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City MP ‘slams’ Home Secretary for awarding zero percent pay rise to Police

Stephen Morgan MP has today written to the Home Secretary saying that her position is “untenable” following a vote of no confidence from the Police Federation, and demanded action on police pay while setting out key areas in which Priti Patel has failed the police. 

The letter follows the Police Federation of England and Wales declaring yesterday it had ‘no confidence’ in the Home Secretary due to her failure to allow the Police Remuneration Review Body to consider awarding a pay increase to Police Officers. 

This is not the first time that the police have been let down by the Home Secretary. During the early stages of the vaccine rollout, the Home Secretary publicly stated that police officers should be prioritised for receiving the vaccine.

When it was revealed that age and vulnerability, and not profession, would be prioritised for vaccine roll-out, the Police Federation stated that they felt a “deep sense of betrayal”. 

In recent weeks, the Home Secretary has been accused of misleading the House of Commons when she said that she had consulted the Police Federation in the work of developing the Clauses relating to Public Order in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

Yet the Police Federation have confirmed that they had never provided either a written submission or been consulted upon the issues of protest. 

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill also legislates for the creation of a Police Covenant. Labour has long argued that it is inappropriate for a Government Minister to Chair the Police Covenant.

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

“It is the height of hypocrisy for the Home Secretary to praise the police in public with warm words, but let them down so badly when it comes to meaningful action. So it is no surprise that the Police Federation have taken the extraordinary step of confirming that they have lost confidence in Priti Patel.

“Our local Police service is one of the most poorly supported by central government, but the Home Secretary’s recent actions makes her position now clearly untenable. Police deserve nothing less than urgent action from the Prime Minister, which must include opening negotiations on a fair police pay rise and work to reconstitute the Police Covenant.

“That is why I have written to the Home Secretary today to ensure this happens and will continue to lobby Government to secure the fair deal our police deserve.”

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Portsmouth MP doubles down to tackle local anti-social behaviour as he ‘welcomes’ national plan

Stephen Morgan MP has welcomed Labour’s national Safer Communities plan today, with pledges to crack down on anti-social behaviour and end violence against women and girls.

Slamming the “twisted priorities” of the Conservative Party, Starmer will reiterate Labour’s commitment to scrap Boris Johnson’s vanity yacht project and redirect the £283m cost to communities blighted by anti-social behaviour.

Over the coming weeks, Labour’s Safer Communities campaign will engage with residents up and down the country about antisocial behaviour in their community. The campaign will also outline how Labour would work towards ending violence against women and girls, and reform rights for victims of crime.

Highlighting the impact cuts to policing and justice under the Conservatives, Starmer will warn that “every person and every family have a basic right to feel safe in their community, but under the Conservatives things are only getting worse”.

Labour’s plans to change course and make our communities safer include:

  • A new £283m fund for areas blighted by high levels of anti-social behaviour, redirected from the Prime Minister’s vanity yacht project. The additional funding could be used for surge funding for police officer and PCSOs, for helping councils fund enforcement or to pay for additional CCTV.
  • Strengthening of legal protections for victims of anti-social behaviour to give victims of persistent, unresolved anti-social behaviour the same rights that the Labour Party is proposing to enshrine for victims of crime.
  • A set of proposals to end violence against women and girls, including increasing sentences for rape and stalking, reviewing sentencing for all domestic abuse, and better support for victims of rape and sexual violence – delivering where the Conservatives have failed to step up.

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

“The government’s priorities are completely backward. Instead of spending hundreds of millions of pounds on vanity projects, Labour would invest that money into tackling issues that matter to communities in Portsmouth and across the country.

“Our city has had historic problems in tackling anti-social behaviour and related issues, only made worse with one of the mostly poorly funded local police services in the country, but this plan would get Portsmouth back on track and has my full support.”

Keir Starmer MP, Leader of the Labour Party, also said:

“This summer, Labour will campaign for safer communities. That means more police to tackle crime, anti-social behaviour, and dangerous driving. It means restoring youth projects and treatment services, and it means real support for victims.

“Labour will always prioritise keeping you, your family and your community safe.”

In April, Mr Morgan joined up with ‘Operation Nautical’, a dedicated policing response to keep communities safe along Southsea seafront and neighbouring areas in Portsmouth this summer.

The Portsmouth representative also regularly joins the Police on local patrols and has lobbied Government for fairer Police funding for Portsmouth through a range of written parliamentary questions and letters to the Minister, and meets regularly to discuss concerns with the district commander. In May, the Portsmouth MP launched a petition to call on Government to get more bobbies on the beat in the city.

 

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City MP responds to 3% pay rise for some NHS staff

Responding to the government’s announcement that nurses and other NHS workers will receive a 3% pay rise, Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“Ministers have been dragged kicking and screaming to a 3% rise, which will still be bitterly disappointing for the NHS staff who cared for our City during the pandemic.

“Millions of other public sector staff including police, teachers, junior doctors, care workers and our armed forces will still face a real-terms pay cut this year.

“This was a moment to recognise and reward the service of our key workers, yet this government continues to squander taxpayers’ money on crony contracts and vanity projects.

“Ministers must get their priorities right. This is not just about money, it is a test of who we are as a nation.”

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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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Portsmouth MP catches up with YMCA after challenging year for local nurseries

Stephen Morgan MP has visited the local Portsea YMCA nursery, meeting with one of the leading early-years provider’s regional directors and its local manager, to discuss ongoing concerns about the stability of the sector.

YMCA is the largest charity provider of Early Years Education across England, working with 5,398 children each year across 83 childcare settings.

The charity is particularly focused on working in low income communities where families face multiple vulnerabilities and often need the greatest support.

Back in January, the Portsmouth MP wrote out to over 40 early years and childcare providers across his constituency to hear their views and concerns and was visiting the local nursery on Friday to follow-up on this work.

Many early years providers in the UK currently face financial uncertainty due to the impact of national Covid-19 restrictions.

According to a Coram report in December, 58 per cent of local authorities think that local childcare providers may close for good, leading to calls for immediate investment and clarity about future funding arrangements.

Earlier this year, Mr Morgan demanded the Education Ministerial team take action on funding for early years and childcare providers across the country during departmental questions in the House of Commons.

He also wrote to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson MP, outlining his priorities for local education in Portsmouth, including his concerns about the financial pressures nurseries are currently facing.

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

It’s great to be able to catch-up in person now with the YMCA to understand their views and concerns after what’s been an incredibly challenging period.

“It’s clear to see the fantastic work YMCA does for local families here in Portsmouth and across England, but along with many early-years providers across the country, they’ve been left behind by this government.

“The government has got to provide the support that is required for local early-years providers that has been woefully lacking this past year, to ensure young people catch-up on crucial early-life development, as well as make sure young families are able to get back to work and be part of our recovery from this crisis.”

The Portsmouth representative has vowed to continue to work on behalf of early-years education providers to secure the support and funding they need.

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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 demands assurances of human rights commitments in future trade deals

Stephen Morgan MP has demanded the government provides assurances it will not deviate from its human rights commitments in future trade deals, as it did this week on its promise of spending 0.7% of Gross National Income on Official Development Assistance (ODA).

The Portsmouth representative was speaking in the House of Commons today during departmental international trade questions.

Since 1995, successive UK governments have believed in principle that all new trade treaties should contain “essential elements human rights clauses” making any treaty conditional on the commitments relating to human rights.

Despite this, the UK has recently begun trade negotiations for accession to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The CPTPP is a trade agreement between 11 countries (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam), covering 500 million people.

Meanwhile, the trade deal contains no clear, strong human rights protections, doing nothing to prevent Malaysia deporting more than 1,000 Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar in February.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, commented:

“The government’s promises simply aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.

“First its reneges on its minimum commitment for overseas aid, now its pushing ahead with striking trade deals with countries that have shocking human rights records.

“Trade with countries around the world will be crucial to our recovery from this crisis, but it cannot come at the cost of our core values. Government must ensure any future trade deals contain strong human rights protections and profit never comes before principle.”

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Shadow Defence Ministers visit Airbus Portsmouth to celebrate British built space success

Portsmouth South MP and Shadow Armed Forces Minister Stephen Morgan was joined by Labour’s Defence Spokesperson in the House of Lords, Lord Vernon Coaker, to visit Airbus’ facility in Portsmouth, the city’s major space hub.

Airbus builds and operates the UK’s military satellite communications system, providing unjammable mobile voice, video, internet and broadcast services to the country’s armed forces.

Delivered through the Skynet 5 constellation of four satellites, these services are also used by other militaries and governments, including NATO and the US. A new Skynet 6A satellite will be built in Portsmouth and its sister site, Stevenage, over the coming years.

Portsmouth is home to the UK’s largest clean room complex and anechoic chamber, where payloads for space and satellites systems are assembled and tested.

Airbus has racked up an accumulated 1,400 years in orbit since 1965 and every TV and satellite broadcast in the UK is served by one of their satellites.

Airbus employs more than 1,100 people in Portsmouth and takes on around ten apprentices each year in the city, offering them degree level qualifications alongside practical training.

The two Labour representatives toured facilities before sitting down with senior representatives of the company and trade unions.

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

“Airbus are pioneers of British-built success in space, defence and commercial aviation.

“The next era of space technology is not just about our national defence and research, it’s also about the creation and maintenance of high-skilled, well-paid jobs in Portsmouth and across the country.

“Ministers must prioritise investment in companies like Airbus if we are to truly level up all regions and nations of the UK, and that should start here in Portsmouth”.

Jo Sawford, Airbus Portsmouth Site Director, said:

“We are delighted to welcome Stephen and Lord Coaker to our site.

“We are incredibly proud of what we do in Portsmouth, contributing to hundreds of millions of pounds worth of UK exports, and supporting the UK’s armed forces through manufacturing the world-leading Skynet system.”

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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