News from your local MP Darren Jones - February 2019
The Brexit saga continues. In recent weeks, I met with the Prime Minister to feedback the concerns of local people in Bristol North West and, specifically, to highlight the impact a “no deal” Brexit would have on local businesses and jobs.
Whilst the Prime Minister listened carefully, she then proceeded to say that she wouldn’t rule out “no deal” (even though everyone agrees it would be a disaster) and instead said that I needed to vote for her Brexit proposals instead.
So for all of the noise, and the theatre of recent votes in the House of Commons, we still haven’t made much progress. The Prime Minister is seeking to amend her proposals to try and bring back her own MPs to support her (having suffered the largest parliamentary defeat in British history) whilst the rest of us as trying to find ways for Parliament to exert its influence over a Prime Minister that appears to not listen. At the time of writing, I’m waiting for another update from the Prime Minister in advance of another vote on her proposals. Following my extensive engagement with local residents (which thousands of you have been part of), I will continue to call for a People’s Vote so that we can secure a democratic mandate on whether to leave with the Prime Minister’s proposals or remain and reform the EU and the UK.
Lastly, I have been getting through the detail of the NHS Ten Year Plan, and met with local NHS leaders from the Clinical Commissioning Group to understand its impact on patients and taxpayers in Bristol. My major concern is that there is no substantive chapter on staffing, which should be an important focus of the NHS in the years to come. And I continue to wait (for what I think is now a year) for the delayed Social Care Green Paper from the Government – an issue that I know is important to many of you who care for loved ones. I’ll continue to campaign for social care to be fully merged into our NHS and to stress that any automation in our health service should result in extra money to be put towards the value that should be attached to humans (as opposed to robots!) who care for us in the community.
Your Champion in Bristol
After a year’s worth of work, I am launching my North Bristol Transport Plan. This plan has been formed off the back of public meetings and online feedback from residents about their views on transport. It will be the basis on which I lobby national and regional Government to secure funding for transport upgrades across Bristol North West.
The three key messages are that: (1) we want to see new “Transport Hubs” where we bring rail, park and ride, electric vehicle charging points and cycle lock-up/hire into one site. I’m calling for three new Transport Hubs at Shirehampton, Henbury and North of Lockleaze; (2) we want to see continuous bus and cycle lanes from these new Transport Hubs into and out of Bristol City Centre and Cribbs Causeway to provide safe travel to work routes; and (3) we must see significant transport investment and no access to the Filton Airfield from back roads across the North of Bristol if the proposed Bristol YTL Arena is to go ahead.
In January, I submitted my formal response to the West of England Combined Authority’s Transport Plan. One of the proposals put forward was for a new Park and Ride at the Bristol end of the M32, an area known as Sims Hill, adjacent to the current turning route for the Metrobus. This would result in development on unique blue-finger soil sites on both sides of the M32 (the Lockleaze side in Stoke Park being in Bristol North West). This area was rejected for development when the initial Metrobus route was agreed in 2014 for this reason. Further, it was widely believed that a Park & Ride so close to Bristol City Centre would fail to serve its purpose and that a site further North of the proposed site would better suit. Whilst I support proposals for an M32 Park & Ride, I do not support the proposed location and will campaign for this to be situated further North into South Gloucestershire. The Mayor of Bristol and neighbouring MP, Kerry McCarthy, have also backed these calls.
Finally, thanks to the team at the new Lockleaze Sports Centre who recently showed me the great facilities on offer. The centre has plans for expansion, which will hopefully see up to a 12-court indoor sports hub created. Sport and leisure facilities are in huge demand across the city, so it would be fantastic to have a hub here in Lockleaze, I’ll do what I can to support the Centre’s funding applications to Sport England.
Have a question?
Regular readers will know that I host frequent café politics, pub politics and Facebook Live Q&As every month so that you all have the chance to let me know what you think and ask any questions. I’ve had great feedback about these events but recognise that not everyone can make a Friday night or Saturday morning.
I’ve therefore launched a new podcast which you can listen to on your computer or mobile phone. The idea is that you submit a question and my team and I will go away and find the answer. We’ll then publish a 15 minute podcast discussing the question and answer to give listeners a short but in-depth understanding about why something is the way it is, and what I’m trying to do about it. You can find all the details for this at: www.darren-jones.co.uk/bristol/policy-pods
If you would like to get in touch with me about any local or national issue, please email email@example.com, write to Darren Jones MP, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA or sign up to my monthly newsletter via www.darren-jones.co.uk/sign-up. You can also find me on Facebook (fb.com/darrenjonesmp) and Twitter (@darrenpjones) and join my weekly Facebook Live chat on Wednesdays at 7.30pm. You can find out more about upcoming events, and book tickets, here: www.darren-jones.co.uk/cafepolitics