit Hull Paragon Interchange for a tour of a state-of-the-art Hitachi Class 802 train due to be introduced by Hull Trains later in the year.
Graham commented: “It’s no secret that 2018 was a challenging year for Hull Trains and a testing time for the patience of its passengers. My constituents have all too frequently expressed their frustration at Hull Trains’ delays and cancellations and the impact that this had on their day-to-day lives.
“I jumped at the opportunity of viewing a hi-tech 802 train as I wanted to experience exactly how the fleet would enhance the quality of rail travel for my constituents. I was also keen to gain a clearer picture of what this upgrade would mean for transport infrastructure in the region overall.
“The 802 struck me as modern, comfortable, and far more spacious than the trains currently in operation. However, while the interiors are important, reliability is the key factor for my constituents. Given that the trains are bi-modal, they will be able to travel along the East Coast Main Line’s electrified track, preventing disruption when the overhead lines are damaged. Crucially, the fleet also includes five trains as opposed to the three that the time table requires. I very much hope that these factors will herald a new era of improved and consistent services for passengers. Indeed, it is full steam ahead for Hull Trains.
“In the meantime, I appreciate that my constituents may have concerns about using the rail company’s services. A few weeks ago, I met with Louise Cheeseman, Managing Director of Hull Trains, who assured me that a High-Speed Train has been added to the current fleet and that this has already driven significant improvements.
“The Hull Trains upgrade is a milestone moment and a positive step towards revolutionising the region’s transport network. Transport infrastructure whether by rail or road is vital to economic growth and the well-being of my constituents, so I will continue to do all I can to ensure that Beverley and Holderness benefits from a high-quality transport network.”
On 15 March 2019, there was a horrific terrorist attack in two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.
There is no doubt it has been a busy week in Westminster with a lot of voting on a range of options.
For my constituents, below is an account of how I voted. As ever, please get in touch if you would like any further clarity.
My approach to Brexit in recent months has been based on two simple principles:
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to increase the number of women who work in the (a) tech and (b) ICT sectors.
The post Technology: Females | Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport | Written Answers appeared first on Stephen Morgan.
Dear Mrs Julia Ross
You will remember that I wrote to you back in January asking your team to consider the innovative model for emergency treatment and care which was put forward by the Consultant Body of Weston General Hospital, and you agreed. I think your team has already met several times with the Consultants, and assessment of their model is now underway in parallel with the rest of the Healthy Weston Consultation. Preliminary analysis by both sides shows there are many similarities and overlaps between the two proposals, but also some important differences which have to be bottomed out as well.
Since then I’ve asked the Consultants how we can gather evidence which can inform the decision on whether their model will work in practice, and whether it will be more efficient or more effective (or not) compared to the Healthy Weston proposals. Essentially, they believe the most credible approach would be to pilot their proposals to provide the necessary data.
The Consultants tell me this pilot could be set up pretty quickly (within about a month) and that it would not take very long for the model to gather the statistical data needed to show whether the predicted improvements to patient flow and efficiency have been delivered. It would take a little longer (up to a year) to show clinical outcomes but, crucially, I’m told a pilot would be safe for patients.
With all this in mind, I’d like to ask the CCG to work with the Consultants and the hospital’s management to deliver this pilot in Weston. It should lead to a better eventual decision, and would have the backing of not only Weston’s Consultant Group but many members of the public too.
MP for Weston-super-Mare
Since being elected in June 2017, I’ve done my best to support and represent High Peak as best I can. Here are a few of the things I and your Labour team have done locally:
In Parliament, I’ve been credited with securing improvements to Universal Credit, which will affect over 6,000 families in High Peak.
I’ve spoken in 102 debates in the last year and received answers to 177 Parliamentary Questions.
To check on what I do in Parliament and local campaigns, follow me on
Facebook: @RuthGeorgehp Twitter: @RuthGeorgeMP
Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive my monthly newsletter.
Speaking in the House of Commons today, Hull North MP Diana Johnson told MPs about the threat to the Faith House GP Practice in Hull North’s Beverley Road. A consultation is currently being held that is considering the closure of Faith House. The Labour MP asked for a more joined-up approach to recruitment, retention and funding of GP services, especially in areas of greatest need.
In 2015, I was elected on the Conservative Manifesto which promised to deliver a referendum on our future relationship with the European Union. In 2016, I joined 544 other MPs in the division lobbies to vote to legislate for that referendum. I then voted with 498 MPs to trigger Article 50 and for the Withdrawal [...]
You all know the problem – the one when you are ordering online and get to the final page of the order process only to find out a delivery surcharge has been applied or even worse: you are told they wouldn’t deliver to your address at all because your address is not mainland UK!
It is nothing short of postcode discrimination.
As constituents will know, I have been calling on the UK Government to right this wrong for a long time. I even took a People’s Delivery Guarantee Bill to parliament, showing them how they could end this discrimination. At every turn, it has been warm words and no action.
My colleague Richard Lochhead MSP, has also been relentless on the issue, with his recent resulting in some large retailers voluntarily changing their courier services. This is great news, but it shouldn’t be voluntary to sort this problem, it needs Government intervention.
Though it would seem the UK Government Small Business Minister Kelly Tollhurst disagrees – in a recent response to Mr Lochhead she told him we should “shop around” instead.
Regulation over delivery charges is a power that is reserved to Westminster – she is the person in the job to make the changes – yet has committed to nothing other than a bit more data gathering.
Let’s be real, ‘shopping around’ is what we all do already. Trouble is, people in Scotland are still paying £38 million in excess delivery surcharges.
A point I made last week to the Leader of the House of Commons when calling for a debate on rip off delivery charges.
The UK Government should be working with us to find a solution, not validating the “it costs more to deliver to rural areas” line from retailers and couriers.
Plenty of companies happily deliver on a flat or free basis to ensure fairness to their customers – others should be made to follow their lead.
Like the example set by Highland Parcels which now offers use of a central belt postcode to circumvent the postcode systems retailers use. Our region has direct links via road, rail and, internationally by air, there is no excuse.
Action on this issue is well overdue and, rest assured, I will never stop reminding UK Government Ministers of their responsibilities to people living in the North of Scotland.
Report your rip off charge experiences at www.deliverlaw.uk
The post Let’s be real, ‘shopping around’ is what we all do already. appeared first on Drew Hendry MP.
Gavin Williamson: ...Combat Air. We have refreshed our Defence Industrial Policy with a new emphasis on supporting growth and competitiveness. Last March, I invited my right hon. Friend, the Member for Ludlow (Philip Dunne) to review opportunities for “Growing the Contribution of Defence to UK Prosperity”. His report, published in July, represents a major piece of work, which has been welcomed by both...
New tariff arrangements revealed by the UK Government today (Wednesday) could leave those exporting lamb severely out of pocket in the event of No Deal, says Isles MP Angus MacNeil.
With just over two weeks until the UK is expected to leave the EU, the Department of International Trade announced plans for tariffs on imports to the UK. These included tariffs on sheep meat and beef.
Mr MacNeil said: “The tariffs outlined by the UK Government today are very bad news for agriculture. The spin of UK “protection” actually means tariffs into the EU for UK agriculture.
“Crofters in Na h-Eileanan an Iar are preparing for lambing in just a few weeks. The autumn lamb sales have a huge EU market and the future is now worrying and very uncertain.
“Only revoking Article 50 to stop Brexit will now prevent choking and restricting trade. With no trade deals, the UK will face tariffs on almost all exports.
Reactions from the agricultural industry say the proposed tariffs could have a negative impact on UK exporters, in particular the sheep sector. They warn that the combination of tariffs and a no-deal Brexit could also mean an end to established supply chains which would cause disruption.
Maria Miller, the Member of Parliament for Basingstoke has today welcomed news that two local organisations, “Helping hands for the blind” and “Bob Sign Language Action CIC” have been awarded funding by the National Lottery Fund.
One of the most important Treasury projects I launched last month was the opening of University Enterprise Zones (UEZs) throughout the country. The aim of these zones is to more closely integrate universities with the businesses in the regions that surround them. I am pictured here with the Universities Minister at the launch of a UEZ at Nottingham University’s Robotics Technology Research Programme. The idea is that innovative research in facilities like this one is converted into meaningful economic benefit for the surrounding communities. Through Government incentives, Universities will strengthen their cooperation with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and develop new incubator spaces for innovative new businesses to engage with research. For Newark & Bingham, this will mean greater access to some of the brilliant new research carried out at the East Midlands’ best universities, bringing skills, jobs, and investment.
Many people in Chesterfield may not be aware that local lad Aaron Cobley from Staveley is a multiple World and European ITF Taekwondo Champion and multiple World Kickboxing Champion. Local MP Toby Perkins met with Aaron at one of his training sessions to see him in action and is hoping that more people will become interested in the sport and celebrate Aaron’s achievements.
Toby said, “Aaron is a real athlete with a determined and professional approach to taekwondo and kickboxing. To have a multiple world champion, who has won trophies, championship belts and medals in numerous international competitions, is something that Chesterfield people should be very proud of.”
Aaron first took up taekwondo aged just six years old and started to compete when he was only 8. Aaron’s achievements so far include:
Aaron now works full-time, as well as training almost every day and providing his own training sessions for people who want to learn from a world champion.
Aaron said, “I simply love to compete in both Taekwondo and Kickboxing. Being on the mats in second nature to me as soon as I step on the mat I know what I have to do. I dream of becoming a professional fighter. I am now preparing and training for my debut K1 match in Sheffield. I wish to thank all my family friends and coaches for their ongoing support as without them I would not have achieved this success. Special thanks to my Taekwondo instructor Mr Wagstaff from Outwood Taekwondo Academy in Chesterfield and Master Bradshaw”
Toby added, “It takes a lot of time and money to compete at this level. There are costs for travelling overseas, buying equipment, training venues and entering competitions. Unfortunately, there are not the grants and sponsorship available to Aaron that exist in many other sports and so he has to self-finance most of these things. If there are any local businesses or sports enthusiasts who would be interested in sponsoring Aaron, to help ensure he stays at the top of his field, I hope they will get in touch.”
This year he will travel to Austria for the WKU World Kickboxing Championships and Scotland for the world Taekwondo Team Championships. His debut K1 match is at Brammall Lane Sheffield on Sunday 7th April.
People can follow his achievements via his professional Facebook page or Instagram @aaronthebarbariancobley. Any individuals or companies interested in sponsoring Aaron please contact him via email email@example.com or tel: 07429618995
It was clear from the moment the Government invoked article 50 that any agreement would likely come about late in the process. This has always been the way the EU has negotiated and whilst Parliament has pulled itself apart rather than coalescing around a single vision, Michel Barnier and his team have felt little pressure to offer the Government enough to get the deal over the line.
Until now we have seen a majority of Parliament working against Brexit. The LibDems and the SNP have wanted to pretend that the referendum never happened using a second referendum as a final throw of the die to undo the 2016 result. The Labour leadership just want a General Election. Jeremy Corbyn could write his own deal and still vote against it because of his single minded party political approach. Thus the Conservatives have been the only party looking to achieve an end in the country’s best interest although clearly there are a range of options as to what that end should be.
So we end up after two years approaching the end game; the crunch votes which will see if we get Brexit at all or not. Having campaigned and voted to leave, I voted for the original Withdrawal Agreement as I was and remain worried about the possibility that those of us who battled to get to this point could end up as heroic losers.
Although the default legislative position is that we leave with no deal in the absence of an agreement, there seems to be a clear majority in the House to avoid no deal at all costs. I’ve been clear that I would much rather leave in an orderly fashion with a deal but would be prepared to leave with no deal as long as we have tried everything to secure one first. The best way to tackle any short term turbulence and prosper after has to be by retaining as much goodwill as possible with our nearest trading partners.
But taking No Deal off the table is madness. That would be like someone trying to negotiate a lower price from an estate agent whilst their spouse is behind them measuring up the curtains and holding colour charts up to the walls in full view of the smirking agent. EU member states would like us to remain, albeit not at any cost, so the prospect of sufficient flexibility on the backstop to get the deal across the line diminishes each time a senior MP talks down the UK’s willingness to walk away from the negotiating table.
Leaving on WTO terms will cause disruption for a number of reasons. Firstly WTO terms by its very definition only covers trade, not security or other areas of co-operation so other deals would need to be negotiated as soon as possible. The government has released its latest impact assessment of a No-Deal Brexit expressing concerns about the serious impacts it will have on the UK. We will overcome these in time, should it go on for long. However I am not convinced we will be in no-deal territory for a protracted period. With the clock running down, both sides are eyeballing each other waiting for one to blink and change position. The UK hopes the EU will learn the lesson of the Cameron renegotiation when their reluctance to give him any more than a fig leaf, probably tipped the referendum result to a leave vote. The EU hope we will back down and not walk away without a deal.
However after March 29th, the EU have nothing further to push if they want to see us pay the full amount of recompense outlined in the Withdrawal Agreement and avoid any mitigating budget changes the Chancellor may consider to keep our economy competitive which will likely come at a cost to the EU, especially our nearest neighbours. A revised deal will likely come back within weeks and agreed. If this should transpire, we will need to be creative to ensure that the UK doesn’t lose out in a war of attrition during this period. But there is simply no need to test this theory. We can keep on the road to securing an ambitious free trade deal with the EU and get on with grabbing the opportunities that I voted for when I put a cross in the Leave box, by voting for the Withdrawal Agreement tonight. The second stage of negotiations can turn an imperfect deal into a good one as long as we show the real ambition that Global Britain is all about.
I wish that the EU negotiating team had made this so much easier by showing just a bit of flexibility, recognising the problematic nature of the backstop and making enough change to get the DUP and Conservative leavers to support it. Although the extra legally-binding assurances about the backstop are helpful. Despite the selective reading of the Attorney General’s legal advice by many which has only focused on the last paragraph rather than taking in the whole document, there are three key points about this latest change.
Failure to leave will be a disaster on so many fronts, not least the prospect of any meaningful reforms to the institution that we will have chained ourselves to for years to come.
Having waited for Brexit for decades, the prospect is just days away. Rather than risk losing this prize, we must grab our chance, get through the open door and run towards freedom.
Education leaders from across Boston and Skegness came together last week to hear from Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, at the second Constituency Schools’ Conference, hosted by Matt Warman MP at the Giles Academy in Old Leake.
Following the success of the first Constituency Schools’ Conference in 2017, this year’s conference gave head teachers and school governors across a large rural constituency the opportunity to get together to discuss the important issues which are affecting local schools. While many of the constituency’s schools provide students with a brilliant overall education, only 14 per cent of state-funded mainstream secondary pupils in Boston and Skegness are in a school rated ‘good’ by Ofsted, so the conference also provided an opportunity to share best practice across the sector.
As well as Amanda Spielman, HM Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills for Ofsted, speakers included John Edwards, Regional Schools Commissioner for East Midlands and Humber, and Mark Foley, Deputy Director of the Education and Skills Funding Agency.
Matt opened the conference by sharing a personal message to local education leaders from Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds, who paid tribute to local teachers and governors’ “dedication to doing the best for their pupils”, and reiterated the Government’s aim to “[strive] harder than ever to make sure every child in this country gets the very best education.”
This was followed by an ‘In conversation with’ session with Ofsted chief Ms Spielman, which saw schools raise questions around offering an enriched curriculum and the data element of school inspections. Topics discussed also included the proposed new Ofsted education inspection framework which is currently out for consultation.
Amanda Spielman commented, “I was delighted to be able to join teachers and school leaders from Boston and Skegness, to listen and respond to their questions and to discuss our plans for the new inspection framework. As I said, let’s all be talking about education, not about numbers!”
Mark Foley, Deputy Director of the Education and Skills Funding Agency also gave a presentation on schools’ financial health and efficiency and shared information on benchmarking tools for finance, national deals to enable schools to benefit from bulk buying power, and support available from ESFA. This was followed by a discussion led by Regional Schools Commissioner John Edwards on the context and opportunities within education in the constituency. The key message was that collaboration between schools, whether schools with similar characteristics or schools from a shared geographic area, is vital to driving improvement.
To close the conference, Matt chaired a Q&A session with the panel, which enabled the local leaders of education and governors to raise further questions on specific issues.
Speaking after the event Matt said, “I am so grateful to the dedicated school leaders and committed volunteer governors who do so much to ensure their schools offer the highest teaching quality and provide all students with the opportunity to reach their full potential. The Government is committed to ensuring schools are equipped to deliver the best possible education to all students. A good education can be the single greatest transformer of lives, and it is rightly at the heart of government policy. School standards are rising. As at August 2018, there are 1.9 million more children being taught in good and outstanding schools nationally compared to 2010. This represents 84 per cent of children, compared to just 66 per cent in 2010, and is, in part, down to education reforms.”
Education Secretary Damian Hinds MP’s full message to local teachers was as follows:
“What you and your teams do is one of the highest callings, the noblest of roles, with an impact on our society, far, far into the future. I have been so struck by the hard work, the care, the imagination shown by teachers and leaders – their dedication to doing the best for their pupils. So, I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you. There can be no great schools without great teachers. To motivate children, to make knowledge meaningful, to inspire curiosity. The quality of teaching matters more than anything else. We have, together, been striving harder than ever to make sure every child in this country gets the very best education – so that when they finish their formal education they have the knowledge, the skills and the qualifications that set them up for life, whatever path they take. I know that some areas of the country, such as Boston and Skegness, face unique challenges, in recruitment for instance. So I welcome schools coming together to explore the best possible outcomes for pupils, I hope that the event this evening is a huge success and that you will be able to share some of the outcomes with me.”
Jonathan Djanogly responds to the East-West rail Bedford and Cambridge route option consultation in support of routes B and E. read more »
Today in the House of Commons, I asked Education Secretary Damian Hinds what the Government can do to support Cobham Free School to move into its permanent accommodation at Munro House. I was pleased that he agreed to meet with me to see what help the Department for Education can provide to seek early vacant possession of the site.
As local residents will know, Cobham Free School’s secondary department has been in temporary accommodation since 2014. Although it is welcome that the 6th Form is moving into Munro House in September of this year, the rest of the secondary department won’t join them until 2021. I share the frustrations of pupils and parents at this delay.
When I meet with the Secretary of State, I will continue to push for more support from the Department for Education to ensure that Cobham Free School can move into its permanent accommodation, in full, as soon as possible.
You can watch my question here (From 14:40m30s)
Even days later I am still buzzing at the success of my Jobs Fair at Ashford College. We could only just about cram in all the employers and organisations who wanted to attract new recruits, despite taking all the public space on the first two floors.
There will be three days of crucial Commons decisions on Brexit in the week ahead. On Tuesday the Prime Minister has promised to bring her ‘deal’ for a further vote of MPs. For the past month Theresa May has been trying to persuade the EU and Irish Government to drop the so-called ‘backstop’ insurance policy that the open border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland will stay open, in accordance with the Good Friday Agreement. Unsurprisingly, the Irish Government and the EU are refusing to let go of this crucial principle. And I can’t really blame them. The relationship between Northern Ireland and the Republic is a sensitive one where peace has been won and should not be jeopardised for the sake of the right-wing ERG demands on Theresa May’s backbenches. So with Attorney General Geoffrey Cox also failing to get any key concessions on this, it is highly likely that the Prime Minister will fail again to win support for her approach (although nothing is ever certain!).
If the PM fails on Tuesday, we then move on Wednesday to the second crucial day – where the PM has promised Parliament will get a chance to finally decide on whether we should exit on a ‘no-deal’ basis. Given MPs have already said once before that we don’t want a ‘no -deal’ crash-out scenario, I fully expect the same result. MPs will say ‘no’ to no-deal.
This means that on Thursday, the third big day of votes, we will be confronted with deciding how best to instruct the Prime Minister on a request for an extension to the exit day, currently due on 29th March, but now clearly not a feasible prospect. Personally I want to see an extension to the Article 50 period sufficient to allow a People’s Vote, so that the British public – in the full knowledge now of how disastrous Brexit is looking – can decide finally on whether we exit on terms agreed by Parliament or choose instead to stay in the EU and move on.
As you will know from my previous MP Updates, I am exasperated at the pathetic lack of leadership from both the Tories and Labour frontbench, who have dodged and hedged this issue rather than stand up for the jobs and livelihoods at stake. We still don’t really know what the PM will do, nor do we have a clear picture from the Labour Party – despite the warmer words since the creation of our Independent Group of MPs towards the notion of a People’s Vote.
It is high time that we got on with a decision and so I will be voting on the basis this is the time to decide. If we can extend for the public to make this decision then that should happen. If the EU don’t give a clear extension for this then we should be ready to suspend the Article 50 period so that the UK can hold its own public vote of our own volition in our own way. Having won the right to ‘stop the clock’ at the European Court back in December, I believe this option may well need to be considered shortly.
It matters because our public finances and public services face further cuts if Brexit drags our economy down. The complacency on show from both the Chancellor and Shadow Chancellor about our public finances is breath-taking, and on Wednesday in the ‘Spring Statement’ we need an acknowledgement from both frontbenches about the damage Brexit will do to our NHS, schools, environmental and other key public services.
Firstly, I wanted to reassure you that the consultation is not specifically about Epsom and Ewell. Heathrow is carrying the consultation out across a large swathe of the London area so that people are aware that they want to make changes to their flightpath arrangements.
This is not a Government consultation, and indeed we have received no proposals from Heathrow. If they do bring forward proposals for change in the years before a new runway opens, then they will have to do so through the proper procedures set out by the Civil Aviation Authority which exist for making airspace changes. These procedures include the need for detailed consultation to be carried out with those who may be affected, and which will occur at a later date.
There are two different processes happening on airspace at the moment to use it more efficiently. The Government, together with the organisation that controls Air Traffic Control, and individual airports are doing work on how to improve the way that airspace is used. As an example of this, modern technology should be able to be used in a way that reduces the stacking of aircraft in the London area waiting to land at Heathrow. Most of the planes that circulate above our area are in a holding pattern waiting to land at quite high altitude, rather than on approach to Heathrow which is normally further north. Better use of modern technology should make it possible to reduce or even eliminate this from our area. This is something that we are working towards for the 2020s.
Heathrow itself wants to start to make more efficient use of airspace, and change some of its ways of working, as well as to have some more daytime flights – though it doesn’t have space to do many more than at the moment. As an example, current practice requires more flights to land over London rather than from the West, and they are interested in modifying this. My understanding is that this broad ranging consultation is designed to test public views about different options, and as I say they are doing so over very wide areas – some that are regularly affected by planes overhead, and others that are less so.
As constituency MP, I am not currently aware of any likely significant increase in flights over Epsom and Ewell, although Heathrow has yet to submit to the CAA formal proposals. But because of my Government role, and the fact that my Department may have to assess any future airspace change proposal from Heathrow, any representations I make will have to be done in a way that doesn’t compromise the legal position of the Department.
So can I reassure you that I am watching this very carefully, and will always do what I can to ensure that my constituents do not face unacceptable change.
Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP
SECRETARY OF STATE FOR TRANSPORT
The post A message from Chris Grayling MP about the Heathrow airspace consultation. appeared first on Chris Grayling.
Fairtrade Fortnight 2019 runs until March 10 and is a great opportunity to show support for small scale producers around the world.
The Fairtrade Foundation is this year focusing on the people – in particular the women – who grow the cocoa in the chocolate we love so much.
Its She Deserves campaign highlights the need for the people who grow the cocoa to be paid a ‘living income’. For instance, the foundation says that £1.86 is the amount a cocoa farmer in West Africa needs to earn each day in order to achieve a living income, but a typical cocoa farmer in Cote d’Ivoire actually receives just 74p a day.
The UK consumes more chocolate per person than any other European country, making the UK chocolate industry worth some £4 billion. That provides a huge opportunity to make a real difference to people’s lives through what we choose to buy here.
A living income should cover the costs of food, water, housing, education, healthcare, transport, clothing and other essential needs, including provision for unexpected events. The income would provide for the basics of a decent life.
Supporting Fairtrade certified products ensures that decent labour and environmental standards are met, helps protect farmers from extreme price changes by setting a Fairtrade Minimum Price, and provides farmer organisations with a sufficient income to support much-needed education, clean water, healthcare and housing projects.
Look out for the Fairtrade logo on the chocolate you buy. You can find out more by clicking here.
Mae'r Pwyllgor Materion Cymreig yn parhau gyda'r ymchwiliad i Doll Teithwyr Awyr, gyda sesiwn dystiolaeth yng Nghynulliad Cymru yng Nghaerdydd ddydd Iau 7 Fawrth.
Mae Toll Teithwyr Awyr (TTA) yn dreth a godir gan Lywodraeth y DU ar hediadau i gwsmeriaid o feysydd awyr y DU ac fe’i codir fesul teithiwr. Mae TTA yng Nghymru a Lloegr yn cael ei rheoli'n ganolog gan Lywodraeth y DU. Serch hynny, mae TTA wedi ei datganoli i'r Alban ac i ryw raddau i Ogledd Iwerddon.
Below is a comment regarding the latest developments in the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the West Hampstead resident who is being imprisoned in Iran. Tulip Siddiq MP said:
“This is a huge moment in the fight to secure the release of my constituent Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. By finally granting her diplomatic protection, the Government has formally recognised Nazanin as a UK national with all attendant legal rights.
This is something that I have demanded of successive Foreign Secretaries in the House of Commons and I welcome that Jeremy Hunt has taken this critical step. He has acted where his predecessor failed.
For three years Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been through a personal hell. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard have behaved unforgivably, separating an innocent woman from her husband, her daughter and their life in West Hampstead.
In doing so, Iran has violated numerous international human rights standards. The Revolutionary Guard’s actions have included: unlawful arrest, arbitrary detention, denial of fair trial rights, denial of consular access, solitary confinement, inhumane conditions of detention, denial of medical care, threats against Nazanin’s family and the use of state propaganda against her.
Now Iran must do the right thing and release Nazanin. Campaigners will not rest, I will not rest, until she is free and back home in the UK.”
(Photo credit: The Times News Syndication)
No single party has been responsible for the steady erosion of trust in politics that we have seen over recent decades. From New Labour’s invasion of Iraq on a false prospectus to the Lib Dems’ tuition fees deception to the litany of Tory broken promises on everything from industrial strategy to immigration targets, the trust gap was already dangerously deep and wide well before June 2016.
Former Leader of Nottingham City Council Betty Higgins has died aged 92. Elected as a Labour councillor to what was then the Manvers Ward of the City Council in 1971, Mrs Higgins was Leader of the City Council from 1983-87 and again from 1991-93, and stood down as a councillor in 2003.
As the first female leader of the council, she was also recognised as one of the top 100 Women of Substance in Nottingham, for her continuous campaign for women’s voices to be heard and to make sure that women were represented in public, civic and community life. She was a great advocate of public service and of the public sector, believing in providing good services to local people and ensuring that services were available when they were needed. She was a councillor over a long period during which the city was transformed. Many neighbourhoods were remodelled and significant regeneration investment was attracted to the city at a time when traditional industries were being lost.
Betty will be greatly missed by those who worked with her and knew her. She was an exceptional council leader at a difficult political time when control of the council was in the balance. She led the authority in a very pragmatic and constructive way and was always motivated by the people and communities she served. She made sure their voices were heard and was a role model and an inspiration for many Nottingham people. She had the foresight to keep Nottingham City Transport in public ownership – one of only a handful in the country which are managing to avoid the problems privatisation brought to other areas. It’s one of Betty’s lasting legacies that NCT is a national award-winning bus company that’s a key part of our excellent public transport system.