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Portsmouth MP welcomes latest findings ‘vindicating’ local WASPI Women

Stephen Morgan MP has welcomed the latest revelations on the WASPI Women’s route to justice, after an investigation found ‘failings’ in the way the government communicated changes to women’s State Pension age.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO), which is conducting the investigation, stated that it has received a “significant number” of complaints as to the way that the 1995 Pensions Act change, which meant women could no longer claim their state pension at 60, was communicated by Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), with many experiencing “significant” financial loss and emotional distress as a result.

PHSO stated that the DWP had failed to take adequate account of the need for targeted and individually tailored information or of how likely it was doing the same thing would achieve different results.

It also found that DWP failed to make a “reasonable decision” about next steps in August 2005 and failed to use feedback to improve service design and delivery, highlighting this as “maladministration”.

There are reportedly 4,300 women living in Portsmouth South and born between 6 April 1950 and 5 April 1960 who were affected by Pensions Act 1995 (which first provided for the women’s State Pension age to increase from 60 from April 2010 onwards).

It comes after the Portsmouth representative recently hosted a meeting with the local Solent WASPI group and the Shadow Minister responsible for issues relating to WASPI Women, Matt Rodda MP.

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

“This is the first step to continue the fight for fair treatment for state pension arrangements for 1950s women and I welcome the latest findings of the PHSO’s report, but there is more to do.

“I know that many in Portsmouth will feel vindicated by this, but I will keep working on behalf of Solent WASPI campaigners and others and lobby Government until justice is secured.

“We are not going away.”

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City MP criticises ‘farce of administrivia’ as Council drags its feet on treasured Camber Right of Way

Stephen Morgan MP has urged the City Council to get on with work to establish a public byway at Town Quay, the Camber in Old Portsmouth.

Since 2014 a dedicated group of local residents have been attempting to establish this route, beginning at Trimmers Court junction with East Street, round the quayside edge to the Bridge Tavern and the southern end of Trimmer Court.

The route was long understood to be an informal by-way, enjoyed by local ramblers and walking enthusiasts, but now needs to be formalised following changes to structures along the quayside edge which now impede the route.

Supporters of the Right of Way made two applications to the City Council for an order in 2016 and 2017, but both were rejected. Campaigners then took their fight directly to the government, supported by Mr Morgan, appealing to Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The Planning Inspectorate upheld this appeal in February 2018 and directed Portsmouth City Council to modify the definitive City map for the area to add a restricted byway on the route.

But since then the process has stalled, and the Portsmouth South MP has joined with campaigners to renew calls on the City Council to get it sorted.

Campaigner Ken Bailey will grill City representatives on the issue today (19 July) when he raises a question on the issue at full Council.

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“It’s long been clear that the Right of Way around the Camber in Old Portsmouth needs to be protected, but the city council has kept people waiting for seven years and counting.

“I have supported dedicated local campaigners as they have engaged with the Council in good faith, but the process has descended into an unnecessary farce of administrivia.

“The city council is clearly dragging its feet, and I am proud to stand with Right of Way campaigners to urge them to get on with the necessary work and ensure this popular route can be enjoyed for many years to come.”

Ken Bailey and Anna Koor, local campaigners for the Camber Right of Way, said:

“We are completely mystified as to why city council officials have been unable to progress simple administrative processes and meet legal obligations to move this right of way case forward over the past few years – without any rational explanation. What possible reason could there be for such behaviour?

“We trust that the collective intellectual capability and authority of the Full Council might be brought to bear to resolve the suppression and suffocation of justice and the rights of its citizens.”

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City MP blasts government planning reforms and “unsustainable” housing targets

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has criticised the government’s proposed planning reforms, which he says will force ‘unsustainable’ house-building targets on the City.

The government’s hated “Developers’ Charter” is set to hand control of planning decisions over to housebuilders and gag communities from speaking out against inappropriate developments in their area.

Mr Morgan has written to Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick to raise concerns around the government’s inflated housing targets, which would see Portsmouth build 17,357 dwellings by 2038.

The City MP wrote: “Our city recognises the need to build more homes, but any delivery must be sustainable, integrated with the right infrastructure, and acknowledge the unique circumstances Portsmouth faces.”

In response, the Housing Minister committed to meet the Portsmouth South representative and local planners to discuss their concerns and deliver a more sustainable housing plan, but is yet to set a date for the meeting.

In June, Mr Morgan supported Labour’s proposals to protect local people’s right to object to individual planning applications in the House of Commons, after the Government announced plans to rip up the planning system in the Queen’s Speech.

The Government’s proposed reforms of the planning system will remove powers from elected local representatives and hand them to Whitehall-appointed boards of developers while doing nothing to solve the growing affordable housing crisis.

Boards will oversee a new zonal system that allows developers to build at will in areas designated for growth. Communities will be consulted only in the development of five-yearly local plans and will be gagged from intervening in individual planning applications.

Conservative Ministers have claimed that the reforms are needed to speed up housebuilding, even though over one million planning permissions have not been built out in the last decade.

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“The government’s inflated housing targets are totally unsustainable for our densely populated City. They risk overwhelming local infrastructure and endangering our treasured natural environments. 

“The Minister’s empty promises of a meeting speak volumes, but I’ll fight to make sure local voices are heard.

“I want to see a flexible planning system that delivers the homes we need while placing local people at the centre of decisions that affect our City.

“Algorithms and formulas can never be a substitute for local knowledge and decision-making by councils and communities who know their area best.”

 

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Portsmouth MP piles pressure on Conservative Ministers to ‘Stop Aquind’

Stephen Morgan MP urged the government during a speech in Parliament today to ‘Stop Aquind’ and reject the ‘damaging’ infrastructure project.

The Portsmouth MP secured a Westminster Hall debate, outlining the key concerns constituents have shared with him, including:

  • the long-term disruption its construction would cause;
  • the damage to the local environment; and
  • the murky relationship the company and its directors have with government.

It marks the latest intervention from the local MP to stop the project ahead of the Conservative Government’s final decision, expected later this summer. Mr Morgan has also raised the issue during departmental businesses questions in the House of Commons and launched his public petition to ‘Stop Aquind’ the weekend before.

Sharing his constituents fears about AQUIND during his speech, the Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said:

“Whatever the alleged merits of this project may be, to ignore the overwhelmingly negative impact it would have on Portsmouth’s residents, its businesses and environment, would be a dereliction of duty.”

Mr Morgan also criticised AQUIND’s “shady campaign to lobby successive Conservative Ministers, behind closed doors and backed by heaps of cash”.

He dismissed as ‘fantasy’ any suggestion that Kwasi Kwarteng MP,  the Conservative Secretary of State for Business who has a final say over the project, could make an impartial decision.

Stephen Morgan MP, commented:

Today in Parliament I once again challenged Tory government ministers to put an end to these damaging proposals and Stop Aquind.

“I was deeply unimpressed with the Minister’s response, failing to address any of the questions raised by my constituents or outline any specific benefits the AQUIND interconnector project would bring to Portsmouth.

“I know those who object to the scheme will also be disappointed to see no other local MP participate in the debate, despite our area’s outright objection to the project.

“I will keep working on behalf of local people to ensure we secure an end to these plans and stop AQUIND. Constituents can show their opposition by signing my public petition.”

You can sign the Portsmouth South MP’s public petition at www.stephenmorgan.org.uk/aquindpetition

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City MP slams the government for pushing ahead with Universal Credit cut that will impact local families

Stephen Morgan has demanded the government ‘cancels the cut’ after the Secretary of State Thérèse Coffey MP, confirmed this week that the Government is continuing with the planned £20 Universal Credit cut in September.

Labour had consistently called on the Government not to cut Universal Credit in April 2021, culminating in the Cancel the Cut Opposition Day Debate in January 2021, where the House of Commons voted in favour of keeping the £20 uplift.

In the Budget in March, the Chancellor announced a 6-month extension to the uplift until the end of September 2021.

Labour is calling on the Government to cancel the cut and keep the uplift permanent.

This cut will impact 6 million families, including those on working tax credits. This £20 is what enables some of them to put food on the table at the end of the week.

In Portsmouth, the number of people claiming Universal Credit has risen by nearly 10,000 over the last year, from 8,262 to 18,012. An increase of 118%.

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

“Government is trying to make low income families pay for its own chronic mismanagement of the pandemic and the economic recovery.

“Universal Credit and its earlier uplift during the height of the pandemic was a lifeline for so many in our city.

“Pulling the rug from underneath struggling families just at the time when the economy begins to recover is not only morally backward, but economically too, choking off any shoots of recovery we would see if the government cancelled the cut.

“I will continue to work on behalf of the local families and secure the support they need after this incredibly difficult time.”

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Portsmouth MP’s ‘Stop AQUIND’ campaign accelerates with petition now available in local shops

Stephen Morgan MP’s joint campaign with the local ‘Stop AQUIND’ group to sign his public petition is accelerating, with petitions now available to collect in local shops and hundreds of signatures already collected.

The local representative – who has long-opposed the controversial AQUIND project – launched the petition alongside the local ‘Stop AQUIND’ campaign last weekend at the organisation’s ‘Walk the Route’ event.

The MP’s petition, which can be signed by any UK resident, calls on the government to reject the project, citing the huge damage it would do to the local infrastructure and environment, as well as ongoing concerns surrounding the project company and its directors.

Now, in less than a week, Mr Morgan’s office and ‘Stop AQUIND’ campaigners have collected hundreds of signatures, from knocking doors, being out and about in the constituency and at local community venues.

The following local businesses have also made the city MP’s public petition available in their stores to be signed by local residents:

  • Broadway Coffee
  • Hounds Barbers
  • Herbies
  • Southsea Cycles
  • Pompey on a roll
  • Corner collective
  • Tango Tea
  • Dress Code
  • Albert Road Southsea
  • Budds Apothecary
  • Milton community centre
  • Fruit and Flower
  • Locksway Road post office
  • The Larder
  • Winnie’ s Bakery
  • The Brewer’ s Tap
  • Wild Thyme
  • Southsea Deli

The petition is also set to be available soon in a range of shops on Albert Road and Milton Road.

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

“I’m really encouraged by the enthusiasm of local people who are keen to sign up to my public petition to Stop AQUIND.

“In less than a week, we have already made solid progress and it’s great to see so many community businesses who will be impacted by this deeply damaging project getting involved as well, which I hope will make it easier for others to sign up to my petition.

“AQUIND would be a disaster for Portsmouth and our city’s voices must be heard. By working together, we can Stop AQUIND.”

Mr Morgan, in partnership with the ‘Stop AQUIND’ campaign, is also set to run a number of street stalls in the coming days where it will be available for people to sign up.

He will also be speaking in a Westminster Hall debate that he recently secured on Tuesday, to once again call for the Business Secretary to delay making his final decision on AQUIND.

The public petition can be downloaded for signing at www.stephenmorgan.org.uk/aquindpetition

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Tell the Tory Government why you’re against AQUIND

On Tuesday 13 July Stephen has secured a debate – in Westminster Hall – to continue to hold the Government to account and to call on the Conservative Business Secretary to stop AQUIND. 

Help inform Stephen’s speech in the debate and his continued lobbying of the Government to think again by telling him the key reason you’re also against the project: 

You can also show your support to Stop AQUIND by signing Stephen’s petition at www.stephenmorgan.org.uk/aquindpetition 

Thank you for completing this form. Stephen Morgan MP and the Labour Party will use the personal information you provide for the purpose of his parliamentary campaign to Stop AQUIND. Where you have opted in, Stephen and the Labour Party may contact you via the communication channels you have chosen and for the purposes specified. We may also contact you by post using the electoral register, which Stephen is entitled to use as an MP and the Labour Party is entitled to use to further its objectives as a political party. You can opt out of communications from us or manage your preferences at any time. For more information about how we use personal data please visit: www.stephenmorgan.org.uk/privacy-policy 

 

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Stephen Morgan MP ramps up pressure on the Tory government to ‘Stop Aquind’ in latest intervention

Stephen Morgan MP has urged government ministers in Parliament today to reject and the ‘damaging and suspicious proposals’ of the AQUIND Interconnector Project.

The Portsmouth representative was raising his constituents concerns again about AQUIND’s finances and the reported influence its leaders have over government ministers during Business questions in the House of Commons.

It comes following the launch of Mr Morgan’s public petition last weekend, calling on Parliament to urge the government to halt the unpopular infrastructure project.

The petition is open to any UK resident, with no age restrictions.

The Portsmouth MP is set to present the petition to Parliament in the coming weeks and is urging as many constituents as possible to add their signature.

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

“AQUIND would be a disaster for Portsmouth. It would create untold disruption to our city’s communities and natural environment, while bringing no clear benefits.

“With serious concerns about the company itself, its murky financing and the influence of its leaders on the Conservative Party, significant questions are being raised.

“That’s why today in Parliament I wanted to speak up again for my constituents on this important issue.

“With the Conservative Secretary of State absent for my appeal, and a non-answer from his junior minister, I hope the Government will finally listen to our city’s objections and stop AQUIND.”

The MP’s latest parliamentary intervention was backed by Labour’s frontbench during oral questions in the House of Commons.

Shadow Energy Minister Alan Whitehead MP adding at the Despatch Box:

“Is the minister aware that we are talking about a company that, as its sole activity is proposing to build an interconnector with France, but has attempted to get itself exempted from all the rules governing interconnectors, is now extraordinarily seeking government backing to trash parts of Portsmouth to land its cable.

“But throughout all this has never traded and is completely reliant for its existence on loans from unnamed overseas companies: but it has been active as a company in one other thing, and that is giving huge donations to the Conservative Party and a number of its MPs to the tune of £1,100,000 either from the company itself, or through the good offices of its part owner.

“And now perhaps in return, it wants the government to support its rackety scheme through the Secretary of State personally approving its planning application.

“This whole thing stinks. I would ask ministers to call a halt to this seedy enterprise and certainly not endorse it’s wild and inappropriate planning proposals.”

From a very early stage, Mr Morgan has taken a range of actions to help halt plans for the largescale infrastructure project, including giving evidence to the Planning Inspectorate expressing his concerns, tabling a number of written parliamentary questions and writing a number of letters to relevant Ministers. His campaign to stop AQUIND continue.

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AQUIND: Portsmouth MP launches petition to stop ‘disastrous’ infrastructure project alongside campaign group

Stephen Morgan MP has launched a public petition to secure a debate in Parliament to stop the ‘damaging’ AQUIND interconnector project from being approved by government.

The local representative – who has long-opposed the controversial project – has set up the petition alongside the local ‘STOP AQUIND’ campaign, which will be running its ‘Walk the Route’ event today (Sunday 4 July 2021).

Those who wish to join the walk can walk part of or the full 12-mile proposed route of the cable project, starting at 10am at Fort Cumberland.

The MP’s petition, which can be signed by any UK resident, calls on the government to reject the project, citing the huge damage it would do to the local infrastructure and environment, as well as ongoing concerns surrounding the project company and its directors.

The Portsmouth MP is set to present the petition to Parliament in the coming weeks.

The project company has received heavy criticism over its opaque financial structure and previous donations with backers of the project to the Conservatives, disruption to the local environment it could cause and conflicts of interest of the recently appointed chair of the universities regulator, Lord Wharton.

Following its inquiry, during which Mr Morgan voiced the concerns of constituents, the Planning Inspectorate has now made its recommendation to Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The Conservative Minister now has just under three months to make a final decision on whether to approve the project.

Stephen Morgan MP, commented:

“AQUIND would be a disaster for Portsmouth. It would create untold disruption to our City’s roads and natural environment, while bringing no clear benefits.

“Portsmouth residents’ voices deserve to be heard. That’s why I have launched my petition today, urging it to call on the Ministers to reject these damaging proposals.

“I urge all Portsmouth people, to sign my petition to make sure Ministers hear their concerns directly. We can, and we will, stop AQUIND.”

A spokesperson for the ‘Let’s Stop Aquind’ campaign, Viola Langley, also said:

“Our city should not be ripped apart to accommodate this highly damaging project.

“Our energy supply, our cyber security, our environment and our health are threatened.

“We say no to this cronyism, no to private profit, no to threat to our environment, no to threat to our health.”

Forms to sign the petition can be accessed here, which will then need to be printed, signed and sent to his constituency office at 72 Albert Road, Southsea PO5 2SL

 

 

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AQUIND: Sign Stephen’s petition

It is time the Conservative Minister who will be making the decision on whether or not the AQUIND development goes ahead hears the strength of feeling on this issue from our city. 

That’s why Stephen is asking you to put your name to his public petition and to encourage your friends and neighbours to do so too.

The public petition will secure a debate in Parliament and call on the Government to think again on the AQUIND project.

What you need to do:

  • Click here to download and print the petition form
  • Provide your name, address, postcode and signature
  • Pass the form to friends and neighbours
  • Send the completed form to the constituency office at 72 Albert Road, Southsea PO5 2SL or stick it through the letterbox as soon as possible.

Please note parliamentary rules sadly mean these forms cannot be filled in or sent online and must be done by hand – the good old fashioned way!

By working together we can, and we will, STOP AQUIND.