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Partygate: Portsmouth MP backs investigation into whether PM lied to Parliament

Stephen Morgan MP has backed an investigation to be launched into whether the Prime Minister lied to Parliament on breaking covid laws in Downing Street.

Labour Leader Keir Starmer MP tabled a motion in the House of Commons today, with support of other opposition party leaders, to ask the Privileges Committee to investigate whether statements made by the Prime Minster about Downing Street Covid breaches deliberately misled MPs, which would amount to contempt of Parliament.

It comes after numerous statements made by the Prime Minster to the House of Commons about events in Downing Street which breached Covid laws, leading to the Metropolitan Police fining both him and Chancellor for.

The Privileges Committee polices the privileges of the Commons and has powers to hold people in contempt of Parliament. It has existed in some form since the 17th century to monitor the conduct of MPs and to investigate when asked to by the House.

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

“The Prime Minister broke the Covid laws he instructed millions of others to follow, in Downing Street, and then lied about it.

“That’s why I’ve supported this cross-party motion for the Privileges Committee to investigate whether he knowingly lied to Parliament, in addition to the people of Portsmouth and the country.

“In a day of chaos from the Tories, the Prime Minister didn’t even have the confidence in his own Conservative colleagues to back him and at the eleventh hour, dropped the whip.

“The values that uphold our democracy – honesty, respect, integrity – are being slowly eroded every time a defence is made for why he could not come clean to Parliament about breaking the law in the first place. It must end. Britain and our great city deserve better.”

The committee will not begin its investigation until the inquiries currently being conducted by the Metropolitan Police about No10 Covid breaches have been concluded.

FAQ:

What is the Privileges Committee being asked to investigate?

The Prime Minister has made numerous statements to the House about his knowledge of events reported to have taken place in Downing Street and the Cabinet Office during the coronavirus lockdowns. The fact that he and the Chancellor have now been fined makes these statements highly questionable.

The Privileges Committee is being asked the investigate whether these statements were deliberately misleading. If they determine that they were, this would amount to contempt of Parliament.

What powers does the Privileges Committee have?

The Privileges Committee has wide-ranging powers including the ability to request documents from the Government as part of its inquiries – this could include the full Sue Gray report and photographs. It will report back to the House on its findings and can also recommend sanctions, including suspension or expulsion, if appropriate; these would then need to be agreed by the House.

Why would the investigation not start until after the police processes have concluded?

The police should be allowed to proceed with their investigations without any perceived impediment. At the same time, there are already questions about the important issue of whether the House has been misled and Members should take a decision immediately that this matter should be investigated as soon as is appropriate.

How long would the investigation take?

The length of the investigation is most appropriately determined by the Privileges Committee. The motion therefore does not specify when the committee should report by, but given the public interest, it would likely be concluded as quickly as possible.

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Portsmouth MP comments on Labour forcing House of Commons vote on whether PM misled Parliament

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has responded to the Prime Minister’s statement in the House of Commons following the issuing of a penalty fine by the Metropolitan Police last week.

Labour are leading other opposition parties in drafting and tabling  a motion later this week to force a vote on whether Mr Johnson lied to Parliament, as well as be referred to the House of Commons standards committee.

Commenting, Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan, said:

“Despite holding a birthday party for himself in Downing Street, the Prime Minister claims he failed to understand he was breaking the rules he instructed millions of others to follow.

“His excuse for an apology today is a slap in the face for the people of Portsmouth who diligently followed the rules. But they know he’s a liar. And deep down, so does he.

“The Prime Minister lied to Parliament, and I will be voting for him to found as such on Thursday.

“Tory MPs should listen to their constituents, have the courage of their convictions, and vote with me in the Commons on the opposition motion. They must also send no confidence letters without any further delay to trigger a vote within the Conservative Party on Mr Johnson’s future. The party’s over.”

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City MP launches ‘Hope in Portsmouth’ project marking women’s suffrage

Stephen Morgan MP is set to welcome a life-sized Lego suffragette named ‘Hope’ to Portsmouth as part of a programme of community events and projects marking women’s suffrage.

A 32,327 LEGO brick piece figure is visiting the city in the lead up to 2028 to celebrate 100 years since the Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act, which gave equal voting rights to all women and men.

From next week until 4 May the statue will be proudly displayed at the Portsmouth MP’s constituency office on Albert Road, with the overall goal of telling the story of inequalities and women’s suffrage and raising awareness of the history of the suffragettes.

The city MP is organising a series of events and projects to mark Hope’s visit to Portsmouth, which includes inviting schools, community groups and veterans to visit Hope to share their ambitions for the future of women’s suffrage.

Alongside the life-sized statue made of Lego, Mr Morgan’s office is also hosting artwork from University of Portsmouth design students on the theme of women in democracy as well as historic political banners and books.

A number of events are taking place for members of the public to book in to attend, as well as viewings with specific community groups in the city.

Any resident is able to attend any of the free events, but booking is essential:

  • Drop-in event on Saturday 23 April between 12pm – 1pm at 72 Albert Road, PO5 2SL – constituents should book for this event at here
  • STEM Event with Hope’ on Saturday 23 April from 1.30pm – 2:30pm at 72 Albert Road, PO5 2SL – constituents should book for this event at here

Alongside this, the city MP is running a competition for city schools to design a modern-day suffragette uniform. Portsmouth South schools have until Friday 6 May to submit their entries with all schools in the constituency encouraged to participate following a letter to local headteachers.

For full details, visit the Hope Visit events page here.

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

“It is an absolute pleasure welcome Hope to Portsmouth. The work that has gone into piecing Hope together – all 32,327 LEGO brick pieces – is an incredible effort.

“I am looking forward to introducing Hope to our community and watching her inspire stories and conversations about women’s suffrage, gender inequalities and democracy.

“I warmly encourage residents and community groups to get involved and for local schools to take part in the design competition”.

Join the conversation on social media from 14 April using the hashtag #StandwithHope.

In 2018 to mark a centenary of voting rights for women, Mr Morgan led a project to plant 100 trees across the city with community and youth groups.

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Hope in Portsmouth – get involved

Stephen Morgan MP is welcoming a 32,000 LEGO brick suffragette ‘Hope’ to Portsmouth.

Hope is visiting Portsmouth in the lead up to 2028, to celebrate the 1928 Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act which gave equal voting rights to all women and men.

Stephen is asking the community to help mark Hope’s visit by visiting her at his constituency office or designing a suffragette uniform for the modern-day.

How to get involved:

Design a modern-day Suffragette uniform

Designs can be submitted by any Portsmouth South school or school-aged child in any size or medium you choose, please be as creative as you like!

Closing date: Friday 6 May

Entries to be submitted to 72 Albert Road, PO5 2SL

Include the name, address, age and phone number on the back of each entry

Winning design will be to be professionally printed and displayed in constituency office

Hope in Portsmouth – Drop-in 

A free event open to everyone – Come and meet Hope and take a selfie! Artwork by University of Portsmouth students and historic political banners and books also on display. Leave your memories or thoughts for the future for women in democracy in our guest book.

Venue: Constituency Office, 72 Albert Road, PO5 2SL

Date: Saturday 23 April 12pm until 1pm

Book here. 

Hope in Portsmouth – STEM Event with ‘Hope’

A Lego themed STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) fun event for children and families hosted by a local science teacher.

Venue: Constituency Office, 72 Albert Road, PO5 2SL

Date: Saturday 23 April 1.30pm-2.30pm

Book here.

Attending an event or passing and taking a photo? Please use #hopeinportsmouth and #standwithhope hashtags.

Other events are taking place in involving Portsmouth’s vibrant voluntary and community groups.

 

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Plan for new Community and Victim Payback Boards to tackle anti-social behaviour backed by City MP

Stephen Morgan MP has backed plans to create Community and Victim Payback Boards (CVPBs) to strengthen community and victim involvement in community sentences, get tough on antisocial behaviour and stop more serious reoffending at source.

Labour’s plan to get tough on low-level offending through unpaid work will begin to rebuild communities’ trust in the criminal justice system, after a decade of court closures, criminal case delays and the decline in community payback under the Conservatives. The new orders and CVPBs will help to reassure communities that crimes are being punished, offenders are being rehabilitated and communities are being paid back.

Community and Victim Payback Boards will be operated by Community Safety Partnerships (or other existing similar local infrastructure), with guidance from the Criminal Justice System, the Local Authority or other key agencies.

CVPBs will operate through existing local infrastructure at no additional cost and create a new level of involvement for community leaders and victims of crime in deciding what unpaid work offenders must undertake, such as removing graffiti, clearing wasteland or re-decorating community centres.

Local data will be published on the nature of unpaid work offenders and showing whether community payback has been completed so that communities and victims can be sure that justice is being served and offenders are paying areas back for their crimes.

Labour’s announcement comes as the party released new research which showed that:

  • The number of community sentences handed down in the South East and Eastern region fell by 3,805, between 2017 and 2020
  • The number of hours of existing community payback being completed by offenders has been falling in every region in nearly every year since 2016

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

“After 12 years of Conservative government, which has seen record criminal case delays, police officers disappearing from our streets, police station closures and court sell-offs, communities across Portsmouth have lost faith that government is properly supporting our criminal justice system to keep them safe from crime.

“Community payback can stop more serious reoffending, but Judges have stopped handing it out because this soft-on-crime Conservative Government cannot be trusted to make sure offenders pay back for their crimes.

“Labour will put security at the heart of its contract with the British people. We will put communities and victims at the heart of how offenders repay society and make sure justice is being seen to be delivered locally.”

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‘Everyone welcome’ at Portsmouth Food Cycle as City MP calls for locals to get involved

Stephen Morgan MP has called for local people to get involved in Portsmouth Food Cycle as the project opens its doors to volunteers and diners alike.

Based at the John Pounds Centre in Old Portsmouth, the local project collects food from retailers that would otherwise be thrown away, and with the help of volunteers, cooks it up into tasty, healthy three-course meals for those most in need in Portsmouth.

Meals are available to all comers on Wednesdays from 6pm.

The group aims to provide a safe, welcoming space to share food and conversation, helping to strengthen communities and enhance the health and mental wellbeing of people from all walks of life.

There are a wide range of volunteer roles, offering something for everyone to lend a hand, including:

  • Helping to collect food from local outlets
  • Cooking the meals in the kitchen
  • Welcoming guests as they arrive
  • Supporting regional marketing
  • Project leader

Following a recent visit to Portsmouth Food Cycle, the Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“I’m delighted that Portsmouth Food Cycle is back up and running again. It’s an amazing local project, offering a huge amount to people week in, week out.

“Whether you’re someone struggling to make the weekly shop stretch to the end of the week, feeling lonely or isolated, or simply looking to give something back to your community, Portsmouth Food Cycle truly offers something for everyone.

‘I warmly encourage local people to come down and get involved.”

Volunteer shifts are available from 4pm on Wednesdays. The full address of Portsmouth Food Cycle is: John Pounds Centre, 23 Queen Street, Portsmouth, PO1, 3HN.

To find out more, visit: https://www.foodcycle.org.uk/location/portsmouth-john-pounds-centre/

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PM and Chancellor Lockdown Party fines: City MP responds

Commenting on the Prime Minister and Chancellor being fined by Police for breaching Covid rules, Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan, said:

“The Prime Minister and his Chancellor have broken the law, and both must now resign.

“While people in Portsmouth followed the rules, they partied in Downing Street.

“Their contempt for the rule of law and lack of respect for the British people underlines that it is one rule for them, and another for the rest of us.

“This Conservative government is utterly unfit to govern. The country deserves so much better.”

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Portsmouth MP backs plan to crackdown on community crime with new police hubs in every local area

Stephen Morgan MP has renewed his commitment to tackling anti-social behaviour, as new analysis from Labour has shown that 1.2 million incidents of nuisance are recorded in England and Wales every year – equating to over 20,000 incidents every single week.

Labour has accused the Conservatives of abandoning local communities like those in Portsmouth and showing no leadership on anti-social behaviour for a decade.

Some 1.2 million nuisance incidents were recorded in the year ending September 2021, equating to 23,759 incidents every week, and over 3,300 every single day. When expanded to cover personal and environmental ASB such as drug paraphernalia, over 1.6 million incidents of antisocial behaviour were recorded over the last year – over 200,000 higher than pre-pandemic levels.

The Official Opposition wants to see local Police Hubs in towns and communities across the country, bringing together a Neighbourhood Prevention Team made up of police, community support officers, local authority staff and youth workers to tackle anti-social behaviour at source.

These teams would prioritise being visible on patrols, being easily accessible for local residents and would pursue serial perpetrators of ASB or low-level crime, as well as dealing with visible signs of disorder such as broken windows, graffiti, fly-tipping, or drug dealing. These teams will also support victims of anti-social behaviour. Labour councils such as Redbridge are already working in partnership with local police to introduce local hubs.

In September 2020 the Home Secretary wrote to the Victims Commissioner to express her concern about “the serious impact that persistent anti-social behaviour can have on both individuals and communities”. Yet there have been no specific reforms since that point.

Labour’s plan includes:

  • New Police Hubs in crime and antisocial behaviour hotspots across the country to get the police back out into the community
  • Neighbourhood Prevention Teams bringing together police and local councils and youth services to tackle antisocial behaviour that is blighting communities
  • Stronger powers for police and local councils to shut down drug dens, and to keep them closed for longer
  • A major recruitment drive to increase the number of special constables
  • Giving victims of persistent antisocial behaviour the same entitlements including access to support services as other victims of crime

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

“Communities across Portsmouth are being badly let down by this government.

“Nationally, total crime is going up, prosecutions are going down, criminals are being let off and victims are being let down.

“I saw first-hand during a night patrol last Friday with our dedicated local police officers how they are working to tackle street harassment and anti-social behaviour, but they need far better support from government.

“That’s why Labour would introduce new Police Hubs to bring neighbourhood prevention teams back out into our communities in Portsmouth. We need to see police back on our streets working in communities to keep people safe.”

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City MP joins Police night patrol in latest efforts to tackle street harassment

Stephen Morgan MP has joined local police on a night patrol in Portsmouth in his latest intervention to make the city safer.

The Portsmouth MP joined a local Police Sergeant and others in the city centre on Friday evening to learn further insights about the specific challenges and issues the area is facing to public safety.

The City MP is also encouraging others and local schools to get involved in Our Streets Now’s Anti-Street Harassment Week, which aims to raise awareness and ultimately reduce street harassment through educating young people about the issue.

According to its recent survey, 47% of children didn’t report incidents of public sexual harassment because they were afraid of not being believed or taken seriously.

Meanwhile, recent research from the Labour Party has revealed there are 708 fewer police officers on the frontline in Hampshire than in 2010. There are also 110 fewer community support officers (PCSOs) in Hampshire police force area.

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

“On the night patrol I saw first-hand the efforts by the police to keep people safe at night. It was also useful feedback issues in my postbag about crime in our area with the local police team.

“It’s vital we have a visible police presence, particularly at night, to help stop street harassment and violence against women and girls.

“That’s why I’m calling on local schools to get involved in ‘Our Streets Now’s campaign’ to educate young people about street harassment.”

On local police funding, Mr Morgan added:

“Our local police teams are working tirelessly to keep our streets safe, but it’s painfully clear they are having to do more with less.

“This government has continually let down our officers. Hampshire has one of the poorest levels of local police funding and frontline officers in the country, with the Home Secretary handing officers a real-terms pay cut. It’s no wonder the Police Federation has lost its confidence in her.

“I will continue to work on behalf of the city’s police and Portsmouth people to ensure government delivers the fair pay and funding our police deserve, as well as its promises to keep us all safe.”

Mr Morgan has reaffirmed making the city safer a ‘top priority’, after launching a city-wide survey to better understand local views and challenges for antisocial behaviour and public safety in Portsmouth.

You can complete Mr Morgan’s survey via the link on his website: https://www.stephenmorgan.org.uk/have-your-say-crime-and-safety-in-portsmouth/

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Portsmouth MP tours New Forest farm with NFU on work to support local people

Stephen Morgan MP has met National Farmers’ Union (NFU) representatives and the region’s farmers at a New Forest farm to learn more about how the agricultural sector is supporting our city’s communities.

During the visit, the Portsmouth representative discussed concerns over food security, ensuring a workforce to pick crops and land management in a roundtable with the NFU and local farmers.

In Portsmouth South alone, this year residents will eat an estimated:

  • 12.3 million eggs
  • 10.7 million litres of milk
  • 3,063 tonnes of bread

It comes as recent workforce shortages highlighted sensitivities around food supply chains, including ongoing workforce shortages in the food and farming sectors in picking, packing, processing and distributing food.

Agricultural workers played a critical role in keeping supply-chains running during the pandemic and restrictions, and Mr Morgan took the opportunity to thank them for their efforts.

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

“It’s been useful to meet with National Farming Union representatives and our region’s farmers, to learn more about the work they are doing to support our communities and keep us fed.

“Farmers went above and beyond to support us and keep food on the shelves during the height of the pandemic, so it’s only right they get the support that’s needed from Westminster as we recover.

“I look forward to working with the NFU to ensure our area’s farming community get the help they need to keep providing for Portsmouth families.”

According to the NFU, the UK’s current food self-sufficiency rate is hovering at about 60%. Labour has accused the government of being “far too complacent” on food security, saying it would look to increase the UK’s self-sufficiency.

Labour has said it would support farms to make, sell and buy more in Britain. This includes using public procurement to ensure that schools and hospitals buy local produce, encouraging more food to be grown in the region, and across the rest of the country.

The city MP added:

“The conflict in Ukraine has triggered a humanitarian tragedy and our nation’s attention is rightly focused on attempting to resolve the crisis.

“It has also reminded us of the need to tackle challenges with the global food market, from rising fuel prices pushing fertilizer costs up by as much as 400%, to both Russia and Ukraine accounting for nearly a third of global wheat exports.

“Like many other countries, the UK faces economy-wide disruption that could last for many years, including to our food output, our food supply chains and the availability and affordability of food to consumers.

“As an island nation, being able to grow enough food to feed a substantial proportion of our population is a key measure of food security and national resilience.

“That’s why I will be calling on Government to set out a clear plan to maintain confidence and stability across the UK’s food producing businesses, to protect working families and pensioners, and keep Britain fed.”