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Basingstoke MP Maria Miller welcomes the opening of South Western Railway's (SWR) new electric vehicle charging points. 

SWR has invested £100,000 in 60 new charging points at six busy station car parks on its network, demonstrating a commitment to making rail travel more sustainable.

Summer Village Surgeries

Robert Jenrick (Newark)

Thank you to everyone who came to my summer village surgeries this week – a packed few days covering 25 villages.

I really enjoyed the conversations, ideas, challenges and listening to your views. I have numerous issues to follow up on and will be getting on with those immediately.

 

Council wins top Ministry of Defence Award

Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith)

The City of Edinburgh Council has been chosen to receive a prestigious award from the Ministry of Defence.

Welfare of farm animals

Matt Warman (Boston and Skegness)

I take a keen interest in animal welfare, and understand the concerns that are often raised on this matter. I am proud that the UK has some of the highest standards of animal welfare in the world.

There is comprehensive legislation to uphold these standards, as well as guidance on how best to protect the welfare of specific animals living on farms, such as hens, pigs and cattle. The Government has already banned cages or close confinement systems where there is clear scientific evidence that they are detrimental to animal health and welfare.

The new statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Laying Hens and Pullets came into force in August 2018. The Code provides improved and up-to-date guidance on welfare legislation and reflects the latest scientific and veterinary advice. I am also aware that all major supermarkets have said they will stop selling eggs from hens kept in enriched cages by 2025.

On pig welfare, the aim is to get to a point where traditional farrowing crates are obsolete and where any new system protects the welfare of the sow, as well as her piglets. As I understand it, important steps have been made on the use of free farrowing systems, but more advances are needed before compulsory replacement of farrowing crates can be recommended.

The Government is committed in making the UK a world leader in protection of animals as we leave the EU. Legislation has now been introduced to Parliament which will increase maximum penalties for animal cruelty from six months’ to five years’ imprisonment and statutory welfare codes are being updated. These codes strengthen guidance on how to meet the needs of livestock animals and enhance their welfare.

Ministers are also committed to making any necessary changes to UK law in a rigorous and comprehensive way to ensure animal sentience is legally recognised once the UK leaves the EU. I understand that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is engaging with relevant organisations and authorities to enhance its policies on this issue further.

Results Day

Ben Bradley (Mansfield)

I'm at Queen Elizabeth's Academy, Mansfield this morning on GCSE results day, chatting with staff and students about the positive progress here and across Mansfield. Good luck if you're getting your results this morning!!

Graham Stuart MP welcomes re-opening date for Hedon Post Office

Graham Stuart (Beverley and Holderness)

Councillors Mike Bryan, Sue Steel and John Dennis outside the closed Hedon Post Office

Graham Stuart, MP for Beverley and Holderness, has welcomed news that Hedon Post Office will re-open in a new location on Thursday 10 October at 1pm.

Graham commented: “Hedon Post Office has been closed since April 2018, much to the inconvenience of my constituents, and the cause of an unwelcome down-turn in trade for businesses in town. East Riding Councillors John Dennis, Sue Steel, and Mike Bryan have worked flat out to find a resolution and, in support, I made the case to the Chief Executive of the Post Office and met with their Director of Operations. I am pleased and relieved with the news that the Post Office has announced the re-opening date for the branch.

“We still have a problem with Patrington Post office remaining shut. I’ve been keeping in close contact with the Post Office to urge them to find a resolution quickly to the issues which necessitate the closure. I’ve been in touch with them again this week and hope to have news on this shortly.”

Councillor Sue Steel commented: “The news on Hedon Post Office is long awaited and very welcome. My fellow councillors and I have fought for the re-establishment of a post office service for Hedon since its closure over a year ago. Although not in the original building this will still be in the centre of Hedon and hopefully will help attract more footfall to the town which should be of benefit to local businesses. We’d like to thank Graham for all his support in getting this far.”

HS2 under review

John Redwood (Wokingham)

I would be interested to hear from people about whether HS2 should proceed, be cancelled or built from the North first, leaving open the question of improvements into London.

I voted against HS2 when Parliament made the original decision and set out then the problems I saw with high costs, possible cost escalation, and optimistic revenue forecasts. Following the Mrs May review I accepted that government and Parliament want to build it, but now there is another government review after further large cost escalation.

TUMBLING WITH SAFETY

Angus MacNeil (Na h-Eileanan an Iar)

Isles MP encourages constituents to check appliances

“With 47 fires caused by tumble dryers in Scottish homes last year and a major, ongoing tumble dryer recall, all of us need to check and use them safely”, explains Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP, Angus MacNeil. 

White goods manufacturer, Whirlpool, is recalling a number of its tumble dryers – but the company estimates that there are still around 500,000 affected machines in UK homes.

Mr MacNeil supports the Electrical Safety First’s campaign to ensure constituents stay safe in their homes and that all recalled tumble dryers are removed from use. 

Currently, recalls have just a 20% effectiveness rate, so checking you don’t have an effected model is a priority. However, Wayne Mackay, Deputy Public Affairs Manager at Electrical Safety First, explains that the campaign also has a wider aim.

“We also want to provide a timely reminder on using tumble dryers safely”, reveals Wayne. “And we have devised a range of tools and top tips to help, including our dedicated site –  www.whitegoodsafety.com 

Commenting Angus MacNeil MP said:

“Over the last couple of years, I have highlighted concerns about tumble dryers.  It is important that we all check our machines. 

“Constituents can check if you have an affected tumble dryer, or other ‘white goods’ by visiting the dedicated site www.whitegoodsafety.com  – it would be good if people also made their friends and relatives aware of this website – even if you are not one of those affected by the recall, it is really important to follow some simple safety tips when using your machine.”

ENDS

For more information, take a look at Electrical Safety First’s top tips, below.

To check if you have a recalled tumble dryer

  • Visit: www.whitegoodsafety.com.
  • Check if you have a Whirlpool owned brand machine, such as Hotpoint, Creda, Indesit or Swan. You can do this by looking at  Whirlpool’s online model checker to see if your product is affected – if it is, call Whirlpool on 0800 151 0905 to have it replaced or consult https://safety.hotpoint.eu to check your model.
  • If you’re in any doubt, stop using- and unplug – your machine immediately.

Top tips for tumble dryer safety

  • Never overload the dryer – take large or bulky items like duvets to the dry cleaners.
  • Always allow each drying programme, including the “cool-down cycle”, to completely finish.
  • If you have to stop the dryer before the end of the cycle, remove all items and leave the door open to dissipate heat.
  • Don’t use your tumble dryer to dry clothes that are contaminated with combustible substances like solvents, grease, oils or fats.
  • Don’t leave your tumble dryer running overnight, or when you are out.
Following the Adjournment debate tabled in February by Bill Wiggin MP on enacting a Crown Use Licence on the Cystic Fibrosis drug Orkambi, negotiations have continued between the NHS, NICE and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. MPs across the House are now uniting... Continue Reading →

GERS figures show ‘£12.6bn cost’ of putting up a border at Berwick

John Lamont (Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk)

The Scottish Government’s own figures show the stark cost to Scotland of putting up a border at Berwick.

Described as “the authoritative publication on Scotland’s public finances” by the SNP, the Scottish Government’s expenditure and revenue statistics (GERS) confirm that Scottish public spending last year was £75.3 bn, despite only £62.7bn in taxes being raised.

Carers Innovation Fund

Wendy Morton (Aldridge-Brownhills)

Carers make an invaluable difference to the friends, family and loved ones that they support, and they are vital partners in the continued functioning of our health and social care system.

However, carers’ own health and wellbeing often gets neglected as they focus on other people’s needs to the detriment of their own. They also experience challenges in balancing employment or education with their caring responsibilities.

I am therefore pleased that the Government have now committed a £5 million investment into a pioneering new Carers Innovation Fund. This investment will help build our understanding of the kinds of support that work for carers, outside of traditional healthcare services. From community-based schemes that help to bring carers together to innovative forms of technology that help carers to be able to take a break, we want to unlock the benefits of range of exciting projects.

Information about the Fund and the application process is available online: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/carers-innovation-fund-how-to-apply. There is still a few weeks for organisations to come forward with their initial proposals to access the fund. This new Fund will go a long way towards driving support for carers at a local level to give them access to the help that they need to support them in their caring role.

School Summer holidays are in full swing and here in South Tyneside voluntary and community groups are busier than ever with local ‘Food, Fun and Friendship’ clubs as part of the Feeding Britain local network.

Funding for the clubs, which are run by volunteers, was secured via Feeding Britain Crowdfunding and a small number of other funding streams. This follows an unsuccessful bid by the network to the Department for Education, which saw only 11 funding awards made across the whole country and none awarded in South Tyneside.

Emma, who is also a co-founder of the Feeding Britain charity, visited some of the partnership members today to catch up on progress of the summer schemes and to reassure local groups that she is continuing to raise the issue of food insecurity at every opportunity in The House of Commons.

Emma was able to chat with some of the children taking part in the clubs and also to the volunteers who give their time to make the summer holidays special for local families.  She said:

‘Where the Tory Government has continued with relentless cuts, punitive welfare reforms and continued inaction on low paid and insecure work here in South Tyneside, our Feeding Britain network, our dedicated volunteers and the big-hearted people who donated to our crowdfund, have risen to the challenge yet again and made sure none of our children go without this summer.

The value and impact of these clubs shouldn’t be underestimated, in just one of our clubs over 80% of the children attending are eligible for free school meals. Teachers have told me that when children return from their summer break hungry, they have often regressed in their learning. Our projects bridge this learning gap through the summer.

I will continue to oppose, lobby and question anyone who tells me that these high levels of food insecurity do not exist, and I am so proud to represent constituents who have stepped up where the Tory Government has stepped aside. One little girl said to me this week, this has been “The best summer ever”. Thank you everyone who made this happen for her and so many others.’

Frank Field MP has written to the new Secretary of State for Housing, Communities, and Local Government with a proposal which would see Birkenhead draw down significant investment from the...

The Loan Charge (Again)

Bob Stewart (Beckenham)

I remain am increasingly worried by the number of constituents who lives have been ruined by the fact that they have to pay large sums of back-tax to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC).   They have to do this because they were lured or ordered into schemes that advised them to minimise the tax they paid in bygone years.  I have mentioned this before on my website and make no apologies for doing so again because it is hitting a great number of constituents and is simply wrong.

Seeking transparency and accountability of Football Clubs

Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central)

 

I am delighted that the National Lottery has awarded the Llanelli Railway Goods Shed Trust a grant of £9,000 to deliver an exciting heritage project for young people.

We plan to involve local schoolchildren in learning about our industrial and maritime history, and the crucial role that the railways have played in that. The money will be used to work with teachers and pupils and pay for the production of engaging learning materials, including a website.

This is a very exciting project which I know will do a lot to raise awareness of our local history.

Gwynne urges action on council house building

Andrew Gwynne (Denton and Reddish)

Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, has urged the Government to step up the building of council homes, following new research on current build rates.

New Labour analysis shows at the current rate of building of council and social homes, it will take over 130 years to house all 1.1 million people on council housing waiting lists.

Over the last three years for which there are figures, an average of 2,123 council homes have been build, whilst 6,374 homes for social rent have been built. That’s a total average of 8,497.

There are 1,114,477 household on local authorities’ waiting lists.

1,114,477 divided by 8,497 equates to 131 years to house everyone on council waiting lists.

In Labour’s last year in power we built 33,491 homes for social rent. That compares to just 6,434 homes built this year.

The failure to build social homes has hit the hopes of local people too. In Tameside and Stockport the number of social homes built in 2010/11 was 80 compared to just 18 in the last financial year for which there are figures – 2017/18. In the two boroughs, there are 9,903 households on council housing waiting lists.

Andrew Gwynne said:

“It is clear that the Conservatives have no plan to fix the crisis in affordable housing.

 

“After nine years of Tory failure, affordable homes have never been so badly needed, but instead communities are seeing the number drop.

 

“The next Labour government will stop the conversion of social homes into more expensive housing and build a million low-cost homes, the majority for social rent.”

SNP MP WARNS UK GOVERNMENT OVER PLANS TO RAISE PENSION AGE

Martin Docherty (West Dunbartonshire)

Local MP Martin Docherty-Hughes has hit out at the UK government over proposals to increase the state pension age to 75, warning that it would have dire consequences for pensioners in West Dunbartonshire and across Scotland. It has been reported … Continue reading

The post SNP MP WARNS UK GOVERNMENT OVER PLANS TO RAISE PENSION AGE appeared first on Martin Docherty-Hughes MP.

‘My message to MPs is this: Brexit is going to happen, one way or another. Now, the only way to avoid no deal, is to get a deal. And to get a deal you need to back the Prime Minister'.
Read the full article here.

M View – Leader

Susan Elan Jones (Clwyd South)

The post M View – Leader appeared first on Susan Elan Jones MP.

MP urges home owners to act green and plant trees

Harriett Baldwin (West Worcestershire)

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin has urged home owners to plant trees in their gardens to help the long-term plan to improve our environment. read more »

Parliament is not due to convene again until early September. With the momentum behind HM Government’s unscrutinised objective of leaving the EU on 31st October 2019 this will make it effectively impossible for MPs to moderate this course of action. Please follow the link and sign https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/269140 Related Images: [See image gallery at www.brendanoharamp.scot]

'Auchenshoogle' - Oor Wullie Trail

Stewart Hosie (Dundee East)

📸 Another Oor Wullie, this time 'Auchenshoogle' the birthplace and hometown of A'body's favourite Wullie!
📅 Remember, you have until the 30th August to see all the statues in Dundee, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness!
🖌 Pamela Scott: Printmaker
📍 City Quay, Dundee

Upcoming works at Gallows Corner

Jon Cruddas (Dagenham and Rainham)

 

Due to essential restructuring and resurfacing repairs, closures are planned on Gallows Corner flyover which will take place on the following dates: 

- Monday 19 August – Friday 23 August (09:30-20:00)

- Monday 26 August – Friday 30 August (09:30-20:00)

During this time the flyover will be closed. Access underneath the flyover will be maintained, however, we expect Gallows Corner roundabout to be extremely busy with delays of up to 30 minutes during the busiest times in the evening peak. 

If you have to drive, please consider another route, such as the M11 and A13. You should allow more time for your journey on any alternative routes. 

If you are able to travel outside the peak times of 15:00 to 18:00 your journey could be quicker.

For local journeys, travelling on public transport may be quicker. Consider using TfL Rail from Harold Wood or Gidea Park to complete your journey. 

For the latest London traffic updates, including maps, check before you travel at www.tfl.gov.uk/trafficnews and follow @TfLTrafficNews on Twitter.

Buses 498, 499, 174, 496 and 347 will maintain their routes through Gallows Corner roundabout, however they are likely to be delayed.  

For the latest bus updates, visit www.tfl.gov.uk/bus/status and follow @TfLBusAlerts on Twitter.

Petition to Boris Johnson as India revokes special status for Kashmir

Debbie Abrahams (Oldham East and Saddleworth)

Petition to Boris Johnson as India revokes special status for Kashmir

Following last week’s moves by the Indian Government to revoke Articles 370 & 35A from their constitution and removing Kashmir’s special status, the Jammu Kashmir self –Determination Movement International (JKSDMI), a lobby group of cross party activists is urging the international community, in particular the British and the European Parliamentarians, to support calls for a safe, peaceful, secure and a prosperous future for the peoples of Jammu & Kashmir, and the whole region.

 

A petition has been arranged by the group which, as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir, I will deliver to 10 Downing Street with members of the group, on the 10th of September 2019.

 

The petition calls on the UK Government and international community to use all diplomatic and economic measures at their disposal to influence the Indian and Pakistan Governments to:

1. Ensure that democracy is respected and that the Kashmiri people are at the heart of any constitutional reform of the region.

2.Ensure that United Nations Security Council resolutions on Kashmir are respected, including UNSCR 47 which refers to the people of Jammu and Kashmir having the right to self-determination.

3. Respect the 1972 Simla Agreement which refers to the future of Jammu and Kashmir being determined by peaceful means.

4. Ensure that the rule of law is upheld and human rights are protected by lifting the telecommunications black out and allowing independent, international observers to the region.

5. Support the assistance of a United Nations Special Envoy for Kashmir in facilitating a peaceful and sustainable future for Kashmir and all of its peoples.

 

The petition is available below. Please return signatures or copies of the petition to Raja Najabat on rajanajabat@yahoo.co.uk.

The Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson MP – Kashmir Petition

To read about my work on Kashmir following the revocation of Article 370 and 35 A please click here.

The post Petition to Boris Johnson as India revokes special status for Kashmir appeared first on Debbie Abrahams MP.

Knocking on doors

Michelle Donelan (Chippenham)

This summer I have been busy knocking on doors and chatting to local residents in all weathers – it’s been a bit wet at times ☔ 🌧!

I always try to reach out to people and offer help with problems, plus discuss local and national issues rather than wait for you to come to me. My goal has always been to be accessible and for you to find me approachable so that I can help more local people.

If I have not made it to your door yet and you want to discuss anything then do book a surgery appointment 01249 704465 or email michelle.donelan.mp@parliament.uk

The post Knocking on doors appeared first on Michelle Donelan MP.

ASDA GMB

ASDA workers up and down the country have been told they’ll be sacked unless they sign a new contract that cuts their overtime pay and holiday entitlements.

I recently met with one of my constituents who told me that the new contract will end much of the flexibility she and other ASDA staff currently have. The changes include holidays being slashed by 8 days and bonuses and paid breaks being cut.

This is the third time that my constituent has had her contract with ASDA changed in just three years. She told me that if she refuses to sign the new contract then she will be given twelve weeks’ notice and her employment will be terminated. Many of her colleagues have mortgages and children to think about, and the threat of losing their jobs has meant that they have felt bullied into signing the new contract.

I am appalled that ASDA is attempting to cut the pay and conditions of many low paid staff, and trying to bully them into signing these contracts. I have written to the CEO of ASDA, Roger Burnley, to demand he stops pressurising staff and properly negotiates any contract changes with the GMB trade union. I have also written to the Minister of State for Employment to ask what the Government is doing to guarantee that companies like ASDA are treating their staff fairly.

I am proud to be a member of the GMB, which is leading a fantastic campaign on this issue. Read more here.

The post Liz stands with ASDA staff threatened with sack appeared first on Liz Kendall.

Tragedy inspires mum to set up offenders’ charity

Lesley Laird (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath)

A mum who lost her teenage son is forging ahead with Fife-wide charity plans aimed at pulling people out of a life of crime.
Josee Scott, who lives in Dalgety Bay, established Freedom Unlimited Enterprises six years ago to offer employability skills to ex-offenders.
The charity also works with prisoners at HMP Glenochil and HMP YOI Polmont by delivering a transformational life coaching course that aims to help people rehabilitate and desist from re-offending.
Josee said: “I lost my son Bobby in 2006 when he was just 17 years old. We had moved to Leith and he fell in with a ‘wrong’ crowd, stole a bike and crashed it.
“When Bobby died these boys and girls rallied to support our family, shattering any preconceptions I had of them.
“I didn’t understand before then but quickly learned that the vast majority of people who become involved in criminal justice services typically come from impoverished backgrounds.
“According to research, 80 per cent of people in prison come from socially deprived areas – you can’t argue with that.”
In recent years, inspired by her son, Josee started to think of ways she could actively help people caught up in a cycle of re-offending.
She gave up a career in retail management – a move she described as a “leap of faith” – and established Freedom Unlimited Enterprises.
Josee said: “The benefits of what I provide through wood workshops here in Dalgety Bay and art therapy in prisons is a change of attitude which helps people onto a positive path.
“Giving them hope for their future, especially repeat offenders who have been in and out of prison all their lives.
“They believe that who they are is who they’ve become. That’s not the case and through these courses they take steps toward a different future.
“That’s what we are all about.”
Josee added: “Not everyone is a success story but when you see that change happening you think: if this is the only I person I’ve helped, it’s worth it.”
So far Freedom Unlimited Enterprises has helped over 100 people but Josee aims to expand the charity and invited Lesley Laird MP to visit and learn more.
Lesley said: “It was an absolute pleasure to meet Josee and learn why she is so passionate about making this amazing project such a success.
“It’s humbling and inspiring when brave individuals suffer personal tragedy and go on to use that experience to help others avoid a similar fate.
“It can be so easy for people to become trapped in a cycle of crime but Freedom Unlimited Enterprises offers people a vital opportunity to build the confidence to break that pattern and pursue a different future.
“I wish Josee all the best in her future endeavours.”
Josee is seeking to generate links with a variety of local organisations throughout Fife, including schools, and would welcome enquiries. Contact josee@freedomue.org
Pictured (l-r) Kim McKenzie, volunteer, Lesley Laird MP, Mark Douglas, session worker, Josee Scott, director.

The post Tragedy inspires mum to set up offenders’ charity appeared first on Lesley Laird.

Dan Jarvis MP - New season kicks off at Oakwell

Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central)

Barnsley FC kicked off the new season, and their return to the Championship, with a strong 1-0 win against Fulham at Oakwell. Despite Fulham being hotly tipped to be in contention for promotion this season, the Reds were able to begin the campaign in style, setting up tomorrow’s local derby at against Sheffield Wednesday. I’m sure there will be a good following of Barnsley fans making the short trip to Hillsborough to cheer on the Reds!

The Criminal Justice System

Kit Malthouse (North West Hampshire)

Over the next 36 months ill be putting 20,000 more #police on the streets – but they can only do so much.

Unless we have the courts to sentence criminals and the prisons to reform them we won’t tackle #crime.

Law and Order go together – This government understands that.

Croesfan Deganwy - y Diweddaraf

Guto Bebb (Aberconwy)

Yn dilyn cyfarfod Guto gyda adran ERF Cyngor Bwrdeistref Conwy yn ddiweddar, maent wedi rhoi diweddariad i Guto ac mae i’w weld yn llawn isod.

 

Gazette August 2019

Steve Pound (Ealing North)

I don’t often compare the relationship between Ealing North and myself to that between Romeo and Juliet but the words “parting is such sweet sorrow” do seem as appropriate for me as for the star-crossed lovers as I say farewell to the constituency that I have been so very proud to have represented since May 1997.

The Labour Party, in anticipation of an early general election, instructed all its MPs to confirm within a couple of weeks whether they intended to stand for reselection or to stand down at the next election.

I was saddened that there was so little notice and that I was unable to take soundings with friends and family or to even formally discuss the matter with the local Labour Party.

However – I have reluctantly decided not to put myself forward for what would be my tenth contest in Ealing and I will be bowing out with as much grace as I can muster at the time of the next election. It takes a very special person to be a politician into their 70s and, having been born with the NHS in July 1948, I’m afraid that I am just not that person.

Some of the television and radio interviewers have asked about my proudest achievements and I tend to reply that being a hard working accessible Member of Parliament holding over six advice surgeries every month and never ever missing a school, Scout, or church fete, an allotment open day or a street party – let alone a hundredth birthday party and, less joyously, over two hundred funerals is a source of some quiet pried.

More than that – I spent most of my first decade in Parliament focused almost entirely on finding the money to rebuild every single primary school, bar one, in Ealing North and then doing the same for nearly every High School.

That wasn’t easy but I felt a real sense of satisfaction on seeing schools that were finally fit for the teachers, pupils and staff that had endured leaking roofs, potholed playgrounds and outside toilets for far too long.

Since 2010 I have been the shadow Northern Ireland Minister and my love for the people and the six counties is matched only by my despair at the vacuum that exists where a devolved Assembly and Executive should be operating and where the awful potentiality of a hard Brexit could lead to the horror of a return to border posts along the three hundred mile British border between Donegal and Dundalk.

Although these may have been my principle preoccupations, I have always held the people of Northolt, Greenford, Perivale, North Hanwell and the better parts of W13 and W5 close to my heart.

It has been my privilege to meet the extraordinary people whose quiet commitment to community is often unsung but without whom life would never be as sweet as it can be. Every day I am awestruck by the modesty and generosity of so many of my constituents. Wherever possible I’ve supported and lauded them, but I have never been able to match the selfless service of so many of our fellow citizens and if I have been able to serve them in some small way then my time in Parliament has not been wasted.

I’ll still be around for a while and after over forty years in Hanwell I’m reluctant to move. The allotment, Greenford Rotary, the Royal Naval Association and Craven Cottage beckon so I plan an active retirement while I still have my marbles.

For now – thank you Ealing North. You showed huge trust in me and I never for a moment forgot that I was your MP by the grace of the electorate and that it was to you that I owed my all.

Nothing in my life could equal the immense privilege of public service and there can be no finer place to practice that calling, that vocation, than here – among my friends and in my home, in my Ealing North.

I hope that I have not let you down.

For well over a year there’s been a steady trickle of local families with autistic children coming to my weekly surgery. They’ve been having problems getting the all-important diagnosis to unlock vital extra funds and support at school. Some of them are having to wait months or even years to get appointments with experts who can tell if it’s autism or similar-but-importantly-different conditions like Attention Deficit Disorder or Hyperactivity.

It’s cold comfort to know that the problem isn’t unique to North Somerset. There’s a national shortage of the specialised medical professionals who can do the diagnosis properly and, together with a change in the rules, an enormous backlog had built up.

The delay isn’t just stressful for the parents, who want the best for their children just like anyone else. It can mean pupils miss huge chunks of their school careers, because they can’t cope in class without help. Some of them end up marginalised and misbehaving so they’re sent home. Others are scared or overwhelmed. Either way, learning suffers badly and pupils slip further behind.  

But that’s just an explanation of the problem. It doesn’t solve it. So I’ve been harrying local health chiefs on parents behalf and, last week, I got a letter confirming some great news. They’ve been given some extra cash to hire extra staff to work through the backlog and, by Christmas, they’re expecting the wait for diagnosis to be down to a few months at most.

It’s great news, and will come as a huge relief to parents struggling to get the system to cope with their children’s needs. This time of year can be stressful enough, with many pupils making the big move into secondary school or, if they’re older, waiting for exam results. At least now we aren’t adding to the pressure of fighting for a diagnosis as well!

Maria Eagle MP’s Public Advocate Bill

Conor McGinn (St Helens North)

I was proud to co-sponsor my Merseyside Labour colleague Maria Eagle MP’s Public Advocate Bill. In public disasters it would give bereaved relatives access to independent advocacy to help them get answers and justice. Public disasters with tragic consequences, such as the Grenfell fire and Hillsborough inflict such trauma and distress for the bereaved family and friends. This bill will offer voice to the bereaved when dealing with officials – […]

Brexit is the most divisive issue to hit UK politics in our political lifetime.

The country voted to Leave the EU, and in Chesterfield around 60% of those who voted, voted to leave.

Yet whilst Parliament has confirmed it’s intention to leave, it has never agreed on the basis of our future relationship with the EU, which has prevented Article 50 being fully enacted. When Parliament returns from the summer recess, it really will be decision time.

Over the recess, Toby Perkins and his team are taking to the streets to conduct a Brexit survey, that attempts to break down the key thorny issues and hear how people’s views have progressed since the Referendum and where the UK Government goes from here.

You can take the survey online, by clicking here https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/TPerkinsMPBrexit

Introducing the survey, Toby Perkins said: “I am concerned that rather than come together, the country seems more divided on this issue than ever before. I believe Britain should endeavour to leave the EU in a way that protects jobs and our economy, and allows us to continue to trade with the EU. I am keen to see if there is a way that a balance can be struck that takes everyone with us. This survey is therefore crucial to informing my view of what people in Chesterfield think should happen now. I urge all of my constituents to complete it.”

The survey is purely for Chesterfield constituents and respondents who live outside of the constituency or respond anonymously will have their answers discounted.

 

We have now had to endure two weeks of the new Government’s campaigning. The propaganda they are releasing suggests that they are pumping money into public services and infrastructure – something Labour remains completely committed to.  I welcome the commitments, however they need to be honest with the public. They say they are going to put 20,000 more police […]

Knight Gets Award for Supporting Local Pubs

Greg Knight (East Yorkshire)


Sir Greg Knight has received a special award, in recognition of his support for the ‘Long Live the Local’ campaign and for helping to secure consecutive freezes in beer duty.  

Sir Greg was presented with a unique tap handled trophy created for the occasion by the British Beer and Pub Association in London.

The special award is a new initiative in 2019 to recognise the role that Sir Greg and other MP’s from across the House of Commons have played in supporting British pubs over the past two years.  The award especially recognises support for successive freezes in beer duty which has secured thousands of jobs and millions of pounds worth of investment in the brewing and pub sector.

Sir Greg said ‘I am delighted to receive this award.  Brewing and pubs are vital to the local economy – especially in rural areas and the ‘Long Live the Local’ campaign has also helped to focus the mind of the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the fact that many pubs are struggling and the last thing they need is to have to put prices up because of increased taxation”.

Brigid Simmonds, the Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association comments:  

‘The award recognises Sir Greg Knight’s invaluable support for the great British pub and Britain’s brewing industry.  I want to thank Greg for the work done in securing two beer duty freezes in this Parliament and for his support generally over the past two years’.

Pictured: Sir Greg Knight (left) is presented with his award in Yorkshire by Lord Kirkhope of Harrogate

The Joint Spatial Plan which lays out the proposals for house building across the region has been put on hold as central government officials demand more justification for the location of development. Bristol South MP Karin Smyth has written to the relevant Minister to seek assurances that this will not impact the application for funding from the Housing Infrastructure Fund. See full letter below.

Victory! Jesse welcomes changes by Highways England to A49 roadworks

Jesse Norman (Hereford and South Herefordshire)

Jesse Norman MP has warmly welcomed a host of changes announced by Highways England in response to local concerns about roadworks on the A49 between Wilton and Peterstow.

June/July Newsletter

Richard Burden (Birmingham, Northfield)

Welcome to my latest Parliamentary newsletter. If you would like to receive these updates by email, you can sign up here. In Birmingham Northfield Supreme Court Homelessness Decision This June saw a landmark Supreme Court ruling about a lone Birmingham mother who was evicted from her privately rented home when she could not afford to pay […]
  Richard’s response
The following is an extract from an article which first appeared in full in the Telegraph online on 27 July 2019 under the headline, “Why I rejected the offer of a Ministerial post in Boris Johnson’s glittering new government”: bit.ly/NoJobBetterThanABadJob. We urgently need to correct some vital structural problems in our negotiations. The restoration of Cabinet collective responsibility is the first step. Long may it last. Of course, Boris has fixed the problem of our restrictive over-interpretation of the duty of sincere […]

Catherine celebrates 25 years of the D2 Youth Zone

Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North)

Newcastle North MP Catherine McKinnell today visited the D2 Youth Zone in Newbiggin Hall to chat about their work in supporting young people in the community. D2 Youth Zone yesterday celebrated 25 years of working with young people aged between 11 and 25 years old in Newbiggin Hall with a party for project users and … Continue reading Catherine celebrates 25 years of the D2 Youth Zone

Birmingham to trial CT scan post-mortems for road traffic victims

Birmingham City Council has negotiated a deal that will provide the city with access to a CT post-mortem scanner (CTPM) for victims of road incidents on a 12-month trial basis. The trial follows calls from local campaigners and Birmingham MPs to stop, often unnecessary and invasive, second post-mortems being carried out on victims of road deaths. 

Families of the victims of road incidents are often made to wait for second post-mortems before they can bury their loved ones. In the West Midlands, it has become routine practice for the perpetrator’s legal defence team to be given the option to ask for a second post-mortem as part of a court proceeding. However, this is usually unnecessary as most first post-mortems after road deaths identify a clear cause of death. Second post-mortems can be upsetting for grieving families and can cause long delays before funerals can be held.

Lucy Harrison said:

“We are delighted that the Council have decided to trial the scanner, and particularly that it will be utilised for road traffic fatalities. Elaine and I have always just wanted to spare other families the additional heartache of having to wait unnecessarily long periods of time to have their loved ones back. Losing a loved one to a road death is traumatic enough, and we hope that this will mean bodies can be returned to families more quickly, and make things just a tiny bit easier.

We are so thankful that the council have listened to our concerns and we have a huge amount of gratitude to Preet Gill MP, who has been amazing, as well as Rachel Maclean MP and Richard Burden MP. Elaine and I really hope the whole country will begin to move towards this system as it is so much kinder to the bereaved. We miss our siblings every day, but it is so comforting to see the good that has come about in their memories.
Finally, I would just add we were both supported by RoadPeace at the worst time in our lives, and they really helped to get us through and gave us the encouragement to try to fight for what we believed in.”

Elaine Gordon said:

“We are both extremely pleased about this outcome. We are very happy that the Council are taking into consideration the needs of grieving families and how important it is that families receive their loved ones back without any delays. When you have lost a loved one whether it be a traumatic or anticipated death, it is sometimes difficult to comprehend. 

Both Lucy and I know what it’s like to have lost loved ones through a traumatic road collision and then to have to wait for the first post-mortem and then a second being proposed or performed in my sister Gina's case. I believe that with the use of the CT scanner, which is able to identify traumatic injuries and causes of death, this will help to reduce the long waiting period that we had to endure. The reason why Lucy and I started this campaign was because we did not want another family to have to experience this unnecessary additional pain of a long waiting period.

I am really thankful and appreciate Preet’s help and support, she has been amazing. Especially in bringing other MPs together, like my MP Richard Burden, and Lucy’s MP Rachel Maclean. Throughout this campaign, Preet has been consistently supportive. To say thank you feels like such an understatement. I am really grateful for all that she’s done, she’s gone above and beyond.”

Preet Kaur Gill, MP for Birmingham, Edgbaston, who has been campaigning for the use of a CTPM with Lucy and Elaine, said:

“The use of this CT scanner could help avoid the need for a second post-mortem and spare many grieving families additional distress at an otherwise very difficult and traumatic time. 

I want to thank Lucy, Elaine and RoadPeace for all their efforts in bringing about this much-needed change, and to Cllr Sharon Thompson and Birmingham City Council for all their help in agreeing to trial the use of the CT scanner.” 

Councillor Sharon Thompson, the Cabinet Member for Homes and Neighbourhoods with responsibility for bereavement services, said:

“This new agreement is just one of the many steps being taken to transform our approach to bereavement services.

When a family is faced with the death of a loved one, it’s a stressful and hugely emotional time. As a council we’re listening to what people in Birmingham want and we’re doing all we can to ensure this is as simple a process as possible. I’m pleased to say that we now have access to the CTPM scanner at a much more realistic and affordable cost which makes it a viable option for trauma situations like road traffic incidents.”

Since the trial came into effect last month, there have been 17 cases where the Coroner has deemed that the use of CTPM was appropriate. Of these 17 cases, one was at the request of the family.

This trial brings Birmingham City Council into line with other West Midlands local authorities. Sandwell, Wolverhampton and Dudley have agreed to use CTPM at Sandwell Valley Crematorium as their first line of intervention.

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Hythe Town Council’s dementia awareness forum

Damian Collins (Folkestone and Hythe)

Over the last four years, Hythe Town Council’s dementia awareness forum has done great work to raise the profile in the local community of the needs of people living with dementia, as well as their carers. Last Friday I was invited by Dudley Shipton and Ann Mayne who lead the forum to a special event at Waitrose in Hythe, to mark a £10,000 donation from the store to support the work of the dementia forum. We were also joined by the store manager, Luke Collins and other members of the Waitrose team. This is one of the largest community donations made by Waitrose this year to a single organisation and will greatly help the important work that is done by the forum. The Hythe Dementia Forum meets regularly on the third Thursday of each month at 2pm at the Town Council offices in Stade Street. Hythe Library also hosts a ‘Let’s Talk Dementia’ session every Tuesday morning. Bright Shadow, another organisation that specialises in dementia care holds weekly community sessions every Thursday afternoon at the Hythe Sports Pavilion. Waitrose in Hythe runs frequent dementia friends information sessions and anyone who is interested is welcome to attend. Further information about these meetings can be found by calling the store on 01303 230318. The Hythe Dementia Forum also works closely with Age UK Hythe and Lyminge. At the heart of their work is understanding that dementia is a broad umbrella term used to describe a range of progressive neurological disorders, and that regardless of what type someone is diagnosed with, each person will experience dementia in their own way. This is why sharing information and understanding in the community about dementia is so important. I would like to thank everyone who is involved with or supports the Hythe Dementia Forum for their important work.

I was also pleased last Friday to visit another local charity, Headway Folkestone, which is based at the Marigold Centre in Shaftesbury Avenue, Cheriton. Headway promotes wider understanding of all aspects of brain injuries and provides information, support and services to people with a brain injury, their families and carers. Again, brain injuries can be very varied in how they impact on someone’s life, and the people around them. Headway also runs a popular day centre from their base in Folkestone which is greatly valued by all who use it.

I have received concerns over the last few months from residents in Sellindge about noise pollution coming from the Converter Station run by National Grid. Last Friday I met with the station manager, Ian Plowright, along with some of the local residents who have been most affected by this. National Grid are keen to reassure residents that they will do all they can to identify how and where this noise is spreading and to take effective action against it. If you have been affected by this and have not previously contacted National Grid, please let me know I and will be able to put you in touch with the team at the Sellindge Converter Station.

The post Hythe Town Council’s dementia awareness forum appeared first on Damian Collins.

When asked by Volteface, to visit Canada, along with Labour MP David Lammy, Lib Dem MP Sir Norman Lamb and a BBC film crew, I saw a good opportunity to look at all aspects of how this policy is playing out.

Jonathan Djanogly writes for CapX website CLICK HERE

Hatfield businesses are pushing back on proposals to severely restrict parking that they believe will damage trade.

Multiple businesses in Bury Road industrial estate and the surrounding area have approached local MP Grant Shapps to support their request for the Council to reconsider the new proposals.

A parking change consultation proposes to introduce double-yellow lines and a limited number of parking permits that each cost £225, allocated on a first come first served basis.

However in a letter to Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council Chief Executive, Rob Bridge, Mr Shapps said “Rather than helping the area thrive, I believe the current proposals will inadvertently push local businesses away.

The changes are part of a wider programme of parking consultations that the Council hope will make it more manageable for residents as well as businesses in the area.

Companies affected by the proposed changes include the much-loved Simmons Bakers, who said, “We would like to thank the Council for giving consideration to local businesses, especially given the other recently implemented parking restrictions.

“However, on balance, our preference would be for no change to the current arrangements.”

The local MP further commented, “Local businesses are part of what make Welwyn Hatfield a great place to live and work. I know that the Council will want to listen to their concerns and put further thought into this plan.” 

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Anne Marie's Weekly Column

Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbot)

Westminster Week

Evennett Appointed Conservative Party Vice Chairman

David Evennett (Bexleyheath and Crayford)

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, has been appointed as one of the Vice Chairmen of the Conservative Party by the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP. The appointment is part of a major shake-up of the Government and Conservative Campaign HQ.

Nottinghamshire Pride

Chris Leslie (Nottingham East)

This year’s Nottinghamshire Pride has already painted the city in rainbow colours and is set to be an entertaining and inclusive event for all to enjoy – kicking off with a march from outside Marks & Spencer in ListerGate from 10am tomorrow (Saturday 27th July).

It’s been great to see the flags, street rainbow painting and awnings adorning lampposts in the city (see pictured!) as a symbol on the whole community’s celebration of diversity and equality.

There will be lots of events this weekend with live entertainment, stalls and music especially in Hockley up to 6:30pm on Saturday. My thanks to all involved for all their efforts and the support they’ve received from local businesses and the city council.

Local Council invited to bid for roads funding

Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed, is delighted that Northumberland County Council is being invited to bid for funding for local highways. £198 million is available in 2019/20 and 2020/21 for highways maintenance and £150 million to ease congestion pinch points in 2021/22 and 2022/23. This funding is specifically aimed at local road away from London.

Charles Walker MP speaking in the House of Commons, PMQs, 24 July 2019

At her last Prime Minister’s Questions, Charles Walker pays tribute to Theresa May and in particular her commitment to mental health with the reviews of workplace mental health and the Mental Health Act 1983, and her commitment to reduce suicide and the introduction of places of safety for people experiencing a mental health crisis. [read more] about Charles Walker pays tribute to Theresa May’s commitment to mental health

Boris Johnson UK’s next Prime Minister

Royston Smith (Southampton, Itchen)

Yesterday, Boris Johnson was elected to lead the Conservative Party. Later this afternoon, he will go to the Palace where Her Majesty the Queen will ask him to form a Government. One or two important issues to note. Over half of Conservative MPs, 160 in total, voted to put Boris Johnson onto the last two [...]

The post Boris Johnson UK’s next Prime Minister appeared first on Royston Smith - At the heart of Southampton.

Alec’s updated Dementia Directory

Alec Shelbrooke (Elmet and Rothwell)

By 2021 over 1 million people will be living with Dementia. Following his Dementia Summit in 2015, Alec has been working closely with volunteers in our communities to bring about one simple goal: to make the area he represents in Parliament the UK’s first Dementia-friendly constituency.

To support this goal, Alec has updated his Dementia Directory – bringing together details of local organisations in one place, so those living with Dementia and their carers know how and where to access first-class Dementia services locally.

Download Alec Shelbrooke’s Dementia Directory here.

 

The post Alec’s updated Dementia Directory appeared first on Alec Shelbrooke MP.

Local Assurances on Heathrow

Dominic Raab (Esher and Walton)

This week, I have written to Heathrow Airport to nail down local assurances that residents will be protected from increased levels of noise, traffic and air pollution from two proposed changes to how planes fly over our constituency. These are some of the most common and serious issues residents raise with me, and it is vital that local concerns are addressed if constituents are to have confidence that Heathrow can expand in a sustainable way.

First, Heathrow are proposing to introduce a practice known as ‘independent parallel approach’, or IPA. Put simply, this would allow for increased capacity at Heathrow, facilitating up to 25,000 more flights a year with flights starting early in the morning.

Second, Heathrow propose to change how they manage the direction in which flights land and depart. Under the current system of ‘Westerly Preference’, Elmbridge residents are exposed to higher levels of noise from departing aircraft during the day and night on Easterly operations (which only take place around 30% of the time). Heathrow propose moving from Westerly Preference to Managed Preference, which is likely to mean more flights operating on Easterly operations, and so the risk of increased noise for residents.

In my letter, I call on Heathrow to provide three reassurances and safeguards under its plans so that:

  1. Residents currently overflown by flights to or from Heathrow will not experience any material increase in noise or the deterioration of their air quality as a result of the introduction of IPA or the move to managed preference;
  2. Legally prescribed limits on noise and air quality (planned in the context of the development of the third runway) are incorporated into any plan for introducing IPA, including independent monitoring and enforcement; and
  3. There will be no material increases in traffic congestion without a commensurate increase in infrastructure to deal with it.

These common-sense safeguards would reassure our residents, and give people greater confidence in Heathrow’s ability to expand in a sustainable manner in the future. You can read my letter in full here.

Separately, I have responded to Heathrow’s latest consultation on their plans for expansion. Heathrow propose creating binding limits for noise, air quality and traffic to manage the local impact of a third runway. This is a welcome step which I have long pushed for, but local residents will want the peace of mind of knowing that their local authority has a direct role in monitoring and enforcing Heathrow’s environmental limits. I argue local councils should be represented on the enforcement body.

You can read my full submission here.

Every so often in my job something happens that is really inspiring. The Disability Confident conference organised by the Department for Work and Pensions at the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce fell into this welcome category.

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, what steps he is taking to protect UK residents subject to deportation from Romania.

Tracy Brabin MP has hailed the Archbishop of Canterbury’s support for mandatory reporting of sexual abuse as a “significant step” towards a change in the law to help protect children and vulnerable adults from harm.

The Batley & Spen MP is now calling on the government to bring forward legislation to make the reporting of sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults mandatory across all institutions.

It comes after survivor Matthew Ineson, from Heckmondwike, who has waived his right to anonymity, re-lived the harrowing ordeal he endured at the hands of a Church of England priest over 30 years ago at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

Ms Brabin, who has been supporting Matthew in his quest for justice for over two years, has previously urged the Prime Minister to introduce mandatory reporting to help prevent child sexual abuse.

When pressed on the matter by Ms Brabin during Prime Minister’s Questions in December last year, Theresa May would not commit to introducing mandatory reporting, saying evidence for its effectiveness was “mixed”.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who has previously resisted calls for mandatory reporting, told the ongoing inquiry on July 11 he’s now “convinced” a change in the law is needed.

Batley & Spen MP Tracy Brabin said: “Matthew and many other survivors have shown incredible bravery in coming forward and reliving their ordeals, and we must do all we can to ensure others are heard and action is taken.

“The Archbishop of Canterbury’s support for a change in regulation represents a significant step forward and one which I believe could prevent further suffering in the future.

“There is significant international evidence to show that mandatory reporting can double the number of at-risk children placed into safety. A change in the law can’t come soon enough.

“The government must act on this evidence now and bring forward a change in legislation to protect children and vulnerable adults across all institutions.”

Earlier in the week, the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, also signalled his support for the introduction of mandatory reporting.

Many abuse survivors have long argued that mandatory reporting of suspicions or allegations of abuse to the relevant authorities is a crucial part of effective child protection.

Ends

Full transcripts of Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse hearings from this week can be found here https://www.iicsa.org.uk/key-documents

https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/latest-news/video-batley-mp-tracy-brabin-tells-of-brave-constituent-as-she-urges-theresa-may-to-bring-in-mandatory-reporting-for-child-sex-abuse-1-9466916

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