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Lib Dems caught misleading voters, again!

A Lib Dem member and former candidate has been criticised for misleading voters. A letter has been sent to Portsmouth people claiming a Lib Dem former candidate is an “independent polling expert”. The letter makes false claims about the choice before electors on Thursday 12 December.

Large numbers of outraged Portsmouth residents have been contacting Stephen Morgan and turning to social media to call out the misleading information widely reported in the national media.

Mike Smithson’s letter, which is being delivered across the Tory-Labour marginal, stated that the race was between the Lib Dems and Tories. The Lib Dems have failed to win the seat in 2015 and again in 2017, with no independent evidence suggesting they are on course to win the Portsmouth South seat in next week’s General Election.

The three most recent constituency polls (YouGov MRP, Best for Britain MRP and Delta) all put current incumbent Stephen Morgan ahead of the Tory candidate, with the Lib Dem trailing badly as low as 11% of the vote share.

Stephen Morgan said:

“I am very grateful to all constituents who have brought this to my attention. This letter insults the intelligence of Portsmouth people. Any voter can see from the tactical voting sites and recent polls that I am only candidate able to beat the Tories on Thursday 12 December.

Sadly this is not the first time in this campaign we have seen attempts to mislead voters and this is yet another example desperate tactics. After this election there will be change in our country. With so much at stake, I call on all candidates of all political persuasions, to do better for our city.

At the start of this election I committed to running a clean campaign. No mudslinging. No dodgy polls. No personality politics. I hope all candidates in our great city will now do the same”.

On social media, those who received the letter called out Mr Smithson who is a longstanding supporter of the Lib Dems and a former candidate.

Attempting to respond to the criticism, Mike Smithson admitted he didn’t agree the list of constituencies included in his letter. He also stated that recent polling had “moved the needle”.

On his blog, published today he said:

“I should explain that while I approved the text of the letters I did not have a prior view of the list of constituencies they were going to.

This was unlike [the General Election of 2017] when a similar exercise was carried out with me approving every single seat on the constituency list”.

He went on: “The YouGov MRP poll and other events have moved the needle. The [Lib Dem] party has given me assurances about the future”.

Responding Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s national campaign co-ordinator said:

“The Lib Dems have no credibility and should apologise for trying to mislead voters.

The last time Jo Swinson and her party were as close to the Tories as these charts claim, they were in government voting for the bedroom tax, privatising the NHS, tripling tuition fees and cutting taxes for the super-rich and big business”.

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Stephen Morgan backs Labour’s pledge to offer free dental check-ups for all following long running action over patient access in Portsmouth

Labour is announcing plans to provide free NHS dental check-ups for everyone in England. Stephen Morgan has a record of delivery when it comes to taking action over patient access to dental services in his city, following the closure of 3 city practises and has welcomed his party’s announcement.

Scrapping band one dentistry charges will give everyone a free teeth MOT with their dentist, including checks for oral cancers, while also taking pressure off GPs and hospitals.

Stephen Morgan said:

“Access to dental services is vitally important and to use the British Dental Association’s words, we are in crisis.
21 million people have not seen a dentist for over 2 years, around just 50% of dental practices are able to admit new NHS patients and in Portsmouth, the number of children being admitted to hospital for tooth decay has doubled.

With the Government making real term cuts to dentistry of nearly 30% since 2010, more people are finding themselves unable to get treatment which is putting pressure on other NHS services.

I welcome Labour’s pledge to offer free check ups to everyone which will both benefit the health of Portsmouth people and save people going to the NHS A&E departments with preventable issues.”

The measures, are part of Labour’s plans to focus on prevention and provide a truly universal NHS and moving towards providing dental services free at the point of use. Labour’s full pledge on NHS England funding will be laid out in our forthcoming fully-costed manifesto and this funding will come in addition to the £26bn announced by Labour earlier this week.

Stephen Morgan said:

“This Government’s incessant will to sell off bits of our NHS and leave it in the hands of companies like Colosseum in Portsmouth, owned by a swiss investment bank, is irresponsible and puts profit before Portsmouth people.

I have a record of delivery when it comes to standing up for Portsmouth patient access. Hosting urgent meetings with NHS England to get to the root of the closures in Portsmouth, meeting the British Dental Association in parliament, grilling Ministers in Westminster, visiting dental academies in our city.

Labour and I have pledged to do more for oral healthcare, but do that we need your support on the 12 December.”

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said:

“It’s shocking that so called ‘DIY Dentistry’ is becoming so common with people resorting to doing their own fillings and seriously risking their teeth deteriorating further.

With 135,000 patients presenting at A&E with dental problems every year, it’s time we put prevention at the heart of our approach to dental health.
“People should not be risking their teeth because they can’t afford the care. With Labour, dental check-up fees will be scrapped as we help people live healthier lives.”

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British Broadband: Candidate backs Labour’s mission to connect communities across Britain by delivering free full fibre broadband for all

In a major announcement Labour have set out plans to deliver free full fibre broadband for all by bringing parts of BT into public ownership and creating a new British Broadband public service.

According to research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, a full-fibre broadband network could boost productivity by £59 billion by 2025; bring half a million people back into the workforce; and boost rural economies, with an estimated 270,000 people more able to move to rural areas.

The Labour party announced the policy, describing the new free public service as central to the parties plans to transform our country and economy.

Stephen Morgan said:

“Bringing Portsmouth together and making a more inclusive society, that is our objective.
Portsmouth has a thriving community of independent bussiensses’, it is the responsibility of Government to support them in their success, key to this is strong digital infrastructure for businesses and industry.

If we are to be at forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and a global economic player, we must speed up the adoption of technologies across our economy.”

The next Labour government will undertake a massive upgrade in the UK’s internet infrastructure, delivering fast, secure, reliable internet connections for everyone and putting an end to patchy and slow coverage. This will boost 5G connectivity across the country.

The plan will be paid for through Labour’s Green Transformation fund and taxing multinational corporations such as Amazon, Facebook and Google, and save the average person £30.30 a month.

Only between 8-10 per cent of premises in the UK are connected to full-fibre broadband, compared to 97 per cent in Japan and 98 per cent in South Korea. Almost 80% of adults surveyed said that they have experienced internet reliability problems in the last year.

Stephen said:

“I welcome proposals to deliver free full-fibre broadband – saving money for people in Portsmouth and local businesses. This will be a massive boost to our economy and a massive upgrade to our city’s infrastructure”

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“Portsmouth needs to do more to tackle climate emergency “ – states city MP

Friends of the Earth have produced detailed, local authority specific data for the ranking of councils across Britain on their record of tackling climate change.

Portsmouth has finished low down in the bottom quarter with just a 60% rating, putting it amongst some of the nation’s lowest-scoring. The data release coincides with national media coverage this week outlining how Portsmouth clean air charging zone is being scaled back.

Considering recent developments on the clean air zone, Mr Morgan said:

“Portsmouth is in the midst of an air pollution crisis that has been described by experts as ‘dangerous’. The fact that the centre of Portsmouth could become a chargeable clean air zone – rather than the whole of Portsea Island – is the manifestation of the Council Leader’s indifference to the matter.

We know as a result the 11,000 people in this city who live with heart conditions are at greater risk of stroke and heart attack and our children’s lung capacity is heavily reduced. We need a radical overhaul of the way we tackle air pollution, not this lack-lustre tokenistic gesture.”

City MP, Stephen Morgan has for some time been speaking out against the ‘reactionary’ approach taken by the city council to datel in tackling climate change locally and has cited the air pollution crisis as a testament to the current council administration’s indifference to the issue.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

The reason that the council is performing so poorly when it comes to tackling climate change is simple. The current administration is not taking the issue seriously enough.

The Lib Dems are presiding over an avoidable air pollution crisis, which has been allowed to reach highly dangerous levels and meant the Council Leader has subsequently gone to beg at the feet of Government for help.

We have some of the worst recycling rates, which is again one of the lowest in the country at 24%. There has been a failure to take any action over implementing a cycle hire scheme. We have some of the lowest tree coverage in the country. Our city really does deserve much better.

Climate Change is not something that you can shirk or avoid. These helpful findings from Friends of the Earth remind us again that the administration’s ‘dog ate my homework’ approach is not the bold attitude we need to address the biggest issue our city and our planet has ever faced. This report must now act as a wakeup call to the Council Leader to do better.”

In March Portsmouth Labour worked with community activists to force the council to declare a climate emergency. Since then, Labour councillors have been working hard to push the council into action.

The city MP added:

“It was the Labour Group, under my leadership, who pioneered the movement locally to declare a climate emergency. It was Labour who tabled the motion nationally to declare the same in Parliament.

Local authorities have an important and often over-looked role in cutting carbon emissions and solving the climate crisis. But they can’t do it all themselves, which is why I am pushing for more powers and finance alongside government action.

Since joining the shadow front benches, I have been visiting local authorities leading the charge when it comes to climate change to formulate party policy on best practice. In seeing these trailblazers, it made was apparent that Portsmouth must do so much more.

I will continue to put pressure on the government and council to place the climate emergency at the front of all decision making. Change starts at home”.

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“Let’s work together to ensure today’s generation have the digital skills for the future” says City MP at launch of Google Digital Garage

Today, Google opened a training hub in Portsmouth South. Delivering a speech to local community and business leaders, the city MP helped declare the hub open.

The Google Digital Garage is a multi-million-pound initiative that helps people, small businesses, and charities in Britain learn crucial skills for the digital age and is supported by the council and other local agencies. The city MP has been lobbying for this to come to his city for well over year.

Google Digital Garage offers free workshops and 1:1 mentoring sessions, enabling everyone to harness the power of the internet. Stephen Morgan has spent a great deal of time lobbying for its presence in Portsmouth.

Addressing attendees at the opening, Mr Morgan said:

“While businesses in Portsmouth are thriving and do justice to the ingenuity and resilience the city is famed for, the importance of developing digital prowess cannot be overestimated, we must continue to make our mark.

Digital technology has revolutionised the way we work – but many smaller businesses that lack digital skills are being left behind.

The fact that 55% of small business owners reported growth after just 14 weeks of receiving Google Hub training means that these issues will be tackled head on.”

The city MP stressed the importance of digital training in relation to social inequality. This is in line with the State of the Nation report which found that 49 percent of the poorest adults had received no digital training after leaving school, while 20 percent of the richest adults had. 

Mr Morgan said:

“Not only are digital skills essential to business progression, they are also a vital tool in the fight against inequality and help with self-liberation.

Through closing the digital divide, we will be able to make it easier for those at the bottom of the ladder to climb up.

We know that in Portsmouth, deprivation is higher than average at over 25% and 9,000 children live in poverty. Improving digital literacy is one tool we can use in the fight against deprivation and injustice.”

Since 2015, Google Garage has visited more than 500 locations across the UK and trained more than 400,000 people. Statistics show that 75% of small business owners changed the way they use digital marketing to advertise or sell online and 90% of learners took action after Google Digital Garage training. 43% said they had used more digital tools at work, and 77% said Google Digital Garage had helped improve their professional profile.

Mr Morgan said:

“The reason I have lobbied so hard for the Garage to come to my patch is because of the proven track record it has in up-skilling local communities and fostering an atmosphere of progression.

In my maiden speech, I said this is a city of makers and doers. With the likes of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Charles Dickens emerging form this city, this is undeniable. I want to see this continue and believe that if we are to continue to leave our mark, ensuring equal access to digital skills for all will play a crucial role.”

Mr Morgan has not stopped at bringing the hub to his constituency, he is now in discussions with Google about a string of events at the hub and the touring of a Google Skills Bus around the constituency to reach marginalised communities.

 

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City MP demands meeting with Minister over Stanhope House student accommodation crisis

On 9 September, Prime Student Living (PSL), who are managing a new student development named Stanhope House on Commercial Road, failed to provide accommodation for over 250 students at the start of term. 

Since then, Stephen Morgan MP has submitted written questions to the Department for Education, written to PSL directly, written to the regulator, visited the site, met with the university, spoken out in the media, spoken directly with students affected and worked alongside Cllr Cal Corkery.

In Mr Morgan’s latest bid to bridge the gap in regulation and help affected local students, the city MP has written to the Government Minister responsible demanding an urgent meeting.

Mr Morgan Said:

“I have spoken to students impacted by this issue and I am deeply concerned about the effect that the PSL failure is having on them.

Some have been rehoused miles away from lectures and friends, others in places with no wi-fi. The opening weeks of university play a crucial role in academic life and career path, I will not allow private accommodation providers to recklessly gamble with Portsmouth students’ futures.

When I submitted parliamentary written questions to the Minister, he regrettably said that this was not a Government matter. I refuse to accept this and have written demanding a meeting so that we can work together to stop this from happening again

I look forward to continuing to work alongside Cllr Cal Corkery in standing up for Portsmouth students and ensuring they have a platform to be heard on”.

There have been widespread reports of students affected are feeling anxious about their living conditions. Many have outlined deep-set disappointment with the £150 that they have been issued which does not even cover one week’s rent.

In response to Mr Morgan’s written questions, the Chris Skidmore MP, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation replied:

“Higher education (HE) providers are autonomous bodies, independent from government; government plays no direct role in the provision of student residential accommodation” (full response in public domain).

Another key point raised by the Portsmouth South MP is that the taxpayer is essentially bankrolling these developments and therefore it is in the public interest to ensure they are of an acceptable standard.

Mr Morgan said:

“No matter which city you enter in the UK, you will notice an everchanging skyline continually infiltrated by new blocks of student flats.

While these are often private investments, make no mistake this funding comes from the tax payers’ purse via student maintenance loans.

Transparency, honesty, and continuity. This is not too much to ask of Government when it comes to regulating student accommodation.”

Mr Morgan and the University of Portsmouth are both in consensus that there is a clear regulatory gap exists. The Office for Students (OfS) regulates universities but has no regulatory power over private student accommodation providers. This clear gap in regulation is leaving students open to exploitation

On how he wants to see this resolved, Mr Morgan said:

“A similar problem occurred last year with Crown Place and I have seen that there have been 20 alike cases around the country this year alone.

The Government has a responsibility to our students, and it is not good enough to simply shift blame to private companies.

This is not the first time that this has happened. I want to make sure it is the last.

There is essentially inadequate regulation of purpose build student accommodation and we need to see more inclusive legislation that gives students more protection.

I look forward to the Minister responding to my meeting request so that we can get on with taking action over this matter.”

Stephen Morgan MP is in regular and constant communication with the University of Portsmouth over this matter and has vowed to submit a Westminster Hall debate on the topic if the Government Minister refuses to accommodate a meeting.

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City MP joins tree planting in bid to get to root of climate change

The city MP today joined climate protestors from Extinction Rebellion and environmental consultants, Rising Forests outside parliament as part of a nationwide tree planting scheme.

Stephen Morgan MP accepted a hickory tree from activists and is currently engaging with residents over where best to plant the fledgling plant.

The MP is no stranger to tree planting in his patch and has already planted 100 across Portsmouth South, a joint operation that both paid tribute to suffragettes and combatted local air pollution.

Mr Morgan said:

“Portsmouth faces an air pollution crisis that both the council and Government must do better on.

Trees will play a major role in mitigating against this problem as they absorb carbon dioxide and potentially harmful gasses, reduce temperatures locally and help foster biodiversity.

Portsmouth only has 8% tree coverage which is way below the national average, I am not wasting any time in proactively changing this. I have already shown leadership by planting over 100 locally with many more to come but I welcome the contribution that the council can make to this project.”

Extinction Rebellion alongside other climate activists formulated 1000 British trees in the shape of the British Isles next to Parliament square for MPs and senior bodies to collect and plant in their local areas. Mr Morgan joined them today to discuss strategy and the actions he is taking Portsmouth.

On the scheme, Mr Morgan said:

“Sadly, UK forest coverage is just 10% and we need to see a 200% increase if we are to come in line with our European neighbours, the project run today as part of XR Global Rebellion is tackling this issue head-on.

Recent studies have shown that global tree restoration is our most effective climate change solution to date, and I will continue to support and advocate for this strategy of getting out and planting trees.”

Today’s action by the Portsmouth South MP is mirrored by his party’s policy, Labour plan to plant an ‘NHS forest’ of a million trees at hospitals and firmly support tree planting as one of many solutions in tackling climate change.

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Wave Maiden nominated for parliamentary pub of year by City MP

Stephen Morgan MP nominates the Wave Maiden in Southsea for the prestigious Parliamentary Pub of the Year

The national awards, which culminate in a final at the House of Commons, offer all Members of Parliament the opportunity to nominate their constituency’s favourite boozer.

This award focuses on celebrating pubs in our community and Stephen Morgan MP has nominated the Wave Maiden on Osborne Road, Southsea as the entrant from the Portsmouth South constituency.

The nomination follows a call out on social media and in The News, with over 280 suggestions from constituents. The Wave Maiden topped the poll, with The Phoenix and Staggeringly Good coming second and third respectively.

The Parliamentary Pub of the year competition will give 650 MPs the opportunity to nominate a pub to be recognised as the Parliamentary pub of the Year.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“The hundreds of people that took part in this nomination process and stiff competition is a testament to the thriving pub scene we are fortunate enough to have in Portsmouth.

From providing a place to meet friends and socialise to offering a platform to up and coming local performer, pubs play a crucial role when it comes to community cohesion. Awards such as this give us the chance the recognise this.

Having been to the Wave Maiden, I can see why it was selected by Portsmouth people. I am delighted that their hard work and dedication has been recognised and am confident that they will go even further in the next round of the national awards ceremony.”

A representative from the Wave Maiden added:

“On behalf of our entire team we’d like to thank everyone who nominated us and to those who support us.

We’re honoured to be recognised as a pub with the community at it’s heart. Enriching our area is something we have always strived toward and we are proud and humbled to have made a positive impact on so many people along the way.

We appreciate this recognition greatly and will continue to do our best for Portsmouth.”

The main criteria for nomination is a pub that is great at what they do, this can include the range of beer or food provided, the dedication to serving the local community or a specialist in music or sports.

Nominated Pubs will be required to submit a video to the judges for the next round.

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Inspiring Fratton Awards branded success following first ever ceremony

As part of the Fratton Family Festival, Stephen Morgan MP has awarded 11 upstanding members of the community with Inspiring Fratton Awards.

The awards, which were pioneered by the local-born MP and Fratton Big Local, have commended members of the community that have a long-running connection with the ward and who have gone above and beyond to enrich the local area.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“As someone who was born and raised in Fratton, I know that there are certain people in the community who go out of their way to improve their local area.

Despite the fact our communities would not be the same without them, their work often goes without recognition. These awards are about making sure they get the credit they deserve for making our communities brighter.

These are the people that make Fratton not just a place to live, but a place to call home.

While this was the first time the awards have ever been issued, I look forward to continuing to commend local members of the community who are ward-wide ambassadors and make their area a place to be proud of”.

The awards featured a variety of categories ranging from Sport and Art to Best Café and Educational Achievement and seek to showcase a cross-section of skill sets on offer in the area.

Mr Morgan said:

It is integral that the awards match the many ways that people contribute. That is why we have such a comprehensive list of classifications.

By having such a diverse array of categories and age specific commendations, I am confident that Inspiring Fratton Awards give all those who make their ward a bit brighter the opportunity to be recognised.

By having awards for both those above and under 18, we hope to ensure that those who have just started the journey for community improvement are recognised and encouraged.”

The Fratton Traders Association and Fratton Big Local worked together tirelessly to bring music, performance, children’s activities and stalls to the south end of Fratton on Sunday 15 September. 

Following the festivities, the city MP said:

“So many people just drive through Fratton, not realising the community spirit held in the ward. At the Festival they get a chance to stop and relax in the area.

From discovering the diversity of food available to seeing the many skilled barbers and hidden gems like the My Dog Sighs Mural in Cornwall road – the event offers a first-rate experience in Fratton.

Fratton is strengthened by its diversity and the importance of bringing the community together cannot be underestimated.

The fact that this event was successful paves the way for a long tradition of hosting both the festivities and the Inspiring Fratton Awards in the area”

Bob White Chair of Fratton Big Local said:

The commendations given out by Inspiring Fratton Awards to 11 outstanding members of our community, from a diverse mix of ages and skill sets, fits perfectly with the ethos of the Fratton Family Festival.

The festivities are about coming together, pride in our community and fostering a sense of unity. I believe that by commending those who are striving to achieve this, the Inspiring Fratton Awards go a long way in showcasing the depth of talent we are fortunate enough to have.

The success of Fratton Family Festival and the Inspiring Fratton Awards this year sets the tone of future celebrations. Fratton Big Local looks forward to our continued partnership with Stephen Morgan MP and others in seeking out and commending our upstanding community members.”

 

 

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“Fratton is a place to be proud of” says City MP as excitement builds before local festival

As part of the Fratton Family Festival this weekend, Stephen Morgan MP will be awarding upstanding members of the community with Inspiring Fratton Awards. 

The awards, which were pioneered by the local-born MP and Fratton Big Local, will commend members of the community that have a long-running connection with the ward and who have gone above and beyond to enrich the local area.

Mr Morgan said:

“As someone who was born and raised in Fratton, I know that there are certain people in the community who go out of their way to improve their local area.

Despite the fact our communities would not be the same without them, their work often goes without recognition. These awards are about making sure they get the credit they deserve for making our communities brighter.

These are the people that make Fratton not just a place to live, but a place to call home

I urge everyone from Fratton, and the surrounding areas, to head down and get involved. Not every community has what Fratton has, we should celebrate what it has to offer.”

The Fratton Traders Association and Fratton Big Local have worked together tirelessly to bring music, performance, children’s activities and stalls to the south end of Fratton on Sunday 15th September 11.00am – 4.30pm

The event, which features no cars, lots of family fun and this year for the first time the presentation of the Inspiring Fratton Awards by Stephen Morgan MP to 11 local people, is set to be a highly successful event.

Ahead of the festivities, the city MP said:

“So many people just drive through Fratton, not realising the community spirit held in the ward. At the Festival they get a chance to stop and relax in the area.

From discovering the diversity of food available to seeing the many skilled barbers and hidden gems like the My Dog Sighs Mural in Cornwall road – the event offers a first-rate experience in Fratton.

Fratton is strengthened by its diversity and the importance of bringing the community together cannot be underestimated.

I look forward to continuing to working with others in and around Fratton to help foster a sense of unity and pride in our area.”

Bob White Chair of Fratton Big Local said:

“The Fratton Family Festival is now a well-established part of the calendar and is a day for celebrating the life and diversity of the Fratton community.

I enjoy seeing the great cross section of ages, backgrounds and cultures mingling and enjoying the music and activities together. This year we are delighted to be presenting our first ever ‘Inspiring Fratton Awards’ to recognise those in our community who have contributed to our life together.”

Big Local is being delivered by Local Trust and a range of partners. The event seeks to bring together local talent, community members, residents and ambitious individuals with the view of making the community an even better place to live.

Big Local puts residents in 150 areas across England in the driving seat. Residents in each of these areas are provided with all the support they need to identify their priorities and plan how to invest £1 million over at least the next 10 years.