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‘Government must deliver on its promise to creative workers’

I know from my postbag that many constituents are concerned by the issue of work permits for creative workers now that the Brexit transition period has ended.

The work musicians, performers, technicians and writers do in bringing creativity to our lives is important in and of itself, but it is also a hugely important part of our city’s economy and has to be part of the recovery plan for Portsmouth as we emerge from the pandemic.

The industry was one of the fastest growing sectors before the pandemic and a real example of Britain shining on the world stage as we are a net exporter of music worldwide.

I believe it is not acceptable that UK-based creative workers miss out. These opportunities are even more essential in the context of how hard-hit creatives have been in the pandemic. Incomes have been lost and so many people have fallen through the gaps in government support.

The current situation will prevent many younger, newer artists from touring and progressing their careers. It will also prevent European acts from touring here – hitting our music venues when they need it most.

Labour wants the Government to deliver on its promise to creative workers that they won’t be subject to unnecessary bureaucracy in the post-Brexit world. UK-based creative workers should not be disadvantaged by the Government’s failures to stand up for their jobs and nor should our venues miss out on EU-based talent.

Ministers need to put this situation right. I will continue to push the Government on this important issue of concern for Portsmouth people.

Stephen Morgan MP

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UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement: My commitment to you on next steps

Today Parliament debated and voted to implement the Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU, which provides a legal framework for the UK’s future relationship at the end of the transition period.

Brexit has been a fraught and lengthy process. It is an issue which has divided opinion here in Portsmouth and across the country for decades. I believe you cannot welcome this deal with any enthusiasm but I do want to set out the reasons why I voted in favour of implementation legislation today and importantly, what I will do next to hold the Government to account on what happens next.

I have always been a proud advocate for Britain’s future in Europe and have always tried to represent the views of the many thousands of Portsmouth people who feel the same, and also respect those who do not.

That has meant standing shoulder to shoulder with campaigners and using my voice in Parliament to support a public vote on any deal. It has meant working across the House and across party to prevent a no-deal and to protect workers’ rights and safeguard our environment. It has meant fighting hard to secure investment in Portsmouth Port to avoid disruption and traffic chaos.

I remain steadfast in my belief that Britain should be a modern, outward-looking nation, with close economic and cultural ties to its nearest neighbours in a world of superpowers. Whilst this deal puts that at risk, it must be seen as a foundation to build on with a Labour Government ensuring closer cooperation and prosperity for all.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement is not the deal we were promised. Instead of the Prime Minister’s much-vaunted “oven-ready deal”, what has emerged is the bare minimum that the public could have expected from a needlessly fraught process.

The months of dither, delay and theatrics have caused unnecessary damage to businesses and the wider economy, all in the middle of a global pandemic and the worst recession in three centuries.

There is no doubt that a better deal could have been reached, but that is not what was voted on today and it is important to recognise this.

There are only two choices facing the country: implement an underwhelming but mutually-agreed trade deal, or immediately face a disastrous no-deal Brexit.

I have always been clear that crashing out of the EU without a deal would be unthinkable. It would cause permanent and unacceptable damage to communities including our own. It would be bad for British business and it would be bad for Portsmouth people.

On an issue like this, I don’t believe we can sit on the sidelines. The tough, but necessary decision to accept the implementation of legislation is one that reflects the urgency to avoid a disastrous no-deal. It allows the country to focus once again on the day-to-day priorities that matter: fighting the pandemic and rebuilding the economy.

But I am absolutely clear that this does not give the Government a free hand for the future. The consequences of the deal are this government’s, and this government’s alone, to own. I can reassure you I will hold them to account every step of the way.

So my vote today was conditional. It is based on what you have told me that right now people and business want stability and certainty. It recognises what our partners in the EU have fought for – an agreement that they have collectively agreed and I believe can be put right.

The Brexit debate may be over. The fight for the future isn’t. Nothing in this trade agreement closes the door on a stronger future relationship with Europe. The first review point for the agreement is in 2026. There will be at least one general election before then.

That’s why in the coming days I will be setting out a series of demands on government must deliver for Portsmouth. I will be listening to constituents, local businesses and trade unions in the coming days to shape these priorities for our city. To be part of that task, please get in touch.

We can start now on beginning to build on this agreement to secure a more prosperous and fairer future for everyone. I urge you to help me here in Portsmouth with that mission.

Stephen Morgan MP



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With no option of renegotiating left, Labour votes in the national interest to reject a no-deal

Labour votes today (30 December) “in the national interest” to implement the legislation on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU, therefore avoiding a disastrous no-deal Brexit.

While the deal struck with the European Commission and 27 Member States has many shortcomings, Labour made it clear in the House of Commons that it was still preferable to the severe damage of a no deal scenario and that it brought stability and some certainty for businesses already under huge strain from the pandemic.

In the debate today, MPs were not given an opportunity to vote on the deal itself, but merely the implementation legislation, just hours before the transition period comes to an end tomorrow night.

Opening the debate for the official opposition, Labour Leader Keir Starmer also criticised the late delivery of the deal, and how it falls far short of the government’s promises on services, security and cutting red tape for British businesses and producers.

Labour have made clear they will build on the foundations of the deal to make the UK the best place to grow up in and grow old in.

Rachel Reeves MP, Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster who closed the debate said:

“For some stability, in the national interest, and up against the only other choice of a disastrous no deal scenario, Labour has voted for the trade deal agreed between the UK government and the 27 member states of the EU.

“But not only does this unambitious deal fall far short of what this government promised – months of dither, delay and theatrics mean it has come far too late for many businesses and caused unnecessary damage to the economy.

“This government must now deliver on its promises, and plug the gaps in their preparations for our businesses and borders – and fast. A Labour government will build on the foundations of this deal to change the UK for better.”

Stephen Morgan MP has a strong record of proudly speaking out in support of Britain’s relationship with the EU.

He has called in Parliament for a public vote on any deal. He has worked across the House and across party to prevent a no-deal Brexit and to protect workers’ rights and safeguard our environment. He has fought hard to secure investment in Portsmouth Port at risk of disruption and traffic chaos under a no-deal scenario.

Stephen Morgan MP commenting on the debate today said:

“Whilst it is a relief that a deal has been secured it falls vastly short of what the Prime Minister promised was oven-ready back in December last year, and it allows the country to avoid a disastrous no-deal Brexit.

“This is a thin deal and I have huge misgivings about it. Voting for or against it wasn’t an option before MPs today. The tough, but necessary decision to accept the implementation legislation is one that reflects a long-term effort to avoid a disastrous no-deal Brexit. It also allows the country to focus once again on the day-to-day priorities that matter to people: fighting the pandemic and rebuilding the economy.

“Portsmouth people will know only too well that after all the dither and delay the consequences of this deal and its weaknesses are this government’s to own”.

Commenting on Keir Starmer’s remarks that Labour will build on the deal, the Portsmouth South MP added:

 “A Labour government will hold Ministers to account on this deal, and will forge a new future for our country, leading the way globally, but working with our neighbours and those with shared values on crucial issues like tax justice, tackling climate change and workers’ rights.

“The deal falls far short of what the government promised. It neglects services which makes up 80% of our economy and weakens our security measures. I will hold Ministers to account on the promises they make and break to the British people.

“That’s why in the coming days I will be setting out a series of demands on what government must deliver for Portsmouth. I will be listening to constituents, local businesses and trade unions in the coming days to shape these priorities for our city.”



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UK-EU trade deal: Have your say

The Government has now published the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement following news on Christmas Eve that a deal had been struck. The deal sets out the relationship the UK will have at the end of the Brexit transition period. 

Since being elected MP, Stephen Morgan has had thousands of letters, messages and conversations with constituents to hear views on Brexit and the UK’s future relationship with the EU. He has also been meeting with local businesses to understand and address the uncertainty of a no-deal and liaising with the area’s branch of the European Movement.

In this latest survey, in order for Stephen to continue to represent your views in Parliament, he is keen to hear your ideas.

 Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Let me be clear: I campaigned to remain in the EU, and wanted people to have a final say. Sadly after the result of the General Election last year that is no longer possible.

There are two paths for the country now. A no-deal or a deal.

I want to hear from you with your views on what should happen next as I continue to hold the Government to account”.

To complete the short survey and tell Stephen what you think click here.




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“There are two paths for our country right now” Portsmouth MP responds to UK-EU deal

Responding to news the UK Government has finally struck a trade deal with the EU, Stephen Morgan MP has said that whilst a better deal could have been negotiated, there are just two paths now left for our country: to move forward with this negotiated deal, or without one and the trading on WTO terms.

Following the Government’s press conference this afternoon and initial briefings on the deal, the Portsmouth South MP said:

The Prime Minister said he would deliver the British people an ‘oven ready deal’ but what he has announced today is not what his Government promised the country.

It is appalling that we got so close to the end of the transition period causing huge uncertainty for our economy and for British business with little over a week to prepare.

This deal is the bare minimum that Portsmouth people and our local businesses could have expected from this unnecessarily fraught process. What’s worse, it comes with a backdrop of the worst recession in three centuries and in the middle of a global pandemic. 

There are two paths for our country right now. A no-deal, which I’ve long argued would cause unimaginable damage for our city, or this thin agreement, with responsibility for it squarely at the steps of Number 10. I will therefore be looking very closely at the detail of the deal in the coming days ahead of Parliament’s return.

Whilst Labour accepts this deal is better for the national interest than a no-deal, the consequences are well and truly this government’s to own.

For the sake of the future of our city and Portsmouth people’s prosperity, I will continue to hold Ministers to account over their promises every step of the way”.

This is the deal Labour would inherit if elected in 2024 and it will be the job of the party in Government to build on it to make it succeed. That is why Leader of the Opposition Keir Starmer MP has confirmed Labour will accept this deal and vote for its implementation in the national interest when it comes to Parliament next week.

MPs will be recalled to Parliament on 30 December following the Prime Minister’s press conference today. It is expected MPs will have a vote on the implementation of legislation for the deal.





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“The nation needs Portsmouth to build new port infrastructure” says Portsmouth MP

Today (Monday 21 December) Stephen Morgan MP paid a visit to Portsmouth International Port as part of continued efforts to secure Government funding for vital post-Brexit trade infrastructure improvements.

With just 10 days left until the end of the transition period, Portsmouth has been left high and dry by Ministers leaving the port £8m short on funding to build new facilities by next July to meet the Government’s own ‘Border Operating Model.

Following countless correspondence with the Cabinet Office, putting pressure on Government via parliamentary questions, and meetings with officials, the city MP has today shared his frustration as Britain heads towards a no deal Brexit.

Meeting with Port Director Mike Sellers on site this morning for a further briefing and tour of the site, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Whilst we are seeing more delay, dither and excuses from Government over the negotiations with the EU, getting a deal and ending the threat of a no-deal Brexit and its risk our city’s economy and businesses means the Prime Minister must now show leadership.

We were promised an ‘oven-ready deal’ and Government must now get it finished for the sake of the country. Ministers must also end the uncertainty we are seeing here in Portsmouth.

We all know in Portsmouth that our port’s success is our city’s success, and it is in the national interest for Portsmouth to build this vital infrastructure. Our country needs new facilities at our port if we are to continue trading effectively in a post-Brexit Britain.

With just 10 days to go, Government must stop the shortfall and give the port the £8m it needs to deliver on this important project to protect Portsmouth’s economy”.

Questions have been raised in the House of Commons by the Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Rachel Reeves MP after it came to light that  a number of the nation’s ports have been short-changed on government funding needed to build vital infrastructure.

The Portsmouth South representative has vowed to continue working alongside the Port and city council until the Government finally listens to the city’s demands.




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Stephen Morgan MP: government funding for post-Brexit port infrastructure “falls far short”

Responding to the £8m shortfall in funding awarded to Portsmouth International Port through the Government’s Port Infrastructure Fund, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“This funding falls far short of what the port say they’ll need to complete work to manage the once in a generation changes to trading following the end of the transition period.

“This government’s incompetence is setting Portsmouth up to fail. The funding awarded is not enough to cover the major infrastructure work mandated by the government’s own Border Operating Model, and without additional contingency funding it cannot be completed in time. 

“Portsmouth is the UK’s second busiest port and its success is our city’s success. Not only does the port facilitate vital trading routes critical for our economy, but it also helps fund our local public services.

“With a post-Brexit deal in the balance, I urge Government to close this gap in funding and ensure lengthy lorry queues don’t become a reality in Portsmouth”.

The latest intervention from the Portsmouth South MP follows a string of actions taken to ensure minimal disruption at the port.

Last week, Stephen Morgan MP wrote again to Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove to ensure the Port’s plans to avoid disruption receive the required funding.



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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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Keir Starmer backs Stephen Morgan’s re-election

Stephen Morgan has received the backing of the Shadow Brexit Secretary following his recent visit to Portsmouth discussing Britain’s future in the European Union.

The Labour candidate recently held a rally where Sir Keir Starmer was the keynote speaker. The event saw over 150 people attend and was standing room only. The rally follows the backing of Stephen Morgan by Best for Britain, the People’s Vote, For Our Future’s Sake and Vote for a Final Say all lending their hand to Morgan’s re-election.

Four consecutive independent polls put the Lib Dem candidate for Portsmouth South trailing in the hotly contested constituency with as little as 11% expected share of the vote.

Keir Starmer said:

“In Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth people have a proven parliamentarian with a track record of standing up for his community.

We are facing uncertain times where the effects of decisions made in parliament will define the futures for generations to come.

It is essential that we have representatives who are committed, capable and willing to work for their communities. Stephen Morgan is the only candidate who fits the bill in Portsmouth South.

I hope to continue working with Stephen after tomorrow’s General Election”

To view the tactical voting recommendations for Portsmouth South visit: https://tactical.vote/portsmouth-south

Stephen Morgan said:

“People want to get Brexit sorted. On the doorstep In Portsmouth we’ve been hearing more and more support for Labour’s solution to this divisive issue by putting the issue back to the people. We are the only party seeking to heal divide in our country by offering a final say in all circumstances.

It is well known that I campaigned to remain in 2016. I was delighted to share the stage with Keir Starmer who like me, has stated he will campaign to remain in a future confirmatory vote Labour will secure in Government.

A vote for any other party on Thursday puts this at risk”.

Alongside local residents and community leaders, representatives from the People’s Vote, For our Futures Sake and European Movement attended to show support for Stephen Morgan.

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City MP slams Government over ‘blatant’ plans to stop poorer people voting

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has accused the government of planning a “clearly discriminatory” and “blatant” attempt to effectively take the vote away from poorer people and many young and elderly voters, using proposals to demand official photo ID at the ballot box before voting.

During the Queen’s Speech, the Tories announced they would introduce a series of measures to secure electoral integrity, including requiring voters to show an approved form of photographic ID in order to vote.

Since 2010, there has been just one allegation of polling station fraud in Portsmouth, back in 2015.

Across the UK, out of more than 44 million votes cast in 2017, there was only one conviction resulting from 28 allegations of polling station voter fraud. The number of allegations fell to just 8 in 2018, again with just one resulting in a conviction.

3.5 million citizens do not have access to any photo ID, with 11 million citizens lacking a passport or driving license.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“This is a clear attempt by the government to stop the poor, the young and the elderly from voting, denying people their democratic rights and rigging the result of the next General Election.

It is a disgraceful attack on the civil liberties of those the Conservative Party deems unlikely to support them at the ballot box.

I simply will not allow a situation where the Tories can ride rough-shod over my constituents’ basic rights like this.

The people of Portsmouth deserve better. We’ve got to stop this plan – and that means stopping the Conservatives.”