News from your local MP Darren Jones - January 2019
I’m writing this column on the day I was expecting to be able to vote against the Prime Minister’s Brexit proposals, for a Parliamentary ban forbidding the Government to take the UK out of the EU without a deal and for a People’s Vote
You’ll all have seen the news, however, that the Prime Minister pulled the votes. Only last week I was in the chamber for the debate and vote that held the Government in contempt of Parliament for the first time in British history. And once again this week, I was in the chamber for more historical scenes as the Government limps on in its weakest position to date. All while the clock is ticking on Brexit, and our economy and reputation in the world suffers.
Most annoyingly, this was all pulled only days after I waited for seven hours to get called by the Speaker to make my contribution to the official debate on your behalf. In that speech, I made the case that regardless of whether you voted to leave or remain in the EU, that the Prime Minister’s proposals didn’t give anyone what they were promised, that our current position as a member of the EU is far better, and that we’d be likely discussing this whole disaster for at least the next decade! I made reference to jobs in advanced manufacturing in North Bristol, to the European Citizens who we rely on as doctors and nurses at Southmead Hospital, to those who work in import, export and logistics in Avonmouth and to the fact that our economy and standing in the world is taking a hammering. In the face of all of that, I couldn’t possibly support the Prime Ministers proposals – not least because the “political declaration” on our future trading relationship is a bullet point wish list of things we’d like to agree without any legal authority behind it at all. If I did support the Prime Minister, I’d be voting for the UK to leave the EU, to pay at least EUR40bn and to get nothing in return! As to what will happen next? I literally have no idea.
All of this will come as no surprise to the 100+ of you that came to my latest public Brexit Briefing in Horfield in early December. Tickets sold out within a matter of days, for which I apologise, but many of you were able to tune in to my live broadcast on my Facebook Page. A whole host of things could happen between now and the next time I write this column, so all I can ask is that we pray that we make it out of the other side in one piece: whatever that will mean!
Your Champion in Bristol
As your Member of Parliament, it’s a real honour to attend so many events, especially in the run-up to Christmas – I get to meet constituents, support small/home-based businesses and visit local venues. In the last few weeks, I have visited Upper Horfield Community Trust’s Christmas Fayre alongside the Buzz Lockleaze Christmas Market at the new Sports Centre in Lockleaze. It’s great to see so many local enterprises up and running and I encourage us all to try and support local and small traders where we can.
I also managed to join North Bristol’s Foodbank for their annual collection drive at Tesco Golden Hill – thank you to everyone who volunteered their time or donated to this hugely worthy and in-demand service. Anecdotal evidence shows the Universal Credit roll-out in Bristol North West in September has already led to an increase in people asking for emergency food parcels. I continue to call for the national managed migration of existing benefits claimants onto the Universal Credit to be stopped and for the government to ensure no one is made poorer by claiming Universal Credit. It still saddens me that so many of my constituents rely on support from foodbanks, but the generosity of so many of you shows there’s still plenty of good in the world.
I also recently joined your local councillors, Gill Kirk and Estella Tincknell, and our local Police Community Support Officer Charlotte on a doorknock in Lockleaze. We spoke to residents about the issues with car parking, and whether it’s worth asking the council to change some of the grass verges to more car parking spaces. I’ve also been working with your councillors and the council to move along the long running issue of car parking problems in the Bristol City Council side of Cheswick village. We’ve now successfully escalated this from officers to the Mayor’s office and I understand that actions are now being reviewed. As part of this broader work on transport issues, I recently met with the West of England Combined Authority’s Mayor, Tim Bowles, to once again share my concerns about the poor state of North Bristol’s infrastructure and public transport. I will continue to call for an injection of funding to improve our roads, buses, rail and cycle networks. Look out for more updates in the New Year.
To find out about the things that matter to you, I also hold regular events across the constituency. My café and pub politics gatherings will be back up and running for 2019. You can find out more, and book tickets, here: www.darren-jones.co.uk/cafepolitics
If you would like to get in touch with me about any local or national issue, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, 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. Please note that I’m giving my hard-working team the time off between Christmas and New Year, so my constituency office will close on Friday 21st December and re-open from 9 am on Wednesday 2nd January. For emergencies, please continue to e-mail me in the normal way.