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Shadow Defence Secretary hears case for Portsmouth from City MP

Dry docks, D-Day and veteran’s mental health. Portsmouth MP hosts Shadow Defence Secretary to showcase Portsmouth’s position as a national leader.

Portsmouth MP, Stephen Morgan has hosted the Shadow Defence Secretary in a bid to drum up support for Portsmouth being chosen as the location for a new dry dock facility for the nation’s carriers.

The visit also included extensive strategy discussions relating to Mr Morgan’s ongoing campaign and lobbying of government Ministers to improve mental services for veterans and a tour of the city’s historic links with D-Day.

Mr Morgan spent some time lobbying the Secretary of State to back Portsmouth as the frontrunner in the considerations for where a new dry dock facility should be built.

The Ministry of Defence is exploring plans to build a new mega dry dock capable of housing Britain’s two new aircraft carriers in a venture that could be worth hundreds of millions if secured for Portsmouth.

On a dry dock facility, Mr Morgan said:

“I welcome the opportunity to discuss with the Shadow Secretary Portsmouth’s historic relationship with the Royal Navy but also its future capabilities. The implementation of a dry facility in Portsmouth would create and protect at least 100 jobs, be worth £1 billion to our city’s economy and would once again secure our city’s name on the map.”

Nia Griffith MP has said:

“Following discussions with Mr Morgan about a dry dock facility in Portsmouth, it is evident the city would benefit hugely from its presence. I will be bearing in mind the points made by Stephen in upcoming discussions with other senior Ministers and Secretaries of State.”

Nia Griffith MP also spent time with Mr Morgan discussing his recent action on veteran’s mental health. The visit comes a month after the Portsmouth MP hosted a Westminster Hall debate calling on the Government to require coroners to record veteran suicide.

The Shadow Defence Secretary has said:

“I have spoken with Mr Morgan about the commendable actions of organisations like All Call Signs in his constituency and about how we need to do more to protect our brave ex-service personnel.

An important step is to join our allies in recording the number of veterans who tragically take their own lives, in order that we can fully understand the scale of this issue.

In an NHS England budget of over £150 billion UK-wide, less than £10 million per annum (0.007%) has been allocated to veteran-specific mental health services. Many would agree that this is far too little for such an important cause. A Labour government would see this changed.”

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The Shadow Defence Secretary spent time not only discussing Portsmouth’s future contributions to the security of the nation but also visited attractions in the run up to the D-Day 75 commemorations. The visit included a trip to local attraction, Spinnaker Tower where Mr Morgan was able to point out the areas of the city where Allied personnel, like his own grandfather, set sail from nearly 75 years ago.

Following a landscape overview at the tower, the Shadow Secretary spent time at the transformed D-Day Story which reopened last year.

On this, Mr Morgan has said:

“It is impossible to discuss the Allied invasion of Normandy, nearly 75 years ago, without mentioning this great city. Portsmouth played a pivotal role in the orchestration of over 300,000 troops, 60,000 vehicles and 100,000 tons of supplies that made the landings possible.

The fact that this city is to be the home of the D-Day 75 commemorations this June is both an honour and a privilege. The eyes of the world will be on Portsmouth.

It was helpful to show my colleague some of our city’s assets which will feature so prominently in international events in the coming months.”

Shadow Defence Secretary, Nia Griffith MP has said:

My visit to Portsmouth ahead of D-Day 75 has reaffirmed in my mind the historic significance of this great coastal city.

The poignancy of both observing the locations from which the ships set sail and hearing the personal stories of the troops at ‘The D-Day Story’ cannot be underestimated and I will be joining others in paying tribute to these brave men and women for D-Day 75.”

 

 

Southsea’s Debenhams joins others as the latest high-street giant to fall

Debenhams on Palmerston Road will be closing its doors for the last time in 2020, it has been announced. The retail giant, which has been serving the people of Portsmouth for decades, will join 22 other branches across the country in facing imminent closure.
Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan has long been campaigning to bring our high streets back from the brink.
Mr Morgan said:
I am deeply concerned by the Debenhams closure as another high street chain to leave Southsea. 
This is bad news for residents and visitors in one of our vital city shopping areas. 
 
Last year I wrote to the company’s chief executive about the importance of our two Debenhams stores being key anchors in Portsmouth’s high streets providing employment and also generating footfall which assists other independent shops in our area. This is bad news for residents, visitors and our city’s economy.
 
Debenhams joins the ranks of Knight & Lee as the latest nail in the coffin for Portsmouth’s shopping streets”
 
Southsea’s Debenhams joins others as the latest high-street giant to fall
The MP added:
Knight & Lee have cited size and building capacity as the reasons for closure. The obvious solution would for John Lewis and Partners to open a branch within the now closing Debenhams property. This would both work towards saving the vital jobs likely to be lost with the closure of Knight & Lee and retain a much-cherished asset used by the community.
 
I hope that the council and other important stakeholders will join me in championing this solution to two of Southsea’s most prominent high street closures and I hope that John Lewis and Partners back this positive plan for Portsmouth.”
The Portsmouth MP will be following up the idea with John Lewis and Partners who he has been liaising with since their closure was announced earlier this year. He is also putting forward the notion of establishing a task force that would specifically aim to retain and protect jobs in the retail sector.
On these proposals, Mr Morgan has said:
Hampshire alone has lost over 1,600 shops in recent years, and with that, hundreds of local jobs. 
To combat this, I am urging a dedicated task force to be set up to bring businesses, the council, Job Centre Plus and training agencies to protect local jobs and support those affected by high street closures to with guidance and practical help”.
Portsmouth Labour proposed a £2.5m rescue package to rebuild the city’s communities and help bring back our high streets from the brink in February’s council budget meeting.
The positive plan for the city would help rescue the city’s shopping areas with dedicated support and resources, alongside a better integrated transport network. Sadly the Tories and Lib Dems voted down the plans.

Parliament debates current local government funding disarray and the affect it is having on social care

Opposition day debates, a rarity in the current climate of long-running complex Brexit discussions, allow parties other than that of the government to choose the topics that feature on the order paper

Today’s debate area, chosen by Labour, was local government and social care funding.

Following the debate, Stephen Morgan MP has said:

“Local councils are on the front-line of government, delivering the services that form the beating hearts of our communities.

The fact that local government has severely suffered as a result of nine years of Tory and Lib Dem austerity and cuts is highly worrying. Research by the LGA has found that local government will face an almost £8 billion funding gap by 2025, this is not good for cities like Portsmouth.

This is something that needs to be at the forefront of discussion in Parliament.”

Today drew attention to the government’s recent strategy of shifting the financial burden to council taxpayers and the subsequent postcode lottery that this creates.

The city MP added:

“It is unacceptable that some in this country have to endure variations in quality of public services based solely on their geographical location. We need to see consistent, across the board services that are equal for everyone in this nation.

Not only is this current system based on luck, it disproportionately affects those in our poorest communities again meaning that city’s like one I grew up in, Portsmouth, bear the brunt of government errors.”

Portsmouth City Council has been far from exempt in terms of local authority cuts with local services we all rely on slashed by 48 percent since 2011, equating to £73m.

The debate was not only an opportunity for MPs from across the House to draw attention to the Government’s poor form when it comes to local authority funding, it also provided the Shadow Secretary of State with the opportunity to lay out Labour’s plan to invest in councils and public services.

On this, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“I am committed to standing up for local communities. Hearing the Shadow Secretary of State today pledge to deliver fair and adequate funding for local councils, as well as deliver real and meaningful devolution to our communities is reassuring for cities like Portsmouth”.

 

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City MP responds to announcement Trump will be visiting Portsmouth for D-Day 75

Stephen Morgan MP, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, has been lobbying the Government in an attempt to get specific funding allocated to D-Day 75.

On today’s news Mr Trump is set to visit Portsmouth the MP said: “I have been lobbying the government and writing to the Prime Minister urging her to support Portsmouth in making the best of the commemorations for our veterans. I find it deeply saddening that the Government can’t find money for our brave veterans, but it can find money to give Mr. Trump a state ceremony.”

On the city’s D-Day Commemorations, Mr. Morgan has said:

“Our city should rightly be proud to be the national focal point for the D-Day 75 commemorations this June. The world’s attention will be on Portsmouth.

International and local community events in Portsmouth should be for those who fought for our nation in order to achieve world peace.

This will be an important opportunity for the city to mark its vital role in helping to launch the D-Day landings at such a pivotal point in time where the events of 1944 are passing from living memory into history, which is why I have been lobbying the Government for funding support for Portsmouth.

The commemorations also provide an opportunity to show Portsmouth as a place that helps foster a legacy of remembrance, reflection and reconciliation. 

Our attention should be on ensuring commemorative events that will do justice to veterans – like my own Southsea grandfather – and showing Portsmouth at its best”.

Following the announcement that Trump will visit Portsmouth as part of the commemorations, Mr. Morgan has said:

“The importance of the D-Day 75 commemorations, set to take place this June, transcend the presence of any one individual.

His last visit cost £18 million pounds in additional policing costs and sucked vital resources from our nation’s communities, it caused widespread protests and was a catalyst for division across our country.

Our nation has a long history of close relations with the US, and Americans have long been our natural allies. We must remain united in defeating the politics of division and stand up for values both our nations have historically championed.

I have been lobbying the government and writing to the Prime Minister urging her to support Portsmouth in making the best of the commemorations for our veterans.

I find it deeply saddening that the Government can’t find money for our brave veterans, but it can find money to give Mr. Trump a state ceremony.”

New job opportunity: Parliamentary Projects Officer

Office of Stephen Morgan MP: Parliamentary Projects Officer

  • Have a skill for organising successful events and working with challenging deadlines?
  • Enjoy working with the community and interested in working at the heart of British politics?
  • Want to help make a difference to peoples’ lives? 

Then an exciting opportunity has arisen to work with the first-ever Labour Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan and his dedicated team.

Stephen Morgan MP is looking for a Parliamentary Projects Officer to assist him translate his important Westminster work into local projects and campaigns.

This part-time role based in the House of Commons with a requirement to regularly travel to the constituency, will require a degree of flexibility.

Key tasks include coordinating key events and projects for Stephen, maintaining social media and website, and proactively engaging the media in Stephen’s work as an active local campaigner and strong national voice for Portsmouth.

Got what it takes to take on this busy and exciting new role?

A copy of the job description can be found here: Job Description

Application details

Applicants should send a copy of their CV (no more than two pages) and a one page covering letter to Julie Minal, Head of Office at julie.minal@parliament.uk

Hard copies should be sent to Julie Minal c/o Office of Stephen Morgan MP, 72 Albert Road, Southsea PO5 2SL

Closing date: Wednesday 1 May 2019 at 12noon.

Interviews will take place in central London in mid May. It is hoped the successful candidate would be able to start as soon as possible

Please note that due to the expected high volume of responses, unsuccessful applicants will not be contacted

www.stephenjmorgan.org

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City MP welcomes plans to scrap testing of children

Welcoming news that Labour in government will abolish Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 SATs and develop a new assessment system that will have fairer, broader, more useful measures of attainment, Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South said:
Our school children are among the most tested in the world, and are subject to particularly high-stress and high-stakes assessments early in their education. 
The use of these tests puts pressure on schools to narrow the curriculum, focusing on a narrower range of subjects, and an even narrower area within them in order to “teach to the test.” This puts huge pressure on pupils, and is detrimental to their education. Instead of gaining the knowledge and skills they need for both the rest of their education and life beyond it, they are simply learning how to pass a specific test.
Specifically I’m concerned the current system particularly disadvantages children from poorer backgrounds in our city.
That’s why I welcome Labour’s plan to abolish KS1 and KS2 SATs, as well an abandoning the government’s plans to roll-out baseline assessment in reception.
Consulting with the teaching profession, parents, and other stakeholders to develop a new, fairer, broader, and more useful system of primary assessments the right thing to do.
We must ensure a new system encourages teaching a broad and balanced curriculum, trusting teachers as professionals.
I have very confidence approach will reduce pressure on children in our city while supporting Portsmouth schools in teaching a broad curriculum, and give young people the knowledge and skills they will need throughout their lives, while reducing the attainment gap”.
The MP regularly visits Portsmouth schools and colleges to meet with teaching staff and heads.
His ‘Portsmouth Against School Cuts’ campaign has involved surveying all schools in the constituency and bringing local headteacher reps to Parliament to lobby Ministers for proper funding for city schools.
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Local campaigner and City MP join forces over road safety in Old Portsmouth

Portsmouth Labour are campaigning with residents in Old Portsmouth to improve road safety in the area and calling on the council to install a new zebra crossing.

Working with local election candidate Sumel Chowdhury, Stephen Morgan MP has been hearing concerns from residents and community groups in Old Portsmouth about the need to improve road safety in the area. 

Taking a number of actions, Mr Chowdhury has set up a petition to lobby the council, written to local residents, organised a street stall to hear views and ideas, and called on city MP Stephen Morgan for support.

Issues being raised with campaigners include the speeding of vehicles along the High Street and at the junction with Pembroke and Lombard Street and the need for improved crossing facilities for local shops, St Jude’s School and the Cathedral.

Backing Sumel’s campaign, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“I am grateful to Sumel for setting up a community petition to the council to ensure they take action and to understand the strength of feeling on this issue.

I thank Sumel for his hard work and for standing up for residents in Old Portsmouth.

Sharing his, and other local people’s concerns, I have now written to the city council’s director for transport instructing the local authority to undertake a road safety survey and feasibility study for a zebra crossing in the area.

I urge others to get involved with this campaign by signing Sumel’s petition to call on the council to listen to our demands and improve road safety in Old Portsmouth”.

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City MP exhibits ‘Postcards From My Neighbourhood’

Exhibition of art from people from across the PO district who have visually responded to their neighbourhood on display at the Portsmouth South MP’s constituency office. 

How would you draw, paint or photograph your local neighbourhood? Aspex Gallery and Southsea Lifestyle asked people living within the PO area to visually respond to what they love or loathe about their local area.

Hundreds of residents, of all ages and abilities have submitted postcard-sized artworks, culminating in their exhibition at Aspex Gallery in Gunwharf Quays and now at the offices of Stephen Morgan MP on Albert Road, Southsea.

Joanne Bushnell, Director of Aspex said:

“We are thrilled that this partnership has given Aspex the opportunity to showcase the creative contributions of local residents of all ages.

The artworks are stunning and provided our visitors with an extremely entertaining exhibition”.

Since relocating to the waterfront at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth in 2006, the Aspex gallery has focused on finding ways to meaningfully engage its visitors by facilitating connections with artists and revealing the creative process.

A participation programme provides activities for toddlers through to pensioners, and its work with children on the autistic spectrum and with Special Educational Needs has been described as exemplary.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“I am a huge fan of Aspex and its contribution to the life of our great city, so it is a real pleasure to display the Postcards From My Neighbourhood in my constituency office to give people another chance to see the talent we have here in Portsmouth.

This outreach and partnership to increase access and participation in arts and culture is exactly what I want to see more of. I thank Jo and her team for making this a fun and engaging project for the people of Portsmouth.

I hope others enjoy the exhibition and can pick out a favourite image from our city!”

Following the exhibition at Stephen Morgan MP’s office, all of the postcards will be donated to the Portsmouth City Archive, creating a visual reflection of our local area for future generations.

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Portsmouth MP takes a leap in the name of local tourism

On Saturday morning in support of efforts to support local attractions and English Tourism Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan took take part in ‘The Drop’ at Spinnaker Tower.

Following a 100-step ascent, the Portsmouth born MP jumped from a platform 25 meters above sea level onto a target below.

The Portsmouth South MP took the leap after the reopening of The Drop last weekend for the summer season and following the recent English Tourism Week, a campaign designed to generate support for local attractions.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“It was fantastic to use some of holiday time to help promote local attractions in our city. There’s so much to offer Portsmouth’s families on our doorstep – as local people we often take for granted what’s available to us during downtime.

I was dared by the brilliant team at Spinnaker to take ‘The Drop’ to help raise awareness of the fantastic attractions that Portsmouth has to offer and couldn’t resist the opportunity with family on a day off.

With crowd-pleasers varying from the historic Mary Rose to iconic Spinnaker Tower, it is no wonder our great city draws people from both within our shores and internationally, and why tourism creates so many jobs and generates over £600m to our city’s economy.

English Tourism Week was an excellent opportunity to showcase the visitor experiences on offer nationally. This Easter, I encourage other Portsmouth families to take advantage of what we have available for us locally.”

Tony Sammut, General Manager at Emirates Spinnaker Tower added:

“It’s great to have our local MP trying out our latest adrenaline experience at the Tower.

We are always trying to think of new and fresh ideas to keep the Tower a fun and interesting place to visit.”

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Mr. Morgan has for some time championed the city’s tourism industry and rich cultural and creative sector. He is the patron of the National Royal Marines Museum bid for a new Royal Marines Museum.

 

 

City MP shadows staff at Portsmouth Job Centre

In response to the high numbers of constituent enquiries that Stephen Morgan receives relating to employment, the city MP has spent time at the coal face at Portsmouth Job Centre this week.

In light of the Government decision to roll out Universal Credit, a benefit that is set to replace five legacy benefits, Stephen Morgan MP also spoke to those responsible for implementing these changes to hear about how it will affect his constituents.

Following his visit Mr Morgan said:

“The visit was about understanding the complexities of the benefits system and deep diving into the structures that many constituents navigate on a daily basis.

Universal Credit is in the process of being rolled across the nation, Portsmouth included. I am glad to have spent time with those on the front line to learn about the implications of these changes for my city, share concerns and to relay the feedback that I receive on a daily basis from constituents”.

As part of his visit, the Portsmouth born MP spent time with varying Job Centre staff.

The initial part of the work shadowing was with the front of house staff, known as the Service Delivery Team who are responsible for interacting with constituents at a face to face level.

Here, Mr. Morgan spent some time with work coaches, who’s main role is to support people into work by challenging, motivating and providing personalised advice.

Following the first part of the work shadowing, Mr. Morgan said:

“I am very grateful to the staff at the Job Centre for allowing me to work alongside them.

It is essential for an MP to see how policy is implemented and to observe first-hand the challenges that they face. 

It has become evident that the diminishing number of voluntary organisations is having an adverse effect on the workload of our Job Centres, and in turn making it harder to access the services they need“.

The visit helped inform enquiries relating to Universal Credit and offered an opportunity for the MP to strengthen contacts with Job Centre staff on the key concerns being raised by his constituents.