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Article by Andrew Foxall for the Spectator - published 14 August 2020 Christopher Steele, the author of the (in)famous Trump dossier, is right to say Britain has been ‘behind the curve’ when it comes to combating the threat posed by Russia. The UK’s political parties are being targeted by the Kremlin, he told Tory MP Damian Collins […]

An exciting opportunity to work for Stephen McPartland MP is now available in his Stevenage office as a Caseworker.

Stephen McPartland MP is supported by a small, but dedicated team which prides itself on helping him make a difference.

The role is ideally suited to someone with high literacy skills and looking for that first job on the CV to launch their career. Applicants do not require previous experience but must demonstrate drive and a passion for helping people.

The right candidate will be people-focused and well-organised with a determination to provide a first-class service. They will possess excellent written and oral communication skills, take pride in their work and have a good grasp of IT. The successful applicant will work full-time in a friendly office. The majority of their time will be spent in Stevenage, but they will occasionally need to attend the office in Westminster.

Role includes:

  • Responding effectively and courteously to correspondence and enquiries from constituents
  • Undertaking research and preparing reports, draft correspondence, and briefing notes on policy issues
  • Analysing and evaluating research and interpreting data
  • Assisting with progressing casework through liaison with government agencies
  • Maintaining, updating and developing knowledge of relevant legislation
  • Communicating effectively with both internal and external contacts
  • Retaining records and information confidentially, in compliance with GDPR
  • Dealing with telephone enquiries

Skills required:

  • A genuine desire to help people resolve complaints and concerns
  • Strong written, communication and analytical skills with a good telephone manner and attention to detail
  • Highly organised with the ability to manage and prioritise own caseload
  • A strong work ethic, reliability and a flexible approach as part of our small team
  • Good IT skills with a knowledge of Microsoft Word, Outlook and proficient in use of Apple MACs
  • Sympathise with the values of the Conservative Party

Salary: £20,000

Contract: Permanent

To Apply: please email stephen.mcpartland.mp@parliament.uk with a covering letter setting out why you are the right candidate and a CV, including your full address and contact details. Closing date: 14th September 2020, interviews may commence before the closing date.

Please take a moment to let me know what you think here
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Gwynne welcomes funding for local hospital upgrades

Andrew Gwynne (Denton and Reddish)

Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, has welcomed capital funding for hospital upgrades in Tameside and Stockport.

The Department of Health and Social Care have announced £300 million of additional capital funding for hospital upgrades, as part of the winter preparations for the NHS this year.

In addition to winter pressures, the funding is also intended to reduce the risks associated with further outbreaks of Covid.

Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust will received around £1.9 million, whilst Stockport NHS Foundation Trust will receive around £3.6 million.

Andrew Gwynne said:

“It’s going to be a very tough winter for our NHS, with a seasonal flu, winter pressures and the potential for further Coronavirus spikes.


“I’m very glad that this capital funding has been made available for our local hospitals so that they can prepare for this difficult winter.


“I’d like to take this opportunity to again thank those working at Tameside Hospital and Stepping Hill Hospital for all their amazing work throughout this crisis.”

The post Gwynne welcomes funding for local hospital upgrades appeared first on Andrew Gwynne MP.

Letter to Defence Secretary

John Redwood (Wokingham)

Dear Ben

I am writing in support of more UK procurement of defence equipment in general, and about naval vessels in particular.

The MOD has promised to reboot the competition to acquire three supply vessels in the Fleet Solid Support Programme. This would be a good opportunity to add them to the list of vessels that are put out to tender for UK shipyards. I appreciate we need to increase the UK capacity and competitiveness of ship yards, but we will only do so by offering them a more sustained workload. The MOD did buy the large tankers from foreign yards recently which missed an important opportunity.

I was pleased to see the UK taking delivery of 5 Offshore patrol vessels, and inviting proposals for renewal of smaller patrol vessels for Gibraltar. As we move to take control of our fishing grounds at the end of this year, and need to reinforce our border policing against various types of crime, we will need more offshore patrol capability.

Building back better should include expanding the UK’s maritime capacity, creating many more opportunities for UK jobs and skills. It will provide a bigger taxable base of good employment in the UK, and is also necessary for our defence. It is important not to rely on imported spares and service for naval vessels or other strategic defence equipment.

Yours ever


The city’s ambitious plan to regenerate Granton Waterfront has been shortlisted for the Scottish Design Awards 2020.

Dan Jarvis MP - Summer Holidays

Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central)

During the summer months we all have an opportunity to pause, catch our breath and reflect on the year so far. I think it’s safe to say that 2020 has been a year like no other. We have faced the most severe public health and economic challenge in living memory. There isn’t a single person or community whose life hasn’t been touched by the Coronavirus and its effects. Whether you are mourning the loss of a relative, friend or neighbour to the virus. Whether you are a key worker who has been on the front-line of the fight against the disease – in our NHS, social care system, emergency services, shops, postal service and so many more besides. Or whether life as you know it has been transformed by months in lockdown, apart from family and friends. This crisis has affected all of us.

A Level Results Day

Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North)

Good luck and best wishes to all those receiving their A-Level and vocational results today in Newcastle and across the country. This has been an incredibly challenging time and you deserve all the support and opportunities available. I know many students and parents will be anxious about their results with all the uncertainties surrounding this … Continue reading A Level Results Day

Government Announces A-Level Results Triple Lock

Royston Smith (Southampton, Itchen)

I’d like to wish everyone who is waiting for confirmation of their A-Level results the very best of luck for tomorrow. Although it hasn’t been possible for exams to be sat as normal this year, it is good to see that the Government has acted to ensure that no one  is let down by [...]

The post Government Announces A-Level Results Triple Lock appeared first on Royston Smith - At the heart of Southampton.

MP keeping fingers crossed for local students

Harriett Baldwin (West Worcestershire)

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin has wished local students ‘good luck’ as they receive their exam results over the next two weeks. read more »

A level and BTEC Results day

Ben Bradley (Mansfield)

This week is an exciting, but stressful time for a lot of our young people who will be getting their BTEC results on Wednesday and A level results on Thursday. Due to COVID-19 this has been a totally unprecedented year as the students have been unable to sit their final exams, so their results will be calculated to reflect their performance over the last couple of academic years.
Exam boards have been working with teachers to make sure students’ grades are fairly awarded and reflect the work the students have put in over the last couple of years. The Government’s priority is to ensure affected students can progress as planned to the next stage of their lives, whether that is university or an apprenticeship, so they have been working with Universities to be as flexible as possible due to the pandemic. Everyone will have the chance to have their grades looked at again or to sit an exam if they’re not happy with what’s been calculated, but I hope that the outcomes will be fair for everyone from the start.
Education is a huge passion of mine, and I was delighted to have been made a Further Education Ambassador for the Government. This gives me an opportunity to work with Government and continue the work they are doing to make sure young people have high quality, good further education opportunities. We have the new T levels starting this September, which are more technical qualifications and give students a real experience of the work place as there is a much larger proportion of their time is spent in work instead of the class room. T-levels have also been designed by industry experts, so are a great way of entering in to a specific industry and offer a great insight in to what working in those sectors will be like. As the programme expands and spreads across the country I’m sure this well benefit young people in Mansfield.
Since being elected, I’ve been working closely with Nottingham Trent University and West Notts College, to make sure conversations are being had between schools, colleges and businesses to see what can be done to support and encourage our young people to succeed. We need to build on our local aspirations to make sure all young people have the chance to succeed and get on in life. New partnerships and opportunities are springing up all the time, particularly from the relationship with these two great institutions that are right on our doorstep.
So can I end by wishing everyone who is receiving their results the best of luck! Whatever happens, the future is bright and full of opportunities.

Local MP Graham Stuart heralds vital funding for Hull NHS Trust

Graham Stuart (Beverley and Holderness)

Graham Stuart, the MP for Beverley and Holderness, has voiced his delight at the news that Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust will be getting a significant £4,297,000 boost to support its A&E services over the winter.

The emergency funding comes on top of the £34 billion funding increase which has been enshrined in law by the NHS Funding Act. It will mean that the Trust is able to increase its A&E capacity, but it has also been earmarked for installing enhanced infection prevention and control measures.

There is also an additional £3 billion due to the NHS, announced by Boris Johnson on 17th July, which will allow the NHS to keep the extra hospital capacity that it has temporarily acquired from the private sector throughout the Covid-19 outbreak. The Nightingale hospitals – which were constructed at short notice in response to the pandemic in Harrogate, Birmingham, London, Manchester and Bristol – will remain open until March next year.

Graham commented, “Protecting the NHS and its hardworking, dedicated staff has been at the very forefront of our fight against coronavirus. By staying home to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in the community, we have ensured that the NHS has never been overwhelmed – avoiding scenes like the ones we saw in Italy.

“In addition to this, we’ve provided over £30 billion of emergency funding since the start of the outbreak – delivering almost 2.5 billion items of PPE and more than tripling the number of ventilators and critical care beds.

“While we hope for the best this winter, we need to plan for the worst. This funding to upgrade the A&E at HRI will ensure that we are in the best possible position for the challenges that the winter months may bring.”

Boris Johnson added, ““These upgrades will help our fantastic NHS prepare for the winter months, helping them to deliver essential services and reduce the risk of coronavirus infections.

“Thanks to the hard work and tireless efforts of NHS staff throughout the pandemic, our A&Es have remained open for the public.

“It’s vital that those who need emergency treatment this winter access it, and for those who remain concerned about visiting hospitals, let me assure you that the NHS has measures in place to keep people safe.”

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Chris Grayling (Epsom and Ewell)

Dear constituent

I am writing to you with a further update on the coronavirus crisis and one other matter.

Firstly I am aware that there are many people locally who are still unsure about leaving their homes. This is particularly true of those who have been shielding, but there are also others who are worried about being out and about locally.

I will in the coming days be circulating a leaflet to homes in the Epsom and Ewell area giving people who are unsure about going out contacts of the different organisations who are working together to try to provide help and reassurance. A copy can be viewed here.

I would be grateful if you could also circulate this to anyone you know in this position – either electronically or by printing it out and giving it to them.

Face coverings: when to wear one

The new, extended rules on wearing masks come into force on August 8th. I know that there has been some confusion about what is required. The official guidance is here.

You do have to wear a mask in the locations listed. It is an offence not to do so and you can be fined. There are exceptions and there is also a list of those circumstances where you do not have to wear a mask if you follow the same link.

Eat Out to Help Out

The special Eat out to Help Out discount scheme to support restaurants, pubs and cafes get their businesses going again has now started. This links to an explanation of the scheme and also gives a link to a list of businesses in our area which are offering the discounts. Click here for further details

Invicta Academy

If your family has young people who have missed out on schooling over the past few months, there is a local project starting which is designed to help fill in some of the gaps. It is called the Invicta Academy, and will provide online educational help. You can find details at here.

Engineering works at Ashtead station

A separate piece of information for those who live in Ashtead. Network Rail have scheduled more engineering works at Ashtead station, to renew track and sleepers. The dates are here:


Level crossing dates & times Level crossing access
22:00 Friday 4 September to 12:00 (midday) Saturday 5 September Full road closure – No vehicle or pedestrian access across level crossing
12:00 (midday) Saturday 5 September to 22:00 Saturday 5 September Partial road closure – Single file vehicle access only with traffic light control
22:00 Saturday 5 September to 08:00 Sunday 6 September Full road closure – No vehicle or pedestrian access across level crossing
08:00 Sunday 6 September to 22:00 Sunday 6 September Partial road closure – Single file vehicle access only with traffic light control
22:00 Sunday 6 September to 05:00 Monday 7 September Full road closure – No vehicle or pedestrian access across level crossing

For the duration of the works, residents will be able to park at Ashtead station car park, free of charge. A mini-bus taxi service will be provided to take residents home if required (running from the north side of the station footbridge) and an onsite information point will be made available.

Coronavirus in our area

Finally a little bit about the state of the virus in our area. The current figures show that the incidence of the virus is very low locally and across Surrey. There was only one case in Epsom and Ewell last week. Epsom Hospital now has virtually no patients with the virus. However it remains extremely important to maintain social distancing as we go into the autumn, given the fact that in other parts of the country the incidence of the virus is rising again.

With best wishes



The post Coronavirus (COVID-19) appeared first on Chris Grayling.

MP welcomes figures showing Government support for Northumberland

Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

14,700 jobs protected in Welwyn Hatfield

Grant Shapps (Welwyn Hatfield)

Latest figures released have shown the huge impact of the government’s unprecedented package of support directly in the local area.

As part of the next step towards economic recovery and the UK’s long term prosperity following the Covid-19 pandemic the Treasury has released statistics on how it is supporting jobs, incomes and businesses across the country and specifically in Welwyn Hatfield.

MP Grant Shapps has spoken out about the Government’s commitment to ‘protect both lives and livelihoods’ during the ongoing fight against Covid-19. The figures show that in Welwyn Hatfield alone:

  • 14,700 jobs have been protected via the furlough scheme
  • £13,200,000 to support self-employed people
  • £55,318,366 of Bounce Back Loans for small companies
  • £14,388,100.00 of business grants paid out.

After seeing the latest figures, Grant commented, “This has been a hugely challenging time for so many with uncertainty about jobs and businesses. That’s why I’m pleased that the government has done the right thing by helping as many people and businesses as possible through this pandemic.

“Sadly there are of course challenging times to come but rest assured, I’ll be doing everything I can to make sure the government continues to help people and businesses right here in Welwyn Hatfield as we come out of it.”

Dear Penny,
Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) 2020-21.
On 29 June the Government announced that £560 million of additional condition funding would be made available this year to maintain and improve the condition of the school estate. This is in addition to the £1.45 billion already provided for school maintenance in the financial year 2020-21.
Today I have announced how this £560 million will be distributed. £182 million will be allocated to fund a further 580 Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) projects from the 2020-21 application round at 548 eligible academies, sixth form colleges and non-diocesan voluntary aided schools.
I am pleased to inform you that the list of successful projects published includes the following school(s) in your constituency:
Solent Junior SchoolNorthern Parade Junior SchoolCollege Park Infant School
The core priority of CIF is keeping eligible school buildings safe and in good working order. Most CIF funding aims to address issues with significant consequences that existing revenue or devolved formula capital funding cannot meet. These include issues with poor building condition, building compliance, energy efficiency and health and safety.
CIF also supports a small proportion of expansion projects for Ofsted-rated good or outstanding academies, sixth form colleges and non-diocesan voluntary aided schools that need to expand their existing facilities and/or floor space to either increase the number of admissions in the main year of entry or address overcrowding.
Overall, through the 2020-21 bidding round we have now awarded a total of £615 million for 2,056 projects, benefitting 1,790 schools and colleges.
As in previous rounds, the fund was heavily oversubscribed so only those projects that demonstrated a high project need and aligned with CIF priorities have been able to be funded. More information on CIF, including the full list of the new successful projects published today can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/condition-improvement-fund.
Alongside CIF, local authorities, large multi-academy trusts and large voluntary aided school bodies, such as dioceses, instead receive a School Condition Allocation (SCA) to invest in condition priorities across their schools. Thanks to the £560 million boost, a further £374 million will be allocated through SCA for 2020-21. We will make a proportional addition to the schools that are eligible for SCA for the current financial year. We expect payments to be in two equal instalments in August and September.
As previously stated, in addition to annual CIF bidding rounds, I am delighted that the Government has committed to a new ten-year multi-wave rebuilding programme for schools. This will be an ambitious programme, replacing poor condition and ageing school buildings, with modern, energy efficient designs, transforming education for thousands of pupils.
My Department will start next year with 50 schools in the most need of repair supported by over £1 billion in capital funding - with full details of these projects to be confirmed in the autumn and further funding to be set out at the Spending Review.
Yours sincerely,
Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP Secretary of State for Education

Anne Marie's Weekly Column

Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbot)

Visiting Esher High Street

Dominic Raab (Esher and Walton)

Today, I went out to visit businesses on Esher High Street to see how they’ve been doing since re-opening.

Together with local Conservative Councillors Steve Bax and Peter Szanto, and Richard John, I met cafe owners, hairdressers and dry cleaners who have been really resilient during Coronavirus, and who have put in a great deal of work to make their premises COVID secure. I want to say a special thank you to the brilliant team at Boots, whose prescription service has been vital to local residents.

It was also encouraging to hear how businesses had been making use of government schemes like Eat Out to Help Out, which by giving customers money off their meals has been increasing footfall in cafes and restaurants.

Local businesses have been benefiting from the whole range of government support. New data published this morning, for example, shows that 2,029 businesses in Esher and Walton had been offered Bounce Back Loans by 2 August, worth over £66 million. In addition, 82 businesses had been offered Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans, worth almost £26 million.

I’m looking forward to meeting more businesses across Elmbridge in the coming weeks, listening to their experiences and making sure they can continue to thrive post-Coronavirus.

The need for Covid-19 testing to be extended to returning offshore workers grows this week says Isles MP Angus MacNeil given the outbreak in Aberdeen City which is a key travel point for workers returning home to the islands.

Currently workers are routinely tested on their way out to work but not before their return.

Last month Mr MacNeil asked Secretary of State Matt Hancock what the UK Government could do to close the gap of testing workers, given that 80 per cent of Covid-19 cases are asymptomatic. He received a positive response that the UK Government would be willing to work with counterparts in the Scottish Government to test the hypothesis of Covid-19 positives coming off rigs. 

Mr MacNeil has written again to Scottish Minister for Health Jeanne Freeman MSP for further clarity on how the Scottish Government will take this further forward asking for specific detail on how this could be done without workers having to travel to testing centres before travelling home.

His suggestion is that test kits are used on rigs prior to workers departing.

He said: “Going to the North Sea, the best practice seems to be testing before people go on rigs but of course any tests can have people incubating and therefore testing negative for Covid-19.

“Surely the tests that are done going on the rigs should be followed up with tests going off the rig. If tests going off the rig are not needed, why are tests going on the rigs needed? Surely the commercial interest of the rigs isn’t paramount over community health and safety of the various communities the workers go back to?

“The Scottish and UK Governments really need to get a grip of this glaring hole in the Covid testing situation because of the diverse communities people come from to go together on an oil rig for a couple of weeks and then back home again. The cases in Aberdeen add to fears I have about the incompleteness of the testing approach at the moment.”

The outbreak in Aberdeen has led to 54 new positive cases and 191 contacts have been traced through test and trace systems.

Covid-19 update

Debbie Abrahams (Oldham East and Saddleworth)

New restrictions have taken effect in parts of northern England including Oldham and Saddleworth

Late on Thursday night, 30th July, Greater Manchester, parts of West Yorkshire and East Lancashire were told by the Government that the increase in Covid-19 positive cases meant that local restrictions would need to be imposed in these areas. Oldham Council’s public health team had already acted on the increase in infections earlier in the week. But the Government restrictions were slightly different; for example although Oldham Council had wanted to extend shielding for vulnerable people, the Government said that funding for this would no longer be available.

The Government restrictions mean people are not permitted to mix with other households (apart from those in their support bubbles) in private homes or gardens. Households may go to hospitality, for instance bars and pubs, but the guidance states that people from different households should not socialise together. You can find more information on the Government guidelines here.

No one would argue with putting in place local action to reduce the transmission of coronavirus. But the Government announcing measures affecting potentially millions of people late at night on Twitter caused confusion, uncertainty and upset with local leaders trying to play catch up. The lack of sensitivity regarding Eid celebrations was particularly disrespectful. Once again it means families and friends will be forced to stay apart if they do not live together.

I have repeatedly warned that we were lifting the lockdown too early given the level of virus that is still circulating in the community, and that we didn’t have – and still don’t have – a fully operational ‘test, trace and isolate’ system. This is one of the 6 criteria defined by the World Health Organisation back in May as essential before the easing of any lockdown measures. We still have issues with the data we are getting from the private so-called pillar 2 testing labs – the data is too often incomplete, for example, it doesn’t include occupation or workplace data – and with the national, privately run contact tracing programme which is currently only able to contact 1 in 2 people who test positive for Covid.

Sorting out these data issues is essential if we’re going to stop the spread of the virus. Secondly, we need evidence-based local (and national) lockdown criteria with the thresholds for when lockdowns will be lifted and reinstated; this will remove uncertainty and enable everyone to plan better, to feel more in control. Thirdly, we need to support those who are self-isolating to do the right thing – the furlough scheme and other financial support must be extended to anyone self-isolating. Fourthly, it is a nonsense that the Government removed support for people who are shielding. I have a constituent with secondary cancer in the most vulnerable category for covid infection; she was told to shield until 14th August only to have this removed by the Government on Friday. Words fail me. Finally, and linked to this, not only must there be clearer methods of communicating and cascading information, but clearer messaging; what does 1+m mean? It’s a nonsense.

People have been asking me why there’s been an increase in infection in Oldham and I repeat what many of us have said. The lockdown was lifted too early with the level of virus circulating in the community. 97% of infection is spread indoors; as soon as you allow people, who may be asymptomatic but have the virus, to be in contact with other households the more likely the virus will spread. As Oldham’s Director of Public Health has said, this is not about people ignoring the guidelines (although there will always be those who do, as we know). Between 26th July – 1st August Oldham has had 127 new cases identified, a decrease on the previous week total of 135 and we are seeing cases across all demographics.  As we move the mobile testing station we would encourage people to get tested as we have been doing in central Oldham.

A state of emergency has been declared across Greater Manchester to ensure that we are able to draw down resources and work across all agencies as a single co-ordinated unit. I am working closely with Oldham and Greater Manchester officials to ensure we have the right measures in place locally and to also lobby Government on the issues that we face as a borough. I continue to be thankful to all our local agencies, partners and residents in Oldham who have done so much over the last 6 months or so to support each other and keep us safe. Thank you for all you continue to do.

Do continue to look after yourself and each other.

Yours sincerely,

Debbie Abrahams MP

Oldham East and Saddleworth

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The post Covid-19 update appeared first on Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth.

Are you Basingstoke’s Best Small Shop?

Maria Miller (Basingstoke)

Local MP, Maria Miller is calling on Basingstoke’s small shopkeepers to enter the Best Small Shops Competition, celebrating the successes of small shops and the central role they play in their local community, particularly in response to Covid-19.

The Best Small Shops Competition is open to any small shop* operating in the UK. The competition is free to enter and all shops who enter will also be promoted to consumers through an online Indie Retail Directory.

Safer Streets Fund – £550,000

Kit Malthouse (North West Hampshire)

Hampshire Police have been allocated £550,000 from the Safer Streets Fund.

This fund is dedicated to stopping crimes like burglary, vehicle theft and robbery including the blight of tools and machinery theft that plagues us locally. Simple changes that are proven to work including CCTV, better lighting and security gates will all be provided with this extra money; just one more step on the road to making our streets safer.

July newsletter

Tulip Siddiq (Hampstead and Kilburn)

Click here to read my July newsletter

In my newsletter, you will find information about the work I’ve been doing this month as Member of Parliament for Hampstead and Kiburn and Labour’s Shadow Minister for Early Years:

  • Nursery visit
  • Lessons must be learnt from Covid-19 response
  • The time is now for a green recovery
  • Support for the arts
  • APPG for Children speech
  • Free school meal guidance error
  • Resolve the Iranian debt linked to Nazanin
  • Meeting Camden’s schools, colleges & universities
  • Huawei decision must not lead to signal blackouts
I am concerned that the shift towards contactless and chip & pin payments, hastened by COVID-19, is disadvantaging older and vulnerable people locally who still use cash. Cash is a vital payment method for businesses and residents in St Helens North, as it is for 18 million people who regularly rely on it across the UK. Yet, one in ten have recently had cash refused in stores and ATM transactions […]

Long awaited plans for Llanelli’s most deprived area to get its first ever children’s playground took a step closer to becoming reality with work on site beginning this week.

The project on land off Ann Street in Tyisha will feature brand new play equipment for young people in the ward as well as its very own dog walking area for local pet owners.  The investment, costing £100k+ comes thanks to a three year campaign led by Tyisha Labour County Councillors Suzy Curry and Andre McPherson.

Having obtained the necessary planning permission and funding, the scheme was due to start earlier this year only to be delayed by the Coronavirus outbreak.  However, it is now expected to proceed with the opening of the new facility taking place in the few months.

Attending the turf cutting ceremony on Monday, 27th July 2020, Llanelli MP Nia Griffith, welcomed progress at the new park:

“When I first met local dog owners, we were just planning a modest dog-walking area. But then when Suzy and Andre were elected as councillors in 2017, they said let’s think big and make it a priority to bring new community facilities to Tyisha for local families and youngsters.  Now, after three years and with the help and support of residents, it is fantastic to see construction begin on site.”

Cllr Suzy Curry said, “I am sure that the new playground and dog walking area will be a magnificent addition to life in Tyisha. It will be very much appreciated by local children and their families who have waited for so long to have such a facility that they can call their own. It goes to show what can be achieved when a community pulls together with the aim of making their area a better place to live.”

Cllr Andre McPherson said, “This is an exciting opportunity for the people of Tyisha to have a place to meet and socialise as well for children to have somewhere to play. Thank you to the residents of Tyisha for your support in getting this off the ground. I look forward to seeing it used on a day-to-day basis.” 

As you may know, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas put forward an amendment to the Trade Bill with the support of the Labour Party this week that has caused significant controversy and has resulted in a number of misleading reports. I want to make it absolutely clear that those who are suggesting that MPs who voted against this amendment are against protecting our NHS from foreign involvement are either being dishonest or do not understand the legislative system. The Labour Party have fueled this narrative which is misleading the public and irresponsible of them.

Amendments like these are a standard parliamentary tool used by the opposition to fearmonger, mislead and ultimately to stir up anger in the press and on social media. The aim of this amendment was not to protect the NHS in future trade deals at all, the aim of the amendment was to force the Government to vote against it, thereby creating a misleading story.

I appreciate that if you are not already familiar with this opposition tactic, you will understandably be outraged by the headlines in recent days – I would be too if I were a constituent and did not know the context behind the vote. The basic mechanism of this tactic is for the opposition to put forward an amendment which contains a vague commitment that everyone agrees with, in this case to protect our NHS in future trade deals – something I and the whole of Parliament agrees with. However by attaching it to a bill it is not relevant to and wording it wrongly, the opposition renders the amendment impossible to implement, thereby requiring the Government to vote against it. The result is that the opposition and supporting press can misleadingly suggest the Government is opposed to the stated aim of the amendment, despite this not being true.

Indeed you can see for yourself that the Trade Bill to which this amendment was proposed does not and will not apply to the procurement of UK health services. In fact, the Trade Bill does not even have anything to do with future trade agreements with other countries. The Bill is simply about rolling over existing deals so we can continue to trade with other countries on existing agreements after December. Please do read the Bill so you see that it has nothing to do with healthcare or with future trade deals. Therefore, amendments to this bill regarding healthcare and future trade deals cannot be supported by the Government and the opposition knows this full well.

The reality is that any future trade deals or indeed legislation pertaining to future trade deals will have to be put to Parliament in a vote. Remember, the Prime Minister, Secretary of State for Health, Secretary of State for International Trade and almost all MPs all agree that the NHS will never be put on the table in future trade deals. Indeed, even if by some disaster we ended up with a Prime Minister who was in favour of doing so, MPs like me would still have to vote on it. I can say with absolute certainty that if a deal was negotiated that sold off our NHS or that even put it on the table, I would unquestionably vote against it – as would the vast majority of MPs from all parties. You have my word that I will always stand up for our NHS. However, the Government has already stated that the NHS is not and will not be put on the table in any future trade negotiations.

I hope that this clarifies what occurred regarding this vote and indeed you have my commitment in writing that I will not support any future trade deal that sells off our NHS. It is a great shame that dirty tactics like these are being utilised by the opposition to scare people, rather than genuinely and constructively scrutinising Government policy as is their job. In my view, the public are becoming more aware of these tactics and indeed are appalled at the opposition’s attempts to mislead people as to the meaning, purpose and mechanism of voting on amendments like these. I hope that in the future the opposition will ditch these tactics and opt for a more honest approach, but in the meantime I am always more than happy to clarify the motivations behind my votes in Parliament, I hope I have done so in detail here.

The post My Response to Misleading Stories About the Caroline Lucas Amendment appeared first on Michelle Donelan MP.

My Weekly Round-up

Christina Rees (Neath)

This week I was pleased to join the All-Party Parliamentary Group for ExcludedUK. This group of over 240 MPs have come together with the support of the ExcludedUK organisation to represent the three million individuals who have fallen through the gaps in the UK Government’s coronavirus support packages. Three million people have perhaps lost their livelihoods overnight, and have had no financial support to weather this storm. This is completely unacceptable, and risks many small businesses up and down the country folding, which will have significant consequences for the recovery of our local economies and communities. The Job Retention Scheme and Self-Employment Support Scheme have been important to so many in the country, but we need the UK Government to recognise that the three million unfairly excluded from these support packages need help too.

We are proud here in South Wales of our industrial heritage and we want a steel industry that we can continue to be proud of into the future. The roads that we drive on, the bridges we cross, the hospitals in which we’re cared for, and the schools in which our children learn – they’re all made with British steel. It’s an essential part of the fabric of this nation and yet the Government are failing to develop an industrial strategy that puts steel at its core and ensures the livelihoods of so many across the country. At such a difficult time for our health, our economy, and our individual financial security, we need the UK Government to back a green British steel industry that will continue to support thousands of high-quality jobs in the parts of the country most in need of good jobs.  You can sign the steel unions’ #WeNeedOurSteel petition here.

If there is one silver lining to the coronavirus pandemic, then it’s the huge change that has come about in people’s travel habits with many more choosing to walk or cycle or even scoot (use a scooter – it was new to me too!) to work, to the shops, and for recreation and exercise than before. The Welsh Government are determined that we take this opportunity to improve means for active travel and ensure that it is safe for people to continue doing when we return to normal. They have announced £38 million this week to make Wales a safer place to cycle, scoot, and walk. This will be added to the £15.4 million announced last month and drive huge investment in local active travel opportunities. This will help improve our environment and drive down pollution as well as improving our health as our physical activity increases. It will also be a vital aspect of supporting our and our children’s mental health as we deal with the significant and difficult consequences of the pandemic.

Continuing the theme of a green recovery, I’m pleased to see Welsh co-op Egni work with Regenerate NPT to install rooftop solar at community sites in Neath Port Talbot. A total of 137kW of solar has been installed, saving about 26 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year and many thousands of pounds in energy costs for local buildings such as libraries, rugby clubs, and food banks. These facilities are vital to the community and help to save money on bills that will help ensure their sustainability and ensure they are kept for the community, all the while making Neath Port Talbot a greener place to live.

One of the more hidden consequences of the Covid lockdown has been the temporary closure of many public toilets across the country. For so many people, young and old, public toilets are a necessity if they are to remain out and about in the community. I am pleased to see that a number of public toilets across Neath Port Talbot are reopening this week, with increased cleaning procedures and amended hours, including those at bus stations, Aberavon seafront, and Gnoll Country Park. We must ensure that everyone is able to get out in the fresh air and enjoy the summer to mitigate some of the effects lockdown has had on our mental health.

As always, if you have any questions or issues and want to get in touch, please do not hesitate to drop us an email on christina.rees.mp@parliament.uk or call us on 01639 630152. My staff are working from home to comply with the social distancing measures, but, as always, we remain there should you need to get in contact with us.

I hope you stay well, enjoy the weekend and, remember – keep washing your hands!

Constituent Survey

Liam Byrne (Birmingham, Hodge Hill)

The post Constituent Survey appeared first on Liam Byrne MP.


Martin Docherty (West Dunbartonshire)

They say there’s nothing new under the sun, and for those who’ve seen the results of more than one Tory Chancellor’s attempts to help us out of a recession, the news last week that Rishi Sunak was going to give … Continue reading

The post UK CHANCELLOR’S ‘NEW DEAL’ IS A LET-DOWN appeared first on Martin Docherty-Hughes MP.

Jonathan Djanogly tables an amendment to the Trade Bill which would require the Government seek Parliamentary approval of free trade agreement negotiating objectives before starting negotiations  read more »

To Mask or Not to Mask

Bob Stewart (Beckenham)

I remain pretty confused about this business of wearing face masks.  I first expressed reservations about the efficacy of face coverings in a post on Friday 24 April and came to the tentative conclusion then that they may have little effect. 

New Hospital in Sutton Confirmed

Paul Scully (Sutton and Cheam)

I am delighted to write and tell you that local NHS leaders have confirmed plans for a new hospital to be built in Sutton and to upgrade facilities at St Helier. This represents a £500 MILLION plan that will not only build a brand new state of the art hospital near to the Royal Marsden by 2025, but ALSO invest AT LEAST £80 MILLION into upgrades at St Helier.

The new specialist emergency care hospital, just a few minutes from St Helier, would treat the sickest 15% of patients, those normally arriving by ambulance. This larger specialist team would be available 24 hours a day to diagnose what is wrong with patients more rapidly, start the best treatment faster, and help patients recover more quickly. St Helier and Epsom Hospitals will remain open 24/7, with updated and improved facilities, providing all the other services that they currently do.

My children were born at St. Helier so healthcare provision in Sutton has been an issue that is a very personal one to me. Ever since being a councillor in Carshalton, some 14 years ago, I have been campaigning for a solution that protects the future of St. Helier whilst ensuring that Sutton residents have access to the very best treatment in cutting edge modern healthcare facilities. I believe that this decision can finally put to rest the political arguments so that we can get on with doing what’s best for residents across the whole of the borough of Sutton.

With this plan, the refurbished St Helier Hospital is here to stay providing the majority of local health services, and the sickest patients will get state-of-the-art treatment in the brand-new specialist emergency hospital right here in our area.

You can find out more about the plans, including the answers to some frequently asked questions at the NHS’ website: www.improvinghealthcaretogether.org.uk. You can also contact them at hello@improvinghealthcaretogether.org.uk, or get in touch with me with any queries.


Why is this being done?

To improve the care that we receive. As St Helier’s buildings continue to age over time, it’s necessary to upgrade our healthcare facilities to improve outcomes. Surviving illness and recovering quickly is the number one priority.

Is St Helier closing?

No, quite the opposite. St Helier is here to stay with a multi-million-pound improvement package.

Is a new hospital being built?

Yes. A new specialist emergency care hospital will be built in Sutton, in addition to improving St Helier hospital.

Is St Helier getting an upgrade?

Yes. At least £80 million of the funding promised will go towards improving the facilities at St Helier hospital.

Who developed these proposals?

For the first time, we have a plan that was developed by local clinicians, not national bureaucrats or politicians. Local healthcare professionals made the case for funding to deliver this improvement, which has been rewarded with a £500 million investment. Sutton Council also supported the proposals last year.

Will I have to travel outside my area for services now?

At the moment, if you have a stroke or heart attack you will be taken past St. Helier to be treated at St. George’s. This plan means that we will still be able to treat people within the local area, not moving more services away from Sutton.

Will we still use St Helier?

Yes. From 2025, Epsom hospital, St Helier hospital and the new hospital at Sutton will all have a 24/7 Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) (which already treats the vast majority of people going to St. Helier in an emergency). Under the plans, 85% of services will remain at St Helier. Both Epsom and St Helier hospitals will still have a 24/7 UTC.

Diagnostic tests, such as MRI, x-ray or ultrasound, the heart problem diagnosis unit, the dialysis unit, Croft Ward (which takes care of patients who are stable but not ready to leave hospital), the eye care unit, the gastroenterology unit, and so many more services are staying put at Epsom and St Helier hospitals.

What about bed numbers?

The NHS have calculated that they will need the same number of beds as they do now.

What about A&E?

Unlike previous plans, which saw A&E diverted away into Tooting, A&E is now staying right here in our Borough at the new hospital. Most of the time you will still use St Helier for matters requiring immediate medical attention like broken limbs or cuts. Major trauma cases needing a blue light ambulance transfer will be treated in Sutton at the new state-of-the-art hospital next to The Royal Marsden.

What about maternity services?

Maternity services have also been protected and kept locally. Post-natal and ante-natal care are staying put at Epsom and St Helier hospitals, and births will take place in the brand-new maternity unit at the new hospital in Sutton built to the very latest healthcare standards. Women need the very best care and facilities when giving birth, and the new plans will provide that.

Where will children services be provided?

Most children will continue to receive care and treatment in the same place as they do now. Care for children who need to stay in hospital overnight – as a result of a serious illness or complex problems – will be treated at the new specialist emergency care hospital. This includes children’s surgery.  

What will happen until the new hospital in Sutton is built?

All services will continue to be carried out at Epsom and St Helier hospitals until such time the new hospital in Sutton is ready for patients.

Where will the new hospital be built?

After consulting residents, patient groups and healthcare professionals, the decision was taken to build a brand-new specialist emergency care hospital in Sutton. This will be combined with the necessary infrastructure and transport links to ensure the site of the new hospital is accessible to all that need to use it.

For more facts, and to find out what this multi-million-pound government investment in our local NHS will mean for you and your family, visit the following website: www.improvinghealthcaretogether.org.uk/faq.

Herefordshire Council’s Coalition Leader, Cllr Hitchiner and his coalition suffered a humiliating climbdown when shopkeepers and residents shot down his ludicrous plans to close off our market town centres. The sensible and vociferous opposition to the proposed Emergency Active Travel Plans, along with a dose of budget reality has saved our... Continue Reading →

Rushanara Ali MP's statement on the Shamima Begum case

Rushanara Ali (Bethnal Green and Bow)

On the Court of Appeal ruling regarding Shamima Begum, her former constituent, Rushanara Ali MP said:

SNP debate calls for EU extension to avoid further economic damage This afternoon my SNP colleagues and I led an Opposition Day debate calling for the UK Government to rule out a Brexit power grab on the Scottish Parliament and extend the transition period so we don’t simply go from one economic crisis to another. […]

Are you getting all the support you can?

Mark Tami (Alyn and Deeside)

Chancellor announces a new ‘Plan for Jobs’

David Evennett (Bexleyheath and Crayford)

Earlier today (8 July), the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, delivered a Summer Economic Update in the House of Commons chamber, where he set out a ‘Plan for Jobs’.

Trees are often raised with me by local people in Wycombe.  The Conservative Party 2019 manifesto committed us to tree planting: We will invest in nature, helping us to reach our Net Zero target with a £640 million new Nature for Climate fund. Building on our support for creating a Great Northumberland Forest, we will reach an additional 75,000 acres of trees a year by the end of the next Parliament, as well as restoring our peatland. The Conservatives website […]

Karin Smyth, MP in Bristol South, is looking for a caseworker to join her constituency team to help respond to higher levels of casework due the coronavirus pandemic.

This new position is a part time, fixed term post. The successful candidate will work closely with the Senior Caseworker. The role is interesting and covers a broad range of casework.

Training will be provided as needed. The role is based in Karin’s constituency office in Bristol South. However, in the event of a new lockdown, the post-holder would need to be able to work from home.

Hours: Part-time, 30 hours per week (days/hours negotiable)

Fixed term contract:  To 31 March 2021

Salary: £20,800 for 30 hours, (£26,000 FT equivalent) per annum

Start date:  Monday 17 August 2020

Deadline for applications:  5pm on Friday 24 July 2020

Date of interviews:  Thursday 30 July 2020 (either online or social distancing, to be confirmed)

Key responsibilities:

·         Responding to constituency casework. This involves handling enquiries from constituents (usually by phone or e-mail) and taking the appropriate action quickly and efficiently.

·         Managing a varied caseload effectively, researching and drafting correspondence as required.

·         Contacting government departments, local authority departments, public sector and private sector organisations.

·         Accurate record keeping, retaining and processing information sensitively, confidentially and in line with the Data Protection Act 2005 and GDPR 2018.

·         Attending surgeries and other meetings as appropriate.

·         Liaising with community groups and local organisations.

·         Supporting colleagues within the constituency team as needed.

Essential skills / experience

·         Previous experience of customer service / casework / complaints handling by telephone.

·         Able to respond compassionately and respectfully to sensitive issues on behalf of constituents.

·         Strong organisation and time management skills, with the ability to prioritise and work under pressure.

·         Able to work as part of a team as well as on your own initiative with the ability to manage your own caseload.

·         A professional, polite and confident telephone manner.

·         Excellent written communication skills.

·         Accuracy and attention to detail.

·         Strong IT skills, and experience of using Microsoft Word and Microsoft Outlook.

·         In sympathy with the aims and values of the Labour Party.

Desirable skills / experience

·         Experience of responding to people with stressful problems

·         Experience of using a case management system or database.

·         A full UK driving licence.

·         Good local knowledge of the Bristol South area and the issues faced by constituents in Bristol South.

·         An interest in politics or experience of working in a political environment, public or third sector.

Application Details

To apply, please send your CV and a covering letter (outlining how you meet each of the requirements of the post) to Karin Smyth at karin.smyth.mp@parliament.uk

Preet speaks in the DfID Estimates Day debate

Preet Gill (Birmingham, Edgbaston)

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Health Questions 23/06/20

Philippa Whitford (Central Ayrshire)

This week I asked the Health Secretary why he persisted so long with an app to track COVID-19 that didn’t work on the majority of phones during trials. Matt Hancock’s strategy in health questions has largely been to ignore them, but now he has turned to personal attacks.

The video of my full speech is below and the full text can be found here in hansard.

Dr Philippa Whitford (Central Ayrshire) (SNP)

While a proximity app would assist in identifying casual contacts, many people were concerned that a centralised model would harvest their data. In the trial, this one failed to detect 96% of contacts. So why did the Secretary of State persist so long with an app that simply did not work on the majority of phones?

Matt Hancock

I am afraid the hon. Lady is wrong. The trials in the Isle of Wight showed that the app worked on Android phones, but was blocked from working effectively on Apple phones; hence we are now working with Apple and Google, as we have been over the past few weeks, to find a system that can be effective. But I will not sign off on an app where we do not know and have not been told by some multinational company what it is recommending to people because, after all, the critical thing that matters in test and trace is that people isolate to break the chain of transmission.

Dr Whitford

I would gently suggest that iPhones are actually quite common, so it is important that it does work on iPhones. The boss of Serco has admitted that its contact tracing system will not be fully functioning until the autumn, and we find that actually local public health teams are carrying out the vast majority of contact tracing, so would Government money not be better spent reversing five years of budget cuts to public health?

Matt Hancock

It is very strange taking these questions from the SNP spokesman, given that I am working with the SNP Government on resolving exactly these problems in Scotland, and maybe the SNP would do better to focus there. In response to the second question, honestly, we have put £300 million of support into local directors of public health to tackle this pandemic, and I know that her colleagues in the Scottish Government are working hard with local authorities in Scotland as well in exactly the same way.

The post Health Questions 23/06/20 appeared first on Dr Philippa Whitford.

Letter to the Chancellor – Support for Tourism & Hospitality

Drew Hendry (Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey)





By email to: Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP,  Chancellor of the Exchequer

Dear Rishi,


We are writing to urge you to give the tourism industry across all nations of the UK, a much-needed lifeline.

Tourism is worth £10.5 billion to the Scottish economy with day and overnight visitor spending accounting for £7 billion of Scotland’s GDP. In 2018, we welcomed 15.5 million visitors, with three and a half million people coming from overseas. Before the pandemic, associated tourism businesses employed over 8% of our workforce.

Hospitality and tourism sectors form an organic network of interdependencies across our communities from micro-businesses to some of our biggest private employers.  These are sectors that matter to our economy, culture, and future prosperity.

Like you, we are acutely aware that there is not a sector unaffected by COVID 19, but we similarly hope you see that the road to recovery will be particularly slow and high risk for tourism and hospitality businesses.

These sectors don’t only rely on people travelling and visiting in numbers; they need people sitting in their restaurants and pubs, they need holidaymakers staying in hotels and their function rooms booked up with conferences and events. Right now, none of this activity is happening, nor should it be – but the stranglehold on these businesses is tightening.

As you know, the pandemic struck just as the tourism sector was gearing up for its money-making season. The grant schemes and business rates holidays have been welcome and have helped keep most businesses afloat in the short term, but time is running out.

Returning to business as usual now is simply not an option. To do so risks public health, our communities and our long term recovery. We are still in the midst of a public health crisis. While we are all acutely aware of the impact ongoing restrictions have on our economy; I am sure you agree that the route-map out of lockdown must be in line with scientific advice to control the spread of the virus.

In Scotland, we boast a tourism industry that is resilient, innovative and ingenious. These businesses already know how to survive harsh off-seasons, but they will not be able to recover from this economic crisis without significant financial backing.

It is likely to be 2021 before tourism businesses that do survive, generate meaningful earnings and up to 3 years before there is momentum to get back to where we were before the pandemic. Business owners face the prospect of what some call ‘three winter’ trading conditions.

They need a sectoral economic recovery plan backed by real financial incentives, and we are asking you to put in place the measures to achieve this.

 Convert Loan Scheme to Grants

The starting point would be re-evaluating the UK Government’s loan scheme (CIBLS). We know businesses have benefited from this scheme, but unfortunately, it isn’t working for the majority of tourism businesses or small to medium enterprises.

The businesses that have qualified for support now face trying to meet payments without any new sources of income. Piling on the debt just pushes the problems out and restricts, if not kills off the investment that will be required to kick start this sector.

We urge you to convert this financial backing to grant support, to allow the Scottish Government to provide additional grants for the tourism sector and other vital industries most at risk.

Extend Furlough Scheme & Self Employment Support

The furlough scheme has allowed employers to retain staff through lockdown and has kept money in employees pockets. While the scheme hasn’t helped all, it has been a welcome intervention for business owners and employees.

It is for this reason; we ask you to reconsider your plan for a blanket approach to scaling down the furlough scheme and to commit to extending the self-employment scheme further. We believe introducing further financial burdens on business owners at such a critical time will result in the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs. Indeed, we have already seen mass redundancies across the hospitality sector in response to your announcement to ask for employer contributions.

The tourism sector is simply not in a position to recover yet, especially with the introduction of new quarantine restrictions.  We, therefore, ask that you consider reviewing the furlough scheme on a sectoral basis, extend and fully fund the furlough scheme for tourism and hospitality businesses and to continue to support self-employed people who are unable to resume tourism businesses.  Similar measures are also needed to support our aviation sector.

End VAT for Tourism Sector

As you will know, the UK is one of the few European countries to charge full VAT on hospitality services. Countries such as Ireland and Germany have long provided a tax subsidy boosting jobs and visitor numbers, and the same should happen here. We have called for VAT relief for the sector for a long time, and we urge you to provide this much-needed relief now. If we don’t stand with our tourism and hospitality businesses now, they won’t be here to play their vital role in regenerating our economy, and it is our local economies that will pay the ultimate price.

Incentivise and Innovate

To save our tourism sectors, we also need to look outward and see how other nations are responding to this crisis. On quarantine, we could look to places like Iceland, where visitors take a free Covid-19 test on arrival and, only those who test positive, are required to quarantine for 14 days. In Cyprus, the Government will pay the hotel, food and medical costs of any visitor who contracts the disease while visiting and both the Swiss and Japanese Governments are promoting ‘Staycations’ by paying a bonus to domestic visitors to support their tourism industry.

To ensure the future of the tourism and hospitality sectors, both the UK and Scottish Government need to put our tourism economy at the heart of recovery plans, and we urge you to work with the Scottish Government to this end.  We need a coordinated and robust response; a rapidly developed, transparent and flexible plan with buy-in across the sector.

As you know, we are not alone in facing these challenges. Other countries are already leading the way by injecting investment into their tourism industries. We, therefore, urge you to put in place an urgent sector-specific finance package, similar to the 18 billion euros package the French Government have put in place to support its tourism sector.

These are uncharted waters with shifting tides and currents; however, we believe with the right financial support and the ingenuity of the sector will allow us to save the tourism sector.

Please don’t hesitate to get in contact if you would like to discuss these matters in more detail – we must all work together to support our communities through COVID-19.

We look forward to hearing back from you.

With regards,

Drew Hendry MP

SNP Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy Spokesperson

Member of Parliament for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey

Co-signed by:

Alison Thewliss MP, Glasgow Central

Ian Blackford MP, Ross, Skye and Lochaber

Kirsty Blackman, MP for Aberdeen North

Brendan O’Hara MP, Argyll & Bute

Gavin Newlands MP, Paisley & Renfrewshire North

John Nicolson MP, Ochil & South Perthshire

Kenny MacAskill MP, East Lothian

Owen Thompson MP, Midlothian

Pete Wishart MP, Perth & North Perthshire

Martyn Day MP, Linlithgow & East Falkirk

David Linden MP, Glasgow East

Margaret Ferrier MP, Rutherglen & Hamilton West

Tommy Sheppard MP, Edinburgh East

Hannah Bardell MP, Livingston

Anne McLaughlin MP, Glasgow North East

Stewart McDonald MP, Glasgow South

Amy Callaghan MP, East Dunbartonshire

Carol Monaghan MP, Glasgow North West

Alan Brown MP, Kilmarnock & Loudoun

Kirsten Oswald MP, East Renfrewshire

Neale Hanvey MP, Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath

Lisa Cameron MP, East Kilbride, Strathaven & Lesmahagow

Neil Gray MP, Airdrie & Shotts

Dave Doogan MP, Angus

Douglas Chapman MP, Dunfermline & West Fife

Richard Thomson MP, Gordon

Deidre Brock MP, Edinburgh North & Leith

Ronnie Cowan MP, Inverclyde

Stephen Flynn MP, Aberdeen South

Patrick Grady MP, Glasgow North

Patricia Gibson MP, North Ayrshire & Arran

Angus MacNeil MP, Na h-Eileanan an Iar

Alyn Smith MP, Stirling

Marion Fellows MP, Motherwell & Wishaw

Stuart McDonald MP, Cumbernauld, Kilsyth & Kirkintilloch East

Allan Dorans MP, Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock

Chris Law MP, MP for Dundee West

Phillipa Whitford MP, Central Ayrshire

Stewart Hosie MP, Dundee East

Steven Bonnar MP, Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP, West Dunbartonshire

Chris Stephens MP, Glasgow South West

Peter Grant MP, Glenrothes

The post Letter to the Chancellor – Support for Tourism & Hospitality appeared first on Drew Hendry MP.

A letter from Cllr Sam Webster to Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Dear Minister

I am writing to you regarding the welcome easing of Covid-19 restrictions on the opening of businesses in the retail and hospitality sectors due to take effect on 15th June.

While the ability to resume trading will come as a great relief to many in the retail, leisure and hospitality community who have endured weeks of inactivity, can I strongly urge you to continue to support these businesses over the coming months, for example, through the introduction of a recovery grants.

As I’m sure you are aware, concerns exist in the retail, leisure and hospitality community that the costs of the substantial social distancing requirements and potential reluctance of shoppers to return in sufficient numbers will put huge financial pressures on many independent businesses – particularly smaller ones – threating their ability to continue to trade profitably. Retail and hospitality outlets having to close their doors would have a knock-on effect for surrounding businesses and the more that close, the worse the situation would get.

In addition, the numbers of redundancies would rise placing growing pressures on the jobs market and local economy.

Small businesses are at the heart of our city retail economy but they need continued Government support to be able to recover and thrive over the coming months of uncertainty.

The impact of lower footfall and social distancing risks a spiral of decline as the number of empty shops and outlets grows. We all want to do our best to prevent this happening but we need the Government to provide the ongoing financial support required to help keep these businesses viable in the coming months.

On behalf of our local independent traders in Nottingham I’d urge the Government to introduce recovery grants to allow businesses to survive.

I look forward to hearing from you

Councillor Sam Webster

The post Government Must Not Let Nottingham’s Businesses Down appeared first on Nottingham Labour.

British Airways

Ian Mearns (Gateshead)

I absolutely support the campaign led by Unite regarding the appalling treatment of staff at British Airways.

It is absolutely unacceptable that BA have chosen to use a global pandemic to make thousands of staff redundant and reduce the pay, terms and conditions of many thousands of staff who will remain at BA.

I would like to assure all of my constituents, many of whom have contacted me about this issue, that I am working with colleagues to press BA to reverse this decision, and I will continue to do so until BA change course.

Kind regards,

Ian Mearns MP

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to enable the early resumption of shooting after the covid-19 outbreak.

Changes to refuse collections

Wendy Morton (Aldridge-Brownhills)

Week in and week out since the lock down started we have rightly saluted the bravery of our NHS staff and Carers.

However all key workers have stepped up throughout Covid-19 and have played a major part in assisting us all – not least of all amongst them our Refuse Collectors at Walsall Council.

Now thanks to the dedication of the workforce keeping our bin service going the Council are able to progressively re-start our green waste collections (Brown Bins) and re-open our Household Recycling Waste Centre in Aldridge from Saturday 16th May.

Whilst there has been a general degree of frustration in some sections of the community, personal safety has rightly been paramount as we approached and came through the Coronavirus peak.

Details of the plans for the green waste service and the re-opening of the Household Recycling Waste Centre are available at www.walsall.gov.uk

My thanks go to all the workers who have kept our Bins emptied throughout the pandemic.

Covid-19 Update for Ashford

Damian Green (Ashford)

All of our lives have been turned upside down in the past few weeks. Rightly, we are regularly applauding the efforts of medical staff and other front-line workers as they do the absolutely essential work to keep us safe, healthy, and fed.

Steve Reed joins Labour’s Shadow Cabinet

Steve Reed (Croydon North)

Labour’s new leader Keir Starmer has appointed Steve Reed MP into the Shadow Cabinet. Steve is now Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Steve has a strong local government background having previously served as shadow local government minister and was leader of Lambeth Council where he oversaw dramatic improvements in key services.

Steve said:

I’m honoured that Keir has asked me to be Labour’s spokesperson on communities and local government.   Councillors and council workers are responding heroically to coronavirus, and I want to make sure they have all the resources they need to succeed.

We’ve never needed good councils more than we do today, and I’m proud to stand up for local government in Parliament

  • Steve Reed
    Steve Reed Member of Parliment for Croydon North

Steven Reed is Labour MP for Croydon North and Shadow Minister for Children and Families. In 2018 his private member’s bill on reducing violent mental health restraint became law. In June 2019 he launched Labour’s civil society strategy outlining radical plans to empower citizens and communities.

Steve chairs the Cooperative Councils Innovation Network, co-chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group for London, was Leader of Lambeth Council 2006-12 where he led the council’s children’s services to become best-rated in the country and pioneered the public-health approach to tackling violent youth crime. He worked in publishing for 16 years and was an elected trade union branch secretary.

The post Steve Reed joins Labour’s Shadow Cabinet appeared first on Steve Reed MP.

Stewart Hosie has expressed his disappointment that planned BT works to install fibre optic broadband in Monifeith have been delayed.
The Dundee East MP received assurances from BT late last year that planned work would be finished by the end of March 2020 however this has been pushed back to May, with the possibility of future delays due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Commenting Stewart Hosie said:
"I am disappointed this work has been delayed, particularly as so many people are expected to work from home and are now being forced to rely on the poor internet service that currently exists in the area."
"When I received assurances in October last year that fibre optic broadband would be available in Monifeith by the end of March it was great news for my constituents who have had to make do with slow speeds for some time."
"I hope that the work will now be carried out by May, however with the outbreak of the Coronavirus and the restrictions on movement and working it is only right that BT's priority is focused on repairing and maintenance for the foreseeable future."

The spread of coronavirus presents an unprecedented challenge and is leading to people across this country making huge sacrifices to protect one another.

As the Prime Minister has said, while we need to create physical distance between ourselves, we must at the same time have closer social support for each other.

That means looking after the most vulnerable people in our society, and alleviating worry as much as possible, at what is of course an anxious time.

All of us in Government are working hard to do just that, and make sure that practical support is forthcoming during this national emergency. We are mobilising every part of Government to protect both our people and our country.

As Housing Secretary, I know that renters and landlords will have been particularly worried about paying their rent and mortgages. As a result, I have moved swiftly to ensure that nobody needs to worry about losing their home at this difficult time, when the security of a home has never been more important.

I have taken decisive action and will bring forward emergency legislation to ensure that no renter will be forced out of their home through this period, and that landlords will be protected too.

For renters in both the private and social sector, there will be a moratorium on all new evictions and clear guidance has been issued stating that existing eviction processes should be dealt with appropriately, prioritising the safety and health of citizens across the country.

Let there be no doubt: renters do not need to be worried about the threat of eviction.

This Government is also clear that no one should be concerned about not being able to afford their mortgage if they fall into financial difficulty due to this challenging time.

We recognise that landlords may also face additional pressures, with concerns about meeting mortgage payments. We have therefore confirmed that all Buy to Let landlords can benefit from a three-month mortgage payment holiday where they are experiencing difficulties due to corona virus.

This is designed to alleviate the pressure on landlords, who I know will be concerned about meeting mortgage payments themselves while also ensuring that no unnecessary pressure is put on their tenants as a result.

At the end of this period, landlords and tenants will be expected to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account tenants’ individual circumstances.

This mirrors the mortgage payment holiday that other mortgage holders will also be able to access. These measures will protect renters and landlords, ensuring everyone gets the support they need.

The way that landlords have engaged with us on this issue has been hugely positive. I congratulate them for stepping up to the plate and working collaboratively with us to ensure that tenants are protected at this difficult time.

Part of my Ministerial portfolio is also to tackle homelessness. This is always a priority for me and requires even more of my attention during this crisis.

To address the specific danger posed to rough sleepers by coronavirus, I have announced an initial £3.2 million of emergency funding to support them if they need to self-isolate. It will ensure that councils are able to put emergency measures in place to avoid urgent assistance.

Local Government is at forefront of our national effort, and I have spoken to over 300 council leaders and sector bodies to ensure they are well placed to respond to coronavirus and protect vital services for communities.

The weeks ahead will not be easy, but ruthless and determined collective action will allow us to succeed, turn the tide and return to normality.

We have an enormous challenge ahead of us and but my message is clear – this Government will do whatever it takes to help people across this country at this difficult time.

Originally published by The Daily Telegraph 20/03/20


Alec Shelbrooke (Elmet and Rothwell)

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.

Alec is advising all constituents to follow Public Health England advice for their own safety and the safety of others.


HM Government has announced the first stages of a controlled easing of ‘lockdown’ rules, which will be regularly monitored according to scientific advice on the rate of infection.

Find out how to protect yourself or check if you need medical help on the NHS website.

Please read, share and regularly check the Government guidance as the situation and the response to it is changing daily.

What about future easing of lockdown rules?

HM Government is following a science-led, evidence-based response to easing the lockdown so the timing will depend on the success of the first stages of easing the rules. But, at present, if the rate of infection continues to fall and we see a sustained fall in COVID-19 related deaths, thereby easing the pressure on our NHS, the Government expects to follow a phased easing of lockdown.

– FAQs: what you can and can’t do from 4 July:


– Updated working safely during coronavirus guidance:


– Guidance for businesses and venues that are permitted to re-open from 4th July:


– Guidance for pubs, restaurants, bars and takeaways:


– Guidance for hairdressers, salons and other close contact services:


– Guidance for hotels and guest accommodation:


– Updated guidance for early years and childcare settings:


– Guidance on social distancing from 4 July:


– Guidance on seeing people outside from 4 July:


Support for families and businesses.

The Government has announced a number of scheme to help people and businesses financially throughout the crisis:

Job Retention Scheme – click here.
Universal Credit – click here
Self-Employed Support – click here
Business Support – click here


Anybody with symptoms can book a test. To book a test click here.

Volunteer Support

Alec is working with local Leeds City Councillors to best co-ordinate volunteer efforts in our community. If you’re able to offer help please go to www.doinggoodleeds.org.uk

The post COVID-19: GOVERNMENT ADVICE appeared first on Alec Shelbrooke.

Hull MP reacts to the Budget

Diana Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North)

Diana Johnson spoke in the Commons debate on the Chancellor's Budget Statement.
The Hull North MP's remarks ranged across several key issues for Hull North, including support for workers over the Coronavirus, the NHS and public health, flood resilience and devolution for the Humber.

Philip Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what provisions are included in the Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill 2019-20 to protect national parks and AONBs from aircraft noise.

Raise the Rate debate

Yvonne Fovargue (Makerfield)

A&E at The Royal Glam

Chris Bryant (Rhondda)

A&E @ the Glam – Strength in Unity

I have said from the very beginning that if we are to ensure a 24 hour A&E Service at RGH then we need to forget about Party Politics, and come together to work cross-party.

We need you to play your part too, by signing the below letter. If you wish to do so then please let me know by filling in the form at the bottom of this page:


The configuration of Emergency NHS services across Cwm Taf Morgannwg has changed over the years – and will continue to change along with medical advances and changes in the local population. We welcome, for instance, the development of the new Major Trauma Centre at UHW, which will almost certainly save lives and we recognise that for some specialist forms of care it will be necessary to travel to a regional centre of excellence such as the Burns Unit at Morriston. We also understand that there is a UK-wide shortage of Emergency Consultants. and that Cwm Taf Morgannwg is not in a unique position with the recruitment challenges it faces,but would note that 5 of the 7 LHBs in Wales have substantially increased emergency consultant numbers over the last 6 years whereas Cwm Taf Morgannwg has not. We would argue that the uncertainty created over the future of the hospital due to the South Wales Programme has itself created a self-fulfilling prophecy about recruitment problems.

Our starting point, however, is that all NHS services should be safe, efficient and delivered as close to people’s homes as is medically and logistically feasible. Time-critical medical interventions can make the difference between life and death in many emergency situations and we are concerned that if the A&E were permanently to close at any one of the three hospitals, significant numbers of patients in some of the most deprived communities would not be able to get to an Emergency Department in time. A&E cannot be seen in isolation from other services such as GP surgeries, local minor injuries units and out-of-hours support. Additional capacity in these services would almost certainly lighten the load in the Emergency Departments, but this must be put in place before any changes to the configuration of Emergency Care is considered, let alone implemented, with evidence that they have substantially reduced the load on Emergency departments required before any changes. Changes to A&E provision at any one of the hospitals would have serious implications for other services within the hospital, including ITU and theatre and might harm the recruitment of other specialists.

There would be significant knock-on effects if the A&E at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital were to be downgraded to a Minor Injuries Unit, as the hospital would almost certainly lose its Intensive Care Unit and operating theatre. This could jeopardise the long-term future of the hospital. The RGH’s Emergency Department is the most used in the area, with roughly 65,000 attendances a year, and ranked the best in terms of viable outcomes.  We fear the two other Emergency Departments would find it impossible to cope with the additional workload and that many patients will travel instead to UHW, which is also already over-stretched. We are also concerned that extra A&E admissions to PCH and POW would put additional pressure on not just their respective A&E depts but onwards and throughout the hospital system. We are determined to work with people of all political parties and trades unions (and none) to get the best possible outcome for the communities we represent. We believe the eventual decision should be informed by clinical best practice and local experience on the ground – and not by any partisan consideration.

We are calling on the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board to do the following:
1) Rule out the closure of A&E at the RGH or changing it to a 24-hour Minor Injuries Unit.
2) Reinstate the option of maintaining a full consultant-led A&E at all three hospitals. This would require a serious new attempt at recruiting Emergency Consultants who would have secure full-time permanent posts working across all three hospitals. It would also require at least a ten-year commitment to RGH so that potential staff can apply with confidence.
3) Bring forward proposals to extend the opening hours of the Minor Injuries Unit at Ysbyty Cwm Rhondda and Ysbyty Cwm Cynon and make these units more readily accessible for walk-in patients.
4) Bring forward other proposals for community health services, including improvements in the out-of-hours GP service, that might alleviate the pressure on all three A&E departments
and bring services closer to local communities.

In addition, we are calling on the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board to publish the following:
1) A socioeconomic and equality impact assessment of any proposed changes.
2) Detailed analyses of travel-to-hospital times, average ambulance response times and levels of car ownership, for all electoral wards in the area. that analyses such times during periods of poor weather.
3) Detailed statistics for levels of ischemic heart disease, diabetes, stroke and infant and adult mortality for all electoral wards in the area. and how they compare with the Welsh averages/wealthier wards in Wales.
4) An assessment of how many patients from each electoral ward would be affected by a proposal to move to an 8 to 8, and 8 to 10 and an 8 to midnight Emergency Department.
5) An assessment of capacity in the Emergency Departments at POW, PCH, and UHW and how they would cope with additional patients.
6) Statistics for the number of patients who are admitted on towards at each hospital from A&E.
7) An assessment of the impact to the Welsh Ambulance Service, Ambulance response times, handover response times, in terms of waiting times at hospitals, blue light trauma travel times
and non-emergency transport between hospitals.

Please wait...

The post A&E at The Royal Glam appeared first on Chris Bryant.

Reflecting on Defeat

Richard Burden (Birmingham, Northfield)

First of all, thank you to everyone who has sent such kind messages to me after last night’s result in Birmingham Northfield. Even though I never took this election – or any election – for granted, it is still a big blow to lose the seat I have represented for 27 years and which is […]

Compensation package for Waspi women

John Healey (Wentworth and Dearne)

Labour has pledged compensation packages for millions of women hit by state pension age rises imposed by the Tories.

Pay-outs of up to £31,000 will be made, with an average payment of £15,000.

The scheme will be delivered within Labour's first full five year term of government.

Payments will go to women born in the 1950s who had their state pension age hiked.

David Cameron's coalition government presided over a change in the law that increased the women's state pension age to 65 in November 2018 - followed by 66 in October 2020.

Labour will introduce a compensation scheme as rapidly as possible for the 3.7million women hit by the changes, which Cameron's Tory-Lib Dem government imposed in 2011.

It comes after Boris Johnson u-turned on his pledge to help those affected.

He dismissed the concerns of a woman who has lost out on her pension, telling her it’s “not possible” to right the huge wrong she and so many others have suffered.

The next Labour government will compensate women who were unfairly hit by the rise in the state pension age and give them the respect they deserve.

They were not able to prepare and have had to suffer serious financial consequences as a result.

We have a historic debt of honour to them.