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Langstone Harbour: Portsmouth MP tours ‘valuable’ local Marine Biology Institute at University of Portsmouth

Stephen Morgan MP has toured the University of Portsmouth’s ‘valuable’ Institute of Marine Sciences as he continues to work with others to protect the local environment and tackle sewage pollution.

The city MP met with Professor Alex Ford, Director of Research Degrees at the School of Biological Sciences for the University of Portsmouth, as he was shown around the Institute of Marine Sciences.

Professor Ford explained what the School of Biological Sciences is doing with respect to pollution, nitrates and habitat restoration in the city’s local harbours.

Mr Morgan has been liaising with the Environment Agency and lobbying Government and Southern Water, urging the water company to set out its plans to address treatment capacity and tackle excessive sewage discharges, particularly in and around Langstone Harbour.

According to a recent report from Surfers Against Sewage, only 16% of inland waterways in England meet “good ecological status” and none of them pass the chemical tests.

In the same report, Surfers Against Sewage said recent Government and water company commitments were welcome, but do not go far enough to tackle the root causes of sewage pollution.

They also warned the widespread and routine use of Combined Sewage Overflows (CSOs) and the growing popularity of water sports as summer approaches, risks deepening a public health crisis.

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

“It’s helpful to see the work our local university is doing to understand the impacts of pollution on our local marine environment, as well as the wider research the Marine Institute is conducting too.

“Students in Portsmouth are incredibly fortunate to have such a valuable place to learn and I am really grateful to the university and Professor Ford for what they have been able to develop here.

“Our local water environment is one of our most prized assets for us as a city, including places like Langstone Harbour, so I welcome what Alex’s incredible insight into what challenges it is facing and what more can be done to protect it.”

Professor Alex Ford, also said:

“We are delighted to be able to show Stephen Morgan MP around the Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of Portsmouth where we have a number of important projects looking into the impacts of pollution entering the local harbours, and importantly, our efforts to restore key marine habitats including oyster reefs, seagrass, saltmarsh and kelp forests.

“We are fortunate to be living around internationally important coasts of wading birds and nursery sites of fish and shellfish.

“For these wildlife communities to thrive we need to better infrastructure, live more sustainably and adapt to climate change.”

In addition to lobbying Southern Water and meeting with Professor Ford, Mr Morgan has engaged with the Solent Protection Society, Hayling Sewage Watch, the Environment Agency, submitted parliamentary questions and met with local campaigners to improve the quality of local bathing waters.

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City MP labels PM as ‘far too slow’ and ‘letting business down’ as Covid restrictions extended

Stephen Morgan MP has criticised the government for giving one week’s warning to the country that national Covid-19 restrictions will be extended by four weeks.

Since the emergence of the Delta or ‘Indian variant’, cases of Covid-19 have been on the rise, with concerns if infections levels are not brought under control, too much pressure could be put on NHS capacity.

Since 11 May, the rate of cases per 100,000 over a 7-day period in the UK has risen from 22.4 to 67.5, according to the latest available data published by the government.

Meanwhile in Portsmouth, over the same period, the rate of cases per 100,000 has risen from 7.9 to 28.4.

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

“The Prime Minister promised us a way out of this. With the delta variant now dominant in the UK, and 73 per cent of delta cases in unvaccinated people, ministerial incompetence has sadly led us to this decision.

“The government has acted far too late, leaving businesses and others in Portsmouth incredibly anxious while they wait on the government that for too long dithered and delayed to make this decision.

“We must be driven by the data on decisions like these, but it has come far too late.”

The Portsmouth MP has also been contacted by a number of constituents on the impact of the government’s decision on the wedding industry.

The local representative added:

“The hospitality industry is likely to be one of the worst affected industries by today’s announcement, with a quarter of the industry still closed.

“I know from my postbag many are also concerned by the impact this decision could have on their businesses involved in the wedding industry, and I will continue to do all I can to secure the support and greater certainty they need.”

Mr Morgan has vowed to continue to engage a range of local businesses on the impact of the government roadmap and lifting of restrictions.

 

 

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Stephen Morgan MP reacts to Fratton Park redevelopment update

Reacting to today’s update from Portsmouth Football Club on Fratton Park’s redevelopment, Stephen Morgan MP, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said:

“I’m really pleased plans for Fratton Park’s redevelopment are a step closer. It is what the fans expect.

“Fratton Park is a fantastic stadium that’s seamlessly woven into the heritage and history of our city, so I’m glad it will be getting these improvements to bring it squarely into the 21st century.

“However, there is still further work to be done to ensure plans for improving infrastructure and transports links to the stadium can be implemented.

“I have recently met with the Club to offer my support and will continue to work with the owners and chief executive to ensure the city council and others, play their part to ensure these plans become a reality.”

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Portsmouth MP pays tribute to local Falklands war veterans on 39th anniversary of its end

Stephen Morgan MP has paid tribute to local Falklands war veterans in Portsmouth today on the 39th anniversary of its end.

A total of 255 British servicemen and three female civilians were killed liberating the Falklands. 649 Argentines were also killed.

Portsmouth played a key role in the war, with the Falklands war Task Force prepared by local dock workers at speed, prior to its launch from the Naval city on April 5th, 1982.

The Task Force was composed of 100 ships, carrying a reinforced 3 Commando Brigade with 2nd and 3rd Battalions, The Parachute Regiment attached, along with other units including a reinforced Troop from The Blues and Royals, under the command of Brigadier Julian Thompson.

Shadow Armed Forces Minister and member of parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, commented,

“Nearly forty years on from the end of the Falklands war, we reflect on the incredible efforts and sacrifices made by our city to protect British civilians overseas.”

“From the dock workers who prepared the task force ships at speed, to the service personnel who both risked and sadly gave their lives to defend Britons, we all owe them an incredible debt.”

“On the 39th anniversary of the war’s end, we pay tribute to them all and honour the memory of those who did not return home.”

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Portsmouth MP joins 200 politicians urging Prime Minister to secure future of Covid memorial wall

Stephen Morgan MP has joined 227 MPs, Peers and Mayors to write to the Prime Minister urging him to support the campaign for the Covid Memorial Wall in London to become a permanent site.

The letter is spearheaded by Afzal Khan, MP for Manchester Gorton, who lost his mum and both his parents-in-law to coronavirus and has been working with Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice on securing the future of the wall.

The Covid Memorial Wall, with its endless line of hand-drawn red hearts, has engulfed the wall opposite Parliament since March as bereaved families visited the site to add messages for their loved ones. It has since become a place for people to come together, to reflect on the tragedy of what has happened, and to begin to heal.

The letter states: “Given the poignancy of this site, the need to give grieving families a place to mourn their loved ones, and your previous commitment to a national Covid memorial, we, the undersigned, support calls to make this wall of hearts a, if not the, permanent memorial to the victims of the pandemic.”

Among the signatories of this letter are over 160 MPs from across the House of Commons as well as numerous members of the House of Lords. Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, and Florence Eshalomi MP, in whose constituency the wall resides, are also signatories.

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

“This site of remembrance, developed and created by bereaved families, is a powerful reminder of human cost of the pandemic.

“Many people in Portsmouth, like thousands across the country, have suffered immense loss during this part year.

“My thoughts are with all those grieving loved ones and with our healthcare staff who have worked tirelessly to save so many lives.

“Having visited the memorial myself and seen how it has helped those grieving, I am proud to support this campaign to secure the future of the Covid Memorial Wall and will continue to work with bereaved families to ensure their voices and wishes are heard.”

Afzal Khan MP, added,

“The Covid Memorial Wall is an extraordinary site and deeply moving. I had the privilege to visit the site last month where I left messages to remember my mum and both my parents-in-law whose lives were so cruelly cut short by this virus. I hope one day to be able to bring my children and grandchildren to see these messages and the wall for themselves.

“It is fantastic to see such support across Parliament and the country for this campaign, it just goes to show that while we may not always be united in our politics, we are all united in our grief for those lost to the pandemic.”

Matt Fowler, co-founder of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, also said,

“The Memorial Wall has brought many thousands of bereaved families across the country together in ways that we could never have imagined, it’s been utterly overwhelming.

We’ll never get back the people we’ve lost, but having a shared space for our collective memory, to share our loss and our love, has meant so much.

It is unthinkable that the Wall would be taken down, when it is so important, to so many. Seeing this support from MPs across parliament for it to be made permanent has been heartening, and we sincerely hope the Prime Minister will join them.”

The campaign for the National Covid Memorial Wall to remain a permanent site is supported by local MP Florence Eshalomi as well as Lambeth Council.

 

 

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City MP pays visit to ‘vital business for Portsmouth’s economy’, Brittany Ferries

Stephen Morgan MP has met with one of the key businesses of Portsmouth’s economy, Brittany Ferries, to understand its current challenges, including preparations for when restrictions ease and the uncertainty around green, amber and red list countries.

The company, which serves destinations in France and northern Spain, says international holidays by sea could be set for a big come-back.

In the UK, Brittany Ferries sails from Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth. It carries around 2.5 million passengers a year (pre-Covid average), 85 percent of whom are British.

The Portsmouth representative met with the travel firm’s UK Managing Director, John Napton, as well as other senior colleagues.

The visit is one of the many businesses and organisations the city MP has met with over the last month, as part of his ‘Pride in Portsmouth’ to support the city’s recovery from the pandemic, encourage visitors to the city’s attractions and keep the pound in Portsmouth.

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

“Brittany Ferries is a vital part of our city’s economy, employing many people across Portsmouth and generating income to our city’s port which sustains local public services.

“For businesses like these, the uncertainty around both the easing of restrictions and the confusing red, amber and green list countries, makes it incredibly difficult for them to plan ahead and ultimately ensure their business recovery.

“I will continue to speak up for businesses based in our city, encourage residents to show their ‘Pride in Portsmouth’ to support them, as well as push to get the certainty they need from government.”

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Carers Week: Portsmouth MP thanks local carers and pledges to fight to ensure they’re ‘visible and valued’

Stephen Morgan MP has pledged to help fix the broken care system during a visit to the local Carers Centre as Carers Week reaches a close.

Based in Southsea, the Carers Centre assists all carers in Portsmouth, offering a range of information and advice, as well as support to have a break or just to lend a listening ear.

The Portsmouth MP was visiting the centre to listen about the centre’s plan on Covid recovery, plans to improve some of the meeting space they have for carers and how they are thanking carers for all they have done during the pandemic and beyond.

Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges unpaid carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK. This year’s theme is ‘Visible and Valued’.

Carers UK estimate that carers save the UK economy £132 billion a year, roughly equivalent to the annual cost of the NHS. It is also believed there were 9.1 million unpaid carers across the UK before the COVID-19 pandemic, with 4.5 million new to caring since the start of the pandemic.

The 2011 census found that there were 17-18,000 carers in Portsmouth, but it is now believed to be much higher.

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

“This Carers Week it’s important we recognise and thank our carers for the incredible work they do. 

“It was really great to be back at the Carers Centre to learn about its latest plans to support our carers and thank them for their efforts over this past year.

“I will continue to speak up for the thousands of people providing unpaid care in Portsmouth and across Britain, and push Government to urgently fix our social care system as we emerge from the pandemic.”

Mr Morgan lobbied the Prime Minister sharing the concerns of his constituents, including Portsmouth Pensioners Association, about the level of social care provision in the city.

He has also held a public meeting with Shadow Health Minister Liz Kendall MP to discuss issues related to mental health and social care, regularly submitted a range of written parliamentary questions on the issue and backed Labour’s National Care Service plans.

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“Pride says to Portsmouth people, Britain and the world: be yourself. Live freely and openly”

Pride says to Portsmouth people, Britain and the world: be yourself. Live freely and openly.

It is an opportunity to reflect on past achievements and recognise the challenges ahead.

This year has been a particularly difficult year, and after last year’s celebrations being cancelled, I’m sorry we cannot all be together again to celebrate the strength of Portsmouth’s LGBT+ community and great city’s diversity.

What does give me pride, is that our community has overcome the challenges of this year; sticking together; supporting each other and organising brilliant events like Portsmouth Digital Pride.

But despite even the announcement that the barbaric practice of conversion therapy is now set to be banned in this country, many challenges still lie ahead for the LGBT+ community.

So, whilst it’s important to take the time to celebrate how far we’ve come, we have so much more to do to achieve full equality.

At its heart Pride, is a protest. Let’s renew our commitment today to fight for a fairer, more equal Britain. Together we’ll achieve it.

Happy Portsmouth Pride!

Stephen Morgan MP

 

 

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Portsmouth MP joins Labour’s vote to force government to protect victims  

Stephen Morgan MP and the Labour Party today forced a vote in the House of Commons on a series of measures to address the crisis in the justice system created by a decade of Conservative cuts and court closures.

It comes as the backlog of serious criminal cases in the Crown Courts sits at an unprecedented high of more than 57,000 cases – and while prosecutions and convictions for rape are at record lows.

In its Opposition Day Debate, Labour forced a vote calling on the government to create more Nightingale Courts to reduce the backlog; to enshrine victims’ rights in law; to introduce the measures in Labour’s Green paper on Ending Violence Against Women and Girls; as well as to force the Justice Secretary, Robert Buckland, to update the House in person on the progress the Government has made in reducing the court backlog by 22 July.

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

 “Inaction is complicity.

“A decade of government cuts and court closures has helped create a rocketing Crown Court backlog and an unprecedented low in convictions for serious crimes like rape. The Conservative Party’s failure to address these damning failures is letting victims down.

“The British public now needs the government to enact Labour’s proposals to enshrine victims’ rights, to protect women and girls from violence, and to fix the backlog of criminal cases.”

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“I will continue to oppose the decision to reduce the UK’s aid budget”

A number of constituents have been in touch with me about the Government’s reduction in the UK’s aid budget, concerns I also share, which is why I write this update as the issue is live in the national press at the moment. Thank you to those who have gone to the trouble of writing directly to me about this matter or posting comments on my social media.

I am deeply concerned by the UK Government’s decision to reduce aid spending from the legally binding target of 0.7% of gross national income to 0.5% in 2021. This is despite the Conservative manifesto pledge to maintain the 0.7% commitment.

I am very concerned that this decision will make it harder for the UK to tackle global poverty and injustice, and create a safer, healthier and better world for us all. Indeed, in March 2021, the International Rescue Committee said it had already seen the impact of cuts to its programmes that provide vital services to vulnerable women and girls.

The UK has a proud history of stepping up and supporting those in need. We must not abandon our responsibilities to the world’s most vulnerable. Ahead of hosting the G7 summit and COP26 (the United Nations Climate Change Conference) this year, we must lead by example. However, the UK is the only G7 nation to cut its aid budget this year. The UK Government must reverse this decision.

I firmly believe the 0.7% commitment is a vital way to achieve future shared prosperity and peace around the world. COVID-19 has shown us how interconnected the world is, and how vulnerable we are to global challenges. Aid is vital for overcoming these global challenges, saving lives, and building resilience overseas, which protects us at home too.

Worryingly, the UK Government has recently announced a reduction in vital support to Yemen. It pledged to provide at least £87 million in aid to Yemen over the course of the financial year 2021-22, which is a significant decrease from the £160 million it pledged last year. This is a time when Yemeni people need help the most, as the United Nations has estimated that over 16 million people in Yemen will be facing crisis levels of food insecurity by mid-2021. We must do more to support them.

Following the UK Government’s decision to reduce aid to Yemen, I am very concerned about the other priorities where aid spending will be reduced this year.

I am proud of Britain’s reputation as a global leader on aid. That is why constituents can be rest assured, I will continue to oppose the decision to reduce the UK’s aid budget, making views known in Parliament.

Stephen Morgan MP