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Shadow Defence Minister hits home importance of cyber security from dispatch box

During departmental questions for the Ministry of Defence, Stephen Morgan MP today sought answers from the Government on the strength of the UK’s cybersecurity; and what role it would play in the upcoming Integrated Strategic Review.

The Integrated Strategic Defence and Security Review will look at Britain’s position and international policy requirements.

Mr Morgan warned government today that cybersecurity must play a central role in the review considering recent Artificial Intelligence developments.

Shadow Defence Procurement Minister, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“The ever-changing landscape of threats this nation faces means that government must be thinking beyond the traditional frontiers of warfare.

With evidence suggesting that other nations are pulling away from the UK and its allies when it comes to cyber and AI capability, it is vital that precautions to protect our own cyber security and MoD equipment are taken.

The upcoming strategic review is an opportunity for the government to lay the groundwork for robust cybersecurity for years to come. It is vital this chance is seized.”

Mr Morgan’s line of questioning follows concerns that artificial intelligence (AI) will revolutionise the cyber domain, making attacks faster and more disruptive.

Mr Morgan added:

“Cybersecurity is vital to national security and in the interests of all British people; none more so than our armed forces working overseas in areas like Poland and Estonia.

I will continue to apply scrutiny and keep a close eye on the government to make sure they are doing all they can to safeguard British people from all forms of security threats.”

Stephen Morgan MP stated that it is important to ensure concerns over Covid-19 do not impact national security.

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“Study after study must be replaced by action after action” says Shadow Defence Minister following government’s veterans’ statement today

Today the Government made a statement in the House of Commons about serving and former members of the armed forces ending their lives, following an internal review commissioned by the Secretary of State for Defence.

Responding to the statement in the Commons for the official opposition, Shadow Defence Minister Stephen Morgan MP probed the Minister for Defence People and Veterans to push for faster action.

The Portsmouth South MP identified three main areas that require urgent action by Government.

The need for Ministers to ensure coroners start to record veteran suicide, address the number of veterans not seeking mental health support, and improvements to the transitional support services offered backed up with proper funding.

Responding to the Minister’s statement, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“I welcome the Minister’s statement today; nonetheless, there is still much more that needs to be done.

We know that some veterans who struggle ultimately and tragically end up taking their own lives. Indeed, there are reports that 14 former and current serving personnel have committed suicide in the past 2 months alone – many of them having served in Afghanistan.

The Minister has raised the point about data collection for serving personnel, however, we do not know the full scale of this crisis for veterans because unlike major allies such as Canada, New Zealand, and the US, coroners in the UK do not record veterans’ suicides. This lack of data makes it extremely difficult to know the full scale of the problem but also makes it difficult to be able to provide better, more targeted interventions”.

Mr Morgan also raised the fact that additional funding offered to veteran’s services in the Budget was merely a drop in the ocean. Citing the fact that veterans’ services currently only receive the equivalent of 0.007% of the NHS budget.

A Defence Select Committee report revealed that 60% of veterans requiring support fail to seek services due to issues around stigma was also raised.

Mr Morgan added:

“Our armed forces work hard to keep us safe so that we can live our lives to the full without fear. Day in day out, they do things that cross the line into the remarkable. It is only just, fair and right that we have veteran’s mental health care provision worthy of these men and women.

Tragically, we hear case after case of stories similar in nature to that of David Dukes that I shared last year. Every moment of dither and delay puts more veterans at risk. There are simple steps we can make immediately that will bring about major change.

I hope the government now gives this important issue the urgency it deserves. It is high time to move beyond study after study, to action after action. “

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“Veterans must play the lead role in commemorations”- City MP issues callout to WW2 ex-service personnel

Shadow Defence Minister, Stephen Morgan MP has issued a callout to all WW2 veterans in a bid to ensure due recognition of their feats.

Mr Morgan has joined up with The British Legion in encouraging veterans to register their attendance to events marking the 75th anniversaries of VE and VJ Day, on the 8th May and 15th August.

Mr Morgan said:

“Victory in Europe Day and Victory over Japan Day will forever be milestones in the history of this nation.

As we approach the 75th anniversaries for these most significant days, it is essential that we reflect and remember the unfathomable achievements of those who sacrificed so much.

Central to that remembrance and commemoration process must be the veterans themselves. That is why I have joined the British Legion in calling on all WW2 veterans to take part in the events planned.”

Veterans can be of British, Commonwealth or Allied origin and all costs for their attendance will be met by The Royal British Legion and its partners. Registration closes for VE Day veterans on 17 February and for VJ Day veterans on 31 March.

Mr Morgan added:

“With the recent success of D-Day 75, that I am proud to say took place in Portsmouth, it has been made clear that veterans must play the lead role.

I commend The British Legion in working towards ensuring VE and VJ Day commemorations follow suit and look forward to joining others on the 8th May and 15th August in reflecting and remembering. “

Veterans can be of British, Commonwealth or Allied origin and all costs for their attendance will be met by The Royal British Legion and its partners.

Further information can be found here https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/remembrance/remembrance-events

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City MP calls for “comprehensive, integrated Defence Strategy” during parliamentary debate

Recently appointed Shadow Defence Procurement Minister, Stephen Morgan MP called on Government to implement a wider Defence Industrial Strategy while closing a debate on helicopters in our armed forces.

Mr Morgan’s calls for a comprehensive strategy, including rotary aircrafts, follow his recent probes into the Government’s delays to Crowsnest Radar.

Mr Morgan said:

“As an MP honoured to represent the city hosting the Queen Elizabeth Class Carriers which will rely heavily on Merlin helicopter’s Crowsnest radar capability, it is essential that defence strategy includes wide reaching plans for rotary aircrafts.

I took the opportunity today as frontbench Shadow Minister closing the debate to call on Government to set out their plans for the Strategic Defence and Security Review.

It is imperative that in that review we prioritise building British and sovereign capability if we are to retain our operational advantage.”

The 322 rotary-wing aircrafts in the UK armed forces play a crucial role in defending national security. Roles include reconnaissance, troop transport, supply drops and radar capability.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“We know that future air warfare will be increasingly complex, with significant technological advancements over the lifetime of a single rotary wing aircraft.

As threats evolve, we must evolve with them. And without a comprehensive Strategic Defence and Security Review, this will be deeply challenging.”

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Portsmouth MP joins Shadow Defence team

Photo credit: permission given from TruffShots https://truffshots.com

 

Ahead of the election of a new Labour Leader and Leader of the Opposition it has been announced today that Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP will be stepping into a front-bench role as Shadow Minister for Defence Procurement. The appointment puts the city MP at the heart of Labour’s defence team headed up by Shadow Defence Secretary Nia Griffith MP.

The announcement follows Mr Morgan’s record as a strong voice on defence matters in the House of Commons and previously the Public Accounts Committee specialising in concerns related to the nation’s armed forces and military capabilities. The MP has also been running a campaign in Westminster for better support for armed forces personnel past and present, including working with local organisation All Call Signs to urge the government to record veteran suicide levels.

Responding to the appointment, the new Shadow Defence Procurement Minister Stephen Morgan MP said:

“I have always been clear the Government has no higher duty than the protection of our citizens and the maintenance of national security. Yet since 2010, we have seen 5,000 Royal Navy jobs cut, 12 ships axed, 91 defence sites sold off and the lowest defence spending for 20 years.

It is only right that these brave men and women have equipment to match their capabilities. Through my work on the Public Accounts Committee, I have seen the equipment and infrastructure black hole resulting from a decade of Tory corner cutting and indifference.

I welcome the opportunity to join the Shadow Defence Team to speak up for our nation’s armed forces and to hold Government to account over their poor defence record”.

Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, Nia Griffith said:

“From work on veterans’ welfare to grilling government over low quality military housing, Stephen Morgan has been a steady hand on defence since he came to parliament.

I have no doubt he will be a capable and diligent addition to an already effective Shadow Defence team and look forward to working alongside him in highlighting the litany of defence errors made by this Government”.

In covering this role, Mr Morgan has added to his portfolio as Shadow Communities Minister working with Labour’s Communities and Local Government team headed by Andrew Gwynne MP. Mr Morgan replaces Wayne David MP who has stood down to focus on defence priorities in other ways in Parliament.

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Stephen Morgan talks of ‘need for continued investment in our Royal Navy’ as HMS Prince of Wales Commissioning services gets underway

HMS Prince of Wales, commissioned by the last Labour Government, is the second Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier to be commissioned into the fleet and forms part of the carrier strike group set to deploy in 2021.

2017 General Election winner, Stephen Morgan said:

“As MP for Portsmouth South, I had the privilege of visiting HMS Prince of Wales both for her naming day and twice when she was under construction in Rosyth.

Having seen the tireless efforts of the shipbuilders on site, I know how much skill and craftsmanship is required to carry out a technological feat such as this. It is essential that we continue to invest in our naval capability and I am proud of my track record of doing just that.

Being the Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South has given me the opportunity to directly meet with the Government Procurement Minister to lobby hard for the A31es to be base-ported in our city, take action over getting a dry docking facilities here in Portsmouth and spend time with the shipbuilders and naval personal who tirelessly work for the good of the nation.

To carry on being a strong national voice for Portsmouth on the Royal Navy and all our armed forces, I need your support on Thursday 12 December.”

The £3.1bn aircraft carrier is the eighth Royal Navy vessel to bear the name, and is named after the previous ship to hold the title.

Stephen Morgan said:

“Not only does HMS Prince of Wales mark the rebirth of Naval Aviation and showcase the top-class engineering held in our nation, the construction of these ships has provided a welcome boost to our economy and ship building sector.

The process involved 20,000 workers, 200 suppliers and was built in 9 locations across the UK. It is a manifestation of our nation’s ability to come together and produce something remarkable.

The fact that Portsmouth has played such an instrumental role in this undertaking truly does secure our city as the heart and home of the Royal Navy.”

Stephen Morgan is no stranger to standing up for our Royal Navy and during his time as MP spent time with naval forces both in the UK and overseas. In a bid to secure the Dry Dock facility in Portsmouth South and ensure the A31es all the city home he has been lobbying the Ministry of Defence tirelessly, submitted parliamentary questions, met with Ministers and met with the Naval Base commander regularly here in Portsmouth.

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Shadow Defence Secretary visits Portsmouth to help re-elect national voice on defence, Stephen Morgan

Stephen Morgan, who won Portsmouth South in the General Election of 2017 and is seeking re-election, was today visited by senior Shadow Cabinet Member, Nia Griffith in his home city. The visit came as a result of his consistently strong stance on defence.

Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary made the visit to discuss Mr Morgan’s relentless efforts to secure the dry docking facility in Portsmouth, to spend time with local veterans organisations.

The visit was organised ahead of the first entry of HMS Prince of Wales expected in Portsmouth Harbour on the 16 November. The two new carriers were commissioned by the last Labour Government and resulted from the decisions made by Labour Ministers.

The Shadow Defence Secretary, Nia Griffith said:

“Portsmouth people made the right decision in 2017. From tirelessly lobbying the previous Government to invest in Portsmouth by locating the dry dock facility within the city to being a voice for veterans in Parliament, Stephen has consistently fought his city’s corner.

His record of delivery has been outstanding. Portsmouth people need to back Stephen as the only candidate who can beat the Tories, who have made unprecedented cuts to our armed forces, so that he can continue to advocate on the city’s behalf.”

2017 winner and current candidate, Stephen Morgan said:

“Portsmouth is the heart and home of the Royal Navy. Our great city being the base-port of the forthcoming HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Queen Elizabeth reaffirms that.

I want to ensure that this legacy is continued, that is why I want to continue to lobby hard and speak up for Portsmouth when it comes to the location of a dry docking facility worth over £1 bn to our local economy.

Today, for Portsmouth I made the case to Labour’s most senior defence figure as she joined me spending time with veterans, discussing our city’s naval future and meeting residents on the doorstep.”

The frontbench visit kicked off with Labour’s Defence Secretary spending time with Mr Morgan at the Historic Dockyard and discussed Mr Morgan’s efforts to secure the dry docking for the Queen Elizabeth Class carriers, which would generate over 100 jobs and £1bn locally.

On securing a dry docking facility, Mr Morgan said:

“I have met the relevant Minister, written countless letters to three different Defence Secretaries, submitted a string of written questions, grilled the Government during Defence Questions and met with the Naval Base Commander.

Since 2010, we have seen 5,000 Royal Navy jobs cut, 12 ships axed, 91 defence sites scheduled to be sold off and the lowest defence spending for 20 years. It is clear you cannot trust the Conservatives’ record when it comes to safeguarding our armed forces.

When I asked the previous Government to begin recording veteran suicide? They refused. When I asked for the dry dock to come to Portsmouth? They refused. When I asked the Government to extend the forces rail card to veterans? At that time they refused.

I will not stand idly by and allow Government to yet again neglect the needs of the city where I grew up. Portsmouth’s success is the Royal Navy’s success and the dry docking facility would secure jobs for the future”.

Mr Morgan also hosted a roundtable discussion with local veterans organisation All Call Signs, who provide support to ex-forces personnel, and Labour’s Defence Secretary to discuss Labour veterans pledge.

Stephen James from All Call Signs said:

“For some time we have been working alongside Stephen and others in a bid to get Government to record veteran suicide.

I have seen him host debates, write letters out to coroners, ask questions in Parliament and work hard to achieve this goal. I hope that he is able to continue this vital work for the veteran’s community and that we are able to continue our work together.”

Mr Morgan is no stranger to standing up for veterans, he has been calling for the HM Forces railcard to be extended to ex-service personnel, worked alongside The British Legion and others to ensure the success of D-Day 75 and worked in the Public Accounts Committee to probe into substandard military accommodation. For him to continue this vital work for Portsmouth, he must be re-elected on the 12 December.

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Giving veterans the support fit for heroes

Labour has marked Armistice Day with a pledge to support the armed forces and the nation’s veterans with better working conditions, against a backdrop of falling pay and privatisation.

The party’s manifesto, which will be released later this month, will include five major pledges to support the forces and their families:

1. Fair Pay – scrap the public sector pay cap, which has seen 5.8% real terms pay cut for the starting salary of an Army Private

2. Decent housing for forces and their families – end the growing reliance on the private rented sector

3. A voice for service men and women – consult on creating a representative body, similar to the Police Federation

4. End privatisation – root and branch review of outsourcing and a clear presumption in favour of public delivery of public contracts

5. Support for forces children – better access to schools with dedicated local authorities’ admissions strategy for the particular challenge of frequent school moves.

Labour’s candidate for Portsmouth South is a longstanding campaigner for better support for serving personnel and veterans.

He has been undertaking a variety of actions since getting elected to Parliament including calling on the Government to fund a veterans railcard, lobbying for bespoke mental health services and pressing Ministers to implement a scheme to record veteran suicide to understand the scale of the problem.

Stephen Morgan said:

“I have always been clear the Government has no higher duty than the protection of our citizens and the maintenance of national security.

Yet since 2010, we have seen 5,000 Royal Navy jobs cut, 12 ships axed, 91 defence sites sold off and the lowest defence spending for 20 years. It is clear you cannot trust the Conservatives’ record when it comes to safeguarding our armed forces.

When I asked the previous Government to begin recording veteran suicide? They refused. When I asked for the dry dock to come to Portsmouth? They refused. When I asked the Government to extend the forces rail card to veterans? They refused.
Enough is enough. Labour’s veterans pledge is a testament to the fact that they are the only party prioritising our armed forces personnel.”

Stephen has a strong record of delivery when it comes to standing up for our veterans. He has Hosted a debate in Parliament. Written out to 98 coroners. Hosted roundtable meetings with veterans in his office. Worked alongside local organisations such as All Call Signs and urged Government to instate a veteran’s railcard.

Stephen said:

“With a record of delivery standing up for our armed forces and our nation’s veterans already, I promise to do so much more.

As a strong national voice on defence, I will continue to put our armed forces first. I welcome the comprehensive plan announced today to help achieve that”

Stephen Morgan has cited his grandfather, a D-Day veteran from Portsmouth, as the motivation behind his relentless efforts to see our armed forces personal treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.

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Stephen Morgan MP calls to abolish visa fees for Commonwealth servicemen and women

The Portsmouth South MP has joined calls from The Royal British Legion for the Government to abolish visa fees for Commonwealth servicemen and women.

Currently, Commonwealth citizens serving in the UK armed forces have the right to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after four years’ service if they choose to stay in the UK. However, application costs have risen considerably in recent years, meaning it would currently cost almost £10,000 in visa fees for a service leaver to settle in the UK with a spouse and two children.

This has created a situation where Commonwealth citizens are often forced to choose between leaving the UK, a country they have sacrificed a great deal to serve, or remaining here and splitting up their family. The Royal British Legion, which has raised awareness of this issue through their ‘Stop the Service Charge’ campaign, say they have provided £36,000 in grants for visa fees last year alone.

They also coordinated a cross-party letter which called on the Home Secretary to recognise those who have served in the UK armed forces by abolishing visa costs for them and their families. This was signed by more than 130 different MPs from 8 different parties, showing the breadth of feeling on this issue.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

 

“These men and women sign up to join the UK’s Armed Forces putting their life on the line for our country, and the current visa fees charged do not reflect the nations gratitude for their service.

 

Having served the UK, Commonwealth service personnel have the right to apply to stay here without having to pay fees so high that some veterans are being pushed into poverty”

 

Charles Byrne, Director General at The Royal British Legion, said,

 

“Charging exorbitant fees to those who have sacrificed so much to serve our country is no way to thank Commonwealth service leavers. We are pleased so many people agree with our Stop the Service Charge campaign and are joining the call to have these fees waived.  We hope the Government will listen to these serious concerns.”

 

 

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“Holistic, comprehensive support for our veterans is vital – We should settle for nothing less” – City MP speaks out after visit to veterans charity 

Stephen Morgan MP has put recess time to good use and spent a day with forces charity Blind Veterans UK, a Brighton based organisation that seeks to provide holistic care and support for veterans who have suffered blindness.

The visit allowed Mr Morgan meet with veterans, or members as charity sees them, to observe first-hand the ground-breaking technology being trialled and hear feedback on the research being conducted at the centre.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“The work being conducted at Blind Veterans UK is truly remarkable. It only takes a conversation with one of the many members of the charity to hear how it has touched the lives of not just them, but their families.

Organisations such as this are essential because they provide a well-rounded, comprehensive level of support. From tackling social-isolation through group-based sports activities, to providing vital skills through educational services – the centres capabilities are impressive.”

The Portsmouth South representative’s visit culminated in a demonstration of the driverless cars being tested at the facility, paving the way for potentially changing the game when it comes ensuring blind veterans remain independent.

The visit also included discussions with the centres resident doctor about the highly-advanced research being conducted at the centre, and interactive demonstrations of the way Virtual Reality is being used to support charity members.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“The level of care provided to our ex-armed forces community by the Government does not go far enough, organisations such as Blind Veterans UK are pioneers when it comes to what can be achieved.

Well-being, education, fitness, medical care and support are all provided. We should strive to replicate this when it comes to how veterans are treated across the board.

For some time now, I have been calling on the Government to do more when it comes to tailored, bespoke services for our forces community. Spending time with the members at this organisation is a testament to how and why this should be achieved. “

Mr Morgan’s visit formed part of his long-running strategy for improving life for veterans. He has made repeated calls for veteran suicide to be recorded, written to the Government asking for further rights such as railcards to be extended to veterans, met with The British Legion, hosted Westminster Hall debates on veteran welfare and regularly meets local organisations such as all call signs.

City MP, Stephen Morgan said:

“Growing up in Portsmouth and having a grandfather who crossed the channel on D-Day makes it difficult to miss the immense efforts of our armed forces community.

My aim is simple, improve the services offered to ex-service and serving personnel so that the system is worthy of the men and women who use it.

Visits like this are integral to this process, if we can observe the challenges and successes faced by organisations such as Blind Veterans UK, we can use this a blueprint for change. I look forward to continuing to raise the issue of the wellbeing of our armed forces in Parliament and ensuring their voice is heard.”