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Stephen Morgan MP reacts to Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal

“Working people. The NHS. Low income families. These will be hit hardest by the negative effects of Mr Johnson’s failure of a Brexit deal with the EU.

It runs riot over centuries of progress made towards workers’ rights, places profit over people and leaves the door open for our cherished NHS services to be pillaged by privatisation. With the Tory track record of eroding workers’ rights and selling of bits of the NHS to the highest bidder, is this any wonder?

I did not think that it would be feasible to see a deal worse for Portsmouth people than the one put forward by the Mrs. May, however, Mr Johnson seems to have surpassed even that.

It is nothing more than a race to the bottom on rights and protections.

There is nothing in the deal that has the ability to heal the current divide. I am not willing to vote for a deal that will make Portsmouth poorer and insult people to such a degree.

There is only one way out of this mess. The PM must be brave and put it to the people and let them have the final say”.

 

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Portsmouth MP sets out changes needed to combat climate change during Queen’s Speech debate

Stephen Morgan MP has delivered an impassioned speech to parliament today setting out what needs to be done to tackle climate change and applying scrutiny to the Government’s ropey track record on the issue.

The MP spoke out on the 4th day of debates relating to the Queen’s Speech and called on his colleagues to regard climate change at the top of the parliamentary agenda and to work together to achieve progress.

While delivering the speech, Mr Morgan said:

“The mildly technical nature and distant-sounding threat of ‘climate change’ may not be enough to invoke people to come out fighting from their beds.

But pretty much all of us would do so to protect our loved ones, our homes and our livelihoods, and to build a better world.

Why should defending against climate change be any different?

So, let’s be honest about the challenges we face, let’s tackle it together, and let’s redouble our efforts.”

Responding to Ministerial statements after the speech, Mr Morgan highlighted the Government’s poor track on climate change.

Mr Morgan said:

This Government, led by an ambassador of climate change indifference, is falling far short of the mark.

Failure to deliver on 24 out of 25 emissions-reducing actions recommended by the climate committee in 2018.

Just 7 of 24 indicators showing the UK’s underlying progress towards its climate goals being met.

Missed targets for the fourth and fifth Carbon Budgets, even more than predicted in last year’s official update.

We need to see a party in power that set aside serious proposals for tackling the world’s most pressing issue.”

Mr Morgan has also stressed the need for robust legislation and binding agreements, which experts such as Friends of the Earth have warned are essential in formulating an appropriate climate change bill.

On the introduction of a new environment change bill, Mr Morgan said:

“We must see an environment Bill strong enough to create change throughout Government, industry and society.

Allowing this Bill to be consumed by the Brexit shadow would be a fatal mistake and it is integral that we see an end to toothless scrutiny and non-binding legislation.”

The MP’s actions in parliament today are part of a broad campaign aimed at raising the profile and rate of action over tackling climate change. Mr Morgan regularly meets with Friends of the Earth, lead the Labour Group locally to declaring a climate emergency, has consistently voted in favour of climate legislation, hosts meeting with local activist and speaks out regularly in Parliament.

Mr Morgan also used the opportunity to lobby Government over illegal air pollution levels in the city and need to meet in Southsea Sea Defence Scheme.

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City MP responds to State Opening of Parliament

Responding to the State Opening of Parliament, city MP Stephen Morgan said:

 

“Today the Government has set out an agenda to Parliament that it has no intention and no means of delivering. Their funding plans for public services do not even undo the cuts the Tories and Lib Dems introduced since 2010.

 

You just can’t trust Mr Johnson. He illegally suspended Parliament, and his recent policy announcements have been exposed as being nowhere near enough to fix the problems Portsmouth’s communities face.

 

So far we have heard nothing about what they will do to tackle the climate emergency after years of failure; nothing about how they will tackle rising child and pensioner poverty; and nothing about how they will tackle the housing crisis.

 

At a time when we see the economy weak, shrinking last month, productivity falling again and wages now lower than 10 years ago, we desperately need a transformative plan to rebuild Britain, our public service and our city’s communities”.

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City MP slams Government over relentless cuts to Portsmouth police

Stephen Morgan MP has hit out at the Government over issuing misleading statistics when it comes how many bobbies will be on the beat in our community. The MP’s concerns are raised on the same day that Mr Johnson revealed that far fewer officers will be reaching Hampshire than previously pledged.

The Government’s flagship officer recruitment pledge has been called into question after initial allocations reveal more than half of forces will remain below 2010 levels, and numbers have been merged with Counter-Terrorism and National Crime Agency personnel.

On this, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Like most policy announcements coming from Mr. Johnson, the moment you apply any scrutiny they crumble to dust. The announcement that our region is getting many more officers is no exception.

I have been taking action for some time both in parliament and locally over the lack of bobbies on the beat, urging Government to take notice and get more police on our streets in Portsmouth.

Mr Johnsons’ pledge to reinstate any police officers that the previous Tory and Lib Dems cut is nothing more than a farce with the figures actually including new personnel from the Counter-Terrorism Unit and staff at the National Crime Agency.”

Commenting Louise Haigh MP, Shadow Policing Minister said:

“Like elsewhere in Boris Johnson’s Premiership, the lofty promises he made in Downing Street have fallen apart when exposed to scrutiny.”

The truth is the brutal cuts he and his colleagues voted for will not be reversed and our local communities will be continue to be at risk as a result.”

In Hampshire, The Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that in 2018 there was a 27 percent increase in possession of weapons, a 17 percent rise in sex crimes, a 33 percent hike in robbery and an 11 percent increase in violence against the person. There was also a total of 150 child grooming crimes recorded in Hampshire.

Mr Morgan said:

Figures show that Hampshire now has 1,050 less officers than it did in 2010, a catastrophic 28% decrease. It is the people of Portsmouth and our brave officers who have to deal with the consequences of less police and more crime.

Cuts have consequences and in our area with a combination of fewer officers with less equipment, criminals are facing less of a risk. The Government is failing when it comes to keeping our city’s communities safe and setting officers in good stead to fight crime.

I won’t rest until more police are on Portsmouth streets. I will continue be a strong voice for our officers and our community when it comes to keeping our city safe.”

Cuts are also taking their toll on police personnel. Recent Cambridge University studies showed that 90% of officers had been exposed to incidents of trauma and the study suggests that overall PTSD rates in law enforcement are almost five times higher than general UK population levels. 

Mr Morgan has been calling on Government to make drastic changes when it comes to policing for some time. He has been out in every ward in his constituency with bobbies on the beat, called on Ministers in the House of Commons to step up, brought the Policing Minister to the city and slammed the regime of cuts perpetuated by Tory and Lib Dem Governments. He regularly meets with Hampshire Police Federation to listen to concerns from the police community. 

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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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“Almost half of all women sent to prison are now homeless” – City MP vows to tackle female re-offending 

During questions in the House of Commons today, Stephen Morgan MP grilled a Government Minister over the lack of funding set aside for the rehabilitation of female offenders and what this means for homelessness.

The Portsmouth South representative subsequently applied further pressure to the link between the Government’s failure and the rising rate of homelessness amongst female offenders.

Mr Morgan said:

“We know that half of all women sent to prison are now homeless, an increase on the previous few years. I find this utterly shocking.

Reoffending costs the British tax payer £18 billion a year and the current system is clearly failing to get offenders back on their feet, preventing them from contributing to society.

The solution to this problem is to invest in alternatives to ineffective short-term prison sentences that are proven to increase reoffending and also to properly fund women’s centers. I am delighted that both notions are Labour party policy.

Under the current system everyone loses out, victims, offenders and the tax payer. This is counterproductive.”

Members of the Government’s own Advisory Board on Female Offenders have expressed their frustration at the limited funding, stating that at least £20m is required annually for community provision. However, the Government only provided a one-off two-year grant of £5m to fund the strategy.

Alongside, supporting Labour party policy to immediately provide funds to women’s centres, give £20 million to women’s justice campaigners and ruling out unjustified short sentences, Stephen Morgan MP been conducting his own work on this matter.

The Portsmouth South MP is hosting a parliamentary event in November alongside Gethin Jones from Unlocking Potential with senior representatives from the Ministry of Justice, private sector, Non-Government Organisations, and senior prison governors. The event seeks to change the narrative of criminal justice to focus more on rehabilitation and inclusive policy towards offenders.

On this action, Mr Morgan said:

Following discussions with offenders right’s organisation, Unlocking Potential I am delighted that next month I will be hosting an event that will help shift the narrative of criminal justice towards prevention and rehabilitation as opposed to incarceration and indifference.

The current system is failing, and we must work to rectify these inadequacies, I will not be wasting any time in engaging with people from all parties and perspectives so that we can get a criminal justice system that is better for offenders, taxpayers and reduces the number of victims.”

Mr Morgan has committed to continuing his campaign for a better-quality criminal justice system and has expressed that he will continue to urge the Government to match Labour’s commitments.

 

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Ahead of “Challenge Poverty Week”, City MP slams DWP Minister over Government’s ‘abysmal’ record on child hunger

Ahead of “Challenge Poverty Week”, City MP slams DWP Minister over Government’s ‘abysmal’ record on child hunger

During today’s Oral Questions to the Department for Work and Pensions in the House of Commons, Stephen Morgan MP hit out at Government over record highs in child poverty, specifically holiday hunger.

The city MP has cited his recent visit to Dadz Club in Buckland, Portsmouth as inspiration behind today’s action and has expressed thanks to members of the organisation whose discussions helped shape the narrative of his line of questioning.

The MP’s actions come as The Trussell Trust announced that it distributed nearly 600,000 emergency food parcels to children last year and as Government figures show child poverty figures are 500,000 higher than in 2010.

Mr Morgan said:

“To not make any progress in nearly 10 years on reducing child poverty would be an outrage, the fact the Government has actually created a country where child poverty has increased is a testament to their abysmal track record.

Despite the continued government rhetoric that work is the best route out of poverty, 70% of children in poverty now live in working families – up from 67% last year. To allow this problem to escalate shows both that they are not taking this issue seriously and their strategy needs reworking.

It is a shameful stain on our nation’s reputation that the welfare of our children in Portsmouth is being actively ignored by Government and these figures have been allowed to get so out of hand.”

The Portsmouth South representative followed up his initial question on child poverty with a targeted point holding the Minister to account over holiday hunger.

A recent report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger found that children were returning to school in a worse educational, health and developmental state than that in which they had left in the summer. That report found that as many as three million children face the risk of food insecurity in summer holidays.

Child poverty is the one of the most potent drivers of ill health, not just in childhood but throughout life. The fact that absolute child poverty is rising by 300,000, severe child poverty is rising by 200,000 and there are 600,000 more children in severe poverty than five years ago is putting lives at risk.

The city MP said:

“While many children from low-income families are entitled to free school meals during term time, there is currently no provision during holidays.

In Wales, the Assembly Government has taken action to ensure that all local authorities make provision for those at risk of food poverty as part of a national ‘Food and Fun’ programme. Similarly, in London, the Mayor’s Fund has launched a ‘Kitchen Social’ project this year which helps children during the holidays who would be entitled to free school meals.

It is high time that the Government takes notice of the ingenuity and leadership demonstrated by our devolved governments and local authorities and steps up to support vulnerable children. “

When hit with the question on holiday hunger, the Minister tried to shift blame on other Government departments.

This is not the first time Mr Morgan has taken action over child poverty. The city MP backed a Private Members Bill tabled by a colleague and has made previous spirited calls on Government to tackle the child poverty.

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“Tackling Climate Change must always be our priority” – City MP speaks out after his action at conference

The 2019 Labour Party Conference, held in Brighton, came to an end last week. City MP, Stephen Morgan honed his focus on climate change issues and acted on matters including urban green spaces and the role that local authorities play in tackling climate change.

Mr Morgan’s long running commitment to climate activism was the reason for his invitation to a number of strategy sessions targeting climate change.

Climate Change has been a major focus within the Labour Party for time eternal, with the party pioneering a Climate Change Emergency in Parliament and making ground-breaking developments at local authority level.

City MP, Stephen Morgan said:

“Undeniably climate change is the greatest threat we face. It must always be at the forefront of our agenda.

Children teaching Westminster a lesson by striking, Portsmouth people staging protests, pressure from activists such as Greta Thunberg –there is an atmosphere of change at a grass roots level and I believe that politicians have a responsibility to mirror this.

Party Conference is always high-intensity which is why is why I ensured that my main focus was orientated around acting at climate related events and meeting field experts to learn more about how we can tackle the most pressing issue the world faces.”

Mr Morgan took part in an event orientated around urban green spaces and the impact they have on the local community. The event, organised by The New Statesman, included representatives from The National Trust, Lord Kerslake and other key figures.

Following the event, the Shadow Communities Minister said:

“Park usage is up by 25% and 37 million of us use parks per year, they are integral to our communities.

Urban green spaces are a garden to many who do not have their own. They hugely improve the health and wellbeing of residents, extensively contribute to improving air quality, reduce strain on our NHS and off set carbon emissions.

But as the Select Committee and the experts who joined me on the panel said, “parks are at tipping point” because of the viscous cuts the Government has forced on Local Authorities.

I am committed to working in my role as Shadow Communities Minister to ensure the introduction of new parks, maintenance of urban spaces and protection of our open green areas.”

Mr Morgan also spoke out strongly in favour of giving more support to local authorities at an event organised by the University of Manchester orientated around cities.

“As someone who has spent over 15 years working in local authorities and now has the same sector in my parliamentary brief, I know how intrinsic councils are in fighting climate change.

From setting clean air targets and combatting local air pollution to promoting active travel – the role that local authorities play is undeniable.

At a time when they have had 60 pence out of every pound slashed from their budgets and are feeling the squeeze of Tory austerity, it is essential that they remain at the core of conference conversations.

I am committed to being an active voice when it comes to standing up for our councils and will continue to do everything in my power to ensure that they can continue to bring about change when it comes to climate change.”

This year’s conference saw ground-breaking wider policy moves made by Labour. Including the promise to build 37 new wind farms and a commitment to spending £300m buying a fleet of 30,000 electric cars for hire.

These policy announcements form part of the party’s push for a Green Industrial Revolution that would majorly reform the way we think about climate change.

 

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Now the courts have stood up for the people too

Responding to the Supreme Court’s decision that the proroguing of parliament was “unlawful, void and of no effect”, Stephen Morgan MP Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South said:
“Mr Johnson has been called out today by the Supreme Court, the highest court in these islands. No one is above the law, especially those in high office.
Today the courts have stood up for the people and refused to allow Mr Johnson to pursue an illegal no deal.
I knew shutting down Parliament and stopping the voice of the people was always the wrong and undemocratic thing to do for Portsmouth which is why I’ve been fighting it. Now the courts have stood up for the people too.
Mr Johnson has broken the law. He must now reflect on his poor judgement, and those of his unelected advisers. He must now urgently consider his position.
I welcome Parliament being recalled at this time of national crisis. I will be there to represent the people of Portsmouth.
Now is the time for real leadership and putting the county first, and putting Brexit back to the people”.
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“We need less talk and more action” – City MP says at Portsmouth Climate Strike

In delivering his rousing speech as the only MP present, Stephen Morgan joined over a thousand attendees in urging more decisive action when it comes to tackling the worlds most pressing matter – climate change.

The event, which took place in Guildhall square in blazing sunshine unusual for September, is part of a nationwide demonstration of direct action specifically calling on Government to do more.

Speaking to the people, Mr Morgan said:

“We are living in a climate crisis that will spiral dangerously out of control unless we take rapid action now.

As one 8-year-old constituent said to me, “there is no planet B”. We are talking about nothing less than the irreversible destruction of our environment in our life time.

We must all stand together, shoulder to shoulder, and turn words into action.”

Taking a leading role in declaring a climate change emergency locally and consistently voting in favour of legislation in parliament – Mr Morgan is no new-comer to acting decisively over climate change.

The City MP regularly meets with organisations such as Friends of the Earth and in his first month on the frontbenches utilised his time taking learning best practice from local authorities paving the way for going greener.

Mr Morgan said:

“We cannot afford to be complacent. If we do not work together to fight climate change now, the shockwaves will destroy generations to come.

As a coastal community, it will be us who is disproportionately affected by climate change. The Prime Minister is a proven ambassador of indifference when it comes to climate change – presiding over a department while at the Foreign Office that saw 60% of climate attaches cut and receiving tens of thousands of pounds in donations from climate change denying pressure groups.

It is up to us, the people, to be the decisive voice of change. While Westminster is often the last place to understand this, as your MP I want you to know that I stand with you.”