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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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City MP speaks up for Portsmouth rail users in Parliament

Speaking from the green benches in parliament, Stephen Morgan MP held the Transport Minister to account over the poor performance of South Western Railway.

In a bid to signal to government the effect of soaring prices and increasingly delayed running times, the Portsmouth South MP relayed rail concerns that many constituents contacted him about directly. 

In a rare display, the Minster praised Mr Morgan’s relentless efforts in speaking up for Portsmouth but offered no robust plans on how he would be improving the service.

Mr Morgan said:

“Portsmouth people rely on our rail network to get to work, for business and for important social occasions. I am told every week how plans have been scuppered by delays to the network all the while fares have soared.

Put simply, Portsmouth people are paying more but getting less. Government has a responsibility to ensure the smooth running of the nation’s rail network, as it stands, they are failing.

I have been listening to constituent’s transport concerns and today put these directly to the Government representative responsible. It is essential that we see improvements.”

According to South Western Railway’s own performance indicating website, over 50% of their trains failed to run at the right time. Despite this, customers saw an average of 2.7% rail fair surge in 2020.

Mr Morgan added:

“Effective running of our railways is not just an important local issue; it is vital in the battle against climate change.

Railways are in crisis across the nation. Regulated rail fares have risen by 40% since 2010, more than two and a half times the rate of median wages. At the same time, overcrowding on trains has increased and reliability has declined.

Government should be making it more attractive for people to use greener travel, not harder and more expensive.”

Since Mr Morgan was elected, he has been relentless in his calls for better rail services. Meeting with rail providers, attending cross-party parliamentary rail groups, asking questions in the chamber, submitting written questions and speaking to commuters in his patch. He has vowed to continue this important work.

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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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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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City MP wastes no time in calling on PM to construct invaluable Naval dry dock facility in Portsmouth

Newly re-elected MP, Stephen Morgan has made refreshed calls on the new Government to construct a dry dock facility in Portsmouth in one of his first major post-election moves.

The city MP’s most recent calls on the PM are part of a long-running campaign that has seen him meet government procurement ministers, grill cabinet members in the chamber, write countless letters to the Ministry of Defence and regularly meeting with Naval Personnel.

City MP, Stephen Morgan said:

“The last Labour Government showed ambition in commissioning the QE Class carriers which are a maritime feat that has marked the rebirth of naval aviation in the UK.

It is only fair and just that we have the infrastructure to match these ambitious achievements. 

Mr Johnson has previously stated he wants to invest in communities like ours, with a majority Government he now has the opportunity.

I’ve long been taking action to see a dry dock facility built in Portsmouth. It would bring around £1 bn to our economy, generate over 100 jobs and bolster our Naval Base. It is time for the PM to be bold and back Britain and Portsmouth.”

The MP has written to Mr Johnson to lobby for Portsmouth following announcements by Government on their legislative program for the year ahead. 

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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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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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City MP visits BAE Systems at Broad Oak

Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan visited our Broad Oak site earlier today (Monday 30 September), to find out more about BAE Systems capabilities in the city, and speak to colleagues and unions.

Stephen had a tour of the site, where he visited the Manufacturing Hall and Micro-electronics Labs, and spent time talking to some of our colleagues on our apprenticeship and graduate programmes. Stephen also met with some of the Trade Union representatives and even had time to help us out with a bit of filming!

Stephen was grateful for the time spent with the Trade Union and some of the BAE Systems team:

It was good to see the work the company does in support of our nation’s security, the jobs they offer local people and their award-winning apprenticeship programme.

Jon Penny, our Head of Manufacturing and site lead at Broad Oak, gave Stephen the site tour and co-hosted him during his time with us.

Jon added:

“It was great to host Stephen and be able to demonstrate and talk-through some of our fantastic capabilities and the products we design, build and operate, both here and within the wider Products & Training Services business.

As you might expect Stephen was really interested in what we do here, and especially our presence and impact in the wider Portsmouth community, but he’s also passionate about careers and what we can do for young people, so he really seemed to enjoy talking to some of our colleagues on our early careers programmes.”

 

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City MP calls on new Veterans Minister to properly support our armed forces community 

Stephen Morgan MP has wasted no time in pressing the new Minister for Defence People and Veterans to extend the HM Forces Railcard to ex-service personnel. 

Currently, members of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces enjoy the benefits of reduced rate rail travel with the HM Forces Railcard, a benefit recently extended to Reservists. Now the local MP has made fresh calls for this to go further.

Mr Morgan said: 

“This is a simple issue. The current HM Forces Railcard, offering discount rates to service people on UK trains, does not include veterans. I believe this is wrong.

I do not believe that we should differentiate between those who currently serve and those who have served when it comes to paying tribute or supporting our armed forces community.

It is not like the physical and mental scars subside after these individuals leave the military, why then should their support network?

I have written the Defence Minister in the hope that he shares this perception and, in the hope, that he will act decisively and rectify this current injustice.”

The HM Forces Railcard costs £21 and saves individuals 1/3 on most rail fares throughout Great Britain for a whole year. This works out at under £2 a month and if used regularly, has large-scale money saving qualities. 

Stephen Morgan MP said: 

“Across this nation, we are not properly supporting our veterans. Whether that is failing to offer bespoke, tailored mental health services or not properly implementing or improving the Armed Forces Covenant – the Government can do a lot more.

Making changes like extending the Forces Railcard to veterans is a step in the right direction and I will require serious explanation if the Government chooses to defy my recommendation.

I will continue to lobby all colleagues at the MoD until we see a system worthy of the brave men and women who have given so much to this nation.”

Stephen Morgan MP has long been a champion of causes close to the hearts of the force’s community. He has hosted a Westminster hall debate on Veteran Suicide, regularly meets with organisations such as All Call Signs in his constituency and has expressed a commitment to ensuring the forces community have a voice in Parliament.