Hello again, With apologies – this is a very long email newsletter! From now on and as much as I can, I will return to weekly updates.
There are lots of Christmas events (my thanks to the organisers of this mornings Victorian Christmas Market in Greasley) in the diary at the end of the newsletter. The Stapleford Christmas lights switch on is at 5.30pm today and Kimberley’s first Christmas Market is tomorrow. See you there!
As ever, Anna
Happy 50th Birthday Priory Celtic One of Broxtowe’s most successful football clubs is celebrating 50 glorious years. Priory Celtic fields 35 teams every week – footballers of all ages and both sexes. It was a real pleasure to join their birthday party yesterday evening. Check them out on www.priorycelticfc.co.uk and Facebook.
Anti HS2 petition Trowell residents opposed to HS2 presented me with a petition yesterday. I will present the petition of over 1,000 signatures in Parliament on Tuesday evening along with another petition specifically calling on HS2 not to build a planned 60 foot viaduct through Trowell. Although I support HS2 I will continue to represent all views on HS2 in Parliament.
Beeston Town Centre in £30 million revamp Beeston is on its way to having a cinema, cafes, restaurants and 100 new homes in and around the Square. Broxtowe Borough Council has agreed to drawing up detailed plans and a planning application is expected next spring. The £30 million project is much needed and I certainly welcome this mix of entertainment, leisure and new homes which will be a terrific boost to the town.
Of course animals have feelings; no MP ever said otherwise As I reported a few weeks ago the Government has announced a number of important new measures to improve animal welfare. The maximum sentence for animal cruelty will be raised to 5 years, the sale of all ivory and use of micro beads will be banned, CCTV cameras will be installed in all abattoirs and in Wednesday’s Budget, the Chancellor announced higher taxes to reduce the use of plastics which are harming sea life.
Last week MPs voted against an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill and some media have falsely alleged that in so doing MPs had claimed animals don’t have feelings, meaning they can’t feel pain. As a result a number of MPs, including myself, have received offensive and wholly unjustified abuse. As someone who was brought up surrounded by dogs and puppies of course I believe animals have feelings – are sentinent. I also know that EU laws have failed to stop bull fighting in Spain, the reduction of foie gras, veal farming, beak trimming and the shooting of migrant birds in Malta. British animal welfare laws are amongst the toughest in the world and we have always recognised that animals feel pain and suffering.
Citizens Advice Broxtowe meeting I had an excellent meeting with Broxtowe’s CAB and we discussed a number of matters notably next summer’s roll out of Universal Credit (UC) for new claimants in Broxtowe. The Citizens Advice Bureau supports UC which brings together a number of benefits in one simpler system. But the system is not without its difficulties. On Wednesday, the Chancellor announced important improvements, including reducing the time until the first payment is made. As a result of the meeting I have taken up Broxtowe CAB’s concerns in Parliament. I am also working with Broxtowe Borough Council and other agencies to ensure the introduction of UC in Broxtowe is fair and effective. Read how I asked for more funding for Broxtowe CAB here and my contribution to a Parliamentary debate on UC here.
Kyle’s case debated in Parliament Bramcote resident Kyle Ross-Waddell was at the centre of a debate in Parliament. A change in the rules means the sport 16 year old Kyle excels at (he’s one of the best young speed skaters in Britain), is no longer in his GCSE PE curriculum. Kyle and his parents came down to Westminster for the debate. The Government has promised a review of the changes in 2018 – too late for Kyle but I will continue to press his case. Read the debate in Hansard here or watch it on Parliament TV here.
WEBS Apprentice places Tucked away in Beeston is the WEBS Training Centre. It’s a fantastic provider of apprenticeships in skills and trades connected to the upholstery industry. I paid them a visit the other week and they explained they have 150 fully funded apprentices and 22 spare places! That’s 22 paid jobs with real training in life long skills up for grabs. I have written to all our secondary schools asking about how they promote apprenticeships. If you would like to know more about the excellent opportunities at WEBS please contact Sammy Jones on 0115 967 7771.
Broxtowe’s young debaters on great form I was delighted to help adjudicate a debate on whether technology makes us safer hosted by Bishpam Drive Junior School in Toton. Teams from Fairfield, Chetwynd Primary, and Sunnyside Academy schools took part in a well informed and polite debate! My thanks to everyone who made the event a success, especially the staff and helpers.
Primodos Inquiry provokes as many questions as it sought to answer Primodos was a hormone pregnancy drug given to women in the late 1960s until it was withdrawn. A number of mothers who took Primodos and similar hormone based drugs, gave birth to damaged babies and they have been campaigning for many years for compensation. A constituent who had been prescribed Primodos and her daughter who had been born with disabilities, came to see me for my support which I have given. Within a few days the matter was raised in Parliament after an Inquiry into these types of drugs effectively said there was no link. I have called for a debate on the subject and you can read my comments and views of other MPs here.
Pasture Road meeting My thanks to local police Inspector Steve Wragg and County Councillor John Cottee who made a special visit to Pasture Road in Stapleford. They met local Borough Councillor Richard Macrae and I – together we are campaigning stop inconsiderate and dangerous parking on the road. We now have commitments from both the Borough and County Councillors to look at long term solutions including parking bays and working with businesses on Pasture Road. I will keep you updated!
Aldi must build homes and a new supermarket
I am meeting Aldi next week to discuss why they are not complying with their planning permission to build new homes before they get on and build a much needed supermarket in Stapleford. I will of course report back.
This week the Chancellor announced real measures to help first time house buyers by abolishing stamp duty on their first purchased home. The Government also announced measures to improve construction skills and boost home building. A huge review of the issue has been announced and I have already begun a submission on the obstacles planners and builders face in Broxtowe. Meanwhile I am delighted that the Bartons’ development in Beeston has crossed one of the final hurdles.
St Michael’s Church in Bramcote has received extra help to fund new disabled access. Broxtowe Borough Council has made a grant of over £4,000 to the project. I was more than happy to help our Mayor Halimah Khaled MBE, present the cheque during last Saturday’s Christmas Bazaar.
Calling all photographers! This year’s Christmas Card competition is new and open to all photographers – amateurs and professionals. Please email me your finest festive snaps taken in the constituency. The winner will feature on my Christmas Card with runners up on the inside. Around 16,000 people receive my card by post and email – including the Prime Minister. Please email me your entry by 10am on the 4th December.
Fed up with Brexit? Take back control! British politics is in a fearful mess. Intolerance, bullying and abuse is not only a regular occurrence, but it feels as if it’s now completely acceptable. Well it isn’t. As your MP I will continue to do my job and part of that is not only to represent all my constituents in holding the Government to account, but to scrutinise and where necessary, seek to improve legislation. So it is entirely proper for me to say that I don’t agree with the Government’s amendment to put the date of our leaving the EU on the face of the bill going through Parliament.
It is an unnecessary sop, I am sorry to say, to the small minority of ‘Hard Brexiteers’ mainly in my party. Such a move will seriously reduce the Governments negotiating position. The Brexit negotiations are hugely complex and could well go to the 11th hour, so we need flexibility if only for a few weeks. I will also continue to make the case for the very best Brexit deal (I have made a number of speeches on this in Parliament recently all listed below).
Whatever the spin, the harsh, uncomfortable truth is that our economy is not growing as much as we expected or need. The average British worker still has to work 8 hours to produce the same value of output as the German worker does in 6 hours. Underinvestment and low skills are much to blame, so I hugely welcomed the Budget announcement that the national productivity investment fund will rise from £23 billion to £31 billion.
Our NHS will get an extra £2.8 billion, putting spending on our health service at an all time record high. But all of this good news has to be set against our impending departure from the EU, which is why the Chancellor had to find an extra £3 billion to help make Brexit work.
I believe the rest of the world, given all the above, is looking at our great country and shaking its collective head in disbelief. With difficult financial storms to weather in the forthcoming years they wonder what has possessed us to leave the worlds biggest most successful free trade bloc – the EU’s single market, and customs union.
The answer as we know, is the result of the EU Referendum, when 52% of those that voted, decided we should leave the EU. It’s good to see Trade Unions and British business coming together to make the case for at least a third option to bad deal or no deal. There is a solution to Brexit and that is our staying in the single market and Customs Union as I have always advocated.
But stopping a hard Brexit and getting a deal that secures our country’s future can only be achieved when the British people speak out.
Politicians like me, will continue to work cross party to stop the bullying by the ideologically driven ‘Hard Brexiteers’, but the direction of travel of the Brexit vehicle is yours. Time indeed to take back control!
Within minutes of the Daily Telegraph branding my self and 14 other Conservative MP’s “Brexit Mutineers”, I received the first of almost a dozen death threats. I’m all for a free press and rigorous debate, but the falsehoods and hate has to stop and the media has an absolute duty to set a good example.
Broxtowe’s voice in Parliament
I’ve been busy in Parliament raising a number of matters and contributing to various debates.
Sexual harassment and workers rights in Parliament
Most people were appalled to learn about the wholly unacceptable behaviour of a very small minority of MPs towards other people working in Parliament. I have been vocal in supporting the call for an independent grievance procedure to ensure everyone who works in Parliament or in constituency offices have the same rights and responsibilities as workers in other work places. You can read more about my views on the new procedure here.
Brexit continues to dominate Parliament with the controversial EU Withdrawal Bill making its passage through Parliament. Here is a variety of contributions on various Brexit related issues.
I am of the view that a consensus on Brexit can easily be achieved if the Government were to adopt what I call a ‘third option’, by retaining our membership of the European Economic Area. In this arrangement we would still leave the EU, but adopt an ‘off-the shelf’ arrangement, whereby we stayed inside the Single Market, as Norway do now. I co-sponsored a debate on the issue (my speech is at 6.35pm) and have urged the Government to keep our options open when negotiations move on to trade talks.
I stood on a clear platform at the General Election that I accepted the result of the referendum and would continue to fight to retain our membership of both the Single Market and the Customs Union after we left the EU. On Monday I stayed true to my pledge, as one of 76 MPs from various parties who voted in favour of Britain staying in the Customs Union after we leave the EU. Labour front benchers voted against the motion and Labour MPs abstained.
There is widespread concern around the impact a No Deal would have on businesses and jobs across the UK. I asked the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU about a parliamentary vote in the event of a no deal during his statement on the 13th November, you can read my question and the Secretary of State’s response here.
I have also made contributions of some other topics. I raised the Government’s excellent track record on tax avoidance and evasion during a debate on the issue. Since 2010 the Government have secured £160 billion from tackling avoidance, evasion and non-compliance and £2.8 billion from offshore tax evaders, and invested £1.8 billion in Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs to tackle avoidance and evasion. You can read my full contribution here.
I was also pleased to inform Parliament that Nottinghamshire police is recruiting an extra 120 police officers.