Consultation on night flight restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted

January 23, 2017

I am very pleased to see that the Government has launched a consultation on night flight restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

The Transport Minister for Aviation, International Trade and Europe – Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon – has made clear that “the Government acknowledges that noise at night represents the least acceptable form of aircraft noise, however, night flights are important to the economy – they create extra choice for passengers and are crucial for operation of the time sensitive freight sector. The proposals in our consultation will ensure that we continue to balance these competing interests.”

The consultation seeks views and evidence relating to the Government proposals that will inform an eventual decision on the restrictions later in the year. The relevant documents can be accessed at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/night-flight-restrictions-at-gatwick-heathrow-and-stansted and consultation responses can be submitted using the response form at https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/J6KX6.


The Prime Minister’s 12 clear negotiating objectives for our discussion with the other EU countries

January 23, 2017

I welcome the Prime Minister’s clear statement on the 12 negotiating objectives for our discussion with the other EU countries. Here is her letter to MPs –

Dear colleague,

Today I set out the Government’s 12 negotiating objectives for Brexit, part of our Plan for Britain, which aims to get the right deal abroad while ensuring a better deal for ordinary working people here at home.

The referendum vote last June was about something more than simply leaving the European Union. It was a vote for change: to make Britain stronger and fairer – restoring national self-determination while becoming even more global and international in action and spirit. And while it was a vote to leave the EU, it was not a vote to leave Europe – we want to continue to be reliable partners, willing allies and close friends with European countries.

So in that spirit, we are not seeking partial membership of the EU, associate membership, or anything that leaves us half-in, half-out. We do not seek to adopt a model already enjoyed by other countries or hold on to bits of membership as we leave.

We seek a new and equal partnership – between an independent, self-governing, Global Britain and our friends and allies in the EU. It remains firmly in Britain’s national interest that the EU should succeed after we have left.

Principles

As we negotiate that partnership, we will be driven by some simple principles: we will provide as much certainty and clarity as we can at every stage. And we will take this opportunity to make Britain stronger, to make Britain fairer, and to build a more Global Britain too.

Objectives

The 12 objectives amount to one big goal: a new, positive and constructive partnership between Britain and the European Union.

1. Certainty: whenever we can, we will provide it. And we can confirm today that the Government will put the final deal that is agreed between the UK and EU to a vote in both Houses of Parliament.

2. Control of our own laws: we will bring an end to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Britain. Because we will not have truly left the European Union if we are not in control of our own laws.

3. Strengthen the Union: we must strengthen the precious Union between the four nations of the United Kingdom. We will work very carefully to ensure that – as powers are repatriated back to Britain – the right powers are returned to Westminster and the right powers are passed to the devolved administrations. We will make sure that no new barriers to living and doing business within our Union are created.

4. Maintain the Common Travel Area with Ireland: we will work to deliver a practical solution that allows the maintenance of the Common Travel Area with the Republic of Ireland, while protecting the integrity of the United Kingdom’s immigration system.

5. Control of immigration: the message from the public before and during the referendum campaign was clear: Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe. We will continue to attract the brightest and the best to work or study in Britain but there must be control.

6. Rights for EU nationals in Britain, and British nationals in the EU: we want to guarantee these rights as early as we can. We have told other EU leaders that we can offer EU nationals here this certainty, as long as this is reciprocated for British citizens in EU countries.

7. Protect workers’ rights: as we translate the body of European law into our domestic regulations, we will ensure that workers’ rights are fully protected and maintained.

8. Free trade with European markets: as a priority we will pursue a bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement with the European Union. This agreement should allow for the freest possible trade in goods and services between Britain and EU member states. It cannot though mean membership of the EU’s Single Market. That would mean complying with European Court of Justice rulings, free movement and other EU rules and regulations without having a vote on what those rules and regulations are. And because we will no longer be members of the Single Market, we will not be required to contribute huge sums to the EU budget. If we contribute to some specific EU programmes that we wish to participate in, it will be for us to decide.

9. New trade agreements with other countries: it is time for Britain to become a global trading nation, striking trade agreements around the world. Through the Common Commercial Policy and the Common External Tariff, full Customs Union membership prevents us from doing this – but we do want to have a customs agreement with the EU and have an open mind on how we achieve this end.

10. The best place for science and innovation: we will continue to collaborate with our European partners on major science, research and technology initiatives.

11. Co-operation in the fight against crime and terrorism: we want our future relationship with the EU to include practical arrangements on matters of law enforcement and intelligence.

12. A smooth, orderly Brexit: we want to have reached an agreement about our future partnership by the time the two year Article 50 process has concluded. From that point onwards, we expect a phased process of implementation. We will work to avoid a disruptive cliff-edge.

While Britain wants to remain a good friend and neighbour to Europe, we know there are some voices calling for a punitive deal. However, we are clear that getting no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain.

This is because we would still be able to trade with Europe. We would be free to strike trade deals across the world. And we would have the freedom to set the competitive tax rates and embrace the policies that would attract the world’s best companies and biggest investors to Britain. And – if we were excluded from accessing the Single Market – we would be free to change the basis of Britain’s economic model. But for the EU, it would mean new barriers to trade with one of the biggest economies in the world.

We are confident though that this scenario never need arise and are sure that positive agreement can be reached. We are confident that we will follow a better path because of the shared values and spirit of goodwill that exists on both sides; because it is the economically rational thing for both Britain and the EU; and because co-operation is needed not just when it comes to trade but when it comes to security too.

Only the Conservatives have a Plan for Britain

As we leave the European Union, this Conservative Government has a plan to get the right deal for Britain. But none of the others parties seem to believe Britain can thrive outside the European Union.

– Labour have been clear that getting control of immigration and our laws isn’t a priority –they’ve also threatened to block Article 50 in Parliament and said they are keeping their options open on a second referendum.

– Despite saying they would accept the results of the referendum, the Liberal Democrats are now trying to overturn it and, if they fail, want us to accept the worst of all worlds – membership of the single market, with no control over its rules and regulations and no control over immigration.

– The SNP are trying to turn the process of Brexit into a reason why Scotland should be independent – despite effectively campaigning to leave the EU during the Scottish referendum in 2014.

– And UKIP are on their third leader since last June – they have contributed nothing to this process.

Now we have set out the detailed objectives for leaving the EU, it is up to these other parties to tell us whether they back our plan to get the right deal for Britain or reject it.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with my team at Downing Street, the team at the Department for Exiting the European Union, the Whips’ Office, or my PPS George Hollingbery if you have any questions.

With best wishes,

The Rt. Hon. Theresa May MP Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party


Support and advice for young businesses in Hertfordshire

January 6, 2017

I welcome the announcement of a competition for young businesses in a Hertfordshire to win advice and support from established companies. The One Competition (www.theonecompetition.co.uk) brings together top businesses in the region to offer an unrivalled package of business support, advice and service, enabling the winner to spread their wings and take their business to the next level. It offers a prize value of over £25,000 in business support.

Applications are welcomed from any business in the Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire area which is under five years old. I hope businesses in my constituency will look at entering.

The closing date is 31 January 2017.


Reports from some recent work experience students in my office

October 31, 2016

At the start of summer I was keen to find some political work experience, so I thought of contacting Sir Oliver Heald (my MP) to help me out, knowing full well that he has a very busy schedule. Fortunately, I had a quick reply with good news, that I could have work experience with him in a few months’ time. I have been to Parliament a few times, but have always wanted to see first-hand how Parliament works behind the scenes.

My first day was great, after having met Sir Oliver Heald’s Parliamentary assistant Robert, we kicked off with a tour around Parliament, which I have had before but was about 4 years ago so it was very nice having another tour to refresh my memory. After the tour we quickly made our way over to the House of Commons where we knew a statement was about to be delivered on whether or not there will be airport expansion and what airport it will be at. After about 20 minutes of debating, the transport secretary Chris Grayling stated that there will be a 3rd runway at Heathrow airport. Then Robert gave us another little tour that ended when we were shown the terrace, and then made our way to lunch. After lunch we were shown to Robert’s office. When in the office we were shown what Robert may have to on a usual day. I helped write a blog post on an opportunity for Parliamentary teaching for teachers. To round off the day, we made our way over to a Westminster Hall debate on child exploitation in Telford.

Arriving on the second day, we started in another interesting Westminster Hall debate on British engagement with Libya which was intriguing as it was a heated debate. Then Robert took us to the chapel within Parliament, which was incredible. Not to mention a little bit of suffragette history as we were shown the room where Emily Wilding Davison slept on the night of the census. Luckily all three of us were able to get a ticket for the PMQs which was very interesting. Topics such as mental health, Spain allowing Russian ships to refuel in their ports, defence questions, health, councils being merged, and finally Brexit. As, it was early afternoon when PMQs finished, we made our way over to lunch. When I was waiting for my food I realised Jeremy Corbyn was in the queue next to me, I said “Hello Jeremy, How are you?” and quickly walked away. After lunch, we had an hour talk with Sir Oliver Heald and his wife Christine, which was a nice insight into what Sir Oliver does on a day-to-day routine. – Jake C

—-
Back in February, I met up with Sir Oliver Heald, the MP for my area of North East Hertfordshire. It was in Ashwell, where we were talking a lot about local issues like the new housing developments in Baldock and national issues like Brexit, that he asked if I wanted to take the opportunity to visit him at a later date. But it was not anywhere else in the constituency that we were planning to meet up. It was the chance to work alongside others in Parliament.

On October 25th-26th, I was privileged to have two days of work experience at the Houses Parliament. I thought that something like this would be a fantastic opportunity to get a taste into what goes on in Westminster, which I could later put on my UCAS personal statement and CV. I have always wanted to go into journalism and more specifically political reporting, and something like this may be potentially beneficial for me.

The first day was almost indescribable. When you first step out of Westminster tube station and see the sight of Westminster Abbey and Big Ben, you just do not know how to feel. It was a beautiful place wherever you went. Whether that would be the unsupported walls of Westminster Hall or the sculptures and paintings of the hidden chapel below.

On first arrival, I got to meet Robert, who was one of Sir Oliver’s parliamentary assistants, who throughout the days was guiding us around Parliament and was always a helpful and polite man to talk to. We managed to grab a seat in the gallery where we saw Transport secretary Chris Grayling announce that there was to be a third runway installed at Heathrow in the future. Alongside that, I got a tour of Parliament with the public and create a press release for Oliver’s website about a recent visit to a cardiac arrest charity event.

However, the second day was my personal highlight of the whole time. I sat in Westminster Hall watching a debate on Britain’s intervention in Libya. But the best bit was sitting in the gallery once again to watch Prime Minister’s Questions, which is the most watched Parliamentary broadcast. It was fantastic being at the top seeing the proceedings of the session and recognising many MPs sitting in the House of Commons at the time. Including the Conservative Prime Minster Theresa May and the Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn. But the day was not over just yet. I managed to talk to Sir Oliver about local issues revolving in North Hertfordshire, which included discussing the new proposals for the new housing developments in Baldock.

Even something as normal as lunch was still exiting. When grabbing lunch from the salad bar, there was a certain Jeremy Corbyn right beside me, which came as a bit of a shock to me.

Overall, the two days were absolutely brilliant and incredibly insightful. Now knowing more about the functions and goings of Parliament, I will now be able to use this as experience in the near future.

My advice for anyone who wants to go into this sort of area, or work experience in general, is to always keep in touch with people in areas that interest you the most. Stay open minded and intrigued in things you might want to go into in the future. And take every opportunity that you may possibly have, because things like this can be invaluable to employers and bosses. Bill B

—-
For the past two days I have had the great fortune of having work experience with the MP Sir Oliver Heald, where I have been able to gain an insight in to the workings of everyday Parliament. We were first introduced to Robert, Oliver’s Parliamentary assistant. The first activity was a tour of Parliament, which included various bits of information and trivia regarding the history of Parliament. From there we went straight to the public gallery in the House of Commons. On the day when the third runway Heathrow expansion was approved, it was interesting to see the relationship between MPs on different sides asking questions and disagreeing over important issues.

Having had the opportunity to talk directly with Sir Oliver and ask him questions, we were able to gain an understanding of the contrast of the responsibilities that Sir Oliver has. As well as having a responsibility to resolve issues in his constituency for his constituents, he is also a Minister of State for Courts and Justice. This difference in developing national policy and within his own constituency was very interesting to witness. Sir Oliver was friendly and inviting, giving us a personal history of what he has been able to achieve in his time in parliament and what obstacles he has faced.

The highlight of my work experience has to be watching PMQs from the public gallery, seeing Jeremy Corbyn question Theresa May and her government on the actions and decisions they have made. Despite often adversarial politics, it was a good experience to see the relationships between the government and the opposition and how (or how not) the opposition holds the government to account.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my work experience and would like to thank Sir Oliver and Christine for being so friendly and to Robert for showing us around and being so informative throughout this work experience. Joseph M


Improving national employment figures

October 24, 2016

 

It is good to see that the Government’s economic policies are improving the employment rate across the country.

Figures show that the employment rate in the UK remains at a record high of 31.8 million, which represents 74.5% of the working-age population. In addition, unemployment is steady at 4.9%, the lowest rate in a decade.

Of course, these headline figures are good to see, but there is more good news in the detail. For example, wages grew at an average of 2.3% over the past year, which is well above inflation. This means that more and more people are enjoying real-terms pay rises, taking pressure off family budgets. Also, youth unemployment is down by 300,000 since 2010, and the women in work rate remains near its record high of 69.7%.

I am proud to be part of a Government that has been able to achieve this, and I will continue to do all I can to improve the lives of people in North East Hertfordshire, and across the country.


Meeting a Paralympic champion

October 19, 2016

meeting-a-paralympic-champion

I was honoured to meet Paralympic swimmer Matt Wylie today while he was visiting Westminster with his Gold medal from Rio 2016. Matt won the S9 50 metres freestyle on day six of the Games, in a time of 25.95 seconds. Matt, from Washington, Tyne and Wear, is only 20, and is looking forward to the 2020 Paralympic Games in Japan.


Congratulations to the Hertfordshire Independent Living Service

October 17, 2016

I am very pleased to see that the Hertfordshire Independent Living Service, based in Letchworth Garden City, has won the Meals on Wheels Award at the National Association of Care Catering awards.

HILS delivers half a million meals to people who are elderly, disabled, or otherwise vulnerable, as well and providing other care services to ensure that their customers are happy, healthy, and independent at home.

HILS is an impressive organisation, and I would like to pay tribute to all the work they do.