, , , , , , , ,

Government now need a ‘comprehensive plan’ to return home stranded Britons

Responding to the Government announcement tonight on Britain’s trapped abroad due to the coronavirus crisis, Stephen Morgan MP has said the government now needs to produce a comprehensive plan to help return home desperate British nationals.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“The Foreign Secretary’s statement tonight was welcome, but long overdue. Hundreds of thousands of Britons are stranded abroad. They are in desperate need of urgent action by Government.

We were promised a detailed plan today. Instead we got more of the same.

My constituents stuck abroad are telling me they feel abandoned by Government. Worried families are at their wit’s end. I am hearing from vulnerable people needing to get back to loved ones, and other travellers running out of essential medical supplies.

Earlier today I wrote to the Foreign Secretary, continuing to take action for Portsmouth families affected, offering practical ideas to help address the issues British nationals are facing abroad.

Rather than vague promises, we now need Government to set out a comprehensive, fully funded plan to bring our British nationals home. That’s what Britons stuck abroad deserve, and their loved ones back home expect”.

 

 

 

 

, , , , , ,

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.

 

 

, , , ,

Covid-19: Portsmouth MP responds to PM’s statement

Responding to the Prime Minister’s statement tonight, Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP said:

“We are in unprecedented times and public health and safety must come first.

This outbreak demands strong leadership to protect lives. We have seen over the course of the last few weeks other countries taking further far reaching social distancing measures to prevent the spread of the virus, so tonight’s announcement is long overdue, but welcome.

We now need to understand the details of the enforcement, who can and can’t travel to work and guidance for employers and workers. The Prime Minister must set this out very clearly.

Government must now give detail to provide clarity and certainty for Portsmouth people.  

We all have a part to play. Proudly, Portsmouth people have shown in the past we can rise to a challenge. It is time to do so again”.

Stephen’s frequently asked questions page will be updated once Government advice has been published. Information will be updated here

 

, , ,

The Coronavirus Bill before Parliament

The Coronavirus Bill (Bill 122 of 2019-21) was introduced to the House of Commons on 19 March 2020. The Bill is part of the Government’s response to the pandemic and is intended to enable the Government to respond to an emergency situation and manage the effects of a pandemic.

The Government has stated that the Bill enables action in five key areas:

  1. Increasing the available health and social care workforce – for example, by removing barriers to allow recently retired NHS staff and social workers to return to work (and in Scotland, in addition to retired people, allowing those who are on a career break or are social worker students to become temporary social workers)
  2. Easing the burden on frontline staff – by reducing the number of administrative tasks they have to perform, enabling local authorities to prioritise care for people with the most pressing needs, allowing key workers to perform more tasks remotely and with less paperwork, and taking the power to suspend individual port operations
  3. Containing and slowing the virus – by reducing unnecessary social contacts, for example through powers over events and gatherings, and strengthening the quarantine powers of police and immigration officers
  4. Managing the deceased with respect and dignity – by enabling the death management system to deal with increased demand for its services
  5. Supporting people – by allowing them to claim Statutory Sick Pay from day one, and by supporting the food industry to maintain supplies

I recognise the need for urgent government intervention to arrest the spread of this virus and offset the economic impact it is already having on the country, and have joined others to make it clear to Ministers the essential areas where there needs to be common ground for my support.

The government must ensure the most effective action is taken to protect people in every community, for reasons of public health as well as social justice. That is why I believe the following conditions need to be met:

  1. The legislation must be renewed every six months by a fresh vote in parliament – people understand the need for temporary restrictions to our way of life. But given how far-reaching these are proposed to be, people’s elected representatives must be able to decide whether to renew the legislation at least every six months, up to its expiration after two years. We will carefully scrutinise the Bill in areas that affect our civil liberties.
  2. Jobs and incomes need to be underpinned with a comprehensive income protection scheme; European-level statutory sick pay for all workers from day one; and increased Universal Credit, with a suspension of sanctions and an end to the 5-week wait – The government must take action to ensure everyone has enough to live on so that those with symptoms are able to self-isolate without fear for their jobs, livelihoods and homes. The government’s current package of support for workers is clearly inadequate.
  3. Rent suspension and a ban on evictions for six months – Rent needs to be suspended for those adversely affected by the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The government’s three-month ban on evictions should be extended to six months, in line with the renewal period we propose for the emergency legislation.

I will be supporting amendments to the Bill this week which address the above concerns and put these safeguards in place. I will continue to lobby the Government based on the feedback I am hearing from constituents.

The House of Commons Library has published briefings on various aspects of the Bill which can be viewed here

 

, , , , , , , ,

Chancellor must go further and protect self-employed

Responding to new measures announced by the Chancellor to deal with the coronavirus and economic crisis, Stephen Morgan MP, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, is calling on the Government to go further as 7,100 self-employed people in the constituency face uncertainty, and protect councils and charities on the frontline.

Following the statement made by the Chancellor last night, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“After much lobbying, the Government has finally shifted direction. I welcome a number of the measures the Chancellor is now making to help protect people during this public health emergency and economic crisis.

The Chancellor keeps saying he would ‘do whatever it takes’. To show these aren’t just empty words, he can and should go further.

That means giving security for people who are self-employed and it means easing the strain on councils and charities who are on the front line of defence in combating the coronavirus pandemic.

It would be perverse to leave the self-employed out of the new support being put in place to help those whose livelihoods are increasing disrupted by the events of recent weeks.

I will continue to work constructively with Government, and lobbying Ministers for action, to protect Portsmouth people and to ensure the best possible response to the coronavirus crisis”.

The self-employed already lack all of the legal protections of redundancy and other rights already in place to help protect employees, including those they employ themselves, from a sudden lack of income.

The self-employed are also the most likely section of the workforce to suffer from a disability or health condition.

If any self-employed or small businesses in the constituency is looking for help, support is available from the FSB at www.fsb.org.uk/campaign/covid19.

 

 

 

 

, ,

Portsmouth CLP backs Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner

On the Leadership, Mr Morgan said: 

“Keir Starmer knows that when Labour comes together, we are a force for radical change unlike any other. With a right-wing Government to oppose and a country to win over, there is so much at stake.

I am delighted the Portsmouth constituency party has also put their trust in Keir and voted to nominate him as the leader to unite every part of our party and our movement.

With Keir at the helm, we can all work together and unite to bring about the society we want to see and get us on the path back to power.”

On the Deputy Leadership, Mr Morgan said: 

“I am delighted that Portsmouth CLP has backed Angela Rayner for deputy leader. Her ability to bring the party together,  empower activists and fight for practical policies is precisely what Portsmouth and the Labour party need.”

, , ,

Why Portsmouth’s past and present MP’s are throwing their weight behind Keir Starmer – Stephen Morgan MP

Labour bucked the trend in Portsmouth South. While I welcome increasing numbers of voters putting their trust in our party here to carry on delivering for Portsmouth, the national picture is bleak.

From speaking to residents on the doorstep, and colleagues in the corridors of parliament, I know from Portsmouth to Penistone Labour voters felt let down and disillusioned.

If we are to rebuild our heartlands and regain the trust of the electorate, we must be led by a prime minister in waiting with eyes well and truly focused on the future. Our next leader must be willing to pioneer the path back to power and be capable of forming a Government. Why? Because by then our most vulnerable community members will have had to endure a decade and a half of austerity.

Already we have seen a 250 % rise in the number of unsheltered homeless, 69 % spending reduction on youth services and 4 million British people living in deep poverty. In opposition, I wake up and decide what I am going to say about these issues rotting away at our society. I want to wake up and decide what I am going to do.

The survival of the Labour party may depend on the next election. If we do not have the right leader in place, this could mark the beginning of the end for Europe’s largest party.

That is why I am supporting Keir Starmer. He is the candidate capable of healing the rift, rebuilding our party as a broad church and importantly, putting a Labour PM back in Number 10.

I am not alone in my support for Mr Starmer. I stand in solidarity with Portsmouth’s Labour MPs who trod the path before me. Party Grandees Syd Rapson, Lord Frank Judd along with Sarah McCarthy-Fry have publicly stated support for the Holborn and St. Pancras MP, a testament to one of his greatest assets – the ability to unite. A much-needed quality at this time of division and adversarial politics – both inside our party and across politics.

I’m backing Keir Starmer because I believe he’s got what it takes to win. To win back voters Labour lost in the last general election and reinvigorate those that have lost faith in the party’s ability to be formidable.

There is so much at stake. The lives of millions of British people and the future of the party that, whether you are a supporter or not, has shaped modern Britain through creating the NHS, introducing the minimum wage and founding the Open University.

With Keir Starmer at the helm, Labour can get on with confronting the challenges faced by our society and begin looking to build a better tomorrow. Not just offering a radical plan but the opportunity to deliver a radical plan for Britain.  

I urge anyone who shares this vision to join Labour and unite behind him.

, , ,

Stephen Morgan MP signs Holocaust Educational Trust Book of Commitment

Today city MP Stephen Morgan signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment, in doing so pledging his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people today.

This year we are marking 75 years since the liberation of the concentration camps of Europe and the end of the Second World War. At the end of the month, on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, people across the globe will remember.

In the lead up to and on Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. The theme for this year’s commemorations is ‘Stand Together’.

After signing the Book of Commitment, the Shadow Communities Minister and Portsmouth South MP said:

“Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity for people from Portsmouth to reflect on the darkest times of European history. As the Holocaust moves from living history, to history, it becomes ever more important that we take the time to remember the six million Jewish victims and also pay tribute to the survivors.

As I wrote in the memorial book on behalf of constituents, education and remembrance are the only cures for hatred and bigotry.”

Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said:

“As the Holocaust moves further into history, it falls on all of us to ensure that their stories and the stories of the 6 Jewish million men, women and children brutally murdered by the Nazis, are never forgotten.

We all have a duty to remember the Holocaust and to stand up against antisemitism and hate, now more than ever.”

, , ,

Labour leadership race: City MP throws weight behind candidates

Ahead of the Labour Leadership election, Stephen Morgan MP has called for a leader capable of bringing the party together to ‘build a path back to power’.

The newly re-elected Portsmouth South MP nominated candidates in both the Leadership and Deputy Leadership race. Mr Morgan cited the need for ‘raising the game’ and a necessity for bringing the party together in order to win an election again as the rationale for backing the two candidates.

On Leader of the Labour Party, Stephen Morgan said:

“Currently, I wake up and think about what I am going to say. I want to wake up and decide what I am going to do. How do we achieve this? By Labour being in Government.

I believe the candidate most capable of delivering that result is Keir Starmer. His steadfast conviction to achieve a less divided country coupled with the time he spent here in Portsmouth confirm him as the candidate best placed to secure a better future for Britain.

Another future is possible but to achieve It we need a leader capable of being a force for good and force for change. From what I have seen of Keir’s work, both in Parliament and when fighting major human rights battles, he is best placed to build a path back to power and unify the Labour movement.”

On Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Stephen Morgan said:

“The Labour Party’s foundations lie in the pursuit of fairness, equality and justice. It is essential the modern Labour Party reflects these ideals.

For too long, much like in our city of Portsmouth, members of communities in the north have been neglected and forgotten. I believe it essential we have a Deputy Leader possessing the tenacity and clout to put an end to this tradition.

Angela Rayner, a veteran representative of communities in Greater Manchester, most certainly fits the bill. Having worked with her in her capacity as Shadow Education Secretary while I have been standing up for Portsmouth Schools, there is no doubt in my mind that she would excel in being a voice for those often underrepresented. “

Labour’s new leader, and deputy leader, will be announced on 4 April.

, , , ,

Stephen Morgan increases majority as Portsmouth South bucks national trend

MP Stephen Morgan received 23,086 votes, more than trebling the majority, representing a 7.6% increase on the 2017 election to 48.6% at Thursday’s General Election.

This puts the victory in Portsmouth South as amongst Labour’s top 3 in the nation and ranks the city representative as number one in terms of numerical Labour swing across the country in the 2019 election.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“My greatest honour was being elected to represent this city, the city where everyone I love lives, in 2017.

Portsmouth people have reaffirmed their faith in my ability to deliver, motivating me even more to fight our city’s corner.

I would like to say a huge thank you to the hundreds of volunteers who helped me run a positive campaign across every community and to all those who put their trust in me again on Thursday.

I look forward to continuing to demonstrate my commitment to every person and every community in Portsmouth South and taking a stand for our city in Parliament.”

In 2017 Mr Morgan made history by becoming the first ever Labour MP for Portsmouth South in the snap election, recording an increase in the share of the vote of 21.5%.

On the results nationally, Stephen Morgan said:

“It is with real mixed emotion, that I reflect on the results across the country. Our party’s biggest defeat since the 1930s, losing in some of our historic heartlands and communities that so desperately need a Labour government the most.

These results are not only extremely disappointing, they will also have consequences for the future of our country and the most vulnerable in our society.

I vow to provide the strongest possible opposition in parliament to Mr Johnson’s government and vow to seek to unite the whole country for change”.

The result in Portsmouth South ensured the highest share of vote since Bonner Pink (Con) in 1983 (50%). The Lib Dem result was the lowest vote share for a Liberal party since 1918.

Parliament is set to return on Tuesday when Mr Morgan will be sworn in again.