Alison is the Chair of the All Parliamentary Group for Syria.
Following the government announcing that it will end the Dubs Scheme which called for more unaccompanied refugees to enter the UK Alison led a debate on this. She urged the government to re-open the scheme which was put forward by Labour Peer Lord Alfred Dubbs. Alison has received contact from her constituents asking her to put pressure on the government to think again about the closure of this scheme. The government has previously showed support for the Dubs scheme so their recent announcement has come as a big disappointment to those who support Lord Dub's amendment.
Alison holds a debate urging the government to think again on ending the Dubs scheme and instead to commit to helping more unaccompanied refugees
Alison is the Chair of the All Parliamentary Group for Syria. Following the government announcing that it will end the Dubs Scheme which called for more unaccompanied refugees to enter...
I recently visited Town Lane Primary School in Bebington to meet the children there, and hear about their views.
It was a pleasure to talk about my work in Wirral and the workings of Westminster with the children. My visit was in relation to the work the children have been doing on learning about the UN convention of Children’s rights.
Whilst obviously subjects such as English, Maths and Science are very important for a child’s education and development, these days children learn a lot about how our local area and how our country is run. They learn about how they can make their opinions known and make a difference.
Some children I spoke to are members of the school council which provides a voice for them all. It allows the school council representatives to raise issues on behalf of the children at the school.
Children will be affected by decisions taken today and it is only right that at every opportunity that they should learn about how democracy works and be given a voice so as they get older they are a part of the political process.
I played an interactive game with the children in which they become the government and the opposition. Once they had their roles they would debate an issue and then vote on it.
I really enjoyed visiting and if other primary schools in my constituency would like me to come and talk about politics with pupils and play the House of Commons game then I would be happy to do so.
Just contact my office to arrange a visit.
I recently visited Town Lane Primary School in Bebington to meet the children there, and hear about their views. It was a pleasure to talk about my work in Wirral...
Alison McGovern MP encourages organisations in Wirral South to apply for a grant to commemorate the First World War
The Heritage Lottery Fund is making £2million of grants available for communities to mark the First World War but Wirral South is yet to receive money to form a project which would explore, conserve and share local heritage of what is otherwise known as the Great War.
Alison McGovern MP for the area is now urging organisations in her constituency to apply for a grant. The grants available range between £3,000 and £10,000.
Thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund there are now 1.620 First World War projects taking place across the UK.
Speaking of the importance of marking the First World War centenary Alison McGovern said “All of us have ancestors who would have lived through the First World War which affected people all over the world and it is so important for our future generations to discover and learn more about the historic event which has shaped the world we live in today. It is a huge part of everybody’s history. Wilfred Owen, who lived in Birkenhead, was a leading poet during the First World War so Wirral has many interesting connections. I wouldn’t like to see Wirral South miss out and I would encourage people to apply.”
So far 83% of constituencies have been reached but the Heritage Lottery fund is striving to reach out to all UK constituencies.
If you have an idea for a project you can find out more applying for funding at www.hlf.org.uk
Alison McGovern MP encourages organisations in Wirral South to apply for a grant to commemorate the First World War The Heritage Lottery Fund is making £2million of grants available for...
Newly refurbished Bebington Police Station re-opens
Bebington Police Station has been officially opened by the MP for Wirral South Alison McGovern.
The station, based at Civic Way, has been shut to the public since early November 2013 whist it underwent a major upgrade.
Speaking about opening the new facility Alison said: “I was so impressed when I had a tour of the building and it was an honour to unveil the plaque to celebrate the opening of our new police station.”
Alison added: “It looks fantastic and I know everyone involved is very excited now it is officially open. A lot of hard work has gone in to it and it can now serve the local community with the level of service the residents deserve. The opening itself was a great event and I want to thank those who have been involved throughout the process. It will make a great difference.”
Alison was joined on the day by Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy and the Chief Constable of Merseyside Police Andy Cooke along with a host of other guests including representatives from the local authority.
Newly refurbished Bebington Police Station re-opens Bebington Police Station has been officially opened by the MP for Wirral South Alison McGovern. The station, based at Civic Way, has been shut...
Alison's contribution to the debate "Changes in US Immigration Policy"
Monday 30th January
It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Colchester (Will Quince), who made an excellent contribution. I, too, want to praise my right hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster North (Edward Miliband) and the hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Nadhim Zahawi). Both of them do their families very proud. I know that the hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon spoke on behalf of all those in our country who have ever travelled abroad and felt that sinking feeling as they approached the immigration desk. It is not something we speak a lot about, but I know, sadly, that it is a common phenomenon. There will be people the hon. Gentleman will never meet, but who will feel comforted by the words he has said this evening. I want to make three brief points on Muslims in this country; on the importance of Syria and Iraq in the middle east; and on populism.
My hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Luciana Berger) made a very moving intervention about Holocaust Memorial Day, and on the poignancy and horror of what we witnessed over the weekend. The hon. Member for Motherwell and Wishaw (Marion Fellows) said that her own contribution would matter very little, but I profoundly disagree. What I have observed over this weekend is an outpouring of distress and dismay from all quarters. Of course, British Muslims will feel this most keenly, but all of us in this country—whatever our background, whatever our faith, or of no faith—stand with them whether they are British Iraqis, British Syrians, British Somalians or British people who are descendants from the affected countries. I say this to our friends in America: we are Brits, all equal, and we will not be divided on the basis of our faith or wherever we have come from.
My hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green and Bow (Rushanara Ali) also spoke very movingly earlier. If anyone is questioning, wondering or thinking about whether these events have an effect on Muslims in this country, I would encourage them to listen to the tone of this debate. It is incumbent on all of us, Muslim or not, to stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity and in the best traditions of my party, and show them our support.
That is particularly true for those who have been working recently on issues connected with Syria. When I heard about these events over the weekend, my first thought was for the brave and brilliant people whom I have had the honour to come to know as part of our campaign to protect human life in Syria. Many of them are Syrian nationals and would have good cause to want to travel to the United States in order to make representations on behalf of that humanitarian cause for vulnerable people in Syria. Where does this order now leave them?
I would like to ask the Minister for Europe and the Americas—I do not feel that the Foreign Secretary gave a very substantial answer to my earlier point—what representations the Foreign Office has made to the Americans about the need for those representing humanitarian causes to be allowed access to America. That applies whether they are Syrian nationals, Iraqi nationals or even US nationals who will now no doubt face equal trouble accessing places in Iraq, Syria and other areas affected by this ban. We should ask ourselves this simple question: does this Executive order help or hinder peace and security efforts in that troubled region? I think that the answer to that question is glaringly obvious and staring us in the face: it is a total disaster for peace and security in that region.
I understand that a gentleman who played a particular role in the referendum campaign has recently gone on the radio to say that this is just the cause of “loony lefties”. To those commentators who say, “Donald Trump is a perfectly fairly elected President of the United States who is entitled to do this”, I say that this issue will affect the security of each and every one of us, including some of the most vulnerable people on our planet, and it cannot stand.
Finally, on populism, the past year has been very difficult. I always believe that we should look to the future and think about what our values tell us about how to approach the modern world as it is, not as it once was, but unfortunately I feel that what we are witnessing in our world is an old, old story—that in times of economic trouble, there are always forces in our world, who I think of as the far right and the hard right, who want to turn up and tell ordinary working people in America, Europe or wherever and say, “No, your troubles and your wages failing to rise are not the fault of the economic system or Governments or companies or anyone else; they are the fault of people who are just like you, but happen to be Polish; they are the fault of people who are just like you, but happen to be Muslim; they are the fault of people who are just like you, but happen to be from another part of the world.”
That tendency and the susceptibility of people to want to believe an easy story when the truth is much more complicated is always exploited by the purveyors of hate. Those of us who stand against that cannot give in to populism. We cannot kow-tow to prejudice; we cannot say, “Yes, you are probably right, so let us try to do what you want.” We have to be very clear with people that we are all, underneath it all, fundamentally the same. We need the same ability to work together, to learn together and to have hospitals for when we are sick; it does not matter where people come from, they need the same things in life. No amount of populist rhetoric designed to divide us and make us fight each other rather than work together will change that.
For the full debate please click on this link-
Alison's contribution to the debate "Changes in US Immigration Policy" Monday 30th January It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Colchester (Will Quince), who made an excellent... Read more
After being defeated in the Supreme Court, the government have now been forced to give parliament a vote on a Bill that will authorise the triggering of Article 50 by the Prime Minister.
The government have brought forward a really short Bill that gives no assurances about what will happen after Brexit. Deciding how to vote next week is a really tough choice. There are good arguments both ways and I wanted to hear your views about what I should do as your MP and Wirral South’s representative in Westminster.
We must accept the result of the referendum, and I accept that some people will argue that opposing Article 50 would make it sound like we hadn’t listened to the public.
But I also have heard from constituents who feel that we should not give in to the hard Brexit agenda that has got the whole country dancing to UKIP’s tune. If we just wave through Article 50 then we are giving a green light to leaving our current economic arrangements that protect jobs for people here in Merseyside. Theresa May thinks that reducing immigration is all that matters, and that it is worth everyone in Britain being poorer as long as there are fewer foreign faces on our streets. I do not agree with her on that, as with so much.
That is not what I came into politics for, to tell people that all their problems are down to immigration. I wrote about this recently in the Mirror, as the current rhetoric truly worries me: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/time-end-ukip-nonsense-immigration-9645889
Those of us who voted to Remain may have lost the referendum but that does not mean our voice should be silenced. A majority of people in Wirral South voted to Remain and as their representative in parliament I feel special duty to make sure all voices are heard.
Parliament will be voting on this for the first time on Wednesday so please let me know your views as I make my decision.
With thanks as ever,
After being defeated in the Supreme Court, the government have now been forced to give parliament a vote on a Bill that will authorise the triggering of Article 50 by...
Originally published on the Guardian website 26/01/2017
There have been some flickers of hope from Syrian peace talks taking place in Astana this week. The negotiations led by Russia, Iran and Turkey may yet pave the way to a sustainable ceasefire deal, but even this will not erase the fact that the international community’s record on Syria is a bloody and shameful one.
Nearly six years after peaceful protesters took to the streets of Damascus, more than 300,000 people and been killed and millions displaced by war that has seen international norms violated, chemical weapons deployed against civilians, and the barbaric tactics of siege and starvation used by a state against its own citizens.
Late last year, I read a letter from the White Helmets, Syria’s brave volunteer rescue force, to the British parliament. The letter was written during the Russia-backed siege on then rebel-held Aleppo, and read: “We cannot believe that one of the world’s most powerful countries, in the full glare of the media, will allow 279,000 people to be starved and bombed to death.” But stand by we did. Day after day on our TV screens, we watched as terrified civilians were hounded into smaller and smaller zones in the centre of old Aleppo.
We failed to act to protect civilians in Aleppo, but that should not end the debate about what we can do for Syria. There are still thousands of civilians living in besieged cities and towns across the country, many under attack not just from Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad but also from proscribed terrorist organisations such as Islamic State and Hezbollah. These terrorists will not respect any ceasefire: the men, women and children suffering at their hands need our help. A comprehensive UK strategy to protect civilians in Syria, including by facilitating urgent aid delivery, is sorely needed.
The UN doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect, which the UK championed and signed up to in 2005, says that if a government is manifestly failing to protect its own people, other states should do all they can – including using military force when it is the only option – to prevent mass atrocities. Far from honouring the resolution, the UK has stood transfixed and impotent in the face of the greatest crime of our century. By failing to act to prevent Assad’s brutality, Britain – along with the US and other liberal western nations – left the way clear for Russia to take the initiative.
Reluctance to act in Syria may have been understandable in the context of our recent involvement in the Middle East but it has had dire consequences both for people in Syria and for international law, which is now hanging by a thread. Russia's actions and their shameful sabotaging of the UN process have rewritten the rules of conflict and threaten the entire international order. It is time to reassert our values, starting with the belief that the international community must honour the commitment made in 2005 to protect civilians.
This is the argument made by a report launched today at Policy Exchange which looks at the reasons for and consequences of Britain’s retreat to kneejerk anti-interventionism. The report was started by my friend Jo Cox, before she died, in partnership with Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat.
It was a privilege to be asked to help finish the report, and to contribute to Jo’s legacy. In the piece, Tom and I argue that the willingness to act to prevent mass atrocities – and, by extension, to intervene militarily in exceptional circumstances – is an essential part of Britain’s role in the world. We urge our fellow parliamentarians, and the public, to look beyond Iraq and Afghanistan to the wider lessons of intervention.
These include times where we intervened successfully – such as Sierra Leone and Kosovo – and prevented mass atrocities; as well as instances – such as Bosnia, Darfur, and Rwanda – where our collective failure to act had disastrous consequences.
As Britain embarks on the process of forging a new role outside the EU, our international obligations must be at the heart of our thinking. It is dangerous to believe we can ignore fundamental challenges facing our friends and allies. Much as we may not want to confront it, the deteriorating international environment means we are likely to face more calls for the UK to take a lead. If Theresa May is serious about her ambition for a “Global Britain” then she should be using her meeting with Donald Trump this week to press the case for greater engagement in Syria and make it clear that the UK stands ready to do what is necessary to protect civilians.
In the wake of Aleppo, and with daunting challenges ahead, we must realise that both action and inaction have consequences. As Jo Cox always argued, we cannot stand by in the face of war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide. It is not in Britain’s national interest, nor in the interests of the weakest and most vulnerable in the world.
Alison McGovern on how the UK must not stand by when there are others elsewhere around the world suffering
Originally published on the Guardian website 26/01/2017 There have been some flickers of hope from Syrian peace talks taking place in Astana this week. The negotiations led by Russia, Iran...
Following the announcement that Wirral Borough Council are proposing new charges for parking in Wirral Alison McGovern MP has expressed her opposition to the plans.
The plans include introducing charges to park in places including Wirral’s country parks and New Brighton which have previously provided free parking. In addition to this the council have also proposed to increase existing charges by fifty pence in Council operated car parks.
Speaking about why she is concerned about the plans Alison said: “Whilst I understand the budget pressures that the Council are under I worry about the impact of these charges.
I urge the council to think again on these proposals because if people decided not to pay the charges which I feel are unfair then this could result in cars being parked elsewhere to avoid them. This would cause problems for residential areas which could suffer as a result with problematic parking in their roads. If people were from visiting New Brighton and their local country parks over these charges then I feel this would be a great shame.
I also worry about the impact on local businesses. Shoppers may go to park where shopping areas provide free parking which would mean smaller independent businesses would lose out. I urge Wirral’s residents to share their views during the consultation process.”
Following the announcement that Wirral Borough Council are proposing new charges for parking in Wirral Alison McGovern MP has expressed her opposition to the plans. The plans include introducing... Read more
by Alison McGovern, Lucy Powell and Jess Phillips
This weekend, the world watched as women – and men who happen to be feminists – flooded the streets in cities across the world. This was the “anti-inauguration”. A colossal, strident, protest against a man now in the White House who says – amongst other offensives on women’s freedom – that there has to be some sort of punishment for women who defy abortion bans.
In Britain too, they came to march in solidarity with those in the US who will lose seriously from Donald Trump’s presidency: women who cannot access contraception, people who need healthcare, or those of diverse faith or background who are the target for the aggression stirred up by a protectionist president, determined to roll back the progress made against xenophobia and hate.
Theresa May says that the mere fact that she – a woman – will meet President Trump on behalf of Britain is the biggest possible statement on the place of women. As if the mere fact of her existence is enough to magically wash away his words, or his view of women. Remember this, he told Hilary Clinton she didn’t “have the look” or the “stamina” to be President. Trump has zero respect for experienced women leaders at the top, there against the odds. May can expect the same treatment.
Meanwhile, in Britain, many women – and men who happen to be feminists – will be struggling into work this week balancing their employment duties with their parenting duties. Politics may be in turmoil, but families have little choice other than to just struggle on. And one of the biggest practical challenges is the cost and availability of childcare. Now, since the election the Conservatives have gone incredibly quiet on childcare. In 2015, they tried to trump the Labour promise in order to offer parents more free hours’ childcare. But there has never been the financial commitment from the government to actually truly deliver and give parents a hand.
So before she goes off to meet President Trump, when Theresa May lauds her industrial strategy this week, unless she tackles the childcare challenge head on, she will be failing women (and men). Caring duties normally fall more heavily on women, but the whole family benefits when both parents can balance their career ambitions with their family ambitions.
The industrial strategy may well focus on infrastructure and technology, and its revolutionary impact on our economy. And it’s true, if we want to escape the predictions of doom that the Brexit vote has preceded, we need to reinvent the way our economy works. But, as ever in the male-dominated world of politics, people tend to think of infrastructure as bits of steel nailed to the ground: bridges, railways, or roads. In fact, infrastructure just means the structure on which all parts of our productive economy rely in order to grow. This means everything no one business can provide itself: from broadband to healthcare.
Just as no one could survive without decent roads, firms will never generate greater profits when their employees are attempting to carry out two jobs: one at work and one at home. Treat childcare as infrastructure and you enable business to do its job, and get our country out of the hole we’re in. Childcare builds economic infrastructure as well as social infrastructure as well as social infrastructure as well as social infrastructure, enabling parents to work or work more and, when it’s of quality, narrow the attainment gap that already exists when children start school. This is not just an idea from lefty, Labour, women. The CBI say that childcare is infrastructure, too.
Now, childcare has been a big issue in politics for some years. Harriet Harman and others made sure it rose up and up the agenda during the years Labour was in power and we saw the first free childcare made available to British parents. But, at the time of the last general election, the Tories tried to beat us in this area, offering parents 30 hours of free childcare, against Labour’s 25 hours policy. Just one of those things, you might think. That’s politics.
No. In fact, the lesson that we draw from the last general election was not that Labour was unfortunate to be pipped at the post on childcare. Rather, we should have been much more ambitious from the very start. Our ambition must be universal free childcare and government should develop a plan to deliver it.
Whilst free childcare for low income families with two-year-olds is having a positive impact on the development gap pre-school, the problem with a system that targets resources just at those with least (as the extended hours for disadvantaged two-year-olds does) is that you inevitably don’t reach all the people you might wish to. And resentment is likely to occur between those getting more help and those who aren’t.
Moreover, the current restrictions the government is placing on the new extension to 30 hours of free childcare for three and four-year-olds for working parents, fails to enable those in training or those looking for work to do so – this is where the biggest gains in productivity lie. Take the means test away and everyone can focus on that which really matters in childcare: quality and availability. We know that good quality childcare during the early years can be the difference between confident parents and children, ready to get the most out of school, and those who are falling behind already at too tender an age.
And universal childcare need not be as expensive as other parts of our social security system. We currently on spend about £6bn a year on childcare, compared to around £100bn on the state pension. A moderate increase in commitment to our nation’s children would enable more parents to work, which would be good for the government’s income, the prospects for those families, and would help to tackle the productivity gap that has held our country back. In fact, investment in childcare would pay for itself in the medium term through higher tax receipts and lower welfare bills. The IPPR has calculated that for every woman that returns to work after one year of maternity leave, thanks to universal childcare, the government would gain £20,050 a year in the medium term.
Marching, showing our pride in our role as women is good for the soul. The outpouring of solidarity for those on the rough end of Trump’s scorn and humiliation helps us all remember that there is a better way to run our world. And yet, we also need great ideas that will resolve deep-seated problems in the British economy. Universal free childcare could bring down the barriers that too many parents face to pay and progression.
Brexiteers are correct when they say that our economy will be reset by the choice our country has made. That is for sure. The question is how. And as protests across our country demonstrated over the weekend, women are going to make sure they have their say in that choice too. Universal free childcare is the re-set that could ensure the next generation of feminists (women and men) do not struggle to get ahead in turbulent times.
Alison McGovern is MP for Wirral South, Lucy Powell is MP for Manchester Central and Jess Phillips is MP for Birmingham Yardley.
by Alison McGovern, Lucy Powell and Jess Phillips This weekend, the world watched as women – and men who happen to be feminists – flooded the streets in cities...
Thank you to those who have organised Christmas events across Wirral South. There has been great community spirit in the run up to Christmas. I’d also like to thank the Scout Post volunteers for working to support local charities and the all postal workers for working hard to deliver our Xmas mail.
As we look back on 2016 think of the EU referendum and its impact on the political landscape. Wirral’s vote showed a desire to remain but the country voted to leave. Next year I will be monitoring the events resulting from Brexit with interest as at the moment there is still much uncertainty.
As we enter 2017 I’m thinking of the civilians in Syria. I have spent this year and will continue to press the government to take more action to protect civilians in Aleppo from the atrocities they are facing every day.
Another issue I will keep supporting is the Women Against State Pension Inequality campaign (WASPI) I have spent 2016 pressing the government to take action to correct the injustice. I held a Christmas fundraiser to help with their funding of a legal challenge against the government, we raised over £500, thank you everyone who helped out and attended and The Moonshiners for playing.
I’d like to send you all my best wishes for the festive season and I look forward to another year working alongside constituents, community groups, charities and businesses.
Thank you to those who have organised Christmas events across Wirral South. There has been great community spirit in the run up to Christmas. I’d also like to...