News from your local MP Darren Jones - November 2018
I know that many of you will be bored of reading about Brexit, but now really is crunch time for the Government.
That’s because, as part of the team that defeated the Conservative Government by four votes before Christmas 2017, I was able to secure a “meaningful vote” in Parliament on the future relationship between the UK and the EU after Brexit. That means I get to vote on whether to support the Prime Minister’s proposed deal (when/if she gets one) or not. If Parliament and I don’t back the Prime Minister she will be forced to go back to the EU to get a better deal. If the Prime Minister fails to get her deal through Parliament she could be forced to call a General Election or a People’s Vote on the trade deal.
Whether you support Brexit or not, I think most people agree that we need to know what the future trading relationship will be before we agree to leave (and before we pay the bill to leave, costing billions of tax payers money). My current view is that, without clarity on that future trading relationship and how the Prime Minister’s deal will protect jobs and investment in the UK, I can’t support it. And following Labour Party conference, I’m pleased that my party’s position is now largely aligned with my own. Readers will know that I’ve stuck true to my word, and always put you and the country first even when that’s meant having to break my party whip. Thankfully, I can now do that and will do so with my Labour colleagues too.
But this isn’t just about what I think. As your Voice in Parliament I want you to have as much access to the information as you’d like, and as many opportunities as possible to take part in the debate, to ask me questions and to influence how I vote. That’s why I’ve put on five public events (one online and four offline), including one at the Hub in Lockleaze, to hear directly from you. And it’s why I’ve delivered nearly 15,000 letters across Bristol North West and invited you to take part in my Brexit survey. If you’re reading this before the vote has happened, and you want to let me know what you think, check out www.darren-jones.co.uk/brexit-briefing.
This time of year is also about the budget – when the Government sets out how it will spend our money. There have been rumours that Hard Brexit Conservatives and the Northern Irish DUP might vote down the budget as a show of strength against the Prime Minister, if she backs a Brexit deal which they don’t support. Now the Prime Minister has said that “austerity is over” I’m looking forward to seeing how her Conservative Government will properly fund our public services in Bristol. Bristol City Council alone has seen a £70m cut in funding since 2010/11, which is why they’ve had to close things like public toilets and make cut backs in the services they provide. I try to visit one of our local schools every week or so, and time and time again I hear about the impact of cuts on education from our excellent nursery schools right through to adult learning. And for my constituents who are on universal credit, which includes thousands of families in work but on law pay, the impact of cuts is having a stressful impact. On these examples and many more I will continue to make the case to the Conservative Government that it now needs to put actions behind the words “austerity is over”.
Your Champion in Bristol
I know many of you are concerned about our local high streets. I recently supported“Social Saturday”, an annual campaign which inspires consumers to buy from social enterprises - businesses that put people and planet first. I’d encourage you to find out more about social enterprises and independent businesses on your local high streets and support them where you can. I’ll also be promoting small independent stores in the run-up to Small Business Saturday on 1st December, and will continue to work with local retailers to do what I can to support the success of our local high streets.
I’d also like to congratulate Horfield CofE Primary School and Stoke Park Primary School for their recent Artsmark awards – Horfield was the only local school awarded platinum this year, with Stoke Park aiming high and getting gold! What a fantastic achievement. Artsmark is the creative quality standard for education settings accredited by Arts Council England. It provides clear guidance for teachers to plan, develop and evaluate arts, culture and creativity across the curriculum. The award is crucial as it supports schools who believe (as I do) that every child should have the opportunity to create, compose, and perform, as well as to visit, experience and be creative. .
Lastly, readers won’t be surprised to read that I continue to campaign for transport improvements. Thanks to everyone who joined my recent North Bristol Transport Forum, which has formed the basis for my new North Bristol Transport Plan. We’re putting forward proposals for better bus lanes, a super cycle highway, upgraded rail routes and local stations, a new Park and Ride and ride sharing schemes which can take you to your nearest public transport connection. We need to get public transport right, so it’s easier to use than our cars. And we need to get all of our public transport providers out of polluting vehicles and into clean vehicles powered by renewable energy. You can check out my work on the North Bristol Transport Plan and let me know what you think at www.darren-jones.co.uk/transport-plan.
As always, I’m hosting a series of coffee mornings and pub politics across the constituency. I’ll be at Horfield Leisure Centre on Saturday 2ndNovember, and you can join me for a festive mince pie at my Christmas special on Saturday 2nd December. To register for either, please visitwww.darren-jones.co.uk/cafepolitics or call my office on 0117 959 6545.
To keep up to date with my all my news and activities, join my weekly Facebook Live on Wednesdays at 7.30pm atwww.facebook.com/darrenjonesmp or sign-up to my e-newsletters: www.darren-jones.co.uk/sign-up