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‘Government must fix testing, protect the NHS and get control of the virus’ says Portsmouth MP

Responding to news that the Covid-19 infection rate has doubled in Portsmouth from 43.4/100,000 to 94/100,000 in seven days, Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP has said latest Government restrictions won’t be enough to get control of the crisis.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Our city and our country are at a decisive moment in our efforts to tackle coronavirus with the numbers across Britain and here in Portsmouth moving in the wrong direction.

With Government losing control of the virus, losing control of the message and is no longer following scientific advice, the measures it has set out in recent weeks are harming the economy and failing to suppress the virus. That’s why another course is needed, and why I back calls for a national reset.

Labour is calling for a national two-three week circuit break that will give us a chance to fix testing, protect the NHS and get control of the virus.

The Prime Minister knows his latest restrictions won’t be enough. He knows he will have to impose harsher restrictions. Portsmouth people can’t wait for Mr Johnson to catch up – he must act now”.

 

 

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City MP Calls on Government to hand control of contact tracing to local authorities

Stephen Morgan MP has today urged the government to hand over control of contact tracing to councils and local public health teams, following revelations that the national – largely privatised – system is only making a marginal  difference to addressing rapidly rising rates of Covid-19 infection. 

The Portsmouth South representative said:

“For months, Labour has been asking this government to put contact tracing into the hands of councils and local public health teams who know their own communities better than anyone.

In the face of all the evidence, the Tories are continuing with a system that rewards failure by handing enormous sums of money to big companies such as Serco and Sitel.

The government should look at the science, follow our call to bring in a circuit break and transfer control of contact tracing to local authorities, so that we can better protect people’s lives and livelihoods.”

Even when the evidence mounts from Peterborough, Cumbria and throughout Wales that local tracing is more effective, the Tory government seems adamant to keep plodding on with a model that puts people’s lives and livelihoods at risk.

Stephen Morgan MP added:

“Transferring this control on a local level to Portsmouth is crucial if we are to see the Government get a grip on this crisis and save people’s lives.”

 

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City MP welcomes new funding for culture in Portsmouth but calls for further action

Welcoming news today that local organisations from the Kings Theatre to Portsmouth Guildhall Trust, Wedgewood Rooms to Mary Rose Museum, will receive culture recovery money, Stephen Morgan MP has said Portsmouth expects the government ‘to go further’.

The Portsmouth South representative said:

“I am delighted that a number of Portsmouth’s arts, music and theatre venues and museums have secured much needed money from the culture recovery fund as announced today, and pleased to have played a part in making this happen.

Arts and culture form part of the soul of our city. Yet coronavirus and the economic crisis risks thousands of redundancies across the country unless the Government introduces sector-specific support.

This sector represents around a fifth of the economy, driving so much growth, yet account for less than one per cent of government spending. It is clear the scale of the challenge is such that help to date just doesn’t go far enough.

I will continue to stand up for culture in our city, lobbying for Portsmouth until Ministers step up and act with tailored support.

Portsmouth expects the Government to go further. If they don’t soon, we risk well-loved assets going under as a result of the coronavirus crisis”.

 

 

 

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Together we can, and we will, stop AQUIND

Attending the against AQUIND human chain today in Milton, a Covid-safe protest organised by local people, city MP Stephen Morgan said:

In the week of clean air day, when the council withdrew crucial roads from a scheme to reduce dirty air and rowed back on its climate emergency commitment, it’s humbling to see so many Portsmouth people coming together to stop the AQUIND development. 

Portsmouth’s green and open spaces are precious. The developer’s plans do nothing to benefit our city, only cause disruption to our environment and to our daily lives. 

Thank you to the grassroots group that organised today’s event. Together we can, and we will, stop this”.

To find out more about the Portsmouth South MP’s long-running work helping residents oppose the AQUIND interconnector proposals click here.

 

 

 

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Crunch Day for Food Standards as City MP demands Government back British Farmers

  • Labour is pushing the Government to adopt a legal guarantee that British animal welfare and environmental standards won’t be undercut in post-Brexit trade deals
  • PM challenged to back a Labour amendment to safeguard high UK food standards in the Government’s new farming Bill 
  • Concerns that chlorine-washed chicken, hormone-treated beef and food produced to lower animal welfare and environmental standards could be sold in the UK after Brexit undercutting British farmers

Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP is demanding the Government back British farmers and protect high UK animal welfare, environment and public health standards in food. 

In a crunch day for British food standards, MPs will vote on Monday whether to accept a Labour amendment made to the Government’s Agriculture Bill which would stop post-Brexit trade deals from allowing in imports of lower standard food to the UK like chlorinated chicken and hormone-treated beef.

The Government has said it won’t weaken food standards as part of a trade deal with the US or other countries with lower standards, but has made no legal commitment to guarantee this. Farming, environmental and consumer groups have been pressing Tory MPs for months to try and secure a guarantee, fearful that lower standard imports will undercut British farmers and standards.

The Government is expected to effectively vote out their own manifesto commitment from the Bill on Monday, after promising in 2019 that they wouldn’t compromise on high British standards in trade deals.

Commenting on the crunch vote, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“I know from my post bag people across Portsmouth are passionate about animal welfare, and they’re rightly worried about what might end up in our supermarkets and on our plates if the Government doesn’t make good on its promise to protect our high food standards. Nobody wants to see Trumps’ chlorinated chicken or hormone-treated beef in our city’s shops and restaurants.

I won’t back down from the fight to protect our high British food standards and farmers, and will be pressing the Government on Monday to back Labour’s amendment to safeguard our high animal welfare, environmental and public health standards in UK food.”

Luke Pollard MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary added:

The Government have said they back our British standards and farmers – it’s time to put their money where their mouth is. Ministers keep promising they’ll maintain high animal welfare and environmental standards after Brexit, but there’s still a serious threat that they will drop that promise to get the trade deals they’re so desperate to secure with Donald Trump and others.

“If the Government are serious about maintaining our high UK standards post-Brexit they should get a guarantee in law, and support Labour’s amendment on Monday to safeguard our standards and back British farmers.

To vote out their own manifesto commitment to protect food standards from their flagship food and agriculture Bill is absurd.”

 

 

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City MP backs ‘Walk to School Week’ campaign

Stephen Morgan MP has backed national campaign ‘Walk to School Week’, organised by UK charity Living Streets. 

The campaign aims to encourage families to try healthier and greener ways to travel to school. Starting today, school children across the UK will be taking part in a safe and socially distanced walk to school with other students and parents.

According to the charity, 70 per cent of children walked to school a generation ago, now it is less than half.

The government has set a target in its Cycling to Walking Investment Strategy to get 55% of primary school pupils walking to school by 2025, to tackle this issue.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, commented,

“I’m delighted to support this fantastic initiative to encourage children and parents to take part in a safe and socially distanced walk to school, and I urge our local schools to take part in this too.”

Many of us have spent more time indoors recently, so I’m really proud to support this campaign that offers both a greener option, and a way for both students and parents to get the fresh air and exercise they need to support their mental wellbeing through this difficult period.”

The Chief Executive of Living Streets, Mary Creagh, added,

“Walking to school is a fun and easy way for to get active. We need safer streets so more families have confidence to walk to school.”

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Portsmouth MP urges residents to make concerns known to Planning Inspectorate over AQUIND proposals

Stephen Morgan MP is urging residents to urgently make concerns known to the Planning Inspectorate over the controversial £1.2bn AQUIND interconnector project which would affect communities across the eastern side of the city.

The scheme has been heavily criticised by the MP and city council for failing to properly consider alternative routes for underground cables or the act on the views of residents.

The city MP has been taking a range of actions in opposition to the proposals. Efforts to date have included submitting a string of parliamentary questions; highlighting to national newspapers the backers’ huge donations and support to the Conservatives; undertaking a survey to hear views; meeting the company to raise city concerns; putting pressure on Ministers to take action; and; working with residents to submit objections.

The latest set of actions by the Portsmouth South representative follows concerns that have been raised over potential plans affecting local allotments. Constituents share Stephen’s worries that latest plans would involve digging up and laying of cables under the Milton Allotments off Locksway Road

Encouraging residents to voice their concerns by objecting to the Planning Inspectorate, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Since hearing about the AQUIND project, I have been taking action on behalf of Portsmouth residents.

Despite asking repeatedly how the £1.2bn scheme would benefit our city, it is very clear to me it will only disrupt residents’ lives and put our precious natural environment and green spaces at risk.

That is why I continue to lobby in the strongest possible terms for constituents against this infrastructure project.

Whilst I continue to welcome the council’s liaison with the developers, it is vital our views in Portsmouth are heard. I therefore urge residents to make sure the Planning Inspectorate knows the strength of feeling from our city on this issue of concern”.

Local ward campaigners Paula Ann Savage and Craig Withey have created a template email for any residents to object to proposals to Government decision-makers, ahead of the deadline of 6 October 2020. It is understood planning hearings are due to take place in December, after various submissions have been delivered.

To get a copy of the objection template and who to send it to, email Portsmouth Labour at hello@portsmouthlabourparty.org.uk. Alternatively constituents should email views directly to aquind@planninginspectorate.gov.uk

Further information 

To find out more about some of Stephen Morgan MP’s actions and views over AQUIND see the links below.

Taking action over environmental impact:

https://www.stephenmorgan.org.uk/city-mp-holds-government-minister-to-account-over-environmental-impacts-of-aquind/

Speaking out over owners’ donations to the Conservatives:

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/name-russian-tycoon-behind-power-company-say-top-tories-0vqb0vw8g

See also: https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/business/aquind-director-alexander-temerko-says-he-has-zero-political-influence-2944874

Putting pressure on Government to act:

https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/politics/portsmouth-south-mp-demands-answers-government-over-aquind-plans-2000905?amp

Listening to constituents’ concerns over the company’s proposals:

https://www.portsmouthlabourparty.org.uk/portsmouth-labour-news/2020/03/01/have-your-say-on-aquind/

A website created by the city council, although some of the pages are out of date:

https://interconnectorportsmouth.co.uk/#about-project

 

 

 

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New job: Parliamentary Researcher to Stephen Morgan MP

New job: Parliamentary Researcher to Stephen Morgan MP

  •  Have a skill for writing and undertaking research? 
  •  Interested in working at the heart of British politics? 
  •  Want to help make a difference to peoples’ lives? 

Then an exciting opportunity has arisen to work with a Shadow Minister and the first-ever Labour Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan and his busy and dedicated team.

Stephen Morgan MP is looking for a Parliamentary Researcher to support him with his work in the new shadow defence ministerial team and as an active parliamentarian speaking up for Portsmouth in the House of Commons.

Key tasks include preparing questions, speeches and briefings; undertaking research on complex subjects; monitoring bills, motions, legislation, Hansard, petitions, and debates; and proactively engaging the media on Stephen’s work as an active local campaigner and strong national voice for Portsmouth.

The role is full-time with a salary range of up to £35,308 and is based in Westminster at the House of Commons.

Job description – Parliamentary Researcher

Got what it takes to take on this busy and exciting role? 

Application details

Applicants should send a copy of their CV (no more than two pages) and a one-page covering letter to Julie Minal, Head of Office at julie.minal@parliament.uk

Closing date: 9 October 2020, 12noon.

Interviews will take place via Zoom and involve a work-based task. It is hoped the successful candidate would be able to start as soon as possible

Please note that due to the expected high volume of responses, unsuccessful applicants will not be contacted.

 

 

 

 

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Shadow Armed Forces Minister seeks views of reservists across Portsmouth

Recognising the crucial role that reservists play in the operational capability of the armed forces, Stephen Morgan MP is offering troops the opportunity to voice any concerns or ideas on how to improve life for reserves.

The MP’s action comes in the wake of the Reserves in the Future Force 2020 programme drawing to a close and government embarking on The Reserve Forces 2030 Review. These two government-led programmes seek to both grow the numbers and role of reserve troops.

Government has drawn fire as recent statistics have shown they have yet again failed to meet their recruitment targets. Concerns have been raised that the overall trained strength of personnel within the FR2020 programme on 1 April 2020 was 33,000, a deficit of 2,141 against the target.

In addition, Ministers have been criticised for refusing to classify reserves as veterans when it comes to National Insurance contributions, sparking outrage as many reserves saw action in major theatres of war such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr Morgan’s event will give reserves a platform to discuss these matters and any others effecting the reserve community.

Shadow Armed Forces Minister, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“With reservists playing integral roles in almost all modern theatres of war and harbouring a great deal of experience such as our cyber capability, it is vital that these troops are effectively integrated across our armed forces.

Government has a responsibility to make becoming an armed forces reserve both an attractive prospect and beneficial to maintaining national security.

That is why I am hosting a roundtable meeting, to ensure that as the reserve force grows, the views and concerns of our troops are at the forefront of discussion.”

The City MP is encouraging people to register their interest in taking part in an online event or by sharing views by emailing stephen.morgan.mp@parliament.uk

 

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City MP calls for urgent government support for EFL clubs in response to Covid-19

Stephen Morgan MP has called for the government to provide emergency financial support and guidance for EFL clubs, with many struggling to stay afloat financially due to the government ban on fan attendance in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

This comes as EFL clubs, which includes Portsmouth Football Club, lost £50m of gate income in the 2019/20 season by playing matches behind closed doors (Championship) or curtailing the season (Leagues One and Two) and will lose a further £200m if crowds do not return during the 2020/21 campaign.

EFL teams typically have a higher dependency on ticket, confectionary and merchandise sales.

The Premier League is also reportedly set to meet today to discuss a £250m emergency support package for the EFL, but the Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South has called for urgent government support and guidance.

Stephen Morgan MP said,

“For EFL clubs like Portsmouth FC, it is becoming an increasingly untenable position to be expected to continue operating without further government support.

“EFL clubs are in a very different position to clubs in the Premier League, as lower league clubs depend much more on revenue streams dependent on fan attendance, which now looks very unlikely to happen for the foreseeable future.”

This comes following comments made by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in June that football should ‘support itself’ through the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Morgan, added,

“As I have said before, our football club’s success is our city’s success. EFL clubs are intrinsically part of the fabric of their communities. Whether that be through the jobs or income the club brings to the local economy, or the fantastic work of the community foundations like Portsmouth’s very own Pompey in the Community (PiTC).

“If the government is serious about ‘levelling up’, it will provide the financial support and clarity EFL clubs like Portsmouth urgently need.”

Mr Morgan has also written to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Oliver Dowden MP, raising this issue, following an online event with Portsmouth fans and the opposition’s DCMS team last month.

The MP has vowed to continue to take action to help the club and fellow fans.