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Alex Norris MP's Weekly Newsletter

Member of Parliament for Nottingham North
25th October 2019
Issue #119
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Welcome to the latest issue of my weekly newsletter.

At this point we’ve become very used to Parliamentary weeks seeming momentous as we move towards a Brexit resolution, but this week more so than ever. Beginning on Saturday, an awful lot has happened, which I’ll cover below. While all that has been going on, we’ve also finished the Queen’s Speech debate, and I’ve had other appearances in the chamber to tell you about too.

On Tuesday we also received the awful news that 39 people had been found dead in a lorry container in Essex. Any death under these circumstances is truly appalling. That there are 39 in this case makes it a terrible tragedy. My thoughts and prayers go out to the bereaved and all the loved ones of the victims and I commend the emergency services for their work.

These 39 poor, unfortunate people have been preyed on by unscrupulous individuals with no regard for the lives of others. However, we must also consider the wider context. Nobody leaves their home on such a journey without strong reasons. They often do it because they are desperate, whether escaping war, famine or economic privation. There are many adverse conditions that people flee from and we should not lose sight of the fact that these 39 men and women are the victims in this.

Read on to find out more about my week...

As I’ve said before, I will strive to send you a newsletter like this each Friday to keep you updated on the work I’m doing in Parliament as well as in our community, and to inform you of any interesting events taking place in our area. To help me with the latter, if you are running or know of anything that you think may be of interest to others, feel free to drop me an email at alex.norris.mp@parliament.uk and I will include it in future issues. Please also forward it onto anyone you think may be interested. 

Brexit

Beginning with Saturday, as you’ll know, there was an extraordinary sitting of Parliament, as the Prime Minister tried to force his Brexit deal through Parliament without scrutiny to avoid having to request an extension to Article 50 from the EU. The Government acting in this way, purely to meet an arbitrary deadline that the PM placed upon himself for electoral purposes, is utterly unacceptable, and Parliament amended the motion to withhold approval from the agreement until implementing legislation is passed, allowing for proper scrutiny of the full legal text.

On Tuesday, this was considered for the first time, as the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill had its Second Reading.

The publication of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill this week now makes clear just how damaging the agreement would be for our country. The Bill sets out what amounts to a charter for deregulation and a race to the bottom on standards, an agreement that fails to protect our rights, our environment, jobs and the economy, and undermines every region and nation of the UK. It opens the door to the No Deal Brexit that the House of Commons has repeatedly voted against. In addition, it increases barriers to trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

I voted against this flawed Bill, which would deliver a damaging Brexit. Nevertheless passed.

Fortunately, however, the House of Commons voted against the Government’s timetable for debating the Bill. The Withdrawal Agreement Bill is a hugely significant and complex piece of legislation that would decide the future of our country and the shape of our economy. Yet the Government’s timetable would have required MPs to consider and vote on all 40 clauses of it within 48 hours. It is clear again that the Government sought to push through a bad deal without scrutiny. I therefore welcome that the House of Commons refused to be bounced into debating the Bill in just two days, with barely any notice and no analysis of its impact. The Government now needs to provide a reasonable timetable so that Parliament can properly scrutinise, and hopefully amend, the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.

Clearly Brexit needs to be resolved. Having secured the first stage the Prime Minister should bring it back on a sensible timescale so we can consider the Bill and finish this process off.

On Thursday afternoon, the Prime Minister said he would grant some more time to debate the Bill if the House of Commons voted for a general election on 12 December. However, as I’ve said before, I will back an election only once a No Deal Brexit is explicitly ruled out.

The Queen's Speech

On Wednesday, after a couple of days pause for the Withdrawal Agreement, Parliament resumed debate on the Queen’s Speech with a focus on the National Health Service.

I pay tribute to our hard-working NHS and social care staff who do so much to make our health service one to be proud of. In the face of nine years of real-terms funding reductions and cutbacks, they are treating more patients than ever before, and they deserve our respect, admiration and support.

Yet despite the brilliant efforts of staff, many vulnerable people are waiting longer for treatment and the standards of care enshrined in the NHS Constitution are not being delivered. On all key performance measures the NHS is struggling to keep up with demand. Last year, 2.9 million people waited beyond four hours in A&E and waiting lists for consultant-led treatment have risen to a record 4.4 million. There are 100,000 vacancies across the NHS and our health service is short of over 40,000 nurses.

I took the opportunity to personally raise the importance of social care. Failures in our social care system have a profound impact on the individuals concerned, but also on our NHS.

Many constituents across Nottingham North regularly get in touch with me about this issue and I know how keen residents are to see the radical changes we need in our social care system. It's time we had fully integrated health and social care right across our country.

Indeed, when the Government say how much "more money" they're putting into social care, what they never tell you is that most of this is burdened on local taxpayers through social care precepts. Integrating health and social care services is a national issue — the government need to start funding it like it is one.

You can watch my contribution to the debate in full here, or clips here and here.

More widely, I am disappointed that the Government’s proposals outlined in the Queen’s Speech did not seek to rebuild confidence in the NHS and provide the health services that patients deserve. I have repeatedly pressed the Government to bring forward legislation that would guarantee safe staffing levels, alongside a fully funded workforce plan, to ensure our NHS can deliver safe care. However, Ministers have repeatedly delayed setting out their workforce plan.

Nevertheless, I welcome proposals in the Queen’s Speech for a Health Service Safety Investigations Bill, which aims to establish an independent body to investigate patient safety concerns and serious healthcare incidents. I will engage constructively with the Government on how to strengthen the independence and effectiveness of medical examiners.

I am also disappointed that the Government has not brought forward proposals to repeal the Health and Social Care Act. Ministers had previously promised legislation to undo controversial aspects of that Act, which forces competitive tendering of contracts and increased privatisation of health services and exposes our NHS to foreign competition in future trade deals.

While I voted for a motion on Wednesday to restore a publicly provided and administered NHS and protect it from future trade deals, Government MPs voted against it and it was defeated. I am concerned that this risks further privatisation of our health system and could open the door to US pharmaceutical companies forcing our NHS into buying more expensive medicines. I will therefore continue to press the Government to end privatisation of our NHS, repeal the Health and Social Care Act, and put public health before profit.

In Nottingham

The week in Parliament was a hectic one, but it didn’t stop me from getting back to Nottingham today. Here’s how I spent my time: 

  • This morning I was in the city centre to visit Nottingham Music Hub on College Street, where I was welcomed by Ian Burton. Music can make a massive difference to our children, and the hub makes this happen in our city through the instrumental tuition they provide in nearly 80% of primary schools across the city. They also support young people from across the city to develop their musical skills by participating in our diverse ensembles and performances, contributing to Nottingham’s great cultural life. 
  • Back in the constituency, I welcomed Patrick, Rob and Steve from Nottingham Wolves Ball Hockey Club to my office. The team are currently working on setting up their own venue in the constituency – as the up and coming sport is unfunded - and came to me to ask for support and advice in this endeavour.
  • Next was another phone call – with Jerome from Communities Unite – to discuss his local youth football team and obstacles they’re trying to overcome. 
  • I then welcomed Susan and Linda, two local People’s Vote campaigners, to my office to discuss their campaigns. As you’ll already know, the Opposition and I believe that any Brexit deal should be put back to the people, to check it’s what they wanted. 
  • Afterwards, I met with Jo Tucker from the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, who happens to be based locally. We had a great discussion about the work I’m doing as Shadow Minister for International Development, as well as the contributions of her organisation. 
  • And now I’m getting ready for my latest constituency surgery. If you’re keen to talk to me at a future one – please don’t hesitate to contact my office! 

In Parliament

Between the Queen’s Speech and Brexit, it’s almost quite surprising I had any other time in Parliament this week, but in fact it was even busy without them. And a good thing too, as on Tuesday I was shadowed by BBC Radio Nottingham’s Mark Dennison – who then shared his day in Parliament during his Wednesday morning show. You can listen to it in full here, and I’ll also be sharing some clips on my Twitter and Facebook next week. Keep an eye out!

Here’s how I spent the rest of the week: 

  • On arrival in Westminster on Monday I attended the latest meeting of the APPG on Deliberative Democracy. 
  • Accompanied by Mark on Tuesday, I had a very busy schedule of meetings – with the Bahraini Embassy, the International Justice Mission, the Care Quality Commission, the World Food Programme, and Positive Money – and a phone call – with Refuge. As well as that, I also attempted to (unsuccessfully) bob for a question to BEIS Ministers about HS2, before the Brexit votes in the evening. 
  • Wednesday was the day of my Queen’s Speech contribution, but before spending the afternoon in the chamber waiting for that, I questioned Cabinet Office Ministers on their Voter ID proposals, which you can watch here, and hosted an important Women’s Aid event on the Domestic Abuse Bill. I’ll be sitting on the Committee for that Bill from next week – hoping to make a real difference for survivors. 
  • And yesterday, I had another question to Ministers. This time I raised the industrial action of DVSA workers in Nottingham, who simply want to work in a fair environment free from bullying. For the second time, Ministers would not agree to meet with me to discuss this further, but I’ll keep trying. You can watch my question here. I also met with former Brexit Secretary David Davis.

Looking Ahead to Next Week

Not for the first time, we’ll find out more (but probably not everything) about what’s going to happen next early next week, and it could be another big one – but we’ll see.

Away from Brexit briefly, I’ll begin sitting on the Domestic Abuse Bill Committee as mentioned, and back at home, I’ll be meeting with the Governor of HMP Nottingham.

What's On

I want these emails to be as interesting as possible. That means there’ll be some politics – it’s important that I am held accountable. But I also want to offer information about what’s on locally. So, if you have an event you’d like me to advertise, let me know.

If you would like your events advertised here, or further information on those advertised, please email me at alex.norris.mp@parliament.uk.

That’s all for now! Details of how to get in touch or to have a look at the things I’m doing are below…

All the best,

Alex
Stockhill and Ladbroke Tenants and Resident (SALTAR) Autumn Acitivites
 
Saturdays on Stockhill Park
  • Football Training 10.45am to 12noon, boys and girls, 5 to 15 years.              
  • Goalkeeping Training 12.15pm to 1.15pm, boys and girls, 6 to 16 years
Mondays at Scout HQ. Lincoln St. Basford, 
  • 44th Nottingham Beavers and Cubs 6.30pm to 8pm. Beavers 6 to 8 years, Cubs 8 to 10.5 years (Actively recruiting volunteers over 18 for these sessions.)
Wednesdays in Stockhill Pavilion
  • Termtime Afterschool Sessions 3.30pm to 5.30 pm, 5 to 13 years
And:
  • Wednesday 23rd October
    Play Day in Stockhill Pavilion, 1pm to 3pm, for children 3 to 13 years accompanied by an adult
  • Wednesday 30th October
    Play Day in Stockhill Pavilion, 1pm to 3pm, for children 3 to 13 years accompanied by an adult
  • Wednesday 30th October
    SALTAR Meeting followed by AGM in Stockhill Pavilion, 6.30pm
  • Friday 13th December
    Christmas Celebrations in Stockhill Pavilion - Details to follow
For more information, please contact Sur Sylvester, SALTAR Secretary, at saltar99@gmail.com.
BMX champion brothers from Bilborough looking for sponsorship

I've recently been contacted by Ella Jamera, a constituent from Bilborough. Her two sons Elisha and Itai are champion BMX racers - both coming first for their age category at the recent British Championships. Next year, Elisha will be old enough to compete at the World Championships, but there is a lack of funding available to allow competitors to travel to compete at the event.

You can read more about the brothers here: https://www.nottinghampost.com/news/local-news/meet-champion-brothers-bilborough-making-3295971

If you know of any local funding or sponsorship opportunities that might help Elisha to travel to compete, please get in touch with Ella on ellajamera@yahoo.com


[Image: Joseph Raynor/Nottingham Post]
Fundraising for PASIC

I've recently been contacted by an NCS group, based in Hucknall, who are currently raising money and awareness for a charity called PASIC. This is a charity which deal with young children who have been diagnosed with cancer. They are partaking in a bag pack and a sponsored cycle to raise awareness and money. It would be very much appreciated if you could either donate or help raise awareness for this useful charity.

You can find the fundraising page here. Please do support them if you can.
Nottingham Mencap

I recently received the following email from John Ballard of Nottingham Mencap with some good news and a request. Please read and support them if you can, their volunteers do tremendous work supporting those with learning disabilities and autism to live as independently as possible:

Dear Alex Norris MP,

I am thrilled to inform you that Nottingham Mencap has finally found a new home! 

Working closely with Nottingham City Council, we are in the process of agreeing to a long lease on the Edwards Lane Community Centre.  We desperately need to move from Harpenden House on Edwards Lane where we have been for nearly 70 Years.  Based on City Hospital land, our current building is beyond repair and the Hospital is seeking a massive hike in ground rent.

We have been raising funds to purchase, renovate and extend the Community Centre.  Working with Richardson Hall Construction Ltd we plan to design and deliver ample, high-quality space, for our Charity and local residents.   By undertaking this venture we aim to secure the long term future of the new Centre as a vibrant hub for the local community and a place our members can proudly call their new base.

Our members are so pleased to have the chance to move such a short distance.  Furthermore, we recognise that by sharing our building with local residents we can help catalyse tangible and enduring community integration.  

You will appreciate that as a charity we understand the importance of making every penny count. Which means that we frugally balance our income from grants and allowances with our expenses, without detriment to the services we provide or cutbacks to staff.  Our fundraising methods, as outlined on our website (www.nottinghammencap.org.uk see ‘Support Our Work’) your generosity will enable us to undertake the requisite works renovating our new premises and address the more pressing issues impacting our service users.

I do hope you will support us in our ongoing adventure!

Please do not hesitate to contact us (at info@n-mencap.org or by phoning 0115 920 9524) if you require any clarification on the points raised here or have any further queries.

Kind Regards,

John Ballard
Nottingham Mencap Fundraiser
www.nottinghammencap.org.uk  

Basford United U16 Amber Sponsorship Opportunities Available

Playing kit sponsor – squad of 15 logo on shirt  ~£450
Drill Top sponsor – squad of 15 logo on shirt ~£450
An alternative is a food sponsor – we provide chip cobs to all travelling players after each home game – last season we entertained teams from Wellingborough, Coventry, Birmingham etc so any contribution towards this would be gratefully received

Basford are hoping that anyone who does sponsor the team will get a banner on the side of the pitch, as well as on their logo on the kit and hopefully on the Basford website this year.

For further information, please contact Lisa Fox on 07921361555.
Joining Blind Veterans
 
Have you served in the Armed Forces? In the UK Regular Armed Forces, including National Service.
 
Or UK Reserved Armed Forces. Reservists must have completed one year’s satisfactory service following training (or qualified for Bounty) or a lesser period if blinded on duty.
 
Or Polish/Indian Forces under British Command or Merchant Navy deployed within a combat zone in direct support of UK military forces.
 
And
 
You have significant sight loss- visual acuities worse than 6/60  in both eyes or struggle to see top letter of the eye chart. Optician or eye clinic to confirm.
 
If you meet our criteria for sight loss you can get free support. Help in the form, of Rehabilitation, training, peer support, grants, Sports and recreation.
 
We also run local social groups in Nottingham.
 
Please contact 0800 389 7979 for an application form. We can complete the form by telephone too, you will need your service record details. If you want to discuss further ring Mary James, Community Team Leader on 0114 2127612
New Wellbeing/Self-Help Group
An opportunity to meet new people, make new friends, and help you build up confidence and self-esteem.
Identify areas of your own wellbeing - physically & mentally.
Referral support to other services & support.
Friendly & comfortable environment, with no pressure to talk.
Hosted in the West Room, St Mary’s the Virgin & All Souls Church, Highbury Road, Bulwell, NG6 9AD.
For further info: fay.goodhand@icloud.com

Drop in Café
All welcome for a free cuppa and biscuit, and a place to sit and have a chat
Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Parish Community Centre, Brooklyn Rd, Bulwell NG6 9ES
Thursdays, 9:30am–12:30pm

Messy Church
Drinks, crafts, activities, bible stories and a meal for all ages and interests
Bulwell United Reformed Church, Broomhill Road/Brooklyn Road, Bulwell
Usually first Saturday of every month, 10:30am-12:30pm

Bestwood Park Church’s Bestop Kitchen
Social Eating Event, Donations Welcome
Bestwood Park Church, Beckhampton Road, NG5 5NG
Every Tuesday, 12-2pm

Whiz Kids Junior Church
Free breakfast, arts & crafts for children aged 5ish – 11ish
St Mary the Virgin & All Souls Parish Church, Highbury Road, Bulwell
Every Sunday, 9:30am

Crafty Ladies
Bring along a project, or learn to do something new.
St Martins Church, St Martin’s Rd, Off Strelley Rd, Bilborough, NG8 3BH
Every Wednesday, 11am – 2pm
50p, for further info: www.stmartinsbilborough.org.uk, info@stmartinsbilborough.uk

Messy Church
All welcome – food, fun, arts & crafts, & God slot
St Mary the Virgin & All Souls Parish Church, Highbury Road, Bulwell
2nd Sunday every month

Athlete Accelerator
Khian Mility is helping young athletes reach their potential, with the goal of obtaining US College Sports Scholarships. For further information please visit his website.
https://www.theathleteaccelerator.com

Whiz Kids
Special breakfast, followed by stories, games, crafts & fun!
St Mary the Virgin & All Souls Parish Church, Highbury Road, Bulwell
Sundays, 9.30-11.15am
For more info contact Kerry Palmer - 0115 953 1780 or by email.

Messy Church Bestwood/Bulwell Forest
Bestwood Park Church, Beckhampton Rd, Bestwood Park
Various Thursdays, 4:30-6pm
Church on Rise Park, Revelstoke Way, Rise Park
Various Thursdays, 5-6:30pm

Free Community Cinema
Free screenings of films, everyone welcome!
St John’s Church, Key’s Close, Bulwell
2nd Friday every month, 7pm

Crochet Clinic
Community Room at Tesco Bulwell, Jennison St, NG6 8EQ (upstairs near the cafe)
First Wednesday of every month, 6:30pm–8:30pm
£5 (covers refreshments and materials)
For further info: www.apriltowriess.co.uk, hello@apriltowriess.co.uk

 
How to contact me

If you would like to contact me, please email alex.norris.mp@parliament.uk or give my Nottingham North constituency office a ring on 0115 975 2377.

If you are a constituent from Nottingham North e-mailing me regarding a casework issue you are my priority, so please ensure your message includes:
  • your full name
  • your full postal address, including postcode
  • a contact telephone number and
  • any helpful details relevant to your case such as date of birth, reference numbers etc.
Strict parliamentary protocol means I can only deal with issues on behalf of my own constituents. If you aren’t sure whether you live in Nottingham North, you can check who your local MP is by entering your postcode online here: findyourmp.parliament.uk.

You may also wish to write to me with your concerns. If so please send your correspondence to Alex Norris MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A OAA. All constituents who take the time and trouble to write a personal letter will receive a reply as a matter of priority.
 
Other useful links
LABOUR PARTY
  • If you’d like to learn more about the Labour party their website is here.
  • To join the Labour Party click here.
LOCAL NEWS
LOCAL INFORMATION
  • Benefits Information: Here’s an excellent site that allows you to find out exactly what benefits you are eligible to claim: EntitledTo
  • Housing: please contact your City Council
  • Problems with benefits or the Child Support Agency? The Citizens Advice Bureau and the Nottingham Welfare Rights Service can give advice. Remember to have your National Insurance number handy if you make an inquiry.
  • Local schools / education matters: please contact your City Council.
  • Employment rights: see Citizens Advice Bureau or the Trades Union Congress for info.
  • Social services, environmental health, noise nuisance, parking, and Council Tax should all be addressed to the City Council.
  • Another useful website on public services is Direct.gov.
NATIONAL LINKS
  • For the main Parliamentary website click here and to explore the Parliamentary education site click here.
Copyright © 2019 Alex Norris MP, All rights reserved.


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