Please find below a report of my work during the last few months. 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.
Clearly Brexit continues to dominate the political landscape in Westminster, and I have received many hundreds of emails from constituents with a wide range of views. If you want details of how I voted last week you can go to my website jessicamorden.com
During last weeks votes I voted in favour of Labour’s alternative plan, which includes a permanent customs union with the EU; alignment on rights and protections; and future co-operation with the EU on education, industrial regulation and security. I also voted for Margaret Beckett’s amendment calling for a confirmatory public vote on any deal; and Ken Clarke’s amendment calling on the Government to negotiate a customs union with the EU. Unfortunately these amendments were defeated in the Commons. I voted against John Baron’s amendment which proposed the UK leaving the EU without a deal on April 12th.
In addition to the votes on Brexit I have criticised the UK Government’s lack of a post-Brexit strategy for Welsh ports and called on Ministers to address concerns about what a no-deal Brexit would mean for the steel sector, which is so important to Newport East. I’ve also pressed the Government on the need to ensure that Wales does not lose out financially from the Shared Prosperity Fund, which will replace EU structural funds for nations and regions of the UK. We still need a concrete assurance that Wales will not receive a penny less under the new fund.
Standing up for Steel
Speaking in BEIS questions I criticised the UK Government for failing the British steel industry. My intervention follows the release of a new report from the cross-party Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee which criticises Ministers for being ‘unwilling’ to engage with the steel sector’s requests on energy prices and business rates, and ‘rebuffing’ the industry’s ambitious proposals for a sector deal.
I await further details on the Minister’s pledge in the chamber to set up a steel roundtable, and hope to be able to contribute to this with colleagues in the All Party Group on Steel. It’s time for the Government to meet its commitment to developing the UK steel industry, which is so important to the economy of Newport East, South Wales and the country as a whole. You can read more about the issue here.
Police grant report and support for Police Community Support Officers
I was proud to show my support for Labour’s campaign against Tory cuts to policing in Parliament this month by speaking in the recent Commons debate on the Police Grant Report. You can read my contribution to the debate here I also spoke in the recent Commons debate on Anti-Social Behaviour to commend the Welsh Government’s support for PCSOs (Police Community Support Officers). You can read my contribution here.
Awareness of effects of gambling
I spoke in a debate on gambling-related harm to call for the Government to do more to protect vulnerable people, including those with dementia, from the harmful effects of gambling. I have also praised Newport Citizens Advice Bureau, whose problem gambling project is being rolled out across the UK. You can read the debate in full at: http://bit.ly/2JqYhnz
A debate was held about Great Western Railway’s (GWR) performance. Many of you have contacted me about this issue so I raised the concerns of constituents who travel on their trains. Here’s my speech.
Following on from the debate I received a response to the issues raised from GWR’s Managing Director, Mark Hopwood. you can read it here. Constituents also raised their concerns about upcoming Cross Country Trains timetable changes. I asked for formal assurance that there will be no reduction in Cross Country services from Caldicot and Severn Tunnel Junction.
Holocaust Memorial Day 2019
I paid tribute to Caldicot resident Renate Collins during a parliamentary debate to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day. Renate was one of the last children to be brought to Britain through the Kindertransport scheme, two days before the Second World War was declared. Renate’s mother and father were killed by the Nazis, and in total she lost 64 members of her family in the Holocaust. I really wanted to get Renate’s story on the record, as it is so important we remember the families, homes and lives torn apart, children who never saw their family again, and the dangers and devastating consequences of racism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism. You can read the full debate here.
Paul Flynn MP 1935-2019
In Parliament we have mourned the loss of our colleague and friend Paul Flynn. Over 31 years of unbroken service as Newport West’s MP, Paul never let up campaigning against injustice, holding those in authority to account, and championing his beloved city. He did this in his own inimitable style with wit, humour, and as a passionate Newportonian. He was the most generous of constituency neighbours to me personally, and I learnt a lot in our work together. Newport has lost a passionate campaigner who will be much missed. My love, thoughts and condolences are with his widow Sam and the family. You can read my full tribute to him here ,which I made in the chamber of the House of Commons, and the Speaker’s tribute here.
I recently called on the Government to address the hardship being caused to young parents by Universal Credit. Under Universal Credit, a parent below the age of 25 receives a lower standard allowance than they previously received under tax credits, when they would have been uprated to the over-25s rate. It is wrong that young, working parents living alone are worse off under the new Universal Credit system, which the Government claims was designed to incentivise and reward work. This is just one of a multitude of problems with the system which the Government has ignored, and is further evidence of the Conservatives failing working families.
In Parliament I paid tribute to the work of Newport Farepak campaigner Deb Harvey while calling for an update on new legislation to protect savers. Deb Harvey, a former Farepak agent and now a ward councillor in Alway, campaigned on behalf of over 116,000 Farepak savers who lost their years’ worth of Christmas savings totalling around £37million when the scheme went bust in 2006.
I’ve continued to raise the plight of Afghan interpreters who served with our Armed Forces in the fight against the Taliban. The Afghan interpreters who settled in Newport under the UK Government’s redundancy scheme are now facing real difficulties being reunited with their families because of the normal spousal visa rules. You can read my questions here and here. I was also pleased to welcome Shadow Defence Secretary Nia Griffith MP to Newport East to meet with the Newport-based Afghan interpreters to discuss the difficulties the group are facing.
Some of my other recent work in Parliament:
Questions to Ministers on the unregulated legal advice sector; the political situation in Turkey; gender inequality in the workplace; and Newport County’s FA Cup run
Supported Labour’s campaign opposing proposed changes to free TV licences for over 75s
Meetings with UNICEF, All Party Steel Group and Bobath Children’s Therapy Centre
Supported World Cancer Day and #HeartUnions week events
These are the latest statistics about my work in Parliament published by the independent website ‘They work for you’.
In the constituency
- These are a few examples of events and meetings I have recently attended in Newport East
- Attended induction of Magor Baptist Church’s new Minister Rev. Harry Place
- Visited Newport Child Contact Centre
- Funeral of Paul Flynn MP
- International Womens Day events
- Commonwealth Flag raising event St Marys Church Magor
- Wrote to Cross Country to ask for assurances on future of services calling at Severn Tunnel Junction
- Meeting with Network Rail and Magor residents affected by ongoing work on the mainline
- Advice surgeries in Caldicot and Newport
- Meeting with Magor Action Group on Rail
- Site visit to Wales ICC at Celtic Manor
- Women’s World Day of Prayer service
- Beechwood Park Group AGM
- Supporting Lady Rhondda ‘Hidden Heroines’ campaign
- Visits to GAVO, Newport CAB, Lliswerry High and Admiral
- Meetings with Chief Constable of Gwent Police and PCC Jeff Cuthbert
Congratulations to everyone at Newport County on another amazing FA Cup run. Reaching the fifth round, the furthest County have progressed in the competition for 70 years, was a phenomenal achievement. It was also fitting that this cup run came thirty years on from the club’s reformation in 1989, offering another opportunity to reflect on how far County have come from the days of exile and non-league football.
There was a great atmosphere at Rodney Parade for the visit of the current Premier League champions Man City, and despite the final outcome on the day (which ultimately flattered the visitors after a hard-fought game), Michael Flynn and his players have done us proud. The cup run will have inspired a whole new generation of County fans in Newport and across the wider Gwent region the club has always represented. I was pleased to highlight County’s achievements in Business Questions in the Commons. You can watch my question here
It was a pleasure to help open the new stand at Undy AFC last month. Undy AFC is a club with a strong community ethos, and the success of the senior men’s team over recent years – going from the Gwent County Leagues to the second tier of the Welsh Football League – has been matched by the development of a women’s’ side and a great range of junior teams for boys and girls. The coaches and volunteers behind the scenes deserve enormous credit for all their hard work for the club over the years, and I’m sure we’ll continue to see Undy AFC go from strength to strength on and off the field.