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M4 Upgrading: South Wales

Guto Bebb (Aberconwy)

A Tribute to Max Levitas

Rushanara Ali (Bethnal Green and Bow)

On Friday 2 November, the East End lost of one its brightest radical flames. My friend Max Levitas died at the age of 103, after a long life of community service and activism. Max’s roots were in the old Jewish East End of Whitechapel and Stepney, amongst the refugees from Russia and Poland, and in the Communist Party before the war.


Earlier this week Alex Cunningham, the MP for Stockton North, demanded an end to the secrecy surrounding the future of Durham Tees Valley Airport which could face closure as early as 2012.

In a parliamentary debate, urging the government to support the South Tees development, he stressed that he feared for the airport as the agreement to keep it open runs out in less than four years’ time.  

Concerns which have risen after the local MP received correspondence from the airport owner, Robert Hough, Chairman of the Peel Group, which Mr Cunningham shared during the live debate.

Alex Cunningham, MP for Stockton North said:

“The final sentence of Robert Hough’s letter does tell a story.  He apologies for not being able to be more helpful but adds ‘we hope that we will receive support from the Combined Authority to take the airport forward in the most sensible and appropriate way, but the ball is not in our court.”

“So that means the ball is in the Mayor’s court – the man who blocked a grant to the airport to attract more holiday fights just last year.”

Mr Cunningham believes ministers will not ‘bail out’ the Mayor and local council tax payers of the Tees Valley mustn’t be lumbered with a bill and the responsibility for an airport which continues to lose millions of pounds.

“The Mayor promised to buy the airport when he was elected two years ago but the whole matter is shrouded in secrecy.  Its time he was open with the people of the Tees Valley, demonstrate how he plans to bring it into public ownership and tell us all where the money is coming from.”  

MP Catherine backs ‘scrap 6 months’ campaign

Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North)

Newcastle North MP, Catherine McKinnell, has joined forces with actors Jim Carter and Nichola McAuliffe to back the ‘scrap 6 months’ campaign that will enable more terminally ill people to access benefits more quickly and easily, regardless of the condition they have. Currently, someone is only considered terminally ill if there is a reasonable expectation … Continue reading MP Catherine backs ‘scrap 6 months’ campaign

Stevenage MP launches STEM careers event

Stephen McPartland (Stevenage)

Local young people were able to learn more about a variety of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers at the Generation Stevenage event launched by Member of Parliament Stephen McPartland and the Mayor and Youth Mayor.

Stephen McPartland MP said, "Stevenage is a major centre of excellence in science, engineering and technology with several global firms based in the town. I am delighted to be part of this event to help to develop the next generation of STEM skills and show young people what local career opportunities are available."

The careers event was supported by SETPOINT Hertfordshire, an education charity which aims to inspire young people about STEM. It was designed to show the range of STEM opportunities that are on offer to young people in the local area and brought together some of the largest employers including Airbus, Catapult, GSK and MBDA.

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Laird blasts Mundell’s feeble defence of Brexit deal

Lesley Laird (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath)

Lesley Laird has blasted David Mundell for proposing a bad Brexit deal as the only alternative to a no deal.

Quizzed on his support for Theresa May’s half-baked Brexit deal on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland today (Monday), Scottish Secretary David Mundell failed to make any positive case for it , instead simply repeating that it was “better than the alternative” of no deal at all.

Pressed on the fact that former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and he had both expressed reservations about the Northern Irish backstop element of the deal during Cabinet discussions, Mr Mundell was unable to explain why Mr Raab considered the threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom so great that Raab resigned, while he had not.

Lesley Laird Shadow, Secretary of State for Scotland, said: “Theresa May once believed that no deal was better than a bad deal. Now David Mundell is saying the exact opposite, yet sees no conflict with his position in Cabinet

“To back this bad deal as the only alternative to a no deal Brexit is to accept a false choice. Instead of leadership from Theresa May’s government we are getting brinkmanship.

“Parliament must be given a meaningful vote on the half-baked mess the Theresa May has brought back from Brussels and when, as appears likely, it is voted down, it is Parliament that must set out the next steps towards delivering a deal which delivers on the promises made to voters at the outset.

“It is clear the majority of his Scottish Tory colleagues are also unconvinced. They should all now finally stand up for Scotland and reject this broken deal Scotland deserves better than Tory ministers and MPs who slavishly put party first and the people second.

“Mundell must resign if he is to retain even a scrap of credibility on this.”

The post Laird blasts Mundell’s feeble defence of Brexit deal appeared first on Lesley Laird.

Christmas Bazaar Success

Wendy Morton (Aldridge-Brownhills)

I was delighted to join the volunteers of the Macmillan Cancer Research at their Christmas Bazaar at Aldridge Community Centre.

The event was incredibly well supported with some wonderful arts, crafts and homemade produce which helped raise more than £3,500 to support the wonderful work of Macmillan Cancer Research in our local area.

Schools in Edinburgh have been awarded a prestigious national award from sportscotland, the national agency for sport, for this academic year.

Graham Stuart, Member of Parliament for Beverley and Holderness, has written to the Chief Executive of the CCG regarding the wayfinding sign for Withernsea Hospital.

The MP who is campaigning for the town’s failing 8 to 8 Centre to be upgraded to a walk-in service said: “The CCG proposes to erect a new road sign directing patients to Withernsea Hospital which will advise ‘H no A&E’.

“Being mindful of the expense of changing the sign, and that I am calling on the CCG to examine the failing 8 to 8 Centre with a view to replacing it with a walk-in minor injuries service, I don’t think the sign should be changed yet. My view is that we should leave the present one where it is for now, and hope that in the not too distant future it can be changed to one saying ‘Walk-In MIU’.

Councillor Lyn Healing commented “Putting an H on a wayfinding sign will cause even more confusion to people; they will think the 8 to 8 Centre has gone. It will be for the best that the present sign is left as it is, while we campaign for an enhanced minor injuries service in the town. Ideally, we need a walk-in service and, if and when that aim is achieved, we’d want a sign to reflect that.”

Unauthorised Encampment Injunction Extended

Dominic Raab (Esher and Walton)

Last week, the Conservative-led Elmbridge Borough Council (EBC) secured an extension to the protective injunction banning the setting up of unauthorised encampments and fly-tipping in our local parks and open spaces.

The injunction prevents people from entering or occupying the borough’s parks, open spaces and car parks for the purposes of living there (including caravans, mobile homes and vehicles). Anyone who breaches the injunction will be liable for sanctions including fines, seizure of assets and even imprisonment. The injunction will also make it easier for the Council to move illegal encampments on, as they will not need to go through the process of securing a Court Order for each individual site, saving time and money.

EBC initially secured a three-month injunction in August as blogged here. Following EBC’s application, the High Court has now agreed to extend it for three years. This is good news for local residents – and a testament to the Conservative-run council, which has been under Tim Oliver’s leadership since May.

I am supporting this action. In July, I met with Elmbridge’s new Neighbourhood Police Inspector, Dallas McDermott, to talk through police enforcement action in Elmbridge and to convey the concerns of local residents about illegal incursions. Inspector McDermott reassured me that Surrey Police understand the frustration of residents and are taking a more pro-active approach against illegal encampments.

As Housing and Planning Minister, I brought forward new proposals in April to strengthen enforcement powers, encourage county-wide authorised sites, and consider a new offence of criminal trespass.

I have had regular discussions with my successor as Housing Minister, Kit Malthouse, about the proposals. I raised the matter with him again recently, following the incursions in Elmbridge. He has reassured me that the government has finished consulting on the proposals, and will be setting out its plans shortly.

As an Elmbridge resident, I appreciate the level of frustration with illegal encampments. I will continue to work at a local and national level to prevent their recurrence and reinforce the powers available to deal with them responsibly.


The 100th anniversary of the Armistice was always going to lead to special commemorations, but those of us who attended the service for Ashford’s Poppy Tribute on Sunday evening, culminating in the first lighting of the Ashford Beacon, witnessed a unique event.

Anne Marie's Weekly Column

Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbot)

Jesse appointed Minister of State at Department for Transport

Jesse Norman (Hereford and South Herefordshire)

Local MP Jesse Norman has been promoted to Minister of State at the Department of Transport.

Surgery date change

Ian Mearns (Gateshead)

Please note that the surgery dates have changed for this month and will now be held on 30th November 3pm-5pm.

Thank you.


The ERG and Mrs May

John Redwood (Wokingham)

There is considerable misunderstanding in the media about the ERG. The ERG is the European Research Group. There are paying MP members who contribute jointly to research staff to help them. Non paying members like myself contribute our own research and also attend some of its meetings. As the name implies all the research is geared to understanding the impact of the EU on public policy and in the last two years to detailed consideration of leaving the EU and establishing a new relationship. Those who subscribe are running a research group that is not party political. A wider group of MPs including myself have meetings with the MPs that run the research club to discuss EU issues.

There are many MP members of this wider group. We all agree that the draft Withdrawal Agreement is unacceptable and as far as I know all will vote against it if it reaches the Commons as draft legislation. The ERG as a Group does not have a view on the future of the PM. Jacob Rees-Mogg (Chairman) has announced in public that he has submitted a letter, and Steve Baker is very active in promoting a vote. There are some other ERG members who have stated they have sent letters. There are some members who have sent letters but do not wish to make a public statement. There are members consulting their Constituency Associations about it. There are some members who do not wish to send letters for a variety of reasons.

The MP Group has only had one formal discussion of this matter when Jacob advised us of his intentions, because the future of Mrs May is not within the normal remit. Our aim as an MP Group is to concentrate on the issues around withdrawal and to set out a clear path on the ones where the Group has something important to say, as on the Irish backstop. Members of the ERG MP Group have over the last two and a half years set out a comprehensive approach to Brexit and urged the government to take it up. We have written and spoken as individuals or with other organisations on the legislation needed, on the legal and constitutional issues, on food and fishing, borders and immigration, trade and tariffs, the economy and taxation, transport security.

The campaign to have a confidence vote is now effectively led by Jacob Rees Mogg and Steve Baker. As Steve has stated on tv he thinks 48 letters should now have gone in. Clearly more letters have gone in than the number of public declarations. I do not believe Sir Graham Brady will fail in his duty. When he has received and opened 48 such letters he has to tell the PM immediately, and organise a vote promptly.

Engineering Fair

Kit Malthouse (North West Hampshire)

Last week I cohosted an enormous engineering fair at leading motorsport company Xtrac in Theale. Richard Benyon the MP for Newbury and I wanted to mark 2018 as the year of engineering and so we organised an event that would showcase some brilliant local companies to teenagers from across the two constituencies. Peter Digby, the MD of Xtrac and a constituent, lent is his enormous new factory and we hoped that the event would trigger their curiosity and encourage them to consider the industry as a career option, making GCSE and A level results as appropriate. We were joined by local companies RE Thompson from Whitchurch who design and manufacture parts for fast jets, and SMI International who do very clever things with submarines. Big local employer Ocado also had a stand to showcase their amazing robotics which quietly whirr away on the Walworth Trading estate in Andover. All in all we had about 400 young people through on the day (with transport costs covered by TVBC) and it was an enormous success. Many thanks to all involved.

Related Images: [See image gallery at www.brendanoharamp.scot]

Pembrey WW1 Commemoration

Nia Griffith (Llanelli)

Thanks to all who contributed to Pembrey WW1 Commemoration: those who read moving accounts of family members who served in WW1, wonderful singing from Liz Bevan, Becky Timbrell, Daisy Owens & Imogen Price and the most delicious cakes from Pat Neil and scones from Avril. Great event!

Playing for UK Parliament FC

Ben Bradley (Mansfield)

I had the great privilege of playing for UK Parliament FC supported by the FA earlier this week against a team of British Army soldiers, vets and reservists called the Crusaders. I was really pleased to take part, especially over this Remembrance period, and a minute's silence was observed before the game.
We played to support and raise awareness of ABF The Soldiers' Charity that supports veterans and their families.
You can see me in the photo below, dressed discreetly in bright orange... The MPs won 2-0 and yours truly got man of the match for a few saves in goal. Mansfield Town Football Club - sign me up!
Very grateful to the charity and the FA for organising such a brilliant event.

Weekly Column – 15.11.18

Michelle Donelan (Chippenham)

I recently met the management of Dorothy House Hospice and the Bradford on Avon Community Health Team to hear about future plans for the hospice and some of the pioneering approaches being taken to local health provision.

Dorothy House is a fantastic organisation which so many across Wiltshire have a personal connection to and a charity which I have supported since before my election as MP. Specifically interesting were the plans to tackle the issue of loneliness and social isolation.

I look forward to continuing to work closely with Dorothy House and supporting them in their future plans to be able to support even more families when they most need it.

This week is the anniversary of the Disability Confident scheme set up to challenge perceptions about hiring disabled people and offers support and guidance. More than 9,000 employers (including myself) have now signed up to the scheme. It is important to recognise the enormous value that disabled people have been able to bring to the workplace since the scheme was introduced. 17.5 per cent of working age people in the UK have a disability or long-term health condition – that is over seven million people across the entire employment market. As a result, those with disabilities represent a huge pool of often untapped talent and experience from which businesses could benefit.

CIPD research recently found that disabled people tend to be even more innovative and focus on personal development more – something that the Disability Confident scheme has helped to cultivate and develop.

This scheme is especially important to me as I have seen first-hand how businesses around Wiltshire are benefitting from hiring more disabled staff members and I am tremendously proud of how the scheme has helped businesses become simultaneously more inclusive and more effective.

I am looking forward to my fundraiser for Wiltshire Air Ambulance at the end of the month. They are a wonderful charity that save local lives each week and we are honoured to now have them based in the constituency in Semington. If you cannot make the dinner but would like to donate please use www.justgiving.com/fundraising/michelle-donelanwaa

At the time of writing this article I have not read the deal but will comment next week.

If you would like a surgery appointment please contact me on michelle.donelan.mp@parliament.uk or call my office on 01249 704465.

I have an opportunity to join my team in constituency – if you are interested in finding out more about the role then please email me.

The post Weekly Column – 15.11.18 appeared first on Michelle Donelan MP.

The Inkersall Beaver Scouts welcomed Toby Perkins MP to their November meeting to learn about politics and his life as an MP as part of UK Parliament Week.

UK Parliament Week is a UK-wide festival that takes place from 12-18 November, which aims to engage people, especially young people, from different backgrounds and communities, with the UK Parliament and empower them to get involved. This year’s UK Parliament Week is part of the UK Parliament’s Vote 100 programme, celebrating equal voting rights and other milestones in the UK’s democratic history.

Toby said, “Parliament Week is all about connecting the public with Parliament and MPs getting out into schools and community groups to speak to children helps them engage with politics from an early age. The variety of questions I took from the beaver Scouts shows that even at just 6 and 7 years old, children are ready to start learning about what MPs do and how our country works.”



BREXIT chaos is impacting North East businesses

Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central)

#Brexitchaos is impacting North East businesses – our start-ups & small businesses need guidance but the Minister seemed to think Government has it all under control!!!!

Today I am hosting a summit on homelessness. The event will bring together the region’s local authorities, MPs, leading organisations – such as South Yorkshire Housing Association and Crisis – and people who have first-hand experience of homelessness as we seek to eradicate homelessness in South Yorkshire.

We have seen a rapid increase in the number of people sleeping rough on our streets in recent years. You only have to walk along Cheapside, or through the underpass between the Alhambra and Sheffield Road, to see that the numbers of rough sleepers in Barnsley have risen in recent years.

Denied Entry to Gaza for Breast Cancer Mission

Philippa Whitford (Central Ayrshire)

Denied Entry to Gaza for Breast Cancer Mission

Over the past 2 1/2 years, I have been working with Medical Aid for Palestine (MAP) to improve the provision of services and treatment for breast cancer patients in Palestine. Last year, I travelled out with the specific aim of setting up a project to enable experienced professionals in breast cancer care to provide teaching and training to local Palestinian clinicians working with breast cancer patients.

Since my last visit, I have managed to recruit a team of specialists from all over Scotland to join the project, which will help improve breast cancer care – prevention, diagnosis and treatment – for women in Gaza and the West Bank. Tragically, many Palestinian women are denied permits to travel from Gaza to Jerusalem to access radiotherapy so it is important they are able access as much treatment as possible closer to home.

The plan this year was to travel out with the whole team in September but, frustratingly, I was denied a visa. Moreover, two others did not receive their visas in time. Although I still travelled, I had to completely change my schedule and work the entire time from a base in Jerusalem. Nonetheless, I was still able to see significant improvements since my visit last year, which is fantastic  given that local clinicians are working under very difficult circumstances, particularly in Gaza. Hopefully, things will continue to progress.

In October, I raised the issue of my visa being denied in Parliament with the Foreign Office Minister. To see my question click here

Following this, Commonspace asked to interview me about how this affected my trip, my past work in Gaza, my thoughts on the current situation and what needs to be done to resolve it, and what our project hopes to achieve. To read the full interview click here

The post Denied Entry to Gaza for Breast Cancer Mission appeared first on Dr Philippa Whitford MP.

Alec asks about new trains at Prime Minister’s Questions

Alec Shelbrooke (Elmet and Rothwell)

At Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, Alec spoke up for Elmet & Rothwell residents by asking the Prime Minister if she could get Network Rail and train operators to get on with delivering planned new trains and infrastructure on local lines asap.

This Conservative Government is investing billion in the railways, including in Elmet & Rothwell. Alec wants to ensure that commuters at Garforth and Woodlesford railway stations see this investment as soon as possible.

The post Alec asks about new trains at Prime Minister’s Questions appeared first on Alec Shelbrooke MP.


Martin Docherty (West Dunbartonshire)

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP has slammed the Prime Minister’s proposed Brexit deal, describing it as ‘damaging to Scotland and dead in the water’. The SNP MP said that he could not support a Brexit deal that puts jobs and living standards … Continue reading

The post DOCHERTY-HUGHES MP: PRIME MINISTER MUST RETHINK BREXIT DEAL appeared first on Martin Docherty-Hughes MP.

MP welcomes Malvern Universal Credit roll out

Harriett Baldwin (West Worcestershire)

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin popped into Malvern’s Job Centre to talk to staff about the progress rolling out the new Universal Credit benefit. read more »

The Aviva Community Fund is open for public voting until 20 November, with seven Basingstoke projects in contention for funding ranging from £1,000 to £25,000. Projects fall into one of three categories – Environment, Health and Wellbeing or Skills for Life.

The organisations looking for funding are:

I fully support West Midlands Trains in their bid for funding to implement Access for All at Ledbury Train Station I have long campaigned for these vital improvements as it will benefit so many residents living in Ledbury who are... Continue Reading →

The EU Withdrawal Agreement announced by the Prime Minister yesterday will go before Parliament in the coming weeks. Having read and analysed the document, I have concluded that I cannot in all good conscience support the proposed agreement in its current form. Whilst significant progress has been made on many of the key issues, I [...]

The post Royston Smith MP statement on draft EU Withdrawal Agreement appeared first on Royston Smith - At the heart of Southampton.

High Peak MP Ruth George MP is asking people’s views on Brexit at two public meetings and a new survey on her website.

Ruth said: “Throughout the whole process of Brexit, I have said I will weigh up whether or not to vote for the deal that is agreed based on the views of local people and businesses.

“Now the situation has moved on considerably I am holding two further public meetings and running a new survey asking what people want to see in our deal with the EU.”

The public meetings are at Buxton Methodist Church on Friday 23 November and at Glossop Methodist Church on Saturday 24 November, both meetings start at 7.30pm.

Ruth is also holding a Business Summit on Friday 23 November at the University of Derby in Buxton to discuss options with local businesses.

“I hope these events and the survey will give as many people as possible the chance to give me their views and discuss the options before us. I will do my best to make decisions in the light of those views,” Ruth said.

The survey is on the home page of this website: https://ruthforhighpeak.co.uk/




The post High Peak MP Ruth George seeks your views on Brexit appeared first on Ruth George MP for High Peak.

Denton and Reddish MP, Andrew Gwynne, has offered his support to the “stop, speak, support” campaign, as part of anti-bullying week which is running this week 12-16 November.

Anti bullying Week 2018 is being held between the 12th and 16th November and is organised by Anti-Bullying Alliance – this year the theme is ‘Choose Respect‘. Following a consultation with over 800 children, teachers and members of the Anti-Bullying Alliance, it emerged that a top priority was showing that bullying is a behaviour choice, and that children and young people can set a positive example by opting to respect each other at school, in their homes and communities, and online.

The Anti-Bullying Alliance, with the continued support of SafeToNet, will be developing a set of free cross-curricular teaching resources to support both primary and secondary schools to embrace the theme of respect.

Bullying (both online and face to face) remains a significant issue for children and young people today. We know that one in 3 pupils experience bullying each year and one child in every class will experience bullying on a weekly basis. Anti-Bullying Week provides an opportunity to shine a spotlight on this issue in school, online, in the media and in the community.

Cyber bullying is any form of bullying which takes place online or through smartphones and tablets. Cyber bullying is rife on the internet and most young people will experience it or see it at some time. In our recent national bullying survey, 56% of young people said they have seen others be bullied online and 42% have felt unsafe online. Cyber bullying can happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and it can go viral very fast.

Andrew Gwynne said:

“This year I’m backing anti bullying week and their ‘choose respect’ campaign.


“Today, 15 November, is the “stop, speak, support” day of the campaign where we are all encouraged to stop, speak and support those who suffer bullying online or face to face, when we see it.”

MP resigns from Government over Brexit Withdrawal Agreement

Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

Anne-Marie Trevelyan has resigned from her role as a Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Education Ministers because she cannot support the proposed withdrawal agreement with the EU.

Attached below is her resignation letter setting out her reasons.

Today the Strelley Road Library opens its doors after £1 million of investment to provide local residents with a new library that is modern, open-plan and provides improved computer access and equipment, including free WiFi.

As a part of Nottingham Labour’s commitment to improving children’s literacy in the city the new library also has a dedicated under-fives children’s area featuring a unique specially commissioned story tree and it will offer opportunities for a greater range of activities and events for all ages.

The facility has been designed and built by Nottingham City Council and Nottingham City Homes to serve the needs of the Aspley ward. It will not only include a new contemporary library, but also 37 one-bedroom independent living flats, run by Nottingham City Homes. Residents at Strelley Court will have direct access to the new library.

It’s great news that that this new library will offer people in the area the 21st century facilities they deserve. Visitors will enjoy improved facilities in the new building and it will be a positive addition to the local community. We expect that this move will encourage more people from the whole of the Strelley and Aspley to make the most of their local library.

At a time when so many places around the country are being forced to close their libraries as a result of Government funding cuts, we are proud in Nottingham to have maintained a network of local libraries throughout the city. A consultation was also recently launched on developing a new central library with the ambition of making it the best children’s library in the country. Unless austerity is ended as the Prime Minister promised however, maintaining, improving or opening new libraries will become increasingly difficult.

There will be a special official celebratory launch event of the Strelley Road Library on Wednesday 12 December 2018, but it’s hoped many people will come to the library once it is opened tomorrow to see and use the library facilities.

The post New Strelley Road Library Opens Following £1 million of Investment appeared first on Nottingham Labour.

Prime Minister's Questions

Yvonne Fovargue (Makerfield)

The #RaisetheRate campaign aims to lobby Government to increase the funding rate for sixth form students that has been frozen at £4,000 per student, per year since 2013.

The campaign uses recent research from London Economics to press for a £760 per student increase to sixth form funding that is raised in line with inflation each year.

The associations behind the campaign state that “only a significant increase in the national funding rate for 16 to 18 year olds will make it possible for the government to meet its objectives for a strong post-Brexit economy and a socially mobile, highly educated workforce.”

The £760 increase is described as the “minimum required” to increase student support services to the required level, protect minority subjects such as languages that are at risk of being dropped, and increase extra-curricular activities, work experience opportunities and university visits.

Winstanley College and St John Rigby are two award winning colleges that deliver fantastic results in challenging circumstances as cuts erode their core budgets. The reality is that without proper funding in place, then something has to give and it is our students who ultimately pay the price with courses cut and reduced opportunities for enrichment through pastoral care.

Evennett backs early action on FOBTs

David Evennett (Bexleyheath and Crayford)

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, has supported amendments to the Finance Bill to bring forward the reduction of the maximum stake for fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).

The current maximum stake is £100, and the Government currently plan to reduce this to £2 in October 2019. However, the amendment backed by Sir David would see this being brought forward to April 2019.

The world is arguably more fragmented and polarised than it has been at any time since the end of the Cold War. The wave of optimism and internationalism that swept all before it in the 1990s has given way to a rising tide of nationalism. The seemingly unstoppable forward march of liberal democracy has been halted in its tracks and forced to retreat, leaving a vacuum that has been filled by the forces of tribalism, nativism and authoritarianism.

Putinist Russia is at the vanguard of the zero-sum game mind-set that has come to define this age of fragmentation that has driven the rise of Trump, Orban, Le Pen, Salvini, Bolsonaro, the Brextremists, and a plethora of nationalist parties such as the AfD and the Sweden Democrats. Disdain for multilateralism and international organisations is the red thread that runs through and between every one of these individuals and the movements that they lead. To them, compromise, moderation and pragmatism are dirty words.

HMY Iolaire remembered in House of Commons

Angus MacNeil (Na h-Eileanan an Iar)

An Early Day Motion (EDM) on the Centenary of the Iolaire tragedy has been laid before Parliament by Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus B MacNeil.

More than 50 MPs from across six political parties and one independent have signed the EDM making it one of the most supported motions in this Parliamentary session.

Mr MacNeil called on the House to remember those who had been lost when HMY Iolaire sank on 1st January 1919 and to commend all those in Na h-Eileanan an Iar who have been involved in events and projects to commemorate the tragedy.

He said: “As we approach the 100 years since the loss of the Iolaire, it is so important that we remember the men who lost their lives just yards from home shores and the impact this had on our islands, especially after the already terrible losses of the war.

“The events and projects organised to mark the centenary have documented this tragedy in our history in the most moving and fitting way and have ensured that this dark day in our history is relayed to a new generation.”

Mr MacNeil has worn the PoppyScotland Iolaire Pin in the House of Commons.

Remembering HMY Iolaire – link to EDM:


Iolaire poppy pin

The full text of the EDM is below:

“This house remembers that more than 200 sailors lost their lives when HMY Iolaire sank on 1st January 1919 as it approached Stornoway Harbour bringing sailors home from the war, just yards from shore and within sight of home; and commends all those in Na h- Eileanan an Iar involved in events to commemorate this tragedy. These include the publication of a book ‘The Darkest Dawn’ by local historian Malcolm MacDonald and the late Donald John Macleod , commissioning of music, exhibitions involving local historical societies, improving access to the existing memorial and the erection in Stornoway town centre of a plaque and a cairn containing a stone from the home area of each of those lost; particular note is made of the involvement of Young People in the Dileab project which culminates in an event in the Nicolson Institute involving more than 200 performers from throughout the islands, Comhairle nan Eilean and the Iolaire Working Group are commended for their work in raising awareness of this tragedy which remains one of the worst maritime disasters in UK waters in the 20th century.”


Penny Mordaunt has lobbied Health secretary and former minister for Portsmouth Matt Hancock to back the QA Hospitals bid for funds to redevelop the Emergency Department.
She wrote to the Health Secretary supporting a comprehensive proposal for capital funds to redevelop the emergency floor at the hospital and has met with him and his team to press the case.
She said: “The QA is making great strides in improving care and in working more effectively with the wider health community, but A&E remains their most challenging issue. We need to grip this and I think it is only through these redevelopment plans can they create an environment which will give all patients the quality of care and experience they should receive, even at a time with very high volume.”
Since the PFI redevelopment of the Queen Alexandra Hospital, there have been a number of enhancements to the Emergency Departments physical space, most notably within the paediatric emergency department.
Additionally, the introduction of patient streaming and redirections pathways within the Department and across the hospital has done much to improve the experience and treatment of patients, particularly those of minors attending Accident and Emergency.
Whilst this is positive, admission numbers continue to grow. The average daily attendance of the Emergency Department has risen from 240 patients per day in 2010 to 324 patients per day currently. This is exceeded on particularly busy days where the Department can see up to 394 patients. The physical layout of the major areas continues to present a significant operational challenge and is not fit for purpose. This was recognised following site visits and inspections by the National Urgent and Emergency Care Director and CQC in 2018.
The improvement project aims to provide a single point of access for all adult emergencies at QA and in doing so will not only deliver a number of benefits for patients.

Remembrance 2018

Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon)

Jonathan attending the 2018 St Ives Remembrance service and parade to pay his respects.  read more »

Birmingham becomes first to adopt global goals

Preet Gill (Birmingham, Edgbaston)

Preet Kaur Gill, the member of Parliament for Birmingham Edgbaston, and Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, are proud to back the Council’s recognition of the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals.

On Tuesday 6th of November, Birmingham City Council approved a council motion on the Sustainable Development Goals. This was an important moment and achieved cross-party support to recognise the role of Local Government in delivering the Global Goals.

The Global Goals (or Sustainable Development Goals), agreed in 2015 by the international community, set out a compelling and comprehensive vision of what a better world could look like in 2030. They are a call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. Unlike the Millennium Development Goals, these goals are universal: all countries are expected to work to meet them.

Despite signing up to the targets for how the world should look by 2030, of the 143 targets UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development (UKSSD) found relevant to the UK, we are performing well on less than a quarter.

Local government already drive local improvements and developments and much of what Birmingham is already doing aligns with the targets.

Preet, local MP and shadow minister for the International Development team, wrote a letter in support of the motion, and on its adoption at full council said:

“By formalising our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, we can show that we are serious about achieving their implementation of the goals and targets.

The government’s action to deliver on the sustainable development goals to date have been piecemeal and ineffective with some areas getting worse rather than better.

Ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth games, Birmingham City Council has a real opportunity to engage with civil society and other partners to utilise their diverse skills and experience to reduce poverty and inequality and deliver strong inclusive communities.

I hope that other councils across the country will follow Birmingham City Council’s lead and adopt their own motions”

Birmingham City Council Leader Cllr Ian Ward said:

"Birmingham City Council fully supports the UK Government's commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals and it is clear that local government will have a big part to play in the delivery of these goals.

"Councils are on the frontline of efforts to tackle poverty and inequality, so we are ideally placed to support and promote delivery of the SDGs. Hopefully other councils will now follow Birmingham's lead."

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We Will Remember Them

Sam Gyimah (East Surrey)

It was a powerful and moving ceremony in Warlingham as we commemorated the Centenary of the end of World War One.

Thank you to Andy Parr and the other organisers who helped make it what it was and to the band for their excellent accompaniment for the day.

Lest We Forget.

Inspiring the engineers of tomorrow

Richard Benyon (Newbury)

How do you work out a system to transport a bottle of water across the space between two posts using a couple of ropes and a random collection of plastic components, nuts and bolts? And you have to work as a team and you only have 20 minutes to do it? This challenge from the […]
I joined thousands of people across the borough at dignified and poignant commemorative events this weekend to mark the centenary of the Armistice – the end of the First World War – and Remembrance Day. Last night at I attended the Haydock Male Voice Choir’s Eve of Armistice concert, alongside the Deputy Lieutenant of Merseyside, the Mayor of St Helens and Lord Watts at a packed St Helens Town Hall. […]

We will remember them

Luciana Berger (Liverpool, Wavertree)

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:poppy

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

When you go home tell them of us and say

For your tomorrow, we gave our today.


These words will echo across the country this morning at 11am, accompanied by a two minutes silence. I will lay my wreath as Liverpool Wavertree Member of Parliament on behalf of all my constituents.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the moment the guns fell silent in World War One, a conflict that took the lives of 16 million people, according to the Imperial War Museum.

This moment of remembrance, this year of all years, will help us all reflect on the immense sacrifices of those who have gone before so that we can live today.

Diana reports from Washington DC on the US mid-term elections

Diana Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North)

Diana Johnson MP has written the article below for Parliament's House Magazine on her work monitoring the US mid-term elections. It can also be read at https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/foreign-affairs/house/99689/diana-johnson-dispatches-us-midterms


Frank Field MP has written to Merseytravel after feedback from residents in the Wirral town found people struggle to get to work, health appointments, shops and the town centre.

The Government’s confusion over citizens’ rights after Brexit and what will happen in the event of a ‘no deal’ exit is causing serious concern for the three million EU nationals living in the UK. On 5th November, I questioned the Immigration Minister about the Government’s plans to end EU freedom of movement and what would really be changing for EU citizens after March 2019. You can read the full debate here.

This week I signed a letter sent by trade union Prospect to the Immigration Minister that called for urgent clarity on the rights of EU workers settled in the UK. The letter also called for the Government and employers to pay the £65 bill EU workers face to gain settled status in the UK. You can read the letter here.

The post Liz questions Immigration Minister on ending freedom of movement appeared first on Liz Kendall.

As the revised December timetable looms, Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps has hauled the new Govia CEO Patrick Verwer into a meeting in Parliament to demand urgent improvements to the service.

Following the shambolic introduction of the May timetable by Govia Thameslink Railway, residents of Welwyn Hatfield have suffered an unacceptable service with fewer scheduled trains and more cancellations.

Grant commented, “My meeting with Govia was constructive, but I made it very clear that the current service is untenable and nothing less than a huge improvement will be acceptable. The newly released December timetable, with additional services from Welwyn Garden City, goes some way to repairing the damage inflicted by GTR but not nearly far enough. I won’t rest until the service is back to where it was before May’s disastrous time table changes and, as such, demanded a follow-up meeting on 19th November. Although it’s encouraging that the new CEO is coming back to see me with further proposals, I remain concerned that services will not match pre-May levels. Looking forward, I am pushing hard for Oyster to be introduced along the line and I am hopeful that we can find a long term solution that works for the people of Welwyn Hatfield.”


Stewart Hosie (Dundee East)

Local MP Stewart Hosie responding to the announcement from Michelin that their Dundee plant will close in 2020:
"I am heartbroken by this announcement and absolutely devastated for the workers, their families, and the local community."
"In the coming days and weeks, I will be speaking to the Trade Unions, the Scottish Government and Dundee City Council to explore options and to identify how we can best work together to support the workers at Michelin and secure the future of the site."
“I fully support the Scottish Government’s efforts to leave no stone to protect jobs.”
"This will be a difficult time for the workers and for the city as a whole. Constituents can raise concerns with me directly by emailing stewart.hosie.mp@parliament.uk"

Boston and Skegness MP Matt Warman has urged the Immigration Minister to engage with European embassies to help EU nationals access the information they need about their status in the UK after Brexit.

In the Commons, Matt highlighted that around a third of his constituents in Boston have come from EU countries over recent years and that they should “take heart from the settled status scheme, but they do deserve clarity as soon as possible.” He asked the Minister to “work with [EU] embassies to get information to them as quickly as possible from [Government] sources, and crucially in their own languages?”

Responding to Matt, Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes MP confirmed that she has already met with a number of ambassadors from Central and Eastern European countries “impressing upon them the importance of communicating with the diaspora populations”. She also welcomed that many EU citizens she has met in recent months, especially those working in agriculture, had already received information from their Embassy about the EU Settlement Scheme, and are confident about how to go through the process.

Commenting afterwards, Matt said, “I know that some of my constituents who are originally from EU countries, many of whom have lived locally for a long time, have raised concerns about their status after Brexit. I want them to have information about their options as soon as possible, so I was pleased to receive assurances from the Minister that she has urged embassies to assist their nationals currently living in the UK with details of how they can apply for settled status here after we leave the EU. If anybody has concerns about how they can apply for settled status once the scheme opens next year, they are always welcome to get in touch.”



Knight Urges Fireworks Caution

Greg Knight (East Yorkshire)

East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight is urging people holding firework parties to make the occasion safe and fun for everyone by taking a few basic precautions.

“Despite annual safety warnings, firework celebrations still end in painful injuries for too many people and animals, including very young children”, he says.  Sir Greg’s warning follows news that injuries in the annual bonfire week have increased by 111% in the last decade.

Sir Greg adds: “The safest place to enjoy fireworks is at a large public display, but if you are using fireworks at home its wise that common sense is followed.  Only adults should deal with setting up firework displays, use them one at a time and never return to a firework once it has been lit.”.

“As well as staying safe, people putting on home fireworks displays should also have regard to their neighbours and pet animals”.

Poppy Ride

Steve Pound (Ealing North)

For some reason I’m spending a great deal of time on static bicycles – although there is not much evidence of weight loss to date.

Following on from my two most recent escapades I signed up for the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Ride parliamentary competition and – although I say it myself – finished up with a most creditable score – I even came out on the leader board just above the representative of the Democratic Unionist Party!

As the picture shows my pacemaker was a Weapons Engineer from the Royal Navy – had it been a road race she would have been out of sight after the first five minutes though.

Actually enjoyed the experience and am now in the market for an exercise bike and some training tips for the next adventure.

    – 774 Cases taken up – 346 Visitors to Casework Centre – 36 Surgeries Held – 85 Hours of Surgeries – 42 Cases referred to other MPs – 85 Cases referred to Councillors or outside agencies – 802 … Continue reading

The post Weekly Office Statistics from 1st January 2018- 2nd November 2018 appeared first on Keith Vaz.

NEWS AND COMMENT FROM CHRIS LESLIE – Saturday 27th October 2018
(for more news also see my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/chrislesliemp)

Last Saturday’s march to Westminster saw an astonishing 700,000 people demand a People’s Vote on the Brexit deal the Government are planning to reach with the EU (see picture below). I fully support efforts by the growing cross-party group of MPs to make any future deal subject to the public’s consent, given the major ramifications of this decision (see today’s Guardian story about the People’s Vote amendment here https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/oct/27/jeremy-corbyn-second-brexit-vote-commons-amendment ).

If the Prime Minister gets her way, our country could end up with a basic trade deal with the EU similar to that of Mexico, Canada or Colombia. In other words, a ‘free trade agreement’ but still requiring extensive inspections at the border because we’d be outside the Customs Union. Just two minutes of delay to trucks going through Dover could multiply into a twenty mile tailback up the M20 as far as Ashford. HMRC are clearly unprepared for the potentially hundreds of millions of additional customs declarations that may need processing (see my questioning to customs experts at this week’s Trade Committee hearing at the link here ). And business services from finance to legal advice could be forbidden from trading across the border entirely as our regulations fail to match. This FTA-type scenario could knock over 6% off our national wealth with £36billion less to spend on public services (equivalent to a third of the NHS budget).

This is why I believe the public should have a final say on whether we depart the EU on these inferior terms or whether we remain a member of the European Union. I sincerely hope that the Labour Party will back giving the public this say – which is why I have been fighting hard this week to ensure that the Government’s attempts to rig the ‘meaningful vote’ motion on any deal are rebutted. I gave evidence also this week to the Commons Procedure Committee explaining why it is vital MPs debate and decide the approval motion in the normal way, and not the way Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab wants where amendments are demoted to votes after the main motion is determined (which would in effect render those subsequent ‘amendments’ redundant). See my evidence at the link here.

This is a complex process – but I am determined to do everything I can to get this right – given that so many consequences will flow if it goes wrong. I am concerned that some MPs are (like the general public!) getting weary of the whole thing, but frankly we are facing maybe five to seven years of additional negotiations on our future trading relationship if Brexit proceeds in March, so perhaps a quicker way of finalising things would be to hold a People’s Vote!

People's March


  • Last week I wrote about rumours that the post office planned to relocate Nottingham’s city centre main post office – currently at the branch on Queen Street into one of the WHSmith shops in town. The Post Office has now released its proposals and started a formal consultation, with the basic plan being to move Nottingham Post Office into the WHSmith in Victoria Shopping Centre where it would be run by WHSmith High Street Ltd. I know that several residents have raised concerns about this plan already and will be keen to have their voices heard. You can find further details of how to take part in the consultation here and materials should be available in branch and I would encourage you to write in. I think the existing Post Office is convenient and well-used so I am doubtful that the service could be improved inside the WHSmith.
  • Nottingham City Council is taking action to bring some of the 742 unused private homes in Nottingham back into use. In the last two years it has brought 134 properties back into use with some providing accommodation for homeless people. Some of the actions being taken by the Council to address the issue include a buying back some ex-council built properties in order to bring them back into stock and a leasing scheme to be run by Nottingham City Homes. Councillor Jane Urquhart, portfolio holder for Housing and Planning, said ‘We do all we can within our powers to bring private homes back into use that have been left empty and deteriorating by their owners.’ She also urged neighbours and owners of unused and deteriorating properties to get in touch with the council.
  • Earlier this week a cross party group of Nottinghamshire MPs, of which I was part, wrote to the Home Secretary regarding the ’40 Days of Life’ protests which take place outside Nottingham’s main abortion clinic at QMC every year. The letter noted the importance of the right to protest but we argued that there are sufficient opportunities to do so without intimidating women and causing distress at what is often an incredibly difficult time. Our joint letter to the Home Secretary also noted that the failure of the Home Office to take action has put further pressure on the City Council and Hospital Trust, who despite taking all available actions have been unable to resolve this issue in the past. I hope the Home Secretary will look closely into this and consider taking appropriate action to stop constituents being intimidated when trying to access healthcare.
  • There will be a jobs fair on Friday 16th November 2018 at the Motorpoint Arena from 10am to 2pm run by the National Jobs Fair Network and open to all sectors/industries. There are currently over 20 local businesses registered to attend looking for local jobseekers. You can find out further information about the event here.
  • I had a useful catch-up meeting with the management at Intu shopping centres in Nottingham yesterday – they manage both the Victoria Centre and the redevelopment due in the Broadmarsh. It is long overdue, but I am told that works look set to commence on Broadmarsh around January time and will take two years, but the designs look as though they could make a significant improvement to the retail and leisure facilities available in the city centre. The ownership of Intu is potentially going to change shortly but it is not thought that the Nottingham plans will be adversely affected by this.
  • Several local GPs have contacted me with concerns that stricter data control regulations are affecting their ability to work and costing local practices a lot more. In particular, insurance companies are asking patients to use ‘subject access request’ applications as a route to obtaining information, which soaks up a lot of GP Practice time and cost. I met with Nottinghamshire’s Local Medical Committee to discuss the situation on Friday and will be working with other MPs to see if the Department for Health can find a common sense solution.
  • Thank you to the many local residents who came to talk with me yesterday in the city centre at the Nottinghamshire People’s Vote stall, where we were doing a survey about local attitudes towards Brexit, the impact on the NHS and jobs and what people want to see happen next (see picture below). I was struck by the strength of feeling expressed – especially among younger people – about the prospects for the future of the country, and I will continue to campaign as best I can on this issue.



  • On Monday a short debate took place in Westminster Hall on the need for greater autism and learning disability training in the NHS. This was especially relevant to the circumstances surrounding the tragic death in 2014 of four-year-old Harry Procko from St Ann’s. Harry’s family have been actively campaigning for Emergency Departments to have greater awareness of the behaviours and characteristics of autism so that a more appropriate assessment of medical symptoms can take place, which can be communicated differently than for patients without the condition. I have pressed the Government to review autism awareness training in the past, and the fact that other MPs have voiced similar concerns means that Ministers are now more aware of changes that should be considered.
  • On Wednesday, MPs voted convincingly in favour of an amendment tabled by my colleagues Stella Creasy and Conor McGinn, which takes a small but significant step towards equality on abortion and marriage rights in Northern Ireland. Their proposal gives the Northern Ireland Secretary additional responsibilities to address “the incompatibility [between] the human rights of the people of Northern Ireland” and current province-wide prohibitions on abortion and same-sex marriage. While the law on these issues remains a devolved matter, the amendment – which passed with the support of 45 Conservative MPs – is a symbolically important statement of intent on Parliament’s part. It follows a majority vote earlier this week in favour of a bill to legalise abortion in Northern Ireland altogether, although this will not take effect in the absence of Government support. I would like to see British citizens in Northern Ireland enjoy the same civil rights available in the rest of the UK, and it’s clear that a substantial majority of MPs take the same view. The absence of a functioning government at Stormont has left the ball in Parliament’s court for now, and this was a well-crafted amendment which I was happy to support. I have always made my support both for a woman’s right to choose and equal marriage clear. Whilst I accept that the devolution settlement in Northern Ireland is of vital importance to maintaining peace, Parliament also has a responsibility to legislate on behalf of the people there.
  • This week a new report from the Committee on Climate Change – the Government’s official advisory body on climate science – offered stark warnings about the impact of rising seas on Britain’s coastline. Their key finding: it is now looking inevitable that sea levels around Britain will rise by at least one metre, and potentially reach this level by the year 2100. This will put more than 1.2 million homes at risk of severe damage or destruction, alongside a combined 2,200 kilometres of roads and railway lines and 92 train stations. This damage imposes a huge economic as well as human cost, with current coastal protection policies – described in the report as “not fit for purpose” – forecast to require up to £30 billion. These warnings are squarely in line with the scientific consensus, and time is running out to take action on reducing emissions.



You’d be forgiven for not noticing it, but amidst the Brexit turbulence the Chancellor of the Exchequer will present his Budget on Monday at 3:30pm. Normally this is a major political occasions, but with everything else going on (and the Government lacking a sturdy majority in the Commons) it is widely expected to be a ‘treading water’ event, with very little controversy or difficult decisions being taken.

The British economy is in a state of limbo because of Brexit, with business investment and even consumer spending in abeyance before Parliament decides on whatever ‘deal’ the Prime Minister and the EU reach, if indeed they do reach a deal. If we are out of the Single Market, then British trade prospects may be weaker in the medium term, certain industrial sectors more adversely affected than others and potentially the strength of sterling could affect inflation rates and real wages too.

Rumours are that the Chancellor will give some discount to small retailers on business rates to help the High Street economy, and that the Office for Budget Responsibility have become more optimistic about tax revenues giving the Treasury some breathing space so taxes may not need to rise to match the Government’s promises on NHS spending.

So it is likely to be a story of big issues kicked into the long grass – which is particularly worrying for long term problems such as elderly social care funding, UK productivity and pensions reforms.

I’d love to know what you think the Chancellor should prioritise? I’m hoping to speak in response to the Budget and if you’ve particular suggestions I will try to raise them. Universal Credit has been a major concern recently so I’d expect the Chancellor to ease that transition and scale back some of the unfair cuts involved. Personally I think we should prioritise education and training far more, so that future skills are developed for the longer term. Let me know what your thoughts are?




Chris Leslie

Labour & Co-operative Party MP for Nottingham East

Universal Credit: Hurting Birmingham

Liam Byrne (Birmingham, Hodge Hill)

Universal Credit is hurting our city – greatly. Foodbanks report their busiest year ever.

Universal Credit dossier

The post Universal Credit: Hurting Birmingham appeared first on Liam Byrne MP.

At last, we have a decision by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on local government reorganisation: Buckinghamshire will have one single unitary authority. You can read the Secretary of State’s decision here. All the Councils in Buckinghamshire agreed the current system of county and district councils could not go on. My first concern is to ensure the people of Wycombe receive the best quality service from local government, responding to local concerns and with local accountability […]
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