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Brexit - Statement on today's vote.

Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbot)

Statement on today’s vote

Liz speaks in Brexit debate

Liz Kendall (Leicester West)

In today’s hugely important Brexit debate I gave a speech on why I oppose Boris Johnson’s deal.

I voted for an amendment to make sure MPs see the details of what is being proposed set out in legislation, because I do not trust the Prime Minister to stick to his word. The amendment passed which means the Withdrawal Bill will be debated in Parliament next week.

As I have said before, now that we know what Brexit actually looks like – which is very different to what people were promised in the Referendum – we should give the public the final say on whether they want to go ahead or stick with our current deal and remain within the EU.

You can watch my speech here.

The post Liz speaks in Brexit debate appeared first on Liz Kendall.

The criminal law in our country has for long been a mixture of common law principles and decisions by judges, and Statute law where Parliament legislates to clarify and guide common law practice.

There have been various disagreements between the courts and Parliament over the law. In the end Parliament can legislate to change the law for the future despite a previous pattern of judgements or in place of established court principles.  In that sense Statute law is superior law.

In effect though courts still retain powers especially if   the law may be unclear as drafted by Parliament or it may be unenforceable. Whilst Statute law is usually supreme, both courts and Parliament have to recognise there are limits to their respective powers to move the law in the way they wish.

Today given the fluid and uncertain  constitutional background created by Remain campaigners and lawyers, we need to ask are there any limits on what laws Parliament can pass? Let us take three prospective cases of possible Acts of Parliament.

The first, “The Sunny Sundays Act” would widely be recognised as bad law. This Act states the government must ensure every Sunday is sunny so people can enjoy their day off. Any such idea would be void as it is unenforceable, as government does not have the power to ensure it happens.

The second, “The reduction of rough sleeping Act” is a bit more difficult. This Act says that the Prime Minister has to sleep rough once a week until Parliament thinks he or she has done enough to curb rough sleeping and passes a motion accordingly. Surely this too should be void, as it infringes the human rights of the Prime Minister and puts that office holder at security risks out on the streets.

The third is  “The breaking of the Prime   Minister’s promises Act” which requires the Prime Minister to reverse certain specified policies he had set out and campaigned for, because opposition forces in Parliament do not like them. The opposition with a small temporary majority got this through in order to undermine the Prime Minister’s popularity. Is this a fair  and enforceable Act? Isn’t our constitutional way of dealing  with a PM who no longer commands a majority to remove him by a vote of No Confidence?

These hypothetical proposals show the difficulties of having a minority government and taking away from it the sole right to initiate legislation. The country can become ungovernable with a headstrong Parliament that cannot supply a majority government yet refuses an election.

Lisa reselected by Wigan Labour

Lisa Nandy (Wigan)

Lisa Nandy MP

Wigan Constituency Labour Party have reselected Lisa Nandy MP as their candidate for the next General Election.

At meetings held over the last fortnight, members in all of the branches that make up Wigan Labour Party voted overwhelmingly to reselect Lisa. All affiliated organisations, including Unite the Union, the Communication Workers’ Union, GMB, Unison and Usdaw, also voted to reselect.

Lisa said:

“I’m grateful to Labour members in Wigan for choosing to reselect me so overwhelmingly. Being the Member of Parliament for Wigan is the privilege of my life, and I couldn’t do it without the members who turn up year in, year out and in all weathers to campaign for the Labour Party. With a General Election looking likely, we will be out once again fighting for every vote and to put an end to the damage inflicted on Wigan by this reckless Conservative government.”

Wigan Constituency Labour Party said:

“We’re delighted to have reselected Lisa Nandy as our candidate for the next General Election. For 10 years Lisa has worked tirelessly to represent Wigan in Parliament, fighting for constituents hit hardest by this Conservative government’s brutal cuts and ensuring that Wigan’s voice is heard on the national stage. The overwhelming level of support Lisa received from local party members is testament to that work. We’re proud to have Lisa as our MP and we’re ready to fight and win the next General Election together.”

Strong partnership working across the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal area has now led to an agreement to produce a Regional Growth Framework by the summer of 2020.

BREXIT UPDATE - WINTER IS COMING

Alistair Burt (North East Bedfordshire)

Or is it? Who knows, as we enter into what may be the endgame after three and a half years of negotiations post Referendum, or it may not be, depending on Parliament this Saturday coming.

Progress on Dalgety Bay Radiation after meeting with Minister

Lesley Laird (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath)

Local MP Lesley Laird, met this week with the new Ministry of Defence Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan who is now responsible for the project to clean up the long standing issue of radiation on the beach at Dalgety Bay.

Lesley said, “The meeting was a positive one and I am now feeling more confident that this work will begin next spring. The budget is approved, the tender process is complete, and the contract will now be allocated in the next few weeks. Final agreements re access are also almost concluded and the Minister confirmed that she expects to be able to confirm the start date for the project shortly.

“This is a long time coming for the people of Dalgety Bay. I started working on this campaign with the Community Council when I was first elected as a Councillor in 2012, and here we are now in 2019 as MP and I am very pleased that I have been able to stick with this project and I look forward to seeing it brought to a satisfactory conclusion with the confirmation of the contract and the start date for work.”

“This project has been all about perseverance and I am delighted that by working together we are finally going to get the right result for the people of Dalgety Bay.”

The post Progress on Dalgety Bay Radiation after meeting with Minister appeared first on Lesley Laird.

Gwynne welcomes Labour plans to scrap Universal Credit

Andrew Gwynne (Denton and Reddish)

Denton and Reddish’s MP Andrew Gwynne has welcomed Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s announcement that a Labour government would scrap Universal Credit and replace it with a social security system that focuses on “alleviating and ending poverty, not driving people into it”.

The move comes after a year-long review into the social security system by Labour’s Work, Pensions and Equality Policy Commission. The review was led by Margaret Greenwood MP, co-convenor of the commission and Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Labour MPs, including Andrew Gwynne have repeatedly held the government to account in Parliament on the roll-out of Universal Credit and have long drawn attention to the link between the system and increased food bank usage and the rise in poverty levels across the UK.

In government, Labour would scrap Universal Credit; this major policy change cannot be delivered overnight, but Labour would introduce an emergency package of measures and:

  • Reduce the five-week wait for first payment
  • End the benefit cap
  • Scrap the two-child limit
  • Suspend sanctions and the claimant agreement
  • End the “digital only” approach and recruit 5,000 new social security advisers so that people can have face-to-face, telephone and outreach support

The latest figures from the House of Commons Library show that, as of May 2019, in Denton and Reddish, there were 3,194 households claiming Universal Credit, of which 47% were households with children.

Andrew Gwynne said:

“I am delighted that Jeremy Corbyn has announced that a Labour government would scrap Universal Credit.

 

“Our welfare system should be based on supporting those who use it, rather than punishing them.

 

“The current system is deeply flawed and the implementation has been shambolic, leaving many families in my constituency struggling to get by.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said:

“Universal Credit has been an unmitigated disaster. As well as being behind schedule and over budget, it is inhumane and cruel, driving people into poverty and hardship.

 

“The Tories told us that Universal Credit would make work pay, but we have seen the opposite. More and more people who are falling into poverty have jobs, and more and more children who are growing up in poverty are living in working families.

 

“Labour will introduce a new system based on the principles of dignity and respect and it will alleviate and end poverty, not drive people into it.”

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Margaret Greenwood said:

 

“Universal Credit was meant to lift people out of poverty, simplify the social security system and smooth the transition into work.

“Instead it is failing those in need, pushing many into debt and rent arrears and forcing them to rely on food banks to survive.

 

“The two-child limit and the benefit cap are driving up child poverty, and the sanctions regime is punishing people instead of supporting them.

“Labour will scrap Universal Credit, put an end to the benefit cap and create a social security system that, just like our NHS, treats people with dignity and respect and is there for any one of us in our time of need.”

Graham Stuart MP supports 2019’s ‘Love our Colleges’ Week

Graham Stuart (Beverley and Holderness)

Graham Stuart, MP for Beverley and Holderness, has voiced his support for colleges across Yorkshire – including Bishop Burton College in Beverley.

This comes after having been written to by a collection of principals of colleges from across East Riding, North Yorkshire and York urging him to support the sector during the annual celebration which this year ran from 14th-18th October.

Graham said, “Colleges and other kinds of Further Education institutions are hugely important for the country as they equip people with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in the world of work.

“As the former Chair of the Education Select Committee, I still take a keen interest in all things education, and so I was delighted when the Government announced a £400 million funding boost for colleges.

“They educate over 600,000 16-18 year-olds every year, and around 2.2 million people in total, and that’s why I’m showing my support for colleges for Colleges Week 2019.”

The £400 million boost for colleges and Further Education institutions comes alongside the Government’s announcement of £14 billion of investment for schools over 3 years, taking the schools budget to £52 billion.

The Government has also announced that colleges will receive another £100 million to fund extra pensions’ provision rather than having to fund it from their existing budgets.

Graham added, “Colleges make a huge contribution to society and now more than ever we need highly skilled, well-educated workforces to deliver for our economy and country.

“We’re committed to investing in further education and skills for the long-term so that anybody, no matter where they’re from, can thrive in whatever career they choose.”

Telegraph Article

Ben Bradley (Mansfield)

I thought I'd share an article I wrote for the Telegraph, which was published on 14th October 2019 following the Queen's Speech. You can see it online hereor read it in full below:
My constituents tell me they want to get Brexit done so we can concentrate on other key priorities that affect their lives.
The Queen’s Speech showed us the great potential of post-Brexit Britain and the importance of getting Brexit done; not least because when we finally stop arguing about leaving, there are a million and one domestic priorities that need and deserve our attention.
The speech focused on the key issue to cross my desk as Mansfield’s Member of Parliament, which is law and order. I’ve always felt that if a Conservative Government can’t achieve law and order, it is a failure. That is why it’s so brilliant to see Boris and our new Home Secretary working to revive the reputation of the Conservatives as the party of the police, and the party that is tough on crime.
More officers on our streets, more powers to detain perpetrators of the worst crimes and to deport foreign criminals, more protections for the police and more support for victims. We’ll reduce violence in prisons, improve safety and invest in rehabilitation. That is an agenda to be proud of, and one that will hit home with members of the public.
Since I was elected in 2017, my life has been dominated by Brexit. I wanted to be elected because of a passion for education; to talk about schools and colleges, and improve policies for helping our children to fulfil their potential. I’ve been trying to do that through the Education Select Committee, but so much of it, as with other areas of domestic policy, has been silenced by the European issue. It’s been so refreshing and welcome to see these domestic priorities –policing, schools, our NHS – coming back to the fore under this Prime Minister, who is able to cut through the noise, and who refuses to be held back from progress on these issues.
Think of the possibilities if we can get Brexit done. We’ll legislate to take full advantage of life outside of the EU, on agriculture, trade, the environment, fisheries, immigration… We can go above and beyond Europe’s requirements, and we can legislate in our own interests and to support UK citizens first and foremost.
In a post-Brexit (and hopefully post-election) Parliament, we can begin to collaborate and work cross-party once again in a way that has been absolutely impossible under the shadow of Brexit. Issues like social care and children’s services need long term planning and bipartisan work if we’re to find solutions. They can’t be used as weapons in an election, or treated as collateral damage in a Brexit argument. The atmosphere simply has to change if we are to make progress. That means the Brexit fog must be lifted, and Parliament must begin afresh.
It’s right that Brexit has been the major discussion post-referendum, but it should have been dealt with by now. My constituency voted 71 per cent for Leave, but even Remain voters that I speak to say they just desperately want it to be over. I have heard more support for the Prime Minister in my traditionally Labour-voting, coalfield constituency than I could ever imagined, and for his commitment to just get the bloody thing done and move on. I’m yet to find anybody who wants to delay and prolong this confusion and uncertainty.
I hope that his domestic agenda, laid out in the Queen’s Speech, helps to grow that support even further for a vision of what Britain can be like after we’ve left the EU. As well as crime, social care and major regional infrastructure investment, we’ll see action on the environment and animal welfare, on fairer employment practices, giving people more security in their private pensions and other issues that genuinely will affect the day to day lives of the people I represent.
Delivering Brexit is vitally important, and I think that Jeremy Corbyn will regret his actions to delay and to block it when they come to be tested at the ballot box.
I’ve never experienced Parliament in "normal" times, whatever that means. Everything in the last two and a half years has been unprecedented and unpredictable. I’m looking forward to a time when we can focus on delivery, and can put the never-ending frustration of Brexit behind us.

Anne-Marie visits Berwick Army Cadets

Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed, visited Berwick Army Cadets on Friday, in her role as Minister of State for Defence Procurement, where she was met by Lt Debra Jerdan. Anne-Marie then addressed the cadets on parade and saw the Remembrance Day project that the detachment is preparing.

She was delighted to attach some poppies to the Weeping Window display. Anne-Marie presented a Minister’s coin to Cdt Eldessouky who came up with the idea for the Weeping Window display.

Penny Mordaunt MP wins Politician of the Year award at Pink News award ceremony.
The celebrated and highly anticipated Pink News Awards took place last night at Church House, London. The awards look to celebrate LGBTQ+ champions, allies and public figures who work and fight to affect positive change for true equality.
Penny Mordaunt MP was Minister for Women and Equalities from April 30th 2018 until 24th July 2019. Penny was honoured for both her work during that time and also during her tenure as an elected Member of Parliament.
Pink News wrote: "The Tory MP Penny Mordaunt has a long record of advocating for LGBT rights in government. As a junior Defence Minister, in 2016 Mordaunt ensured that civil same-sex marriages would be available to couples on British military bases across the world, and the same year gave the green light for the Red Arrows to perform a flypast to mark the Pride in London celebrations.
Mordaunt became Minister for Women and Equalities in April 2018, and has pushed forward with several long-awaited LGBT+ rights reforms, announcing an action plan in July 2018 that commits to outlawing gay 'cure' therapy, strengthening protections against anti-LGBT hate crime, and advancing long-awaited reforms on transgender rights.
This year Mordaunt has also launched the government's consultation on reforms to the Gender Recognition Act, fulfilling a key commitment made by Theresa May at the PinkNews Awards 2017.
Mordaunt has defended proposals to reform the Gender Recognition Act in the face of hostile media coverage single-interest campaign groups opposed to reform, constituently arguing that transgender people deserve respect and a system that treats people sensitively."
Penny said, "I feel very honoured to have won the PinkNews Politician of the Year award. Thank you! I couldn't have achieved the changes without so much help and support from individuals and organisations across the United Kingdom.
We have to reform and refresh our politics so that it is effective and is responsive to the society that it is supposed to be serving. And we have to ensure that the four nations of the United Kingdom work better together, whichever political party is in control of those nations. So that devolutions is actually a force for good and doesn't tear at the social fabric of the United Kingdom or what it is to be a citizen of our country.
And in Parliament we change laws when we know that reform is needed rather than wait until a court tells us that it must be so. One of the things that I've learnt in my years as a minister and specifically while working on the Gender Recognition Act consultation is that the Great British Public are collectively very good people. They care about each other, they care about you, they care about us. They want people in this country to thrive. They want people to love and to be loved. They are thoroughly sensible individuals and my advice to politicians is twofold: We need to work together. More. We need to support each other more whatever our political differences, whatever party we represent. Because, on these issues our country needs us to. And secondly, if you feel after you've listened, if you feel that after you've followed the evidence, if you feel after empathising that to do the right thing you need to be brave. And if you are brave , you will discover that there was no need to be."

Kashmir briefing from High Commission for Pakistan

Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central)

 

 

 

Let’s Get Brexit Done and Back Boris!

Wendy Morton (Aldridge-Brownhills)

Today I am back in Aldridge-Brownhills as planned, meeting constituents, visiting some of our schools, and attending events.

However, later this evening I will be returning to Westminster to vote in the Brexit debate to support the Prime Minister’s deal so that we deliver Brexit and honour the outcome of the 2016 EU Referendum.

Since becoming Prime Minister only 86-days ago Boris Johnson has energetically sought to find a deal that works for our whole country and breaks the deadlock in Parliament ensuring that we leave the European Union on 31st October.

The Prime Minister’s determination and energy has paid off and his Brexit deal will allow us to get Brexit done. 

As a country the Prime Minister’s deal allows us to leave the EU’s Customs Union as one United Kingdom and means that we will be able to strike trade deals around the world as a truly global nation controlling our own money, our own laws and our own borders.

Tomorrow I will be voting for the Prime Minister’s deal so that we honour the outcome of the EU Referendum, and so that we can then start to focus on your day to day priorities and ensure that we bring our country together allowing us to move forward towards a positive future.

GWR’s changes to rail timetables due to take place from December 15 will also result in some changes to fares. According to GWR, there will be stricter rules governing the timing of off peak trains resulting in some of the current off peak morning and evening services becoming subject to peak charges. Richard has raised […]

Young Carers Grant open for Applications from 21st October

Angus MacNeil (Na h-Eileanan an Iar)

Angus MacNeil MP urges all eligible Young Carers in Isles to apply

Social Security Scotland has announced that the Young Carers Grant will be open for applications from 21st October this year.  The Grant of £300 is available to young people in Scotland aged 16 -18 years who care for someone in receipt of certain disability benefits for an average of 16 hours a week.

Commenting Angus B MacNeil MP said:

“ There are many  young people throughout Scotland and in the Islands who willingly take on the care of a family member who  needs regular support. This new benefit from Social Security Scotland is designed to help these young people  and to show their care contribution is valued by society.

“I would urge any young person in this situation to look into this new benefit and see if they qualify for this welcome help. This is an age group who may not previously have engaged with Social Security Scotland but  they should consider applying for this small amount of money which could be of huge benefit to them.

“Information on applying for this Grant is available on the Young Scot website or at https://www.socialsecurity.gov.scot/what-we-do/stakeholder-resources/young-carer-grant  and I would encourage all young carers who are eligible to apply.”

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John Penrose, Liz Saville Roberts and John Mann join Dermot Murnaghan for a lively debate about The Queen’s Speech, Brexit and a possible General Election…

A programme for post-Brexit Britain

David Evennett (Bexleyheath and Crayford)

Earlier today (14 October), a new Queen’s Speech was delivered which sets out the Government’s agenda. Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, has warmly welcomed the speech and its contents, branding it as “an ambitious programme for post-Brexit Britain, which deals with the people’s priorities of crime and punishment, the NHS, education, the environment and immigration”.

A Brexit agreement in sight?

Damian Collins (Folkestone and Hythe)

The meeting of the European Council in Brussels this week will be central to the Government’s plan to deliver Brexit by 31st October. At the time of writing this column it appears that genuine progress is being made to agree a new deal with the European Union which would be acceptable to us and therefore far more likely to win the support of parliament. If Boris Johnson can secure a deal which delivers Brexit for the whole of the UK, establishes that we will be outside of the EU Customs Union and Single Market, and removes the ‘backstop’ provisions which sought to lock us indefinitely into European Union rules, then he will have my full support. I believe that we need to deliver on Brexit so that we can move on as a country. If we were to have a second referendum, which I would not support, it will lead to more delay and acrimony.

Whilst I hope we can get an agreement in place to deliver Brexit, it is right that the Government continues with its contingency planning in case we leave at the end of October without a deal. Next week there will be further works completed to make sure that Kent is ready in case there are delays in lorries leaving the country through the Port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel. On the night of 26/27th October the M20 between junctions 7 to 9 on the London-bound carriageway will be closed. The coast-bound carriageway will though remain unaffected. This will ensure Operation Brock can be implemented safely, meaning that from the morning of Monday 28 October, traffic will be using the contraflow system. In addition, Highways England will be making sections of the new M20 junction 10a available to traffic on 31st October. This will help traffic move more smoothly through the junction and create a new, quicker coastbound route from the Ashford Truckstop. These measures mean that we will be ready on day one should there be a problem. In the past when Operation Stack has been put in place, it has been in response to an incident which has caused delays, whereas this time we will be ready just in case. Of course, we all hope that this is not necessary and that the roads can return to normal as soon as possible. Local residents will also note that unlike with past cases of Operation Stack, there are no plans this time to close the M20 between junctions 10 and 11, as the lorries will be held further west and at Manston Airport if required.

Last week I met with representatives from the Post Office to discuss the future of postal services in Dymchurch. There has been considerable local concern that when the current post master retires there may be no-one to take over the Post Office and that this valuable service will be lost to the local community. The Post Office have stressed to me their commitment to retain the service currently provided in Dymchurch and have been advertising for people to come forward who would be interested in delivering this in the future. I have also asked for the Post Office to meet with me in Dymchurch to discuss how a plan can be put in place to make sure that residents will continue to receive this vital service.

The post A Brexit agreement in sight? appeared first on Damian Collins.

 

Newyddion cyffroes o Rotari Llandudno

 

 

Bu 21 o Rotariaid a’u ffrindiau’n arddangos (sut galla i roi hyn?) lefelau amrywiol o sgiliau yng Nghystadleuaeth Sgitls Flynyddol y Clwb Rotari, a gynhaliwyd yn Penrhyn Old Hall ddydd Mercher 9fed Hydref 2019.

 

“Instead of issuing threats to EU citizens, the UK government should be supporting them.” BRENDAN O’HARA MP URGES UK GOVERNMENT TO ISSUE AUTOMATIC PERMANENT RESIDENCY TO EU NATIONALS AND FAMILIES IN UK The Security Minister, Brandon Lewis MP has said that EU nationals lacking settled status after the 2021 deadline could be removed from the … Continue reading TORY ADMISSION THAT EU NATIONALS LACKING SETTLED STATUS COULD BE REMOVED

Ealing Gazette October 2019

Steve Pound (Ealing North)

Sometimes life pulls you in two different directions.

Everyone knows that we have a desperate shortage of housing in Ealing North but there is a growing reluctance to support more large-scale developments.

The current debate around a proposal to throw up a twenty-six-storey tower block next to the GWR line on Manor Road in West Ealing has brought this dichotomy into sharp focus.

It’s not as though we lack major housing projects in Ealing North – Grand Union Village on the site of the former Taylor Woodrow offices and works and the developments on Rectory Park, Copley Close, Cheyney Path and High Lane are all cases in point and they have – by and large – been accepted by the local community as an essential component of the solution to the housing crisis.

We are currently looking at just under three hundred new homes on the former Kellogg (IBM as was) site in North Greenford and possibly the biggest yet; just under two thousand units on the old Glaxo and Hovis sites – also in North Greenford.

The Greenford Quay development by Greystar is a case in point about how best to engage with local people and temper the proposals to fit in with local wishes.

Originally, they proposed a primary school in the plan, but we are faced with falling school rolls in Ealing North and that idea was parked. Community police, a cinema, canalside development – very Venetian! – and the reopening of Berkeley Avenue after so many years have proved popular and it has been suggested that one of the buildings be named in honour of the late John Bivens, a hero of North Greenford United’s footballing history.

Not everyone loves the idea, but I only received five letters or e-mails objecting to the new use of a redundant former industrial site.

A recent proposal to build on the petrol station to the north of Tesco at the Hoover Building would have created the tallest building in Perivale and utterly altered the skyline of that part of the world. Councillors – rightly in my opinion – rejected the proposal.

Which brings us to the high tower proposed for Manor Road.

To date I’ve received two hundred and thirty detailed objections from the immediate neighbourhood and the Drayton’s Community Association have been both assiduous and ferocious in their lobbying of the local councillors and myself.

The fact that a very similar if slightly more modest application is being submitted for Hastings Road which may be in another parliamentary constituency, but which is just over the road from West Ealing Station – the boundary between Ealing North and Ealing Central and Acton (proprietor, Rupa Huq MP) – has added to the sense of anger which is being expressed so strongly .

Maybe the technology exists to make a 26-storey building located next to one of the busiest high-speed rail lines in the country vibration proof and maybe post Grenfell structural standards will ensure the safety of the residents, but the fact remains that there will be a huge loss of light and outlook locally.

It will, in all honesty, completely alter the area and change forever the architectural cohesion of Manor Road, Luminosity Court and the Draytons.

Is the end of such a settled and valued environment a fair price to pay for the provision of new homes – some of which are classified as “affordable”?

I have had to conclude that the provision is just not worth it and with house prices falling off a cliff in London and the population declining I have serious doubts as to the financial viability of the scheme in any case.

I am told that if Ealing is seen to be rejecting such planning applications we will gain a reputation as a borough which speculative developers will be reluctant to engage with or operate in.

There may be a grain of truth in this but – frankly – so what? Cash has no conscience and the speculators will go wherever they find a fallow field.  I was taught at the LSE that the factors of production were land, labour and capital. We have very little spare land in London and labour is becoming rarer by the minute as the imminence of a catastrophic Brexit drives many of our valued fellow European craftsmen and women out of the country.

Capital there will always be but the supply ebbs and flows with interest rates and the prospects of a good return.

Refusing the planning application for what is being dubbed as the Fawlty Tower of Manor Road will not bring financial ruin on the London Borough of Ealing.

Approving it may bring disaster to a settled community who have come to value their part of W13 and want nothing more than to be left in peace to enjoy it. 

I spent sixteen years as an Ealing councillor, and this included a spell as Chair of Planning. I would have turned down this proposal for a towering edifice that would bring darkness at noon to the Draytons. I urge today’s councillors to screw their courage to the sticking point and do as I would have done. For the sake of the future of our borough. 

Oldham MP backs campaign to grow the Northern Forest

Debbie Abrahams (Oldham East and Saddleworth)

Debbie Abrahams asks Prime Minister to support northern tree-planting scheme

Together with 120 Northern leaders, I am taking the issue of climate change straight to the heart of Government. We have written to the Prime Minister asking for his support and commitment to grow the Northern Forest which you can read here.

As the world faces a climate crisis, and local authorities across the UK declare a climate emergency, we all have a responsibility to care for our planet and protect our environment. I’m proud to once more be working with the Woodland Trust and their partners in growing the Northern Forest. It will be transformational for more than 13 million residents, improving their health and wellbeing. It will help habitats thrive, a woodland culture to flourish as well as helping to tackle climate change, reduce the risk of flooding and create thousands of new jobs.

The Northern Forest is an initiative of international significance and I’m playing my part in helping to grow it. So I’m calling on the Prime Minister to back this project, bestowing a legacy we can all be proud of.

It was Sheffield City Region Mayor and MP for Barnsley Central, Dan Jarvis, who brought together more than 120 cross-party northern leaders and MPs to support the growth of the Northern Forest.  

The Northern Forest will see 50 million trees planted over the next 25 years in the North of England by the Woodland Trust and their partners, with more than 600,000 already in the ground. The forest will span 120 miles, connecting the towns and cities of Liverpool, Manchester and Lancaster to the West and Sheffield, Leeds and Hull to the East, benefiting 13 million residents and generating £2.5 billion in social, economic, and environmental benefits. 

The letter asks for the Prime Minister’s commitment to deliver the Northern Forest and look at opportunities that support the development of green investment models. The letter also includes an invitation to the Prime Minister to visit the North to plant a tree as part of the Northern Forest

Darren Moorcroft, CEO, Woodland Trust commented: “The Northern Forest represents the green lungs of the Northern Powerhouse. This pioneering project spearheaded by the Woodland Trust and the Community Forests, will deliver millions of new trees planted, and billions of pounds worth of economic, social and environmental benefits to the region. If we are to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises the world faces, internationally significant projects like the Northern Forest must be at the forefront of bold, ambitious domestic thinking.”

Feel strongly about this article?

The post Oldham MP backs campaign to grow the Northern Forest appeared first on Debbie Abrahams MP.

More children across Cambridgeshire will be able to access a world-class education thanks to a major funding boost.  read more »

School funding increase in Wiltshire

Michelle Donelan (Chippenham)

I am passionate about education it really can transform lives and create opportunities. I have campaigned for more money for our schools for years – even before I was an MP. We recently announced £14 Billion EXTRA and on Friday the Department of a Education announced that it will mean schools in Wiltshire will get 5.3% more per pupil next year, a total of £15.5m of additional funding (subject to changes in pupil numbers).

So in Wiltshire all primary schools will see per-pupil funding increase to a minimum of £3,750 next year. In addition, all secondary schools will see per-pupil funding increase to a minimum of £5,000 next year.

The provisional allocation of high needs funding (which includes SEND) is £51.3m for Wiltshire next year which is 8.2% per head more than this year.

This is amazing news for our local schools and the funds will enable our fantastic teachers to continue to inspire, encourage and educate the next generation.

On Friday I visited Hardenhuish School, Chippenham to chat to the teachers and pupils about the increase along with some other topics. The school is attracting £6,195,000 in total next year (based on current pupil numbers), or £5,000 per pupil – that reflects an increase of 4.25% in pupil-led funding compared to last year.

The post School funding increase in Wiltshire appeared first on Michelle Donelan MP.

West Dunbartonshire’s MP has renewed calls for an armed forces representative body after it was revealed the lowest paid armed forces personnel are paid almost £2 less than the UK government’s National Minimum Wage. Local SNP MP Martin Docherty-Hughes – Scotland’s … Continue reading

The post RENEWED CALLS FOR ARMED FORCES REPRESENTATIVE BODY OVER SERVICE PERSONNEL PAY CONCERNS appeared first on Martin Docherty-Hughes MP.

‘WASPI women’

Conor McGinn (St Helens North)

It is incredibly disappointing that a recent court ruling means that the ‘WASPI women’ (Women Against State Pension Inequality) will not be receiving compensation. Many women in St Helens and some 3.8 million women nationwide have been impacted by the loss of their pensions because they were subject to discriminatory employment and pension laws. This has had a profound negative impact on them, including increased poverty, deteriorating health, and homelessness. […]

Free Nazanin: Gabriella

Tulip Siddiq (Hampstead and Kilburn)

The daughter of Richard Ratcliffe and Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has returned to Hampstead and Kilbun after spending three and a half years in Iran. She was kept in the country following her mother’s arrest, and lived with her grandparents in Tehran. Throughout this time, she was separated from Richard and would visit her mother in jail whenever she was allowed to do so.

Today we held a press conference to mark Gabriella’s return. At the conference I said that it was truly heart-warming to see Gabriella reunited with her father after 1300 days in Iran, but also heart-breaking that she is now separated from her mother Nazanin.

Alongside Richard, I argued that Iran must end their hostage diplomacy and release my innocent constituent. Nazanin is at breaking point, and today’s bittersweet events are yet another reminder that she has been failed at the very highest levels of Government.

The Big Catch

Bob Stewart (Beckenham)

I was a bit surprised when lunching in The Big Catch on Beckenham High Street earlier today (11 October). My surprise came from the fact that one of the people I talked to was adamant that we needed to increase Defence spending. That is not normally the first subject that comes up when I am walking around my constituency which has no service unit with it. His name was Phillip and he reminded me that the first duty of Government was the safety of the people.

Visit to St Alban’s Catholic Primary School

Dominic Raab (Esher and Walton)

Today I visited St Alban’s Catholic Primary School in East Molesey. I talked to pupils during their assembly about my role as an MP locally and at Westminster. They asked about the work that I do for the government as Foreign Secretary, and we discussed how to protect the environment, both locally by protecting the greenbelt and nationally by reducing CO2 emissions.

I took questions on everything from climate change and foreign policy to Brexit and local housing. Afterwards, I had a chat separately with the school parliament.

St Alban’s is one of the most successful schools in Esher and Walton and that is down to the hard work and commitment of the headteacher, Mr Brannigan, and his team of brilliant teachers. I found the pupils were bright and curious – terrific credit to a great school.

Catherine delighted to join Lemington pupils ahead of Parliament week

Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North)

Newcastle North MP Catherine McKinnell was pleased to join pupils at Waverley Primary School in Dumpling Hall this morning to talk about her role as a Member of Parliament ahead of Parliament Week in the first week of November. Parliament Week is a UK-wide festival taking place from 2-8 November that aims to engage people, … Continue reading Catherine delighted to join Lemington pupils ahead of Parliament week
SNP URGE UK GOVERNMENT TO ISSUE AUTOMATIC PERMANENT RESIDENCY TO EU NATIONALS AND FAMILIES IN UK
The Security Minister, Brandon Lewis MP, has said that EU nationals lacking settled status after the 2021 deadline could be removed from the UK.
Mr Lewis’ threat came in an interview today with German newspaper Die Welt and is the first time the UK government has admitted what could happen to EU citizens living in the UK if they do not apply for settled or pre-settled status by the deadline.
The SNP has consistently called on the UK government to implement automatic permanent residence for EU nationals and their families already in the UK to avoid a situation similar to the Windrush scandal, saying that it is impossible the settled status scheme will achieve 100% registration. Even missing the target by 10% would see hundreds of thousands of EU nationals removed from the UK or placed in a situation where just leading a life would be impossible.
The SNP is also calling for the insecure concept of pre-settled status to be scrapped after figures revealed an alarming number or EU nationals were given this status instead of “settled” status, resulting in them having to face another application and more uncertainty in the future.
Commenting, SNP spokesperson for Immigration Stuart McDonald MP said:
“This statement from a UK minister is utterly deplorable. Instead of issuing threats to EU citizens who have spent years building their lives here, he should be focusing on supporting them to stay.
“It is a clear admission that there are fundamental problems with the settled status scheme and a very real potential for hundreds of thousands of people to go from being legal residents to undocumented migrants overnight - yet the Tories continue to wilfully sit on their hands and do nothing to address it.
“The UK government is completely ignoring this looming threat that would not only see thousands of of people being forced to leave their home in the UK, but leave thousands more unable to work, rent somewhere to live, access free healthcare, and open a bank account in order to continue living their life in the UK.
“It is time the Tories at Westminster stopped playing with peoples’ lives and implement automatic permanent residence for EU nationals and family members already here, enshrined in law – otherwise we may see a repeat of the Windrush scandal but on a much larger scale.”
ENDS.

Most of the time this column is useful to address the problems and complaints people have. There is never a shortage of subjects! Occasionally though I like to use it to remind us all of the quiet good work that goes on around our local community every day.

This weekend, Bill joined an expert panel on Radio 4’s Farming Today to look at the practical implications of leaving the EU with or without a deal. Debating the impact of the UK’s departure from the EU on Britain’s agriculture... Continue Reading →
Frank Field MP blasts DWP after man in 'appalling' pain told to give back mobility car

Statement on Emergency Resolution

Keith Vaz (Leicester East)

Britain’s longest-serving Indian-origin Member of Parliament Keith Vaz has said that the Resolution passed at the Labour Party Conference last week has created unnecessary divisions within the Indian and Pakistani diaspora communities in the U.K. There are almost 1.5 million … Continue reading

The post Statement on Emergency Resolution appeared first on Keith Vaz.

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps recently met with local history enthusiast Andy Chapman to receive a copy of “Lest We Forget: The Story of Lemsford Parish”; an account of Lemsford between 1913 and 1919.

The fascinating compendium focuses particularly on the 21 Lemsford men and women who gave their lives in World War I and World War II. It also features a biography of each individual, and includes details about their personal history, their military record, and details of where each brave soldier is buried and remembered. These sections also contain fascinating examples of genuine written correspondence between military officials and the families of those killed.

Another particularly interesting section outlines the way in which the Sun Inn (which still trades today, as locals will know) and the pub trade in general was affected by the Defence of the Realm Act 1914.

Grant said of the book: “I was delighted to meet Andy. ‘Lest We Forget’ is a fascinating piece of work on a hard-hitting topic that anyone would find absorbing, especially anyone from our local area. Reading the biographies of those brave men and women who gave their lives for our freedom is a privilege, and we must never forget them.”

Of his meeting with Grant, Andy said: “As someone who is greatly interested in local history, I was delighted to have the opportunity to present a copy of my book to our local MP since he represents today’s Lemsford Village residents. As a local man himself, I could see he was fascinated by the wartime history of our village and the extraordinary bravery and sacrifice of that generation.” 

Mr Chapman is a part of the Lemsford Local History Group, a local group which welcomes correspondence from anyone with an interest in the local history of the parish. If you would like to contact the group or purchase a copy of ‘Lest We Forget’, you can contact them via email at info@lemsfordhistory.co.uk

Andy Chapman presents Grant with a copy of his group’s work

Emma was delighted to speak at the Social Workers Union Fringe event in Manchester at the end of last month. Prior to becoming an MP Emma was a child protection social worker and a Cabinet member for adult social services in her local authority. She is very proud of her profession and believes it is like no other.

In her speech Emma stated:

“There are over one hundred and forty-three thousand social workers in England alone. Each of those social workers as your excellent research undertaken with Bath Spa University showed, are working above and beyond their contracted hours amounting to an extra sixty-four days more per year than they are contracted for. 

This is a 46-hour week, in a physically, emotionally and mentally demanding job. It is little wonder that recruitment and retention rates are so abysmal.

I recall being regularly assaulted, punched, spat at, needing security escort and being held in victim support services.

Many people in the profession tell me that things are not getting better; things are getting worse. It is therefore vital that the Government support and value the profession, but they do not. 

The fact is that they, like most politicians don’t understand the profession and when something is misunderstood, they revert to type and seek to control and regulate it, such that social work and in particular child protection social work in England is in a stranglehold of excessive and debilitating state oversight more so than any other profession.

The problems I faced and what social workers face now are not of their own doing or by their own design.

It is therefore vital that the Government support and value the profession, but they do not.

Since 2010 the Government have certainly had our profession in their sights, children’s services, with their aggressive focus on reform of social work education, regulation, assessment and accreditation the clear message has been that the problems are with social workers themselves.

They have further stuck the boot in telling us that the best of our profession comes from Frontline and Frontline only, this drive towards what they say is raising the professionalism of children’s social work has not only led to a more prescriptive and tick box social work, devaluing that link between social workers and those they support, but it has also served to aid the Government’s overall agenda to rip the very heart and soul of social work apart – that political drive for social change.

The Governments whole approach to the crisis in children’s services is lacking in any cohesive, strategic or joined up vision and is consumed with short term measures that are not yielding any long-term positive changes, but so far have cost over sixty million pounds.  

The forcing of mainly Labour led Councils into Trust models that are little more than a rebranding exercise at a cost in excess of 17 million.  The national assessment and accreditation system proved grossly unpopular, which forced a U-turn on roll-out, while gifting £23 million to private companies.

The innovation programme has similarly bestowed £12 million on private consultancies, despite being time-limited and given only to certain local authorities, it not only pits local authorities against each other for funding but exacerbates the postcode lottery.

These changes have all took place against a backdrop of savage and unrelenting austerity, where social workers have suffered under years of the public sector pay freeze and local Government is being hollowed out and decimated, the drive from Government is one ideologically focussed on marketization and profit where everyone and everything has a price and their real value diminished. 

Action for Children recently reported that some 36,000 children had to be referred multiple times before they received statutory support to help them with serious issues like abuse, neglect and family dysfunction.

What this means is that children who are in a desperate state of help or protection are being subjected to further harm because of a lack of resources. That the most vulnerable children in our society are at further risk because of funding cuts is quite frankly shameful.

It is little wonder that in this desperate environment one in seven children’s social workers quit the profession in 2017.

I know that a Labour Government … are committed to looking strategically and holistically at children’s social care and stemming the tide of privatisation and outsourcing in the sector because we know that when profit becomes the driving force good social care suffers.

John McDonnell announced at Conference in September that we would strengthen trade union rights, introduce a real living wage and set up a working time commission to recommend better rights for workers leave.

Our approach is a clear move from the prescriptive, controlling resource poor environment, we’ve seen under the Tories to one where services and the people working within them or using them are treated with dignity and respect.

Despite this Government’s best efforts, the profession survives. Excellent social work happens every single day in all areas of our country. Children and adults are protected from harm and their lives are improved.

I want to thank you all for what you do.

I am proud to be a social worker.

I am proud to be with you here today and stand with your over twelve thousand strong and growing membership in this historic building.

I am not proud of our Government because their attacks on our profession are not only harming the workforce but leaving thousands of people without much needed support.

Let’s keep pushing for change and know you always have a friend in me.

Alec pays tribute to Wetherby Councillor, Gerald Wilkinson

Alec Shelbrooke (Elmet and Rothwell)

Statement by Rt Hon. Alec Shelbrooke MP following the death of Councillor Gerald Wilkinson on Friday 4th October:

“I’m deeply saddened at the passing of my colleague and friend, Cllr Gerald Wilkinson. Gerald was dedicated to life in the Wetherby area, he served the town and its villages as a Leeds City Councillor, a Town Councillor, and had the honour of being Wetherby Town Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor of Leeds. Everyone will know that Gerald worked hard for all residents and continued dealing with casework during his recent illness.

Our community has lost a hardworking representative and the Conservative Party family has lost a dear friend.

My thoughts and prayers are with Gerald’s family”.

The post Alec pays tribute to Wetherby Councillor, Gerald Wilkinson appeared first on Alec Shelbrooke MP.

Delighted to open the new John Street office for Llanelli Online, so do pop in and give them your news.

Vibrant professional independent local press like Llanelli Online is vital to give our communities a voice, and put local decision-makers on the spot.

Good luck Alan, Jo, Delyth and team … you turn up regularly at events, and have worked hard to establish Llanelli Online. Hope you go from strength to strength.

Knight Urges Boost to Rural Broadband

Greg Knight (East Yorkshire)

East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight who has been calling for action to deal with poor broadband, has welcomed the Government’s announcement of £5 billion additional funding to support the roll out of full-fibre broadband in the hardest to reach 20% of the country.

Speaking in the House of Commons Sir Greg said: “One of the main difficulties facing small rural businesses is the non-availability of fast and reliable broadband? In the light of the government pledge can we now assume that the days in which a geographically isolated business is also digitally isolated really are numbered?”

Treasury Minister Simon Clarke responded by confirming that the £5 billion investment will ensure the Prime Minister’s commitment to deliver full fibre broadband access by 2025 or before is fulfilled.

Sir Greg said: “People in East Yorkshire rightly expect access to high-speed broadband. Whether at home or work, fast broadband should be a reality in all our communities, and it is especially important in rural areas where the population is somewhat geographically isolated”.

He added: “Britain should be leading the world in digital innovation. We have come a long way, but with this new funding we will do even better delivering the broadband service that local people deserve”.

Residents on Matlock Road in Chesterfield who feel like they are taking their lives in their hands every time they leave their driveway have enlisted the help of their local MP, Toby Perkins, in trying to make the road safer.

Toby said, “This is a really dangerous stretch of road. It is narrow, with blind bends and people are racing along it. It feels like motorists get onto Matlock Road and feel like they are on their way into the countryside and put their foot down. Pulling out of driveways or crossing the road can take a long time and feels very risky. It is an accident waiting to happen.”

Following a meeting with concerned residents, Toby has written to the County Council urging them to take action and contacted the police to request they conduct a Community Speed Watch session.

Toby with concerned residents of Matlock Road

Toby with concerned residents of Matlock Road

Toby added, “I think the best course of action would be to change this stretch of road to a 30mph limit and add speed warning signs. Motorists need to be aware that this is still a residential road and people have a right to leave their properties without being put at risk.”

September Newsletter

Richard Burden (Birmingham, Northfield)

Welcome to my latest Parliamentary newsletter with a round-up of news from September. If you would like to receive these updates by email, you can sign up here. Space prevents the newsletter covering all of what I have been doing over the past month. However, hopefully it provides a flavour of some of the local issues […]

Brexit Readiness: Operation Yellowhammer debate 25/09/19

Philippa Whitford (Central Ayrshire)

On September 25th I asked The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove during the debate of the Yellowhammer report about the impact a no-deal Brexit would have on organic farmers. I asked about organic farmers, including those in my constituency and food producers and that they will not be able to export to the EU at all until the UK organic certifiers are approved by the EU, however, I didn’t get much of an answer!

Full question below, and text underneath. The full debate can be found at: https://hansard.parliament.uk or parliamentlive.tv

 

We are well aware of the impact of high tariffs on agri-foods, but organic farmers and food producers will not be able to export at all until UK certifiers are approved and registered. That will affect food producers in my constituency and across the UK, particularly those who export across the Irish border. Will that be sorted by the end of next month, or will they just have to accept the impact on their businesses?

The hon. Lady makes a very good point. Food producers will be able to export, but the organic certification under which they secure a particular benefit at the moment will not automatically be granted on 1 November. Some agri-food sectors—not just organics, but seed potatoes, for example—will experience a particularly adverse effect. We are seeking to ensure that the EU recognises that and moves rapidly to mitigate it, but I am grateful to her for having given me an opportunity to put it on the record that yes, the organics sector will be among those that face the strongest headwinds if we leave without a deal.

The post Brexit Readiness: Operation Yellowhammer debate 25/09/19 appeared first on Dr Philippa Whitford MP.

Jesse’s Hereford Times column: Investment in Hereford

Jesse Norman (Hereford and South Herefordshire)

As Hereford Times readers will know, I am a hopeless optimist by nature.  But even I am starting to get really excited about all the new investment taking in place in Hereford.

A letter from me to constituents about my future

Luciana Berger (Liverpool, Wavertree)

26 September 2019

Dear Constituent,

It has been an enormous privilege to have served as the MP for Liverpool Wavertree for almost ten years. I cannot thank my constituents enough for the relationship we have built over the last decade and what we have achieved together.

Liverpool has been my home since 2010. I met my husband in Liverpool and our two children were born here.  During the challenges I have experienced over the past eighteen months, I have been so grateful for the support I have received from the people of Liverpool. I am immensely proud of the city and representing my constituents remains a huge privilege.

Balancing personal and professional responsibilities is complicated for everyone. As a family, we have had to make a decision about how best to navigate work and raising our young children.  After a great deal of thought, we have decided that after the next election – whenever that will be – we will relocate full time to London. I will be standing as the Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Finchley and Golders Green.

I extend my support to Richard Kemp, who will be standing as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Liverpool Wavertree at the next election. He and I share a passion for the Wavertree area, in which he has served as a Councillor for more than two decades. We also share the strongly held view that any sort of Brexit will be hugely damaging to Liverpool as a whole. I will work closely with him and the rest of the dedicated, growing Lib Dem team whilst I am the MP for the area.

I will – as I always have done – represent the people of Liverpool Wavertree to the very best of my ability.  As ever, I will be available during the week and through the weekend. In Parliament, I will persist in standing up to Boris Johnson and his government who are intent on taking us to the No Deal Brexit precipice – with all the serious consequences that would bring for people’s jobs and livelihoods on Merseyside and across the country. I will hold my regular surgeries and, with the support of my team, take up hundreds of cases a month; please come and see me anytime. I am unwavering in my determination to do everything I can to make a positive difference.

Sincerely,

 

 

 

 

Luciana Berger MP

Earlier today, the Supreme Court declared the prorogation of Parliament unlawful.

 

Dan Jarvis MP - GP Appointments in Lundwood

Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central)

I am aware that there are issues with GP appointment availability at the Barnsley Healthcare Federation (BHF) Practice at Priory Campus, Lundwood.

There is an extraordinary Town Council meeting taking place on Tuesday 24th September in the Methodist Centre, Union Street at 7pm.

The meeting has been called for Town Councillors to consider and decide on whether they should support two proposals:

– Should the community support a Community Hall as part of the proposed new Leisure Centre Complex on Chapel Lane (opposite Lidl)

– Should the community support extending and improving facilities at the Town Pavilion at Wynhill playing field, where the Rugby Club is based, other community groups and individuals use for events.

The meeting is open to the public so please go along and have your say on the future of your community.

Not liberal. Not democrats.

Steven Baker (Wycombe)

This week the House of Commons passed the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill 2017-19 (https://services.parliament.uk/bills/2017-19/europeanunionwithdrawalno6.html), which I supported.

The aim of the Bill is to ensure that, in the event the Government fails to secure a deal with the EU, an extension must be requested. This is to prevent the UK crashing out of the EU on 31st October 2019 without a deal.

Although I have been very clear since 2016 that I respect the referendum result, I was also elected in 2017 on a Manifesto commitment to reject the idea of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

Our 2017 Manifesto was clear on this and stated:

“Labour recognises that leaving the EU with ‘no deal’ is the worst possible deal for Britain and that it would do damage to our economy and trade.
We will reject ‘no deal’ as a viable option and, if needs be, negotiate transitional arrangements to avoid a ‘cliff-edge’ for the UK economy.
Those arguing for Brexit in 2016, did not argue for a damaging no-deal exit fro the EU, which would be devastating for the UK economy and particularly the livelihoods of thousands of people in the North East.”

The Bill does not prevent the Government from negotiating a deal with the EU before 31st October which, if it did, and was passed, would supersede the Bill agreed this week.

Despite many public statements made by the current Prime Minister that he wants a deal with the EU, it is clear and all the evidence suggests that no serious attempt is being made to negotiate, never mind conclude, such a deal.
Despite being challenged on numerous occasions this week to outline his negotiating strategy and anything new that he is asking for, he has stubbornly refused to do so.

Having failed in his attempt to defeat the Bill this week, his tactics were then to use the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act to call a snap General Election which I did not support as I viewed this as a cynical attempt by the Prime Minister to establish a General Election date which would have not afforded the House of Commons any time to adequately scrutinise his plans, and would have given him the ability to continue with his real plans to take the UK out of the EU without a deal.

On the matter of the Prime Minister’s decision to suspend (prorogue) Parliament in an attempt to avoid Parliamentary scrutiny, it is my opinion that, through these unprecedented and worrying times, it is vitally important that Parliament sits through the Conference Season, in September and October and continues to scrutinise the Government and work for a viable deal.

Whilst I accept that leaving the EU without a deal may appear to be a clean break, the reality is that, besides the unnecessary economic dislocation this would cause, no-deal would be the start of many years of a process of negotiation conducted from a weaker and more uncertain position.

As such, far from constituting a quick and easy fix, no-deal would be the beginning, not the end, of a long and protracted process and would put us on a long and difficult pathway with an uncertain future.

Ian Mearns MP
Gateshead
6th September 2019

Speaking in the House of Commons, Diana Johnson MP demanded that if extra money was available for transport schemes, the North should get top priority for it.
 
This follows the latest news that the High Speed Two rail scheme would be seven years later than promised and cost £22bn more - taking its total budget to around £80bn.

Following a very chaotic time in Parliament since Prime Minister Boris Johnson took over from Theresa May, Bristol South MP Karin Smyth has reiterated her opposition to leaving the EU without a deal.

Karin says: “This is an anxious time for everyone. It is clear that the Prime Minister wants to plough on with Brexit regardless of the consequences.
 
I have repeatedly said I cannot support a No Deal scenario: opposition to this was part of the Labour manifesto I stood on in 2017. It would be disastrous for Bristol South, and for the country as a whole. People here are already struggling under the weight of cuts to public services and the erosion of the welfare safety net, and more people will be in a similar position should we leave the European Union without a deal.
 
Mr Johnson was elected by fewer than 95,000 Conservative Party members to be Prime Minister. He has no mandate for No Deal. We live in a representative democracy – one in which Parliament has a key role to play. By proroguing Parliament for so long, ahead of conference season and with Brexit looming, Mr Johnson is a coward and is demonstrating a complete lack of respect for our democracy.
 
Working with my colleagues in Parliament, I will do everything I can to prevent this and will continue to oppose proposals that make people in Bristol South worse off. A week is a long time in politics and I will continue to update you via my Facebook page and on Twitter.”

Brexit Update

Royston Smith (Southampton, Itchen)

Last night, Labour, the Lib Dems and some Conservative Party MP’s voted to take control of the Order Paper for today. They did this with the help of the Speaker in order to put forward a Bill which will mandate the Prime Minister to seek an extension to Article 50 from the EU. This Bill [...]

The post Brexit Update appeared first on Royston Smith - At the heart of Southampton.

Save the Wells

Chris Grayling (Epsom and Ewell)

MP Chris Grayling and local Conservatives call for Wells Centre rethink

Epsom and Ewell MP Chris Grayling has thrown his weight behind the campaign to save the Wells Centre being spearheaded by Conservative Councillor Bernie Muir. He is urging local residents to make their views known to the Borough Council before the deadline on September 2nd. He has written to the Residents’ Association Council urging it to think again about the plan to convert the Centre into a block of flats.

Mr Grayling said:

“The Wells is somewhat isolated from the rest of the Borough given its location, and I believe it should have a proper community hall in the way that, for example, Langley Vale does.  There are real housing pressures locally, but if there are to be more houses locally there will be a need for more and not fewer community facilities”

Cllr Bernie Muir said:

“From the inception of this development the RA controlled Council have had 100% control of it. It was their decision to close The Wells Centre. They have chosen the architect, they have chosen the materials, the location and the design. In addition to all of this, it is their lack of design policies which permit the construction of this and other inappropriate developments, like the 13-storey proposed site in West Hill.

In a time where the population of Epsom is growing and we should be focusing more on building vibrant communities, why have the Residents’ Association decided to trade a community asset which could provide services for thousands for just 23 flats? It simply doesn’t make sense.

The Residents’ Association failed to manage the Centre, failed to investigate ways to make it profitable and failed to see how it could provide more services and more revenue through strategic partnerships E.G. with commercial entities, the NHS or the Police etc.

I sincerely hope that the Borough Council will reverse this decision and reconsider its policies around community provision and planning. Failure to do so, I fear, will result in Epsom & Ewell simply becoming no more than a heartless urban sprawl.’

Sign the online petition to objection to the plans: https://www.epsomconservatives.org.uk/SaveTheWells

The post Save the Wells appeared first on Chris Grayling.

Proroguing Parliament

Kit Malthouse (North West Hampshire)

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a new government wants to get on with important domestic issues like fighting crime and reforming the health service. To do so, we need a Queen’s speech. The Prime Minister has been in touch this morning on this issue and here is what he said:

This morning I spoke to Her Majesty The Queen to request an end to the current parliamentary session in the second sitting week in September, before commencing the second session of this Parliament with a Queen’s speech on Monday 14 October. A central feature of the legislative programme will be the Government’s number one legislative priority, if a new deal is forthcoming at EU Council, to introduce a Withdrawal Agreement Bill and move at pace to secure its passage before 31 October.

I fully recognise that the debate on the Queen’s Speech will be an opportunity for Members of Parliament to express their view on this Government’s legislative agenda and its approach to, and the result of, the European Council on 17-18 October. It is right that Members of Parliament should have the chance to do so, in a clear and unambiguous manner.

I also believe it is vitally important that the key votes associated with the Queen’s Speech and any deal with the EU fall at a time when parliamentarians are best placed to judge the Government’s programme. Parliament will have the opportunity to debate the Government’s overall programme, and approach to Brexit, in the run up to EU Council, and then vote on this on 21 and 22 October, once we know the outcome of the Council. Should I succeed in agreeing a deal with the EU, Parliament will then have the opportunity to pass the Bill required for ratification of the deal ahead of 31 October.

As the Prime Minister has confirmed, there will still be plenty of time to debate Brexit, notwithstanding the fact that the government has committed to leave the EU by the end of October.

Help your family secure a fairer deal

Drew Hendry (Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey)

With increasing uncertainty around Brexit and rising costs, it is no surprise that many people are looking at ways to tighten their belts. For those on low incomes it has long become an absolute necessity, but all of us can save money just by being a bit savvier when it comes to the services we buy and more specifically when it comes to ‘switching’.

There are dozens of online resources, mobile apps and phone services that allow us to search for the very best deal, yet still only around 9% of Highland households switch electricity providers.

It isn’t just on electricity many of us are paying too much, we are often paying over the odds for mobile phone contracts, broadband services, credit cards and even our banking. The savings to be made by switching providers can stretch to hundreds of pounds a year. In one case I know about, the constituent saved over a thousand pounds by switching. Investing a few minutes to sit down and look at what you can save can be quite literally very rewarding!

Research shows that most people are put off from switching because they fear it is too complicated yet, in reality, most switching takes place automatically without any need for added paperwork. Even moving banks is simple, with your new bank taking responsibility for transferring all your regular payments and recurring transactions.

The Scottish Government has also invested four times as much into funding for home insulation and energy-saving measures as the UK Government has in England, so there are funding opportunities to help you keep bills lower.

Hard winter or hard Brexit, there has never been a better time to get prepared and to make sure that your controllable household costs are kept as low as possible.

Be it energy, broadband or banking costs, there is no need to be paying more, especially when here in the Highlands we are so often short-changed to start with.

Getting a fair deal for Highland families remains one of my priorities as your representative in Westminster and I will continue to work to find a solution to unjust electricity distribution costs and to put an end to inflated delivery charges.

I hope this article is also a useful reminder that you too can help get a fairer deal for your family!

Some useful links:

Ofgem: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/consumers/household-gas-and-electricity-guide/how-switch-energy-supplier-and-shop-better-deal

Energy Saving Trust – https://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/home-energy-efficiency/switching-utilities

Money Supermarket – https://www.moneysupermarket.com/gas-and-electricity/

U Switch – https://www.uswitch.com/gas-electricity/ppc-rev/new/energy

Confused.com – https://www.confused.com/

Octopus Energy – https://octopus.energy/

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