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Alex Norris MP's Weekly Newsletter

Member of Parliament for Nottingham North
30th November 2018
Issue #73

Welcome to the latest issue of my weekly newsletter.

Obviously, Brexit is still top of almost everyone’s political agenda, but aside from that, my luck with questions still hasn’t been great, but I did manage to talk in Westminster Hall this week and had my Committee schedule has taken up a good portion of my week at Parliament once again. It also kept me in London for 4 days, but I’ve made up for that today.

Read on to find out what I’ve been up to…

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

As you’ll know, Theresa May has now presented her Brexit deal, and Parliament will be voting upon it on the Tuesday after next, which is the 11th December. Before that there will be five full days of debate in Parliament about the deal on the table. I intend to contribute to the debate and to vote against the deal on offer, but please do let me know your personal views.

While I respect the referendum result, I believe no one can respect the way the Government has handled the Brexit negotiations over the past 20 months.

In my view, the Government has no credible plan, no solution to prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland and no majority in Parliament for the deal it is pushing ahead with. This divisive approach is threatening our country with either the bad deal on the table that would harm jobs, rights and living standards, or no deal at all.

Parliament's choice cannot simply be between this bad deal or no deal. I believe no deal would be a catastrophic outcome to these negotiations and the Government does not have the right to subject our country to chaos because of its own failure. However, there is an alternative.

I have long been calling on the Government to negotiate a new customs union with the EU that allows us to have a say in future trade deals, to protect jobs and manufacturing. I have also been calling for a new single market deal with rights and protections guaranteed. I consider these to be the basis of a sensible Brexit deal that would avoid disruption to our trading relationship with the EU, protect jobs and the economy, and ensure no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Unfortunately, the Government has refused to work with these proposals.

I will not support the Prime Minister’s bad Brexit deal in Parliament, nor will I support a vague agreement that gives no detail about the terms of our future relationship with the EU. I believe that would be giving the Government a blank cheque to go down the reckless path it is set on at present. If any deal is voted down by Parliament, my preference is for there to be a general election to try to get a government that can negotiate the best deal for our country.

I hope this explains my position clearly. This is a critical point in our history and businesses need certainty and stability from the Government. The Prime Minister must now put the country first and bring forward a credible plan that can break the impasse.

Fireworks

Bonfire Night was about a month ago now, and many of us celebrated by enjoying a nice firework display. However, what used to be one night of fireworks has now turned into a long season lasting until New Years, disrupting the peace of people and pets with constant loud noises. When I talk to people locally, I often hear things like “Bonfire Night used to mean fireworks a couple of nights a year but now it means a good fortnight or so of disruption”, or “fireworks are being set off earlier and earlier this year”. There has been, by any measure, a fundamental shift in the way that people view fireworks – and their availability. 

Because of this, on Monday I participated in a Petitions Committee debate on the regulation of the sale of fireworks to bring forward concerns from the residents of our community. The petition gathered over 250,000 signatures, so we can’t ignore the sheer level of support this petition has generated. I believe there are several underlying issues which have caused this apparent re-think in the mindset of the British public as to how we manage the sale of fireworks. One of the key issues I’ve been working on recently is the impact that a prolonged period of fireworks displays has on household pets and – and the lives of pet owners. 

Being the proud owner of two wonderful Border Collies, Boomer and Corona, I know all too well the impact the fireworks season has on our two dogs. And we must be clear that we are now dealing with a season – Bonfire Night as we knew it is a thing of the past. The distress caused to domestic dogs is huge, and I agree with the Dog’s Trust and others that something must be done to mitigate its impact on animal welfare.  Now most us enjoy a good firework display and I do not want to stop those displays. But we must recognise that people’s access to fireworks has gotten out of control and many pets are suffering for prolonged periods of time as a result. 

We need the government and Parliament in general to really consider the impact the sale of fireworks now has on animal welfare and on our communities. It’s time we looked again at putting restrictions on how fireworks are sold. I believe that limiting their sale to licensed, public occasions and organised events would not only improve the welfare of our pets, but also the welfare of a great many people in our communities.

You can watch a clip of the debate here or here, or my full speech here.

Nottingham

Busy week of local activity, here’s what I’ve been up to:

  • On Wednesday I spoke with Mike Wright from Park Vale Academy, regarding constructions issues they’ve faced since the Carillion collapse. The Government have not come through on their promises, leaving the school and its pupils to suffer.
  • I spoke with Simon Castle from the Greater Nottingham NHS Clinical Commissioning Group about the Lung MOT Scans that are being provided across Nottingham North – specifically how we can boost the uptake of this life-saving program.
  • On Thursday I had a chat by phone about Brexit, so I could hear the views of a constituent who was unable to make a surgery before the key upcoming vote.
  • This morning I met a constituent regarding an issue with Foreign Office.
  • After that my Rebalancing charity had its latest board meeting, as we continue to work hard on both funding and new projects for the outer estates.
  • I’ve just now left Bulwell Tesco that I visited to see their latest food collection. The Food Collection is part of an ongoing effort to encourage customers to donate long life food to charity. Since the first collection in 2012, 49 million meals have been provided, making such a difference to people in need. It’s very pleasing to see our local businesses giving back!
  • And I’m now heading to my latest surgery to discuss a variety of national and local issues with constituents. As always, if you’d like to meet me at one, just get in touch by email on alex.norris.mp@parliament.uk or give my Nottingham office a ring on 0115 975 2377.

Home Affairs Select Committee

It was another big week on the Home Affairs Select Committee, as on Tuesday we welcomed the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid MP. The purpose of this committee meeting was to discuss the UK-EU withdrawal agreement, focusing on future policing and security cooperation, as well as Home Office preparations for the UK exiting the EU without a deal, in policing and security, border operations and immigration.

I had the opportunity to question the Home Secretary on border operations in case of a “no deal” scenario. I asked about the action that would be taken if known criminals from other countries attempted to cross the border. The Home Secretary responded by saying that they would be able to act depending on the information available on the Interpol Warnings Database. However, there is no current UK legislation that would allow the Government to be able to arrest people based on the Database.

I also questioned the Home Secretary on the possibility of debt bondage on the seasonal agriculture workers scheme pilot. As you know, modern slavery is a huge problem we have seen in recent years, and I am concerned that these workers could be taken advantage of. The Home Secretary informed me that there is a review currently being undertaken to keep this point in mind as the Government designs the pilot. This is a big victory for those at FLEX and the Human Trafficking Foundation who I’ve been working with, and we keenly await the results of the review. You can watch this question here.

Finally, I was able to ask the Home Secretary if there would be a Domestic Abuse Bill put forward this year. He said that there would be a draft this year, after the publication of the Immigration White Paper. I hope to see that this Bill is put through Parliament, as we have let down too many victims of domestic abuse by not drafting a bill to protect them.

This week I also represented Labour’s Health Team at the Bill Committee for the Healthcare International Arrangements Bill, which when in law will make provision about paying and arranging for healthcare provided outside the United Kingdom and giving effect to healthcare agreements.

In Parliament

Committees took up much of my Parliamentary week again, but here’s what else I’ve been up to:

  • Former University of Nottingham Professor Philip Cowley brought a delegation of Queen Mary Politics students to Parliament, so on Monday I spoke to them about life as a new MP and answered a range of questions connected with their dissertation topics.
  • On Tuesday, three other MPs and I spoke to politicians from across the Commonwealth on the ‘Pressures of being a Parliamentarian’ in the UK. The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association put on this event as part of a five-day series involving plenty of other interesting events.
  • On Wednesday I met with Matt Kelcher and Robin Osterley from the Charity Retail Association, to discuss their campaigns supporting the role of charity shops in our economies.
  • And following that, I welcomed the Qatari Ambassador to the UK, His Excellency Yousef bin Ali al-Khater, and the Secretary-General of the Qatari Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, His Excellency Hassan Al-Thawadi, to Westminster to discuss their efforts in organising the 2022 World Cup, with particular focus on human and workers’ rights. The Qatari workforce is almost entirely made up of immigrants, who are often more vulnerable to rights violations.

Looking ahead to next week

Next week we’ll undoubtedly have lots more Brexit, and I’ll also have more Committee commitments and campaign related meetings, as well as an important visit on Wednesday morning.

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

Christmas Fayre
Stalls, Refreshments, Santa's Grotto, Church Open
St Mary’s the Virgin & All Souls Church, Highbury Road, Bulwell, NG6 9AD
Saturday 1st December, 11am–2pm

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

An Evening of 'Bogger' Talk
An event celebrating our local dialect 
There will be poetry, storytelling and a quiz (for a small donation)
The Malt Cross, 16 St James's St, Nottingham, NG1 6FG
Friday November 30th, 7.30pm
This is a charity event raising funds for the Stroke Association. Just £2!

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

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, 3-5pm

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

Bulwell Connectors
Free monthly group developing opportunities for more art in public places in Bulwell. With trips to galleries and hands-on creative workshops, this group is for local people who want to be arts champions for Bulwell. Facilitated by Nottingham Contemporary associate artist Gillian Brent
Bulwell Riverside, Community Room 2 
2nd Tuesday every month, 6-8pm
For further info: www.creativenottinghamnorth.com, @CreativeNNorth, cathy.mahmood@rebalancingouterestates.com

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 © 2018 Alex Norris MP, All rights reserved.


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