Please find below an update of my work during June. Please do get in touch if you have a case you wish me to raise or would like to let me know your views. My contact details are listed below.  Please ring or email for details of my advice surgeries. For updates on my work please follow me on twitter @jessicamordenmp or facebook. I am currently advertising for a job in my constituency office in Newport – see details below.

Questions to the Prime Minister

Over recent weeks I’ve taken the opportunity to question the Prime Minister on three important policy issues: support for the steel industry, funding for Welsh Government and our councils, and access to benefits for terminally ill people.

Support for the UK steel industry

At Prime Minister’s Questions I pressed Boris Johnson on the critical need for liquidity support for the UK steel industry which has been hit hard by the ongoing pandemic, and highlighted the potential for Newport’s steelmakers to play a key role in the national recovery from coronavirus, which has presented huge challenges for the sector. This will need action from the government to ensure procurement of UK steel for major construction and infrastructure projects like HS2 and an auto scrappage scheme. We also need to see a long term industrial strategy that has UK steel at its heart. You can read more on my question and the Prime Minister’s response here.

Funding for Welsh Councils

I also responded to the Prime Minister’s statement to the Commons on June 23rd by calling on the UK Government to address to provide address a £170 million shortfall in funding for Welsh councils as part of the Government’s response to the ongoing pandemic. Council workers have gone above and beyond to keep key services going during this incredibly challenging time. Its vital that the UK Government provides more funding to the Welsh Government to pass on to our councils.  In his response – which strangely seemed to focus on Scotland rather than Wales – the Prime Minister failed to acknowledge the very real concerns Welsh councils have about their financial recovery from the ongoing pandemic. You can read more on my question in the South Wales Argus coverage here.

Benefits for people with terminal illnesses

During the last Prime Minister’s Question time in June, I also raised the important issue of access to benefits for people with terminal illnesses. As I highlighted in my question, in order to access benefits quickly, people with unpredictable terminal conditions like Motor Neurone Disease are having to prove that they have six months or less left to live; and they risk losing their benefits altogether if they live longer than three years. A year has now passed since the government announced its review into access to benefits for the terminally ill, but there’s been no progress. The Prime Minister’s promised to write to me on the issue, so I will look forward to that response. I am also hoping to bring forward a ten minute rule to the Commons on this issue in September. You can read more about the campaign on my website here.

Airbus announcement

The news of job losses emerging from Airbus is incredibly worrying. While we understand the Newport site will not be directly affected, there are concerns about what this announcement will mean for the Airbus sites in Filton – where a number of Newport East residents travel to work – and Broughton. My thoughts are with all the workers & their families at this alarming and uncertain time.

 The aerospace industry is hugely important to the Welsh and UK economy, and I fully support Ken Skates’ proposal for an urgent summit to discuss the future of the aerospace, automotive & manufacturing sectors, which have been severely impacted by Covid-19. I hope the UK Government will take part in that and look at actions that can be taken immediately to support the industry and its supply chains.The time will come when we will all travel by air again and the UK Government needs a long term strategy to ensure we do not lose the manufacturing base completely from the UK.

Universal Credit unfairness

I’ve called on the Government to address unfair Universal Credit rules. I supported the Urgent Question to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on Universal Credit from my Labour colleague Stephen Timms. This question focused on the recent High Court judgement against the DWP on Universal Credit payment dates – you can read more on this here. In the debate around this Urgent Question, I also highlighted the unfairness of the Universal Credit system for under-25s, who are paid a lower rate. In my question, I said “I ask the minister to address why under 25 year old single parents receive less on Universal Credit than they would have done under legacy benefitsI’ve lobbied ministers along with the Newport Go Girls group on this – it’s unfair and it needs to change.” You can read the full transcript from the session here.

Justice question on court backlog

In June I highlighted the increasing backlog of criminal court cases and how this could have a detrimental impact on the victims of serious crimes.
Despite the difficult circumstances Gwent Police are hard at work tackling criminality across Newport East and keeping our communities safe, but a decade of Conservative cuts has had a significant impact on our justice system causing long-standing issues that have only been made worse by the current pandemic.You can read more on my question and the the Government response on my website here.

Free school meals

Thank you to everyone who contacted me ahead of the recent debate on free school meals. This was an Opposition Day debate convened by Keir Starmer and the Labour frontbench calling on the government to reverse their decision not to provide free school meals to pupils in England over the summer holidays – a policy which would have resulted in 1.3 million children going hungry. After pressure in Parliament and from campaigners, including footballer Marcus Rashford, the government was forced into a welcome u-turn.

While this was great news, it’s important to note that here in Wales the Welsh Labour Government had already acted to ensure that our children receive free school meals through the summer – another example of Wales leading the way on social justice policy-making in the UK.

Horizon Post Office scandal

I’m supporting calls for a judge-led inquiry into the Horizon Post Office scandal. A BBC Panorama documentary aired in June claimed that the Post Office prosecuted postmasters over missing money despite having evidence that its own computer system, Horizon, could be to blame.

The Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee has already announced it will be undertaking an inquiry into the scandal. The Government announced its own ‘independent inquiry’ this week, but concerns have been raised that it will not be fully comprehensive and authoritative without judicial oversight. The issue was raised in an urgent question in the Commons by Shadow BEIS minister Chi Onwurah MP.

I fully support the call for a thorough judge-led inquiry into the Horizon scandal. I have met with constituents whose lives were directly impacted by the scandal, which caused enormous damage to livelihoods and relationships. As Chi Onwurah said in the Commons, a full judge-led inquiry is the very least those affected deserve, and is the only way we can get to the truth of this huge injustice.

Reform of gambling regulations needed

I fully support the new report by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Gambling Related Harm which calls for sweeping changes to the gambling industry in the UK. The report  puts forward a series of recommendations for reforming the sector. These include:
  • ban on all gambling advertising, as was the case until 2005;
  • A limit on stakes for online slot content of no higher than £2;
  • ban on high-stakes online ‘VIP’ schemes and inducements;
  • ‘complete overhaul’ of gambling regulation in the UK, with new affordabilty limits and a Gambling Ombudsman for consumer redress.
For too long the gambling industry in the UK has generated huge profits off the backs of the most vulnerable in society. Enough is enough: it’s time for sweeping reform of an industry that has had its own way for too long. You can read the full report online at

Monmouthshire & Newport Youth Councils

Last month John Griffiths MS and I had an excellent discussion via Zoom with young people from Monmouthshire Youth Council (Engage 2 Change) and Newport Youth Council. We spoke about local transport issues and the impact of Covid-19 on young people – something that hasn’t always been given the attention it needs in media coverage of the pandemic.

I hope we’ll be able to meet up again soon. A big thanks to the brilliant Charley Oliver-Holland from Rogiet, the Member of the Welsh Youth Parliament for Newport East, for organising the discussion.
Here are a few other issues I have been involved with over the last month:
  • Regular online meetings and calls to raise constituents’ issues with Aneurin Bevan University Health Board; Gwent Police; Newport City Council; Welsh Government ministers; the Secretary of State for Wales; Labour’s Shadow Wales team.
  • Discussions on maximising the opportunities to support our UK Steel industry in key infrastructure projects with Community Union, UK Steel, Tata Steel, HS2 and the All Party Group for Steel and Metal-Related Industries.
  • South Wales Argus column (you can read my last column online here).
  • Meeting with Magor Action Group on Rail (MAGOR), Network Rail and Monmouthshire County Council ahead of MAGOR’s submission to the Department for Transport for Restoring Your Railway Funding.
  • Supporting my Labour colleague Judith Cummins MP’s bill on automatic electoral registration – you can read more about it online here.
  • Contacted UK Government ministers and departments on behalf of constituents through written questions and letters on issues including: Black Lives Matter and racial injustice in the USA; the Horizon Post Office scandal; funding for policing; compensation for victims of the contaminated blood scandal; increased number of claims for Universal Credit in Wales; support for pub tenants during Covid-19 outbreak; problems facing CLIC Sargent during the pandemic; access to benefits for the terminally ill; refunds for flights for British Airways customers; problems facing driving instructors; concerns about future immigration policy; campaign for visa exemptions for NHS and social care staff; persecution of Christians in Hong Kong; the humanitarian crisis in Yemen; China-Taiwan tensions; problems facing the UK university sector during the pandemic; food standards; issues facing independent lifeboat sector.
Job Opportunity: Constituency Support Officer
I’m currently advertising for a full-time Constituency Support Officer. It’s an opportunity to gain experience in a busy constituency office and join an experienced team. The deadline for applications is Sunday July 12th. For further information on the role and how to apply follow this link: 
Mohammad Asghar MS
It was very sad to hear of the sudden death of Mohammad Asghar MS. He was a courteous and friendly colleague and despite our party differences I always enjoyed attending events with him locally. My condolences and love to his family – he was clearly devoted to his wife Firdaus and daughter Natasha. 
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