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Good Friday in Wokingham

John Redwood (Wokingham)

I attended All Saints Church this morning for the ecumenical Good Friday service. The congregation then walked to Market Place to hear the Easter production.
This year’s play was a well crafted reminder of the life and work of Jesus, and the significance of his death on the cross. The play stressed the Christian values of including everyone, rich and poor, successful and unsuccessful, fit and sick, and of showing sympathy and tolerance to all. It was a powerful piece drawing on some of the best lines from the New Testament. The Sermon on the Mount was a central text, and memories of some of the miracles performed reinforced the idea that people should extend love and understanding to each other.
It was a timely message , with a decent seized audience there to appreciate it.

Visit Parliament!

Ben Bradley (Mansfield)

There are still a few tickets left for my bus tour to Parliament on Monday 15th July 2019!
You can find out more about the history of Parliament and even meet the First Earl of Mansfield (pictured), although I can't promise he'll provide decent conversation..
Tickets will be £20 and spaces are limited. If you're interested, send me an email at benbradleymp@gmail.com

Stephen McPartland MP joined representatives from the Knebworth branches of JJ Burgess and Mather Marshall to present over 200 Easter eggs to the children’s ward at the Lister.

Stephen McPartland MP said, “The generosity of local people and businesses is overwhelming and I am grateful to JJ Burgess and Mather Marshall of Knebworth for taking the lead We hope this will become an annual event and the faces of the children was an amazing reward.”

There are many happy children thanks to the incredible generosity of the Knebworth community.

Sign up to my newsletter and click here if you would like to help me make a difference

Constituency Office – Easter Weekend Closure

Philippa Whitford (Central Ayrshire)

Central Ayrshire Office Opening Hours Easter 2019

My office will be closed on Friday 19th April and Monday 22nd April for the Easter weekend, and will re-open at 10am on Tuesday 23rd April.

Meantime, below is a list of contact numbers in case you have any issues over the holiday period.


Emergency Numbers

Emergency 999

National Non-Emergency Medical Number 111

Emergency Number works on any mobile anywhere in the world 112

Non-Emergency Number for Police 101


Other emergency contacts

Alcoholics Anonymous: 0800 9177 650

Crimestoppers: 0800 555 111

Floodline: 0345 988 1188

Electricity: 0800 40 40 90

Electricity and Gas Emergency

Gas leaks: 0800 111 999

Power Cut to your area: 105

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

Scottish Water: 0800 0778 778

The Samaritans: 01563 531 313

Women’s Aid: 0800 027 1234


South Ayrshire Council Out of hours / emergency phone numbers

For any of the following in SA call 0300 123 0900

  • Emergency Services Monitoring Station (Out Of Hours)
  • Emergency Homeless (Out Of Hours)
  • Housing Repairs (Out of Hours)
  • Social Work Standby Service
  • Road and Lighting Faults (24 Hours)
  • Noise helpline


North Ayrshire Council – Call 01294 310 000

  • Emergency Services Monitoring Station (Out Of Hours)
  • Housing Repairs (Out of Hours)
  • Road and Lighting Faults (24 Hours)
  • Noise helpline
  • Emergency Homeless (Out Of Hours) 0800 0196 500
  • Social Work Standby Service (Out of Hours) – 0800 328 7758


The post Constituency Office – Easter Weekend Closure appeared first on Dr Philippa Whitford MP.

Brexit perspective

Richard Benyon (Newbury)

Over the past few weeks I have received correspondence from people expressing many different points of views. I have been asked to vote to leave with no deal and vote not to leave with no deal. I’ve been asked to vote for the existing Withdrawal Agreement and to vote against it. I’ve been asked to […]


Richard Burden (Birmingham, Northfield)

I write this blog just a few days after the Article 50 timetable governing Britain’s exit from the EU has been extended until 31st October to give more time to break the deadlock in Parliament about how to go forward. As with all things Brexit-related the reaction has been mixed, to say the least. What […]

Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin has hailed the beginning of an exciting new era for a local football club after their plans for a new clubhouse moved a step closer.

Ms Brabin has been working with Howden Clough Junior Football Club to try and secure a location for a clubhouse to provide a much-needed facility for the players and their families.

And now, after discussions with Batley Girls’ High School where the club already play some of its matches, the school has agreed in principle to let Howden Clough JFC install a clubhouse on its land.

Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin said: “There is such a passion at the club to give the young people the best possible experience so I’m absolutely thrilled that their dream of a new clubhouse is step closer to becoming reality.

“This is testament to the vision, hard work and determination of all involved at the club and a huge thank you also has to go to Batley Girls for being so supportive of a project that will undoubtedly benefit the local community.”

The new clubhouse, as well as improving the overall match day experience for players and families, would give the club a permanent base and a new fundraising stream to strengthen their ability to provide grassroots sport for local children.

Ben Chapman, the club’s vice-chair, said: We are very grateful for the support from Tracy and the management of Batley Girls High School; this is a very exciting first step in realising our dream of giving a home to our players and supporters.

Julie Haigh and David Cooper, Co-Heads at Batley Girls’ High School, said: “We are delighted to be able to support Howden Clough JFC in this venture. Organisations such as this make such a positive impact on our communities and we are very happy to help.

A meeting at Batley Girls to discuss the plans was also attended by Cath Pinder, Regional President for the GMB, who hopes to help with fundraising for the new clubhouse through her role with the union.


It’s easy to take big transformational changes for granted once they become well established and the norm. Who could now think of a Britain where health services aren’t freely available at the point we need them? There will, of course, still be people who can remember a time before our National Health Service was created, but for most, the NHS is the norm; likewise the Welfare State; education services, and the list goes on…
But there’s one more-recent achievement that’s now so well established, many have forgotten what life was like before it: last week was the 20th anniversary of the National Minimum Wage coming into force.
A minimum wage was Labour Party Policy from the days of Keir Hardie but only implemented after that 1997 Labour landslide, and even then, the Opposition Tory Party used every trick in the parliamentary rulebook to obstruct, delay and hold up the legislation. I think it was possibly the last time a Commons sitting went all the way through the night into the following day, preventing the next day’s business from being heard. But despite all the best tricks in the book, the National Minimum Wage Bill received Royal Assent to become law.
Who now would think that paying someone less than £1 an hour (which was commonplace in many unskilled work places only two decades ago) is appropriate? The Minimum Wage prevented the scourge of poverty pay and, with Tax Credits alongside them, really transformed living standards for the many. Far from costing millions of jobs, as had been the ‘scare’ peddled by those who opposed the changes, it was one of the single-most life improving laws introduced by that Labour Government, and one we now largely take for granted.
But after a near decade of austerity, the scourge of poverty is returning. Not because the National Minimum Wage (now rebadged as a national living wage, although it’s nothing of the sort) has been a failure – life would be considerably worse without it – but because the other support that was once provided has been stripped out. In-work poverty is increasing, food bank use is sky rocketing and we need to urgently tackle the underlying causes immediately.
That’s why, as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the National Minimum Wage we should recommit ourselves to use the same drive and passion to fight for a real ‘living wage’, one the experts set at £10 an hour. That truly would be transformative for families across Tameside, where wages are still historically lower than average. Let’s now make it our mission.

MP has tunnel vision for the Islands

Angus MacNeil (Na h-Eileanan an Iar)

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil has written to Transport Minister Michael Matheson MSP to suggest the Scottish Government visit the Faroe Islands to see the new 11.2 km subsea tunnel.

Mr MacNeil has hailed the success of the Faroes in creating a highly advanced transportation infrastructure which includes 17 land tunnels and two subsea tunnels with another almost complete and construction on a further tunnel due to start soon.

The system, which will include the world’s first subsea roundabout, will virtually eradicate the need for ferry services.

Mr MacNeil said: “The transport network in the Faroes is the kind of system we should aspire to follow in the Scottish islands.

“Infrastructure of this kind would have huge economic and social benefits to all parts of the islands and would remove travel disruption due to weather conditions or issues associated with capacity.”

He has suggested to Transport Minister Michael Matheson that Transport Scotland should visit the nearly complete Faroese tunnel and learn from the Faroese experience of creating a seamless travel system.

The new Faroes tunnel will shorten the travel distance from the capital of Tórshavn to Runavík/Strendur from 55 kilometres to 17 kilometres. The 64 minute drive will be shortened to 16 minutes. The drive from Tórshavn to Klaksvík will be shortened from 68 minutes to 36 minutes.

The tunnel will connect both sides of the bay of Skálafjørður using two tunnels that connect to a roundabout under the seabed at mid-bay. The tunnel will be 2.2 kilometers long from the main road at Rókini in Saltnes to the roundabout, and the distance from Sjógv at Strendur to the roundabout will be 1.7 kilometers.

The main tunnel from Tórshavn to the roundabout will be 7.5 kilometers and will resurface by the village of Hvítanes. In order to increase safety, no inclination in the tunnel is steeper than 5 per cent and the lowest point is 187 meters below the water’s surface.

It was great to join UNISON earlier this month to celebrate 20 years since the Labour Government introduced the national minimum wage in teeth of fierce Tory opposition. We now need to raise the level so that it is a proper living wage, and tackle the insecurity of modern work

Local MP views Tweed 1000 tapestry

Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed, was privileged to view the Tweed 1000 tapestry last week. The tapestry has been created as part of celebrations of 1000 years of Berwick-upon-Tweed. It illustrates the history and people of Berwick over the last 1000 years and has involved the whole community; the elderly in care homes, schoolchildren and other organisations, all under the guidance of skilled artists.

A further Boost for Mental Health Funding!

Wendy Morton (Aldridge-Brownhills)

Many of us will know someone affected by mental health and so I welcome the news that Government is raising mental health funding to record levels and allocating a further £2.3 billion of funding to boost mental health as part of the Long Term Plan for the NHS.

This is alongside piloting a four-week waiting time standard for children’s mental health treatment, training a brand new dedicated mental health workforce for schools and teaching pupils what good mental and physical health looks like.

By investing in children’s mental health services and focusing on early intervention we can ensure all children have access to the support they need.

Individual Issues raised by constituents in January 2019

Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central)

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

Steve at Kew

Steve Pound (Ealing North)

Without wishing to compete with my fellow toxophilite Jeremy Corbyn in the archery stakes I have to modestly refer to my recent high scoring performance at Kew!

Local MP John Penrose has welcomed this week’s announcement of £14 million Government funding for a new ‘Institute of Technology’ centred in Weston, to deliver high level technical training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.  

The Institute is the brainchild of Weston College, with help from partners like UWE, Bath College, Yeovil College and employers like Airbus, BAE Systems, and GKN Aerospace. It will provide a route for students taking T Levels or A Levels to move onto higher level technical education, and also for people already in work to improve their technical skills. It is one of only 12 being announced across the country. It will put employers in the driving seat to provide sought-after modern, real-world skills in life sciences, engineering and creative digital skills.

John said: “The College has done incredibly well to win so much funding against an ultra-competitive field. This is the latest step in Weston’s journey to become a high-talent town. The kind of place where employers want to set up shop because they know they will find the skills they need for their businesses to succeed. It will open doors to high-skilled, high-wage careers for even more local people.”

MP heralds new chapter for Malvern’s brilliant brains

Harriett Baldwin (West Worcestershire)

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin was taken on a tour of a brand new building at Malvern Science Park which will allow local businesses to expand. read more »

High Peak MP Ruth George has written to the lotteries minister to ask why the Big Lottery has stopped funding foodbanks.

It comes after High Peak Foodbank was told by the Big Lottery that its lottery funding was ending.

Speaking in the House of Commons last week Ruth told the lotteries Minister, Mims Davies MP: “Food banks are like the fourth emergency service, especially in rural areas such as mine. High Peak Foodbank has helped over 1,000 people this year, but it is no longer funded by the lottery.”

Ruth went on to ask the Minister what assessment had been made of the impact of the lottery’s decision on the vulnerable people who need them, as well as on the foodbanks themselves.

The lotteries Minister, Mims Davies MP, said she was not aware that funded foodbanks were no longer funded and agreed to raise the issue with the national lottery.

Ruth said: “I was very surprised that the Minister was not aware of the Lottery’s decision to cease funding for food banks. All the evidence suggests that, with another year of frozen benefits, poverty will get worse and that foodbanks will be needed even more people.”

In her letter to the minister, Ruth wrote: “Over the five years of funding, The Zink Project based at the foodbank has increased services to include Zink Employability, Zink Advice and Buxton Community Café.

“When the food bank came to reapply for a grant this year they got turned down on the basis that lottery funding is no longer available to food banks.

“This means that High Peak Foodbank will lose around 75% of its funding, leaving them with just £16,000 a year to fund their service which is relied upon by over 1,200 families every year.

“The cuts to their funding will mean that staff will need to be cut which will strain the already stretched service.

“Please would you investigate whether the Lottery have stopped funding foodbanks and if so what other funding is available for food banks, who provide a vital service for very vulnerable people?”


The post High Peak MP Ruth George calls for foodbank funding to be extended appeared first on Ruth George MP for High Peak.

Last week, the winners of the Government’s Institute of Technology (IoT) competition were announced.

Graham Stuart, MP for Beverley and Holderness, commented: “Congratulations are in order! After a rigorous two-stage competition, we’ve received the excellent news that Bishop Burton College and East Riding College, as part of the Yorkshire and Humber IoT, will be one of twelve IoTs established across the UK.” 

The Government launched the IoT initiative as part of its ambitious reforms to build one of the world’s best technical education systems. Each IoT is comprised of a regional network of universities, colleges and employers, and through greater collaboration, these institutions will provide high-quality technical education, particularly in STEM skills, aimed at meeting the demands of local economies.

Graham added: “I am a strong supporter of the Government’s IoT initiative. On the one hand, the direct involvement of employers in technical education will drive regional growth by responding to future skills needs. On the other, students will be provided with a clear route into skilled employment, resulting in life-changing opportunities for local children.

“I have been a strong advocate for the collaborative bids of Bishop Burton and East Riding College. As I set out in my letters of support, both colleges have already proven that they are effective in providing high-quality skills programmes, and I have no doubt that the leadership of these colleges will set an example of the merits of the IoT concept.

“The Yorkshire and Humber IoT will be established with £9 million of Government funding. The programmes developed will focus on the agri-tech, engineering and digital sectors, and the capital funding will enable investment in industry-standard facilities and equipment.

“I have no doubt that the Yorkshire and Humber IoT will have a profoundly positive effect on the local community and economy. I look forward to supporting the efforts of Bishop Burton College and East Riding College as they implement their vision.” 

Bill Meredith, Principal at Bishop Burton College, commented: “I would like to thank Graham for his support during the arduous two-year submission process to the Department for Education. The coming months will see Bishop Burton transform into a centre of excellence for higher-level skills training in agri-technologies, and I’m delighted that Graham will continue to support us as we turn our ambitious proposal into a reality.” 

Photo: Graham Stuart MP and Bishop Burton College pupils

Environment – Fight for our nature campaign

Lesley Laird (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath)

The environment is the bedrock of our economy, our security and our wellbeing. Healthy soils, oceans and woodland are vital for our food security, for mitigating and preventing flooding, supporting pollinators and biodiversity more broadly, and storing carbon.

As you are aware, in December last year, the Government published its Draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill. In addition to the creation of a proposed new environmental watchdog – the Office for Environmental Protection – the Environment Bill will focus on four main areas: air quality, the restoration of nature, waste management and resource efficiency, and water management.

I am concerned that, while the Draft Bill is a step in the right direction, the Government’s proposals will require a clear commitment to a level of funding which the Government has previously refused to provide for our public services. I am also aware that concerns have been raised by the National Audit Office that Defra has not done enough to engage other parts of government with its approach, nor set clear accountabilities for performance.

Addressing the environmental challenges that we face requires a transformational effort from government and urgent interventions now. It is therefore vital that we protect all EU environmental rights, standards and protections as a baseline, while introducing more ambitious domestic environmental policy than that guaranteed at the European level. This must include an Agriculture Bill which enhances the responsibility for farmers to conserve, enhance and create safe habitats for birds, insects and other wild animals and a Fisheries Bill which contains a clear, stated approach towards greater sustainability.

The remainder of the Environment Bill is expected to be introduced later this year. The Government has promised to consult on the wider aspects of the Bill and I hope it will listen to the concerns raised by WWF and respond accordingly.

The post Environment – Fight for our nature campaign appeared first on Lesley Laird.

The Government has announced the monthly unemployment figures for March 2019. It states that the roll out of Universal Credit is currently affecting the claimant count. Changes in claimant numbers may be a result of the roll out rather than changes in … Continue reading

The post CLAIMANT COUNT IN LEICESTER EAST is now 1,675 appeared first on Keith Vaz.

Martin Docherty-Hughes, MP for West Dunbartonshire, has hit out at UK government Ministers after it was revealed that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is still using cancer-causing chemicals in the servicing of military vehicles. Responding to parliamentary questions lodged by … Continue reading

Emma Fights for Constituents’ Healthcare

Emma Lewell-Buck (South Shields)

On Thursday 24 January, Emma contributed to a debate in Parliament on ‘Appropriate ME Treatment.’ Using the example of her constituent, Barbara Kell, she detailed the suffering of those with the illness being disbelieved about symptoms, receiving the wrong treatment and hoping for answers.

Then last month on Thursday March 21, Emma contributed to another debate on health, this time about the ‘NICE appraisals: Rare Diseases Treatments’ for diseases such as phenylketonuria (PKU). Again, Emma was able to raise the example of one of her constituents, in this case, 15 year-old Harvey Parker who suffers from PKU.

You can watch her full contribution to the debate on ME here and read the transcript here, and you can watch Emma’s contribution to the debate on NICE appraisals here and read the transcript here.

Here are extracts from her speeches:

ME Debate

“For someone who knows how unwell they are, there must be nothing worse than being told that it is all in their head and being sneered at by the very professions and organisations that should be supporting them. The constant quest to be believed and the desperation of just wanting some answers was summed up powerfully by my constituent, Barbara Kell. She described the endless rolling of eyes by some GPs and the frustration of others who wanted to help her but knew they would be hauled up in front of the General Medical Council if they did. Barbara told me that she is living “half a life”, and that she grieves for her past. She said she is missing out on so much, including time with her grandchildren—I can testify to the House that they are gorgeous little girls. Like thousands of others, Barbara wants and deserves to live in a country where the Government properly fund research; where treatment helps and does not hinder; where support from the state does not come at the cost of dignity; and where people actually listen to her. Right now, that is not the case.

Barbara told me that every time she went for blood tests, which were of course the wrong ones, and the results came back, she was actually hoping it was something like cancer, just so that she could put a name to the intense pain that she was feeling, get the right treatment, and know whether she was going to live or die. For the sake of my constituent Barbara and the 250,000 others affected, I hope that the Minister is really listening to what is being said today and is ready to give some justice and comfort to those who have been ignored for decades.”

NICE Appraisals Debate:

“Many sufferers also need to take an unbelievable number of tablets each day—tablets that are large and difficult to swallow. My constituent Harvey Parker has PKU. He is 15 years old and takes a staggering 65 of these tablets every single day. Although it is a distant memory for some of us, I am sure we all remember how difficult it is being a teenager, with that want to fit in and not stand out. Harvey told me that Kuvan would help him lead a more “normal” life.

“Eating out and sharing food with others is an important part of socialising and something that most of us do without thinking, but many places do not cater for Harvey’s needs, and he ends up feeling “embarrassed”, “isolated”, “angry” and a “burden”. He said that when he has been out with his mates on a weekend, he tells his mam and dad that he has not eaten because he was not hungry, when really it was because he could not find anything that he could eat. Harvey told me:

“I don’t really talk to any of my friends about PKU as I get embarrassed and when I’m with my friends with no tablets to take, blood tests to endure or bland, unpalatable foods then I am just Harvey, one of the lads and not that boy with the rare invisible condition that no one has ever heard of.”

It is clear to see how access to Kuvan and the more relaxed diet that would follow could improve Harvey’s life. It has improved the lives of others who have taken it, so why is it being denied to so many sufferers?”

Update from Surrey Chief Constable

Dominic Raab (Esher and Walton)

Last week, I met with Gavin Stephens, the Surrey Chief Constable to discuss Elmbridge residents’ concerns and priorities for local policing. The Chief Constable explained that Surrey Police will hire one hundred new Officers, Police Community Support Officers and front line police staff by April 2020.

Of the new staff, Elmbridge will see between 3 and 5 new Officers dedicated specifically to the borough, as well as benefitting from extra support from specialist teams working (cross-county) to reduce crime originating from outside the county, which accounts for roughly half of all crime in Surrey.

We also discussed the shocking recent stabbing in Hinchley Wood. The Chief Constable updated me on the progress with the investigation and Surrey Police’s wider work to prevent violent crime in the Borough.

Finally, we discussed ongoing action to address the illegal traveller encampments, which we saw last summer. I welcomed the proactive enforcement approach taken by Elmbridge’s Neighbourhood Inspector Dallas McDermott. The Conservative-run Elmbridge Borough Council has also secured an injunction which will make it easier to remove illegal encampments.

Matt Warman MP has welcomed the proposed developments from Abellio as the new operator of the East Midlands Railway franchise. Announced as the successful bidder on 10th April, Abellio will introduce brand-new trains, smart-ticketing, more seats and a more comfortable and reliable service for passengers.

The new operator will provide new trains that include charging points and WiFi, as well as an improved timetable and the recognition that Skegness needs more frequent services during its busy holiday seasons.

Commenting on the news Matt said “I’m really pleased that in their successful bid Abellio has acknowledged something myself and my constituents have been well aware of for a long time: that is the urgent need for better and more frequent services between Boston and Skegness. It is great to see a commitment has been made to increase the number of seats on peak journeys on the Nottingham to Skegness line.

It will also be welcome news to many of my constituents who make regular use of the East Midlands line that free Wi-Fi will be made available throughout the franchise on trains and at stations.

I look forward to meeting with representatives of the company in the near future to discuss the introduction of the new East Midlands franchise and how it will benefit the people and communities in Lincolnshire and beyond.”

The East Midlands Railway will also be at the forefront of the government’s commitment to deliver a cleaner, greener rail network. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling commented “Improving the experience for passengers is at the heart of this new franchise. Abellio will deliver state-of-the-art new trains, upgraded ticketing systems and improvements to stations. Through zero-carbon pilot schemes, trialling hydrogen fuel cell trains and delivering more seats on modern, spacious trains, the new franchise will also play a major role in building a railway fit for the future.”

More information can be found via https://www.gov.uk/government/news/more-seats-services-and-state-of-the-art-trains-for-passengers-on-new-east-midlands-railway

I’m recruiting for a full time Parliamentary Assistant to be based in my Westminster Office. The main duties of the role will include: 

  • Keeping up to date with Parliamentary bills, early day motions, legislation and debates
  • Undertaking research, usually from readily available sources
  • Provide briefings on policy issues, potential questions and motions put to the house
  • Prepare and present briefing notes for committees, press releases, parliamentary questions etc
  • Give advice on policy issues
  • Monitor media coverage and brief the MP on relevant issues
  • Management of Liz’s Westminster diary
  • Respond to policy correspondence and enquiries
  • Provide generalist admin support

Required Skills

  • The successful applicant will have a strong record of research
  • Excellent communication skills, especially writing briefing materials and articles for print
  • The ability to produce work of a high standard, often under pressure and to tight deadlines
  • Excellent time-management skills and the ability to prioritise own workload
  • A self-starter with the ability to work independently and also as part of a small team
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Previous Parliamentary experience is preferred but not essential
  • A keen interest in politics and current affairs

Upon appointment you will be required to comply with the Baseline Personnel Security Standard, undertaken by the Members’ Staff Verification Office (MSVO). See Members’ Staff Verification Office (MSVO) page for further info. MPs generally pay staff in accordance with IPSA guidelines.

Location: London

Salary Range: In line with IPSA guidelines

Closing Date: Friday 3rd May 2019  

Interview/Start Dates

Interviews will be held w/c 6th May. The successful applicant will start as soon as possible.

Application Details

To apply, please send your CV and 1 page covering letter to vicky.street {at} parliament(.)uk  no later than 5pm on Friday 3rd May 2019. Interviews to be held in London w/c 6th May 2019. 

The post Parliamentary Assistant Vacancy in Liz’s Westminster Office appeared first on Liz Kendall.

Anne Marie's Weekly Column

Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbot)

Westminster Week

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department taken to (a) simplify (b) encourage the purchase of split rail tickets.

The post Railways: Tickets | Department for Transport | Written Answers appeared first on Stephen Morgan.

A paradox. Elections can be decided by the amount of taxpayers’ money each political party believes should be spent by the state. Yet the total sum of taxpayers’ hard-earned cash going to each of the

Jonathan Djanogly visits Bridge Arts Festival

Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon)

Jonathan with Director Liz Perrett during his visit to some of the 16 Bridge Arts festival sites in Huntingdon and Godmanchester.

Another 6 Months?

Bob Stewart (Beckenham)

We have been negotiating our departure from the European Union for over 2 years and I am aghast that we have extended that period by up to another 6 months. Parliament has now decided conclusively (without my vote though) that we cannot leave without a deal. Indeed Government departments have apparently been ordered to stop preparations for it too. I think that decision was a gross mistake but I can do nothing about it now.

Minister for the Environment

Michelle Donelan (Chippenham)

Last week the Minister for the Environment Dr Therese Coffey MP, was in Chippenham to visit Crane Merchandising Systems and have a tour of their factory. Crane Merchandising Systems is the leading global manufacturer of innovative solutions for vending machines, cashless systems, software and wireless communications. They are a great local business that I too have had the opportunity of visiting recently. With a rich history spanning more than 80 years, Crane Co. is a diverse and international company and its great they have a presence in Chippenham.

The post Minister for the Environment appeared first on Michelle Donelan MP.

Evennett shows support for Parkinson’s Is campaign

David Evennett (Bexleyheath and Crayford)

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, attended a Parliamentary event last week to learn more about the new Parkinson’s Is campaign. The campaign launched today on World Parkinson’s Day (11 April), and aims to shatter public misconceptions about the condition by highlighting the reality of everyday life for those living with it and their families.

Leith Walk By-Election result

Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith)

The Leith Walk By-Election result has been announced at Waverley Court.

Charles Walker speaks in a debate on the 2019 Loan Charge condemning the retrospective and disproportionate approach being taken by HMRC which seems intent on bankrupting its debtors as opposed to setting on a reasonable return. [read more] about Charles Walker condemns HMRC action on the loan charge

Interview with Sophy Ridge on Sky News

Sam Gyimah (East Surrey)

Trident vote shows Corbyn is all talk

Stewart Hosie (Dundee East)

A vote in the House of Commons celebrating 50 years of Trident Nuclear Weapons was passed overwhelmingly yesterday (10th April) after Labour MP’s, including Jeremy Corbyn, abstained.
The motion in the Prime Minister’s name passed 241-33 with only SNP, Green and Plaid Cymru MP’s voting against.
A majority of Scottish MP’s voted against the motion and have in the past voting against trident renewal. As well as this the Scottish Parliament also overwhelmingly oppose the weapons which are based on the Clyde at Faslane.
Dundee East MP, Stewart Hosie, criticised the Labour Leader who abstained, despite his supposed anti-nuclear stance.
Commenting Mr Hosie said:
“The vote last night shows two things: That firstly, Scotland’s voice is not listened to or respected in the House of Commons and that Jeremy Corbyn, despite talking the talk for years on Trident, cannot be trusted to vote against Nuclear Weapons never mind abolish them.”
“Last night presented an opportunity for Corbyn to reiterate his opposition to these weapons and to join with the SNP and other progressive parties to send a message that Nuclear Weapons are not wanted. Instead he sat on his hands, as he has done too many times.”
“Despite a majority of Scottish MP’s and the Scottish Parliament opposing the Nuclear Weapons based in the Clyde the UK Government have shown no willingness to listen to the voices of the people of Scotland and we will be forced to harbour Missiles for years to come.”

It is always encouraging to get positive news from local business and this press release issued by well known local travel company Alpine Travel was of great interest.


Alpine North Wales’ largest independent coach operator buyout Abacab

One of North Wales’ leading coach hire company’s has been bought by Llandudno based coach firm Alpine Travel.

Apply to take part in MP’s annual Summer School!

Debbie Abrahams (Oldham East and Saddleworth)

Working for your Community summer school is back!

Apply to take part in the 6th year of the popular two-week programme, including a free trip to Parliament!


I have opened applications for my sixth annual Working for your community summer school – for 16-24 year olds, which will take place between 8th-19th July 2019.

As an MP I often receive requests for some experience of an MP’s office but unfortunately cannot accommodate them all.

So, to try and give as many young people from Oldham as possible community placements experience, I am opening applications for my sixth Working for your community summer school.

The aim of the summer school is for participants to develop community action skills and experience by working on various community projects in Oldham.

Participants will develop key skills for both future involvement in politics and community based work.

The selected group of young people will be based in Oldham and must be available for every weekday for the duration of the scheme from 8th July 2019 until 19th July 2019.

They will spend the first week developing knowledge and understanding of community development, campaigning skills and tools, and they will work on a community project in the second week.

Sessions will be delivered by various experts and leaders in the areas of community development, campaigning, communications, and politics.

Previous speakers at the summer school have included Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, Oldham Council Leader Sean Fielding, Rugby League legend Kevin Sinfield, John Abrahams, Angela Rayner MP, Andrew Gwynne MP, Stella Creasy MP, Marshe De Cordova MP, Mike Kane MP and many, many others.

Week two will be spent working with Oldham and Saddleworth-based community organisations and charities. And on the last day participants will graduate!

On Tuesday 9th July, there will be a visit to Parliament where the group will have a tour of Parliament and meet various politicians, researchers and advisors.

Former summer school participant Tahmina who, at the time was looking forward to starting her degree in Rehabilitation Studies, said:

“I benefited a lot from this course and I got to explore what politicians do for us regarding the local community.

It’s not just about meetings in Parliament, it’s also about getting involved with local and small agencies which help the rest of the community.”

How to apply:

To register your interest in the summer school, send a letter of application with a curriculum vitae by email to abrahamsd@parliament.uk – (let us know in the CV if you own a rail-card and give us the details).

The closing date for receipt of applications is 5pm on Monday 10th June. 

You can read what past participants had to say about previous schools and view photographs here.

A person specification can be found here.

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The post Apply to take part in MP’s annual Summer School! appeared first on Debbie Abrahams MP.

The following article first appeared in the Telegraph on 20 March 2019. It may be accessed here: bit.ly/WAStandFirm. The one advantage of the Cabinet’s Withdrawal Agreement is that it would allow us to claim Brexit on March 29. Of course, some colleagues are attracted to it – but the British people have already spotted a dud deal. According to ComRes polling yesterday, 54 per cent say it does not deliver. Just 14 per cent approve. If we put this agreement through and Theresa May […]

Update on Ledbury Station Access for All funding

Bill Wiggin (North Herefordshire)

On 4 April the Department of Transport published the disappointing news that Ledbury Station has not qualified under this round of the Access for All scheme. I have spoken to the Department for Transport, who have told me that 300... Continue Reading →

Jesse’s Hereford Times Column: Uncharted Seas

Jesse Norman (Hereford and South Herefordshire)

A few weeks ago I highlighted the possibility of Parliamentary moves that would potentially undermine the constitutional basis of British government.

East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight has welcomed figures just released showing the UK economy exceeded economists’ estimates on almost every measure in the last month.

The figures show that industrial production rose 0.6% and construction output grew 0.4% to defy experts’ expectations.

The UK economy as a whole grew by 0.2% – despite the forecast of zero.
Sir Greg said: “The UK economy appears to be ignoring the doom-mongers who said that growth would hit a standstill.

“The fundamentals of our economy are strong and this news comes on the back of employment figures showing their highest rate since records began in 1971 with unemployment now below 4% for the first time since 1975.

Despite what some people have said, Britain is clearly open for more business.”

Job Vacancy: Communications Officer

Patrick Grady (Glasgow North)


I'm recruiting for a Communications Officer to work in my Glasgow office and assist my team in dealing with constituent enquiries. Key responsibilities include researching and drafting responses to political campaigns, producing press releases, managing my social media and updating constituents on my work in Parliament.

Click to read the job description and person specification.

Politics Home

In many ways the two high-quality Indicative Votes debates on the UK-EU future relationship showed our Parliament at its very best. We knew what was at stake. The priority, most of us agreed, was to avert the catastrophe of No Deal Brexit, so it was incumbent upon all of us to help get a majority for at least one Brexit option. The unwritten rule was that each MP should not only vote for their preferred option, but for all the options they could live with. In this spirit Conservative MPs outside the cabinet were given a free vote, Labour MPs were whipped to support three options, and for a fleeting moment it looked like British politics was about to re-discover the lost art of compromise.

Basingstoke MP Maria Miller welcomed the news that Sovereign Housing Association is to move its Head Office to Basingstoke.

Sovereign will move from Newbury to Florence House in Basing View, the office will be a base for Sovereign's 450 employees.

Maria met with Sovereign’s new CEO Mark Washer and discussed the move and housing needs in Basingstoke.

MP Shapps slams bus bosses over poor services

Grant Shapps (Welwyn Hatfield)

“Unacceptable” bus services in Welwyn Hatfield must be swiftly improved.

That was the message from MP Grant Shapps at a meeting with company bosses.

The move followed months of complaints about cancelled services, buses failing to arrive on time and some being stopped mid-way through routes.

Directors of operator Arriva met with Mr Shapps at his office in Hatfield.

He said: “It’s fair to say the meeting was frank, and the Arriva directors were left in no uncertain terms over how unacceptable the service has been of late.

“Although they made a number of pledges to improve their performance, I am well aware that words can be hollow.

“I have therefore requested that they get back to me in a months’ time with firm and costed proposals of how they will ensure the timetabled service is delivered.”

Most of the issues centre on the 300 and 301 routes which are the most frequently used and particularly important to people going to school and the Lister and QEII hospitals.

Mr Shapps was joined at the meeting by borough councillors Pat Mabbott and Harry Bower who have continually raised numerous issues with Arriva, from poor performance and customer service, to ticket zone prices.

(L-R) Cllrs Harry Bower and Pat Mabbott, Grant Shapps MP, Arriva Managing Director Gavin Hunter and Regional Manager John Copping

Planning Inspectors Visit

Kit Malthouse (North West Hampshire)

I recently met over 450 planning inspectors to ask them serious questions about our planning system. How can we put local people in control? What can we do to speed up decisions? Can we factor beauty into plans? All this is designed to stop residents feeling like victims of the planning system, so we can work together to build 300,000 of the #MoreBetterFaster homes we need.

Launching a New Fund for Village Halls

Robert Jenrick (Newark)

Last Friday, I launched a £3m grant scheme for repairs and improvements to village halls – the heart of our rural communities.

The national charity, ACRE came to see me at the Treasury last year and I ensured this was included in the Budget.

It will enable grants equivalent to 20% of the cost of projects, with a maximum grant of £75,000. In effect this scheme rebates the VAT that would otherwise be payable and helps to get projects ‘over the line’.

To apply, please see the detail below:

If you are involved in running a village hall, please take a look. It may be able to assist you.

Thank you to the volunteers at Oxton village hall near Southwell, Nottinghamshire for hosting our launch. And the delicious cakes and tea!

Calling all village hall committees! Today in Nottinghamshire I launched a £3m grant scheme for repairs and improvements to village halls – the heart of rural communities.The national charity, ACRE came to see me at the Treasury last year and I ensured this was included in the Budget. It will enable grants equivalent to 20% of the cost of projects, with a maximum grant of £75,000. In effect this scheme rebates the VAT that would otherwise be payable and helps to get projects ‘over the line’.To apply, please see the detail below:https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-launches-3-million-scheme-to-regenerate-village-halls If you are involved in running a village hall, please take a look. It may be able to assist you. Thank you to the volunteers at Oxton village hall near Southwell, Nottinghamshire for hosting our launch. And the delicious cakes and tea!

Posted by Robert Jenrick on Friday, April 5, 2019

Our Man - Brexit

Damian Green (Ashford)

Friday 5th April

Chris Leslie (Nottingham East)

So much has happened in the House of Commons this week:

  • On Monday we voted on a second round of ‘indicative Brexit’ votes. Those proposing different forms of Brexit continued to resist agreeing to a People’s Vote. But despite this, the concept of a ‘confirmatory public vote’ achieved the highest number of votes, followed by a customs union-style Brexit. Because the evidence suggests that all forms of Brexit will leave the country poorer, I am not prepared to support anything as damaging without at the very least giving the British people a final say on whether to proceed. A People’s Vote nearly fell off the list of options when Labour MPs voted for a Customs Union Brexit. In our Independent Group we voted against it primarily because it will not on its own deliver the frictionless trade needed to avoid a hard Irish border and a ruinous hard Brexit. The Lib Dems split on the matter but the SNP and Green MP saw the trap that had been laid and joined us in the ‘no’ lobby. If we hadn’t, the Customs Union option would have won a majority and the People’s Vote campaign would have fallen to the way side. In the event PV topped the poll and we remain the only way out of the Brexit crisis.
  • On Tuesday the Prime Minister’s eight hour long Cabinet meeting resulted in her asking Jeremy Corbyn in to hatch a joint plan on proceeding with Brexit. This is concerning because Corbyn’s priorities didn’t include a People’s Vote, although other Labour MPs have asserted that this must be the case. The main parties carving up a deal between them would be concerning if they both agreed to supply votes for a Brexit Withdrawal Agreement without any guarantee of a public vote with a remain option in exchange. Tonight the talks seem to have halted – bizarrely with the Government saying they are reluctant to make changes to the non-binding ‘Political Declaration’, when surely that was the whole point of No10’s talks! Difficult to tell at this stage whether this is a mutually agreed ‘pause’ or not.
  • On Wednesday MPs took control of the Commons order paper to secure time for debate on a ‘Business of the House Motion’ proposing that the ‘Article 50 extension’ Bill – as a safeguard against a crash-out no-deal Brexit – could be passed in that sitting. Hilary Benn’s amendment to have another round of indicative votes resulted in a 310-310 draw, with the Speaker using his casting vote for the first time in decades, which meant that amendment fell. This is a pity because I believe the next time we run indicative votes we can find a compromise ‘composite’ between, for instance, the Customs Union-plus-Confirmatory Public vote, for which a majority should be attainable. Fortunately the main motion did pass – and we proceeded with passing the extension Bill by the slimmest of margins: 312 votes to 311 near midnight that evening.
  • Working with other MPs from across parties I have been drafting different amendments, looking ahead at the protections necessary to prevent the UK falling over the cliff edge, and pressing Ministers to consider a longer extension as necessary so we can find a way through. The news today that next week’s EU Summit might be ready to grant a flexible extension suggests it is possible European Parliamentary elections could proceed on 23rd May. I hope that they do – because as long as we are in the room in Europe we ought to have Britain’s voice heard around the table, still deciding the key issues affecting our continent.

Oh, and this week we also had the Commons chamber shut down early yesterday because of a major water leak and a series of naked protestors in the public gallery. Which summed up what extraordinary times these are (and, to be fair to the protestors, I share their frustration that massive issues like the climate change crisis have been pushed off the agenda by this Brexit debacle!).

Climate change threatens our very existence.

Penny Mordaunt (Portsmouth North)