Please find below a copy of my annual report detailing some of my work throughout 2018.
Please do get in touch if you have a case you wish me to raise or would like to let me know your views. Surgery dates are listed on my website www.jessicamorden.com and my contact details are listed at the bottom of this email.
I email out regular detailed reports on my work – if you would like to be added to the mailing list please email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also read these reports on my website at www.jessicamorden.com. You can also follow me on twitter @jessicamordenmp or facebook.
My annual report for constituents across Newport East
Brexit dominated parliamentary proceedings with the EU Withdrawal and Trade Bills passing through the Commons. The Prime Minister’s eleventh hour decision to postpone the meaningful vote on the Brexit deal before Christmas was a desperate response to the prospect of a big defeat in the Commons, and epitomised the chaos at the heart of the Government. As we enter the new year the Tories are in utter disarray over Brexit and the situation in Parliament is incredibly fast-moving.
As always, one of the most important parts of my work in Parliament is being able to challenge Government Ministers on issues which constituents bring to me via email, telephone or in constituency surgeries. In the last 12 months we have dealt with 2,756 emails, letters, phone calls and face to face enquiries.
Over recent months I have highlighted many constituents’ concerns on a diverse range of issues, including: fireworks; road safety; the Government’s inquiry into contaminated blood; HMRC’s withholding of money owed to local Roadchef employees; online scamming; crises in Cameroon, Bangladesh and the Republic of Congo; and problems emerging for local residents affected by the Windrush scandal.
Transport issues have been high on my agenda over the last year. I’ve consistently highlighted inadequate local rail services with train operators and Government Ministers, and I will continue to push for improved cross-border services for commuters. I also led a Commons adjournment debate in support of a new walkway station for Magor and Undy.
Here’s some more detail on the issues I raised in Parliament in 2018.
Environmental Issues and Animal Welfare
I receive hundreds of emails from constituents outlining environmental and animal welfare concerns. In Parliament, I’ve spoken in support of the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon and the potential of future lagoons around Newport. I’ve also contributed to debates on reducing the use of plastics, including calling on the UK Government to emulate the Welsh Government’s leading record on recycling.
I’ve also raised constituents’ concerns on animal welfare matters through debates and correspondence with Government Ministers. Some of the issues I raised in 2018 included the domestic ivory trade, the impact of fireworks on pets, trophy hunting, puppy smuggling, factory farming and equine welfare. In November I also hosted an RSPB Cymru reception in Parliament
Welfare, Pension and Health Issues
Constituents have contacted me about issues relating to welfare benefits, pension changes, and health related concerns. Whether it is the continued injustice facing women born in the 1950s who have had their state pension age changed, the damaging roll-out of Universal Credit, or the contaminated blood scandal, I have raised many different issues which are having a significant impact on the day-to-day lives of constituents across Newport East. I’ve also called for increased funding for Wales from the UK Government in light of the £1 billion additional funding for Northern Ireland through the Tory-DUP deal. Giving Wales a proportionate amount of funding would help us to solve some of the issues people are facing.
In addition, I met with many different health charities last year, including the Spina Bifida charity Shine, on behalf of constituents. It’s vital that people with serious illnesses receive the support they deserve, which is why I’m also glad to support the ongoing campaign to improve access to benefits for people who are terminally ill, and supported the campaign to improve access to life-changing medication for EPP patients.
I have also met with the National Association of Child Contact Centres to discuss their work to help constituents locally. This is in addition to the work I have done to secure the future of supported housing and tackle the changes to Support for Mortgage Interest payments to ensure that our communities have more financial and social certainty into the future.
Consumer Issues and Access to Justice
In 2018 I worked alongside trade unions and constituents on a range of consumer injustices, including: calling time on rip-off energy bills; increasing awareness of scams to protect the public; and calling for clarity on the scope of travel insurance offered as part of packaged bank accounts.
It’s essential people have access to justice and are supported throughout the process. Alongside this, I’ve helped to expose the lack of registered intermediaries to support vulnerable witnesses in courts across Gwent and Wales, and campaigned to end legal aid cuts and court closures.
I’m also pleased to have played my part in the successful campaign to reduce the maximum stake on Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals to £2 to prevent people from falling into gambling addiction.
Economy and Industry
Particularly with the backdrop of Brexit, I’m keen to work with the many businesses and industries which make up our local economy.
Here’s a few of the things I spoke out on in 2018 to ensure we continue to see economic growth in Newport East:
- UK and Newport Steel Industry; including a sector deal for the industry and protections against Trump’s steel tariffs
- Protections for automotive industry after Brexit, stressing the importance to our local steel sector
- Ending the public sector pay cap and addressing the national fall in real wages
- Infrastructure in Wales and the South Wales Metro
- Impact of no-deal Brexit for Airbus workers in Newport and Filton
- Proposed closure of DWP office in Newport
- Backing the production of passports staying in the UK
- Tesco South Wales call centre closure
- Highlighted the potential of the new International Convention Centre in Newport
Police and Law and Order
People have told me how worried they are about the sustained cuts to police and other public bodies, and the dangers faced by emergency service workers. Many people have also been concerned about the threat to shop workers. Over the last year I have spoken up for funding for police training, increased protections for emergency service workers; and I have consistently called on the UK Government to urgently review police funding.
I have campaigned alongside USDAW union for increased sentences for people who assault shop workers. I served as a member of the Bill Committee for the Voyeurism Bill, which would ban the practice of ‘upskirting’. It’s vital we work together to tackle injustice and I will continue to take a stand on issues affecting people across Newport East.
Transport Infrastructure and Services
One of the issues which cropped up most regularly in my mailbox in 2018 was the inadequacy of local rail services; particularly cross-border services between Newport, Severn Tunnel Junction and Bristol.
I’ve worked with local rail groups like the Severn Tunnel Action Group to bring these concerns directly to the train operating companies and Government Ministers.
In Parliament, I’ve argued for the need to improve overcrowded and unreliable cross-border rail services; and contributed to debates on rail franchising and the Conservatives’ cancellation of electrification on the South Wales mainline. In 2018 I continued to work with campaigners from the Magor Action Group on Rail for a new walkway station for Magor and Undy, including securing an adjournment debate where I outlined the case to Ministers.
Away from rail, I’ve spoken in debates on the M4 Relief Road; future arrangements for the Severn Bridge; and changes to Community Transport in Wales. I’ve also supported calls for tougher sentencing for dangerous driving and took part in parliamentary debates on road safety, highlighting the need to create a UK-wide road collision investigation branch.
All-Party Parliamentary Groups
In Parliament, I am a member of a number of All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs), including Steel and Metal-Related Industries; Mindfulness; Rail in Wales; Children in Wales; Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood; Suicide Prevention; Wales Hospitality and Tourism; and the Parliamentary GMB and PCS groups.
I am the Senior Opposition Whip and Chair of the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments and also serve on the Commons Administration Committee and the Speaker’s Committee on Electoral Commission.
If you or any groups you know would like to visit Parliament please contact my office on: 01633 841725.
Throughout the last year I have been out and about in all parts of Newport East, attending events, commemorations and meetings with local groups, and visiting community groups and businesses. I am grateful to the hundreds of people I met who were always so welcoming.
Here are just a few examples and if you ever want me to visit your group or attend local events, please get in touch.
It is always an honour to attend the services and commemorations across Newport East. Last year included the annual Remembrance Day services in Newport and Caldicot, the Merchant Navy commemoration in Newport and many WW1 commemorations.
I met with many advice groups and service providers last year. There are so many great groups across Newport East that are trying their best to help people, or to provide facilities and activities for people. I have welcomed the chance to meet with many of them. I have had many meetings with organisations such as Gwent Police; the Police and Crime Commissioner; Newport and Caldicot Citizens Advice Bureaus, local sports clubs, health campaigners and a number of different community groups.
I regularly meet with Trades Unions, local industries and businesses. Visits in 2018 included AB Inbev, Severn Power Station, CAF train factory, Llanwern & Orb Steelworks, Pro-Steel Engineering in Caldicot and Liberty Steel.
I am happy to support the wonderful work being undertaken by local Charities, trade unions and community organisations. I spent a day on duty with RSPCA Newport officers and a morning on duty with Severn Area Rescue. I have attended many events including presentations, coffee mornings, fairs and festivals, concerts, picnics, dog shows, tree planting and celebration dinners to name just a few.
If you are involved with a local group and want to invite me to an event please email me.
Keeping in Touch
I believe MPs should be as accessible as possible and listen, not just talk. I’ve held regular advice surgeries across the constituency, and kept people in touch with my work through my website, Facebook, Twitter, emails and regular Argus columns.
I am always happy to meet constituents whether it is about a problem you have or a view you want to share with me.
Surgeries are by appointment only because it helps to ensure that everyone can be seen. If you want an appointment please contact my office on 01633 841725 or email Jessica.email@example.com.