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Government ‘must do better’ to bring home Britons says City MP

Portsmouth South’s MP Stephen Morgan is piling on the pressure calling for the Foreign Office to do better to bring home British travellers stuck abroad.

The call comes after the MP has been liaising daily with the Government about constituents unable to return home due to the coronavirus crisis.

Stephen Morgan MP shares people’s frustrations about the lack of information and advice that they have received from the Foreign Office, especially problems getting through to speak to people on the phone.

The Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has admitted the Government has been struggling to manage the level of calls that they were receiving and have now  doubled their call centre capacity.

As well as lobbying the Foreign Secretary to take urgent action, the city MP has been in daily contact with the Foreign Office about individual cases of Portsmouth people who have had difficulties getting back to the UK from around the world, liaising with the families affected, as well as sharing information with the Shadow Foreign Secretary to push for further action by Government.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“It is clear from the daily correspondence I am getting from constituents stuck abroad and cases I am hearing about from other parliamentarians, that the Foreign Office’s current efforts to support people to return to the UK have not been adequate.

This is causing a huge amount of distress to those affected from our city and their families.

I will continue to prioritise helping Portsmouth people who are encountering serious problems abroad and have not received adequate assistance from the Foreign Office.

The Government must do better and now prioritise the resources needed to bring Britons back safely and swiftly”.

Despite calls, the Government has not been able to give an exact figure for the number of British nationals currently stranded abroad, only estimating numbers between 500,000 and 700,000 people.

Labour has called for more comprehensive information on the scale of the problem and for Government to work with airlines to get data on how many people have been able to get home so far, so that resources can help secure the return of all British travellers.

Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry MP added:

“While I appreciate that the FCO staff are all working very hard, the direction from those at the top hasn’t been good enough and it is clear from the emails that I have received and the cases MPs have sent my way that they need to take further steps to provide a more comprehensive repatriation offer to Brits stuck overseas.

I have made it very clear that the government should not be leaving people to the mercy of exploitative private airlines who are ripping vulnerable people off, without helping them to get home”.

The Portsmouth South MP believes that leaving people to rely solely on commercial options to return to the UK is not acceptable and is calling on the Government to work more closely with the airline companies to find a solution.

 

 

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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 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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The PM is running scared of the people

Responding to news that Government will ‘prorogue’ Parliament, and following the signing of a cross-party ‘Church House’ declaration yesterday, Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“The current Prime Minister’s reckless attempt to use Her Majesty The Queen to centralise power in his own hands is an insult to our great democracy.

We know a No Deal would have catastrophic consequences for UK jobs, our nation’s economy and it would decimate our NHS.

Brexit has already cost the UK £600m a week in lost growth whilst an estimated £1.5bn has been spent on preparations. It’s absolutely right we continue to work across party to stop a disastrous No Deal exit.

It is now clear that Mr Johnson is not only running scared of the people for not giving them a final say, but now running scared of the voice of the people in Parliament.

Yesterday I signed the Church House Declaration in defiance of a PM who is willing to bypass democracy and prorogue Parliament.

For the people of Portsmouth I will continue to work with others across party against this PM’s dangerous ego-driven campaign to remove the voice of the people at this time of national crisis.

I will do everything I can to stop Mr Johnson crashing our great country out of the EU with a No Deal”.