On 23rd June, every one of us will have the chance to decide for ourselves whether to cast our votes for or against Britain remaining in the European Union. It is a big decision and it is a tough one. Talking to people around here in the last few weeks, though, I know that people are getting really fed up with the bitterness and backbiting that has often disfigured the debate. People also tell me how frustrated they feel when both sides bombard them with what they claim are “facts” but which are so contradictory that they end up creating more fog than clarity.
Like you, I have one vote on June 23 and, like you, I’ll vote for what – as an individual – I think is right for the future of our country.
In February the Government announced new rules on public procurement without any parliamentary or public scrutiny. These rules appeared to restrict public bodies like local councils and universities from refusing to award contracts to certain companies based on ethical grounds and making their own choices to promote ethical trading and investment.
A few months ago I held a Westminster Hall debate in Parliament to press the Government on these changes. This was the first opportunity the House of Commons had to actually debate the Government’s plans. Indeed, they had not even announced them in this country at all. Instead, they held a joint press conference in Jerusalem to do so with the Prime Minister of Israel.
During the debate, which you can read about or watch here, I asked the Minister six questions to clarify what the new rules in the Public Procurement Notice would mean for public bodies and the UK’s foreign policy towards Israel and Palestine. After the debate I wrote to Matthew Hancock, the Government Minister who made the changes, to write back to me addressing each point. Read more
While Birmingham City Council considers the planning application submitted by Bloor Homes for North Worcestershire Golf Course, I know many local residents remain concerned about security of the site. Here is an update on those issues from what I have been able to find out:
Even though it closed for Golf some weeks ago, responsibility for the site remains with the Golf Club which is still in existence as its owners.
I have therefore been in touch with the Club on a number of occasions to clarify exactly what site security arrangements they have in place. Read more
“We believe that leaving the EU would deter investment and threaten jobs. It would put the economy at risk. Britain will be stronger, safer and better off remaining a member of the European Union.”
- Ralph Speth, Chief Executive, Jaguar Land Rover
“The potential consequences of a UK exit – or Brexit – are twofold for domestic pension schemes. A break from the block would affect the UK gilt and equity markets. There are worries that it would drive foreign direct investment (FDI) out of the country.”
- Professional Pensions, 29 May 2015, http://www.professionalpensions.com/professional-pensions/news-analysis/2410737/would-quitting-the-eu-lead-to-a-freer-uk-pensions-market
“Our students are taught by the best minds from across Europe… [Leaving the EU] would undermine the UK’s position as a global leader in science and the arts.”
- Sir David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor, University of Birmingham
Welcome to my latest Animal Welfare Round-Up. I send these out every two months so I can update you on the action I’ve been taking on animal welfare issues that many of you get in touch with me about.You can find my previous AWRUs on my website.
Animal Welfare Codes U-Turn
Since my last AWRU, the government has announced and then u-turned on a plan to repeal the Animal Welfare Codes. These ensure animal welfare standards, particularly within farming. A repeal would have allowed the industry to regulate its own standards, including with chickens, cattle, sheep and pigs. Charities were concerned that the move would lead to weaker standards and lead to fewer prosecutions. Read more