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Russia sanctions British MPs: City MP responds

Responding to news that the Portsmouth South MP has been sanctioned by Putin’s Russia for speaking up for democracy and the rights and freedoms of the people of Ukraine, Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“This is a badge of honour as far as I am concerned.

“Since Russia’s brutal and illegal invasion I have stood proudly with the people of Ukraine who are bravely defending their country.

“I’ll also continue to raise concerns in the Commons about the influence of Putin-linked oligarchs and donations to the Tories, as well as our city’s opposition to the disastrous Aquind project.

“Putin’s bully boy tactics won’t stop me from standing up for the values of freedom and democracy in Parliament. That’s what the people of Portsmouth expect me to do”.

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City MP meets refugees with Portsmouth charity City of Sanctuary

Stephen Morgan MP has met with local refugees during a meeting with charity Portsmouth City of Sanctuary.

During his visit, the City MP also toured some of the facilities used by the charity to support refugees with their cases, as well as meeting Trustee and Founder, Shamila Dhana, to discuss ongoing issues and challenges.

Portsmouth City of Sanctuary runs a number of projects in Portsmouth for asylum seekers and refugees, including projects to promote integration, reduce social isolation for migrants in the city, build skills, empower, and promote friendship, volunteering and well-being amongst migrants.

The organisation is currently running gardening projects, bicycle projects, walks, dance sessions, and football sessions in the city.

It comes following the government’s announcement of its intention to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing, despite the Refugee Minister Richard Harrington MP saying only the week before that there was ‘no possibility’ of it happening.

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

“The work Portsmouth City of Sanctuary is doing is vital, helping to ensure the city plays its part to support those fleeing persecution.

“It was useful to meet with refugees here in Portsmouth, and speaking to them it is clear government needs to do more to support them and their families, who have been forced into such desperate circumstances.

“I was also really grateful for the opportunity to speak with Shamila and her team to learn more about the current issues and challenges they face.”

The city MP is backing the charity in encouraging local people to donate any women’s bicycles to support asylum seekers and an ask for more volunteers to help with English classes. If any constituent can help in this way they should get in touch with Mr Morgan or the City of Sanctuary team directly.

Following a number of local groups and constituents getting in touch with Mr Morgan about the government’s proposed Rwanda Asylum Processing Plan and announced changes to the Border Force,  the city MP commented:

“The proposal to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda is a desperate and shameful attempt by Mr Johnson to distract from his own law breaking.

“It is an unworkable, unethical and extortionate policy that would cost the UK taxpayer billions of pounds during a cost-of-living crisis, and would make it harder not easier to get fast and fair asylum decisions.

“The Royal Navy are critical to our defence and national security, and should be left to concentrate on the growing threat from Russia, not forced to fix the failures of Conservative ministers.”

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City MP joins call for emergency protection visa to speed up help for Ukraine

Stephen Morgan MP has joined calls on the government to create a simple emergency visa for all Ukrainians that need sanctuary and protection in the UK, helping to end the ongoing confusion over its policy on refugees fleeing Putin’s war.

 

The government repeatedly promised this week that the UK will join other countries in providing protection for those who have fled the Russian bombardment in Ukraine.  

  

However, despite the commitments made by the Prime Minister and Home Secretary on sanctuary, Labour warns the “rhetoric does not match the reality”. 

 

On Tuesday, following pressure from Labour and from communities across the country, the Home Office agreed to widen the Family Migration Visa for Ukraine and promised to establish a community sponsorship scheme open to all. But many relatives of UK residents still do not qualify under the family visa, the community sponsorship programme will take time to set up, and there is still no provision for people in Britain to help Ukrainian friends.   

   

Labour is calling for the Home Office to end the confusion of the past week and urgently introduce emergency protection visas for those fleeing Ukraine who want to reach the UK. It would lift normal visa conditions other than biometrics and security checks which can be swiftly done en route. This would provide a quick, simple and safe route to sanctuary for all who need it – going beyond the current family provisions and ensuring that those fleeing war are not forced to apply through standard visa channels.   

  

Labour is also urging the government to set up an emergency taskforce to accelerate the sponsorship scheme, and work with charities and local government, to ensure that there is adequate support for all Ukrainians when they arrive, especially elderly people and children. These changes would allow families to get protection and sanctuary in the UK swiftly and safely, without the Home Office throwing long delays or barriers in their way at a time of unimaginable trauma and crisis.

 

The latest action by the city MP follows his lobbying of the Immigration Minister earlier this week, with Mr Morgan writing to the Government about issues raised by constituents.

 

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

Whilst Ukrainian families continue to flee Putin’s war, the government has dithered and delayed in offering a clear plan to support those in urgent need of sanctuary and protection.

 

“So far, we have seen piecemeal progress from Ministers to deliver this, but Labour’s plan would provide a quick, simple and secure route to safety for all who need it.

 

“In times of need, Britain has stepped up to support our European friends and allies where we can. This plan will do this once again. Minister must now stop dragging their heels and implement it now.”

Yvette Cooper MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, said:

“Families fleeing conflict in Ukraine need urgent help right now to reach safety and get support. We’ve all heard the harrowing stories from those driven out by the Russian bombardment who are now desperate to reach friends or family here who can support them. The UK must not turn those Ukrainians away. 

 

“People need a simple and safe route to sanctuary right now. Most want to stay close to home, especially those who have had to leave relatives behind, but the UK must play its part to help people seeking support and safety in our country too.

“Despite Government announcements, desperate families are finding that the rhetoric doesn’t match the reality. They cannot wait for the Home Secretary’s slow and piecemeal approach which just doesn’t match the urgency of this crisis. Ukrainians need help right now to reach safety.”

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Portsmouth MP joins ‘inspirational’ charity sending supplies to Ukrainian families

Stephen Morgan MP joined ‘inspirational’ local charity Parenting Network as the organisation packed final supplies to be sent to Ukrainian families this weekend.

Based in the Portsmouth Guildhall, Parenting Network has gathered more than 500 boxes of essential supplies in a single day following a call for support.

So far, more than £3,000 in funding has been raised, and all donated supplies are planned to be sent to the Polish-Ukrainian border later this week.

Matt Foster, chief executive of the charity, will be leading the contingent of three people to eastern Europe, making sure the aid reaches those who need it.

Packages include blankets, nappies, baby wipes, toiletries, baby comforters, sanitary items and other essentials.

All financial donations will go to buying more aid items when the team is on the Polish-Ukrainian border, or to fuel the lorries transporting the parcels.

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

 Portsmouth has been deeply moved by the suffering caused by the unprovoked and unjustifiable attack on Ukraine and its citizens, and I have received so many enquiries from constituents wanting to know how they can show their solidarity and support.

“The generosity of our city always shines through in times of crises.

“That’s why I am so pleased that our city’s own Parenting Network are bringing people together to help deliver essential supplies to the people of Ukraine.

“I’ve been promoting opportunities for local people to give what they can and was glad to see first-hand this evening how they are working to pack their final donations.

“My huge thanks to Matt and his team for helping our city support the people of Ukraine in their hour of need.”

To donate, please visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/aid4ukraine

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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: Stephen Morgan MP responds

Many of you have contacted me in the last few days regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. I know that, like me, you will have been deeply moved by the suffering caused by this unprovoked and unjustifiable attack.

I wanted to set out Labour’s views on this important issue and answer some of the specific questions constituents have asked me in the last few days.

Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine is an unprovoked and unjustifiable outrage that is having tragic consequences for Ukraine and its people. It is a heinous violation of international law that breaks multiple treaties and commitments, including the fundamental principles of the UN Charter. It should be utterly condemned by all nations.

We must now ensure that our Government stands up to dictators and tyrants and stands in solidarity with Ukrainians as they defend their homeland. There can be no space for equivocation when faced with the evil that Putin has unleashed. His actions pose a grave threat to the international order on which we all depend.

NATO and military assistance

The Labour Party’s commitment to NATO is unshakeable – and the alliance has strongly condemned Putin’s actions. We must move in lockstep with our NATO allies, and take steps to reinforce NATO members on the Eastern flank. The Government has Labour’s full support to do this. It is right that Britain has provided support to Ukraine to defend itself – and this should continue.

It is clear that Ukranians intend to defend their country and we must continue to support them in this endeavour.

The UK has already sent defensive assistance to the country – and this has included anti-tank weapons systems, body armour, helmets and boots. We should respond to specific requests from the Ukrainian Government for assistance – which has been the basis for our previous support, as well as coordinate support with our allies.

Sanctions

The sanctions package announced by the government contains measures that are good in principle, but the rhetoric must match the reality as we scrutinise the details, and Labour believes there is more that could be done.

The influence of corrupt Russian money must be extricated from the UK.  Despite warning after warning, the Government has been asleep at the wheel and failed to act, leaving Britain as the destination of choice for kleptocrats who hide their wealth under our noses. It should not have taken an invasion of Ukraine for the government to take action. This must mark a turning point.

The government must now bring forward the urgent measures that Labour have repeatedly called for, ending the impunity that oligarchs have enjoyed, reforming Companies House to crack down on the shell companies that hide suspect wealth, introducing an Overseas Entities Bill to lift the veil on property ownership, and finally bringing forward the Economic Crime Bill that has been delayed.

Refuge

The sad reality is millions have already been displaced and this is likely to worsen in the weeks and months ahead. The Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary must coordinate urgently with our allies, with the UN and with neighbouring countries to offer urgent humanitarian assistance, and support for those crossing the border, to ensure they can leave as safely as possible.

Alongside countries across Europe and across the world we need to make all the necessary preparations to ensure that those who are fleeing conflict can find safety and sanctuary. It is unacceptable that the Home Office is continuing to impose stringent visa requirements on those fleeing war, including the families of British citizens. A safe sanctuary route should be established immediately.

Portsmouth has a well-established reputation as a place of sanctuary. Last year, I was pleased to meet some of the families that were evacuated from Afghanistan as part of Operation Pitting. I have written to the Immigration Minister to reinforce Labour’s calls for the introduction of a safe and legal sanctuary route without further delay.

Frequently asked questions:

How would Labour go further on sanctions?

There is more we can do to cut Putin’s rogue regime out of our financial system.

We are urging the government to widen export controls to include luxury goods, widen the number of banks prevented from accessing sterling, sanction an expanded list of oligarchs and cronies and increase the pace at which individuals and entities are designated, expand sectoral sanctions to cover insurance and further limit the supply of goods, services and technology to the energy sector and other strategic sectors of the Russian economy, apply sanctions to wealth held under the name of family members.

Will this end with UK or NATO troops being sent to Ukraine?

UK or NATO troops will not be deployed to Ukraine. NATO’s Secretary General has been clear about that and said there are no NATO forces in Ukraine. Ukraine is not a NATO member and is not covered by Article 5’s mutual security guarantee.

But we should be absolutely clear about our commitment to the security of NATO allies, many of whom feel threatened by Russia, and we should bolster and reinforce our NATO allies, especially on the Eastern Flank. The Government has our full support to do that. It is also right that Britain continues to provide assistance to help Ukraine defend itself.

What is Labour saying needs to happen to assist in the humanitarian crisis?

The government must urgently prepare humanitarian support for Ukraine, and for neighbours and partners on its borders.

Estimates suggest there are already 2.9 million people in need and this number is likely to rise fast as more areas are targeted. There is a risk of large-scale displacement of people and flows of refugees out of the country fleeing the conflict.

We need the government to urgently provide details on the scale of aid it is providing to support the Ukrainian people at their hour of need.

Russia must grant full and unfettered humanitarian access to the International Red Cross, as it is required to under the Geneva Conventions and abide by the laws of armed conflict.

Does Labour support the government’s new sanctions?

Labour wants to see the strongest possible sanctions as fast as possible to effectively freeze the Russian regime out of our economic system. It’s important that there is unity across our allies and partners in hitting Putin incredibly hard.

A lot of the new sanctions measures that the government announced are good in principle, but the rhetoric must match the reality as we scrutinise the detail and we think the government can go further. Labour strongly welcomes the ban on trading sovereign debts and limiting access to financial markets, which we had been calling for. But the asset freeze designations seem incredibly slow. We would like the government to be moving faster than this and we hope they will in the coming days.

Hasn’t the west been weak in allowing this to happen in the first place?

These are the actions of an unhinged tyrant who has a total disregard for the health and wealth of the people of Russia and Ukraine.

We’re all saddened by this act of war, but we aren’t shocked. Putin has been responsible for conflict in regions of Ukraine since 2014, and he has been propping up authoritarians in the region for longer. Clearly it is a huge tragedy that he diplomatic process of the Minsk agreements have failed. Putin has reached the conclusion that the benefits of invasion have outweighed the costs.

We must work with our Allies across Europe, Nato and beyond to reach new security arrangements that ensure he will never make that calculation in the future.

With energy prices already up, will sanctions against Russia hurt the pockets of us at home?

Thankfully Britain is less exposed to this problem than our European neighbours.

Energy security is vital. We must work with our European allies to handle any disruption in the supply of energy and raw materials.

It is true that we are uniquely exposed to the global gas crisis because of a decade of Tory mismanagement. Gas storage has been cut and we’re reliant on imports. Homes are not insulated; and they’ve been slow on renewables and nuclear.

Is Labour committed to fundamental reform of our energy system?

Yes. That means reducing Britain’s reliance on imported gas by accelerating home-grown renewables and new nuclear.

Making sure 19 million homes are warm and well-insulated, saving households an average of £400 a year on their bills.

And regulating the market better, with a pledge to never again let energy companies play fast and loose with the rules.

Is this a breach of international law?

As NATO and the UN has said, this attack is a grave violation of international law, including the UN Charter, and is wholly contradictory to Russia’s commitments in the Helsinki Final Act, the Charter of Paris, the Budapest Memorandum and the NATO-Russia Founding Act.

It constitutes an act of aggression against an independent peaceful country.

 

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Shadow Armed Forces Minister: Army cuts are ‘huge gamble’ with our national security

Stephen Morgan has said that the Defence Secretary’s manifesto breaking cuts to the armed forces represent a ‘huge gamble’ with our national security.

The Shadow Armed Forces Minister’s warning came in response to the Defence Secretary’s statement to the House of Commons today, which confirmed the largest reorganisation of the army in a generation.

The army will be cut by 9,000 to 73,000 by 2025, its smallest since the Napoleonic era. The infantry will be reorganised into four divisions, meaning some existing brigades will be merged or deleted.

There will also be 33 site closures, including Alanbrooke Barracks at Topcliffe in North Yorkshire, severing historic and prosperous ties the Army has with communities up and down the UK.

A new elite unit of Rangers will be created to operate in complex, high threat environments as part of an Army Special Operations brigade.

The Defence Secretary claims the changes would “transform the Army into a more agile, integrated, lethal, expeditionary force”.

However, concerns have been raised by Labour and others that the changes are short-sighted against the backdrop of growing threats to the UK and its allies, not least on the Ukrainian border.

Responding to the Defence Secretary’s statement in the Commons, Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey raised fears the Government’s plan to reorganise the British Army leaves it too small, too thinly stretched and too poorly equipped to deal with the burgeoning state threats to the UK, and our allies.

Jack Watling of the influential defence and security think tank RUSI said ‘the British Army has essentially admitted that it cannot field a force for high-intensity combat for the best part of a decade’.

Portsmouth South MP and Shadow Armed Forces Minister Stephen Morgan said:

“The Government’s decision to cut the size of the British Army to its smallest since the Napoleonic era is a huge gamble with our national security.

“At a time when the threats faced by the UK and its allies are growing it is vital that we maintain the ability to reinforce Europe against Russia and be an effective warfighting partner to NATO allies. This demands high-end warfighting capabilities, not just light forces and cyber operations.

“Labour has committed to pausing, reviewing and reversing the cuts if necessary.”

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Afghanistan: Portsmouth MP delivers scathing attack on government during key debate in Parliament

Stephen Morgan MP accused the government of ‘damaging the UK’s international reputation’ due to the way it has handled its exit from Afghanistan during a key debate in Parliament today.

Representing the Official Opposition in his role as Shadow Armed Forces Minister, the Portsmouth MP blasted the government’s “complacency, mismanagement and diplomatic ineptitude”.

He added that Minister’s handling of the crisis had damaged the country’s international reputation, weakened UK national security, and jeopardised two decades of hard work and humanitarian progress in the country.

The Portsmouth MP also called for a cross-party joint committee to investigate the withdrawal from Afghanistan – from the Doha Agreement to the conclusion of Operation Pitting.

Armed forces personnel and civil servants involved in Operation Pitting were praised by the Shadow Minister during his speech. The evacuation airlifted over 15,000 people in 14 days and was the largest operation of its kind since the Second World War.

But Mr Morgan said they had been “lions led by donkeys” and further criticised the government for its failure to prepare for the end of the drawdown in the 18 months following the Doha agreement.

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

“The events in Afghanistan were a fundamental test of this government and its leadership.

“The character of our country is defined by how we respond to these moments.

“Once again, Conservative ministers were found to be out of touch and on the beach.

“That’s why I’ve called for a cross-party joint committee to investigate the withdrawal from Afghanistan so we can learn the lessons of the government’s failures to ensure they never happen again.”

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‘The character of our country is defined by how we respond to these moments’ says City MP on Afghanistan debate

Today (Wednesday 18 August 2021) Parliament was recalled to allow MPs to receive an update from the Government on the shocking and worsening situation in Afghanistan.

Speaking in the debate, Keir Starmer MP, Leader of the Opposition, said:

“20 years ago, the Taliban were largely in control of Afghanistan. Al Qaida were using the country as a training ground and a base for terror – including plotting the horrific 9/11 attack.

“There were widespread human rights abuses. Girls were denied an education, women could not work. Being gay was punishable by death. All imposed without democracy.

“Since then, a fragile democracy emerged.

“It was by no means perfect, but no international terrorist attacks have been mounted from Afghanistan in that period; women have gained liberty and won office; schools and clinics have been built. And Afghans have allowed themselves to dream of a better future.

“Those achievements were born of sacrifice. Sacrifice by the Afghan people who fought bravely alongside their NATO allies. And British sacrifice.

“Over 150,000 UK personnel have served in Afghanistan including Members across this House.”

Responding to the Prime Minister’s statement during the emergency debate, the Shadow Armed Forces Minister and Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan, said:

I know many members of the Armed Forces Community in Portsmouth and further afield will be deeply distressed by the reports of the rapidly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.

“The sacrifices of British personnel, alongside the Afghan people and NATO allies, allowed for something that for many Afghans was not previously possible – to dream of a better future.

“Today the Prime Minister had the opportunity to reassure UK personnel who served in Afghanistan and worked to secure that future that their work will not be undone – but his statement offered little.

“The government’s failure is a dereliction of duty to the Afghan people, the 150,000 British personnel who served and the 457 who did not return home.

“What is happening in Afghanistan will have a profound impact on the mental health of many veterans, which we have known for some time is already in desperate need of addressing.

“This must be a wake-up call by Government to better understand, and better invest, in mental health support for our armed forces personnel and veterans.

“Keir Starmer was right today to say that mental health services for veterans must improve. The Prime Minister had little to say on the matter.

“I will be doing all I can to demand answers on what the government will be doing to address what I fear is an impending spike in mental health cases within the Armed Forces Community.

“I encourage any member of the Armed Forces Community who has been struggling with their mental health in recent days to contact Help for Heroes, the Royal British Legion or All Call Signs, who will be on hand to provide the support that’s needed.

”You are not alone.”

In recent days the city MP has heard from many constituents with regards to the risks faced by UK nationals in Afghanistan, the implications of recent events on human rights and the unfolding humanitarian crisis.

The MP has already spoken with a number of local groups and the city council with regards to resettling Afghan families in the city and continues to help support this.

On the recently announced new resettlement scheme for Afghan refugees, the Portsmouth MP added:

“The latest resettlement scheme proposal by Government does not meet the scale of the challenge or complexities being faced, with the separate scheme for Afghan interpreters already far behind schedule.

“Not only does this risk leaving people in Afghanistan in deadly danger, it will also undermine the leadership role Britain must play in persuading international partners to live up to their responsibilities.

“In recent days, many of my constituents have shared with me their concerns for those fleeing the country in fear of persecution – or even death – seeking sanctuary in the UK. I will continue to help on these matters with the urgency they deserve.

“Soldiers and diplomats must be given the resources that they need and clear routes to safety must be established and expedited, both for Afghan refugees and those who have worked with Britain.”

Commenting on the Government’s lack of a plan to address the unfolding crisis, Stephen Morgan MP also said:

“The character of our country is defined by how we respond to these moments. We must now ensure our city and our country plays its part in providing a safe haven for families in need of safety. We all have a role to play and must be held to account – including the government.

“The scale of the refugee crisis will require an international response. 18.4 million people in Afghanistan already require humanitarian assistance and there is a real risk that this humanitarian disaster will get worse, particularly for women and girls.

“That response starts by the UK urgently ramping up humanitarian and development support for those who need it most and working with trusted partners who are already embedded in the country to deliver that vital support, so it reaches Afghans in need.

“With Portsmouth a proud city of sanctuary I know our communities will want to go above and beyond to help those needing support at this desperate time.”

 

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Afghanistan: Statement from Stephen Morgan MP

A number of constituents have contacted me with regards to recent events in Afghanistan which, as news reports show, are very distressing and of real concern.

The situation in Afghanistan is shocking and worsening by the hour. It is clear to me that there has been a catastrophic miscalculation of the capacity and legitimacy of the Afghan government and the resilience of Afghan forces which has led to this disaster. 

We now face the tragic rollback of those gains that UK troops, diplomats and charity workers, and their coalition and Afghan partners, have worked so hard for.  Whilst my thoughts are with the Afghan people, ahead of Parliament being recalled I believe there are very serious questions about the failed political and development strategy of the last ten years. 

In the House of Commons on Wednesday we can expect a statement from the Prime Minister, and a response from the Leader of the Opposition. I will be attending Parliament for this important debate.

The priority of the Government must now must be for the Ministers to accelerate efforts to get UK nationals and eligible Afghans out of the country. Labour strongly support the deployment of troops to Kabul to provide security and capacity to do this, and as shadow armed forces minister, I will do what I can to assist with this.

Portsmouth is making preparations to support those who helped UK Forces, and their families, settle here. This is very welcome, and I have spoken with the city council to offer my support with this and ensure our city goes above and beyond to support families in need.

However, I believe government has so far been far too slow to provide sanctuary to those Afghans who have served alongside and supported the British presence in Afghanistan. This is a shameful dereliction of duty. Even now, there are reports of Afghans facing unacceptable bureaucratic hurdles, which I have been raising with Ministers and in the media, and the Foreign Office suspending scholarships for young Afghans.

That’s why I am calling for our resettlement scheme to urgently be expanded to ensure people to whom we owe a huge debt are not abandoned. The Taliban’s return is also likely to lead to a refugee crisis. The UK Government must put in place specific safe and legal asylum routes and help support Afghans who are fleeing to neighbouring states. 

Keir Starmer has also said the government must immediately consult with our allies in NATO and key countries in the region about the implications of the collapse of the Afghan government. I agree with this approach. There needs to be a coordinated strategy from the international community to the changing situation on the ground, and a plan to try to protect the gains made in the last 20 years on human rights. 

Some constituents have raised with me the real risk of a humanitarian disaster, particularly for women and girls. It is utterly shameful that the government has slashed development support to the country by 45% just as it faces a grave crisis. The UK must show it is taking immediate steps to ensure aid can reach those in need and prevent a humanitarian crisis. Given the advance of the Taliban and the evacuation of NGO, UN and British staff this is a complex and difficult task, and one which will require a coordinated international effort to achieve. 

The government has been silent as Afghanistan collapses, and this cannot continue which is why I welcome the call to recall Parliament and with urgency.

The government must use this important opportunity to explain to all MPs how it plans to work with allies to avoid a humanitarian crisis and lay out a strategy to prevent Afghanistan becoming once again a safe haven and operational hub for international terrorism that threatens our national security.

Stephen Morgan MP

 

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City MP calls on Government to reverse aid cuts

Stephen Morgan MP has today called on the Government to ‘do the right thing’ and reverse cuts to the aid budget.  

Despite being announced as a key manifesto pledge, the Conservative Government announced last year that it would cut aid spending from 0.7% of the national income to 0.5% – a reduction of more than £4bn.

Britain is the only G7 nation to cut aid during this global crisis and now its allies are taking note.

Cutting the aid budget means:

  • Cutting funding by more than 70% to a research programme that tracked Covid variants, including the Indian variant.
  • Cuts to education programmes by 40% will result in 700,000 fewer girls receiving an education.
  • Researchers on a cutting-edge £15m programme aimed at advancing gender justice and security in 22 countries were told that they would only receive a third of their promised funding this year with less than four months’ notice, placing women and girls in low income countries “under the threat of violence”.

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

This Government is stubbornly refusing to reverse its decision over cuts that are callous, short-sighted and counter-productive.

“The aid budget is in place to support the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. In cutting this budget during a global crisis, the Conservative Government is retreating from our moral duty.

“Simply put, cutting access to clean water, quality education, and basic healthcare will lead thousands of people to die who would otherwise have lived. Government must think again.”

Preet Kaur Gill MP, Labour’s shadow international development secretary, also said: 

“The strength and depth of support for protecting the aid we send to help the world’s poorest is clear. 

“The Conservative Government is leaving the UK isolated by being the only country in the G7 to cut this budget while most are increasing. A failure to reverse the cuts would entirely undermine our ability to solve global challenges, from the pandemic to the climate crisis. 

“Rather than trying to evade another vote, the Government must end its retreat and reaffirm its commitment to spending 0.7% of national income with a clear timeline.”