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Stephen Morgan MP addresses constituents in letter on Covid-19

Dear constituent

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, as an infectious disease, is currently experiencing a global outbreak. We have all seen the media reports from China, Iran, and Italy, and many countries are now reporting cases. Here in the UK, the number of reported cases is rising every day.

Fortunately, the vast majority of people who catch the virus will only ever suffer from a mild-to-moderate illness with similar symptoms to the flu. But it is older people and those with pre-existing health conditions to whom the risks associated with contracting Coronavirus are greater.

Understandably concern is growing, including here in Portsmouth. There have been reports of people buying essential hygiene products such as hand sanitiser, soap, and toilet paper off the shelves. Panic is understandable in the face of the unknown.

The British Retail Consortium has advised against stockpiling, especially food items. They are working hard to ensure that supply chains are maintained during the Coronavirus outbreak, meaning that people have no need to worry about item shortages if stockpiling ceases.

Public Health England has said that the best way you can keep yourself, your loved ones and everyone else around you safe is to frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. And of course, maintenance of good general hygiene is encouraged.

Whilst it’s unclear how things are going to develop over the coming weeks and months, or the impact it could have on our freedoms, our city’s economy or on our public services, I encourage calm. Many of us are going to be absolutely fine even under the Government’s worst-case scenario.

I would, however, urge that we take care of our city’s oldest and most vulnerable; something that’s not a bad habit to get into anyway. Official advice from the NHS can be found at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

I want constituents in Portsmouth to be reassured that measures are being put in place to prevent the spread of the virus where possible. I will keep raising our views and concerns in Parliament and work hard so that the services we all rely on, have the resources they need to keep us safe.

 

Stephen Morgan MP

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“Let’s make cycling easier and accessible to all” vows Portsmouth MP after teaming up with Brompton Bike Hire

City MP Stephen Morgan is taking action to make it cheaper and easier to get around Portsmouth by bike. He is working with others including Brompton Bike Hire to set the wheels turning.

The action follows meetings with Brompton representatives in Portsmouth in a bid to encourage the city council to do more to encourage active travel to tackle the climate crisis.

After direct discussions with the Portsmouth Cycle Forum and Brompton, the Portsmouth South MP has now written to the local authority to urge them to retain the current Brompton Cycle Hire Hub based at Portsmouth Harbour, encourage new sites for the hire scheme across the city centre and enable people on low incomes to access the bikes to get round the city.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“People have told me they want to get out on the bike more but either can’t afford it, don’t know enough about how to get involved or don’t feel safe. If we are going to tackle climate change and air pollution crisis, this needs to change.

The council working in partnership more with Brompton Bike Hire and locating additional hubs across our city’s communities will help people get moving in a greener way, and in turn make Portsmouth less polluted.

That is why I am continuing to lobby hard for a greater presence of the Brompton Hire Scheme here in Portsmouth.

I’ve long argued the council need to do more to encourage cycling and make it easier for people to get on a bike. This is an off the shelf solution ready to go”.

Julian Scriven, Managing Director of Brompton Bike Hire said:

“Brompton is committed to changing the way people move around cities.

We are delighted Stephen Morgan MP shares this vision and is demonstrating a real drive at both a local and national level to promote active travel”.

First installed in other parts of the country in April 2011, Brompton Bike Hire was created to address the clear need for a cycle hire scheme that is accessible to all, easy and cheap to install and run and economical to use.

 

The British company expanded rapidly across the UK including to Portsmouth, first providing a facility at the city’s park and ride station, then moving it to Portsmouth Habour station.

A focus of Mr Morgan’s action is helping people on low incomes to access a bike hire scheme. On this he added:

“Cycling should be for the many not just the privileged or brave. Following discussions with Brompton on their recent visit to Portsmouth I am delighted that they are willing to partner with housing associations and the council to offer free membership to those in social and affordable housing.

I will be continuing to work with local campaigners to lobby for more hubs to be put in areas of the city where they are most needed.

I have put this offer to the city council to help Portsmouth people. I look forward to a positive response to improve the assets available across all our communities.”

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Portsmouth MP backs Bill to reduce cost of school uniform

A proposed new law that will reduce the cost of school uniforms for hard-pressed families has won the backing of Stephen Morgan MP.

The MP for Portsmouth South has pledged his support for the Bill, introduced by fellow Labour MP Mike Amesbury, that would aim to strengthen existing guidance encouraging schools to keep down costs.

The Bill is gaining cross-party support and has won the backing of the government.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“According to research by the Children’s Society, families are spending an average of around £337 per year on uniform for each child at secondary school, while parents of primary school children spent £315 on average.

This is having a hugely detrimental impact on many of my constituents and I really hope that we can get this bill passed into law and alleviate what has become a financial burden for so many families.”

Mike Amesbury MP added:

“I’m delighted to receive the support of Stephen Morgan MP.

His backing is crucial if this bill is to become law and I firmly believe it will have a hugely beneficial impact not only to those people in both of our constituencies, but to families right across the country too.”

Mr Morgan was present in the House of Commons today as the bill had its second reading. It now must gain the support of MPs if it is to become law.

The Bill is progressing as the Children’s Society today launched the latest in their ‘The Wrong Blazer’  series of reports, making the case for action to tackle the cost of school uniform.  The organisation supports the Bill.

The Portsmouth South MP added:

“School is a place where young people should be able to aim high, work hard and achieve. They should be able to pursue their goals free from any additional pressure around uniform.

I know many Portsmouth families work relentlessly to support their children in their academic endeavours but when 1 in 8 families get into debt trying to keep up with uniform costs, change needs to happen.

I will continue to support legislation that works to this end.”

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City MP takes local child poverty concerns to very top as he delivers searing question in Parliament

Stephen Morgan MP has forced the Work and Pensions Secretary to answer concerns over child poverty in Portsmouth.

Mr Morgan’s line of questioning comes amid a bleak backdrop of 4.1 million children now growing up in relative poverty. A figure 500,000 larger than it was in 2010-11.

Mr Morgan said

“The Child Poverty Action Group published a study of children and food in low-income families. It detailed movingly the lives of children who go hungry and the impact on their health, education and friendships.

It showed that some children were ashamed to invite friends home because they had no food to offer them.

Under this government’s watch cases of this nature have been allowed to reach unprecedented levels. Today I put these heart wrenching accounts to the Minister responsible and demanded action over this grave injustice.”

The proportion of children in poverty who are under the age of five has risen from 51% to 53% (over 2 million children). The figures also reveal that 70% of children in poverty were living in working families in 2017-18 – up from 67% the previous year.

Mr Morgan added:

“In Portsmouth South we know that nearly 37% of children are living in poverty. In areas such as Charles Dickens, this is as high as over 50%.

Child poverty is one of the most potent drivers of ill health, not just in childhood but throughout life.

If government is letting down Portsmouth people at the beginning of their lives, this will adverse effects for decades to come. People in our city deserve better.”

Mr Morgan’s work on this issue follows a report by The Children’s Society detailing the hundreds of pounds parents are having to find for uniform costs, sometimes at the expense of food. The MP is backing a new law that would introduce statutory guidance for schools that would help to rein in the soaring costs of school uniforms and save parents money.

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, raised the issue in ‘Challenge Poverty Week’ and has highlighted the link between the benefit cap and poverty. 

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“A fairer voting system will help ensure a fairer, more progressive Britain” says Stephen Morgan MP as he hosts electoral reform event

60 people attended an event hosted by the city MP to encourage discussion around electoral reform.

National experts from the Electoral Reform Society and Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform delivered presentations before Mr Morgan chaired an open panel discussion with local Green party representative, Ian McCulloch.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“We need to see a fairer, more progressive Britain. It is essential that we put aside party differences and work together for the common good.

That is why I have organised this public event tonight aimed at creating a platform for open discussion about the merits of electoral reform.

When research tells us over 70% of votes count for nothing, I can I understand why alarm bells are ringing.

Thank you to all residents who came along this evening to help shape my thinking. I will take back ideas and views on fairer voting to Westminster”.

The event comes the week the Electoral Reform Society published a report which revealed the 2019 General election left voters voiceless.  

Dr Jess Garland from the Electoral Reform Society said:

“Stephen Morgan’s work creating this open platform for debate around electoral reform is commendable.

The 2019 General Election showed once again that Westminster’s broken voting system is short-changing both voters and parties. We all need to work together to change this and Stephen’s proactive engagement with this issue is creating an atmosphere where that can happen.

I look forward to continuing to work with Stephen and other MPs and campaigners across the spectrum so that we can build a better, more just, democracy.”

Reports show that 22.6 million people had their votes ignored at the last General Election, due to the First Past the Post System. The Labour Party 2019 Manifesto committed to UK-wide Constitutional Convention, led by a citizens’ assembly to provide targeted analyses of solutions to the problem.

Mr Morgan added:

“While I find my mailbox full of matters about housing and other community concerns rather than electoral reform, I understand the need for robust debate on the current voting system.

I am not wedded to any particular model but certainly hear arguments that a more proportional system is required to redress the current imbalance.

I organised today’s meeting to give people, from across different parties, the opportunity to have their voice heard in the week of the Electoral Reform Society’s important report”.

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“Government must go further to protect coastal communities” says city MP in parliamentary debate

Stephen Morgan MP today delivered a speech to parliament outlining areas where the government needs to go further to reduce flood risks.

The city MP honed in on the particular challenges faced for Portsmouth City Council and Southsea Sea Defence Scheme; Forcing the Minister to respond to questions about heritage sites, funding and austerity.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“With record rainfall in February and the last decade the warmest on record, coastal communities are at great risk of the impacts of climate change.

Major infrastructure projects like Southsea Sea Defence Scheme are needed to protect lives, homes and livelihoods.

Government funding, lack of recognition for heritage sites, and the impacts of austerity are undermining local efforts to protect our communities.”

Portsmouth City Council have stated the city coastline’s rich heritage sites mean that additional funding is required to secure cultural assets like Southsea Castle. Currently, government funding offers no weighting to communities who harbour heritage sites, which Mr Morgan has called on them to change.

Mr Morgan also stressed the national importance of our coastal communities, he added:

“Our coastal communities are rich in leisure, tourism and heritage activities. Their loss is the nation’s loss.

They must be protected. There are gaps in the government’s current strategy which need to be addressed.

It is high time the government took notice of this fact and started properly supporting coastal communities like Portsmouth.”

Stephen Morgan MP also raised in the chamber the fact the Minister had cancelled two meetings, one with the Council, to discuss Southsea Sea Defence Scheme.

The city MP has committed to continuing to raise the risk of flooding in order to safeguard the interests and livelihoods of constituents.

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City MP to take part in housing panel discussion

Stephen Morgan MP will take part in an open discussion, hosted by Portsmouth University, on the past, present and future of housing.

Joining social and design historians, the Shadow Communities Minister will discuss topics such as social housing and homeownership.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“There is a major shortage of over 100,000 homes in the UK. There are also around 8.5 million people who are living in unaffordable, insecure or unsuitable housing.

Portsmouth is one of the most densely populated cities in the country meaning people in our community bear the brunt of the crisis.

This is an issue that affects people of all ages and demographics. It is essential that the reasons for the housing emergency are discussed so that solutions can be formulated.”

In Portsmouth over the past 5 years, more than 3000 households have made a homeless application, the number of rough sleepers was over 8 times greater in 2017 than it was in 2013 and there is a shortfall of over 3,500 affordable homes.

Mr Morgan said:

“Everyone has the right to a roof over their head and to live free from the worry of homelessness. Debate needs to take place in our communities about how to address the housing crisis.

I encourage Portsmouth people who want to see change in their community to come along and take part in this discussion.

This is a rare chance to hear from field experts and engage in meaningful debate. I urge residents not to miss the opportunity”.

The event is set to take place on Friday 6 March from 19:00 until 20:30 at Eldon Building University of Portsmouth, Winston Churchill Avenue Portsmouth.

This is an opportunity to join authors John Broughton, Professor Sugg Ryan and Stephen Morgan MP for a discussion on the past, present and future of housing.

John Broughton is a social housing historian who has documented the history of public housing through books, blogs and public talks. Professor Sugg Ryan is a design historian, author and media presenter specialising in the history of the home and domestic technology.

Ideal Homes: The past, present and future of housing can be reserved: here

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City MP to host public meeting on electoral reform

Following the publication today of a report on the General Election of 2019 by the Electoral Reform Society, Stephen Morgan MP is this week hosting a public meeting at the University of Portsmouth on the issue. The event is a bid to bring together the voices of both experts and constituents on the subject of fairer voting.

The city MP will be joined at the meeting by Make Votes Matter and the Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform’s Caroline Osborne and the Electoral Reform Society’s Director of Research Jessica Garland, who will be presenting the findings of the report which can be viewed here. The event is open to all constituents.

Stephen Morgan said:
“I want to see a voting system where every vote counts. The fact millions of people vote in ‘safe’ seats where their voice isn’t heard is an insult to our democracy. Our voting system is clearly broken.

Parliament must represent the voices of Britain, and under First Past the Post this is not being achieved.

That is why I have put together this public meeting with leading minds on the issue. I encourage all those who share this vision of a democratised voting system to come and get involved.

I would also like to thank the University of Portsmouth for hosting this event for constituents to have their say.”

Today’s report reveals Westminster’s voting system is leading to ‘absurd’ inequalities in representation. For example, in Scotland a substantial Conservative vote share (25%) yielded just six seats (10%), while over 90% of Scottish Labour votes went totally unrepresented.

To hear more on the ERS’s findings, find free tickets here. Booking is essential.

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Keir Starmer joins Stephen Morgan in backing Portsmouth’s green initiatives

Stephen Morgan MP hosted Labour leadership front-runner Keir Starmer in Portsmouth to broadcast the benefits of active travel in tackling climate change.

Joined by senior Brompton representatives, the two parliamentarians spent time at the Cycle Hire Hub at Portsmouth Harbour Station.

The current air pollution crisis in Portsmouth, need for more government investment in active travel infrastructure, and Labour’s plan for a greener future were discussed.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Key to tackling climate change is ensuring people have the tools to make changes to their everyday routine. Active travel is a major part of that.

In Portsmouth we face some of the worst air pollution rates in the country. Children choking on fumes is not what this city deserves.

That is why I support Brompton’s Cycle Hire Hub, which makes green commuting easier and takes polluting vehicles off our roads.

Keir’s support for this initiative coupled with his pledge to put the Green New Deal at the heart of everything Labour does, secure him as the only Labour candidate able to bring radical solutions to the climate problem.”

Keir Starmer MP said:

“The recent extreme weather is further evidence that we are living through a climate emergency.

“It is fantastic that Stephen has shown leadership in Portsmouth on this issue by backing Brompton’s bike scheme, organising community events and leading the charge to declaring a climate emergency in the city.

“If elected Labour leader, I would support a Green New Deal and also a Clean Air Act – to ensure that dangerous levels of air pollution are tackled.”

Julian Scriven, Managing Director of Brompton Bike Hire said:

“Brompton is committed  to changing the way people move around cities. We are delighted that both Stephen Morgan MP and Sir Kier Starmer MP share this vision and are demonstrating a real drive at both a local and national level to promote active travel”.

Stephen Morgan MP has a record of delivery when it comes to tackling climate change. From leading the Labour Group locally in declaring a climate emergency and orchestrating major Portsmouth events to voting in favour of legislation In the House of Commons, he has shown leadership from Portsmouth to parliament.

 Keir Starmer and the city MP were joined by a number of Labour councillors and campaigners for more ambitious action by the council to tackle the climate crisis.

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Hundreds flock to Keir Starmer rally hosted by Stephen Morgan MP

Over 400 attendees have travelled to Portsmouth from across the south coast to hear the Labour leadership contender Keir Starmer MP at event hosted by a Portsmouth Labour and Stephen Morgan MP.

The rally set out the leadership frontrunner’s plan for bringing the party together and forging the path back to power and retuning a Labour government. 

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“It is evident from today’s well attended, standing room only event that there is desire in the Labour party to unite and come together.

Keir Starmer has the skills and experience the party needs right now. His ability to keep the policy programme radical, unite our movement, and forge the path back to power is what people in our area told him today.

It was a real pleasure to have hosted Keir for the third time in our city and share the stage with inspiring Portsmouth people who share his vision for a better future for Britain.”

Keir Starmer said:

“It is fantastic to have the support of so many people here in Portsmouth. Stephen Morgan is a great local MP, fighting for the city day in day out and I am honoured to have his backing to be Labour leader.

It has been a great day visiting members here in Portsmouth, talking to them about how we can unite our party and win the next election.

Whatever the outcome of this contest, I look forward to coming back to Portsmouth in the coming months and beginning the campaign for the local elections.”

The parliamentarians shared the stage with Paula Savage and Portsmouth FC’s, Christian Burgess, who all set out why they are backing Keir.

Portsmouth FC’s Christian Burgess, said:

“Keir’s vision for a fairer, more just society combined with his ability to be formidable and provide forensic opposition to the Tories is why he has my full support.

He has a track record of being a voice for those often denied and bringing people together. This is exactly what the nation needs.”

This is the third time Mr Morgan has hosted the bookies’ favourite next Labour leader. Stephen Morgan MP declared his support for Keir Starmer’s campaign early-on and has been campaigning locally and nationally for the candidate’s election.

Former MPs city Frank Judd, Syd Rapson and Sarah McCarthy-Fry have also backed Mr Starmer.