MP Update – 21st April

 

NEWS AND COMMENT FROM CHRIS LESLIE MP – Friday 21st April 2017
(for more news also see my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/chrislesliemp)

Now that Theresa May has decided to cut and run to an early General Election, it’s worth taking stock about where the Conservatives are taking the country.

We know that living standards and real wages have been squeezed significantly, with the cost of living on the way up again.

We know that our NHS is under unprecedented pressure and whose future in increasingly in doubt as a service for everyone regardless of ability to pay.

And we know that the Prime Minister and her some of her most right-wing MPs are heading thoughtlessly towards the cliff edge of a hard Brexit.

So I will be seeking re-election as the Labour Member of Parliament for Nottingham East on June 8th and hoping we see Labour MPs elected not just where we won in 2015 but in the new constituencies we need to win in order to deprive the Tories of a parliamentary majority.

The issues of living standards, the NHS and Brexit will be at the heart of this campaign – and although we are leaving the EU, I will campaign for Britain to maintain the crucial trading links that have helped Nottingham businesses and our economy since we began participating in the European ‘common market’.

These are the values I will champion:

  • I believe passionately that our society needs to be fairer and come together to achieve more than we can ever achieve as isolated individuals on our own – and the NHS stands as a testament to the efficient pooling of our resources collectively to get a better deal for all.
  • I want to see every child have the opportunity to fulfil their individual potential to the full, which means prioritising high quality education.
  • We need to fight hard for power, wealth and opportunity to be in the hands of the many not the few and champion rights & liberties while each taking our responsibilities as citizens seriously.
  • I am an internationalist and believe we have a moral duty to care for others in distress or suffering repression and not ‘walking by’ on the other side of the road.
  • And in this age of social media we have to work more than ever to promote a culture of tolerance and respect, fighting racism and prejudice wherever it exists.

I hope these are values we share and that, if re-elected, these will be the principles I follow as the local Member of Parliament for Nottingham East.

 Doorstep

NOTTINGHAM

  •  Sadly there has been another knife-related death in Nottingham over the Easter period. 18 year old Matthew Rothery, who was a student at Nottingham Academy, died following a serious assault in the Woodborough Road area at Mapperley Top. Clearly our thoughts must be with Matthew’s family and friends at this terrible time. A 20 year old man has been arrested in connection with the incident and remanded in prison. The property at the site of the attack has had a police presence until today to secure the scene. A few weeks ago I asked for your views on the idea of introducing mandatory sentences for knife possession without good cause and those who responded were broadly supportive. So I will make it a priority to press for this change – we must do much more to stamp out the carrying of knives across our community.
  • Nottingham City Council has agreed to spend £671,000 to revamp 14 parks and green spaces across the city. The money will be spent on parks such as the Arboretum, as well as Valley Road Park and Peggy’s Park in Sherwood. Valley Road Park is due to have significant improvements to footpaths, as well as the creation of a new walkway to link to the play area and new play equipment. I welcome this investment in parks and green spaces, which do so much to benefit the health and wellbeing of our communities.
  • Trading standards officers from Nottingham City Council have seized over £230,000 worth of illegal cigarettes and tobacco from city premises over the last year and the Nottingham Post reported that a number of shops in the Radford Road area were found to have illegal tobacco products. I’m pleased to see council officials tackling this issue – the priority should be helping people to give up smoking and lead healthier lives – and the illegal cigarette trade encourages counterfeit products which could be harmful to people’s health.
  • An 11-year old from Carlton has become one of the youngest people ever to conduct an orchestra. Matthew, a pupil at Sneinton C of E Primary School, conducted a 75-piece orchestra at Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall earlier this month. He conducted Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, a nine minute long piece, as part of a charity concert organised by the Nottingham Symphony Orchestra to raise money for Hope Nottingham. Derek Williams, Matthew’s violin teacher, spotted his conducting potential at the age of seven. You can watch the performance with the Nottingham Symphony Orchestra on the Nottingham Post website here. I believe strongly that Nottingham should show the way in music education and build on the achievements we are already seeing.
  • You may have read in the news recently that unemployment figures nationally have remained stable at around 4.7%. Unfortunately this does not seem to be the case in Nottingham East, where the number of unemployed claimants is on the increase. The claimant rate for Nottingham East in March was 5.7%, an increase of 155 since the previous month. The Government needs to do more to support jobseekers across the country and also to tackle stagnation of wages, as inflation wipes out wage growth.

PARLIAMENT AND POLITICS

  • Well so much for the ‘Fixed Term Parliament Act’! The Prime Minister sprung a vote in the Commons on Wednesday and because I do not want to see this Government continue in office I did not oppose this early election. Theresa May claimed Parliament was ‘blocking’ Article 50, but it didn’t. And she claimed she wasn’t going to have an early election, but that wasn’t true either. I suspect that many people will be disappointed that she says one thing but does another. Parliamentary business will now be fast-tracked in the final days when the Commons is sitting and the election period ‘proper’ will begin on 3rd
  • On Tuesday, the Foreign Secretary made a statement in the House of Commons about developments in Syria and North Korea. Two weeks ago, we saw the horrifying chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun in Syria, which killed dozens of ordinary villagers and injured many more. In response, the United States launched strikes against the military air base in Syria from which it is believed the chemical attack was launched. Russia continues to support the Assad regime and blocked a UN Security Council resolution that demanded the regime’s co-operation with an international investigation into the chemical attack. More than 400,000 lives have been claimed by the ongoing civil war in Syria and it is clear that a peaceful settlement is needed now more than ever. In North Korea, the Kim Jong-un regime is thought to have tested two nuclear devices and 24 missiles in 2016. Last weekend, the regime attempted to test yet another missile and threatened further tests. North Korea is a serious unstable totalitarian regime and clearly presents a serious danger in that region.
  • Each year the tax measures for the year ahead from the Budget are set out in a single Bill: the annual Finance Bill. On Tuesday, the House of Commons debated this Bill. The Finance Bill 2017 increases the standard rate of Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) from 10% to 12% with effect from 1 June 2017. It is concerning that as a result, families in our area will have to bear a higher cost for insurance for their car, house, personal possessions and even pets and mobile phones. The Bill introduces new digital record-keeping and reporting requirements, proposals will put undue pressure on small businesses and the self-employed in our area, who simply do not have the resources to input tax information on a quarterly basis. More widely, I do not believe that the Bill does enough to tackle tax avoidance and evasion and for this – and because of the Government’s approach to the Budget more widely – I voted against it on Tuesday.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

I’ve always believe that the people of Nottingham East are my ‘boss’ and I would very much like to get on with the job and standing up for local residents.

Since I was elected in 2010 I’ve reported back every week to constituents when the Commons has been in session with these my ‘MP Update’ email newsletters. They may be a bit long-winded on occasion (!), but I hope they have proved useful for you!

I’ve staffed a full-time office in Nottingham and helped hundreds of people with difficult problems and cases. And I’ve spoken with thousands of local residents on doorsteps, in businesses and across the constituency.

With so much at stake, I hope to continue doing this job and working for you after June 8th.

As Parliament will shut down shortly, I’ll keep up these Update emails and will be using the email chrisleslie2017@gmail.com for this period. If you need to contact me or can help in any way, just drop me an email here.

In the meantime, I’d be keen to know what you believe the main issues in this election will be – as always, please let me know!

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