News from our local MP Darren Jones - June 2019
It’s been an odd month in Parliament. The Government is stuck on what to do next about Brexit, and all the political action is reserved for Conservative Party MPs who have been huddling around their preferred candidate to succeed Theresa May as Prime Minister (who has said she will leave later this year).
The Brexit lull has given us time to debate other issues though, not least climate change. As always, I have taken part in the climate change debate as much as possible. As part of that, I led a cross-party campaign to the Prime Minister, signed by nearly 100 MPs, to have at least one whole day of debate in Government time on how the Prime Minister plans to respond to the evidence from the Climate Change Committee regards meeting net zero emissions targets sooner rather than 2050.
I have also been involved in the debate about the Chinese telecoms company, Huawei. As a member of the Science & Technology Select Committee, I have been part of debates in Parliament about the call from the United States to ban Huawei from our own infrastructure in the UK. It seems to be that this is largely driven by geo-political and trade war dynamics, although it’s clear Huawei could have higher quality software in its technology. I will be taking part in a grand committee with Defence and Foreign Affairs colleagues next month.
Your Champion in Bristol
Several constituents have contacted me to share concerns about the recent contract (which was due for re-tendering) for Psychotherapy Services awarded by the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG to Vita Health Group who are based in Essex. Constituents have advised they are concerned about the lack of local knowledge and relevant expertise of the new provider. As well as the high dividends shared by the company’s two directors in 17/18 (in addition to salaries) – particularly, given the other providers who bid for the contract included social enterprises, charities and the local NHS Mental Health Trust who have extensive experience in the local area and do not operate on a private/bonus-based model. I have also shared my views about the need to keep our NHS out of the hands of private operators. Constituents were clear they felt this decision put the treatment of 20,000 clients (who access services annually), and who have a diverse range of needs at risk. We need to ensure clients needs are paramount and these contracts are awarded correctly, so I have contacted the CCG and asked whether they considered these risks and what mitigation is in place to ensure there is no negative impact on clients or prospective clients.
Thanks to everyone who joined my May Café Politics at Horfield Leisure Centre – it was good to have a wide-ranging chat that focussed on national and local concerns. I enjoy hearing from as many of you as possible, so on 22nd June, I’ll be hosting a ‘Great Get Together’, in honour of the Jo Cox Foundation. From 12 -2 pm at the Ardagh Community Trust ‘Café on the Common’, BS6 7YL, there will be free games for the kids (and big kids) as well as time to grab a coffee and cake from the café, meet me and others from the local community in a very relaxed and informal atmosphere. As Jo told us “we are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us” – at times of division that message is important to remember - I hope to see you on 22nd.
It’s that time of year when I send an invitation to take part in my annual constituency survey to households across Bristol North West. I want to hear if I am representing your views in Parliament and championing the cases the matter to you locally. I am also keen to better understand how you’d like me to communicate with you in the future. In case the invite doesn’t arrive or gets misplaced, here is the link: http://darren-jones.co.uk/bristol/survey/
If you or someone you know who lives in Bristol North West needs help or has a question for me, you can always contact me on email, phone or in the post. Or you can come to a coffee morning, pub politics or surgery to have a chat face to face (all the details can be found at www.darren-jones.co.uk).
You can also find me on Facebook (fb.com/darrenjonesmp) and Twitter (@darrenpjones) or you can join my weekly Facebook Live chat on Wednesdays at 7.30 pm or sign up to my monthly newsletter (darren-jones.co.uk/sign-up).