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“I will continue to stand up for Charles Dickens residents from the green benches of Westminster” vows city MP as it’s announced he’s not re-standing as a councillor

Portsmouth Labour has today announced that Charles Dickens ward councillor and group leader Stephen Morgan MP will not be re-standing as a councillor at the next local elections.

After winning the Charles Dickens seat, Cllr Morgan became the party’s group leader on the council in September of that year. Under his watch, the group has jumped from 2 to 6 councillors winning in wards the party has never secured before.

The inner city ward is one of the most deprived in the community with high levels of child poverty, a significant student population, and the city centre and Naval Base. Cllr Morgan beat a Lib Dem of 12 years standing on the council to take the seat for Labour in May 2016. 

With Morgan’s leadership, the group has been opposing Tory and Lib Dem cuts to local services, encouraging investment in neighbourhoods and our high streets and led the charge to declare a climate emergency.

 

 

Confirming the news today Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Having the huge opportunity to serve as a councillor for Charles Dickens ward, in the city I love, with some great characters, inspirational residents and fantastic community spirit, has been one of the greatest honours of my life. There are many moments over the four years I will always cherish.

If you go into public service I believe you should always see it through. That is why I wanted to serve the full term as a ward councillor and do my best for all residents, at all times, even with the privilege of being elected as their MP.

As my term of office ends, I have not sought re-selection on the council as a local councillor. I am delighted that Kirsty Mellor has been chosen as Labour’s candidate in the forthcoming elections this May. 

As a local resident, Kirsty’s passionate defence of domestic abuse services and dedication to fighting welfare cuts, means she’s well placed to carry on the campaign work I’ve been doing to improve life chances for all residents in this special part of Portsmouth.

With all the challenges the area faces – the lack of affordable housing, our city centre neglected and families struggling to make ends meet – I look forward to working alongside Kirsty, Cllr Cal Corkery and other local residents to continue to stand up for Charles Dickens residents from the green benches of Westminster”.

This May a third of council seats are up for election. Portsmouth Labour hope to make further council gains following the General Election result which saw Portsmouth South securing the largest increase in Labour’s share of the vote in the country, more than tripling Stephen Morgan’s majority and the Lib Dems recording their worst election result since 1918.

Portsmouth MP to welcome Keir Starmer at regional rally

 

 

Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, is to host the Labour leadership contender at a rally in the city next week

 

Keir Starmer, who has been nominated by Portsmouth Labour Party and backed by the city’s Labour MP, is to have a stop off on the campaign trail in the south east to speak at a specially convened rally for members and supporters on Saturday 29 February.

 

Starmer’s visit to Portsmouth will be the third in recent years, coming to the city to listen to local business concerns over Brexit and in late November supporting the Portsmouth South MP in his reelection.

 

Promoting the forthcoming event supporters along the south coast, Stephen Morgan MP and Shadow Communities Minister said:

 

“When Labour is united, radical and relevant it wins. And look what we have delivered in Government: the NHS, real investment in our public services, the Equal Pay Act and peace in Northern Ireland. Now is the time work together to oppose the damage Mr Johnson’s government will do to our communities and win the country over. 

 

Portsmouth Labour believes Keir will unite every part of our party and our movement. I am delighted he is coming to our city to address supporters and members. 

 

I hope as many people across the region attend to hear what he has to say”.

 

The Labour leadership contender has visited every part of the UK since he launched his leadership campaign.

 

To join Keir, Stephen and special guests you will need to book a place at the rally. To confirm you’re coming along visit: https://events.keirstarmer.com/events/portsmouth-gotv-rally

 

 

 

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City MP urges Portsmouth people to photograph and pick up plastic

 

Stephen Morgan MP praises local team behind innovative app and encourages Portsmouth people to take part.

Jetsam, developed by Company of Makers, Maker’s Guild and Hack Pompey, was officially launched last week at the Festival of the Sea. The app aims to up the city’s game in ending single-use plastics in Portsmouth.

Photos of plastic are taken by users of the app to show where most waste is in the city alongside other data, help predict where it will wash up along the city’s shoreline, and prevent further pollution of our environment.

The city MP, who has downloaded the app in support of efforts by others, is calling on more Portsmouth people to get involved, to download the app and help the war against plastic.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Storms Ciara and Dennis battering our shores over recent days have reminded us all of the plastic pollution which blights our oceans and our shoreline.

We are lucky enough in our city to have dedicated teams of beach clean volunteers but the root cause and ultimately the real solution lies with the producers of plastics. That’s why I am continuing to call on the government to stop plastic getting into our seas in the first place and want manufacturers to make sure pointless plastics aren’t produced.

The Jetsam app helps raise awareness in our community about the need to drastically cut single-use waste and reminds everyone there’s something each and every one of us can do to clean up our environment. We can’t just forget about plastic once it’s rehidden in the ocean.

I often describe Portsmouth as a place for makers and doers. I want to thank Steve Bomford and team for coming up with this initiative idea and making this app. With Jetsam, people in our city have the opportunity to do their bit, and bring about positive change”.

The free app is available to anyone to download and use on their mobile device.

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City MP calls on employers to tackle workplace sexual harassment

 

Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, is calling on the government to take immediate action to end sexual harassment in the workplace.

Despite it being 10 years since the Equality Act, TUC research shows that half of all women and two thirds of LGBT+ workers have been sexually harassed at work.

The existing laws rely on individuals reporting sexual harassment, however the TUC has found four out of five people still don’t feel able to tell their employer about it.

There is currently no legal duty on employers to take proactive action to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Stephen Morgan MP is pressing the government to ensure the new Employment Bill requires employers to take reasonable steps to protect workers from sexual harassment and victimisation, including setting up an independent regulator, and asking constituents to join them by signing a TUC petition.

The Portsmouth South representative is also calling on employers to work with their local trade unions and review their workplace policies to stamp out sexual harassment at work, provide proper training for staff.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“All workers in Portsmouth should feel safe in their working environment and free from sexual harassment. But research shows that it is still a huge problem, affecting millions of people across the UK.

The current legislation is clearly not working. We need to stand together to press the Government to do everything it can to make it stop.

I urge all my constituents to join me in showing support for change and consider signing this important petition.”

Rachael Maskell MP, Labour’s Shadow Employment Rights Secretary, said:

“In 2020 far too many people are still being subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace and the current legislation simply isn’t working.

The new Employment Bill is the perfect opportunity for the government to tackle this and ensure that the law provides greater protection from harassment at work.

We’re asking people to sign the petition and help us make sure the UK is a safe and positive place for us all to work.”

Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary, said:

“More than half of women in the UK have experienced sexual harassment at work. That is not right.

Sexual harassment has a huge impact on victims’ careers and lives. But the government is dragging its feet and is not making the legal changes needed to fix the problem.

We are calling for a change to the law so that responsibility for preventing harassment at work sits with employers, not victims. This would shift the burden of tackling sexual harassment away from those who suffer it. And it would help end toxic workplace cultures that silence those who’ve been harassed.

Unions have been leading the way in tackling sexual harassment. Anyone experiencing sexual harassment at work should join a union to make sure they are protected and respected at work.

The petition can be found here: https://www.megaphone.org.uk/petitions/uk-gov-act-to-prevent-sexual-harassment-at-work

 

 

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Portsmouth MP teams up with Google to urge pensioners to protect themselves online

Stephen Morgan, Shadow Communities Minister, has been working with Google through their Digital Garage initiative to raise awareness of online safety and protect city pensioners when using the internet.

Teaming up with the Portsmouth Pensioners Association and Google team, the Portsmouth MP arranged a free and open to all training session for local pensioners to hear from experts and find out about 121support at Google’s training hub, the Digital Garage, at 105a Commercial Road, Portsmouth.

The garage opened late last year to provide free workshops for everyone. The latest action by the city MP, follows a range of activities since Mr Morgan helped secure the city centre facility for community use by Portsmouth residents.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“We all have something we want to do, but haven’t yet. Whether a lack of time, opportunity or support, Google Digital Garage is here to help Portsmouth people take the first steps.

 

After listening to constituents’ concerns, I have wanted Google to prioritise making sure older people feel safe online. I am delighted the Portsmouth Pensioners Association and Google Garage team have come together to help city pensioners and it was a pleasure to play my part”.

 

On the importance of online security the Shadow Communities Minister added:

 

“Email and online shopping can make our lives a lot easier, but they also create new opportunities for fraud.

 

Online scams are becoming increasingly common and sophisticated, so I encourage all older people to seek help and find out how to keep safe.

 

I appreciate all those organisations and charities which are doing their bit to help people use the internet safely”.

Google’s workshops are free and for everyone. From growing your career with new skills to growing your business with digital tools (or starting a business altogether), the team of coaches is there to help.

 

Any Portsmouth resident can pop in or book a free online course from the Portsmouth Garage. To find out more visit: g.co/PortsmouthGarage

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Portsmouth MP pulls together leading minds for Electoral Reform public meeting

Stephen Morgan MP has organised a constituency-based public meeting in a bid to hear from experts and constituents’ views over fairer voting.

The city MP has pulled together a team from electoral reform organisations and will be sharing the platform with the Electoral Reform Society’s Director of Policy, Make Votes Matter and Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform at a public meeting next month. The event is open to all Portsmouth South constituents.

Stephen Morgan MP 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.”

The current voting system, First Past the Post, is often criticised for not being representative. 

Electoral Reform Society’s Director of Policy Jessica Garland said:

 “Westminster’s outdated voting system has left voters feeling powerless for too long. People are rightly fed up with the divisive, one-party-takes-all politics that warps results and skews our political debate. It’s time to ensure every voice is heard, with real reform and a move to Proportional Representation.

“It’s great that Stephen Morgan is promoting this vital cause. How MPs are elected makes a huge difference to what issues are heard and to trust in politics. We look forward to joining this meeting, working with Stephen and campaigners across the spectrum to build a stronger democracy.”

The well-subscribed event is set to take place Thursday 5 March 2020 at 7:30 pm at Lecture Theatre LT2 in the Richmond Building.

Places are still available to book here. Booking is essential.

 

 

 

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‘Government not giving flooding the priority it deserves’ says City MP after Minister cancels meeting about Portsmouth

Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, has criticised Government after the Minister responsible for tackling flooding cancelled an important meeting about investment in Portsmouth.  The proposed meeting about Southsea sea defence scheme was cancelled with just hours to go.

The parliamentary meeting, orchestrated by Mr Morgan as part of ongoing work alongside the local authority to secure funding for the largest sea defence scheme in the country, was set to take place today with the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and Portsmouth City Council reps.

Previously Mr Morgan raised concerns over the priority Government is giving to the scheme as the department only offered 15 minutes for the meeting with the city MP, local authority officers and the Environment Agency.

Mr Morgan said:

“This meeting was only agreed after months of being given the run-around by Government and originally being offered a meeting of just 15 minutes. The cancellation at the last minute shows a complete lack of respect for Portsmouth.

There have been three serious coastal defence breaches in our city in the last six years, so it is little wonder the Southsea Sea Defence scheme is probably the biggest of its kind the nation has ever seen. 8,000 properties, 700 businesses and hundreds of livelihoods are depending on its success.

Following events and flooding over the last few days I share concerns that Government is not taking seriously the risk of flooding. Portsmouth has thought through plans for its sea defence scheme.

I will continue to take action so that the local authority gets the support it needs from Government and our city is given priority to protect our communities”.

The city MP has also repeatedly invited the Secretary of State to visit the city to understand the scale of the proposed scheme and need for investment, an invitation declined by the top politician in charge. The government is likely to invest in the scheme that has been developed with public consultation, but a number of important actions remain.

The last few days have reminded us all of the need for adequate funding to local authorities for flooding protection. The Environment Agency’s own analysis has revealed that national funding for this financial year (£815m) falls short of what is needed.

The meeting cancelled by the Government Minister comes amid some of the worst weather experienced in the UK for decades.  Some areas saw a month and a half’s rainfall in 24 hours and gusts of more than 90 miles per hour swept across the country.

The Prime Minister has previously committed to hosting a flood summit bringing together regional partners and stakeholders and local representatives, but to date has failed to deliver on this promise.

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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.

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City MP backs constituent unfairly dismissed while pregnant

Following correspondence with constituent Helen Larkin, Stephen Morgan MP has taken firm action to highlight the unfair treatment of pregnant women in the workplace.

Ms. Larkin raised her case with Mr Morgan in January 2020 following her unfair dismissal from The Liz Earle Beauty Company while she was eight months pregnant.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Ms Larkin’s case highlights gaps in the support network offered to pregnant women undergoing an employment tribunal. It is imperative that structures are in place that prevent discrimination of any kind and take into account the personal situations of employees, especially when pregnant or during maternity periods.

It is Government’s responsibility to look after its citizens, if this is the way that pregnant women are being treated, it is clear that improvements must be made.”

Upon hearing about the case and with the support of women’s rights group, Pregnant then Screwed, Mr Morgan took immediate action in parliament.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“In order to highlight Government’s failings and urge action, I have submitted parliamentary questions and written directly to the Secretary of State responsible.

Government must change the law to give pregnant women extended time for employment tribunals, urgently reassess the law when it comes to making pregnant women redundant and come up with a strategy for urgent reform of current processes.

I will continue to apply pressure until justice for Helen and others is seen.”

Olga Fitzroy from Pregnant then Screwed said:

“We have long campaigned against pregnancy and maternity discrimination and strived to support women like Helen who have been treated badly by exploitative employers.

The government must step up and extend the time limits that new mums and pregnant women have to bring a tribunal claim, as the current rule of 3 months is inhumane and can damage mothers and babies mental and physical health.

We are delighted to have the support of Stephen Morgan MP and look forward to continuing to work with him in highlighting where change needs to occur.”

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Portsmouth MP continues call on Government to act following latest city high street casualty

Stephen Morgan MP has slammed Government inaction following yet another high street closure planned for Portsmouth’s high streets, this time Halifax bank on Palmerston Road.

Mr Morgan has raised specific concerns about the effect that this closure will have on older community members and small businesses.

Mr Morgan said:

“This Government is failing the nation’s high streets and with it, the people of Portsmouth. Already we have seen Knight & Lee put down its shutters for the last time and Debenhams disappear from Palmerston Road.

Now the imminent closure of Halifax bank will be to the detriment of our older community members who may prefer face to face transactions and small businesses, who are already under considerable strain.

I am in discussion with Lloyds Banking Group, who are the decision makers when it comes to the Halifax closure. I will be urging them to think very carefully about their proposals which is yet another decision putting our high streets at risk”.

Mr Morgan has long been taking action to support the high streets. He has created a support local campaign backing small business, hosted roundtable meetings with SMEs and is lobbying for business rate reform.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Hampshire has already seen 1,600 shop closures in recent years affecting hundreds of local jobs and leaving high streets bare and neglected.

Experts warn that with closures of high street banks comes damaging consequences for independent shops due to decreased footfall.

The issue we are seeing is indicative of a bleak national picture born out of Government’s failure to address challenges faced by the high street. I will continue to make the case for action to bring our shopping areas back from the brink”