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City MP joins cystic fibrosis campaigners at Downing Street

Portsmouth South MP backs petition signed by 113,000 calling for new drug to be reconsidered for use in the NHS.
Stephen Morgan today joined campaigners at Downing Street to deliver a petition to the Prime Minister that calls for NICE to review its decision not to recommend the drug Orkambi for use in the NHS, in the light of new information.
In January, 556 people in Portsmouth South signed a petition to make Orkambi available on the NHS for people with Cystic Fibrosis. The petition has achieved in excess of 113,000 signatures nationwide, which has triggered a debate in Parliament, which will take place on the 19th of March.
Cystic Fibrosis is the UK’s most common life-threatening genetic condition that affects the lungs, digestive system and other organs. The build-up of mucus in the lungs causes chronic infections, meaning that people with cystic fibrosis struggle with reduced lung function. The average age of those with CF who died last year, was just 28.
Two years ago, a precision medicine called Orkambi, was approved for use by the EMA that can extend lives by treating the root cause of CF.
In July 2016, NICE recognised Orkambi as an ‘important treatment’ for CF, but refused Orkambi based on lack of long term data and the cost.
They stated that they would review the drug again, should any new data or reimbursement scheme be proposed. Campaigners are asking that NICE and Department of Health and Social Care review Orkambi again now; as there is now further data that was not included in the July 2016 review, and that Vertex have put forward a ‘bold new offer’ in terms of reimbursement.
Today in Parliament, Stephen met with Ian Austin, MP for Dudley North, who hosted a roundtable meeting with representatives from Vertex and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
Stephen Morgan MP, said:
“Cystic fibrosis is a debilitating condition and important new medicines such as Okrambi must be introduced with the utmost urgency – those suffering with CF should not have to wait for the Government to get its act together to access potentially life-saving treatment.
It is now the responsibility of the Government to facilitate the end of the deadlock ‘so that people can access Orkambi and see their lives transformed”.
Stephen joined Portsmouth resident Gemma Weir, who lead the creation of the petition, as she delivered it to Downing Street.
He added:
“My massive thanks to Gemma and the campaigners for the pressure they putting on decision-makers to ensure treatment is available to those who require it in Portsmouth and across the UK”.
 
 
 

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Stephen launches Vote 100 sash competition

MP Stephen Morgan has invited Schools across Portsmouth South to take part in a competition to design a modern day suffragette sash to mark the 100 year anniversary of the first women being given the vote.
The competition forms part of Stephen’s Vote 100 Portsmouth campaign, which both aims to celebrate the centenary of women’s right to vote and look forward to what women can achieve in the next 100 years with a series of local events and activities throughout the year.
Entries will be judged in two categories: junior school and secondary school aged pupils and will be judged by Stephen and a panel of inspirational women from Portsmouth, with prizes for the winning entries.
The sashes will be exhibited at Stephen Morgan’s constituency office at 72 Albert Road, with the winning entry displayed in the House of Commons.
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Stephen Morgan MP said:
“While the centenary is an opportunity for us to recognise how far we have progressed in the fight for gender equality, it’s also important we recognise how much further we have to go.
I want to hear people’s aspirations for women in our city for the next 100 years. Even after all that has been achieved in the last century, today young women between the ages of 18 and 24 are still the least likely to vote – there is also a need for better gender balance in elected roles.
My Vote 100 Portsmouth campaign aims to address these issues, to inspire more young women to use their democratic voice and to encourage women into elected roles”.

All entries must be received by 5pm on Monday 19 March at 72 Albert Road, Southsea, PO5 2SL
 
 
 

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Portsmouth MP takes a constituency tour with a difference

City MP Stephen Morgan has been given an interactive map created by Citizens Advice that reveals the issues people are facing in Portsmouth South Constituency.
The MP was taken on a ward-by-ward virtual tour of his constituency and shown the problems people living in the area are getting help for at Citizens Advice.
The maps – called Constituency Dashboards – show the spread of issues facing different types of people in Portsmouth South, such as disabled people, younger constituents and minorities.
The dashboards were presented to MPs at an event hosted by Citizens Advice in the House of Commons on Wednesday 21 February 2018. Stephen also visited Citizens Advice in Portsmouth where he met the team and was given a briefing on some of the issues his constituents are going in for advice on.
Stephen Morgan MP said:
“I’m always keen to find new and inventive ways of staying informed about the concerns of my constituents. These dashboards are illuminating and the data they contain provide strong evidence on which to act.
Citizens Advice – with its army of volunteers – is tremendous at providing support for people living in Portsmouth.

Thanks to the team for inviting me in to see what they are doing day to day on the frontline. I will continue to work closely with them to help the people of Portsmouth South.”
Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said:
It was great that Stephen Morgan showed real interest in our interactive maps, which highlight the issues we see on the ground in Portsmouth.
The right advice and support can transform lives. Local Citizens Advice solve the problems for two in three of our clients, and empower people to develop the skills and confidence they need to help themselves.
It’s important people can access free and impartial advice when they need it, whether face to face, over the phone or online. We’re pleased to work with MPs to help them solve their constituents’ problems and address local and national issues.”

Citizens Advice in Portsmouth provides free confidential and impartial advice to people face to face and over the telephone. A national website provides advice online, over email and via web chat at www.citizensadvice.org.uk
 
 

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It’s time for ‘straight-talking’ on police cuts

Labour’s Shadow Minister for Policing, Louise Haigh MP, has written to the UK Statistics Authority to complain about misleading statements by the PM which claim her Government has put extra investment in policing.
Over recent weeks, the PM and other senior Tories have consistently made misleading claims that the funding settlement for 2018/19 provides extra investment from central Government, despite actually only committing to flat-cash protection, Labour has said.
Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has repeatedly called upon the Government to provide a better funding deal for Hampshire Constabulary to help protect policing budgets in Portsmouth. He used Prime Minister’s Questions earlier this month to tell the Prime Minister of the impact cuts are having on small businesses in Portsmouth, who have seen a significant rise in break-ins.
Mr Morgan has met with the Chief Constable, recently went out on patrol with local officers as part of a new pilot scheme in the city centre and this week discussed with Hampshire Police Federation Chair, John Apter, the impact the lack of resources are having on frontline operational responsibilities.
Hampshire Constabulary have had 1,000 officers and £80 million cut since 2011 and are set to lose a further £10 million this year alone.
Louise Haigh MP, Shadow Policing Minister, said:
‘Across the country, forces are facing a real-terms reductions in their funding. Local taxpayers are picking up the pieces for the Tories’ continued reckless cuts to policing, and senior police officers are warning that communities’ safety is at risk.
Rather than be straight with people, Theresa May seems determined to pretend the council tax increases she is burdening on hard-pressed households are actually investment in policing by central Government.
The truth is, whether it’s on rising crime or falling budgets, you simply cannot believe a word the Tories say on law and order.’
Stephen Morgan MP, added:
“It’s about time the Government were honest about the impact their cuts to policing are having.
People in Portsmouth and our small business owners can see for themselves the pressure our hardworking officers are under.
On the watch of a Tory Police and Crime Commissioner, Hampshire Constabulary’s resources have already been cut to the bone and now the Government are asking them to make tens of millions more in savings.
This means fewer bobbies on the beat, valuable links to the public are lost, and, ultimately, makes our communities less safe – whether the PM wants to admit it or not.
People in Portsmouth have had enough. They can see for themselves what the Government continues to deny – that cuts have consequences”.
 
 
 
 

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Labour backs EU customs union

Labour announces the party are committed to keeping the UK inside a customs union after Brexit, in a speech by the Leader of the Opposition.
Jeremy Corbyn today used a speech at Coventry University to announce: ‘Our priority is to get the best deal for people’s jobs, living standards and the economy. We reject any race to the bottom in workers’ rights, environmental safeguards, consumer protections or food safety standards.’
The Labour Leader also committed to ensuring any customs arrangement would avoid a hard border in Ireland and protect the Good Friday Agreement. ‘No one should be willing to sacrifice the Good Friday Agreement, the basis for 20 years of relative peace, development and respect for diversity in Northern Ireland’ he said.
Labour will seek a deal that gives full access to European markets and maintains the benefits of the single market and the customs union (holding the government to what the Brexit Secretary, David Davis promised in the House of Commons), with no new impediments to trade and no reduction in rights, standards and protections.
Labour also want the UK to remain a part of agencies like Euratom and Erasmus. Speaking in Coventry, Mr Corbyn said: ‘It makes no sense for the UK to abandon EU agencies and tariff-free trading rules that have served us well, supporting our industrial sectors, protecting workers and consumers and safeguarding the environment. If that means negotiating to support individual EU agencies, rather than paying more to duplicate those agencies here then that should be an option, not something ruled out because of phoney jingoistic posturing.’
Commenting on Mr Corbyn’s speech, Stephen Morgan MP said:
“Jeremy’s speech today is a step in the right direction. Our party’s commitment to the UK remaining in a customs union is central to securing a jobs-first Brexit.
Trade with our European neighbours is integral to our economic health. Access to the single market is vital to so many businesses, both in Portsmouth and across the UK, and supports millions of high-skilled, well-paid jobs. We cannot let this government’s divisions, incompetence and deregulation obsession put these at risk.
Portsmouth voted to leave the EU and Labour respects the result of the referendum. But people in our city did not vote to make themselves poorer.
Labour will continue to hold the government to account on Brexit and make they put jobs and living standards ahead of the reckless, hard-line ideology of a handful of backbenchers.
I’ll keep listening to the views and concerns of local people and businesses at this critical juncture for our country”.
 
 

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Stephen joins new street safety project on patrol

City MP Stephen Morgan has joined Police, Police Community Support Officers and Community Wardens on patrol as part of a new pilot scheme which brings together several agencies to keep Portsmouth’s busiest areas safe.
The scheme, which is named Project Stark, aims to support those sleeping rough, and reduce crime and antisocial behaviour in these areas by sharing information, building relationships and having an increased presence on the streets.
Stephen joined the team on foot patrol of Guildhall Walk, Victoria Park and the City Centre and witnessed some of the situations in which those working on Project Stark will be helping with.
Stephen Morgan MP said:
I’ve been campaigning for some time to ensure our Constabulary is given the resources it needs to bring down crime in our great city, but it’s not just the police who can tackle the crime we see in Portsmouth.
Project Stark is an innovative project bringing police officers, PCSOs and council staff together to help make our streets safer. This multi-agency approach is actually what I want to see more of to protect our communities and small businesses.
It was a really helpful to see firsthand the work of the team dealing with the issues our city centre faces and assure our community, and I thank the officers, police and council staff for their hard work in doing this, day in, day out.
I will continue to campaign for more resources for our local police force, but with funding currently as it is, Project Stark is a step in the right direction.”

 
 

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MP calls for Government to do more to address mental health in Portsmouth

Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan has called for more to be done to support people with mental health services in the city.
This call comes after the revelation that Solent NHS Trust is one of only nine mental health trusts in England to have suffered a year on year decline in its income (in real terms).
The trust, according to new research published this week from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, has seen its income fall from £ 210,139,000 in 2011/12, to £180,675,000 in 2016/17 and has seen its income fall every year since 2012.
Mental health trusts across the country have less money to spend on patient care in real terms than they did in 2012, and there are fears within the sector that some of that money is failing to reach the frontline.
This is despite the Government’s assertion that mental health spending is at “record” levels.
It comes as demand for services soars, with some trusts saying a lack of funds has forced them to cut services.
Stephen Morgan, MP said:
“I want the people of Portsmouth to be able to get the best possible mental health treatment when they need it, and where they need it.
Whilst I welcome initiatives by local agencies to provide a new hub to support mental health service provision in the city, I call on the Government to do more and to fund our mental health trusts properly.
For our local mental health trust to have had their funding cut every year for five years goes completely against government’s plans to properly fund mental health trusts.”

Professor Wendy Burn, the College’s president, said:
“It is totally unacceptable that when more and more people are coming forward with mental health problems, trusts are receiving less investment than they did five years ago.”
“Patients with mental illness continue to bear the brunt of an underfunded sector experiencing unprecedented demand with limited supply.
“Prioritisation of mental health is about getting the right care, at the right time, in the right place. This can’t happen when mental health trusts continue to receive inadequate investment.”

 
 

MP backs Portsmouth groups to bid for Suffrage Centenary Fund

Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan, has called on the Government to encourage smaller women’s groups to access funds
Stephen Morgan MP used Women’s and Equalities Questions in the House of Commons today to raise awareness of the £1.5 million made available to organisations as part of the hundredth anniversary of women gaining the vote.
Mr Morgan asked Amber Rudd MP what support her Government is offering to smaller groups to encourage them to bid for the funds.
Tuesday 6 February 2018 marked 100 years since the passing of The Representation of the People Act of 1918, which for the first time enfranchised some women over the age of 30. About 8.4 million women gained the vote.
Approximately 150 Small Grants valued between £300 and £2,000 are available for grassroots projects to run small-scale events and activities to celebrate the centenary of women gaining the vote. There are three bidding rounds during 2018.
Up to 30 Large Grants of between £2,000 and £125,000. These will fund projects that increase the understanding of, and engagement with, democracy, and encourage women to participate in public life. There are two bidding rounds during 2018.
Mr Morgan pressed the government after it came under fire after groups were given just four days to submit an online application for phase one funds to mark 6 February, the anniversary of the day the Representation of the People Act 1918 was passed. Just £60,000 – or 4% – of funding allocated to grassroots groups for the year has been allocated in time to celebrate the anniversary.

Stephen Morgan MP said:
“I want all women’s organisations, especially smaller community groups, to have access to these funds.
It’s brilliant that this money has been set aside for the centenary, but I think the Government needs to do more to support smaller local bodies in applying for their share.
The work of women’s organisations across our city is simply superb, I would encourage every one of them to put in a bid and help Portsmouth continue the legacy of the suffragettes”.
To find out more about the Women’s Vote Centenary Fund visit: www.womensvotecentenaryfund.co.uk

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City MP backs plans to reform animal welfare policy

Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan has backed Labour’s plans to radically reform Government policy on animal welfare and raise welfare standards.
In a draft policy document launched today, the Labour Party has proposed a number of changes which aim to raise animal welfare standards and end cruel and outdated practises.
The report, named ‘Animal Welfare For The Many, Not The Few, outlines proposed changes which include the introduction of a ban on the live export of animals for slaughter, consultation to landlords on giving tenants the right to keep a pet, the strengthening of the Hunting Act, the preservation of the principal of animal sentience in law, an end to the badger cull, implementation of a review of animal testing and expansion of affordable vet care for people on low incomes.
The 50 point draft policy document will go out for public consultation and proposes appointing an Animal Welfare Commissioner to ensure Government policy across Whitehall is continually informed by the latest scientific evidence on animal sentience.
The role of Commissioner would be to ensure animal welfare standards are always considered in new legislation and are maintained in Britain’s involvement in international bodies and post-Brexit trade deals.
Stephen Morgan MP, said:
I am in full support of this new policy document. No animal should have to suffer unnecessarily and with Brexit on the horizon it’s imperative we have clear Government policy in place to protect animal welfare.
As the authors of the Hunting Act, our party has a proud history of raising welfare standards. Labour is once again taking a stand, with a regulatory framework fit for the 21st century to ensure the UK is truly a world leader in animal welfare.”

The announcement has been welcomed by the League against Cruel Sports, Compassion in World Farming and WWF.
 
 

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City MP’s campaign to make Portsmouth safer gains traction

City MP Stephen Morgan’s campaign to lobby the Government for more police resources in Portsmouth has gained community wide support.
Mr Morgan raised the issue of the increase in local crime numbers and cuts to the already stretched police force at Prime Minister’s Question Time on Wednesday (7 February).
After raising concerns and taking action locally for several months, Mr Morgan asked Theresa May if she would meet with him and a delegation of Portsmouth businesses to discuss tackling the significant rise in crime affecting them in the city.
Stephen Morgan MP said:
Following my question to the Prime Minister and subsequent lobbying for a meeting with her, the overwhelming support I have received from local business owners and residents shows just how much police cuts are affecting our community.
These burglaries risk affecting the local economy with some small businesses already warning they may have to close. This is directly as a result of Tory cuts on policing, and it’s unacceptable.

I have put my request of a meeting to Mrs. May in writing and look forward to her response.”
Simon Docker, Owner of HUIS bar on Elm Grove said:
My business on Elm Grove has been broken into 5 times in the space of a few months.
I have been working with Stephen and the local police to tackle this and support other businesses also affected. Break ins at one stage reached 20 a week in a small community.
I would welcome the opportunity to meet with Government Ministers to finally bring an end to the crime we’re witnessing in our city.”
Another local business owner said:
“Our small business was broken into only last night. One of 3. The cost to us has been a massive inconvenience.
The same sort of crimes, taking small amounts of money and frequent break ins will ultimately cripple small businesses who are simply trying to survive.
I was even told by the call handler that police cuts are making things impossible.”
Hampshire Constabulary have had 1,000 officers and £80 million cut since 2011 and are set to lose a further £10 million this year alone.