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City MP vows to maintain pressure on Government over poor rail service

Stephen Morgan MP has hit out at the Government Transport Secretary in his response to a letter he received last week from the department.

Since Mr Morgan was elected, he has been relentless in his calls for better rail services. Meeting with rail providers, attending cross-party parliamentary rail groups, asking questions in the chamber, submitting written questions and speaking to commuters in his patch.

In his recent letter to the Secretary of State, Mr Morgan spoke of his record of delivery and pledged to do more.

In an attempt to answer Mr Morgan’s tireless efforts to raise awareness of this ongoing plight affecting his constituents, Grant Shapps MP wrote a one-page letter to Mr Morgan setting out the Government strategy.

Mr Morgan said:

“While I appreciate the Secretary of State acknowledging the substandard service my constituents have been forced to endure in recent times, it doesn’t contain any detail. No dates. No numbers. No timeframes.

This is an issue that will affect my constituents tomorrow, they need to know now when the Government plans to resolve this issue. 67% of the trains run on time, what if Portsmouth people only paid their fares 67% of the time? There would be uproar.

It is time that Government took responsibly for the fact they have done nothing to address substandard train delivery and came up with a robust strategy for dealing with it.”

Mr Morgan also spoke out on what exactly was needed to improve rail services:

“There is an intrinsic need to not only improve rail times, but to also refurbish and upgrade Portsmouth rail stations and stations in the surrounding areas.

Access issues, faulty toilets, poor quality seating arrangements, unsightly exteriors and limited step free access are just some of the issues faced.

I have asked the Secretary of State to actually explain how he plans to deal with this rather than offer a half-baked proposal supported by no real commitment.

I used to commute every day from Fratton, where I grew up, to my job in London. I know first-hand the frustration at paying gold standard prices for a substandard service.”

Mr Morgan regularly raises the matter both in Parliament and in Portsmouth and has vowed to continue being a voice for commuters and rail users in his patch.

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“With 1 in 5 Portsmouth children suffering from tooth decay by the time they are 5 years old, we need urgent action”- City MP speaks out after visit to University of Portsmouth Dental Academy

Stephen Morgan MP has visited a state-of-the-art training facility developed in partnership between the University, King’s College London Dental Institute and the National Health Service in his constituency of Portsmouth South.

The visit forms part of a long-running campaign adopted by the MP to increase patient access for all to vital dental services. Mr Morgan has vocally slammed the current Government’s ‘shocking’ record on dental services that has seen 42,000 children admitted to hospital to have multiple teeth removed under anesthetic last year alone.

The city MP spent time both with students about to become the next generation of first-rate dentists and the staff who work clinically in the Dental Academy and across a wide variety of community settings.

Mr Morgan said:

“Access to dental services is vitally important and to use the British Dental Association’s words, we are in crisis.

21 million people have not seen a dentist for over 2 years, around just 50% of dental practices are able to admit new NHS patients and in Portsmouth, the number of children being admitted to hospital for tooth decay has doubled.

With the Government making real term cuts to dentistry of nearly 30% since 2010, more people are finding themselves unable to get treatment which is putting pressure on other NHS services.

It is essential that institutions like the Dental Academy are consulted and discussion begins around how to deal with this issue.”

The key issues discussed by the MP and senior representatives from the Dental Academy were orientated around securing Portsmouth as a national dentistry training hub with even greater national recognition and increasing provision of services to the local community.

Mr Morgan said:

“At a time when dentistry is in crisis, with1 in 5 Portsmouth children suffering from tooth decay by the time they are 5 years old, the work being conducted here is more important than ever.

The top-class dental academy is yet another example of how work done in Portsmouth is not just relevant to our city but to the nation.

The opportunity to spend time with those working to become top rate dentists and the experts responsible for training them gives great insight into the work being conducted here in our city.”

Patient access to dental services has been high on Mr Morgan’s agenda for some time. Earlier this year, following the closure of three dental practices in Portsmouth, Stephen called an urgent snap meeting with NHS England and The British Dental Association.

Mr Morgan said:

“This Government’s incessant will to sell off bits of our NHS and leave it in the hands of companies like Colosseum in Portsmouth, owned by a swiss investment bank, is irresponsible and puts profit before Portsmouth people.

We urgently need a coherent oral health strategy that has patients at the heart of it and is focused on access and prevention, and NHS dentistry that is adequately commissioned and funded.”

Since the crisis with Colosseum dental arose in Mr Morgan’s patch, he has been relentless in his efforts to resolve the issue and secure dental access for all. So far, he has met with senior NHS England officials, the Director of the British Dental Association, grilled the Minister responsible in parliament, written out to the new Minster last week and been out to visit the services for himself.

He remains committed to being a strong national and local voice on all NHS issues.

 

 

 

 

 

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City MP announces major community policing consultation

Stephen Morgan MP has orchestrated a large-scale open consultation giving local residents the chance to have their say on the future of Portsmouth policing.

Answering constituent concerns alongside the Portsmouth South representative will be leading national policing figure and Chair of the Police Federation, John Apter and the city’s District Commander has also been invited to attend.

Mr Morgan said:

“From chatting to local residents on the doorstep and through communicating through my office, I know issues relating to police and crime are high on the agenda for Portsmouth people.

I believe that the community must be at the centre of discussions driving change and that Portsmouth people should have direct access to both their elected representatives and those tasked with keeping them safe.

That is why I have organised this open consultation. This is about frank, open discussion with the community at the heart of it.”

The Office for National Statistics 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 in Hampshire. This has meant that issues relating to policing and crime are a key community concern.

Mr Morgan said:

“Having been out with bobbies on the beat in every patch in my constituency, I have seen first-hand the challenges faced by our police force and the types of crime our community deals with daily.

In Hampshire alone we have 1,050 less officers than we did in 2010 and funding is down by a staggering 19%. This means that at a time when we have more crime, there are less officers and resources to deal with it.

Inevitably this means that it is our police force and our community who pay the price for Government funding cuts to public services. For this reason, it is essential that people have a platform to be heard.”

The city MP is no stranger to making a stand over policing and has already launched an online petition, has been out in every ward in his patch with local officers, regularly meets with the District Commander and Police Federation and has raised the issue consistently in parliament.

The event will be taking place on Friday 8 November 2019 at St Georges Church, Portsea, Portsmouth PO1 3AT on Friday 8 November from 17:00 until 18:30. Mr Morgan has stated that all Portsmouth residents are welcome.

Book your place at the event here: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/policing-in-portsmouth-public-meeting-tickets-79200714469

To show support for the campaign please visit: http://www.stephenmorgan.org.uk/police/

 

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“People power prevails” – city MP ‘delighted’ with news lifesaving Cystic Fibrosis drugs have been green lit

Life-extending cystic fibrosis drugs will be available on the NHS next month after a deal was struck following four years of deadlock over their price tag.

City MP, Stephen Morgan has joined those he has long been campaigning alongside in celebrating today’s news.

Mr Morgan said:

“Today’s ground-breaking news that vital lifesaving Cystic Fibrosis drugs have been given the green light will be received ecstatically by those who have been dealing with the life-threatening condition.

People such as Ivy and her mum Gemma Weir, who I have been absolutely honored to have worked alongside in raising awareness of the necessity for Vertex and NHS England to reach a deal.

Together with Ivy from Portsmouth, I have written out to every MP in Parliament, spoken in debates, attended meetings with the pharmaceutical company and written to the Health Secretary. This is a demonstration that tenacity, dedication and relentless work put in by the people affected most can force big decisions at the top. This decision is long overdue from this Government, and while Ministers have taken far too long over this, today’s announcement is a victory for people’s power.

I would like to congratulate Ivy and Gemma on their success and am delighted for the 5,000 UK people now able to see the light at the end of what has previously been a very dark tunnel.”

Up to 5,000 patients in England will benefit from three £104,000-a-year pills after the deal with Boston-based maker Vertex. All three drugs, Orkambi, Symkevi and Kalydeco, slow the decline of lung function – the main cause of death in cystic fibrosis. 

Negotiations had been at a standstill since Vertex this year rejected an offer of £500million over five years for access to the drug, the reason behind the Portsmouth representatives work with local activist Ivy and Gemma Weir.

Mr Morgan said:

“Ivy, Gemma and other activist have fought tooth and nail, often when no end was in sight, to get to where they are today. We have pioneered social media campaigners together, incessantly grilled the Health Secretary and his Ministers and lobbied vertex hard over these changes.

I am delighted that our efforts have been successful and this is a testament to the fact that people power prevails.”

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Portsmouth People given chance to create law as city MP puts it to the people

Today, Members of Parliament have their chance to be selected for a private member’s bill. This is a kind of raffle that allows any MP to enter the ballot, the winner of which can create a new law.

Stephen Morgan has put it to the people by issuing an open poll asking for constituents to get in touch with their own ideas and asking them to vote on some of his, based on some of his long-running campaigns.

Mr Morgan said:

“Portsmouth people should have direct access to democracy, that is why I have asked them for their thoughts.

This is an exciting opportunity for us to put or heads together and come up an idea for making Portsmouth even better.

If I was to be successful in this raffle like process, I want to make sure that Portsmouth people are right alongside me in changing the law, after all it is the community set to be most affected.”

Only a minority of bills become law, but publicity can help an issue. It cannot create a new tax or increase spending but does give MP’ the chance to change legislation.

Stephen Morgan MP offered his constituents via an online poll the following options alongside the chance to draft their own:

  • An end to auto-renewing subscriptions to avoid unfair charges you didn’t bargain for
  • Get coroners to record veteran suicide so we can get bespoke mental health services for our armed forces community
  • Harsher fines for those that commit environmental offences such as littering Put an end to smoking in our urban green spaces and parks

Within an hour the poll gathered over 250 votes and is still open to the public to participate. If successful, the city MP has vowed to bear in mind the views of his constituents when putting the bill forward.

Have you got a fresh, ground-breaking idea that could brighten up our community?

If so, please vote here

 

https://surveyhero.com/c/7c0ad262?fbclid=IwAR0mmXg1bpsaaBOQSEeKngCxuNuVKnb_-N__GyQ5VYJrnezsN6z434CJmZY

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“Portsmouth needs to do more to tackle climate emergency “ – states city MP

Friends of the Earth have produced detailed, local authority specific data for the ranking of councils across Britain on their record of tackling climate change.

Portsmouth has finished low down in the bottom quarter with just a 60% rating, putting it amongst some of the nation’s lowest-scoring. The data release coincides with national media coverage this week outlining how Portsmouth clean air charging zone is being scaled back.

Considering recent developments on the clean air zone, Mr Morgan said:

“Portsmouth is in the midst of an air pollution crisis that has been described by experts as ‘dangerous’. The fact that the centre of Portsmouth could become a chargeable clean air zone – rather than the whole of Portsea Island – is the manifestation of the Council Leader’s indifference to the matter.

We know as a result the 11,000 people in this city who live with heart conditions are at greater risk of stroke and heart attack and our children’s lung capacity is heavily reduced. We need a radical overhaul of the way we tackle air pollution, not this lack-lustre tokenistic gesture.”

City MP, Stephen Morgan has for some time been speaking out against the ‘reactionary’ approach taken by the city council to datel in tackling climate change locally and has cited the air pollution crisis as a testament to the current council administration’s indifference to the issue.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

The reason that the council is performing so poorly when it comes to tackling climate change is simple. The current administration is not taking the issue seriously enough.

The Lib Dems are presiding over an avoidable air pollution crisis, which has been allowed to reach highly dangerous levels and meant the Council Leader has subsequently gone to beg at the feet of Government for help.

We have some of the worst recycling rates, which is again one of the lowest in the country at 24%. There has been a failure to take any action over implementing a cycle hire scheme. We have some of the lowest tree coverage in the country. Our city really does deserve much better.

Climate Change is not something that you can shirk or avoid. These helpful findings from Friends of the Earth remind us again that the administration’s ‘dog ate my homework’ approach is not the bold attitude we need to address the biggest issue our city and our planet has ever faced. This report must now act as a wakeup call to the Council Leader to do better.”

In March Portsmouth Labour worked with community activists to force the council to declare a climate emergency. Since then, Labour councillors have been working hard to push the council into action.

The city MP added:

“It was the Labour Group, under my leadership, who pioneered the movement locally to declare a climate emergency. It was Labour who tabled the motion nationally to declare the same in Parliament.

Local authorities have an important and often over-looked role in cutting carbon emissions and solving the climate crisis. But they can’t do it all themselves, which is why I am pushing for more powers and finance alongside government action.

Since joining the shadow front benches, I have been visiting local authorities leading the charge when it comes to climate change to formulate party policy on best practice. In seeing these trailblazers, it made was apparent that Portsmouth must do so much more.

I will continue to put pressure on the government and council to place the climate emergency at the front of all decision making. Change starts at home”.

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City MP backed unanimously after storming Labour’s re-selection procedure

Stephen Morgan will stand unopposed as the Labour candidate for Portsmouth South constituency when the nation next goes to the polls, it has been confirmed today (Saturday 19 October 2019).

As with all sitting Labour MPs, Mr Morgan has had to take part in the party’s trigger ballot to determine whether other candidates could challenge him for the right to contest the seat.

MPs need to gain the support of around two-thirds of local branches and affiliated organisations within their constituency.

Portsmouth Labour confirmed today that the sitting MP had stormed the selection process, receiving the support of all branches and all affiliates and therefore unanimously re-selected by the party for the next national poll, whenever that may be.

Responding to the announcement, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Being the MP for Portsmouth South, the area where I grew up, has been more than just a job. It has been the greatest honour of my life. Giving everything I have, every single day, has not been a chore or a challenge, but a privilege.

Since being elected I’ve been prioritising the matters local people raise with me whilst out and about in our community. That means standing up for our police as we lose 1,050 officers and crime goes up; fighting the £3.7m cuts to city schools; making sure our NHS gets the resources it needs; speaking up for our armed forces and for better mental health support for veterans; and listening to your views and concerns on Brexit.

But there is so much more for me to do for Portsmouth. That’s why I am delighted and humbled to have received the full support of Portsmouth Labour, every single local branch and every single affiliate organisation to be the Labour candidate in the next General Election. I would like to thank members for putting their trust in me.

Portsmouth is my home. With a record of delivery and a promise of more, I will continue to stand up for it”.

Mr Morgan took the seat from the Tories in the snap General Election of 2017, the first-ever Labour representative in the constituency’s history. The seat was gained by increasing the vote share by 21.5%, one of the largest increases in the country. The city MP is the Shadow Minister for Communities.

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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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“The closure of Lynx House will be a disaster for Portsmouth” – City MP grills Government over implications of HMRC closures under no-deal

Today, during questions in the House of Commons, Stephen Morgan MP continued to apply pressure to Government over the proposed plans to close the HMRC centre, Lynx House in Portsmouth.

Mr Morgan’s chief concern raised today was that if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal, the HMRC workload is set to increase from 55 million customs declarations to 270 million according the National Audit Office.

Mr Morgan said:

“The fact that Government is planning to shut Lynx House, which provides vital employment to nearly 1000 members of the community, at a time when the HMRC workload is set to increase by nearly five times demonstrates their poor foresight and lack of planning.

A no-deal Brexit will be disastrous for Portsmouth and this nation anyway, the added implications of Government cuts to HMRC and staffing and resource levels down 17 per cent since 2010, is a recipe for disaster”.

Mr Morgan has been fighting alongside the trade unions to retain Lynx House since becoming MP in 2017 and has already brought the Shadow Treasury Minister responsible to the site to see for herself the issues faced by staff as part of a long-running campaign against closure.

Mr Morgan said:

“Anyone who watches the International Trade Secretary’s response to my serious question about Portsmouth will see that it is both vague and lacking in substance. No robust plans are offered in response to how HMRC will deal with the increased workload and I am deeply concerned that adequate planning is not taking place.

Portsmouth needs urgent action from this Government. That is why I have written to the Chief Secretary in a bid to get the Government to take notice of the people at the coal-face raising alarms about HMRC closures at Lynx House.

I have urged the Chief Secretary to rapidly respond by paying a visit to Portsmouth and to see for himself the issues faced here.”

Stephen Morgan MP has so far met with local HMRC staff, spoken with the unions, raised the issue in parliament, supported council motions and brought frontbench colleagues to visit the site and written to the Minister responsible.

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Responding to the DfT announcement of £400,000 for Portsmouth International Port today, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Whilst today’s announcement is long-overdue, and helps provide much needed support for Portsmouth International Port at this time of huge uncertainty, the allocation is a mere drop in the ocean for the challenges that the city will face under a no-deal Brexit.

With no-deal preparations costing the nation £170,000 per hour, that’s money better spent on our city’s schools and hospitals.

The city council has said relations with the Department of Transport had been ‘highly problematical’. We had high hopes the Transport Secretary had listened to Portsmouth when he finally visited the Port last week to hear how the council and its partners had been spending taxpayer’s money preparing for a no-deal Brexit and trying to avoid traffic chaos and congestion in our city. It now seems this may not be the case.

I’ll keep lobbying for Portsmouth to push this Government to invest in our city. The port’s success is our city’s success. Our economy and the public services we all rely on depend on it”.

It has been confirmed that £400,000 has been allocated towards a gate camera and vehicle booking system for Portsmouth. The Port was hoping for double that amount of funding and may need to find other ways to meet the shortfall.