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Stephen Morgan MP responds to Met Police partygate fines

Responding to reports the Metropolitan Police has issued fines to Downing Street over parties, the Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“These fines are the final confirmation that illegal parties did take place and that Mr Johnson’s Downing Street broke the law.

“It is disgraceful that while many in Portsmouth and the rest of the country followed their rules, Mr Johnson’s government acted like they didn’t apply to them.

“This has been a slap in the face of the millions of people who made huge sacrifices. The public needs full accountability and transparency. The full Sue Gray report and all accompanying evidence must be published immediately.”

Commenting on whether Boris Johnson should resign, Mr Morgan added,

“My view on Mr Johnson hasn’t changed. But he has made it clear he isn’t going to resign and Tory MPs don’t look like they’re going to act.

“Any other Prime Minister found guilty of a criminal offence would have the decency to resign. But we know this Prime Minister is shameless.

“The culture is set from the very top. The buck stops with the Prime Minister, who spent months lying to the British public, which is why he has got to go.”

 

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Portsmouth MP says Chancellor has ‘lost control’ as South East earners face £1,460 squeeze on their wages in 2023

Stephen Morgan MP has claimed the Chancellor has lost control as new figures show the average earner in the South East will see their earnings fall by £1,460 in the next year alone, relative to inflation, under the new plans announced by the Chancellor in his Spring Statement this week.

The party heavily criticised the Chancellor after it emerged that not only would working people still be hit with the biggest tax burden since the 1940s – but that living standards look to plummet at the fastest rate seen since records began.

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor called on the government to scrap the damaging, unfair National Insurance rise, and to choose a one-off windfall tax on oil and gas producer profits instead – to take up to £600 off the energy bills of households struggling with the rising cost of living crisis.

And she also slammed the Chancellor for his lack of a long-term plan for growing the economy or wages – saying that his current plans set out no plan for tackling waste or fraud that has run riot under his watch, nor any vision for creating prosperity and security across the UK.

Labour’s figures also show that:

  • Workers in the North East will see their real earnings fall by £1,107 a year by 2023 under the Chancellor’s plans
  • Workers in the North West will see their real earnings fall by £1,194 a year by 2023 under the Chancellor’s plans
  • Workers in the West Midlands will see their real earnings fall by £1,234 a year by 2023 under the Chancellor’s plans

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

“All we got from the Chancellor in his Spring Statement last week was a promise of jam tomorrow rather than the support that is needed now – and now we learn that workers in the South East are facing a sharp squeeze on their wages, losing £1,460 from their pay packet in the next year alone.

“It also totally lacked a long-term plan for productivity, skills and growth, which business across Portsmouth play a vital role in. He’s simply lost control.

“It was the day for him to bring in a one-off windfall tax on oil and gas producers, to take up to £600 off people’s energy bills.

“It was the day to set out a plan for British businesses.

“In failing to do any of these, the Chancellor made the wrong choices for Portsmouth and our country.”

 

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Schools White Paper fails to deliver for children in Portsmouth, says City MP

Stephen Morgan MP has warned that the government’s Schools White Paper shows no plan, no vision and no ambition for children’s education in Portsmouth as 8 in 10 schools are told to carry on as normal.

Labour is calling on the government to focus on children’s experience in the classroom, not bureaucratic tinkering with school structures.

Children in England missed over ten million school days for Covid-related reasons in the last term alone. Meanwhile, pupil absences are also up 35 per cent since the start of January and a quarter of schools have 15 per cent of their teachers and leaders off work.

As a result, the Portsmouth MP warned of the ‘stark scale of the generational challenge we now face.’

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, an average loss of six months of schooling for students could see a reduction in their lifetime income of 4%. This equates to a total of £350 billion in lost earnings for the 8.7 million school-aged children in the UK.

The government has admitted that most schools are already hitting their new target for the length of the school day, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson previously said the evidence for lengthening the school day was “not as good as it could have been”.

In September, Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer set out Labour’s determination to drive-up standards for all school with the most ambitious school improvement programme for a generation. Labour’s plan would include getting 6,500 new teachers into our schools, alongside embedding careers advice, work experience and digital skills in every child’s learning so young people leave education ready for work and ready for life, equipped with the skills they need for the future.

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

“Once again we have a smoke and mirrors announcement from a Conservative government that has simply run out of ideas. 

“This White Paper is looking backwards showing no plan, no vision and no ambition for children in Portsmouth.

“Children have endured two years of chaos and disruption to their learning and pre-pandemic thousands were leaving school without the skills and qualifications they need.

“But the government isn’t tackling any of this. They’re obsessing over structures not driving up standards.

“Labour is focused on making a difference to children in the classroom. We would be delivering the trained staff our schools need because the success of teachers enables the success of our children.”

Bridget Phillipson MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary said:

 “Parents will be surprised to hear that a focus on helping every child develop good reading, writing and maths skills is a new discovery for the Education Secretary. This isn’t an add on that any parent should have to ask for, it’s the fundamentals of a good school system.

“Today’s ‘pledge’ acknowledges that 12 years of Conservative governments have failed to get the basics right.

“Labour has been listening to parents, pupils and school staff. We would be delivering our ambitious Children’s Recovery Plan and getting on with delivering plans for 6,500 new teachers filling skills gaps across the profession alongside embedding careers advice, work experience and digital skills for every child so they get a brilliant education which equips them with the skills they need for work and for life.”

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Portsmouth MP welcomes in Brittany Ferries’ Salamanca

Stephen Morgan MP welcomed Brittany Ferries’ new Salamanca vessel to Portsmouth today during a reception held at Portsmouth International Portsmouth.

The new LNG-powered, more environmentally friendly ship is set for its first commercial voyage on Sunday and to serve along Portsmouth routes. The city MP took a tour round the new ship meeting staff.

Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan, said:

“It was great to finally welcome Salamanca to Portsmouth today and encouraging see a new, more environmentally friendly vessel that will serve along Portsmouth routes.

“Brittany Ferries plays an important role in our city’s economy, but as one of the first cities in the country to declare a climate emergency and local waters under threat from pollution, its pleasing to see steps it has taken to help protect our local environment now and for the years to come.

“I look forward to the Salamanca becoming a more familiar sight when looking out across the seafront, as she serves our city and supports our economic recovery from the pandemic.”

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Stephen Morgan MP set to host his next ‘Pint with your MP’ session next week

Stephen Morgan MP is set to host his next ‘Pint with your MP’ session, taking place next Sunday 3 April from 4 – 5pm at The Eldon Arms.

The event is open to all constituents and booking is essential. To confirm attendance, constituents should visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pint-with-your-mp-tickets-294453427127?aff=erelexpmlt

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:

“There are a range of issues impacting people right now, from access to local healthcare to the cost-of-living crisis, so I’m pleased to be hosting my next ‘Pint with your MP’ next week to listen to concerns and take them back up to Westminster.

“It’s really important that people from all walks of life are able to speak to me about the issues that matter to them. I hope these sessions have been a useful and more accessible way for some people to contact me, who might otherwise be unable.

“I look to forward to chatting with constituents next week over a pint of whatever their choosing and warmly encourage others to tell a friend, who may have trouble reaching my office through the usual routes.”

 The full address for the ‘Pint with your MP’ session is: The Eldon Arms, 11-17 Eldon St, Southsea, PO5 4BS.

While most restrictions have now been relaxed, attendees are encouraged to take reasonable precautions to feel safe to attend.

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Spring Statement: Chancellor fails to address cost-of-living crisis, says Portsmouth MP

Stephen Morgan MP attacked the Chancellor Rishi Sunak MP today for failing to address in his Spring Statement the cost-of-living crisis working families and businesses in Portsmouth are facing.

The Chancellor has imposed the biggest tax burden in 70 years and is on course to be one of the biggest tax-raising chancellors in post-war UK history, with the burden of taxation predicted to rise to 36.2 per cent of GDP by 2026-27.

The UK is the only country in the G7 raising taxes on working people in the midst of spiralling inflation, with the latest figures showing it at 6.2%, up from 5.5%.

Meanwhile, France, Germany and Italy are cutting taxes and social contributions on income, with other G7 countries including Canada, Japan and the USA also not raising taxes on working people.

The UK is expected to experience biggest growth downgrade of any G7 economy, with Bank of England forecasts showing growth of just 1.25% in 2023.

Responding to changes announced in the Mr Sunak’s statement, the CEO of the Resolution Foundation, Torsten Bell, underlined it was not focused on ‘prioritising help for low and middle income households.’

Labour’s plan to reduce energy bills would raise money to keep bills low through a one-off windfall tax on oil and gas profits to support all households, with households typically getting £200 off their bills. Labour has said its plan will get £600 to the lowest income households.

On the cost-of-living crisis, the Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“The Chancellor had the perfect opportunity today to protect working families and businesses in Portsmouth facing the cost-of-living crisis. Instead, he blew it.

“The Tories continue to push ahead with imposing one of the biggest tax burdens in post-war history, offering next to nothing for those struggling to make ends meet, week after week, month after month.

“Labour said his national insurance hike was the wrong tax. Wrong time. Wrong choice. Today, the Chancellor all but admitted he got that one wrong. He simply doesn’t understand the scale of the challenges families and communities are facing.

“Labour has a plan on the table ready to go to support working people now, but the Conservatives have consistently failed to back it.

“I will continue to lobby government and do all I can to secure the support families and businesses in Portsmouth need and deserve.”

On defence and public services, he said:

Long before the Ukraine crisis, Labour warned of a decade of decline for defence. But despite Russian threats, the Chancellor has once again failed to commit to proper investment in our national security, as well as nothing on schools, support to alleviate pressures on councils, or for our neglected police services.”

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Portsmouth MP will vote to ban fire & rehire and for P&O Ferries to reinstate its workforce

Stephen Morgan MP is set to vote with Labour today, demanding that P&O Ferries reinstates its workforce and for fire and rehire to be outlawed.

The mass sackings without notice last week caused outrage nationwide, amid reports suggested security firms with balaclavas and handcuffs were used to take sacked British workers off the vessels.

The Conservative Government was made aware of the sackings before it was announced, and of the plan to use fire and rehire.

Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, Louise Haigh MP, has called this moment “a line in the sand” and later today Labour will stage a vote demanding the Tories outlaw fire and rehire, strengthen workers’ rights and take tough action to force the company to think again.

Labour called on the government to:

  • Outlaw fire and rehire and bring forward an urgent bill to strengthen workers rights.
  • Suspend the contracts of DP World – the owner of P&O Ferries – until this matter is resolved
  • Remove DP World from the UK Government’s Transport Advisory Group where they were appointed by the now Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, “to provide knowledge, experience and strategic expertise” on trade negotiations.

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

“I will fight every step of the way for the jobs and livelihoods of these loyal workers.

“This scandalous action must be a line in the sand. If P&O Ferries can get away with this, it will give the green light to other exploitative employers.

“That’s why I’m voting to ban fire and rehire for good and am calling on Government to suspend licenses and contracts of P&O Ferries and DP World and reinstate these grossly mistreated workers.

“I will continue to work alongside trade unions to campaign for the outlawing of draconian fire and rehire practices.”

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Cost of living crisis: Over 1.5 million South East working pensioners at risk of being £1,400 worse off

Stephen Morgan MP has warned a ‘Tory triple whammy’ of soaring prices, a tax hike and a lower State Pension could see 1,685,151 working pensioners in the South East £1,400 worse off over the next two years, according to new analysis published today.

New analysis from the House of Commons Library, commissioned by Labour, shows that working pensioners could be an average of £1,400 worse off over the next two years.

A working pensioner earning the average salary, who is in receipt of the State Pension and liable to pay the Health and Social Care Levy, faces a real-terms reduction in their income of £770 in 2022/23 and £622 in 2023/24, an almost £1,400 loss.

The analysis also shows the value of the State Pension is eroded in real-terms by nearly £300 next year and will still be lower in real-terms in 2023/24 even if it is uprated by 5.9%, the rate of inflation that is forecast for September 2022.

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

“Many retired people in Portsmouth work to contribute to our communities or to supplement their state pension, which is facing a real terms cut this April.

“It’s disgraceful that working pensioners are facing a triple whammy of soaring prices, tax rises and a real terms cut to their state pension. Under the Tories, pensioners are worse off.

“That’s why I will be voting in Parliament tonight to cut home energy bills and halt next month’s planned tax rise, to protect local pensioners. I call on local Tory MPs to do the same.”

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jonathan Ashworth, added:

“Instead of protecting pensioner incomes as Boris Johnson promised, the Tories are cutting the state pension and clobbering pensioners in work with a tax rise; leaving them worse off by an eye-watering £1400.

“It’s daylight robbery and Boris Johnson has betrayed retired people.

“Pensioner poverty is increasing with older people facing impossible choices between eating and heating. The upcoming NICs rise should be halted this week and action should be taken to reduce energy bills by hundreds of pounds for those who need help as Labour has proposed.”

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Portsmouth MP sees Reading Recovery in action at New Horizons Primary School

Stephen Morgan MP visited New Horizons Primary School today to see first-hand how national initiative Reading Recovery is supporting young students with their reading.

Reading Recovery is a literacy programme designed for the lowest achieving children aged around six that enables them to reach age-expected levels within 20 weeks.

Visiting the school, the Portsmouth MP was able to learn more about how Reading Recovery and a range of other literacy interventions, which are trained by a local Reading Recovery teacher at the school, supports vulnerable learners and offers a safety net to those beginning to fall behind in literacy.

Based at the UCL Institute of Education, the Reading Recovery network supports hundreds of schools across the UK, who use it as an early intervention strategy to reduce the number of children experiencing literacy difficulties.

Each school involved is able to personalise learning, making sure that the phonics teaching fits with the school’s phonics programme.

According to UCL’s Institute for Education, nearly 20% of children (126,356) in England do not meet the expected standards in the Year 1 phonics test. In 2017, nearly 20,000 11-year-olds had reading standards so low that they either could not be entered for the National Reading Test, or took the test but did not achieve any score.

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

“It’s been really useful to see first-hand at New Horizons Primary School the work Reading Recovery is doing to support young people with their reading.

“Students have faced an unprecedented level of disruption to their learning over the last two years, so it’s vital they are able to get the extra support where it’s needed to help them catch up.

“Despite the work of schemes like this one, government cannot rely on them to paper over the cracks as more and more Portsmouth children continue to be at risk of being left behind.

“Only Labour’s Education Recovery has the ambition and vision to match the scale of the challenge ahead. I will continue to lobby Ministers to secure the very best for local students’ futures.”

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City MP demands government acts over P&O Ferries betrayal

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has demanded Ministers take action over ‘disgusting’ treatment of staff by P&O Ferries as Labour writes to the Prime Minister calling for him to “stand up for loyal workers in Britain” after 800 P&O Ferries’ staff were sacked without notice.

The City MP has welcomed efforts by the Shadow Transport Secretary, Louise Haigh MP, who is visiting the sacked workers at Dover port and is demanding the Prime Minister take action including considering:

  • Suspending the contracts and licences of DP World – the owner of P&O Ferries – until this matter is resolved
  • Remove DP World from the UK Government’s Transport Advisory Group where they were appointed by the now Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, “to provide knowledge, experience and strategic expertise” on trade negotiations
  • Claw back taxpayers’ money handed over to DP World during the pandemic
  • Outlaw fire and rehire.

And in a letter to the Prime Minister, Labour has asked Government to address concerns including when Ministers were notified of the redundancies, whether they were aware of the tactics that would be used by P&O Ferries and their intention to breach employment law prior to the announcement.

Labour has also called on the Prime Minister to explain whether the issue was raised on his visit to the United Arab Emirates, which includes Dubai, whose investment arm is the ultimate owners of P&O Ferries.

P&O used to operate services from Portsmouth Port delivering goods and passengers to mainland Europe (Caen, Cherbourg, Bilbao and Le Havre) until 2010.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“What P&O Ferries have done is disgusting. British seafarers don’t need empty platitudes from Government, they need action from Ministers.

“A number of constituents who are ex-employees have already got in touch with me sharing their disappointment in how the company is shamefully treating the workforce. That’s why I’m calling on Government to suspend licenses and contracts P&O Ferries and DP World hold with Government and claw back every taxpayer’s penny taken from the company during the pandemic.

“I will also continue to work alongside trade unions to campaign for the outlawing of draconian fire and rehire practices.

“It is about time this Government stood up for Britain’s workers”.

Commenting Shadow Transport Secretary, Louise Haigh MP said:

“This was a despicable assault on workers’ rights.

“But British seafarers do not need meaningless platitudes – they need action.

“That’s why the government must consider suspending licences and contracts held with DP World, claw back every penny of taxpayers money, and outlaw fire and rehire now.

“Boris Johnson went to the UAE with a begging bowl, and as he returned eight hundred British workers were sacked without notice by one of their investment arms.

“The Government must now stand up for loyal workers in Britain being undermined by overseas billionaires.”