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City MP joins Police night patrol in latest efforts to tackle street harassment

Stephen Morgan MP has joined local police on a night patrol in Portsmouth in his latest intervention to make the city safer.

The Portsmouth MP joined a local Police Sergeant and others in the city centre on Friday evening to learn further insights about the specific challenges and issues the area is facing to public safety.

The City MP is also encouraging others and local schools to get involved in Our Streets Now’s Anti-Street Harassment Week, which aims to raise awareness and ultimately reduce street harassment through educating young people about the issue.

According to its recent survey, 47% of children didn’t report incidents of public sexual harassment because they were afraid of not being believed or taken seriously.

Meanwhile, recent research from the Labour Party has revealed there are 708 fewer police officers on the frontline in Hampshire than in 2010. There are also 110 fewer community support officers (PCSOs) in Hampshire police force area.

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

“On the night patrol I saw first-hand the efforts by the police to keep people safe at night. It was also useful feedback issues in my postbag about crime in our area with the local police team.

“It’s vital we have a visible police presence, particularly at night, to help stop street harassment and violence against women and girls.

“That’s why I’m calling on local schools to get involved in ‘Our Streets Now’s campaign’ to educate young people about street harassment.”

On local police funding, Mr Morgan added:

“Our local police teams are working tirelessly to keep our streets safe, but it’s painfully clear they are having to do more with less.

“This government has continually let down our officers. Hampshire has one of the poorest levels of local police funding and frontline officers in the country, with the Home Secretary handing officers a real-terms pay cut. It’s no wonder the Police Federation has lost its confidence in her.

“I will continue to work on behalf of the city’s police and Portsmouth people to ensure government delivers the fair pay and funding our police deserve, as well as its promises to keep us all safe.”

Mr Morgan has reaffirmed making the city safer a ‘top priority’, after launching a city-wide survey to better understand local views and challenges for antisocial behaviour and public safety in Portsmouth.

You can complete Mr Morgan’s survey via the link on his website: https://www.stephenmorgan.org.uk/have-your-say-crime-and-safety-in-portsmouth/

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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 helps launch new campaign to promote ‘World-class’ Portsmouth attractions

Stephen Morgan MP spoke at the launch of a new city campaign at Spinnaker Tower on Thursday evening to boost visitors to the city and mark the start of English Tourism Week.

The new campaign includes an events guide highlighting everything happening this year from international spectacles like Victorious Festival and the Great South Run to smaller community events such as the Live at the Bandstand, King George V fireworks display and Heritage Open Days.

The council is also partnering with South Western Railways to showcase Portsmouth on landmark digital billboards at London Waterloo Station and will be attending a number of trade events in the capital during English Tourism Week, 18-27 March.

Attractions across the city are getting behind the push with a range of special offers during the week including £30 off an ultimate explorer ticket at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard; 20% discount at Exploria; special offers on a range of performances at Portsmouth Guildhall and 20% off Hover travel tickets.

Portsmouth residents can also get 25% discount on a visit to the Spinnaker Tower or 40% off entry to D-Day Story. More information on all the special offers can be found by searching “English Tourism Week” at www.visitportsmouth.co.uk

Stephen Morgan, MP for Portsmouth South, said:

“Portsmouth has world class attractions like the historic dockyard and D-Day Story and I’m delighted to see local efforts made to promote our city to a wider audience.

“Our tourist, cultural and historic attractions are increasingly the envy of the world and a source of national pride.

“So as we mark this English Tourism Week, I’m calling on local people to redouble our efforts to shout about what our city has to offer, and to use our assets as a symbol of the kind of city and country we are now and aspire to be in the future.”

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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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Aquind Stopped: Portsmouth MP responds

Responding to the Secretary of State’s decision to stop the Aquind interconnector project going ahead, Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan, said: 

“The government have finally seen sense and stopped the disastrous Aquind project.

“This is a victory for the people of Portsmouth over years of uncertainty and Tory cronyism.

“I pay tribute to local campaigners who have helped me lead our City’s united opposition.

“I will continue to raise questions about how Conservative ministers came so close to allowing party donors facing corruption allegations to control a national infrastructure project.

“Without our efforts, this would not have been possible. Together, we have stopped Aquind.”

The Portsmouth South MP has long opposed the Aquind interconnector project, working alongside the Let’s Stop Aquind grassroots group.

Since his election he has grilled Ministers in Parliament, secured a dedicated debate on the issue, attended protests alongside local campaigners and met the project company to discuss concerns.

In September, Mr Morgan submitted a 6,200 signature petition to Parliament calling on the Business Secretary to scrap the project.

Mr Morgan has also consistently raised concerns about the project company’s concerningly opaque structure and finances.

Media reports from the BBC and Guardian revealed that Aquind owner Viktor Fedotov benefited from a $4bn alleged fraud in Russia. This seems to have been achieved through a complex scheme that funnelled government cash through layers of shell companies that were ultimately owned by Mr Fedotov.

Similar concerns have been raised about Aquind’s finances, with little information available about where its money is coming from, who is providing it, or whether similar complex financial structures are being used to hide this.

Mr Fedotov had been able to remain completely anonymous as the company’s owner using a rare exemption in corporate transparency rules, until his identity was revealed following an investigation by The Times in August 2020. Why this anonymity was necessary is not clear.

Aquind’s public face, Alexander Temerko, has also conducted a coordinated and concerted effort to influence British political figures.

Since the project started, Temerko has donated £700,000 to the Conservative Party. In addition to this, research done by the BBC has revealed that Mr Fedotov’s businesses have donated a further £700,000 to 34 MPs and their local parties. This includes a string of current and former Ministers in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The Secretary of State was asked directly on Andrew Marr on 10 October if he was in favour of the project. He replied, “I have never commented on this specific project”.

However, letters obtained by The Times through a Freedom of Information request show the Mr Kwarteng indicated both his and the government’s support for the project when he was Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth.

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Aquind: Portsmouth MP grills ministers on checks carried out on alleged ‘fraudster’ owners of ‘disastrous project’

Stephen Morgan MP grilled ministers in the House of Commons today on what checks have been carried out on the owners of Aquind, after one was implicated in a £72m fraud scheme linked to Putin’s Russia.

Revelations uncovered by BBC Panorama and The Guardian newspaper in October raised serious questions over whether a reported £72m, made by Aquind co-owner Viktor Fedotov through an allegedly corrupt company, made its way to the heart of the British government and has influenced its decision to give the Russian-born AQUIND co-owner’s infrastructure project the green light or not.

Alexander Temerko, who is a friend of the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and also a co-owner of AQUIND, has together with the company donated £1.1m to the Conservative Party.

The Portsmouth MP recently hosted Shadow Energy Minister Alan Whitehead MP on a visit to the city to meet with ‘Stop Aquind’ campaigners, as next month’s deadline (January 21) for the government to make a decision on whether to approve the controversial project looms.

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

“There are serious allegations surrounding the Aquind interconnector project and yet many questions are still left unanswered. After delaying its decision twice, the government has had more than enough time to do the due diligence that’s needed to get to the bottom of this.

“Reported shady ties between Aquind’s co-owners and dirty money tracing back to Putin’s Russia need to be fully investigated, particularly if any of it has made its way to ministers at the heart of the British government via political donations.

“Ministers must come clean on checks they have done around Aquind and its owners to protect our national infrastructure and finally bring an end to this disastrous project once and for all.”

 

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Small Business Saturday: City MP announces winners of his ‘Support local’ awards

Stephen Morgan MP has announced the winners of his ‘Support Local’ Portsmouth small business awards, as the country marked Small Business Saturday.

Last month, the city MP called for local people to nominate their favourite local shops and traders in his constituency in three different categories. With dozens and dozens of nominations across Milton, Southsea, Old Portsmouth, Eastney, Fratton, Landport, Buckland and Portsea, this year’s winners are:

  • Greenest Local Business: Package Free Larder, Elm Grove, Southsea
  • Friendliest Local Business: MAKE, Cornwall Road, Fratton
  • Overall Best Business: Andre’s Food Bar, Osborne Road, Southsea

The Portsmouth MP delivered the award winners with certificates on Saturday, and thanked them for their service to our communities.

Small Business Saturday UK is a grassroots, non-commercial campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities.

On Small Business Saturday, customers across the U.K. go out and support all types of small businesses, online, in offices and in stores. Many small businesses take part in the day by hosting events and offering discounts.

£1.1 billion was spent with small businesses across the UK during last year’s Small Business Saturday, with 15.4 million people turning out to support small businesses.

The city awards build on last year’s successful initiative by the Portsmouth South representative that saw hundreds of people nominating local shops and traders across constituency.

The City MP has been a long-time supporter of Portsmouth’s local businesses.

In May, the Portsmouth representative launched his ‘Pride in Portsmouth’ campaign that encouraged local people to support small businesses as the economy unlocked. Since being elected, he has been lobbying government through a range of parliamentary questions, raising concerns in Parliament and calling on Government to better support Portsmouth’s businesses.

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

“Local businesses are the lifeblood of our city, but the past 18 months has been an incredibly difficult time for many of them.

“That’s why I have been calling on people to ‘Support Local’ this Christmas, and am delighted to finally announce this year’s winners of my small business awards. They truly deserve recognition for the way they have gone above and beyond in serving our city’s communities this year.

“Like many Portsmouth people, on this weekend’s Small Business Saturday, I’ll be out and about supporting local traders and shops. So many small businesses and shopworkers helped keep our city going during the pandemic. Now it’s our turn to support them not just this Saturday, but all year round.”

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City MP praises local heroes at this year’s Inspiring Fratton Awards

Stephen Morgan MP praised this year’s winners of the Inspiring Fratton Awards, a scheme set up three years ago by the locally born parliamentary representative in partnership with Fratton Big Local.

The Portsmouth MP handed out the awards to winners during a ceremony at St Mary’s church on Friday evening.

The Inspiring Fratton 2021 Award Winners for are:

  • Contribution to Creativity in Fratton Over 18: Claire Phillips
  • Contribution to Creativity in Fratton under 18: Darcie Kingston
  • Contribution to Education in Fratton Over 18: Lynn Harris
  • Contribution to Education in Fratton under 18: Keira Coles
  • Contribution to Sport in Fratton in Fratton over 18: Ali Fayazi
  • Contribution to Sport in Fratton in Fratton under 18: Christopher Lillie
  • Contribution to Volunteering in Fratton Over 18: Kay Ackerman
  • Contribution to Volunteering in Fratton under 18: Lilyann More
  • Best Café / Take Away in Fratton Rd: Paanchi
  • Best Trader/ Business in Fratton Rd: Electric Arms
  • Contribution to Community Life in Fratton in extraordinary time Over 18: Helen Barter
  • Contribution to Community Life in Fratton in extraordinary time under 18: Alice Stoneham

Fratton Big Local is a ‘Big Lottery’ funded 10-year project which aims to make lasting improvements to Fratton.
Run by a partnership of local residents, the scheme makes decisions about how to spend the funding, based on engagement and conversations with local key groups and those living in the area.

Awards categories are split between over 18s and under 18s, ranging from best community volunteer, to the best café or takeway on Fratton Road.

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

“Born and bred in Fratton I’ve always believed the area is a strong and resilient community, but the last 18 months have tested every resident, in every part of this area.

“When, three years ago, I set up the Inspiring Fratton awards with Fratton Big Local, we never thought our community would be tested in the way it has in recent months.

“After last year’s hybrid award ceremony, I was delighted to be able to hand these awards over to their richly deserving winners, with so many more people there to see it in person this time.

These unsung heroes in Fratton who have gone above and beyond this year are truly making a positive and lasting legacy for our community.”

This is the third year the awards ceremony has taken place, with last year’s Inspiring Fratton Awards ceremony being hybrid event that was broadcast online.

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

Stephen Morgan MP is set to host his third ‘Pint with your MP’ session of 2021, with the next post-lockdown event taking place this Sunday at 3pm.
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 the next ‘Pint with your MP’ event, after really useful and well-attended sessions so far this 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: Groundlings Theatre, 42 Kent St, Portsea, Portsmouth, PO1 3BS.
Whilst national restrictions have eased, 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-191631694557

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Respect Shopworkers Week: Portsmouth MP calls for Christmas shoppers to ‘keep their cool’

Stephen Morgan MP has back USDAW’s Respect Shopworkers Week campaign and called for Christmas shoppers to ‘keep their cool’ over the busy festive period.

The Portsmouth MP has paid a visit to South Parade’s Co-op to speak with staff and understand the local challenges they have faced this year.

Respect Shopworkers Week is a national annual campaign that works to both curb and raise awareness of the physical and verbal abuse shopworkers receive day-to-day across the country.

USDAW’s survey results have shown a troubling increase in violence and abuse against retail workers in recent years — with another significant increase in 2020 during the Coronavirus crisis.

According to the shopworkers union, 90% of retail workers were abused whilst working on the shop floor over the last year.

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

“Shop and retail workers both here in Portsmouth and across the country have been the backbone of local communities over the last 18 months.

“During this crisis, our key workers have been there to support us when we needed it most. The very least they deserve is to be treated with the dignity and respect we would all normally expect from each other when in our place of work.

“That’s why I am proud to support this year’s Respect Shopworkers Week’ and urge local shoppers to keep their cool this Christmas.”