MP Update – 18th May

MP Update No.299 – Nottingham Prison; Footbridge for Trent Basin Waterside area; East Midlands manufacturing industry; national and International newsNEWS AND COMMENT FROM CHRIS LESLIE Friday 18th May 2018(for more news also see my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/chrislesliemp)

 

Nottingham News

  • You will remember that earlier this year the HM Inspector of Prisons issued an unprecedented ‘urgent notification’ about the terrible situation at Nottingham Prison where eight deaths in custody and a high volume of violence led the Inspector to insist on urgent action from Government Ministers at the Ministry of Justice. This week the full inspection report was published and it makes for grim reading, with nearly 500 violent incidents recorded in a six month period, a serious drugs problem that continues unabated and a ‘poor’ rating overall for safety. The Chief Inspector Peter Clarke said: “For too long prisoners have been held in a dangerous, disrespectful, drug-ridden jail.” I have consistently pressed Ministers to take radical steps to reform the prison as a sticking-plaster solution will not tackle the deep-seated structural issues involved. Sadly a great number of the most experienced staff were lost during a serious round of cutbacks in recent years, and while staffing has since improved, nearly half of prison officers are very new to post and still in their probationary period. On Wednesday I met with Prisons Minister Rory Stewart and Lord Chancellor David Gauke to urge new changes, including breaking the drugs smuggling cycle by randomising the choice of prison that courts choose after sentencing. I will continue to press the Government to bring in the external expertise and resources needed to improve conditions, as ultimately today’s inmates are tomorrow’s citizens living again with us as neighbours in our community – which is why we cannot neglect the importance of rehabilitation.
  • Slowly but surely, there’s some progress being made with the regeneration of the Waterside area at Trent Basin near Daleside Road. Twenty local organisations and campaigning groups have come together to press for a new Waterside Foot-Cycle Bridge to link across with the Lady Bay area on the south bank of the river (pictured), which could really help to connect communities and help with commuting and improve access for residents in Dales and across from West Bridgford. I met with campaigners yesterday who are urging the City Council to bid for monies from the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Investment Fund and Transforming Cities Fund. But it is also noteworthy that Nottingham already has a fund dedicated to exactly this purpose – the ‘Bridge Estate’ Trust – which has now £27million of funds, generating £2million of revenue each year, specifically for the purpose if maintaining good bridges in Nottingham! It turns out this fund was first established in the year 1302 and it was King Henry VIII who made the promise of funds “in consideration of the great charges and expenses daily sustained for his well-beloved the Mayor and Burgesses of his town of Nottingham in and about the mending, sustaining and repairing of their bridges over the water of Trent.” Today it is the city councillors who sit as trustees. If the bid to the Government cannot contribute to the new foot-cycle bridge, perhaps this Nottingham Bridge Estate Trust could be a neat fit?

river trent bridge

  • Congratulations to Nottingham’s new Lord Mayor and Sherriff who were elected earlier this week. Cllr Liaqat Ali will replace Cllr Mike Edwards as Lord Mayor, whilst Cllr Cat Arnold will be the new Sheriff taking over from Cllr Glyn Jenkins. I’d like to thank Mike Edwards and Glyn Jenkins for all their work for the city over the past year and wish Cllrs Ali and Arnold all the best for their terms in office.
  • The Nottingham Post has revealed that there has been a rise in the number of untaxed vehicles being impounded or clamped by Nottingham City Council over the past year. Figures provided by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority show that 1,670 untaxed vehicles were clamped or impounded in 2017 as compared to only 808 vehicles in 2016. Part of this increase can be accounted for by improvements in the technology used to detect vehicles that are illegally untaxed.
  • The Nurse and Midwife of the Year Awards 2018 took place on Wednesday celebrating the very best examples of outstanding nursing and midwifery care. The overall winner (and winner of International Nurse of the Year) was Luisa Avanzado who is a Staff Nurse on Berman 2 Ward at City Hospital. The colleague who nominated Luisa described her as: ‘the person you want by your side when times become challenging’. As 2018 marks the 70th Year since the foundation of the NHS there was also a special ‘NHS 70’ Award which was won by Sarah Freer for her excellent contribution to nursing. You can find a full list of all the winners here.

 

National & International News

  • Like many people I have been appalled at the reports and images emerging from the border between Gaza and Israel where so many lives have been lost because of the use of live fire ammunition against protestors. I totally condemn what appears to be the unnecessary use of force against unarmed protestors in this way – and I do not believe that other countries faced with protests at their border would resort to live fire so readily. The Israeli government must account for why its soldiers appeared not to exercise restraint and why they chose not to use other means to minimise casualties. The 70th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel was likely to prove a moment of protest especially for the Palestinians in Gaza who are enduring such poor living conditions. It has undoubtedly been made worse by the provocative act of the Trump administration to relocate its Embassy in Jerusalem at this most sensitive of moments. I regard it as a crass and irresponsible, directly jeopardising the delicate balance of peace and stability already strained in the region and the US administration has been reckless in the way it has acted. I am glad that European government representatives gave their joint statement outside the UN Security Council discussion echoing the call by the Palestinian representative for a full independent investigation into these events. We have got to press all of the actors in the region to find it within themselves to revisit a peace process where through dialogue and a two state solution some semblance of normality and civility can be achieved, rather than seeing such a gratuitous repetition of this spiral of violence, recriminations and violence.
  • I was very pleased to hear the good news on Thursday that the maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) will be restricted to £2, down from £100 per bet. Gambling addiction to FOBTs has had a terrible impact on many thousands of vulnerable people, and this in turn has caused untold damage on communities across the country. It is positive that the campaigning on this issue has finally led to some action on this highly serious issue.
  • On Monday Transport Secretary introduced an emergency Bill to try to tackle the risk that 318,000 HGV truck drivers may no longer have valid driving licences after Brexit, because this depends on an agreement being reached between the UK Government and the EU on a comprehensive Land Transport Agreement – but this hasn’t yet even started the process of negotiation. I intervened to press Chris Grayling and demand whether he would give a guarantee that lorry drivers would still be able to legally drive across the continent, and as you will see from this clip from the Commons chamber, he was unable to give any guarantee. This is a shocking risk to our economy and for consumers and again shows the risks that a hard Brexit could create.
  • On Tuesday the Commons considered the question of a new ‘Leveson 2’ public inquiry into the outstanding issues of press and police collusion and abusive media intrusion such as phone tapping. Although the House of Lords felt that this was a matter of justice still not properly pursued, the Government clearly wanted to stop this further inquiry. So when the vote came to the Commons, unfortunately Conservative and DUP MPs voted it down and it will now not proceed. I am disappointed at this outcome and despite my vote we were defeated by 301 votes to 289.

 

What do you think?
Toyota’s massive car manufacturing and assembly plant in Burnaston, Derbyshire employs 2500 skilled workers, hundreds of whom live in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. So when I visited yesterday to meet with Unite union shop steward and convenor Peter Tsouvallaris and talk to employees and managers at the plant (see pictures below), their growing concerns about Brexit uncertainty were top of their minds.This plant has no warehousing – because their ‘just in time’ business model brings in parts from a supply chain across Europe with only two hours of parts held in the plant. They depend on free flowing, frictionless borders, which are at risk because of the Government’s unnecessary ‘red lines’ to leave the Single Market and the Customs Union.They couldn’t have been clearer: they want the UK to keep the trade advantages we currently have and are pressing MPs and both the Labour & Conservative frontbenches to opt for the Single Market. With the EEA Single Market having passed in the Lords, it is in my view essential we now get support in the Commons for this – which is why this week I urged Tory MPs and also Jeremy Corbyn to support this vital amendment.I would be interested to know your views on this crucial Brexit issue. Do you encounter manufacturing or exporting activities in your own employment? Do you have neighbours or family who work in manufacturing industries and know their views about this Brexit issue? Do you feel you know how to make representations to other MPs across the country as this crucial vote approaches, probably in mid June? If you’d like more information do let me know.

Toyota 3 Toyota 2

Toyota 1

RegardsChris Leslie

Labour & Co-operative Party MP for Nottingham East

PS: Ahead of the changes in GDPR rules, I usually send these emailed MP Updates each week as a way for local residents to keep track of my work and thinking as the local MP for Nottingham East. You will receive this following email correspondence we have had in the past. If, however, you’d rather not receive these then I entirely understand – simply reply with the word ‘unsubscribe’ and I will amend the circulation list. New arrangement for subscribing will be in place from 25th May 2018.

 

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