Category Archives: Blog

Cross-Party support for the clean air bill

I am calling on Michael Gove to adopt a clean air bill in a new strategy to tackle the crisis of air pollution in the UK.

More than half of the British public believe air pollution levels across the UK are damaging to their health and almost two-thirds back proposals for new laws to tackle the issue, according to research.

Levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), emitted mostly by diesel vehicles, have been above legal limits in almost 90% of urban areas in the UK since 2010. The toxic fumes are estimated to cause 23,500 early deaths a year and the problem was declared a public health emergency by a cross-party committee of MPs in April 2016.

The government’s plans to tackle air pollution have been found by judges to be so poor that they are unlawful. Gove has until the end of July to come up with a new air quality strategy which will cut emissions in the shortest possible time.

 

Sixty five MP’s, including myself, have signed this letter by Labour MP Geraint Davies, who introduced the clean air bill into the last Parliament:

 

Dear Michael,

Ahead of the imminent deadline for the Government’s Clean Air Strategy, due by 31st July, we are writing to ask that the following provisions from the Clean Air Bill are included in the strategy:

·         Restrictions on access for the most polluting vehicles in urban areas

·         Targeted diesel scrappage schemes

·         New powers for local authorities and the Environment Agency to enforce clean air zones and combat “idling”.

·         Incentives for people to switch to cleaner alternatives in all modes of transport

·         Reliable, real-time emissions testing

·         Rapid development of infrastructure of electric car charging points (at car parks in preference to      petrol stations), the main constraint on increasing the number of electric cars on the road

·         Action on air quality at ports and airports

·         An air quality fiscal strategy

Please support the Bill and include these provisions in the Government’s imminent Clean Air Strategy.

As you know, 40,000 people die prematurely at a cost of £20 billion each year from diesel air pollution, according to the Royal College of Physicians, who support my Clean Air Bill. Four select committees – Health, Transport, DEFRA and Environmental Audit – had planned joint hearings on Air Quality before the deadline but the general election has prevented that.

Many thanks for your cooperation on matter which is of such importance to all our constituencies.

Best wishes

Grahame Morris MP


 

 


 

2017 Miners’ Gala – 133 years of a strong socialist community

Durham is approaching that time of the year again when all the brass bands are ready to march and people are booking up hotels. In fact, this year there are expected to be around 200,000 attendants, meaning that hotels have been sold out and camping has taken over, this could be the biggest gala yet.

The Gala has a long tradition of significant Labour figures attending, MPs such as Tony Benn and Dennis Skinner have spoken to the crowds. Moreover, previous potential labour leaders, in 2015 Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham, have turned out but the star of this year’s show will clearly be Jeremy Corbyn. Jeremy is following a long line of Labour leaders to attend, Clement Atlee, Harold Wilson and Michael Foot who all met the crowds. Corbyn has clearly moved back to the grassroots campaigning of an older Labour and is not following the same line as Blair or Brown who notably did not attend. Corbyn’s recent spike in popularity is the clear reason for the expected rise in attendance this year.

The Gala is a highly significant cultural event, not only in Durham or the North East but the whole country. The Gala attracts music from around the country and even sometimes as wide as Europe but perhaps more significant is the wide reach to unions. Union leaders such as Tosh McDonald, Len McCluskey and Arthur Scargill have attended. This sums up the Miners’ Gala, it centres around unions and focuses on workers’ rights. Unison, Unite, RMT, NUT and many more unions turnout in force making it the worlds’ largest trade union event. This is of particular significance when union membership has dropped this year, this is a chance for the Labour Party and others to revive the movement that was so central to their foundation. This is Corbyn’s chance to consolidate on his work that has helped unions and workers’ rights return to the mainstream political agenda.

This Gala should be one to remember, with the strongest Labour Party we have had in years, out in force, this is the time when we can make change. Durham Day is a time to celebrate the success we have had in the recent election and a time to add more energy to our campaign.

Durham Miners’ Gala is on the 8th July, don’t forget to go along to the Labour Tea Tent and watch the speeches at mid-day.

To find out more go to http://www.durhamminers.org/news

To look at camping follow this link: CLICK HERE TO BOOK CAMPING AT DURHAM MINERS’ GALA 2017

 

It’s time to take the fight to the Tories!

It has been a whirlwind of an election campaign and I’m extremely privileged to be back in Parliament!

This election was quite clearly a rejection of cruel Tory policies and sent a message that they are not welcome in the North.

I have waited my whole political life to stand on the 2017 Labour Manfiesto and it humbles me that so many people agree that we need a Britain that works for the many, not the few.

Labour won seats we didn’t expect to win, Stockton South, Canterbury and Kensington to name but a few. However the fight continues as the Conservatives are attempting to force through a Queen’s speech with the help of the DUP.

This simply cannot work, and if there is another General election soon, then we must be prepared.

I am ready to hit the ground running and hold this Tory Government to account on behalf of all of the good people of Easington. Bring it on…

Dissolution of Parliament

“I am not currently an MP, as Parliament has been dissolved until after the General Election.”

If you would like more information regarding my re-election campaign please visit –  www.grahamemorris.org.uk

If you would like to register to vote, closing date 22nd May, please visit –  www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Re-elect Len McCluskey!

I have been a member of Unite since I first started to work and am now the Chair of the Unite group in Parliament. I have seen first hand the hard work Unite members have put into ensuring Labour victories across the country and the incredible leadership Len McCluskey has shown.

Len has proudly led Unite the union since his election to office in 2010. Unite is the UK & Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members right across the country. He played a leading part in the negotiations that led to the formation of Unite through the merger of the Transport and General Workers’ Union and Amicus. From 2007, when Unite was formed, as Assistant General Secretary, Len’s work was dedicated to making the new union work for its members.

From Sports Direct to BMW, Easyjet to Jaguar Land Rover, from shipbuilding to London Buses, Unite is winning and improving conditions in workplaces across the UK and Ireland.

Leading the fight against failed austerity, defending our NHS and public services and challenging the rise of in-work poverty.  Bringing in thousands of new community members, standing shoulder-to- shoulder with the vulnerable in our communities and members across our union. He also built a strike fund of over £35 million to defend members fighting for justice.

Do not believe the lies and smears by the opposition’s campaign and the media. With 1,185 branch nominations, representing 559,000 members, Len is absolutely the right man for the job.

Len said:

“I will always fight to defend our members; fighting for proper funding of vital services, an end to ideological cuts and a return to investment in homes and people. Alongside resources to provide security, wages and conditions that value your work.

I will lead the fight to protect the vulnerable in society. Our support for the Peoples Assembly, action to defend our NHS and community campaigns to build user and worker alliances to help us win the struggles that affect us all.”

Len McCluskey’s re-election is important to the continued success of our movement, so if you’re a Unite member, then please #VoteLen.

Add a Twibbon on your Twitter profile picture: https://twibbon.com/support/i-voted-len/twitter

Fighting for Labour values

 

I campaigned to remain in the EU and the triggering of Article 50 is not the outcome Labour fought for last summer. But together, we can challenge Tory plans at every stage of this process. We must ensure that jobs, living standards and your rights at work are protected.

Labour’s focus is on making sure this Tory Government guarantees the rights and protections we value most. We cannot allow Britain to become a low-pay tax haven that only works for a few.

I will fight for real protection for the economy and the same benefits currently enjoyed within the single market. The UK needs to retain a strong relationship with our international partners, because important issues like climate change and cross-border crime cannot be tackled by one country in isolation.

Support the Great Daffodil Appeal 2017

Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal has been raising awareness and funds since 1986.

Every March, millions of people across the UK show their support for their work, simply by giving a donation to wear a daffodil pin.

Every hour donated by collectors, every penny raised, every daffodil people wear – it all helps fund crucial hours of care at home for people living with any terminal illness.

Without this generosity, thousands of families across the UK wouldn’t be able to make the most of the precious time they have left together.

The charity’s nurses work night and day, caring for people in their homes and in their nine hospices. They’re also there for people throughout their illness by giving practical information, offering support from trained volunteers and being there when someone wants to talk.

Anyone with a terminal illness, or a family member or friend, can request this help through their GP, district nurse, hospital nurse or consultant.

Last year, they provided care and support for more than 50,000 people living with a terminal illness, and their families.

Just £20 funds one hour of nursing care, so please donate

 

Walkers to Consult on Peterlee Crisp Factory Closure

The loss of Walkers Crisps is a devastating blow to the workforce at Peterlee and manufacturing in East Durham.

In the immediate aftermath of this decision my thoughts are with the employees and their families. In the weeks ahead support will be made available via Jobcentre Plus Rapid Response Team to help those affected who may need to retrain and upskill. The Rapid Response Team have been successful in the past assisting many of those made redundant from SSI on Teesside to make the transition into alternative employment.

It is quite right that we question the reasons given by Walkers to justify the closure of the Peterlee factory. Walkers have indicated the decision will improve productivity and deliver savings, however, locating production facilities in the South will increase their transport costs to the North of England and Scotland.

I hope Walkers will also be honest about the improvements required to retain East Durham’s manufacturing competitiveness, such as investment in transport infrastructure, skills and training.

The structural weaknesses in our local economy are issues that I will continue to raise with Government Ministers and the Local Enterprise Partnership who are tasked with strengthening and expanding business and employment opportunities in East Durham.

The Business Minister states the Government have invested £379.6m in the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, however, there is little practical evidence of this investment in East Durham. Ministers are quick to exalt Nissan, however, our manufacturing base is much wider than one specific industry, and their over-reliance of a single business as an example of regional success is a worrying feature of the Government’s rhetoric.

Words are cheap. What we need now is practical support, to help those at Walkers, but also to deliver the growth required to provide the jobs we need for the future.

However, whether it is housing, education, transport investment, local government funding or business support, the North East is being hit first and hit hardest with spending cuts that are kicking away the ladders of opportunity that a responsible government would be looking to build.

To see the Government’s response to my questions about manufacturing in East Durham and Walkers Crisps, please visit: theyworkforyou.com

Invitation to sports funding workshop in Easington

Date: Thursday 6th April
Time: 6pm – 7pm
Venue: Shotton Community Centre, Bridge Road, Shotton Colliery, DH6 2PQ

Do you know how to access funding so that you can improve or upgrade your club?

Grahame Morris MP will be hosting a Sport England workshop on Thursday 6 April with Sport England experts who will be answering any questions you may have.

Sport England is the Government Agency working with grassroots sport. Its investment and expertise has helped thousands of clubs, such as yours, get more people playing sport more often.

Sport England understands that many clubs need that little bit of help and support when they are applying for funding, whether it is being directed to the right funding stream or making sure they take the correct steps when applying. The workshop will explain the funding available, which fund would be most appropriate for your project, and how to apply.

If you would like to attend please email: lee.longstaff@parliament.uk