Watch my speech in the debate on the EU Withdrawal Agreement: Theresa May’s Brexit withdrawal agreement doesn’t provide answers to the reasons why people voted to leave. The agreement will make us poorer and make our country weaker, giving up control over many of the rules that govern our lives. I will vote against it tonight and will support moves to rule out the threat of no deal Brexit and the chaos this would bring.
Posted by Liz Kendall on Tuesday, 15 January 2019
On 15th January I voted against Theresa May’s Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.
Her plan would have only delivered dispute and disagreement for years to come. The agreement would have made our country weaker and does not secure our future trading relationship with the EU.
I am also supporting work to rule out the threat of a disastrous no deal departure from the EU. Giving the public the final choice on where we go next is the best way to break this log-jam on finding a solution.
The post Liz’s speech in the debate on the EU Withdrawal Agreement appeared first on Liz Kendall.
The latest employment figures are good. Unemployment has fallen to 4%, with strong jobs growth continuing. Vacancies are also at good levels, implying no immediate fall off in employment in prospect. Average earnings hit £27,500 a year as we go into 2019, with real wages now growing at around a 1% annual rate.
This means over the two and a half years since we voted to leave, the economy has continued to generate a lot of extra jobs, bringing unemployment down. Most of these jobs are full time, and many are well paid, boosting average earnings. That is the opposite of the recession allied to big job losses we were told by the Treasury and Remain experts to expect after the referendum decision.
Many in Parliament wish to increase the uncertainties and carry on portraying a gloomy outlook from their own pessimistic imaginations. Many of them now are desperately searching for a delay to Brexit so they can prolong the uncertainty and spend many more months rowing over what kind of Brexit they want or will allow, regardless of the views of the voters and regardless of what the EU might agree to. It is particularly cheering that employment has grown so well recently, when the national conversation has been dominated by gloomy Remain MPs telling us the future is dreadful, and when the chances of us just leaving without signing the Withdrawal Agreement have risen thanks to the huge defeat of the Agreement in the Commons.
It also shows that the authorities attempts to slow and damage the economy with a series of tax attacks on homes and cars, and with the slowing of credit, have not been sufficient to stop overall jobs and wage growth, though they have of course done damage to the targeted sectors.
West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin has welcomed the Government’s confirmation that European Union workers planning to settle in the UK will be able to stay without having to pay a fee. read more »
I am pleased to see that the pensions cold-calling ban has now come into effect, helping to protect people and ensure pensioners have greater protection from scam callers.
I know this is an important issue for many of my constituents across Aldridge-Brownhills, and as a result of this change banning pensions cold calling will protect people from these callous crooks and ensure fraudsters feel the full force of the law.
Pension scams are despicable crimes. They are an attempt to destroy the hard work people have done to save for their retirement. Banning pensions cold-calling will protect people, and ensure pensioners have security in retirement.
Matt Warman MP has called on the Government to accelerate the positive trends in cashless transactions, but ensure that more vulnerable people are not left behind in an increasingly cashless world.
In a Westminster Hall debate he led on 22nd January, Matt opened saying, “It used to be said that cash is king, but in reality that is no longer the case. Politicians used to talk of the pound in your pocket, but today just three out of 10 transactions use cash, whether coins or notes; in 2008, it was six out of 10.”
Matt highlighted the Access to Cash report which estimated that just one in 10 transactions will use cash by 2033, and called for this progress to be sped up because, “there is clear evidence that the vast majority of people would be better off in a cashless world.”
He went on to note that “There are a whole host of reasons to promote cashless transactions, whether it is ensuring that people are at less risk of the crime that goes with cash or that businesses are at less risk of the increasingly expensive costs of handling cash.”
In the debate, Matt also highlighted the need to tackle perceptions which prevent people from going cashless, such as not trusting banks, or using cash to help with budgeting, as otherwise “we are at risk of ending up with two cultures: those who embrace a wholly digital way of living, and those who do not.” He called on the Minister to “help [vulnerable] groups to embrace a cashless economy with much greater enthusiasm.”
Responding to Matt’s points, Treasury Minister Robert Jenrick MP said, “The pace of technological change has never been faster and it will never seem so slow again as it continues to accelerate. Like my hon. Friend, we want the UK to be at the forefront of technological change, to embrace the opportunities and, as we have heard from the tenor of the debate, to ensure that that change works for as many people in society as possible.”
He outlined Government work with the FinTech sector to ensure that the UK remains a market leader in the field, and also its work to tackle economic crime, including on cyber-security and digital payments, which will help people feel more secure in making cashless transactions.
Closing, the Minister said, “We need to consider the impact of the increasingly digital world on society and our economy and find ways to overcome the challenges it presents. Cash use remains important, with more than one third of payments in the UK made in cash. However, like my hon. Friend the Member for Boston and Skegness, we want to guide the economy and the public through the undoubted and probably irreversible journey to a cashless society, and we want to ensure that the UK is at the forefront of new technology while protecting the most vulnerable in our society.”
After the debate, Matt commented, “Whether it is contactless cards or online shopping, our transactions are fast becoming increasing contactless, which is great news for improving security and decreasing opportunities for tax evasion. It should, however, always be the role of a responsible government to ensure that more vulnerable members of society are not left behind or penalised by changes such as these. That is why I called on Ministers to plan for, ultimately, the end of cash in the economy so that we can grasp the opportunities this brings, while assisting those who currently rely on cash to also reap the benefits. I am pleased that he shares this aim and I look forward to government progress in this area.”
SNa h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil says Scotland has the option to escape the chaos of Brexit through independence.
Mr MacNeil and his colleagues at Westminster have fought hard to ensure Scotland’s voice is heard in the Brexit process but the UK Tory Government have refused to move on extending Article 50; have refused to rule out a devastating No Deal scenario; and have refused to hold a second EU referendum.
Mr MacNeil said: “Last week I voted against the Prime Minister’s economically damaging Brexit deal, a deal which was overwhelmingly defeated and she came back to Parliament yesterday without any fundamental changes to her deal and with no commitment to any meaningful dialogue with opposition parties and devolved Governments.
“I believe that Scotland has an obvious way out of this Brexit nightmare and that is through independence.”
Mr MacNeil has been inundated with emails and letters from constituents wishing to express their concerns about Brexit.
He pointed out that the UK Government has shown no understanding of some of the fundamental issues facing Scotland post Brexit including how proposed arrangements will affect the fishing industry.
He said: “I asked the Attorney General Geoffrey Cox MP last week about the disadvantage facing the Scottish industry compared to the Northern Irish industry post Brexit. Fish landed in Northern Ireland will be in a more advantaged position for export to Europe than fish caught and landed in Scotland for export to Europe.
“But Mr Cox couldn’t see the difference between fishing quotas and fish as a marketable product which will incur tariffs after Brexit. I asked the Prime Minister a similar question on this in July and she also failed to answer or show any understanding of this issue.”
He added: “The UK Government have shown more respect to, and have engaged more with the Government of Ireland than they have with the Government of Scotland. This shows that independence gives you power, a voice and respect. We know already that in Scotland, the EU is more popular than the UK.”
Basingstoke MP Maria Miller has invited the Managing Directors of South Western Rail and Network Rail’s Wessex Route to a meeting in Basingstoke to meet local rail commuters, and to hear from them directly their concerns about poor performance on the railway network, particularly between Basingstoke and London Waterloo.
Police Dog Finn visited Parliament with PC Dave Wardell to hear Finn's Law receive unanimous support in the Committee Stage of the Bill.
Stephen McPartland, Member of Parliament for Stevenage, said, "I was delighted to sit on the committee, which is trying to make Finn's law a reality. The Bill, whose full title is the Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill, is making steady progress through Parliament, ably led by my colleague the Rt Hon Sir Oliver Heald MP. The Bill passed the committee stages with unanious support, while Police Dog Finn looked on inside the committee room with us. The final step in the House of Commons, we hope will be in early February for Thirs Reading and then it is off to the House of Lords.
"The Law will only apply to England at the moment, but the deveolved administrations in Northern ireland, Scotland and Wales are also keen to see the changes happen there too. None of this would have been possible without the huge support we have received from the public in Stevenage, East and North Hertfordshire."
Everywhere I go people ask me “What’s going to happen on Brexit?”
Everyone has their pitch on what should happen next. Everyone is frustrated with a process dominating the news feed 24 hours a day. But the danger is everyone is also sick of it. And while the proverb of choice for some right now is “any port in a storm”, I prefer to point out that we mustn’t leap out of the frying pan and into the fire.
We’ve seen, until a few weeks ago, peaceful and good-natured demonstrations outside Parliament hijacked by extreme right wing protagonists making for a hostile and altogether very different atmosphere. Brexit is not bringing out the best in our system, our country, and is a stark reminder, as if we Scots needed reminding, how divisive referendums can be.
Theresa May chose to interpret the 2016 result through a blue-tinted lens. She has not engaged with Parliament. At every turn choosing to shut out all opinions but hers.
Last week her plan was overwhelmingly defeated. In normal circumstances and without the Fixed Term Parliament Act, her premiership would have ended. She reluctantly offered talks with the opposition. So far signs are nothing has changed.
The threat of No Deal is simply a tactic to bully Tory rebels into submission. It’s not an option that should still be on the table at all, but with less than 70 days to go and after two years of botched negotiations, Theresa May does not appear to comprehend the gravity of the situation she has put us in. Headed straight for the rocks this lady, like Thatcher, is not for turning.
Labour’s position has been consistent. We secured the meaningful vote which prevented Theresa May’s dead deal from being a done deal.
But it is now inevitable the Government will have to seek an extension to the Article 50 process if it is to find a constructive route through this impasse.
Breaking the deadlock will require patience and involve bringing the country together around Labour’s positive vision for our future relationship with Europe. It will also involve facing up to some harsh truths about how people voted last time round.
To ignore the wishes of the 48% who voted to remain or the 52% who voted to leave would be incredibly dangerous for our democracy. The lesson through these last two years is surely that the aim of all responsible politicians now is to find a way to unite the country and begin to move forward. After all, there are more issues that we have in common that we all want to resolve.
In a week where we discovered the richest 26 individuals on the planet own as much as the poorest 50% of the world’s population, the only gap which continues to matter and which we must strive to bridge is the one between the haves and have nots. And that, sadly, is the true dividing line in our society.
Mae llawer o ansicrwydd wedi bod am eich hawliau fel Dinesydd yr UE sy’n byw ac yn gweithio yn y DU. Rydym wedi cael llawer o ymholiadau yn y swyddfa yn ystod y ddwy flynedd ddiwethaf gan bobl bryderus, felly rydym yn croesawu’r newyddion heddiw am y Cynllun Preswylio’n Sefydlog i Ddinasyddion yr UE.
Denton and Reddish MP, Andrew Gwynne, joined over 60 MPs and peers to take part in Cats Protection Annual Parliamentary reception at Westminster to celebrate the charity’s campaigning work.
The event, held just before Christmas, was hosted on the charity’s behalf by Justine Greening MP to highlight its work in helping improve the lives of cats and the people who love them.
Politicians were able to find out more about the charity’s award-winning Purrfect Landlords campaign, aimed at encouraging more landlords to allow tenants to own cats. They also learned about the charity’s work in calling for compulsory microchipping of cats and the licensing of air guns in England and Wales to prevent cats being the victims of shootings.
The campaign’s website can be viewed at http://www.cats.org.uk/purrfectlandlords and includes free, downloadable legal wording for landlords and letting agents to add to their own tenancy agreements, setting out simple conditions on cat ownership to protect and benefit both landlords and tenants.
Cats Protection is the UK’s leading cat charity, helping around 200,000 cats every year through a network of over 250 voluntary-run branches and 36 centres.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“I’m a self-confessed pet lover and have several cats and a dog at home.
“I fully support this campaign; we’ve got to encourage more landlords to introduce cat-friendly policies and hope that the campaign will help tenants to avoid having to rehome their cats and will make it easier for them to find accommodation where they can own a cat in peace.”
Cat’s Protection Head of Advocacy & Government Relations Jacqui Cuff said:
“Cats are much-loved pets for millions of people in the UK, so we were pleased to welcome so many politicians who were keen to find out how we’re helping improve the lives of cats.
“The day was a great opportunity for us to highlight the problems faced by many renters who are unable to own cats due to ‘no pet’ policies. We were pleased that so many MPs wanted to find out more about the problem and how our Purrfect Landlords campaign is helping change the way cat ownership is viewed by landlords and letting agents. Cats make for happy tenants with 94% of private tenants with a cat saying that cat ownership has a positive impact on their lives.”
To find out more about Cats Protection’s advocacy work, please visit www.cats.org.uk/speakingupforcats.
Grant Shapps MP has secured a pledge that leisure bosses will work with the community to keep Gosling Sports Hall open – potentially by working in conjunction with user groups.
In a related move, Welwyn Hatfield’s MP has also received assurances that Greenwich Leisure (GLL) executives will now release crucial financial information to enable residents to judge the situation first-hand.
The developments came after Mr Shapps summoned GLL Managing Director, Mark Sesnan, along with two senior executives, to a meeting in Parliament to discuss their Sports Hall closure announcement.
The MP was quick to caution, “This is by no means business as usual for the Gosling Sports Hall because a solution will require considerable input from Gosling user groups. However, my first job was to extract, up until now, secret financial information from Greenwich Leisure. After which, I wanted to discuss ways to keep the doors to this vital local facility open. The meeting made progress on both fronts.”
The MP has also asked Greenwich Leisure bosses to meet with Save Gosling residents during the next week. Mr Shapps has requested that GLL shares the relevant financial data with the community, then works on a joint plan with the goal of running the Sports Hall in either a joint or self-managed arrangement; keeping its doors open to Sports Hall users.
Following the meeting Mr Shapps said, “There is the potential for a unique collaboration between GLL and the users of this well-loved facility, but there is a lot of work to be done.
“I don’t underestimate the scale of the challenge ahead, but I am cautiously optimistic that the Sports Hall doors will now stay open beyond March.”
Greenwich Leisure boss Mark Sesnan also apologised for the lack of effective communication between themselves, the community and elected representatives including the MP, in the lead-up to the shock Christmas closure announcement.
Notes to editors:
* GLL will now share financial data with the Save Gosling user group.
* A meeting will be convened within the next week to discuss how GLL and the community can work together to keep the Sports Hall at Gosling open.
* A solution is likely to involve a part community managed Sports Hall facility.
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Bone. Last Friday, I spoke to the principal of Portsmouth College, which I had the privilege of attending. What he told me was seriously concerning, and I am proud to be here to speak up for that college. If we walked into a college in […]
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Yesterday, I wrote an article for The Sun on Sunday, setting out what the government should do next on Brexit, and the optimistic vision we need for the post-Brexit UK economy. I appeared on BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show and Sky’s Sophie Ridge Show to discuss the issues.
Whilst visiting the village of Elsdon recently, Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan popped in to visit the new brewery venture located there, to lend her support to their work and hear more about how they are doing.
The First and Last Brewery is run by Red and Sam Kellie, who started the project back in 2016. They now brew a range of ales, which are served in the next door Bird in Bush pub in Elsdon.
The Bexleyheath and District Club for the Disabled held their Annual Dinner on Saturday evening (19 January), at their clubhouse in Barton Close, Bexleyheath.
Among the guests attending were the Mayor of Bexley, Cllr Brian Bishop, and Members of Parliament, Rt Hon Sir David Evennett MP (Bexleyheath and Crayford) and Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP (Old Bexley and Sidcup).
Nottingham Labour has been at the forefront of creating a more sustainable and greener city for the past two decades. However, the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report “Global Warming of 1.5°C”, shows the urgency for more action in order to prevent irreversible climate change and protect Nottingham citizens from flooding, drought, heatwaves and other extreme weather events. That is why Nottingham Labour used January Full Council to commit to making Nottingham a carbon free city by 2028, two years ahead of the target of many other cities which have taken similar pledges.
Over the past two decades some of the action Nottingham City Council has taken as a part of the green agenda has included:
Sustained action over the next decade is critical. The IPCC report urgently reminds us that we must go further and faster in our efforts to keep within the boundary of a global temperature rise of 1.5C, and the devastating impacts this would have around the world. This temperature rise doesn’t sound like a lot, but there is already evidence of what a changing climate can do to people’s lives. Our weather is becoming more extreme as climate warms, we are getting warmer, drier summers, with more extreme storms, and warmer, wetter winters.
Nottingham has made a good start, already meeting our 2020 energy strategy emissions target early, reducing emissions by 39% for the city and 43% per person. The next aim is to lead the way nationally and play our part in the global effort against climate change by becoming a carbon neutral city by 2028. Work is already being done towards a long-term citywide sustainable development strategy which will set out a positive vision for a sustainable future for Nottingham.
I look forward to us delivering on the important motion.
Cllr Sally Longford,
Portfolio Holder for Energy and Environment
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I was thrilled to break ground on the site of the new Suthers School at the Fernwood Business Park together with pupils, teachers, and governors last week. The school is currently in temporary accommodation in Bingham and will be moving into its brand new permanent home in Newark in 2020.
In its second year, the school is already thriving, delivering excellent academic standards, character education and high aspirations for its students – with great staff and a very strong headteacher. I’m looking forward to seeing it move in next year.
Weston’s MP John Penrose has congratulated teaching staff, students, parents and Governors from local primary schools for their hard work in improving the Key Stage 2 results achieved by 11 year-olds.
Last year the standards which are expected in Key Stage 2 tests went up, making tests tougher. This month, The Department of Education revealed that 11 year olds in 19 local primary schools had significantly improved their results compared to last year.
John said: “Key stage 2 tests have become tougher in recent years, to make sure local students have skills which are at least as good as pupils from anywhere in the world, and so they’ll be able to grab global opportunities by working anywhere they want when they’re older. It’s great to see so many schools rising to the challenge, and giving our children international choices and exciting futures.”
A full list of local schools and their performances can be found here: https://www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk/schools-by-type?step=default&table=schools&parliamentary=Weston-Super-Mare&geographic=parliamentary
Words matter. Today, the third Monday in January, has been dubbed ‘Blue Monday’ following some questionable research some years ago that claimed to have found a formula to identify the gloomiest day of the year.
Whatever, the source, Blue Monday does provide an opportunity to reflect on how we think and act about depression and other mental health issues.
That is why I have joined with Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and Mersey Care chief executive Joe Rafferty to ask people today to think about how the catchy tune Sweet but Psycho by Ava Max has made it to the top of the charts for the past few weeks.
And it is why the three of us are supporting the launch of this year’s Big Brew Campaign which uses the power of the Great British cuppa to get people together and help save lives. You can read more about the Big Brew Campaign by clicking here.
The track may have potential lethal and heart-breaking consequences for young people and families across the country.
Of course, it’s just a pop song but there’s another, darker side to the track.
How we use language and imagery helps to shape the way we think. Promoting language like ‘psycho’ in this context normalises the idea that people with mental health issues are dangerous.
The lyrics and video – which features scenes of irrational violence and threat that involves a baseball bat, darts and knives – casually underline negative perceptions of mental health.
In short, it helps stigmatise the experience of mental illness and could create a barrier to people seeking early help. At its worst, stigma can stop suicidal people from reaching out when they are at their lowest, most vulnerable point.
So, let’s use the opportunity of Blue Monday and this song topping the charts to renew the continuing debate about how we discuss mental health – and raise awareness of the detrimental use of negative language.
Steve, Joe and myself back the Zero Suicide Alliance and have each undertaken its free, short online training. Suicide is the biggest killer of young people in the country. It takes 6,000 lives a year. If we can challenge the negative language and imagery that too often surrounds mental health, we can encourage people to open up, talk and help reduce the toll of suicide.
Together, we have been encouraging employers across the city region to offer the training to staff and many have already done so. Today, we can think, talk and act to make a difference.
Wolverhampton North East MP Emma Reynolds commended a local community champion by presenting an award at the Express and Star’s Great Big thank You Awards at a ceremony at Molineux Stadium.
The Community Champion award was won by Jean Hughes who was nominated for their work supporting women’s keep fit classes in the city – never missing a class in 46 years.
Following the awards ceremony, Emma said:
“It was great to celebrate all those who do so much to help others – our community champions, our unsung heroes, and those that go the extra mile without expecting anything in return.
“It was fantastic to present the Community Champion Award to Jean at the ceremony, hearing about her dedication to women’s fitness. Being present at every class since 1972, and building her classes at Worsley Community Centre from eight women to 90, and raising £129,000 for charities over the years, shows her commitment to her class.
“I would like to congratulate Jean, and all the other award winners on the night. The Black Country has a community to be proud of, and it’s great that the Express and Star sets out to find the volunteers who make such a difference. There are extraordinary people across the area who deserve a great big thank you.”
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East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight said he was “very pleased” that his Private Member’s Bill, the Parking (Code of Practice) Bill has, successfully passed its first hurdle in the House of Lords, after receiving its Second Reading today.
The Bill enjoys cross-party support, including the backing of the Government, and has already passed all of its stages in the House of Commons.
If successful in the House of Lords, Sir Greg’s Bill will introduce a statutory code of practice for private parking companies which will prevent motorists being unfairly treated.
Following the ban on wheel clamping in 2012, privately issued parking ‘tickets’ have soared to 4.7 million last year – one every 7 seconds with a number of these issued in dubious circumstances.
Sir Greg said: “The clear majority of car park providers are honest and fair but unscrupulous rogues are undermining the whole sector with bad practice”.
“A number of dodgy operators are engaging in practices such as deliberately unclear signage, ticketing people whist they are getting change or when parking payment machines are out of order and currently there is no legally binding code to prevent this”.
“My Bill does nothing to diminish the rights of landowners to earn a fair income from their land, including seeking redress when motorists don’t play by the rules. But the scales need to be rebalanced, so the system is fair for all involved. My Bill, will help stamp out rogues in the industry”.
If the Bill clears the House of Lords, it should reach the statue book later this year.
Comment from the Lords Opposition Spokesman, Labour’s Lord Kennedy: “This is an excellent private member’s Bill which will bring clarity and fairness for motorists.”
The advent of the Chinese New Year in February: the year of the Pig. But for many people in and around Ross, the rapid rise in the number of feral pigs and boar is no cause for celebration.
My next drop-in surgeries will take place on the morning of Friday 18th January 2019 in the Asda Superstore at Heathfield and then the following week on Friday 25th January 2019 in my constituency office, Irvine (details below).
I hold regular surgeries where you can drop in to speak to me about an issue, no appointment necessary. To best serve my constituents, my surgeries rotate around the constituency. If you have an issue you wish to raise but cannot attend a surgery, please just contact my constituency office using our contact form or the details provided on the contact page. MPs deal with the following matters that are ‘reserved’ to the UK Parliament at Westminster: Benefits and Social Security, Immigration, Defence, Foreign Policy, Employment, Broadcasting, Trade and Industry, Nuclear Energy, Oil, Coal, Gas and Electricity, Consumer Rights, Data Protection, and the Constitution.
You can find directions to the Asda Healthfield surgery by clicking this link.
You can find directions to the Irvine surgery by clicking this link.
Please note that there are occasionally late changes in parliamentary businesses and surgeries may be cancelled at short notice. When this happens my team will do their best to inform both the venue and the local constituents in advance, but this may not always be possible given the short timescale. As such, if you intend to come along to a particular surgery, you may wish to contact my constituency office beforehand to confirm it is taking place as scheduled.
To reach the Central Ayrshire constituency office to check the schedule, or if you require further information, you can contact us on 01294 311 160 or use the Contact Form on our contact page by clicking here.
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I voted to reject the BREXIT Draft Withdrawal Agreement on 15th January because I believed it was so far against our National Interest that I could not support it. I did that with a heavy heart because I was voting against my own Government, but I felt that what I perceived to be the best interests of the country were poorly served by what was on offer.
The charity Bundles of Joy, founded by volunteer Claire A Raper, works across Hull and East Yorkshire to support families in need by providing them with necessities such as clothing, toiletries, nappies and other baby essentials.
The ball, held at the Lazaat Hotel, costs just £35 per person, which includes: an arrival drink, a 3 course meal and entertainment for the evening.
Graham commented: “It was a pleasure to meet Claire at the recent ERVAS We Care Day in Beverley. Her dedication and work to help those who are in need is an inspiration.
“Bundles of Joy does amazing work for people across Beverley and Holderness who just need a helping hand: people who have been affected by events such as crisis, illness or domestic abuse to name a few.
“I want to encourage my constituents to attend the charity’s Valentines Ball on the 15th Feb. I am sure it will be an evening to remember and it would make a perfect surprise Valentines present for that special someone in your life; or indeed if you and a friend fancy a night of fun in aid of a good cause.
“Supporting charities such as Bundles of Joy with their fundraising means that people in need in our area get help when they need it most.
Founder of Bundles of Joy Claire A Raper commented: “We really appreciate Graham helping to publicise our Valentines Ball. The money we raise will help us provide vital support for those across Hull and East Yorkshire who have fallen on bad times through no fault of their own.
“It will be a night to remember at the Lazaat Hotel on the 15th February with plenty of fun to keep us entertained and I hope people across the area will attend; helping us to continue supporting families in need”.
Over the last few weeks, Rushanara Ali MP has questioned the Government over their use of non-disclosure agreements, which prevent organisations and businesses from revealing any information related to contingency plans drawn up by Government departments in no deal Brexit preparations.
Following Rushanra’s enquiries, the Government admitted to using NDAs in a number of departments, including the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Exiting the European Union.
My speech in the House of Commons No Confidence debate this week.
If have some free time on Saturday afternoon, don’t miss the Llanelli & District Fairtrade party in the Selwyn Samuel Centre – it’s only £2 entry for Fairtrade tea and live music.
Many thanks to Tara Fisher and others for organising what promises to be a great event. Follow the link for more details:
For a quick update on the progress I’m making as housing minister, check out this interview with Nick Ferrari for LBC. There’s still more to do but I’m confident we can build more, better, faster.
West Dunbartonshire’s MP has hit out at the Tories and Labour at Westminster, urging both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn to change tack ahead of cross-party talks over Brexit. Local MP Martin Docherty-Hughes, who voted against the Prime Minister in … Continue reading
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This week, Theresa May’s Brexit deal faces almost certain defeat, as the delayed ‘meaningful vote’ comes back to Parliament. It’s clear even those supporting her deal are doing so out of Tory party loyalty, or through fear that something, anything must be delivered before March. I doubt even the Prime Minister thinks of it as a ‘good deal’.
This vote is the culmination of over two years of so-called negotiations. It has been a damaging waste of time which has trashed the UK’s international reputation. Labour have made it clear they’re not to be trusted either. They remain in as much conflict as the Tory party, as Corbyn threatens his own version of a blind Brexit. The only way out of this sorry mess is to, revoke article 50 and hold another public vote. If the Government believes their version of Brexit is the will of the people, then put it to the people. The truth is, this whole fiasco has never been about delivering on democracy, it’s always been about the tory internal civil war over Europe. It’s time it was about the future of people in all nations of the UK.
Here in Scotland, every single Local Authority area voted to remain, with 62% of voters opting to stay in the EU. My SNP colleagues and I have been resolute in our determination to remind the Prime Minister and her Government of this fact. Our Scottish Parliament voted to withhold consent for article 50 and voted to reject the Prime Minister’s deal. While the Scottish Government sought to compromise, by setting out in its ‘Scotland’s place in Europe’ document, how the UK Government could deliver Brexit while protecting our economy and citizens. All these efforts have been cast aside by Theresa May and her Government. Little to no attempt has been made to work constructively with the Scottish Parliament or Government. Lately, even the Scottish Tories at Westminster appear frustrated at having to defend the indefensible.
Over the weekend, I was out knocking on doors and listening to constituents’ views on Brexit. Its clear people don’t like what they see playing out at Westminster, especially this Government’s lack of interest in the views of Scotland. It’s little wonder, more and more people are reaching the realisation that Scotland’s future needs to be in the hands of Scotland’s people.
Tuesday night saw the largest defeat of a sitting Prime Minister in living memory. It is therefore absolutely right that the Leader of the Opposition has put forward a motion of no-confidence in the Government.
How we exit the EU is the most important decision we have made in decades. It is vital that we do so in a way that works for both Barnsley and our country.
I voted against accepting the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement. I did so because, having both respected the referendum result and voted to trigger Article 50, I do not believe that her deal would have served the best interests of the people of Barnsley, or our country.
High Peak MP Ruth George has written to Marks and Spencer asking the firm to urgently reconsider plans to closure its Buxton store.
In a letter to the company, Ruth said she was shocked by the announcement, especially in light of current developments in the town.
“I have today written to Marks and Spencer asking it urgently reconsider its decision to close the Buxton store.
“The M&S store is an important anchor on Buxton’s high street, not least because we live in a rural area.
“I know many people, especially older residents (who do not always have access to the internet) rely on the store for clothes shopping; as do young families; especially now that M&S has closed its stores in Stockport and Denton.
“Buxton has seen significant investment both from the private and public sector in recent years, not least the £50m redevelopment and restoration of The Crescent, which is expected to open later this year, and could provide an estimated £4.5m boost to the town’s economy.
“Alongside this is there is the development of the Pump Room as a new indoor attraction for residents and visitors, which should further help to increase footfall for all shops in the town.
“Further, I understand that the local council is putting together a bid for the new Future High Street Fund to ensure that the town is well placed to make the most of the opening of The Crescent, so that local businesses benefit from its opening.”
You can read my letter here: M&S re Buxton store closure plans
You can sign the petition against the closure plans here: https://www.change.org/p/prevent-the-proposed-closure-of-marks-spencers-buxton?fbclid=IwAR2hovdMg8LMR0lNqFD7EjSwn3FAAKiIH4-ulcZiM2a_3bdBbQiwpSqU_3Y
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This evening, I shall be voting in support of the Prime Minister’s deal on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. read more »
Today, the House of Commons is voting to decide whether or not to approve the agreement the Government has reached with the European Union in relation to the terms of our withdrawal from it. The Agreement also includes a “Political Declaration” on the future relationship between the UK and the EU which it is hoped will subsequently be negotiated, during the “Transition” period of 20 months which will follow our departure.
On Friday 11th January 2019, Emma spoke in Parliament in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act debate. Watch her full speech below:
Read her speech in full below:
I do not recall a time when the fractured state of our politics so accurately mirrored that of our nation. Brexit demanded so much more of us in this place. It was brand-new territory, and for it we needed a brand-new approach to how we did our debating and politics, but these proposals for consensus building across party boundaries were rejected by the Government. The vacuum left in British politics, as MPs and parties have struggled to respond, has been filled by a racist and divisive rhetoric that is creating an inward, nationalist and isolationist environment.
We have been left with an angry country. People are angry because we are leaving the EU or because they want out and it is taking too long, but most of all they are angry with us, even though, in large part, regardless of what political party we are in, whether we are leavers or remainers, we are genuinely trying to do the right thing by our constituents and our country. I campaigned for remain, believing it to be in the best interests of my constituents and my country, but neither agreed with me. In the initial aftermath, I was in denial. I fell into the trap of repeating the mantra that people did not know what they were voting for, they were lied to and they misunderstood the implications of their decisions. While there was some element of truth in that, it was far more nuanced, because complex decisions and human motivation are never so simplistic.
I knew that from people such as my dad—a decent, kind and hard-working man, a retired welder from the shipyards. He and his mates were not angry at economic migrants who had crossed the channel from Europe to work alongside them; they were angry with the Government and institutions that exploited those migrants by allowing the undercutting of wages. That led to him and thousands of others losing their jobs. None of us should ever underestimate the impact that unemployment on this scale can have on individuals, their families and their communities. These scars are irrevocable. That was when disillusion set in. Freedom of movement and the single market were not problems for my dad and his mates. It was about Governments that allowed unemployment to shatter families and communities, Governments that used the EU as a handy repository for blame whenever they failed people; Governments that for decades made no effort to tell anybody the ways in which the EU was a “good thing” and then wondered why they could not get across the message in a few weeks; and Governments that left people behind and created chasms in our communities. These are the people constituents such as mine had in mind when they voted to leave.
I trust the people who sent me to Parliament. In a representative democracy, it is my job to do what I think is best for the people who elected me, unless they have already made their opinions on the subject perfectly plain. They have and over the past two years they have not changed their minds about leaving, so it is now up to me to see that they get what they want. It is my job to thrash these things out in Parliament. That is why I voted to trigger article 50 and why I stood on a manifesto that promised to respect the outcome. We should leave, but I do not want us to leave in this way—not with this deal. I am not convinced that a second referendum would solve the impasse. My constituents tell me that they find it a strange concept: a democratic way of overturning a previous and also democratic decision, which in turn supplanted the democratic decision taken 40 years earlier. I also fear that such a referendum will delay the inevitable and we will be right back to where we are now, trying to find a deal that works for all. I do not accept that the choices on offer are as binary as accepting this deal or crashing out. There is another option: an extension to article 50, giving us the space, albeit a small timeframe, to do our politics differently, to restore our country’s faith in this place and to show people that we really are working together. Crucially, for that to happen there needs to be a marked difference in the rhetoric and actions coming from this Government and the Prime Minister. If we continue to fail to deliver the mandate we have been given by the British people, what little trust remains in politics and politicians will surely evaporate.
Now we have the Christmas decorations firmly packed away for another year, and the New Year Resolutions already looking unrealistic, it is time to look ahead to 2019 and what it holds.
Parliament is back, and therefore the dreaded B-word is in the forefront of minds at Westminster again. But I suspect I (and you) will have enough of that debate in other forums, so here I want to peer into the future for Ashford over the next 12 months.
Companies that make unwanted, unsolicited phone calls to people about their pensions may now face enforcement action, including fines of up to half a million pounds. The pensions cold calling ban has come into effect from yesterday, helping to keep people protected and ensure pensioners have dignity and security in retirement. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pensions-cold-calling-banned. One of the most common methods used by scammers to commit pensions fraud is through cold calls, which is why the government has taken action.
I was glad to have been able to contribute to and speak in the debate for the Financial Guidance and Claims bill last year, these measures which have now been brought in, will help people in Wiltshire.
Former Leader of Leeds City Council, Peter Sparling MBE, has died aged 85.
Peter, who lived in Collingham, was a giant of Leeds politics in the late 1970s and remained active in Conservative politics as President of the Elmet & Rothwell Conservative Association. He dedicated his retirement to the arts and education in the region, receiving an MBE for his services in 2014.
A vocal advocate for the expansion of the arts scene in Leeds, he was instrumental in the formation of Opera North. Working alongside the 7th Earl of Harewood, Peter was a major force within the opera company, originally as a founder member in 1978, then as a director and latterly as Vice-Chairman. He has also been a director of West Yorkshire Playhouse and Leeds Grand Theatre.
Peter was educated at Leeds Grammar, beginning a lifelong affiliation with the school that led to him becoming Chair of Governors during a thirty year tenure on the Board of Governors.
He was the prime mover of the merger of Leeds Grammar School with Leeds Girls High School in 2005 to form a co-educational independent day school with 2,200 pupils. Through his leadership and direction, the school moved from a traditional institution to become a modern, vibrant educational establishment catering for a wide range of pupils in Leeds.
Peter rose to the top of local politics when he became Leader of Leeds City Council in 1979. On his retirement from Leeds City Council in 1987, he was appointed an Honorary Alderman of the City of Leeds.
Following the announcement of Peter’s death, Alec said: “Peter was a stalwart of Conservative politics in Leeds and our political family in Elmet & Rothwell won’t be the same without him. Outside of politics, those who worked with Peter know just how proud he was of the organisations he supported, particularly of Opera North but also of Bardsey Primary School and GSAL where he served as Chair of Governors”.
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Source: pxhere (pxhere.com/en/photo/714697) A new analysis has been published evaluating the effects of Brexit. The Government and EU have concluded a Withdrawal Agreement on how the UK should leave the EU, which is due formally to take place on 29th … Continue reading
Deliver Free Travel for ‘WASPI women’ now, demands Labour
Cllr Ian Ward, Jack Dromey and Liam Byrne unite to deliver call ahead of West Midlands Combined Authority budget.
Birmingham City Council and Labour MPs have today called on Metro Mayor Andy Street to guarantee free bus passes for WASPI women affected by the sudden increase in state pension age.
The plan has already been introduced by Labour’s Mayor in Manchester, Andy Burnham, which delivers free travel across buses, trams and trains for women born between 6 October 1953 and 5 November 1954, who have had their pensions delayed by up to 6 years by arbitrary changes to pension rules by the Tory government.
Today, Labour leaders repeated their call for the West Midlands to follow Manchester’s lead ahead of the WMCA draft budget to be published this Friday.
The pass would entitled holders to free travel across West Midlands transport.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Ian Ward said today:
“These sudden pension changes have caused massive stress, upset and disruption to hundreds of women in the West Midlands who are being forced to return to work with as little as a year’s notice”
“A concessionary pass for those affected would go some way to helping out those hit hardest by this unfair policy”
Liam Byrne, MP for Hodge Hill, who led opposition to the changes to pension rules when they were introduced back in 2013, said:
“These women have had the rug pulled out from under them just a year away from retirement. They did the right thing, paid in and were then punished for being the ‘wrong age’ by this Tory government. The very least we can do is make sure they can get free access to public transport across the West Midlands”
Jack Dromey MP, who as Shadow Pensions Minister has led the campaign for the WASPI women, said:
“The WASPI women of Birmingham and Britain built our country. It is nothing short of shameful that tens of thousands of them have been cheated on their pensions. We have fought hard for that which will at least make a significant difference for the women concerned, free bus travel.”
Bridget Green, Birmingham WASPI co-ordinator said:
“So many of us women hit hard by the pension changes really struggle to make ends meet. We have campaigned long and hard with Jack Dromey and Liam Byrne for justice for the WASPI women. A breakthrough in the West Midlands would give real heart to WASPI women like myself who believe that if you campaign for a just cause you can win.”
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