Europe

On Wednesday, Labour selected Brexit as the topic for Opposition Day.

Labour tabled a motion asking the government to set out their Brexit policy before triggering Article 50 to leave the EU. (https://goo.gl/yicGlE)

I agree with this.

The Labour Whip instructed Labour MPs to vote for a Tory amendment which called for Article 50 to be invoked by 31st March 2017. We do not yet know the government’s negotiating position.

I strongly disagree with this. I did not follow the Labour Whip and voted against the Tory amendment.

The Amendment was passed 461-89 by a large majority.

73.1% of those who voted in the EU referendum in Liverpool Riverside voted to remain.

This is not a binding vote. It is an expression of opinion by the House of Commons. It is, nevertheless, important in current circumstances.

Primodos

I have now received an answer from the Minister following my question regarding the inquiry into Primodos:

Question:
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, whether he plans to alter the terms of reference of the Expert Working Panel Group Inquiry into Primodos. (48751)

Answer:
Nicola Blackwood:

The terms of reference of the Commission on Human Medicines’ Expert Working Group on Hormone Pregnancy Tests were reviewed by the Group at their first meeting on 14 October 2015, endorsed by the Commission on Human Medicines and formally adopted by all members, invited experts and observers of the Expert Working Group at their second meeting on 4 December 2015.

On 13 October 2016 at a Backbench Business Committee debate secured by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Hormone Pregnancy Tests, the Government committed to respond in detail to the concerns raised by the APPG, which include the terms of reference of the Expert Working Group on Hormone Pregnancy Tests, and to then meet with the APPG to discuss these concerns.

Supporting the Homelessness Reduction Bill

 

cv16peuusaa1whfLast Friday in the Commons a new bill to help tackle homelessness passed its Second Reading. It will now move on to the next stage.

Proposed by Bob Blackman MP and supported by homelessness charities including Crisis, the bill could transform the help available to homeless people in Liverpool and right across the country.

The bill has the backing of both the Government and the Opposition.

Commitment, Experience, Vision – why I’m backing Joe Anderson for Metro Mayor

CaptureThis Summer, Labour Party members from across the Liverpool City Region will have the chance to select our candidate for the Metro Mayor election.

It is an exciting new opportunity for the region to shape its own future; delivering services, investment and opportunities for all.  It will also be about promoting Liverpool’s profile as a global, European city attracting investment and bringing prosperity.

Joe Anderson has the commitment, experience and vision to build a successful City Region.

I have seen first-hand how Joe has provided the leadership and creativity needed to keep Liverpool moving forward in the face of the austerity inflicted by central government.

In his six years leading Liverpool in adverse circumstances, Joe has displayed an unrivalled track record of delivery; building 8,300 new homes and 16 new schools; creating 30,000 jobs; tackling poverty; bringing the International Festival for Business and securing the return of the cruise liners.

Under Joe’s leadership, Liverpool’s prominence in the region and the country has increased.

Joe’s exciting vision will see the City Region explore a bid to host the Commonwealth Games; establish 10 mayoral development zones; introduce a 50p bus fare for children and develop the region’s transport network. He has the profile to work with national and international leaders to benefit the region.

Joe’s track record shows he can deliver!

I am proud to be backing Joe Anderson to be Labour’s candidate for Metro mayor.

Vote REMAIN tomorrow

remainI strongly back REMAIN in the EU referendum that will take place in less than 24 hours time.

Liverpool benefits from Europe. Millions of pounds of EU investment over two decades has supported jobs, businesses and training in the city.

Our universities, museums, theatres, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, John Lennon Airport, the Cruise Liner Terminal, Conference and Exhibition Centre – have all been helped by European funding.

What does our membership of EU also bring?

  • Employment Rights
  • Environmental protections
  • Consumer Rights
  • Visa Free travel across Europe – bringing tourists to Liverpool
  • European-wide security co-operation is vital against terrorism and people trafficking
  • European free market is vital for trade
  • 3m British jobs are linked to trade with the EU

Why vote ‘Leave’ and risk all that?

I urge you to vote REMAIN.

Women and the State Pension age

I congratulate Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) for their campaign against the injustice facing women born in the 1950s as a consequence of changes in government policy on when women become eligible for a state retirement pension.

The Pensions Act 1995 provided for the State Pension age (SPA) for women to increase from 60 to 65 over the period April 2010 to 2020. The Coalition Government legislated in the Pensions Act 2011 to accelerate the latter part of this timetable, so that women’s SPA will now reach 65 in November 2018, with the SPA reaching 66 in October 2020.

Some women born in the 1950s have been hit particularly hard by these changes, with significant changes to their State Pension age imposed without an appropriate notification period.

I have made representations on this issue to Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on behalf of constituents who have contacted me.

I will continue to pursue this and call on the government to make transitional payments to assist the women disadvantaged by their proposals.

WASPI’s petition can be found here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/110776

Information from the HMRC website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-insurance-application-for-specified-adult-childcare-credits-ca9176

Update: 16.05.16

Local Liverpool Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1688890071385965/

www.waspi.co.uk

Commons vote on Syria

Issues concerning national security are the most important any government, opposition or individual MP can consider.

On December 2nd, after serious consideration, I voted for the following resolution:

“That this House notes that ISIL poses a direct threat to the United Kingdom; welcomes United Nations Security Council Resolution 2249 which determines that ISIL constitutes an ‘unprecedented threat to international peace and security’ and calls on states to take ‘all necessary measures’ to prevent terrorist acts by ISIL and to ‘eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Iraq and Syria’; further notes the clear legal basis to defend the UK and our allies in accordance with the UN Charter; notes that military action against ISIL is only one component of a broader strategy to bring peace and stability to Syria; welcomes the renewed impetus behind the Vienna talks on a ceasefire and political settlement; welcomes the Government’s continuing commitment to providing humanitarian support to Syrian refugees; underlines the importance of planning for post-conflict stabilisation and reconstruction in Syria; welcomes the Government’s continued determination to cut ISIL’s sources of finance, fighters and weapons; notes the requests from France, the US and regional allies for UK military assistance; acknowledges the importance of seeking to avoid civilian casualties, using the UK’s particular capabilities; notes the Government will not deploy UK troops in ground combat operations; welcomes the Government’s commitment to provide quarterly progress reports to the House; and accordingly supports Her Majesty’s Government in taking military action, specifically airstrikes, exclusively against ISIL in Syria; and offers its wholehearted support to Her Majesty’s Armed Forces .”

This authorised the current airstrikes being carried out against ISIL (Da’esh) in Iraq – to be extended into Syria, across a border ISIL does not recognise.

It also emphasised the importance of renewed diplomatic efforts at the Vienna talks to resolve the Syrian civil war which has so far claimed 250,000 lives and displaced 7.6 million people.

UN Security Council Resolution 2249, passed unanimously, calls on member states, paragraph 5:

“To take all necessary measures…to redouble and coordinate their efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by ISIL…and to eradicate the safe haven they have established over Iraq and Syria.”

In addition, under Article 51 of the UN Charter, every state has the right to defend itself.

ISIL has committed horrendous atrocities including beheadings, mass rapes, sexual enslavement, murdering gay people, the mass murder of Yazidi women considered to be too old to be sex slaves. Their recent atrocities include murdering 30 British Tourists in Tunisia, 224 Russian holiday makers, 178 people in Beirut and 130 people in Paris. These were planned and orchestrated in Raqqa – ISIL’s stronghold and HQ in Syria.

They are planning more attacks. ISIL have already attempted mass murder in the UK, their plots have been foiled. The intelligence services say our risk is “severe” – attacks are highly likely.

Against that background, I consider it is self defence to authorise targeted attacks on key ISIL sites. Our military activity in Iraq has already make a difference. It has enabled the Iraqi government forces and Kurdish Peshmerga to shrink the territory controlled by ISIL by 30%.

Taking this decision is difficult. It is also difficult to decide to take no action in the face of this ongoing threat. Military action alone will not solve the complex and horrendous Syrian civil war. Intensive efforts bringing about negotiated peace as the resolution recommends is the way forward, together, with support for refugees, and reconstruction when the civil war ends.