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Great Get Together this Saturday, Remembering Jo Cox MP

This Friday marks one year since my friend Jo Cox MP was murdered. Across the country this weekend millions of people will be remembering Jo’s life and work in street parties and other community events. These will all be demonstrating in practice the integrity and words that will forever be associated with Jo, ‘we have more in common than that which divides us.’

Northfield Arts Forum are organising a local Great Get Together this Saturday 17th June on Weoley Castle Square between 10.00 and 14.00. See the advert below.

If you can come, it would be great to see you there.

You can see more information about the Great Get Together here.

Jo Cox Get Together

Election 2017: My Position on Animal Welfare Issues

Below is a round up of some of the animal welfare issues at this election. As you may already know, this is an issue I’ve done a lot of work on as an MP and you can see my record here. It is because of that record and my stances on animal welfare that I have just been endorsed and supported by Sir Ranulph Fiennes. I hope you feel able to support me too.

Fox Hunting
During the course of the campaign, Theresa May made clear she is no friend of foxes when she pledged to repeal the ban on fox hunting. To me, this pledge just shows how out of touch the Conservatives are with ordinary people. A recent poll showed 9 in 10 people support the ban. In my view, seeing a pack of animals rip a fox to pieces isn’t a sport and it isn’t a priority for our country.

I was a strong supporter of the Hunting Act when it was passed in 2004 by Labour in government. I will campaign and vote against any attempt to bring back this barbaric practice.

Ivory Ban
It’s not just Conservative plans to repeal fox hunting that have left local residents feeling irate, many people have been in touch about the Conservatives dropping their 2015 pledge to ban ivory trading. I share everyone’s disappointment, it seems the Tories under Theresa May are happy to go backwards on so many environmental issues just when it seemed we’d arrived at a clear consensus. Elephants are iconic animals vital for African and Asian eco-systems, but it seems the Conservatives would rather bow to the interests of ivory collectors.

Increasing Sentences for Animal Abusers
I am proud that Labour have made commitments for ever greater animal protections in our manifesto. This includes increasing the maximum sentence for those convicted of committing animal cruelty from sixth months to five years. Labour MPs led by Anna Turley previously tried to pass this into law back in February, only for Conservatives to block the attempt. It is now an official Labour pledge and one a future Labour Government would deliver to make the punishment fit the crime.

Labour: Sustainability and the Environment
Here is a link to the Leading Richer Lives chapter of Labour’s manifesto, which outlines our action plan for the environment, animal welfare, transport and local communities: http://www.labour.org.uk/index.php/manifesto2017/leading-richer-lives
As well as championing more sustainable fishing and farming practices, protecting bees and planting a million native tree species, a Labour Government are committed to:
–       Prohibit the third-party sale of puppies
–       Introduce and enforce a total ban on ivory trading
–       Delivering on the ban on wild animals in circuses which the Tories keep delaying
–       Maintaining bans on fox hunting, deer hunting and hare coursing
–       Passing a Clean Air Act to mitigate the illegal air quality crisis which the Conservatives have allowed to choke our towns and cities.

It is on this basis that I ask for your support as I seek re-election to be Birmingham Northfield’s local, independently-minded and trusted Member of Parliament. I hope you feel able to support me on June 8th.

 

Birmingham’s Labour MPs Fight Back Against Conservative Apprenticeship Cuts

Last month, all of Birmingham’s further education colleges and Birmingham City University were told by the Conservative Government that they could no longer offer apprenticeships to local people. This would set us and the people of our city back, stifling opportunity, preventing people from getting training and jobs, as well as hampering the hard work of our colleges and universities.

Along with other Labour Birmingham MPs, I have been working hard to get this changed and have been writing to and meeting with the Government to press them to reverse this decision. I’m glad to say that our pressure has paid off and the Government have announced that they are reconsidering. They have already assured us that South and City College will now able to offer apprenticeships again and that other colleges will be reviewed quickly.

Unfortunately, though, the Conservatives have past form on this and it is telling of their priorities that they were willing to let this happen to our region in the first place. Just last year they planned to cut some apprenticeship funding by up to 50%. But with the support of other Labour MPs, I helped force them to u-turn on that. I was relieved when we achieved that last year and am relieved that we have been successful again this time. It shows what Birmingham’s Labour MPs can achieve for our city when we work together.

Help re-elect the local, independent-minded and trusted MP for Northfield

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In all the years I have been an MP I have always stayed true to the values that took me into politics in the first place.

My values are Labour and that means that I have consistently been a thorn in the side of Conservative-led Governments. But those same values also mean that I have never been someone who blindly follows party lines. I stand up for what I believe – first by working in partnership with the people I represent here in Northfield to make a difference to our local area, but also on issues ranging from the future of the automotive industry in the UK to promoting peace in the Middle East.

I also hope you agree that that having independent and experienced voices like mine in the Commons will be even more important in the coming years – whoever is in Downing Street – as Britain faces the challenges of Brexit and at a time when world affairs are more uncertain and perilous than they have been for generations.

So that is why I am asking for your help.

In the last General Election two years ago, the Conservatives spent a fortune on promotional material in their efforts to take the constituency of Birmingham Northfield. There was no way we could ever match the kind of money the Conservatives put in. We held the seat by hard work on the ground. But getting our message across still costs money and the donations we received ranging from small ones to large ones were vital.

There is no doubt that the Conservatives will spend a fortune in trying to take Northfield again and so once again I am asking for your help to get the message across and to win on June 8th .

So please give whatever you can afford – however much or however little that may be. I promise you that anything you give will be put to good use.

To help, you can donate through PayPal by clicking here:

paypal_donate

Alternatively, you can donate by:

• Online banking to – Account Number: 58124637, Sort Code: 60-83-01
• Cheque made payable to ‘Birmingham Northfield Constituency Labour Party’ and sent to John Stewart, 5 Ramsden Close, Birmingham, B29 4JX

Please note that under electoral law I can only accept donations from individuals registered to vote here in the UK and from UK–registered organisations. More details on the rules covering donations at elections is available here.

So please help me to remain one of those voices in the House of Commons. All donations are vital and I promise you that anything you give will be put to good use. Please give as little or as much as you can.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Safety Must Be Top Priority, But UK & US Bans on Passenger Electronics on Aircraft Leave Questions Unanswered

Responding to the announcement, Richard Burden MP, Labour’s Shadow Aviation Minister, commented:

“Safety and security of passengers must always be the overriding priority for Government and for airline operators. If the Government has evidence that the level of security checks on passengers carrying electronic devices is of exceptional concern in the countries they have listed, then it is right that prompt precautionary action should be taken.

“This announcement does however leave a number of important questions unanswered and we are seeking urgent clarification from Ministers on these points. It’s important the Government set out clearly the precautionary steps they have taken in response to advice from security services to reassure passengers and the public. The Government must also work with airline operators to ensure all passengers are given the necessary information and flights can continue where appropriate with as minimal disruption as possible.”

 

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