Tag Archives: helen morgan MP

Morgan and Farron speak on rural levelling up

Rural issues are often sidelined in the Commons and in public policy. Yesterday, Tim Farron and Helen Morgan made significant contributions to the rural levelling up debate in the Commons chamber.

The debate, secured Selaine Saxby Conservative MP for North Devon, was sparsely attended but there were some strong speeches (Hansard).

Helen Morgan and Tim Farron highlighted the way that farming is being treated under the Conservative government, though the botched introduction of the Environmental Land Management scheme (ELMS) and trade deals. Rural transport was a major issue, trains, buses and access to rail stations. Hospitals of course featured. Ambulance delays. Bed blocking. The inability to attract staff because there is nowhere local and affordable to live. And the ever difficulty of getting a decent broadband connection in rural areas to allow businesses to thrive (I might add education and medical services to that list also).

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Lib Dem MPs on health crisis: government has got it badly wrong

One of the most stunning non-answers in the House of Commons of late was Liz Truss’s response to Daisy Cooper at PMQs yesterday on the danger of collapsing hospital buildings. The here today, and possibly gone tomorrow, prime minister either didn’t hear the question or did not know how to respond (Hansard).

In a debate in Westminster Hall, Daisy Cooper was again in action, this time on the preventive covid-19 drug Evusheld. This is a pre-exposure prophylactic drug administered by injections that gives a degree of protection against catching Covid-19. There are around half a million immunosuppressed people in the UK who could benefit from this treatment, including people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. But the government refuses to make it immediately available, instead waiting on a NICE review which may not conclude until well in 2023, after the expected winter surge in illness, including Covid and seasonal flu. Cooper said the government had got this “badly wrong”.

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Helen Morgan: 12 hours with an ambulance crew

It’s midday on a wet and windy Friday afternoon. Normally I’d be in a village hall for a surgery with constituents. Instead, I’m hurtling down an A-road being deafened by a siren in the back of an ambulance.

I’m with paramedics Steve and Julie and we’re responding to the first call of our 12-hour shift. It’s only minutes since we clocked on but the elderly lady in need of help has been waiting more than three hours. She’s got Covid symptoms and chest problems making her a category two call with a target response time of 18 minutes.

Indeed, by the time we pack up just before 1am we’ve been to four category two calls, all of which had been waiting at least two hours, and one category three with a 12-hour delay.

All of our response times are around 10 times longer than the target and today is a ‘good’ day by recent standards in Shropshire.

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Helen Morgan challenges Greg Clark on Community Heating Hubs

On 16 August, Helen Morgan wrote to Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities calling for action to protect those who will not be able to afford to heat their homes this winter. She has also written to Shropshire Council leader Lezley Picton:

Places like libraries and leisure centres could easily be adapted to provide a safe space for people to sit and keep warm during the day, at no extra cost to the tax payer.

Community Heating Hubs are simple, easily implemented and could be a literal lifeline for some households this winter.

In her letter to Greg Clark, Morgan said the country faces a cost of living emergency. She urges him to tackle the emergency this winter by requiring all local authorities to provide Community Heating Hubs, making public buildings available to those who can’t afford to keep their heating on at home.

I’m hoping you will wake this zombie government and take action to help the millions of people being pushed towards poverty by the cost of living emergency. Please ask all local authorities to take this simple step.

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Conference: Morgan calls on Lib Dems to stand up for rural communities

One of the Lib Dems’ newest MPs, Helen Morgan has put forward a motion on supporting rural communities to Conference in September. The wide ranging motion, which will be summated by Richard Foord, calls on delegates to agree that rural areas should no longer be taken for granted and that the Liberal Democrats are best placed to help them. It says the government should introduce a price cap on heating oil and other off-grid fuels and expand the rural fuel duty relief scheme to be doubled and to cover more areas. It also calls for ministers to protect rural childcare providers with a package of support and provide emergency funding available to ambulance trusts to reverse or cancel closures of community ambulance stations.

Speaking exclusively to Lib Dem Voice, Helen Morgan said:

Those of us who live in rural areas like Shropshire are all well aware of the poor state of our services – from health to transport to broadband and policing.

The Conservatives have taken us for granted for far too long. My election was proof that people have had enough and want to be represented by a party with their interests at heart.

The UK cannot properly be levelled up without its rural areas being included.

The full motion is below.

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Helen Morgan tables bill on improving rural bus services

Buses are the cinderella of transport. We hear a lot about trains, the inconvenience of delays, strikes and buckled rails. But we don’t hear much about buses. Yet there were more than four billion local bus passenger journeys in England in the year ending March 2020 before the pandemic. Numbers inevitably declined during the pandemic and have not yet recovered to pre-pandemic levels, especially among concessionary pass passengers.

Many rural areas do not have a local train service. Rural buses are literally a lifeline. But unlike services in some cities, rural buses have been in steep decline.

On Wednesday, Helen Morgan MP for North Shropshire, presented a bill to parliament with the aim of ensuring people living in market towns can access hospitals, GPs and other services by public transport every day of the week.

 

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MPs debate ambulance and emergency department waiting times

Amid the political maelstrom of last Wednesday, MPs found time to debate the continuing ambulance crisis (video). The debate was led by Wera Hobhouse, Lib Dem MP for Bath. There were important contributions made by Lib Dem, Labour and Conservative members.

The government response was given by the Minister for Health, Edward Argar. His view seemed to be that the problems are not as bad Lib Dem, Labour and some Conservative members were suggesting and where there are problems, they are being solved. Watching the debate, I had the distinct impression if MPs were allowed to a appear in fancy dress (Jacob Rees Mogg excepted), Argar would appear dressed as Dumbledore and magic away the problems with a flick of his wand.

Wera Hobhouse:

More and more people are calling ambulance services or attending A&E because they are having difficulties accessing other, more appropriate parts of our health system. National NHS performance figures illustrate that our healthcare service does not have the capacity to meet demand…

Recently, an elderly man was forced to sleep on the floor of a local church as it took 12 hours for an ambulance to arrive—12 hours. A GP surgery ran out of oxygen for a patient due to the time it took for the ambulance to arrive. Ambulance handover delays are a significant patient-safety risk… and up to 90% of the causes of delay are linked to the availability of beds in the hospital.

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Morgan letter to Blue Wall MPs on Partygate vote

Ahead of the vote today on whether to refer the Prime Minister for investigation by the Committee of Privileges following his repeated lies on Partygate, North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan has written to 50 Blue Wall Tory MPs. These MPs have slim majorities and are vulnerable to a public backlash over their support for Boris Johnson.

The vote this afternoon will be on a motion that refers Boris Johnson to the Committee of Privileges for misleading the house over partygate. The motion tabled by Labour is also signed by the leaders of the SNP, Plaid Cymru. Lib Dem, Green, Social Democratic and Labour parties, and the deputy leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland. The motion says the committee “shall not begin substantive consideration of the matter until the inquiries currently being conducted by the Metropolitan Police have been concluded.” However, a Tory amendment tabled by Paymaster General Michael Ellis and Leader of the House Mark Spencer defers any decision on whether to refer Johnson to the Committee of Privileges until the police inquiry has concluded.

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Farron & Morgan: We’re the party that backs British farmers

The Lib Dems are gearing up to win over farmers in the May elections when eyes will be on the blue walls of rural heartlands in places like Somerset, Herefordshire and Westmorland – key Lib Dem, Conservative battlegrounds in May.

The Liberal Democrats have put the Conservatives’ former rural heartlands on notice at their conference this weekend. It comes as the party has passed sweeping reform aimed at targeting the farming community that is “fed up with being taken for granted by the Government”.

The push to win the farming community comes after the North Shropshire by-election which caused a political earthquake in true blue Shropshire.

Alongside the “Back British Farmers” party policy reform the Liberal Democrats have also launched specialised farmers campaigning packs for local Lib Dems to gain support from farmers and paint true blue rural heartlands in orange diamonds.

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Morgan: Ambulance crisis motion passed at Conference

Helen Morgan, Liberal Democrat MP for North Shropshire yesterday evening passed a party policy motion at the Liberal Democrats Spring Conference to tackle the ambulance service crisis.

In the new policy, called ‘The Crisis in Our Ambulance Services’ passed by Liberal Democrat members this weekend the party calls for:

  • Emergency funding to be made available to ambulance trusts to reverse closures of community ambulance stations and cancel planned closures where needed.
  • The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid to commission the CQC to conduct an investigation into the causes and impacts of ambulance service delays.
  • An Ambulance Waiting Times Bill to be passed into law requiring accessible, localised reports of ambulance response times to be published.
  • A campaign to retain, recruit and train paramedics and other ambulance staff.
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Helen Morgan’s inaugural: In the footsteps of the Women of Wem

In her inaugural speech in the House of Commons today, the country’s newest MP Helen Morgan told MPs:

“I will not give up fighting for the issues that matter most to North Shropshire: better access to health and ambulance services, a fair deal for farming, and proper provision of public services.”

Helen began by setting herself in the context on North Shropshire:

“While I am the first woman to represent North Shropshire in parliament, I am continuing a fine tradition of women in North Shropshire defending our democracy.”

She follows in the footsteps of the Women of Wem and made clear the Lib Dems opposition to the Judicial Review and Courts Bill.

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Helen Morgan: “Anger at Conservative Party like nothing I’ve heard”

The first Lib Dem MP elected to the North Shropshire seat, held by the Conservatives since 1832, has been writing in the Independent today. Helen Morgan says:

The result has been described by many as a “shock” and “totally unexpected”. Yet when you heard the anger and frustration that I heard on the doorstep each day, the result should have shocked nobody.

Helen speaks of her arrival at Westminster expecting to find a prime minister and a government willing to listen to voters in North Shropshire.

How wrong I was. The anger at Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party was like nothing I’ve ever heard before… It begs the question, why won’t Boris Johnson and his Conservative colleagues listen to voters?

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North Shropshire: It wasn’t a fluke says Helen Morgan

Interviewed by the Guardian, Helen Morgan said the Liberal Democrats’ win, which overturned a Conservative majority of nearly 23,000, was not a fluke. Morgan said her election builds on the party’s success in the Chesham and Amersham byelection in June and the Lib Dems are capable of winning over more voters than people expect and the Lib Dems have proved their popularity is no longer confined to parts of the country which voted Remain.

We’ve won two big byelections in just over six months. We’ve now proved the Chesham and Amersham result wasn’t a fluke.

Everyone said that was about HS2, but in North Shropshire it was about issues that affect everyone in the country. I think it proves we can make a difference across a much wider area than people thought we might be able to.

She said there was anger at ambulance waiting times and concerns in the farming community about trade deals but Brexit is no longer an issue.

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Trade deal with Australia will hit our farmers

Tim Farron has warned that farmers are being “sold down the river” by the Conservatives, after it emerged the government’s own impact assessment found the Australia deal will cause a £94m hit to the farming, forestry and fishing industries. There is also an expected £225 million hit to the semi-processed food sector, such as tinned foods.

The Liberal Democrats are demanding that MPs are given a vote on the Australia deal so they can stand up for the interests of British farmers. It comes following the party’s by-election win in North Shropshire during which concerns over the impacts of government’s trade deals on local farmers were a significant issue. The deal is likely to hit small farmers, especially hill farmers hardest.

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