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Portsmouth MP piles pressure on Conservative Ministers to ‘Stop Aquind’

Stephen Morgan MP urged the government during a speech in Parliament today to ‘Stop Aquind’ and reject the ‘damaging’ infrastructure project.

The Portsmouth MP secured a Westminster Hall debate, outlining the key concerns constituents have shared with him, including:

  • the long-term disruption its construction would cause;
  • the damage to the local environment; and
  • the murky relationship the company and its directors have with government.

It marks the latest intervention from the local MP to stop the project ahead of the Conservative Government’s final decision, expected later this summer. Mr Morgan has also raised the issue during departmental businesses questions in the House of Commons and launched his public petition to ‘Stop Aquind’ the weekend before.

Sharing his constituents fears about AQUIND during his speech, the Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said:

“Whatever the alleged merits of this project may be, to ignore the overwhelmingly negative impact it would have on Portsmouth’s residents, its businesses and environment, would be a dereliction of duty.”

Mr Morgan also criticised AQUIND’s “shady campaign to lobby successive Conservative Ministers, behind closed doors and backed by heaps of cash”.

He dismissed as ‘fantasy’ any suggestion that Kwasi Kwarteng MP,  the Conservative Secretary of State for Business who has a final say over the project, could make an impartial decision.

Stephen Morgan MP, commented:

Today in Parliament I once again challenged Tory government ministers to put an end to these damaging proposals and Stop Aquind.

“I was deeply unimpressed with the Minister’s response, failing to address any of the questions raised by my constituents or outline any specific benefits the AQUIND interconnector project would bring to Portsmouth.

“I know those who object to the scheme will also be disappointed to see no other local MP participate in the debate, despite our area’s outright objection to the project.

“I will keep working on behalf of local people to ensure we secure an end to these plans and stop AQUIND. Constituents can show their opposition by signing my public petition.”

You can sign the Portsmouth South MP’s public petition at www.stephenmorgan.org.uk/aquindpetition

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City MP votes to defeat Conservatives “divisive and harmful hate speech Bill”

City MP Stephen Morgan has voted to defeat the Conservatives’ new law for universities, branded a “hate speech bill”.

The Conservatives’ planned law would enable people from Holocaust Deniers to anti-vaxxers to sue universities or student unions if they are denied a platform to spread their ideas.

Mr Morgan has backed Labour’s record in Government which saw the Party enshrine the right to freedom of expression in UK, but warned the Conservatives’ plans are trying to solve a problem which does not exist resulting in people with offensive and dangerous views being able to sap funding from universities. 

There is no evidence to support the Conservatives’ claim that further action is needed to protect free speech on university campuses. A survey last year found just six out of 10,000 events on campus been cancelled – four due to incorrect paperwork, one was moved to a larger venue, and one was to promote a pyramid scheme.

However, the Government’s plans would open the door to vexatious legal action, which risks tying up universities and student unions in costly legal battles. Alongside external speakers, university staff would be given a new right to take out legal action against institutions if they were passed over for promotions or new jobs, while student unions could face court battles if they turned away speakers.

Conservative MPs lined up to vote for the proposals which could put universities in a position where they are being sued by anti-vaxxers, Holocaust Deniers and those looking to spread division across our campuses.

Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan said:

“It’s disgraceful that the Conservatives’ are introducing new laws that could give a boost to Holocaust Deniers, anti-vaxxers and people harmful to the public interest.

“Students have been neglected throughout the pandemic and the Government has failed to create the jobs and training opportunities young people need. Instead they are manufacturing a debate that will sow division and hate.

“These are clearly the wrong priorities for Britain and I’m proud to stand against these dangerous plans.” 

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City MP slams the government for pushing ahead with Universal Credit cut that will impact local families

Stephen Morgan has demanded the government ‘cancels the cut’ after the Secretary of State Thérèse Coffey MP, confirmed this week that the Government is continuing with the planned £20 Universal Credit cut in September.

Labour had consistently called on the Government not to cut Universal Credit in April 2021, culminating in the Cancel the Cut Opposition Day Debate in January 2021, where the House of Commons voted in favour of keeping the £20 uplift.

In the Budget in March, the Chancellor announced a 6-month extension to the uplift until the end of September 2021.

Labour is calling on the Government to cancel the cut and keep the uplift permanent.

This cut will impact 6 million families, including those on working tax credits. This £20 is what enables some of them to put food on the table at the end of the week.

In Portsmouth, the number of people claiming Universal Credit has risen by nearly 10,000 over the last year, from 8,262 to 18,012. An increase of 118%.

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

“Government is trying to make low income families pay for its own chronic mismanagement of the pandemic and the economic recovery.

“Universal Credit and its earlier uplift during the height of the pandemic was a lifeline for so many in our city.

“Pulling the rug from underneath struggling families just at the time when the economy begins to recover is not only morally backward, but economically too, choking off any shoots of recovery we would see if the government cancelled the cut.

“I will continue to work on behalf of the local families and secure the support they need after this incredibly difficult time.”

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Portsmouth MP’s ‘Stop AQUIND’ campaign accelerates with petition now available in local shops

Stephen Morgan MP’s joint campaign with the local ‘Stop AQUIND’ group to sign his public petition is accelerating, with petitions now available to collect in local shops and hundreds of signatures already collected.

The local representative – who has long-opposed the controversial AQUIND project – launched the petition alongside the local ‘Stop AQUIND’ campaign last weekend at the organisation’s ‘Walk the Route’ event.

The MP’s petition, which can be signed by any UK resident, calls on the government to reject the project, citing the huge damage it would do to the local infrastructure and environment, as well as ongoing concerns surrounding the project company and its directors.

Now, in less than a week, Mr Morgan’s office and ‘Stop AQUIND’ campaigners have collected hundreds of signatures, from knocking doors, being out and about in the constituency and at local community venues.

The following local businesses have also made the city MP’s public petition available in their stores to be signed by local residents:

  • Broadway Coffee
  • Hounds Barbers
  • Herbies
  • Southsea Cycles
  • Pompey on a roll
  • Corner collective
  • Tango Tea
  • Dress Code
  • Albert Road Southsea
  • Budds Apothecary
  • Milton community centre
  • Fruit and Flower
  • Locksway Road post office
  • The Larder
  • Winnie’ s Bakery
  • The Brewer’ s Tap
  • Wild Thyme
  • Southsea Deli

The petition is also set to be available soon in a range of shops on Albert Road and Milton Road.

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

“I’m really encouraged by the enthusiasm of local people who are keen to sign up to my public petition to Stop AQUIND.

“In less than a week, we have already made solid progress and it’s great to see so many community businesses who will be impacted by this deeply damaging project getting involved as well, which I hope will make it easier for others to sign up to my petition.

“AQUIND would be a disaster for Portsmouth and our city’s voices must be heard. By working together, we can Stop AQUIND.”

Mr Morgan, in partnership with the ‘Stop AQUIND’ campaign, is also set to run a number of street stalls in the coming days where it will be available for people to sign up.

He will also be speaking in a Westminster Hall debate that he recently secured on Tuesday, to once again call for the Business Secretary to delay making his final decision on AQUIND.

The public petition can be downloaded for signing at www.stephenmorgan.org.uk/aquindpetition

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Portsmouth MP writes to local CCG to raise concerns about GP take overs

Stephen Morgan MP has written to NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group to raise concerns about the takeover of GP services.

Across the UK, 70 GP services have been taken over by the American healthcare organisation Centene, making them the largest provider of NHS Primary Care services in the UK, raising concerns that the company is profiting from providing NHS services.

In the Portsmouth representative’s letter, he underlined a wide range of reasons for why the company would not be fit to provide local health services, including how in 2018, “the company was implicated in the profit-motivated closure of Osler House GP surgery in Harlow, Essex.”

He also said that “Centene Corporation has a long record of fraud” and that it “has had to pay over $800 million in penalties since 2000 for 170 different fraud offenses.”

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

“I’m hearing more and more from constituents about the challenge of seeing their GP and the time it takes to receive the care they need, which is why it is a priority of mine to tackle this in Portsmouth.

“What we are also seeing elsewhere in the country is worrying. Letting private companies increase their profits will harm patients, families, and our local area.

“That is why I have written to our local CCG to ask them that patients, families, and our local area are put first, and will continue to raise our city’s concerns in Parliament”.

 

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Tell the Tory Government why you’re against AQUIND

On Tuesday 13 July Stephen has secured a debate – in Westminster Hall – to continue to hold the Government to account and to call on the Conservative Business Secretary to stop AQUIND. 

Help inform Stephen’s speech in the debate and his continued lobbying of the Government to think again by telling him the key reason you’re also against the project: 

You can also show your support to Stop AQUIND by signing Stephen’s petition at www.stephenmorgan.org.uk/aquindpetition 

Thank you for completing this form. Stephen Morgan MP and the Labour Party will use the personal information you provide for the purpose of his parliamentary campaign to Stop AQUIND. Where you have opted in, Stephen and the Labour Party may contact you via the communication channels you have chosen and for the purposes specified. We may also contact you by post using the electoral register, which Stephen is entitled to use as an MP and the Labour Party is entitled to use to further its objectives as a political party. You can opt out of communications from us or manage your preferences at any time. For more information about how we use personal data please visit: www.stephenmorgan.org.uk/privacy-policy 

 

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Portsmouth MP demands government ‘cuts the rhetoric’ after failing to tackle local waiting times on week of NHS 73rd birthday

Stephen Morgan MP has demanded the government ‘cuts the rhetoric’ and support the NHS after new research shows the number of people waiting for treatment continues to rise.

Research from the Office of Stephen Morgan MP has shown that 37.3% of patients of Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust are waiting more than the recommended maximum of 18 weeks for treatment.

Meanwhile, 37,145 are currently awaiting treatment from QA Hospital, up from 35,948 patients in April, according to the latest data from NHS England.

The research comes as this week the Official Opposition, including the Portsmouth representative, pushed Ministers for an NHS recovery plan that would include action to bring down waiting lists.

On the 73rd anniversary of the creation of the NHS, Labour MPs highlighted the scandal of over 5 million people now on the waiting list for NHS treatment, and pointed to the shocking failure that left the NHS struggling with growing waiting lists, high staff vacancies, crumbling NHS buildings and without the diagnostic machines needed to cope with demand.

Labour demanded:

  • A quarterly plan from ministers on action being taken to bring down waiting lists and to meet national waiting times standards
  • A NHS rescue plan to ensure the NHS has the staff and modern equipment to deliver the cancer care, surgery and mental health care patients deserve.
  • A commitment to strengthen the NHS constitution to eliminate waits over 52-weeks and offer a cast iron guarantee
  • A fair pay rise for NHS staff

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

“Over a decade of underfunding our NHS has left constituents in Portsmouth waiting too long for treatment.

“73 years ago, a Labour Government created the NHS. The introduction of the NHS completely transformed people’s lives, giving access to world-class healthcare to all, regardless of their ability to pay.

“11 years of Tory Government has seen waiting lists rise to their highest on record, beds cut and thousands of vacancies leaving NHS staff exhausted and overstretched. We thank the phenomenal NHS staff who have delivered lifesaving work, even in the toughest times.

“Which is why, this week, we celebrate Labour’s creation of the NHS but we also campaign for a NHS rescue plan, to bring down the spiralling waiting lists, ensure more people can access cancer treatment sooner and ensure people receive the cancer care they need. Ignoring the crisis now facing our NHS puts patients’ lives at risk.”

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary said:

“For eleven years the Tories underfunded the NHS and cut health care services. We entered the pandemic with a weakened NHS with growing waiting list, less beds and desperately short of staff. 

“Today treatment lists are sky high and people are left anxiously waiting longer for cancer care putting lives at risk.

“Labour is demanding Boris Johnson now develop a fully funded health and care rescue plan to give patients in Portsmouth the quality care they deserve.”

Mr Morgan called on the Health Secretary back in April for failing to pay Portsmouth NHS staff a ‘fair wage’. He also wrote to the government for a fair NHS staff pay rise in March after it was revealed 300,000 staff worked unpaid hours in the past year, as well as liaising with local nursing representatives in Portsmouth and argued for a pay increase in the House of Commons budget debate.

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Stephen Morgan MP ramps up pressure on the Tory government to ‘Stop Aquind’ in latest intervention

Stephen Morgan MP has urged government ministers in Parliament today to reject and the ‘damaging and suspicious proposals’ of the AQUIND Interconnector Project.

The Portsmouth representative was raising his constituents concerns again about AQUIND’s finances and the reported influence its leaders have over government ministers during Business questions in the House of Commons.

It comes following the launch of Mr Morgan’s public petition last weekend, calling on Parliament to urge the government to halt the unpopular infrastructure project.

The petition is open to any UK resident, with no age restrictions.

The Portsmouth MP is set to present the petition to Parliament in the coming weeks and is urging as many constituents as possible to add their signature.

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

“AQUIND would be a disaster for Portsmouth. It would create untold disruption to our city’s communities and natural environment, while bringing no clear benefits.

“With serious concerns about the company itself, its murky financing and the influence of its leaders on the Conservative Party, significant questions are being raised.

“That’s why today in Parliament I wanted to speak up again for my constituents on this important issue.

“With the Conservative Secretary of State absent for my appeal, and a non-answer from his junior minister, I hope the Government will finally listen to our city’s objections and stop AQUIND.”

The MP’s latest parliamentary intervention was backed by Labour’s frontbench during oral questions in the House of Commons.

Shadow Energy Minister Alan Whitehead MP adding at the Despatch Box:

“Is the minister aware that we are talking about a company that, as its sole activity is proposing to build an interconnector with France, but has attempted to get itself exempted from all the rules governing interconnectors, is now extraordinarily seeking government backing to trash parts of Portsmouth to land its cable.

“But throughout all this has never traded and is completely reliant for its existence on loans from unnamed overseas companies: but it has been active as a company in one other thing, and that is giving huge donations to the Conservative Party and a number of its MPs to the tune of £1,100,000 either from the company itself, or through the good offices of its part owner.

“And now perhaps in return, it wants the government to support its rackety scheme through the Secretary of State personally approving its planning application.

“This whole thing stinks. I would ask ministers to call a halt to this seedy enterprise and certainly not endorse it’s wild and inappropriate planning proposals.”

From a very early stage, Mr Morgan has taken a range of actions to help halt plans for the largescale infrastructure project, including giving evidence to the Planning Inspectorate expressing his concerns, tabling a number of written parliamentary questions and writing a number of letters to relevant Ministers. His campaign to stop AQUIND continue.

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Covid: Lifting of lockdown restrictions

Responding to the Government’s announcement on the lifting of lockdown restrictions from 19 July. Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“The people of Portsmouth have done their bit by observing restrictions and getting vaccinated. This is now a test of the government’s leadership and Ministers must clearly set out how they will protect our city as we learn to live with the virus.

“A wholesale bonfire of safety measures is not a necessary or safe approach in view of the continued rise in case numbers. While we have broken the link between cases and deaths, the virus has not simply disappeared and we have seen time and again how throwing caution to the wind can cost lives and livelihoods in the longer term.

“Those who have had two doses of the vaccine should be able to expect less disruption to their day-to-day lives and vaccination status should play a role in the need to isolate. We also need to see improved sick pay, local contact tracing, continued mask-wearing in crowded spaces, ventilation and support for children to prevent serious illness.

“The government must provide the clarity and confidence our City needs to return to normal life safely, and we must never again reach a position where national restrictions are necessary.”

 

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Portsmouth MP urges Ministers to swiftly address ‘all time low’ mental health provision for troops

Stephen Morgan MP urged ministers at departmental defence questions in the House of Commons today to review the ‘all time low’ mental health services provision for forces personnel.

Government figures show that the number of service personnel being seen by the MoD’s Specialist Mental Health Services for an initial assessment has fallen by 36% since 2013 – the lowest it has ever been.

The figures raise questions as to why over fewer Forces personnel are being seen by the MOD’s Specialist Mental Health Services each year than there were nearly a decade ago.

The Government set out in its Defence People Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2017-2022 the aim that Forces personnel have “timely access to safe, effective and innovative mental healthcare services”.

Yet since the strategy was launched, the number of Forces personnel being assessed and treated by the Specialist Mental Health Services annually has fallen by 1900 from 5,083 in 2016/17 to just 3,156. Just 1 in 50 are now assessed by the MOD mental health service.

The news comes as the Armed Forces Bill, which Mr Morgan is leading the Official Opposition’s response on, returns to the Commons next week on Tuesday. The Bill contains provisions to try and improve mental health support for Forces personnel. Labour wants to force the Government to review all current mental health provisions for Forces personnel.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South and Shadow Armed Forces Minister, Stephen Morgan, said:

“It cannot be right that just after the passing of Armed Forces Day, service personnel are still being failed by this government in providing effective mental health services.

“Service personnel are now more willing to seek help to support their mental health, but the government is once again letting them down. Labour’s commitment to support our Armed Forces is an enduring year-round promise, not just when it is politically convenient. This government is big on rhetoric, but short on delivery.

“I will continue to demand the services our troops deserve from Ministers and will urge them again next week at the final reading of the Armed Forces Bill in the Commons to review all current mental health provisions for Forces personnel.”