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Afghanistan: Portsmouth MP delivers scathing attack on government during key debate in Parliament

Stephen Morgan MP accused the government of ‘damaging the UK’s international reputation’ due to the way it has handled its exit from Afghanistan during a key debate in Parliament today.

Representing the Official Opposition in his role as Shadow Armed Forces Minister, the Portsmouth MP blasted the government’s “complacency, mismanagement and diplomatic ineptitude”.

He added that Minister’s handling of the crisis had damaged the country’s international reputation, weakened UK national security, and jeopardised two decades of hard work and humanitarian progress in the country.

The Portsmouth MP also called for a cross-party joint committee to investigate the withdrawal from Afghanistan – from the Doha Agreement to the conclusion of Operation Pitting.

Armed forces personnel and civil servants involved in Operation Pitting were praised by the Shadow Minister during his speech. The evacuation airlifted over 15,000 people in 14 days and was the largest operation of its kind since the Second World War.

But Mr Morgan said they had been “lions led by donkeys” and further criticised the government for its failure to prepare for the end of the drawdown in the 18 months following the Doha agreement.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, commented:

“The events in Afghanistan were a fundamental test of this government and its leadership.

“The character of our country is defined by how we respond to these moments.

“Once again, Conservative ministers were found to be out of touch and on the beach.

“That’s why I’ve called for a cross-party joint committee to investigate the withdrawal from Afghanistan so we can learn the lessons of the government’s failures to ensure they never happen again.”

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City MP votes against government Bill to raise National Insurance as Labour offers alternative vision for Social Care

Stephen Morgan MP has voted against a government Bill that will raise National Insurance for local working families as Labour sets out its alternative vision for social care reforms.

The Health and Social Care Levy Bill, which is being debated in the House of Commons today before votes this evening, would raise National Insurance by 1.25% for working families and businesses across the country.

The government legislation is facing wide-ranging criticism for how the social care reforms will be funded, particularly for those on low income.

Under current proposals, a graduate on a typical entry level salary would a pay marginal tax rate of almost 50%.

In addition, The British Chamber of Commerce, Make UK, the CBI and the Federation of Small Businesses have all slammed the government’s suggested solution to the social care crisis as harmful for businesses and for our economic recovery, with the FSB saying it will lead to 50,000 fewer jobs being created.

Labour has set an alternative plan, which would:

  • Give older and disabled people the chance to live the life they choose, shifting the focus of support towards prevention and early help.
  • Ensure every older and disabled person who needs care and support gets it when and where they need it, improving their lives and delivering better value for taxpayers’ money and;
  • Build a strong and skilled social care workforce, with a new deal for care workers to create a well-motivated, skilled and properly rewarded workforce, with more support for unpaid carers

The member of parliament of Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, commented:

“When it comes to social care, for many, it’s personal. This is about services for our loved ones. Our friends. Our neighbours.

“For me, it was the lack of social care available for my grandad that was one of the key reasons I put myself forward for public office.

“The barriers to access affordable social care for people like him was unacceptable then, and it’s unacceptable now.

“That’s why I voted against these deeply regressive proposals today and will continue to fight on behalf of local people for the better access to the vital services they need.”

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‘Stop Aquind’ campaign reaches critical moment as Portsmouth MP submits 6,200 signature petition to Parliament

Stephen Morgan MP has submitted a 6,200 signature petition to Parliament today, calling on the Business Secretary to scrap the damaging infrastructure project. 

The campaign, supported by the local ‘Stop AQUIND’ group, has been the leading local voice of opposition to the proposed interconnector project. The Portsmouth representative’s petition cites the huge damage it would cause to the local infrastructure and environment, as well as ongoing concerns surrounding the project company and its directors.

Local activists met the city MP on Tuesday morning outside the House of Commons, ahead of the petition’s submission.

The Portsmouth MP, who strongly opposed AQUIND from the earliest stages, has written a string of letters to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng MP on the issue, regularly attended local demonstrations against the project and held Ministers accountable through written and oral questions in the House of Commons.

Kwarteng has until October 21 to make a decision.

The original deadline was September 8, but this was postponed earlier this month after Mr Kwarteng queried why an alternative plan without commercial telecoms aspects still included rights for the associated land.

The company has until September 16 to respond.

Commenting on his latest intervention, the member of parliament for Portsmouth South, said,

“The people of Portsmouth have spoken: the Aquind Interconnector Project must be stopped.

“I’ve been clear from the outset that this project would bring untold disruption to our daily lives and natural environment, with no clear benefits. Meanwhile, the company directors’ cosy relationships with government ministers continue to raise suspicions.

“The Secretary of State needs to provide certainty to the thousands of city residents whose daily lives will be affected.

“Over 6,200 of you have spoken. It’s time the government finally listened.”

Responding to the news in a joint-statement, the co-chairs of the ‘Stop Aquind’ campaign, Viola Langley and Paula Ann-Savage, also said:

“Today was a critical moment in our campaign with Portsmouth voices being heard loud and clear In Parliament through Stephen’s petition, and we’re grateful for his support and being alongside us every step of the way.

“It cannot be right that decisions impacting residents here in Portsmouth are made hundreds of miles away behind a desk in Whitehall.

“It’s time the Business Secretary listened to our concerns, end the uncertainty and scrap Aquind.”

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Covid-19: City MP responds to Winter Plan

Responding to the Government’s Covid Winter Plan today, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“The test of the government’s Plan A and Plan B will be whether they can keep infection levels down, protect care homes, keep schools running, maintain access to services and crucially avoid another winter lockdown.

“However, government has got to end the uncertainty for many consumers and businesses around vaccine passports. It was only on Sunday the Health Secretary said plans for vaccine passports have been ditched, so why is it included in the government’s plan B?

“His plan also offered little on plans for support for social care this winter. I know many people in Portsmouth will be concerned about how they will be provided with the care and support they need.

“Government has got to do better. I will be doing all I can to secure the certainty and support people in our city need.”

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Reflections on 9/11 terror attacks, 20 years on

I vividly remember how the 9/11 terrorist attacks fundamentally shook our society.

I was a student in Bristol at the time, and in the days that followed I recall the then Labour MP for Bristol West Valerie Davey explaining that the horror of what people had seen on their televisions had prompted random acts of kindness between strangers in the city.

Twenty years on, we remember the 2,977 people killed from 90 countries, including 67 UK citizens.

The attacks defined a decade of US and UK foreign and defence policy, with military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq following swiftly as part of the ‘war on terror’.

We pay tribute to the bravery and professionalism of our forces exhibited during those conflicts and we must ensure that our society fulfils its promise to care for our veterans.

In the two decades that followed, we have ensured that no terrorist attacks on allied soil from these countries.

Those who lost loved one have had their lives forever altered by loss, with empty spaces at dinner tables, occasions missed, lives not lived.

The reverberations of the attacks were felt again when the Taliban swept to power in Afghanistan once again last month, meaning the country could once again become fertile ground for terror.

In this environment, and with the US increasingly reluctant to be the world’s policeman, the UK must pursue a more integrated foreign and defence policy with our nearestneighbours. This is now the only way to protect the gains made at home and abroad in the two decades since the attacks, and ensure we never again witness the horror of that day in New York.

Stephen Morgan MP


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City MP blasts government’s “shameful record” and urges PM to end Child Food Poverty

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has urged the Prime Minister to take real action to end Child Food Poverty.

The letter from the Labour MP follows the government’s decision to cancel a Parliamentary vote on the £20 per week cut to Universal Credit, due to take effect in October, as well as ongoing campaigning efforts from footballer Marcus Rashford.

Mr Morgan blasts the Conservative government’s “shameful record” record on the issue, saying: “700,000 children have been pushed into poverty – on average, that’s 9 kids in a class of 30. According to the Food Foundation, 2.5 million children experienced food insecurity between February and July 2021.”

The letter demands the “bold action necessary to ensure no child goes hungry in the UK,” including implementing Labour’s call for school breakfast clubs and reversing the planned cut to Universal Credit.

In the Portsmouth representative’s constituency alone, 5,550 families will be affected by the cut, including 6,907 children.

The Government had originally planned to implement the cut in April 2021 but were forced to change course after the Official Opposition successfully won a vote in House of Commons in January.

Labour had planned to force a vote on the issue in the Commons this week (Wednesday 8 September) but this was cancelled by the government.

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“Child Food Poverty has no place in our society, yet under this Conservative government it is becoming increasingly prevalent.

“The Chancellor’s planned cut to Universal Credit and repeated tax rises are having a real impact on household incomes. Families are increasingly forced to make impossible choices about their fundamental needs.

“Parents will be doing all they can, but too often children are bearing the brunt of food poverty, limiting their development and life chances.

“I have written to the Prime Minister urging him to take real and long-overdue action on this issue and will continue to raise this issue in Parliament and engage with local groups taking practical action.

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City MP praises work of local charity supporting young families as Universal Credit cut looms

Stephen Morgan MP has praised the work of a local charity supporting young families as the impacts of cuts to Universal Credit loom.

Based on Crasswell Street, the Roberts Centre offers a wide range of services for young families, including support and assistance to families in addressing their situation of homelessness or dealing with the issues of relationship breakdown.

The centre receives charitable donations from many individuals, churches and other organisations, and has around 50 dedicated volunteers who work alongside employed staff. It regularly collaborates on city-wide initiatives.

However, despite the work of the Roberts Centre and various other local groups, the Portsmouth MP has warned of the impacts the UK government’s plans to cut Universal Credit by £20 a week from October will have in the city.

According to the Trussell Trust, the government’s plans would be ‘the biggest overnight cut to social security since the Second World War affecting people both in and out of work’ and would risk ‘pushing families and individuals under’.

A new survey by YouGov, on behalf of the Trussell Trust, found in the South East, that:

  • 1 in 5 people (20%) say they will ‘very likely’ need to skip meals if Universal Credit is cut – equivalent to over 134,000 people.
  • 1 in 4 people (24%) say they will ‘very likely’ be unable to afford to heat their homes this winter if Universal Credit is cut – equivalent to 161,000 people.
  • 1 in 7 people (15%) say they very likely wouldn’t have enough money to travel to work or to essential appointments on public transport if Universal Credit is cut – equivalent to 101,000 people.

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

“The Roberts Centre has done tremendous work over the years supporting local young families in very difficult situations, working with a number of local partners to offer the best and greatest amount of support they can. But local families need more support from central government.

“The government’s callous decision to cut Universal Credit in October will have severe consequences for many families in Portsmouth that are already struggling.

“It cannot be right to pull the rug from underneath families that are in the most desperate need of support right now. I will be doing all I can over the next few weeks to ensure that does not become a reality.”

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World Suicide Prevention Day: Portsmouth MP backs local NHS ‘Every life matters’ campaign

Stephen Morgan MP has thrown his support behind NHS Southern Health’s ‘Every life matters’ campaign on World Suicide Prevention Day.

The campaign focuses on not only on reaching high-risk groups of people, but also sharing the message that suicide can impact anyone.

According to the Office of National Statistics, there were 5,224 suicides registered in England and Wales in 2020, with over three-quarters being male.

Twelve suicides were also reported in the Portsmouth area during the same period, with the South East having a slightly higher suicide rate (deaths per 100,000) of 10.6, compared to the wider average in England and Wales of 10.

It comes amid concerns about the impacts multiple lockdowns and time spent in isolation over the past 18 months could have on people’s mental health.

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“The amount of time spent indoors, fixed to our screens and many of us cut-off from our family and friends over the last 18 months can only be a bad thing for our mental health.

“It’s really important that we understand and spread the message that anyone can be impacted by suicide or may be struggling, which makes creating hope through conversation such an important part of suicide prevention.

“That’s why I’m proud to support NHS Southern Health’s ‘Every life matters’ campaign which recognises this, and I encourage everyone to create hope through conversation.”

Please visit NHS Southern Health’s website for a range of contacts if you are struggling with your mental health here.

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Universal Credit cut: Portsmouth MP lobbies Government again as he pledges to stand up for over 5,500 local families

Stephen Morgan MP has written to the Work and Pensions Secretary on behalf of local families to urge the government to reconsider its planned cut to Universal Credit in October.

At the start of the pandemic, the Government increased the standard allowance of Universal Credit by £20 per week which is set to be removed in five weeks’ time. This cut of over £1,000 a year to millions of families is the biggest overnight cut to the social security system since World War II.

In the Portsmouth representative’s constituency alone, 5,550 families will be affected, including 6,907 children.

The Government had originally planned to implement the cut in April 2021 but were forced to change course after the Official Opposition successfully won a vote in House of Commons in January.

Labour had planned to force a vote on the issue in the Commons yesterday (Wednesday 8 September) but this was cancelled by the government. The Portsmouth South representative has instead written to Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey urging her to cancel the cut.

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

“It is shameful that the very workers who got us through this crisis are now set to lose £1,000 from their income ever year.

The £20 that is due to be cut is currently enabling some local families to put food on the table at the end of the week. The government cannot pull the rug from under them during this precarious moment for families and the economy.

The government have cancelled Labour’s vote on this in Parliament, but I’ve written to the Work and Pensions Secretary today to press the government to cancel the cut.”

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City MP votes against rise in National Insurance from working families

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has voted against Conservative moves to raise National Insurance by 1.25% for working families and businesses, slamming the government for “placing an enormous burden on hard working people”.

The party have strongly opposed the unfair jobs tax saying that it is the biggest rise in taxes on families for over 50 years, and the third tax rise in recent months from the Conservatives, following rises in council tax and personal allowances – and they slammed the fact the jobs tax still doesn’t prevent people having to sell their home to receive care.

Mr Morgan made it clear that under a Labour government, the wealthiest would be asked to contribute more, that any changes should be fair across generations, and that all forms of income are considered – including those with large portfolios of shares, dividends and property.

He also made it clear that, unlike the Tories, Labour would deal with both cash and care by:

  • Giving older and disabled people the chance to live the life they choose, shifting the focus of support towards prevention and early help.
  • A guiding principle of ‘home first’ – because that’s what the overwhelming majority of people want; and
  • Building a strong and skilled social care workforce, with a new deal for care workers to create a well-motivated, skilled and properly rewarded workforce, with more support for unpaid carers.

Since being elected, the local MP has made social care a priority. In May he wrote to the Prime Minister to demand Boris Johnson set out his long-awaited plan. He has since set-up a City-wide survey and is hosting round tables with service providers and care users this week to determine what practical actions can be taken immediately to improve local services.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“This manifesto-breaking, unfair tax on jobs is not the way to fix the social care crisis,

“This is a tax rise that means a landlord renting out dozens of properties in Portsmouth wouldn’t pay a penny more, but their tenants working full time jobs would.

“It’s a tax rise that means a poorly paid care worker in our City will pay more tax for the care they are providing without a penny more in their pay packet.

“Labour wants to tackle the social care crisis – we’ve started to set out our ambitious plans and offered to work with government to fix this now – but the lack of any real plan and taxing working families and businesses is just not the way to do it.”