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Shadow Schools Minister grills government on pupil vaccine target as covid absences rise

Shadow Schools Minister and Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has pressed the government to offer every 12 – 15 year old a vaccine to help limit rising covid absences.

At education questions in the House of Commons, Mr Morgan pointed out that the government missed its own target to offer every child a vaccine by October half term.

He then pressed: “What is the Minister’s target now and when does he plan to meet it?”

The latest figures reveal that 46 per cent of 12 – 15 year olds are yet to receive a first dose of the Covid vaccine.

On 20 January, 415,000 children were off school due to Covid while a quarter of schools had 15% of their teachers and leaders off work.

Shadow Schools Minister Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Children and school staff are still living the day-to-day reality of covid, but this government doesn’t have a plan to support them.

“We know vaccines are key to keeping children in class learning together, yet almost half haven’t had a first dose and rates are falling.

“Ministers must redouble their efforts to encourage vaccine uptake in this age group and tackle dangerous disinformation to drive down covid-related absences.”

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Sue Gray report – reaction from Stephen Morgan MP

In reaction to the Prime Minister’s statement in the House of Commons today regarding Sue Gray’s investigation into Covid-19 rule breaches at 10 Downing Street and Whitehall, the Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, commented:

“We don’t need the Sue Gray report to tell us that the Prime Minister brazenly broke rules he set for the rest of us and then lied about it.

“While thinner than expected, this report confirms the Prime Minister himself is under criminal investigation. This is an unforgivable degradation of the highest office in the land.

“Labour will continue to press for publication of the full report as soon as possible, while the police continue their investigations.

“While local Conservative MPs continue to defend the indefensible, this government is incapable of tackling the day-to-day challenges facing our country.”

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‘Portsmouth’s businesses need certainty’ – Shadow Business Minister following Portsmouth Port tour with local MP

Stephen Morgan MP visited Portsmouth International Port (PIP) with Shadow Business Minister Bill Esterson MP today, to tour the new trade facilities being built to adapt to Britain’s new post-Brexit trading arrangements. The facilities are being established thanks to lobbying by the city MP and others to central government.

During their visit, the Shadow Minister for Business and Industry and Portsmouth South MP met with the Port’s Director, Mike Sellers, and his leadership team, to discuss the continuing challenges Portsmouth and wider industry face to meet the requirements for the government’s new Border Operating Model.

Both MPs were also updated on the port’s 20-year business development plan, followed by a tour of the new Border Control Points (BCPs).

PIP (owned and operated by Portsmouth City Council) applied for £32m of funding in October 2020 from the government’s Port Infrastructure Fund, to prepare for new customs arrangements.

Mr Morgan tirelessly lobbied Ministers making the case for the city’s port and the need for full investment from central government to avoid disruption and delay.

However, the city port was only handed £17.1m of what it asked for – leaving a very large of shortfall of at least £7m and many businesses dependent on the port in the dark.

PIP contributes £189m to the local economy annually, as well as roughly 2410 in the local area, either through direct employment or supply chain.

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

“I’m delighted to welcome the Shadow Business Minister to Portsmouth today to hear first-hand the opportunities and challenges our city’s port faces and how the team are adapting to new trading arrangements, as well their plans for the future.

“Portsmouth International Port plays a critical role in our city’s economy, providing hundreds of jobs for local people, whilst also making a significant contribution to our country’s trade.

“That’s why I am proud of my efforts to help secure the investment it needs to continue to flourish and thrive.

“Tory ministers cannot continue to neglect important assets like Portsmouth International Port and fail to provide businesses dependent on its success with the certainty they need.”

Shadow Business and Industry Minister, Bill Esterson MP, also said:

“It’s been a brilliant visit to Portsmouth. I am very impressed by the work that Stephen and many other people have been doing to protect this vital asset for our country.

“Low growth, high taxes and high inflation are undermining businesses and consumers, but many in Portsmouth have been left as an afterthought because of the Conservative Government’s failure to offer any plan or support.

“We can only achieve our ambitions for Britain with a plan which creates the economic conditions for businesses to succeed.

“Labour’s plan will help consumers and businesses with lower energy bills. We oppose the Conservative National Insurance jobs tax which the Conservatives want to introduce in April. And we will scrap business rates. Our plan will invest in businesses Portsmouth and enable them and the community they serve to thrive.”

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Labour’s plan to keep energy bills low will save 30,000 Portsmouth households up to £600 – City MP

Stephen Morgan MP has said Labour’s plan to tackle the cost-of-living crisis could save over 30,000 Portsmouth households up to £600 a year.

To address the immediate crisis, the Official Opposition has said it would bring in fully funded measures now to reduce the expected price rise in April.

Labour said it would also increase and expand the Warm Home’s Discount, targeting extra support to the squeezed middle, pensioners and the lowest earners, and preventing all of the increase in energy bills currently expected.

Labour would pay for this plan with a one-off windfall tax on North Sea Oil and Gas producers who have profited from price rises.

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

“Families and businesses in our city are facing an energy price crisis because a decade of failed Conservative energy policy has left us deeply vulnerable as a country. Labour wants to stop bills going up.

“That’s why we would give families security by taking fully-funded measures to save most households around £200 or more.

“We’d also target extra support on top of that for the squeezed middle, pensioners and lowest earners – saving over 30,000 households in Portsmouth up to £600 off their bills in total.

“Portsmouth families deserve far better, not more dither and delay from this Tory government.”

The Portsmouth MP recently launched his campaign calling for VAT on energy bills to be scrapped. To sign up, visit: https://www.stephenmorgan.org.uk/sign-up-scrapping-vat-on-energy-bills/

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City MP signs Holocaust Educational Trust Book of Commitment 

This week Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment, in doing so pledging our city’s commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people today.

This year we are marking 77 years since the liberation of the concentration camps of Europe and the end of the Second World War. On the 27th January, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, people across the globe will remember.

In the lead up to and on Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. The theme for this year’s commemorations is ‘One Day’.

After signing the Book of Commitment, Stephen Morgan MP, commented:

“Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity for people from Portsmouth to reflect on the darkest times of European history.

As the Holocaust moves from living history, to history, it becomes ever more important that we take the time to remember the six million Jewish victims and also pay tribute to the survivors.

As I wrote in the book of commitment, the people of Portsmouth stand against prejudice and hatred in the world, then and now”.

Karen Pollock CBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said:

“As the Holocaust fades from living memory, it falls on all of us to ensure that their stories and the stories of the 6 Jewish million men, women and children brutally murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators, are never forgotten.

We all have a duty to remember the Holocaust and to stand up against antisemitism and hate, now more than ever.”

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Shadow Minister responds to latest school absence data

Stephen Morgan MP Shadow Schools Minister has responded to figures showing 415,000 children were off school due to Covid on 20 January while a quarter of schools had 15% of their teachers and leaders off work.

 

The city MP said:

 

“Children and school staff are living the day-to-day reality of covid, but this government still doesn’t have a plan to support them.

 

“Pupil absence is soaring, and it is particularly alarming that almost a quarter of schools now have more than 15% of school leaders and teachers absent. 

 

“Labour has been clear ventilation, vaccination and testing are key to keep schools moving and delivering Labour’s ambitious recovery plan to help every child thrive.

 

“The government must immediately publish complete figures on its volunteer teacher drive and get a proper workforce plan in place to support staff and students. Our children must not endure another wave of covid chaos because this government is distracted trying to covering up rule breaking at the heart of Downing Street.”

 

 

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Keeping HMRC in Portsmouth: City MP responds

Responding to the announcement that HMRC will keep a presence in Portsmouth and the city will become of the regional hubs, Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP said:

“I welcome HMRC’s commitment to establish a regional centre in Portsmouth, and potentially retain Lynx House, although I will be seeking urgent clarification about what this means for jobs.
“I have long-argued that closing Lynx House would be a disaster for local people and our city’s economy. That’s why I have been lobbying Ministers to protect these jobs from government cuts, liaising with trade unions, meeting with staff affected and raising concerns in Westminster.
“At a time when workload was due to rise five-fold, the threat to close Lynx House showed poor foresight and planning. I am pleased our city will now be one of the government’s regional centres.”
The MP has been campaigning alongside PCS to keep the presence in Portsmouth and protect local jobs.
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Portsmouth MP tours city’s ‘fantastic’ new Rainbow Fish Centre for children with special educational needs

Stephen Morgan MP has met with the first intake of pupils of the city’s recently opened Rainbow Fish Centre, and praised the work of local teachers for their efforts.

The £1.1m inclusion centre, part of Penhale Infant School in Fratton, will provide facilities for children who need additional support with their learning, as many of the city’s students catch-up from lost in-classroom learning because of the pandemic.

Visiting the centre based at the city MP’s former infant school, Mr Morgan toured the facilities with the Assistant Headteacher Jack Jones and saw children enjoying the new classrooms.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South and Shadow Schools Minister, Stephen Morgan, said:

It’s been fantastic to finally be able to see first-hand some of the brilliant work Penhale Infant School are doing at the Rainbow Fish Centre.

“The Rainbow Fish Centre is delivering critical work to help Portsmouth’s young people get the specialist learning support they need, and I want to thank all the incredible staff for their efforts.

“I want to make sure no child is left behind. All children, no matter their circumstances, deserve the necessary support to achieve the very best outcomes in life, but most importantly to live fulfilling and happy lives. I will continue to make this case to Government.”

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Don’t miss out: Stephen Morgan’s first 2022 ‘Pint with your MP’ session set to take place next week

Stephen Morgan MP is set to host his first ‘Pint with your MP’ session of 2022, with the event taking place next Sunday January 30th at 4pm.

The pop-up ‘Pint with your MP’ sessions are designed as informal opportunities for constituents to say hello to their local Member of Parliament and share issues and concerns about topics of interest both locally and nationally.

The Portsmouth representative is determined to take up every opportunity to have more face-to-face conversations with constituents safely after more than a year of restrictions, whilst also helping to support local businesses, as the city recovers from the pandemic.

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

“I’m looking forward to hosting my first ‘Pint with your MP’ event of 2022, after really useful and well-attended sessions last year.

“This is a great way for local people to share views and issues with me to take back to Westminster whilst supporting a local business.

“As Portsmouth’s voice in Parliament, it’s really important to be out and about and speaking with people to ensure that everyone’s views are heard, not just the loudest ones or those who have better access to technology.

“I hope these sessions have been a chance for others to come and speak to me in a way that is more accessible to them.”

The full address for the ‘Pint with your MP’ session is: The Royal Standard, Portsmouth, PO1 1DE

While Plan B restrictions are set to be lifted from Wednesday next week, attendees are encouraged to take reasonable precautions to feel safe to attend.

The event is open to all constituents and booking is essential. To confirm your attendance, visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pint-with-your-mp-tickets-219160333457?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

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New job opportunity: Office Coordinator

New job opportunity: Office Coordinator

Starting salary: £18,525 (with IPSA range up to £26,505)

Hours: Full time Monday to Friday (very occasional weekend and evening working)

Location: The constituency office at 72 Albert Road, Southsea

Want to help make a difference to peoples’ lives? 

Interested in working at the heart of British politics to help bring about positive change? 

Then an opportunity has arisen to join Stephen Morgan MP’s small constituency team based at the office in the heart of Portsmouth South.

Stephen Morgan is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Portsmouth South, the first-ever Labour MP for the constituency, and newly appointed Shadow Schools Minister.

A small constituency team works alongside the parliamentary office to assist with Stephen’s parliamentary duties and responsibilities as a member of the shadow frontbench.

This new and exciting role will help co-ordinate a range of administrative and essential tasks in a busy and effective office.

What to do next…

If you have what it takes to join the team, please submit a covering letter and CV electronically to: stephen@stephenmorgan.org.uk by no later than Monday 31 January 2022, 12noon.

Please note that due to the high volume of interest expected, applicants will only hear if they are called to interview.

During Covid-19, further assessments of shortlisted applicants will be undertaken via video conferencing.

For further information about Stephen’s work for Portsmouth and in Parliament go to @StephenMorganMP on social media or visit www.stephenmorgan.org.uk