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Stephen’s Solent Sewage public meeting

Thank you to all those who attended Stephen’s Solent Sewage public meeting. It was a positive discussion with lots of ideas for everyone to play their part in ending sewage pollution. 

If you were unable to attend, you can watch the event via Facebook at the link here.

Please click here for a briefing from the Environment Agency as requested by Stephen for the meeting.

You can also take a look at the slides shared from some of the panelists:

Stephen will be continuing to take action both locally and in Parliament on the key issues raised. If you have practical ideas or suggestions of how you can help, please get in touch.

 

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Solent Sewage: Calls grow to address ‘dirty water crisis’ as City MP brings community together to find way forward

Stephen Morgan MP has led calls to address the ‘dirty water crisis’ at a public meeting held in the constituency for people from across the region to have their say.

Hosted by the Portsmouth MP, panelists included Professor Alex Ford, Director of Research Degrees at the School of Biological Sciences for the University of Portsmouth; Bianca Carr, CEO of Final Straw Foundation and; Louise MacCallum, Environment Officer of Langstone Harbour Board.

During his presentation, Professor Ford underlined the importance of local data to build a greater understanding of the impact sewage pollution is having on local bathing waters. Professor Ford told the meeting Southern Water has repeatedly refused to share key research data for Langstone Harbour, despite the water company releasing similar data for Chichester Harbour.

Meeting attendees also raised concerns around the lack of scope and powers regulators have to target and fix sewage pollution, with heavy fines only forming part of the solution.

Young members of the audience also voiced their frustrations that their generation will have to grow up during a period where they are not able to experience local wildlife and habitats in their former glory, but will have to repair the damage caused by historic pollution problems.

Earlier this week Mr Morgan voted in Parliament to amend the Environment Bill for tougher measures to hold water companies to account over sewage discharge, including by placing a legal duty on firms. Regrettably local Tory MPs did not back the cross-party proposals.

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

“It has been excellent to see so many different parts of our community coming together to share views and concerns and find a way forward to fix the dirty water crisis our city faces. My thanks to all those who attended and panelists for the expertise they shared.

“Government, local Tory MPs and industry continue to drag their feet and refuse to face up to the reality of what we are seeing. Urgent action has now got to be taken. It cannot be right that the next generation will have to pay the price because of the failures government and industry are making today.

“It’s clear from what we heard at my Solent Sewage summit that greater transparency from industry and more targeted, forceful intervention is needed to preserve our precious local environment.

“I will be taking our city’s concerns, and many others, back to Parliament.”

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City MP discusses mental health with All Call Signs ahead of Remembrance Sunday

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan visited award-winning forces mental health initiative ‘All Call Signs’ to discuss their work and highlight Labour’s pledge to veterans ahead of Remembrance Sunday.   

The Shadow Armed Forces Minister highlighted the importance of improving ongoing mental health support for personnel and veterans, particularly given events in Afghanistan this year.

It comes as Labour announced £35 million fund to support British veterans and Afghan interpreters.

The funding, recovered from cancelled MoD interpreter contracts, will be used for grants to charities and Local Authorities in England to provide mental health support services and support for those Afghan nationals who have relocated to the UK through the ARAP scheme.

Calls to veteran’s mental health charity Combat Stress have doubled since the Taliban swept to power. At the same time, its income has fallen by 37% in the last financial year partly due to cuts in NHS funding support.

Research last year found only 26% of charities thought that the government supports the mental health of veterans, and 79% of charities believe that the responsibility to support veterans should lie more with the government and armed forces.

All Calls Signs, based on Albert Road in Southsea, provide peer support organisation for veterans and serving military personnel.

Their chat app is staffed by over 700 volunteer listeners with experience of life in uniform with digital caseworkers bridging the gaps in veteran’s mental health services for hundreds of users seeking help.

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

“I’ve long been a proud supporter of All Call Signs’ innovative work to support serving personnel and veterans across our country, and am really proud this organisation is based in Portsmouth.

“This year our armed forces have stepped up once again to protect us at home and abroad. Events in Afghanistan have taken an understandable toll on both serving personnel and veterans, so Remembrance is a timely reminder that we must keep our promise to support those who have fought for our country.

“Recent government announcements on mental health are a drop in the ocean whilst the uncertainty surrounding future funding for the Office of Veterans Affairs threatens to pull the rug from under our personnel when they need it most.

“Labour’s new support fund of £35 million will make sure we protect those who protect our country and keep us all safe.”

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Portsmouth MP welcomes ‘exciting’ new partnership between Subsea Craft and UoP to develop cutting-edge maritime technology

Stephen Morgan MP has welcomed a new partnership between Portsmouth-based Subsea Craft and the University of Portsmouth to develop cutting-edge maritime technology.

The partnership, funded by Subsea and by £220,000 made available by Innovate UK through the ‘Knowledge Transfer Partnership’ programme, will run for two years and see two new researchers (KTP Associates) join Subsea, with the company also gaining access to knowledge from the School of Energy and Electronic Engineering in the Faculty of Technology at the university.

The resultant technology will form part of the wider digital offer Subsea Craft are preparing alongside their flagship product, VICTA – the world’s most advanced diver-delivery unit that is capable of travelling at up to 40kts above surface, before rapidly moving sub-surface. The partnership will deliver vital digital capabilities that will further enhance those already embedded in VICTA.

The team at the University of Portsmouth, led by Professor Victor Becerra – who will be supported by Dr Edward Smart, Dr Hongjie Ma, and two researchers – has extensive experience in the industry.

The new agreement is expected to improve the university’s already expert knowledge in the sector, and provide them with another strategic business link in their region. For the associates being hired, it will provide the opportunity to work in a high-skilled advanced role, bringing more high-quality jobs to Portsmouth.

Visiting Subsea Craft’s facility in Portsmouth Harbour today, Portsmouth South MP and Shadow Armed Forces Minister Stephen Morgan, said:

“I am delighted to see an innovative local SME partnering with the University to develop world-leading new technology here in our city.

“This partnership will not only deliver the next generation of marine technology for commercial and navy ships, it also drives the creation of the high skilled jobs that are crucial for our city’s economic success.

“I can think of no better place to begin this ground-breaking work than in the home and heart of the Royal Navy and I wish the project team every success.”

Scott Verney, CEO at Subsea, added:

“This partnership is not only a great one for Subsea as we continue to develop cutting edge maritime technology, but a good one for Portsmouth as a whole.

“Our ambition is to create a centre of maritime technology excellence at our HQ in the Camber, and this work with the University is a huge part of that.”

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City MP votes to stop sewage dumping

Stephen Morgan MP has again supported proposals to stop water companies routinely dumping sewage in bathing waters and for a more powerful environmental watchdog to hold Government to account.

Labour has accused Ministers of ‘dither and delay’ in recent months and with COP26 well underway, the Environment Bill remains ‘unfit for purpose’. The Official Opposition argues the interim Office for Environmental Protection ‘lacks independence, an assurance of adequate resource, or the power to fine.’

The party has also said Ministers are doing all they can to resist concrete protections, leaving our environment as a bargaining chip for new trade agreements that would undercut Britain’s environmental standards.

The Portsmouth representative had vowed to vote for a range of amendments that would strengthen the Bill and take the steps necessary to preserve the planet and protect Portsmouth’s environment.

This includes a change to the Bill that has cross-party support which would ensure “world leading protection” for waterways across the country, according to charity Surfers Against Sewage, including those linked to Langstone Harbour.

The amendment, which was passed in the House of Lords, has been sent back to the Commons a second time for approval today, after the Conservatives voted against it on 20 October.

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

“Despite the public outcry we have seen, the government has no plan to stop water companies dumping sewage into our rivers and seas. Whilst I voted to end this, sadly local Conservative MPs refused to support cross-party proposals.

“People in Portsmouth want to see real leadership to clean up our environment and restore nature for generations to come, but this government has been found wanting.  

“That’s why I will continue to back bold, ambitious and long overdue steps necessary to preserve our bathing waters and protect our environment”.

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Cost of living crisis: Portsmouth MP grills ministers on plans to protect local families this winter

Stephen Morgan MP raised concerns in the House of Commons today on how government will protect vulnerable local families this winter.

The Portsmouth MP underlined that 21% of working age families in his constituency of Portsmouth South – nearly half of which with children – will be affected by the government’s cut to Universal Credit, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

It comes as the cost-of-living crisis deepens, with the Bank of England recently forecasting that salaries will fall by 1.25% this year, with inflation expected to reach to as high as 4% in 2022 and the highest sustained tax burden in peace time.

In October, four in ten households on Universal Credit faced a 13 per cent rise in their energy bills in the same month as their benefit was cut by £20 a week.

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

“The government had a clear opportunity in last month’s Budget to protect vulnerable families in Portsmouth this winter, but instead it’s pulled the rug out from underneath them.

“Energy bills, inflation and taxes on the lowest earners are all up, but support for working families is far below what is required to keep them secure this winter.

“I will continue to hold ministers to account to provide those most at risk this winter with the help they need, as government continues to struggle with getting to grips with the cost-of-living crisis.”

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The government can’t let COP26 be a cop out

As world leaders gather in Glasgow to discuss the biggest challenge our planet faces, it’s vital that the government leads by example at home and abroad and delivers for people and planet.

As hosts of COP26, Britain has a special responsibility to act. It will take serious and sustained leadership from across government for this summit to succeed, yet it continues to treat this summit as more of a photo opportunity than bring with it the diplomatic acumen it requires.

Success at Glasgow is all about the maths. In Paris the world agreed to limit global warming to 1.5C. This means reducing global emissions by half, but as this summit started the government had only achieved commitments to just 7.5 per-cent. Whilst we’ve seen a little progress so far at COP, we are miles from where we need to be.

When we needed the government pulling in the same direction, we’ve had infighting and undermining of the UK’s moral authority. They’ve been telling countries to end coal use, but are flirting with a new coalmine in Cumbria. They want the world to go fossil free, but are licensing a massive new oilfield off the Scottish coast. They’re calling for countries to invest in green transitions at home, whilst failing to provide the investment and support for households and businesses to decarbonise.

Labour has set out a series of demands on government to Keep 1.5C alive and deliver for people and planet this decisive decade. The government now needs to end the double talk on climate and tell the truth about where we are.

That means climate action at home. We should be investing £28bn additional every year until 2030 to tackle the climate crisis, creating secure jobs in the UK and supporting the most vulnerable by reversing the overseas aid cut.

Government has got to be focused on pressuring the big polluters. That starts by calling for 1.5C-aligned targets from the big emitting countries, phasing out fossil fuels, and ensuring a just transition for workers. Instead of dragging their feet on this, they should be taking concrete action to mobilise private finance behind climate action by requiring financial institutions to publish their carbon footprint and, crucially, adopt credible 1.5C-aligned transition plans by 2023.

The government failed to lay the ground for success at Glasgow, but we must not give up hope. I will continue to press the government to keep 1.5C alive, and deliver for the people of Portsmouth, Britain and the world.

Stephen Morgan MP

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Portsmouth MP calls for nominations for his Parliamentary Remembrance tribute

Stephen Morgan MP has called for constituents to get in touch and offer their suggestions for his Remembrance tribute in Parliament.

Marking its 100th year, the Royal British Legion (RBL) has teamed up with the House of Commons to install a House of Commons Constituency Garden of Remembrance.

All 650 Members of Parliament have been invited by the Speaker to plant their Remembrance tributes in New Palace Yard, ensuring every constituency in the country can be represented and remembered in a single place.

Suggestions for the remembrance tribute can be to an individual, regiment or community that has a connection with Mr Morgan’s constituency of Portsmouth South. Nominations can be sent either via email or post.

The Portsmouth MP will be planting his tribute on behalf of constituents in the run up to Armistice Day next week.

The Portsmouth South MP, said:

“Remembrance is an important time for communities right across the country, none more so than in Portsmouth, so I’m delighted to be taking part in this thoughtful initiative by the Legion and the Speaker of the House of Commons.

“Every village, town or city in Britain has a unique story to tell about the service and sacrifices made to keep us safe. Being able to recognise and remember this in a single place and at the heart of the UK’s democracy is the perfect way to mark the Royal British Legion’s centenary.

“I look forward to receiving many suggestions from constituents for who they think Portsmouth should honour and remember this year.”

Suggestions for consideration by the city MP should be emailed to stephen.morgan.mp@parliament.uk by no later than 5pm on Monday 8.

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Solent Sewage Pollution: Stephen Morgan MP calls urgent public meeting

Stephen Morgan MP has announced an urgent public meeting he has convened to address the growing problem of local sewage pollution.

The meeting will be on Wednesday November 10th from 7pm-8:30pm and will take place at the University of Portsmouth’s Portland Building.

It comes as the latest action the Portsmouth MP has taken to hold industry and government to account on behalf of constituents on local sewage pollution, including a range of parliamentary questions, a string of letters to ministers and government agencies and meetings with key local groups.

The event will be a chance for the public to share their knowledge and understanding of the growing local concerns that Langstone Harbour and surrounding waters are under threat, with little being done by either government or industry to address the deteriorating situation.

Panelists include:

  • Stephen Morgan, MP for Portsmouth South
  • Professor Alex Ford (Director of Research Degrees at the School of Biological Sciences for the University of Portsmouth)
  • Local environmental groups

Following a short presentation from each panellist, the meeting will then open-up to a Q&A discussion.

It comes following the local MP’s ongoing efforts urging the government to tackle local sewage pollution, including writing a letter to the Environment Agency after it reported an ‘abnormal situation’ earlier this month and voting for a change to the government’s Environment Bill that would place a legal duty on water companies not to pollute Portsmouth’s waterways.

Booking is essential and you can register via the Eventbrite page. Attendees will be asked to wear a mask once inside the lecture theatre throughout the event, unless speaking. Personal information may be used for track and trace purposes.

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

“Our local environment is under threat. Industry, government, and neighbouring MPs continue to drag their feet and fail to take action whilst Portsmouth’s gems meanwhile pay the price.

“That’s why I’ve been speaking up in Parliament on this important issue and convened this urgent public meeting to address these growing, city-wide concerns and work together to tackle excessive Solent sewage discharge.

“I look forward to meeting with local people, listening to concerns and working with them to forge a plan to protect Portsmouth waterways and secure their future.”

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UK Parliament Week 2021 to be celebrated across Portsmouth

Stephen Morgan MP is inviting everyone across Portsmouth to get involved in UK Parliament Week and join a UK-wide conversation about our democracy, people power and making change happen.

UK Parliament Week is an annual event taking place from 1-7 November, that engages people from across the UK with their UK Parliament, explores what it means to them and empowers them to get involved.

This year the focus is how small actions can lead to big changes, encouraging participants to get informed, take action and make an impact on issues they care about.

It is a great opportunity to examine what issues are important to you and how you can work with UK Parliament to bring about change. Community groups, local organisations and schools in hundreds of constituencies across the United Kingdom have already signed up to be part of the conversation.

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

“As the MP for Portsmouth South I encourage people in my constituency to get involved with UK Parliament Week 2021. Active public participation is vital in a thriving democracy and we all have our part to play.

I look forward to seeing how organisations and local groups in our city’s communities join in, especially the next generation of voters in our schools.”

Last year, almost one million people took part in UK Parliament Week, despite the challenging circumstances caused by Covid-19.

Activities were held in every nation and region of the UK, as well as countries all over the world.

Amy Baxter, Head of Education and Engagement at UK Parliament, said:

“Every year we are delighted to see so many people take part in UK Parliament Week. It’s a great opportunity to get informed, take action and make an impact in Portsmouth South and beyond.

Change starts with you and UK Parliament Week is a great way to learn how you can make a difference.”

Those who sign up for UK Parliament Week will be sent a free kit packed with resources, including a booklet, a ballot box, stickers, and a packet of “sow the seeds of democracy” chilli seeds.

There are tailored kits available for youth groups, primary and secondary schools, and each nation of the UK.