Jessica Morden

Labour MP for Newport East

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I was pleased to join fellow MPs at ZSL London Zoo this week to support #BackTheBlueBelt. Through its Overseas Territories the UK is responsible for the fifth largest 'marine estate' in the world - home to a globally significant populations of albatross, whales and endangered turtles; and as many as a quarter of the world's penguins.

The Blue Belt Charter calls on the UK Government to work with Overseas Territories Governments to create a 4 million square kilometre marine protection area around 7 of the 14 British Overseas Territories under the sovereignty of the UK.

Marine Protected Areas like these have been found to be a productive, cost-effective and viable way to preserve the ocean’s wildlife. They protect vital ecological processes for both local communities and the planet as a whole.

Fore more information on the Blue Belt Charter, and important steps that can be taken to protect the world's oceans, visit https://greatbritishoceans.org/home

Back The Blue Belt

I was pleased to join fellow MPs at ZSL London Zoo this week to support #BackTheBlueBelt. Through its Overseas Territories the UK is responsible for the fifth largest 'marine estate'...

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I spoke in yesterday's Labour-led debate on rail franchising, and highlighted some of the concerns constituents have raised with me about rail services between Newport, Severn Tunnel Junction and Bristol. Here's my speech from the debate:

"Like my hon. Friend the Member for Wigan (Lisa Nandy), I want to concentrate on my constituents’ concerns about their daily struggle to get to work, which is so unlike the rosy picture that the Secretary of State painted. They just ​want reliable services and affordable fares, which is not happening under the Government’s failed transport policy.

"Key rail routes run through my constituency. Many people commute to Cardiff or Bristol and beyond. There has been remarkable passenger growth at stations such as Severn Tunnel Junction, where usage has risen by 297% in the last 20 years. Transport links to Bristol, one of the fastest growing economies outside London, are crucial for access to employment. The Government acknowledged that in the industrial strategy, which talked about better links between Wales and England.

"However, the services to Bristol and beyond have for some years been plagued by reliability problems and chronic overcrowding. Commuters are completely frustrated. The Severn Tunnel Action Group, a fantastic local rail group, along with Magor Action Group on Rail, forensically survey commuters. They showed that, on half the commuting days at the end of last year, there was standing room only for those getting on at Severn Tunnel Junction, and on many days, only three carriages were available, not five. They also catalogued the delays and cancellations. Commuters, whose fares have gone up by 33% since 2010, feed back the daily occurrences of overcrowding: people being left on the platform, people fainting on the train and people being asked to stand in the toilets so that more people can get on.

"At the same time, the Government announced last year that they would extend the Great Western franchise to March 2020 and maybe longer. Yes, we are getting electrification, but what was in the announcement that gave anyone faith that things would get better? As my hon. Friend the Member for Bridgend (Mrs Moon) said, Great Western got the extension without any conditions. The Government are rewarding the company without any notion of things getting better for my constituents. Where the Government have had an opportunity to help, they have not.

"There is currently a process for the Wales and Borders franchise, which is devolved. But the Government said to the Welsh Government in the agency document last year that 'for the purposes of this franchise competition, no cross-border paths to Bristol may be proposed.'

"This is a missed opportunity, when the Welsh Government are planning bold infrastructure projects such as the South Wales metro, which will improve connectivity. The UK Government’s approach could not be in starker contrast to the Welsh Labour Government’s.

"A constituent who complained about services to Bristol was told recently by Great Western, “That’s just how it is nowadays.” No, it should not be. The privatised rail system is not delivering, services are getting worse and fares are going up. We need the Government and rail companies to address these problems now and to take rail back into public ownership when the rail franchises expire."

You can read the full transcript of the debate online here: https://goo.gl/Czr88o

Rail franchising debate

I spoke in yesterday's Labour-led debate on rail franchising, and highlighted some of the concerns constituents have raised with me about rail services between Newport, Severn Tunnel Junction and Bristol....

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This week I questioned the Health Minister, Steve Brine MP, on the future availability of a life-changing drug for those with erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP).

EPP is a rare condition where exposure to any visible light, including sunlight and artificial light causes reactions in the blood resulting in extreme skin pain. Currently there is no existing treatment or pain relief for the condition available in the UK but a new drug called Afamelanotide (Scenesse) has proved life-changing for those involved in the trial.

I spoke on behalf of my constituent James who was involved in the trial and described the drug as “taking away the pain and torture, allowing a person to live their life without any pain or fear”.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) are due to evaluate the drug and make their decision in May 2018 and I called on the Minister to look at the life-changing benefits of the drug.

I’ve met James and heard first hand of the real impact that EPP has had on him and his family’s life, and how his life improved when given the drug. It’s important we do all we can to help him and other sufferers to get access to this drug, allowing James and others to enjoy things that people take for granted.

You can read the full transcript of the debate online here: https://goo.gl/R2uHuY

Access to life-changing medication for EPP patients

This week I questioned the Health Minister, Steve Brine MP, on the future availability of a life-changing drug for those with erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP). EPP is a rare condition where...


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