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Alex Norris MP's Weekly Newsletter

Member of Parliament for Nottingham North
21st June 2019
Issue #101

Welcome to the latest issue of my weekly newsletter.

We found out yesterday that our next Prime Minister will either be Boris Johnson, who is looking to sell the NHS bit-by-bit to private companies across the world, or Jeremy Hunt, who oversaw the Government’s devastating cuts to our health service for so long. Either may lead the country to a catastrophic No-Deal Brexit. Over the next month we’ll find out which of the two it will be, but whoever wins ought to call a General Election and let the people decide who they want to lead them out of this Tory-created mess.

While the Conservatives have spent their time been whittling down candidates to these two, I’ve had a busy week, with plenty of time spent in Westminster Hall and the House of Commons chamber.

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 and I will include it in future issues. Please also forward it onto anyone you think may be interested.

Midlands Rail

It’s been a little while since I last led a Westminster Hall debate, but this week I secured a debate on East to West Midlands Rail Connectivity, for which I was joined by several colleagues from the region, from both the Labour and Conservative parties, who share my view on the importance of investment in our regional rail network.

You may or may not remember the last one, but this was not my first debate on rail investment in my community, but I make no apology for prioritising a topic which I believe is essential for our economic development and our standing as an excellent place to live and work.

The Midlands are a focal point of our country’s strategic transport network. Whether people are heading north, south, east or west, the chances are that they will travel through the Midlands at some point, which loads additional pressure on our network that does not affect other regions to the same extent.

Indeed, over the last decade, rail journeys in the East Midlands, or that touch the East Midlands at some point, have increased by a staggering 37%, but in the West Midlands, they have increased by an extraordinary 121%. This is great news, and we welcome all the people using our networks and travelling to, across and through our region, but we must recognise that all these journeys put pressure on the network and cannot be at the expense of decent, reliable local and regional services for my constituents. And that is why I took the opportunity to make the case for the Government investing in our rail.

One way they can do this is by backing Midlands Connect’s Midlands Rail Hub project, which would be a positive way through which the government could address the poor deal our region has been given in terms of rail investment in recent years.

The full project proposal is out next week – but the Hub would provide:

  • 24 new East-West passenger services a day
  • 36 new freight paths a day
  • 1.6m more people brought within an hour’s journey of our biggest towns & cities
  • Add £650m to the Midlands economy per year

This project makes economic and environmental sense, so I hope I made the case well enough that the Government puts its full support behind it.

You can watch a clip from the debate here, the full debate here, or read the transcript here.

Other Debates This Week

When it came to my rail debate, I was already in place in Westminster Hall, as the preceding business was a debate on the Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act, led by Frank Field, who has been a constant force in the fight against Modern Slavery in this country for many, many years.

Part of this fight involved being asked by the Prime Minister to undertake a review of the Modern Slavery legislation, alongside Lady Elizabeth Butler-Sloss and co-ordinated in Parliament by my Nottinghamshire Labour colleague Vernon Coaker MP. The review came back with 80 recommendations, which I won’t go into in detail, but evidently there are many ways in which this legislation can be built upon.

One aspect of the review that I chose to highlight in the debate was the role of the independent commissioner. This is a very important role, and a key way in holding the Government are held to account. As the report showed, however, it has not been delivered as planned. If a role is hosted, managed and appraised by the very Department it is set up to ensure scrutiny of, it is not independent. It is not possible for someone to be independent of the place where their pay and rations come from.

This needs to be changed to ensure that proper scrutiny takes place, and I will continue to press for this. You can watch a clip of my contribution here.

In the House of Commons chamber, I put on my International Development hat to respond on behalf of the Opposition to an Urgent Question asked by Alison McGovern about attacks on health facilities and the fate of civilians in the Idlib region of Syria.

It is utterly appalling that the Syrian Government have been bombing hospitals, in direct contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 2286. This is considered by Amnesty International to be a crime against humanity and cannot be allowed to continue with impunity.

I argued that both the Government and the United Nations must do all they can to bring an end to this conflict and to stop this indiscriminate bombing. You can watch a clip of this here.

I also contributed to Lilian Greenwood’s Adjournment debate on Monday, which raised the issue of Local Housing Allowance in Nottingham. Too many people in Nottingham North are having to choose between putting food on the table and having a roof over their heads. The Local Housing Allowance freeze must end to prevent poverty, homelessness and debt worsening even further.
You can watch me make this point here.

In Nottingham

Back in Nottingham today, my schedule has been as jam-packed as ever. Here’s how I’ve spent my time:

  • I began by visiting Learning in a Fun Environment (LIFE) in Bulwell, where I was spoke to Suzie Wright, the Director. LIFE is a learning provision for adults with learning difficulties and or disabilities aged 19+ in Nottinghamshire – the only one of its type in the area. With over 60 students currently using their facilities, they offer a vital service, which is focussed on helping people develop skills for life, build confidence, and ultimately enables independence. Unfortunately, they are currently facing some very big challenges at the moment with the council cuts, which we discussed in detail.
  • I next met with Irene and Barbara from ThinkForward for a discussion around their work with my charity, Rebalancing.
  • I welcomed Laura Grant, director of Freedom Foundation, to my office, to discuss the charity’s work in using the creative arts to help children understand the impact of social media on their mental well-being. 
  • The latest meeting of the Nottingham Local Delivery Partnership Leadership Board followed, where discussion centred around raising the profile of physical activity and connecting people around the Partnership’s goals of improving health and wellbeing.
  • Following this meeting, I had time for a quick cup of tea with Sarah Bull, who is the City Council’s stakeholder Manager for Building Better Opportunities, a program that overlaps significantly with our aims for Rebalancing’s local contribution.
  • My next meeting was with Shammi Raichura, Uber Regional Cities Lead, to discuss the work being done by Uber across Nottingham, particularly in engaging with city leaders.
  • And my last meeting of the day, before the local Labour Party meeting this evening at least, was with a constituent to discuss an ongoing Home Office case.

In Parliament

Evidently my debate contributions took up a significant amount of the time I spend in Parliament this week, but here’s what else I got up to:

  • Yesterday I was drawn out to ask the first question to DEFRA Ministers, taking the opportunity to show my support to all of the young people across Nottingham North taking part in climate strikes today. I completely echo their call for radical action on climate change following Parliament's recent declaration of a climate emergency. We only have 10 years left to prevent the climate crisis - we have no time to lose. You can watch this here.
  • On Monday I hosted a foreign policy briefing session, where legal experts from Hogan Lovells shared their knowledge and experience on ethical trade, LGBT law and human rights with members of Labour’s international front bench teams.
  • I attended a drop-in event supporting the Send My Friend to School campaign, a wonderful effort by young people to close the opportunity gap when it comes to education with their counterparts who aren’t so fortunate.
  • I also undertook an interview with Ipsos MORI, who asked me about a wide number of issues, in order to help understand and shape the nature of political debate.

Looking Ahead to Next Week

While I probably won’t spend as much time in the House of Commons chambers next week, I still have a full schedule lined up, including a roundtable with the Fabians on International Development, and in Nottingham, unveiling the new Memorial to the First World War at Victoria Embankment.

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

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,


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.
Free Courses for Parents/Carers
Led by Helping Kids Achieve and Futures
Wednesday 26th June, Crabtree Community Centre

Safe Surfer
This course looks at how to keep your young people safe online and terminology young people use on the internet you may not be familiar with.
9.30 -11.30 am

Health and Wellbeing
This course looks at topics such as, healthy eating, stress management, building confidence and self development. 1.00-3.00 pm

To book a place on either course, please email Keiren at helpingkidsachieve1@gmail or phone: 07562303846

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.
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:

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:,

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.

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:,

How to contact me

If you would like to contact me, please email 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:

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
  • If you’d like to learn more about the Labour party their website is here.
  • To join the Labour Party click here.
  • 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
  • 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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