Jessica Morden MP

Member of Parliament for Newport East


Recent Activity

You will find here information and links about the Magor Action Group on Rail crowdfunding appeal to bring a Walkway Railway Station to Magor and Undy.  I am pleased to support this exciting project.

Extract from website

In 2012 a small group of local people got together to discuss whether the case for a new railway station to serve the adjacent villages of Magor and Undy, in South Monmouthshire, could be developed . Both villages had a station on the main South Wales line at one time but both were closed under the 'Dr Beaching cuts' in 1964. Since then the villages have grown significantly and there is now substantial evidence to suggest that a station is viable.

In 2013 the Magor Action Group On Rail (MAGOR) was formally inaugurated. The group has over 200 individual members, supported by many local businesses and has Lord Mike German as its Honorary President.  The project is backed by Monmouthshire County Council, our local MP, Jessica Morden and our Welsh Assembly Member, John Griffiths. With a population of around 7000 in Magor and Undy, largely within a 15 minute walk or cycle-ride of the preferred site, the unique selling point of this project is that could be a 'Walkway' (rather than a parkway) station which would fit well with the Active travel (Wales) Act 2013. 

Through 2013 the group has worked hard to raise its profile and to bring in enough money to start a 'fighting fund'. It has run prize draws, engaged with the local schools, sold its limited edition 'Maggy and George' fridge-magnets, lobbied the rail industry and Welsh Government and had a number of articles in the local press.  All of this has been recorded and promoted via our website,

In 2014 - we documented a number of key objectives for the year, for example -

We needed to be be sure that we had influenced the rail industry and Welsh Government that MAGOR meant business!

Two particular successes in this area, as a result of lobbying were - 

  • Network Rail has confirmed that the The South Wales Main Line Electrification Project does include the local 'relief lines' in its plans -  this was a critical dependency in our plans
  • The Welsh Government's City-Region Metro project has since recognised the potential of the 'relief lines' and has now identified, in its 'impact study', a light railway station at Magor as a long term aim

However our major objective in 2014/15, to build on the earlier work, was to raise sufficient funds to initiate the mandatory feasibility study (known as GRIP 1/2 - Governance in Rail Industry Projects). We know this piece of work will cost in the region of £40,000 but we are quietly confident that if we can raise half of it then we can secure the remainder through 'match funding' from various bodies (e.g local authority).

Very recently we carried out a random mini-survey of people (100) in and around the two villages. We wanted to be sure that we had full support for the campaign and what level of use the local people would make of a new station.  We were absolutely delighted to confirm what we believed that 98% of people questioned were fully supportive of the campaign and that 90% thought that they would be using the station. You can see the full report hereWith this level of support and your help we can turn the aspiration of a new station into a reality for current and future generations.

N.B. It should be noted that we are raising money for the feasibility study only. If successful the building of the station will rely on the normal funding process involving UK/Welsh Governments and Network Rail.  In the unlikely event of us not being able to commission the GRIP1/2 feasibility study within 2 years of this project we will donate the money collected split between the local Community Centre project and to the Railway Benefit Fund (the national charity for the UK Rail Industry)

Thank you for supporting this initiative.


Magor and Undy Walkway Railway Station Crowd Funding Appeal

You will find here information and links about the Magor Action Group on Rail crowdfunding appeal to bring a Walkway Railway Station to Magor and Undy.  I am pleased to support this exciting project.  ...

Last week the number of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants in Newport East fell to 1,752.

This is certainly welcome, but came in a week where we also learned that only one in five of those who have had their benefits taken away are known to have found work.

Last week the number of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants in Newport East fell to 1,752.

This is certainly welcome, but came in a week where we also learned that only one in five of those who have had their benefits taken away are known to have found work.

These figures tie in with what food banks like the Trussell Trust are saying and the church funded report titled Feeding Britain, which reported that many of the people they are seeing is a result of benefit changes.

For many of the people I speak to who are getting back into work, they are faced with insecure, low paid and temporary jobs.

This week the Wales TUC is presenting their findings from the “The Decent Jobs Deficit” report, following the Decent Jobs Week at the end of last year.

In their research, they took to the streets and invited people to talk about their jobs to draw attention to the millions of people in this country who are trapped in low paid and insecure work. Many people will tell you some dreadful stories but do not wish to name their employers.

Like the man who emailed me last week to highlight the practices used by agencies in the construction industry, or the constituent who explained how her employer uses practices so employees owe them time and have to work on days off.

The Wales TUC research shows that many people in Wales have been forced to take temporary work as there are too few permanent jobs being created. The number of people in temporary employment in Wales has risen by nearly 28 per cent in the last year, and the reality is that temporary jobs pay less and can be very insecure.

For example, there has been a surge in zero-hour contracts where people earn nearly £300 less than permanent employees. Average weekly earnings for zero hours workers are just £188 compared to £479 for those who are permanently employed.

This growth of insecure employment is one of the main reasons we have seen living standards worsen significantly.

When the Government tell people they are better off they know they’re not. If Labour is elected this May we plan to ban exploitative zero-hours contracts, increase the minimum wage to over £8 an hour by 2020, promote the living wage and more.

Your MP Writes Column - South Wales Argus

Last week the number of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants in Newport East fell to 1,752. This is certainly welcome, but came in a week where we also learned that only one...

jess_tainted_blood_article_cropped_edit.jpgI spoke today in the Contaminated Blood debate.  A copy of the speech is below.

Jessica Morden (Newport East) (Lab):

I went to the launch of the report by the all-party group yesterday. On behalf of my constituents who are affected, may I say a very big thank you to hon. Members and former hon. Members who have pursued this issue over the years to publish the report, in particular my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull North (Diana Johnson) and the hon. Member for Colne Valley (Jason McCartney)? It is hard to believe that, after all these years, this is the first survey of those affected by this scandalous tragedy. I support wholeheartedly the efforts of the right hon. Member for North East Bedfordshire (Alistair Burt) to secure this debate and all the work he has done. Even though the Penrose report has been delayed, we cannot delay talking about this matter—it has taken far too long already.

I support the recommendations in the report that deal with the experiences that constituents such as Lynn Ashcroft have had. I spoke to her last night on the phone. She had been reading the report and described it as “very comprehensive and moving”. Lynn’s late husband, Bill Dumbelton, was a haemophiliac. Bill was one of the first haemophiliacs to treat himself at home with cryoprecipitate. He contracted HIV and hepatitis C from the blood he was given. He lost his job with BT in the 1980s after he told the occupational health department about his HIV status.

Sadly, Bill died at the age of 49 and Lynn was widowed at 35. Bill had no life cover. As Lynn explained, because of his haemophilia no one would insure “people like him”. As well as having to come to terms with the loss of her beloved husband, Lynn was left with the mortgage and other financial challenges. Lynn did receive money through the Skipton Fund, although she feels she had to jump through many hoops to get it. It took her two years to get to stage one, during which vital medical records were lost. In her words, the Skipton Fund process was “brutal”. Several appeals in three to four monthly intervals over two years made her grieve all over again. It took a huge toll on her personally. As Lynn says, the Government cannot bring back the dead or restore their health, but they can award a financial package that will ensure survivors and their families are financially secure for life. In her words, she wants to see no more charities, no more funds and no more begging. Lynn has been helping other widows to get through the overly complicated system. I hope that, as a consequence of the report, the Government will act on its recommendations.

Bill died in the same year as Colin Smith. Colin’s parents, Janet and Colin, live in my constituency. Colin’s tragic story is on the “Tainted Blood” website, as is Bill’s, and the story of his extremely short life illustrates why we need a public apology, which is long overdue. Colin went into hospital at eight months of age for a minor ear condition. As a haemophiliac, he received factor VIII, which the family learnt following a freedom of information request came from a batch from a prison in Arkansas. He spent his short life fighting illness. He died, aged seven, of AIDS and hepatitis C. The family did not know he had hepatitis C until three years after his death. That was kept secret, as so much has been kept hidden. It was a real battle to discover that.

On behalf of the family, may I say they are angry that there was never a public inquiry and that the full findings of Archer were not accepted? They passionately believe that more should be done to help those still living with the consequences of what Lord Winston described as the worst treatment disaster in the NHS. They have taken comfort in the friends they have made through the “Tainted Blood” campaign, but say they have not felt strong enough to attend the constant funerals, as their friends pass away. The Smith family and others need and deserve closure.

Two days ago, it was the 25th anniversary since Colin’s death. This was the tribute on the “Tainted Blood” Facebook page:

“Today marks the 25th anniversary of the death of Colin Smith. He was a haemophiliac, but despite that lived a normal fun-filled life, along with his two brothers and his mum and dad. Then, in the middle of the AIDS crisis, he was given a non-emergency operation, during which he was given a batch of blood product. Colin died of AIDS, aged seven, in Janet’s arms, weighing around the same as a baby. His family have never recovered from it, and never will.

Please, as you read tomorrow’s APPG report and as you watch the debate…remember Colin and all of those who, like him can’t be there with us. Please remember all of those who might not see the end of this year…Thousands of people, like Colin, simply didn’t make it this far. He never had the chance to join the cubs, play football for his school, have a girlfriend, go travelling or get married…Instead, his short life was filled with hospitals, doctors and illness. He was just a little boy, but a very special one who we, at TB, always keep in mind as we campaign.”

While long overdue, it is time for a public apology and a final settlement. Anything less will just continue to hurt the innocent victims and their families who, through absolutely no fault of their own, have had their lives torn apart by this national scandal

Contaminated Blood Debate

I spoke today in the Contaminated Blood debate.  A copy of the speech is below.

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