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Alex Norris MP's Weekly Newsletter

Member of Parliament for Nottingham North
1stt February 2019
Issue #81

Welcome to the latest issue of my weekly newsletter. 

Down in Parliament we were back to Brexit this week, with several important votes, so if you read on there’s an update on that. I was also busy in Committee and trying to improve the Domestic Abuse Bill, and for once managed to find a decent amount of time to reply to all your emails and letters! Back in Nottingham with a busy day today.

There are also a lot of exciting new goings-on in the What's On section this week - do check it out!

Read on to find out more... 

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 this Week

On Tuesday evening, as you may know, MPs had the opportunity to vote on a number of amendments to the latest iteration of Theresa May’s Brexit deal. There were 7 in total, but I’ll talk about the four which garnered the most attention, which were tabled by Yvette Cooper, Dominic Grieve, Caroline Spelman, and Graham Brady. Each of these came from different angles, and two passed while two were defeated. 

Yvette Cooper’s amendment, which I supported, would have guaranteed parliamentary time for a Bill - drafted by Cooper - that would extend article 50 to the end of 2019 if Theresa May failed to secure a deal by late February. I believe that a no deal outcome would be disastrous, and Parliament agrees (we’ll get to that), and this would have given more opportunity to find an alternative solution without being forced to choose between Theresa May’s bad deal and no deal. Unfortunately, this was defeated. 

I also supported Dominic Grieve’s defeated amendment, which would have allowed Parliament to take control by giving MPs the opportunity to debate motions if they were supported by 300 MPs from at least five parties (including 5 Tories). While there’s no support for Theresa May’s deal, this could have given Parliament the opportunity to find a consensus on a viable deal themselves, and again help avoid a no deal outcome. 

The next amendment that I supported did pass, and this was Caroline Spelman’s (also supported by my Labour colleague Jack Dromey) which stated that the UK will not leave the EU without a deal. It is only advisory but proves that Parliament absolutely does not want a no-deal outcome. The Prime Minister needs to face the reality that no deal is no longer an option, lose her ‘red lines’, stop wasting money preparing for no deal and come up with a deal that Parliament can vote for. 

The other amendment that passed was voice of the Conservative backbenchers, Graham Brady’s. This amendment replaced the backstop arrangements in the deal with “alternative arrangements to avoid a hard border”. Seeing how the EU has ruled this out, this is nothing more than desperation from the Conservative Party which has now voted for proposals that fundamentally undermine a deal the Prime Minister has spent two years negotiating. Instead of making false promises to renegotiate a deal she knows she can’t deliver, the Prime Minister must now accept that her failed red lines will have to go and an alternative Brexit deal must be found – as Labour has called for, a deal that protects jobs, living standards and workers’ rights and environmental standards, including through a comprehensive customs union with a UK say and strong single market deal. 

Theresa May has now attempted to reopen negotiations with the EU, with little success so far, and we wait to hear if she comes back with anything different. As the EU has repeatedly said they’re done with negotiations, Theresa May must now accept the reality that no deal is not an option and her failed red lines will have to move. The Labour Party and I will continue making this case. 

In the House of Commons

Still no luck with question draws, but again I made my own luck and spoke twice in the Chamber this week. 

After two years of waiting, the Government has finally published the draft of its vital Domestic Abuse Bill. This Bill is a crucial chance to stand up for survivors of abuse across the UK, but incredibly disappointingly it will only cover people in England and Wales. I challenged the Government on this on Wednesday, during an Urgent Question tabled by my Labour colleague Stella Creasy. You can watch this here.

I also raised the issue of Holiday Hunger in the House. It's a scourge in our community as many children rely on free school meals and the Government need to eradicate it. But in the meantime, we're acting locally, by supporting the Active Trust Partnership and friends in securing funding for a holiday hunger programme. You can watch this here. 

On the Home Affairs Committee, we continued to look into serious violence, hearing evidence from policing authorities on the ‘county lines’ drug distribution methodology and its role in driving serious violent crime.  
 
 








Two areas that I raised were the need for a greater level of social care in Local Government to help fight against this issue, which you can watch here, and the quality of the Home Office’s leadership regarding county lines. You can watch that here – I was encouraged to hear that a good level of support has been provided, but there are challenges ahead that I will be holding the Department to account on.  

In Nottingham

As usual, my time at home during the week was limited to today. Here’s what I’ve been up to: 

  • This morning myself and the rest of the Rebalancing board attended safeguarding training – it's vital that the good work we’re trying to do is delivered in a way that doesn’t put any vulnerable people at inadvertent risk and we take steps such as this to prevent it. 
  • I then met with Sarah Kerr, Head of Policy at the University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab, to begin discussing a potential Parliamentary project that we’re looking to embark on together to promote the Lab’s academic work on Modern Slavery. 
  • I then welcomed Fiona Price from Nottinghamshire Police to my office to discuss online fraud and scamming. This often targets vulnerable people, and the local police force are working to proactively reduce this vulnerability and raise awareness. This is very important and I’m keen to do what I can to help reduce the number of victims in Nottingham North. 
  • During the week I spoke to constituents about Brexit and a crime they were victim to. 
  • My next conversation was with Rob Peutrell of Nottingham College, to discuss Further Education and the impact that Brexit will have on the education of local students. 
  • I’m now on my way to meet with a constituent and Sajid Mohammed, Executive Director of the local Himmah charity, to discuss another issue, and tomorrow I’ll be speaking at the Labour Party East Midlands Conference to end the week. 

In Parliament

Most of my week in Westminster has already been covered, but here’s what else I had time for this week: 
  • I joined my fellow Co-Operative Party MPs at the Institute for Government for a session focused on maximising the positive impact we make as a group in Parliament, by sharing and consolidating our priorities and strategies. 
  • I sat on the Delegated Legislation Committee for Regulations for Qualified Pharmacists in post-Brexit Britain. 
  • I am currently mentoring a group of University of Nottingham students through the Faith & Belief Forum’s ParliaMentors program, and on Tuesday I was able to welcome them to Westminster for a chat, a brief tour, and a spell in the House of Commons chamber. 
  • I also had a catch-up chat with Stuart Young from East Midlands Councils. I’m very proud of how our Local Authorities work together, and support this joined up working as best I can. 

Looking ahead to next week

While Theresa May is attempting to renegotiate with the EU, next week should be lighter on Brexit than usual, but still expect it to pop up. On the Home Affairs Select Committee we’ll be taking evidence on the progress into racism and hate crime twenty years on from the Macpherson inquiry. We’ll also have the AGM of the APPG for Sport, Modern Slavery and Human Rights that I co-chair, and in Nottingham I’ll be talking more Further Education.

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

Sewing and Enterprise Workshops

Kim Errington from Make to Make will be running free Sewing and Enterprise Workshops for 10 weeks (term time), in 3 venues across Nottingham North! From 10am - 2pm, you can join her to learn sewing machine skills, from basics to beautiful creations... 
Wednesdays at Bulwell Riverside from 6th Feb 2019 
Thursdays at St Marthas (The Hope Centre), Frinton Rd from 7th February 
Fridays at Aspley Community Training Centre, Minver Crescent from 8th February.

Please call/text Kim to book your free place on 07976 058825. www.maketomake.co.uk 

Funded by Nottingham City Council, Family and Community Learning Grant. 

Arts Partnership Lab 
Wednesday 13 February 2019, 10am-3pm 
The Space, Nottingham Contemporary 

Is it important to you that more people have opportunities, throughout their life, to enjoy arts and culture and take advantage of what Nottingham's arts organisations have to offer? 
Book your place via eventbrite for this inspiring day, combining creativity, curiosity and community! Artists and community groups will be sharing their needs and requests, with a mixture of short presentations and practical activities. Join us on the final day of UK Young Artists City Takeover and the first day of Nottingham's Festival of Science and Curiosity! Book now here: Arts Partnership Lab

More info: Cathy Mahmood, Creative Nottingham North Coordinator, 07808 165209 
cathy.mahmood@rebalancingouterestates.com


13th-20th February 2019

The Nottingham Festival of Science and Curiosity is a week long festival which brings Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths out from behind closed doors and into the everyday lives of people. The festival is about inviting the people of Nottingham to share not only what they know, but also what they would like to know; it’s about celebrating curiosity, asking questions and taking a leading role in finding out the answers.

Find more information here.
Please support Councillor David Mellen's 2019 Reading Challenge to raise money for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library
Please read and act on the following letter from David:

Dear Friend,

My  reading challenge is back and bigger than ever! Last year I took on the challenge to read to 2018 children in one month. This year I’m aiming to read to at least 5,000 children! David will be reading to school classes and assemblies, nursery groups and library groups, children’s centres and especially our children in hospital.

My challenge is to read a storybook to 5,000 children – over 50 days – and raise £5,000 to buy more books for Nottingham children. All funds will go to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library – an amazing scheme that delivers a free book every month to children from birth up to 5 years old.

Your sponsorship can make a real difference
The Imagination Library helps parents and children to enjoy exploring books together – looking at the pictures, talking about the stories and just having fun. The scheme is proven to improve children’s literacy levels. By getting these books our children are more likely to be ready to start school when they turn five – and that gives them a real head start in life.
 
Help every child to shine!
There are now almost 5,000 Nottingham children registered with the Imagination Library scheme. It currently runs in 10 neighbourhoods across our city, but we want to do more!

Partners in Nottingham are working together to make sure every Nottingham child can get these fabulous books delivered to their home each month. But we need to raise funds to make this happen.
 
Donating is easy! To make a donation please visit:
https://www.gofundme.com/bigreadingchallenge 

Every donation helps:

·  Just £2 can pay for a child to get a new book

·  £25 can pay for a child to get a new book each month for a year

·  £125 pays for a child to get a book every month from birth until their 5th birthday

Please sponsor me – together we can help our children to fulfil their huge potential
The Imagination Library is proven to work – the children getting these books each month are 28% more likely to start school ready to learn and go on to fulfil their true potential. Together we can ensure every child has this chance for success! If you would like more information about the Imagination Library please visit www.dollybooksnottingham.org
 
Do you work with children?
If you work with a group of children who would love to have a storytelling session please do email me at dolly9to5@nottinghamcity.gov.uk I’d be delighted to arrange a time to visit you and read to your children.
 
Thank you for your support,

David

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

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 © 2019 Alex Norris MP, All rights reserved.


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