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City MP backs local Portsmouth charity’s ‘Shrink the elephant’ campaign

Stephen Morgan MP has backed Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Service’s (PARCS) campaign to ‘shrink the elephant’, that aims to raise awareness of issues surrounding sexual abuse and challenge cultural norms that perpetuate abuse.

The charity argues sexual abuse can sometimes feel like the elephant in the room, and believes we all have the power to ‘shrink the elephant’.

The campaign comes as part of PARCS’ wider initiative ‘Project Catalyst’, that seeks to support and empower local young women in Portsmouth to become leaders in the reduction of violence and abuse against women and girls.

Stephen Morgan MP commented:

“I am proud to support PARCS’ important campaign to highlight the challenges survivors of sexual violence and domestic/sexual abuse face everyday.

The work of the entire team of PARCS and Project Catalyst is truly inspiring and I am keen to do all I can to offer the support they need.”

It was reported in late July that more than 40,000 calls and contacts were made to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline during the first three months of lockdown, most by women seeking help.

In June, calls and contacts were nearly 80% higher than usual, according to charity Refuge, which runs the helpline.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, added:

“I’m deeply concerned by the recent figures that have shown a worrying spike in cases of domestic abuse nationally, particularly during lockdown.

“As we head into the winter period and the risk of a second lockdown looms, it is incredibly vital these issues experienced both here in Portsmouth and nationally are raised in Parliament, and I will be doing just that in the coming weeks.”

Mr Morgan went to visit PARCS in his constituency ofPortsmouth South earlier this month, and has previously written to the Home Secretary earlier this year, highlighting the rise of domestic abuse in the UK during lockdown.

 

 

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Covid-19 update: Stephen Morgan MP’s recent parliamentary actions on testing

In recent days, Mr Morgan has been receiving an increasing number of enquiries about issues with Covid-19 testing and social care support.

He has recently asked the government to provide urgent answers on:

Mr Morgan is also awaiting answers from the government on distances travelled by constituents for testing, testing for our Armed Forces and the pandemic’s impact on both ports and schools.

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City MP reacts to ‘disappointing’ new court ruling stating pension age changes are not discriminatory

News has broken that the three senior judge’s ruling on the Court of Appeal challenge have found that despite feeling sympathy for WASPI campaigners, the state pension age did not amount to unlawful discrimination under EU or human rights law.

Committed WASPI supporter, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“It is highly disappointing that millions of women born in the 1950s have lost the Court of Appeal Challenge today, ruling that raising the state pension age did not amount to unlawful discrimination.

This is yet another kick in the teeth for a grassroots movement of inspiring women who have been fighting tooth and nail for justice.

The ruling is deeply disheartening, but we must not lose sight of who is responsible for the origins of this severe injustice. The way in which the Conservative Government has implemented the 1995 State Pension Act has caused turmoil for hundreds of thousands of people, hitting the most vulnerable hardest.

I have had the privilege of working with Portsmouth’s campaigners on this important issue for some time and will continue to support them in their fight for justice.”

Stephen Morgan MP has been a long-time supporter of the WASPI campaign. He has hosted local rallies, held meetings up in parliament, raised the issue through parliamentary questions, and regularly meets with local Solent WASPI organisers.

 

 

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Controversial UK Internal Markets Bill: why I voted against

Following the debate in the House of Commons today, Stephen Morgan MP sets out why he voted in the Second Reading of the Internal Markets Bill.  

Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South said:

“After standing on a pledge during the General Election to ‘get Brexit done’, the government is now in fact undoing it, whilst time is running out to secure a deal.

In tearing up parts of the Withdrawal Agreement that the Prime Minister himself drafted, Mr Johnson is making a monumental admission of failure. Whilst we are in the middle of a pandemic, Portsmouth residents have told me they want Government focusing on saving lives not going over covered ground.

When considering the future of our city, and our nation, there are a number of reasons why I could not vote for the Bill this evening.

Firstly, it empowers ministers to pass regulations even if they are contrary to the withdrawal agreement. This knowingly and openly breaks international law and will frustrate the process of getting a deal.

Former Prime Ministers from Mr Johnson’s own party have commended this flagrant disregard for legislative process over the weekend. You will have seen these comments in the national press. Even as far as America, senior politicians have expressed outrage that the Government is trying to break international law at a time when they are preaching compliance.

Not only does this Bill erode Britain’s reputation on the world stage, it could cause a race to the bottom within our shores, affecting Portsmouth people. Under the law proposed by government this evening, if one nation within the union lowers their standards, for example over the importation of chlorinated chicken, the other three nations will have to accept chlorinated chicken too. These are not the high standards that British people deserve.

Britain’s greatness is built upon our values and the fact we have long stood up for the rule of law. I therefore could not vote to allow the Prime Minister to throw all that away by disregarding an international treaty he personally negotiated and signed up to, undermining our standing in the world. 

Now is the time for competence and consensus, so the country can move on and recover. The Bill put forward by Government did nothing to help us move on and progress. It would let down Portsmouth, and it would let down our nation”.

 

 

 

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Stephen Morgan MP demands Ministers extend Job Retention Scheme in House of Commons

During questions to the Department for Work and Pensions, city MP Stephen Morgan put pressure on the Government to extend the financial support available to those struggling during the pandemic.

Mr Morgan’s action in the House of Commons come as statistics reveal employment has decreased by 220,000 on the quarter. The largest quarterly decrease since 2009. While in July, there were 730,000 fewer people in paid employment compared with March 2020 and 114,000 fewer when compared with June 2020.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Unemployment is soaring, uptake in benefits has skyrocketed and experts say marginalised communities are bearing the brunt.

When employment is down to the lowest point in over a decade, the government must be ramping up support not removing the safety net.

The Government has been repeatedly warned that their one-size-fits-all approach to the job’s crisis will cost many their livelihoods, especially in communities like ours in Portsmouth.”

Concerns have been raised by Trade Unions, organisations such as Hospitality UK, and charities that the Job Retention Scheme is ending far too early.

Mr Morgan added:

“The latest Job Retention Scheme figures show that nearly 80% of workers in the accommodation and food services sector have been furloughed, a sector that employs many people in our community.

The furlough scheme is ending next month, yet we are still far from back to normal. Government must provide targeted support to those who are being hit hardest by this pandemic.”

The Portsmouth South MP has vowed to continue to put pressure on the government to end their blanket cessation to end to the furlough scheme.

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BLM event: The need to stand up for justice, equality and humanity

Statement from Stephen Morgan MP for Black Lives Matter protest on Statement 12 September 2020 in Portsmouth Guildhall Square:

“The Black Lives Matter movement in Portsmouth have been relentless in demanding change.

While I cannot be there physically with you today, know that stand I with you, in solidarity.

It has now been 140 days since the tragic killing of George Floyd.

It is vital that those in public office can offer more than just words when it comes to looking at progress since then. Working we others, we have made a start.

  • putting forward a motion and an amendment at full council to combat structural racism – which successfully passed
  • putting pressure on Ministers to halt the sale of riot control equipment to the USA, to prevent it being used against BLM protestors
  • working with ‘The Black Curriculum’ I have lobbied the Education Secretary to make Black History a core module
  • And, I am supporting Baroness Lawrence’s review into the disproportionate effect of Covid on BAME communities and will fight for the recommendations to be implemented

We must recognise that George Floyd’s killing was not a one-off event. The violence and structural racism that led to his death still exists. And it must be drummed out. Part of that recognition, is understanding Britain’s role in the systematic racism that we see today.

The Black Lives Matter movement is just as important here as it is across the Atlantic. And that is why I commend your efforts today.

We must continue to work together, demanding change and pushing for progress.

There is still a great deal of work we must do. I look forward to continuing to fight alongside you in bringing about the changes that our communities need.

So, on behalf of Portsmouth I thank you for standing up for justice, equality and humanity”.

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Stephen Morgan MP calls for greater support for pubs as new figures show over 5,500 closures in last decade

Stephen Morgan MP has called for the government to ramp up national support for pubs, as new figures reveal over 5,500 pubs have closed in the past decade. The equivalent of one pub or bar every 14 hours.

This comes during a particularly difficult period for the hospitality sector, following the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of pubs and bars has fallen in every region and nation of the UK. The opposition is today warning that the government risk further closures of pubs and bars, accelerating job losses and damaging high streets and night life across the country, if they press ahead with their blanket withdrawal of the furlough scheme.

Stephen Morgan MP said,

“Public houses and bars both in Portsmouth and across the country are incredibly important support hubs for local high street businesses, as well as being the social fabric of communities.

“The government’s negligence to support pubs and the wider hospitality sector over the last decade has been made clear by its stubbornness to not move to a more sensible, targeted furlough scheme for the hardest hit sectors.”

From 2010 to 2019, the number of pubs and bars in the UK has fallen from 44,680 to 39,145, a drop over 5,500 (12%). Meanwhile in the South East, the number of pubs and bars has fallen by a higher rate of 14%, from 6,195 to 5,340, an overall drop of around 855 closures.

Mr Morgan added,

“Here in the South East we have seen a higher than national average of closures of pubs and bars in the past decade, and I am determined to do everything I can to support the hospitality sector through this crisis and beyond, including ensuring the government sticks to its promise in ‘levelling up’.”

Mr Morgan has previously called for greater support for the hospitality sector of Portsmouth, following the impacts on local businesses due to Covid-19.

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Have your say on Covid-19 testing 

News reports from across the country are increasingly identifying the problems with the Government’s Covid-19 testing arrangements with ill people struggling to access a test or told to travel miles and miles. 

Stephen Morgan MP is calling on Ministers to urgently fix and expand testing systems, ensure contract tracing is improved and delivered by Public Health, and support is given to those who need to isolate in our city. 

As more and more people get in touch about the Government’s handling of the testing system, Stephen is keen to hear from constituents about their experiences so he can continue to lobby Ministers for urgent improvements. 

Please use this short form to have your say. 

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City MP calls for Portsmouth FC fans to share their views on the future of football

Stephen Morgan MP has called for Portsmouth FC fans to take part in an online discussion to share their views on what improvements need to be made for the future of the wider national game. The online hour-long discussion will take place on Thursday 10 September at 6:15pm. You can register for the call here.

The event has been organised and will be attended by Shadow Secretary of State for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, Jo Stevens MP, Shadow Sports Minister, Alison McGovern MP and Stephen Morgan MP. The key focuses of the discussion will be:

• Supporter representation within clubs and the wider game

• How their club is dealing with the ongoing Covid-19 situation

• Previous experiences and fan priorities for the future of the game

This comes as Covid-19 continues to put huge financial pressure on Football League clubs. The new football season approaches with increasingly more clubs struggling financially.

Across the country fans have felt their voices are not being heard or their views not listened to.

Mr Morgan commented:

“For many areas across the country, local football clubs are the beating heart of their communities. Whether that be through local support initiatives for vulnerable people, the economic benefits in terms of income and jobs or just simply providing a chance to escape for ninety minutes.

“However, in recent years, we’ve seen increasing concerns from football fans across England that their views are not being heard and a fading connection between them and their clubs.”

There have also been growing concerns around the management of club owners and prominent cases of clubs entering administration, most notably Wigan AFC and Bury FC.

Stephen Morgan MP added:

“There have been serious causes for concern of late of how clubs like Wigan can enter administration, despite their stature in both the community and football league.

“It is vital for football fans to have their say on this issue and I encourage as many Portsmouth fans who can to take part in this important discussion.”

Mr Morgan recently visited the CEO of Portsmouth FC, Mark Catlin, and Director of Projects for Pompey in the Community, Clare Martin, to get an update on their recent work and future plans.

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City MP pays tribute to the Merchant Navy on Merchant Navy Day for its historic and continued efforts

Stephen Morgan MP has marked Merchant Navy Day by paying tribute to the Merchant Navy for its historic and continued contribution to the UK and its operations around the world.

The Merchant Navy is the collective term for commercial shipping and includes a variety of vessels from cruise ships to tankers and cargo ships of all description.

According to the charity Seafarers UK, the maritime community charity, merchant seafarers are responsible for more than 90% of the UK’s imports, including almost half of the food we eat, much of the fuel we use, and virtually all the products and goods we tend to take for granted.

Mr Morgan commented,

“The Merchant Navy has played a critical role in our nation’s history, from keeping us going through both world wars, to today in continuing to support our overseas trade around the world.

“Today on Merchant Navy Day it’s important we recognise and pay thanks to our Merchant Navy for all that they do and ensure that their efforts are never taken for granted.”

Seafarers UK are campaigning for the fifth year running for the Red Ensign – the UK Merchant Navy’s official flag – to be flown on 3rd September on civic buildings and landmark flagpoles. Parish, community, town, city, district and borough councils were all invited to take part, along with higher-tier local authorities and governments.

The Portsmouth South MP added,

“I’m proud to support Seafarers UK’s campaign to encourage the Red Ensign to be proudly flown from civic buildings and landmarks across our country – including in Portsmouth.

“It’s crucial the efforts of our Merchant Navy are understood and recognised by communities throughout our nation, and it’s why I’m delighted to be supporting this brilliant initiative that plays a part in doing just that.”