Hello again, Lots of people who follow politics will know that I successfully voted against the Government on Wednesday night. It gives me no pleasure to say that. I will deal with the matter in detail at the end of this newsletter as there is important constituency news to report, including details of a dreadful accident that occurred in Beeston this week.
As ever, Anna
14 year old dies in Beeston accident
I am sure everyone will join me in sending our condolences to the family and friends of a fourteen year old girl who died in an accident in Beeston. I am not publishing her name at the request of her family. I understand the youngster was on her bike and died after a collision with a bus on Queens Road West; she was a pupil at Chilwell School. It will not be lost on you that this is the third youngster from the school to have died in the last seven months. My thoughts are with everyone connected to the school who will be mourning the loss of another pupil.
Bennerley Viaduct As anticipated, Sustrans have been unsuccessful in their first bid for Heritage Lottery Funding to restore Bennerley Viaduct. However, funding applications rarely succeed first time and there will be another bid in the New Year which I will again support.
I welcomed the Prime Minister’s confirmation that the rights of EU citizens living in the UK will continue to be protected after Brexit. If you are an EU Citizen living in Broxtowe please get in touch if you want more details or have any enquiries. It is critical we continue to do the right thing by EU citizens.
Broxtowe Borough Council to spend £500k on parks and plays areas Conservative run Broxtowe Borough Council will spend half a million pounds on improving parks and play areas across the Borough. The decision was taken at a committee meeting this week which Labour and Lib Dem Councillors failed to attend!
Defibrillator fully funded!
Following my appeal in last week’s newsletter, I’m pleased to report that Nuthall and Kimberley County Councillor Philip Owen has agreed to fund the installation of a Defibrillator at Kimberley Miners Welfare FC from his own members’ fund. Well done Philip!
Meeting with Christians Against Poverty I had a good meeting with constituent George Russell who works for Christians Against Poverty, a charity which helps those in debt. George works with people across Nottingham but mainly in Beeston and Stapleford and I have agreed to join him on a client visit in the near future. If you are in debt and need help please contact my office or call the charity on 0800 328 0006.
Broxtowe Youth Homelessness Stapleford Town Councillor Brian Hull is asking for donations of food, toiletries, bedding and other essentials to help the charity Broxtowe Youth Homelessness. The charity is based in Stapleford and provides essential items to those in need all year round but especcially in Winter. If you can help please contact my office or contact Brian directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Broxtowe’s voice in Parliament
Leave won the EU Referendum on the slogan “take back control”. It follows that for many of their supporters, leaving the EU is all about making our Parliament sovereign – in charge of all our laws and pretty much everything we do as a country.
It is therefore surprising that the EU Withdrawal Bill which is currently going through Parliament, aims to give important powers to do with Brexit to Government Ministers and away from Parliament.
I voted for the Bill, at what we call second reading, because the fundamental purpose of the Bill is to transfer existing EU laws into British law and pretty much everyone agrees we need to do that. You can follow the Bill’s progress here.
You might remember that the Government originally intended to decide itself when to start the Brexit process by “triggering Article 50” (it’s worth reminding everyone Jeremy Corbyn said we should do it the day after the Referendum result – but then he is a Brexiteer!). However, the Courts ruled (and they were right) that Parliament is sovereign and accordingly, Parliament had to make the decision. We did that in March and I voted for the triggering of Article 50, honouring the promise I made to respect the EU Referendum result.
At the time and subsequently, the Government has promised Parliament will have a “meaningful vote” on the terms of our leaving the EU. We will negotiate a withdrawal agreement and a transition arrangement with the EU (today we got the go ahead for those talks). The Government has said Parliament will be able to approve the agreement once it’s been settled. The concern is by that stage it will be pretty much a rubber stamping or no deal exercise. A “meaningful” vote comes before the deal is concluded enabling MPs to speak up on behalf of their constituents as to what’s in the withdrawal agreement. So for example, I might want to make the case for no tariffs on EU fruit and veg, which would hugely benefit local food processors like FreshCut Foods.
To be blunt, Parliament has had little if any say about how we deliver Brexit and what it will mean for generations to come, and that’s not right. Being equally honest, we have had lots of warm words and promises from the Government about a “meaningful vote”. The Bill going through Parliament is their opportunity to put that Government policy in to law but for reasons best known to itself, the Government has chosen not to do that. Instead, it tried to give all the power to Ministers in Clause 9 of the Bill. The former Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, drafted an amendment which puts Government policy on a meaningful vote into law. I signed that Amendment 7 and voted for it on Wednesday evening. MPs from all the other parties except the DUP also voted for Dominic’s amendment and it was passed. You can read Amendment 7 by clicking here, and scrolling to page 7.
No-one likes to vote against their Government and especially when it means the Government loses. I will not trouble you with the endless meetings (and I have to say promises that failed to materialise) that Dominic and I had with Ministers. We tried everything to avoid the vote, but to no avail. Putting Parliament not Ministers in charge is so important in my view that usual party loyalty had to put to one side. I voted for what I believe is right for our country and you my constituent.
As expected some parts of the media have deliberately misconstrued and misreported the details of Amendment 7 and our motives. They have whipped up a near hysterical backlash provoking offensive threats on social media and in emails. But the messages of congratulations have been overwhelming and I am particularly grateful for the unequivocal support of the Chairman of Broxtowe Conservatives Tony Harper and leader of Broxtowe Borough Council, Richard Jackson.
It’s important to remember that we live in a democracy that relies on free speech and MPs who will always put country before party. As your MP I was elected in June to represent all my constituents. I was elected on a Conservative manifesto but made it very clear I would support our continuing membership of the Single Market and Customs Union and the positive benefits of immigration. I am not a party delegate (sadly that is the way of a Labour party being taken over by Momentum) – I am your representative.
I congratulated the Prime Minister on last week’s agreement with the EU. You can read my question to the PM here.
I voted in favour of an amendment supporting the UK’s continued membership of the Single Market on Tuesday. I made it clear at the last election that I would continue to support the UK’s membership of the Single Market and Customs Union. Read my full speech on this subject here.