I led a debate in the Commons regarding unaccompanied child refugees.
The debate followed the announcement that the government have decided to close the Dubs scheme which would have allowed more lone children to enter the UK to seek refuge.
As the Chair of the All Parliamentary Group on Syria, I pressed the government during the debate about their decision and I urged them to take in a greater number of children who are fleeing persecution and danger from their home countries. This matters to my constituents who have got in touch and told me that they are unhappy with the government’s actions on this especially as they had earlier indicated their support for the Dubs amendments.
Article 50 votes
This month parliament voted on the Bill giving Theresa May the power to trigger Article 50 and begin the process of leaving the EU. Last night parliament voted on the Bill giving Theresa May the power to trigger Article 50 and begin the process of leaving the EU.
The final vote came after three days of debate on amendments that Labour had tabled to try to make sure Britain does not head for a calamitous Tory hard Brexit.
I accept the result of the referendum and I voted to give this Bill a second reading last week so that I could work with other MPs to try to add these amendments.
But the final Bill promises only a destructive Tory hard Brexit and denies parliament and real say over the final deal.
I couldn’t vote for something that I believe is so clearly against the values I hold and the interests of the people I represent so I voted against triggering Article 50 last night.
Article 50 will now be triggered in March and I will continue to do what I can to oppose this destructive hard Brexit as the negotiations continue.
Donald Trump’s travel ban
I delivered a speech in Parliament about the ban implemented by Donald Trump to ban citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States. The ban shocked the world and I attach my response to the appalling action taken by the US president. Constituents have contacted me to express their anger at this ban.
Opening of Bebington Police Station
I was delighted and honoured to unveil a plaque to officially open the newly refurbished police station in Bebington. I was joined by Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy, the Chief Constable of Merseyside Police Andy Cooke and representatives from the local authority along with other invited guests. The station looks great and it is going to benefit the community by providing residents with the level of service that they deserve. The event attracted a lot of local press coverage and I was delighted for everyone involved that the opening event was such a success.
Visits to local schools
It was such a pleasure to visit Town Lane School this month. I went there to talk to the Year 2’s about their work around the UN convention on the Rights of a Child. We talked about politics and they were very engaged and for their age very knowledgeable. After our talk we played a game where I ask the pupils to mimic House of Commons debates. I think it’s really important that as well as the core subjects that they are taught in school that they also learn about their rights, society and politics. It is important that children know that they have a voice too. I also paid a visit to Bebington High School to visit their onsite farm. Bebington High School have received media attention since creating their own farm in which students rear the animals for local product sourcing. The farm is part of the student’s Land Based Science learning. The farm project teaches students about farm to the fork message and they are supplying local restaurants. Teaching school children skills in addition to core subjects I believe is a good idea. It provides them with more skills and can give students consideration to a possible career in the farm industry.
Car Parking Charges
Having previously stated my opposition to the car parking charges proposals put forward by the council I want to respond to the newly revised proposals which withdraws parking charges at New Brighton and in town centres. This is a relief I am sure for businesses which is one of the main things I had concerns over. However the revised charges do still include a charge to park at Wirral’s country parks including at Eastham County Park. This is at a reduced rate to what was proposed originally. Instead of being a flat rate charge of four pounds the new proposals are now to introduce fifty pence for one hour; one pound for two hours and two pounds to park all day. In my response to the initial proposals I did express concern about residents being charged to park at Wirral country parks. I will also be calling for the council to review the charges after six months to find out if the planned savings are being achieved and I will be monitoring the situation as it progresses.
Unilever and Vauxhall Motors
There has been cause for concern this month about the Vauxhall Motors plant at Ellesmere Port and also about Unilever. Although Vauxhall Motors is not in the Wirral South constituency it employs constituents and I have visited on many occasions. The concern came after the news that Peugeot could take over Vauxhall. At around the same time as the Vauxhall takeover news was announced, Unilever also made the news when it was revealed that Kraft Heinz had made an offer. It has emerged since that the offer has been withdrawn by Kraft Heinz. Unilever like Vauxhall is vital to the local area and people’s jobs rely on them remaining in the Wirral. Unilever is in my constituency and also employs my constituents. I am obviously monitoring both of these situations and have liaised with ministers. Justin Madders MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston recently asked an Urgent Question in the House of Commons regarding Vauxhall to business secretary Greg Clarke to seek assurances over the site.
Planning issues for the local area
I am pleased to report that a planning application has been submitted to the local authority for what was the site of the Archers Pub in Bromborough. I have been working alongside local councillors for the area to devise a plan for the site because of the visual and anti-social behaviour problems it was creating for the community. The planning application that has been submitted is for 36 affordable apartments with associated parking. Whilst I am happy that there is a vision for this site, I would still like to hear the views of local people regarding this application.
On a separate planning issue, I have received contact from constituents about the plans for a retirement village in Thornton Hough. The development is being put forward by Leverhulme Estates and the land involved with the planned development is designated as Green Belt. I will be meeting with Leverhulme Estates in the near future to discuss these concerns. I have also attended the consultation which was held to share the plans with residents. In addition to this I will be meeting with the Thornton Hough Village Trust to hear about their concerns.
Labour’s Keep Wirral Green campaign
The Labour Party has started a petition which calls on the government to listen to Wirral residents about protecting our green spaces and how vital they are to our peninsula. The government need to think again about their Housing White Paper and consider the damage its targets would do to Wirral. Labour’s Keep Wirral Green campaign aims to make people aware of what the government propose. The government have asked Wirral to build 900 new homes per year. We need more houses but the government’s targets for Wirral threaten our beautiful green space. The government needs to help Wirral by regenerating our brown field sites. I’ve called on the government to help Wirral’s town centres such as New Ferry by investing in them. This should be what the government are focussing on for our area and they should be listening to the people of Wirral.