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City MP backs local Portsmouth charity’s ‘Shrink the elephant’ campaign

Stephen Morgan MP has backed Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Service’s (PARCS) campaign to ‘shrink the elephant’, that aims to raise awareness of issues surrounding sexual abuse and challenge cultural norms that perpetuate abuse.

The charity argues sexual abuse can sometimes feel like the elephant in the room, and believes we all have the power to ‘shrink the elephant’.

The campaign comes as part of PARCS’ wider initiative ‘Project Catalyst’, that seeks to support and empower local young women in Portsmouth to become leaders in the reduction of violence and abuse against women and girls.

Stephen Morgan MP commented:

“I am proud to support PARCS’ important campaign to highlight the challenges survivors of sexual violence and domestic/sexual abuse face everyday.

The work of the entire team of PARCS and Project Catalyst is truly inspiring and I am keen to do all I can to offer the support they need.”

It was reported in late July that more than 40,000 calls and contacts were made to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline during the first three months of lockdown, most by women seeking help.

In June, calls and contacts were nearly 80% higher than usual, according to charity Refuge, which runs the helpline.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, added:

“I’m deeply concerned by the recent figures that have shown a worrying spike in cases of domestic abuse nationally, particularly during lockdown.

“As we head into the winter period and the risk of a second lockdown looms, it is incredibly vital these issues experienced both here in Portsmouth and nationally are raised in Parliament, and I will be doing just that in the coming weeks.”

Mr Morgan went to visit PARCS in his constituency ofPortsmouth South earlier this month, and has previously written to the Home Secretary earlier this year, highlighting the rise of domestic abuse in the UK during lockdown.

 

 

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Covid-19 update: Stephen Morgan MP’s recent parliamentary actions on testing

In recent days, Mr Morgan has been receiving an increasing number of enquiries about issues with Covid-19 testing and social care support.

He has recently asked the government to provide urgent answers on:

Mr Morgan is also awaiting answers from the government on distances travelled by constituents for testing, testing for our Armed Forces and the pandemic’s impact on both ports and schools.

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City MP reacts to ‘disappointing’ new court ruling stating pension age changes are not discriminatory

News has broken that the three senior judge’s ruling on the Court of Appeal challenge have found that despite feeling sympathy for WASPI campaigners, the state pension age did not amount to unlawful discrimination under EU or human rights law.

Committed WASPI supporter, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“It is highly disappointing that millions of women born in the 1950s have lost the Court of Appeal Challenge today, ruling that raising the state pension age did not amount to unlawful discrimination.

This is yet another kick in the teeth for a grassroots movement of inspiring women who have been fighting tooth and nail for justice.

The ruling is deeply disheartening, but we must not lose sight of who is responsible for the origins of this severe injustice. The way in which the Conservative Government has implemented the 1995 State Pension Act has caused turmoil for hundreds of thousands of people, hitting the most vulnerable hardest.

I have had the privilege of working with Portsmouth’s campaigners on this important issue for some time and will continue to support them in their fight for justice.”

Stephen Morgan MP has been a long-time supporter of the WASPI campaign. He has hosted local rallies, held meetings up in parliament, raised the issue through parliamentary questions, and regularly meets with local Solent WASPI organisers.

 

 

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Stephen Morgan MP demands Ministers extend Job Retention Scheme in House of Commons

During questions to the Department for Work and Pensions, city MP Stephen Morgan put pressure on the Government to extend the financial support available to those struggling during the pandemic.

Mr Morgan’s action in the House of Commons come as statistics reveal employment has decreased by 220,000 on the quarter. The largest quarterly decrease since 2009. While in July, there were 730,000 fewer people in paid employment compared with March 2020 and 114,000 fewer when compared with June 2020.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Unemployment is soaring, uptake in benefits has skyrocketed and experts say marginalised communities are bearing the brunt.

When employment is down to the lowest point in over a decade, the government must be ramping up support not removing the safety net.

The Government has been repeatedly warned that their one-size-fits-all approach to the job’s crisis will cost many their livelihoods, especially in communities like ours in Portsmouth.”

Concerns have been raised by Trade Unions, organisations such as Hospitality UK, and charities that the Job Retention Scheme is ending far too early.

Mr Morgan added:

“The latest Job Retention Scheme figures show that nearly 80% of workers in the accommodation and food services sector have been furloughed, a sector that employs many people in our community.

The furlough scheme is ending next month, yet we are still far from back to normal. Government must provide targeted support to those who are being hit hardest by this pandemic.”

The Portsmouth South MP has vowed to continue to put pressure on the government to end their blanket cessation to end to the furlough scheme.

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BLM event: The need to stand up for justice, equality and humanity

Statement from Stephen Morgan MP for Black Lives Matter protest on Statement 12 September 2020 in Portsmouth Guildhall Square:

“The Black Lives Matter movement in Portsmouth have been relentless in demanding change.

While I cannot be there physically with you today, know that stand I with you, in solidarity.

It has now been 140 days since the tragic killing of George Floyd.

It is vital that those in public office can offer more than just words when it comes to looking at progress since then. Working we others, we have made a start.

  • putting forward a motion and an amendment at full council to combat structural racism – which successfully passed
  • putting pressure on Ministers to halt the sale of riot control equipment to the USA, to prevent it being used against BLM protestors
  • working with ‘The Black Curriculum’ I have lobbied the Education Secretary to make Black History a core module
  • And, I am supporting Baroness Lawrence’s review into the disproportionate effect of Covid on BAME communities and will fight for the recommendations to be implemented

We must recognise that George Floyd’s killing was not a one-off event. The violence and structural racism that led to his death still exists. And it must be drummed out. Part of that recognition, is understanding Britain’s role in the systematic racism that we see today.

The Black Lives Matter movement is just as important here as it is across the Atlantic. And that is why I commend your efforts today.

We must continue to work together, demanding change and pushing for progress.

There is still a great deal of work we must do. I look forward to continuing to fight alongside you in bringing about the changes that our communities need.

So, on behalf of Portsmouth I thank you for standing up for justice, equality and humanity”.

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Stephen Morgan MP calls for greater support for pubs as new figures show over 5,500 closures in last decade

Stephen Morgan MP has called for the government to ramp up national support for pubs, as new figures reveal over 5,500 pubs have closed in the past decade. The equivalent of one pub or bar every 14 hours.

This comes during a particularly difficult period for the hospitality sector, following the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of pubs and bars has fallen in every region and nation of the UK. The opposition is today warning that the government risk further closures of pubs and bars, accelerating job losses and damaging high streets and night life across the country, if they press ahead with their blanket withdrawal of the furlough scheme.

Stephen Morgan MP said,

“Public houses and bars both in Portsmouth and across the country are incredibly important support hubs for local high street businesses, as well as being the social fabric of communities.

“The government’s negligence to support pubs and the wider hospitality sector over the last decade has been made clear by its stubbornness to not move to a more sensible, targeted furlough scheme for the hardest hit sectors.”

From 2010 to 2019, the number of pubs and bars in the UK has fallen from 44,680 to 39,145, a drop over 5,500 (12%). Meanwhile in the South East, the number of pubs and bars has fallen by a higher rate of 14%, from 6,195 to 5,340, an overall drop of around 855 closures.

Mr Morgan added,

“Here in the South East we have seen a higher than national average of closures of pubs and bars in the past decade, and I am determined to do everything I can to support the hospitality sector through this crisis and beyond, including ensuring the government sticks to its promise in ‘levelling up’.”

Mr Morgan has previously called for greater support for the hospitality sector of Portsmouth, following the impacts on local businesses due to Covid-19.

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Have your say on Covid-19 testing 

News reports from across the country are increasingly identifying the problems with the Government’s Covid-19 testing arrangements with ill people struggling to access a test or told to travel miles and miles. 

Stephen Morgan MP is calling on Ministers to urgently fix and expand testing systems, ensure contract tracing is improved and delivered by Public Health, and support is given to those who need to isolate in our city. 

As more and more people get in touch about the Government’s handling of the testing system, Stephen is keen to hear from constituents about their experiences so he can continue to lobby Ministers for urgent improvements. 

Please use this short form to have your say. 

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City MP calls for Portsmouth FC fans to share their views on the future of football

Stephen Morgan MP has called for Portsmouth FC fans to take part in an online discussion to share their views on what improvements need to be made for the future of the wider national game. The online hour-long discussion will take place on Thursday 10 September at 6:15pm. You can register for the call here.

The event has been organised and will be attended by Shadow Secretary of State for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, Jo Stevens MP, Shadow Sports Minister, Alison McGovern MP and Stephen Morgan MP. The key focuses of the discussion will be:

• Supporter representation within clubs and the wider game

• How their club is dealing with the ongoing Covid-19 situation

• Previous experiences and fan priorities for the future of the game

This comes as Covid-19 continues to put huge financial pressure on Football League clubs. The new football season approaches with increasingly more clubs struggling financially.

Across the country fans have felt their voices are not being heard or their views not listened to.

Mr Morgan commented:

“For many areas across the country, local football clubs are the beating heart of their communities. Whether that be through local support initiatives for vulnerable people, the economic benefits in terms of income and jobs or just simply providing a chance to escape for ninety minutes.

“However, in recent years, we’ve seen increasing concerns from football fans across England that their views are not being heard and a fading connection between them and their clubs.”

There have also been growing concerns around the management of club owners and prominent cases of clubs entering administration, most notably Wigan AFC and Bury FC.

Stephen Morgan MP added:

“There have been serious causes for concern of late of how clubs like Wigan can enter administration, despite their stature in both the community and football league.

“It is vital for football fans to have their say on this issue and I encourage as many Portsmouth fans who can to take part in this important discussion.”

Mr Morgan recently visited the CEO of Portsmouth FC, Mark Catlin, and Director of Projects for Pompey in the Community, Clare Martin, to get an update on their recent work and future plans.

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The climate emergency: Government must act with far greater urgency and ambition

Portsmouth people know that I very much agree that we need urgent action on the climate and ecological emergency. That is why it is a priority for me in the work I do locally for Portsmouth and in Parliament. And with the challenges we face and with the climate emergency we have declared in our city, we need more than words, but deeds.

The flash floods, deadly landslides, and wildfires we have seen over recent years make clear that climate breakdown is not a distant threat but something that is happening here and now. Yet while Parliament declared an environment and climate emergency in May last year, our government are simply not responding as the situation requires.

The Government maintains that it intends to decarbonise the UK economy and that it is taking steps to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. But as the Committee on Climate Change’s most recent progress report makes clear, the gulf between the government’s rhetoric on climate action and the reality is vast. Not only are Ministers set to miss the 2050 target that Parliament legislated for just over a year ago, they are not even on track to meet the less ambitious one that preceded it.

Confronted by this unfolding emergency, I am clear that 2050 is too late for the UK to end its contribution to climate breakdown and runaway global heating. According to the UN, we have less than ten years left to avoid the worst impacts of catastrophic climate change. The government must act with far greater urgency and ambition.

Labour is determined that the UK must show global leadership on this issue, and that means starting with ambitious action at home. I believe we should aim to achieve the substantial majority of our emissions reductions by 2030 and that we need to do so through a world-leading Green New Deal.

As such, I support many of the aims set out in the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill which, as you may know, is a Presentation Bill (one that does not involve a debate or a vote in parliament, but is a way of drawing attention to an issue that requires a change in the law).

Labour will also be developing our own parliamentary agenda on the climate emergency, in consultation with our members, the climate movement, trade unions, businesses, and communities across the country, which will include many of the principles laid out in this Bill.

More immediately, my focus is on ensuring that the government seizes the once-in-a-generation opportunity presented by the need to rebuild in the aftermath of the pandemic to rapidly decarbonise our economy through a green recovery. Seizing that opportunity, as other advanced economies are doing, requires more than rhetoric from Ministers. It requires a plan.

We need that plan now so that we can invest in the green industries of the future, put people back to work in good, green jobs across the country, and support workers and communities as we make the transition to a low-carbon and socially-just economy. With a plan like that, we can raise our domestic climate ambition with a significantly enhanced 2030 emissions reduction target and demonstrate real leadership as the host of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow next year.

Whilst Labour will be outlining a vision for a Green Recovery in the coming months, I can assure you that I will continue to push for the above, and more widely for bold action to tackle the climate and ecological emergency at every opportunity.

It is what the people of Portsmouth, and future generations, expect me to do. If you have views or ideas to help make this a reality, as always, please get in touch.

Stephen Morgan MP

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Stephen Morgan MP calls for local fishing communities’ interests to be placed at the heart of Fisheries Bill

Stephen Morgan MP has urged the government to ensure that it delivers on its promises to UK fishing communities in making the UK fishing industry economically & environmentally sustainable. This comes ahead of the Fisheries Bill debate scheduled in the House of Commons today.

The Fisheries Bill establishes the legal framework for managing UK fisheries as an independent coastal state under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982, after leaving the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy at the end of the Brexit Transition (11pm on 31 December 2020).

In the UK, we export most of what we catch and import most of what we eat (80% of UK fish landings are exported).

The Government has always had the power to redistribute share of UK’s quota but has chosen not to, despite small vessel owners facing severe financial hardship over the years.

For example, 50% of the English quota is held by companies based overseas; the small scale fleet holds only 6%; and the five largest quota-holders control more than a 1/3 of the UK fishing quota, with four owned by families on the Sunday Times Rich List.

Mr Morgan said:

“This government has left our coastal communities – like ours here in Portsmouth – suffering for too long from poor transport infrastructure and lack of economic opportunities.

It’s high time these treasured communities see a coastal renaissance and get the deal they richly deserve.”

Reportedly, Covid-19 hit seafood export markets hard. The price of fish fell through the floor, in some cases by 85%, leaving fishing businesses facing huge financial hardship.

Stephen Morgan MP added:

“With the impact of Covid-19 having a particular heavy impact on fishers, it is now more important than ever the government get this right and ensures the industry is economically and environmentally sustainable.”