Portsmouth MP backs respect for shopworkers week

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan demonstrated his support for Respect for Shopworkers Week when he visited the Co-op store in Albert Road, Southsea on 16 November.

During his visit to the store on Albert Road, Mr Morgan discussed local community safety issues with store staff and heard about the Co-op’s operational programme to help tackle crime.

As part of its commitment to colleague safety and community well-being, the Co-op is backing the shopworkers’ union USDAW’s campaign and the Respect for Shopworkers Week.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“From my work on the Offensive Weapons Bill Committee I already know shop workers face an unprecedented level of threat from violent incidents as each day across the UK six are threatened with a knife and two with a gun.

Recent figures show that across the country violent, weaponised crimes is on the rise with a 16% increase in incidents involving knives.       

Products can be replaced and stores repaired, but violent crime in shops often has a shocking, and lasting, impact on those working at the frontline.

That is why I am backing this important national initiative and campaigning for it in Portsmouth as we must all do everything we can to help reduce these attacks.”

Paul Gerrard, Director of Campaigns at the Co-op, said:

“Retail crime is often considered to be victimless as people think it only involves a faceless business losing stock or money. However, it is not the shop that is left bruised, bleeding or traumatised. This type of crime has nothing to do with profit and everything to do with people.

“In the months ahead, we’ll be looking to work with local community groups and other neighbourhood leaders who are engaged in tackling the root causes of crime, to see if we can identify mutual solutions to shared concerns.”

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MP uses speech to press Minister for urgent action on veteran data collection

Portsmouth South MP continues campaign for our brave forces during debate on veteran strategy

MP for Portsmouth South today pressed ahead with his efforts to improve mental health and suicide data collection of our veterans.

Mr Morgan spoke in the general debate in the House of Commons today on Government’s recently published veterans’ strategy and called for a duty to be imposed on coroners to record veteran status.

The UK is almost unique amongst its allies in not requiring coroners to mark individuals as veterans – USA, Canada, and Australia all do. This means that data on veteran suicide rates is limited and unreliable, with research suggesting it has been repeatedly underestimated by the Ministry of Defence.

Stephen, alongside the Sunday People, Portsmouth News, and local veteran Stephen James, has been campaigning for proper data collection, claiming the Government is turning a blind eye to veteran mental health.

Further, the MP praised a new app ‘All Call Signs’ developed by Portsmouth veterans providing peer-to-peer communication for veterans and serving personnel to help understand stresses and struggles that come with daily life in and out of uniform.

However, Minister Tobias Ellwood today again refused to commit to implementing the change.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“It’s really disappointing that the Government won’t take this simple and vital step to improving mental health services for brave servicemen and women. 

I am genuinely at a loss to understand why. It’s simple, it’s inexpensive, and it’s incredibly important to fulfilling our commitment to veterans.

Today might be a setback, but our local efforts continue. We owe it to the courageous men and women of our armed forces to tackle this issue head on, but we can’t start to do so without proper understanding of its scale. The Government has to step up.”

According to heartbreaking research by SSAFA, 62% of veterans feel undervalued by society, and Mr Morgan believes action to improve life for veterans doesn’t have to hugely costly or complex to be effective.

Responding to the publication of the veterans’ strategy, the city MP said in his speech:

“I’m passionate about ensuring our government, our public services and economy works to support service personnel both during their service and beyond, during the transition back to civilian life.

This strategy is, at least, a start. But it is specific and effective policy that is needed because the challenges facing veterans currently are serious. They deserve a response of equal weight”.

This deal is a miserable failure and I can’t back it, says City MP

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has said the Prime Minister’s draft withdrawal agreement is “a miserable failure after two years of botched negotiations”

Theresa May’s government is now in chaos because of their failings and inability to negotiate a deal in the national interest, with resignation after resignation from the Cabinet and Ministerial team.

Responding after attending the Prime Minister’s Statement in the House of Commons today, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Whether people voted leave or remain – nobody voted for this offer from the Government.

Theresa May’s ‘deal’ is in two parts – a withdrawal agreement that includes half-baked proposals for a backstop, and a political declaration that is incredibly vague and opens the gate to a hard Tory Brexit.

The deal does not secure frictionless trade, nor a single market or customs union, contains no commitment to workers’ rights and regulation, nor our environment, no European Arrest Warrant, no retainment of Europol arrangements, no collaboration with key agencies like EASA and Erasmus. This is a hard Brexit by any other name.

It doesn’t protect jobs, rights and living standards in Portsmouth. It’s asking me as a city MP to leap into the unknown. And it won’t reassure anyone in Portsmouth. Taken together, this deal fails tests Labour has set out months ago and I will vote against it in Parliament.

If a general election isn’t triggered soon, we need a people’s vote”.

Labour does not accept the choice is between Theresa May’s deal or no deal.

The party has set out a new comprehensive and permanent customs union, with a British say in future trade deals.

That would support businesses, jobs and the manufacturing supply chains they depend on; a strong single market relationship that allows British business continued access to vital European markets for both goods and services; and; a guarantee that our country doesn’t fall behind the EU in workers’ rights, or protections for consumers and the environment.

If the government’s half-baked Brexit deal is voted down, Labour will work across Parliament to block ‘no deal’.

 

 

 

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City MP supports call for a Wilder Future

Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South met with young people from across The Wildlife Trusts at a parliamentary reception to hear their views on the natural environment.

The event highlighted the urgent need for an ambitious Environment Bill to ensure nature’s recovery. Such legislation would not only establish new environmental targets and introduce a strong green watchdog but would also drive the creation of Nature Recovery Networks.

These would better protect and join-up important places for wildlife and to ensure everyone, whatever their background, has access to wildlife-rich natural green space.

Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trust said:

 “Young people are a vital part of our movement and increasingly active in calling for change.

They believe that everyone should have the opportunity to experience nature during their school lives and should have the opportunity to work in environmental jobs. They also want to guarantee a more positive future for our natural environment.

The quality of life for future generations will depend on securing an ambitious new Environment Bill.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a wilder, healthier and happier future – putting nature into recovery and ensuring everyone has access to wildlife”.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“It is always a delight to catch up and hear the views of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, not least the ideas of young people volunteering for the charity.

Often their contact with nature has had a lifechanging impact. I was particularly encouraged by the clear passion young people from our city’s communities show towards our environment.

Nature provides us with man things and we owe it to the next generation to leave them a greener future full of wildlife.

I fully support the need for government action including through Nature Recovery Networks and I am signing the Greener UK Charter to call for an ambitious Environment Bill”.

The Wildlife Trusts and friends are trying to convince Government of the need for a new law – an Environment Act – to improve protection for our country’s wildlife. For further details visit www.wildlifetrusts.org/get-involved/campaign/wilder-future

 

Stephen visits Taiwan for talks on trade and human rights

MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, joined a cross-party Parliamentary delegation to the island nation of Taiwan during the last recess. Mr Morgan met with the President, Tsai Ing-wen, and held discussions with a number of Taiwanese Ministers.

Topics of discussion included capital punishment, LGBT rights, female representation in politics and climate change and green energy. The city MP also discussed the future trading relationship between the UK and Taiwan and security uncertainty with Taiwanese Defence Ministers.

The visit occurred soon after an earthquake struck Indonesia and Stephen also spent time discussing the emergency response to the disaster.

The delegation was funded by the Taiwanese Government and made up of MP and Peers from across parties and Houses.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“It was useful to visit our Taiwanese counterparts to talk about how we can develop trading and educational links not only on a national but also local basis.

Portsmouth has so much to offer to our international trading partners, be that through our top university or burgeoning technological and creative sector.

I was proud to get the opportunity to sell Portsmouth on the world stage, and find out more about how we can work together to improve human rights standards globally.”

 

Portsmouth MP supports Commons motion to force publication of Government NI Brexit papers

MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, has today backed a motion to force the publication of Government legal advice on Brexit’s impact on the Northern Irish border.

The opposition motion called for the publication of the Government’s legal advice on any withdrawal agreement that is reached – including over the terms of the Northern Ireland ‘backstop’. The motion uses the same ancient, but effective, Parliamentary procedure (a ‘Humble Address’) that Labour used last year to successfully force the Government to release the Brexit impact assessments.

The motion passed after the Government abstained, fearing a backbench rebellion and defeat.

The debate follows reports that the Prime Minister has asked the Attorney General to provide legal advice to Cabinet on any withdrawal agreement that is reached. Labour believe this advice should be made available in full, to all MPs and before Parliament is asked to vote on the terms of our departure from the EU.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“Today in the Commons I stood up for transparency from the Government on Brexit, something that is rarely forthcoming.  It’s telling that they once again resisted but important that they were defeated.

By compelling the publication of this advice we’ve taken an important step in bringing some accountability to the Brexit debate.

The Government have shown utter disregard for the peace process and I won’t accept it nor will I blindly vote to approve the PM’s deal without full transparency on the consequences for Northern Ireland and the Republic.”

 

 

Opportunity to join Stephen’s team as Parliamentary Researcher

Have a skill for writing and undertaking research?

Interested in working at the heart of British politics?

Want to help make a difference to peoples’ lives? 

Then an exciting opportunity has arisen to work with the first-ever Labour Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan and his dedicated team.

New MP Stephen Morgan is looking for a Parliamentary Researcher to support him with his work in parliament, as a parliamentary private secretary and member of the Public Accounts Committee.

Key tasks include drafting questions, speeches and briefings; undertaking research on complex subjects; monitoring bills, motions, legislation, Hansard, petitions, and debates; and proactively engaging the media on Stephen’s work as an active local campaigner and strong national voice for Portsmouth.

Job description – Parliamentary Researcher

The role is based in Westminster at the House of Commons.

Got what it takes to take on this busy and exciting role?

Application details

Applicants should send a copy of their CV (no more than two pages) and a one page covering letter to Julie Minal, Head of Office at julie.minal@parliament.uk

Hard copies should be sent to Julie Minal c/o Office of Stephen Morgan MP, 72 Albert Road, Southsea PO5 2SL

Closing date: Monday 26 November 2018, 12noon.

Interviews will take place in central London in early December. It is hoped the successful candidate would be able to start as soon as possible

Please note that due to the expected high volume of responses, unsuccessful applicants will not be contacted.

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Teachers facing real terms pay cuts over half of Portsmouth teachers facing another pay cut under Tory pay deal

Over 52% teachers are facing another pay cut in Portsmouth this year, despite government pledges to end the public sector pay cap, and the Prime Minister’s claim that “austerity is over”.

Education Secretary, Damian Hinds MP, rejected the recommendation of the independent pay review that all teachers be awarded a rise, deciding that those on the ‘upper’ pay scale would receive a 2% pay rise and those on the ‘leadership’ scale would receive just 1.5%. 

With inflation forecast to run at over 2.5% this financial year, all of the teachers on those pay scales will see their wages rise by less than inflation, meaning another real-terms pay cut.

Across Portsmouth there are over 800 teachers on the upper pay range and leadership pay range, accounting for 57% of all teachers in the country and meaning that over half teachers will face another cut to their pay this year.

Hinds had previous promised to be champion” for head teachers.

The government has also now admitted that it will not keep its promise to fully fund even the limited pay rise for all schools, leaving some with a shortfall once they have paid staff salaries.

Commenting, Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South said:

“The Prime Minister told us that austerity was over and promised she would end the pay cuts for public servants, but it is becoming clearer by the day that this doesn’t apply to our schools and teachers.

In stark contrast to their words, the government’s own figures show that a quarter of a million teachers – nearly half the entire workforce – are now facing another real terms cut to their pay this year.

To make it even worse, Ministers have now admitted that they won’t even fund the pay settlement for all schools, so some will be left short-changed simply for paying their teachers the government’s own rate.

It is now clear that far from just needing “little extras” as the Chancellor claimed, schools aren’t even being funded for the very basics.

My Portsmouth Against School cuts is bringing parents, governors and teachers together against Tory cuts to city schools. I will continue to lobby for investment in our schools, including ring-fenced funding to give teachers the pay rise they deserve.”

 

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Council has no ideas, no plan, for Portsmouth bus service, says MP

Council Leader has not held any discussions with First Bus MD despite community concerns

MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan has shared concerns over the ‘failure of leadership’ after it emerged Leader of Portsmouth City Council, Gerald VernonJackson, had not engaged with First Bus’s Managing Director or his team to discuss any element of their bus services in Portsmouth. This is despite the city council being informed of proposed cuts way back in June.

Mr Morgan met with First Bus MD, Marc Reddy, again last week. Following his own meeting and regular contact with the bus company, the city MP wrote to Cllr Vernon-Jackson urging him to meet with Mr Reddy and work to find a solution to the impending cuts to bus services in Portsmouth.

To Stephen’s dismay, he received a one-line response asking for suggestions.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“Reading the Council Leader’s outraged criticism of First Bus I had assumed that he had met with them. I’m astonished to learn that he hasn’t even tried, especially since the city council was made aware of plans in June.

People in Portsmouth who rely on these services deserve better. But after I wrote to the Council Leader urging him to meet with First Bus, he gave a short response which asked for my suggestions.

Well, my suggestion is a simple one. He should get round the table as a matter of urgency and actually speak to First Bus before admitting defeat.

The people of Portsmouth who rely on buses to get out and about across our city expect the council to show leadership and act to find a solution that works for everyone”.

As reported in The News, Marc Reddy, managing director for First Bus in Hampshire, Dorset and Berkshire has said:

“I am surprised about the comments from the leader of Portsmouth City Council as he has not approached me or my team or discussed any element of our bus service in Portsmouth.

It is totally wrong to suggest that we are holding the city council to ransom”.

Campaign for Better Transport report showed funding for supported buses has been halved in the last eight years.

Concerns have been expressed regarding the impact such cuts might have on elderly and vulnerable populations in Portsmouth, cutting of a vital access route to family members, local services and hospitals.

 

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City MP launches Parliament Week on visit to Cottage Grove Primary School

As we mark 100 years since the first women gained the right to vote, Stephen Morgan MP is inviting everyone Portsmouth to get involved in UK Parliament Week and play a part in our thriving democracy.

UK Parliament Week is a UK-wide festival taking place from 12-18 November, which aims to engage people, especially young people, from different backgrounds and communities, with the UK Parliament and empower them to get involved.

UK Parliament Week is part of the UK Parliament’s Vote 100 programme, celebrating equal voting rights and other milestones in the UK’s democratic history. A record high of 32% women MPs were elected to the House of Commons in 2017’s General Election. There is further to go in encouraging diversity; UK Parliament invites people of all backgrounds to have a say in their democracy.

Other centenaries coming up this year include the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act which gave women over 21 the right to stand for election as an MP (21 November) and the 1918 General Election when women over 30 and all men over 21 voted for the first time (14 December).

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Stephen Morgan MP, said:

It was brilliant to see our city’s young people so engaged in democracy at Cottage Grove Primary.

I am determined to ensure that our voters and citizens of tomorrow understand how vital their participation is in our democracy, and I’m excited to see so many of Portsmouth’s schools, Girlguides, Scouts and local groups taking part.”

In 2017, UK Parliament Week reached more than 360,000 people, with over 4,500 events. This year’s UK Parliament Week festival is the largest ever and will see more than 7,000 registered events with over 500,000 people taking part. Participating organisations include Scouts, Girlguiding, and the British Youth Council.

David Clark, Head of Education and Engagement at UK Parliament, said:

“There are many exciting events as part of this year’s UK Parliament Week, with many of those happening in Portsmouth. Schools, workplaces and community groups across Portsmouth have a chance to get involved in their democracy, and to also celebrate one of the most important centenaries in British democratic history.

We can only work towards a more equal society if we all engage with democracy so please find ways to get involved.”