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Articles about ‘Policy’

April’s newsletter

Welcome to my latest Parliamentary newsletter!

Space prevents the newsletter covering all of what I have been doing over the past month. However, hopefully it provides a flavour of some of the local issues I have taken up as well as my actions in Parliament. You’ll find updates on Northfield Leisure Centre, the Windrush Generation and other issues. As ever, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me on these or any other issues.

Best wishes,

Richard

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Statement on Airstrikes in Syria

Decisions about the circumstances in which UK forces should be sent into action are amongst the gravest that any government can take. In a modern democracy, government also has a responsibility to listen and the elected parliament should not be cut out of the process that precedes those decisions being made. That, however, is what has happened this weekend. The Prime Minister could and should have consulted Parliament before involving UK forces in air strikes on Syria, including on their strategic purpose and how she believed the action proposed would achieve that purpose.

The reality we all now face, though, is that the airstrikes have gone ahead and the key issues now are what happens from here, including:

  1. Diplomatic strategies to guard against escalation both on the ground in Syria and between third parties in the region and beyond.
  2. The need to redouble international efforts to build a peace plan for Syria. The failure of the international community to end the appalling bloodshed in Syria so far does not alter the need to keep trying.
  3. An urgent and renewed focus on the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people – both those still in the firing line and those who have fled.

In all of this, it is vital to reaffirm an indivisible commitment to international law and internationally-agreed rules governing the behaviour and actions of states, especially in relation to the use of chemical weapons. The current investigation into the Douma attack by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is an important part of that process in relation to Syria.

The ongoing challenges for the international community are to build effective mechanisms to hold to account those who break international law and to uphold the UN’s constitutional responsibility to protect civilians under threat. Nowhere is that more important than in relation to the abhorrent use of chemical weapons, in contravention of international law.

Whatever the immediate results of the US/UK/French airstrikes on Syria, they have not taken away the imperative of addressing those challenges.

Refugee Family Reunion Bill and Unpaid Trial Work Period Bill

Today I am in Parliament to support two important Private Members Bills – the Refugee Family Reunion Bill and Unpaid Trial Work Period Bill.

The Refugee Family Reunion Bill would give unaccompanied refugee children in the UK the right to be reunited with their parents. Current laws mean that many refugees are prevented from being joined by their close family members. These refugees have faced unimaginable trauma and but for many refugees this is worsened by the current rules in the UK that restrict and further keep apart families who have been divided. If it were our families under threat, we would not want the world to look the other way. It is time that British law recognises and protects these family relationships.

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Lobby of Parliament by GKN workers

Today I joined GKN workers at a lobby of Parliament organised by UNITE the Union to call on the Government to intervene in the hostile takeover bid for GKN by the Melrose company. GKN are one of Britain’s oldest and largest engineering companies making automotive and aerospace components. The GKN Aerospace plant at Kings Norton makes specialist aircraft windscreens .

Along with the GKN workers I met today and the company itself, I am extremely concerned that, if the Melrose takeover goes ahead, the likelihood is that GKN would be broken up and various units sold off to different buyers over time. Not only would that be bad for jobs in the Midlands and elsewhere, it would be bad for the UK’s key aerospace and automotive sectors as a whole. Indeed, GKN Aerospace’s strategic role as a defence contractor making components for military aircraft mean that the takeover also raises issues of national security.

Industry analysts have already observed that a hostile takeover bid like this would not be allowed in other European countries like France or Germany, and it once again underlines why the laws governing company takeovers here in the UK need urgent reform. Even under our current laws through, Ministers have powers under the Enterprise Act 2002 to call in takeover bids which raise national security concerns, to safeguard the public interest. The clear message from today’s lobby is that the Government must use those powers and intervene to safeguard national security and the future of GKN.

Professor David Bailey of Aston Business School has published a series of articles in the Birmingham Post about the Melrose bid for GKN. You can read them here – https://www.birminghampost.co.uk/authors/david-bailey/

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February’s Newsletter

Welcome to my latest Parliamentary newsletter.

Space prevents the newsletter covering all of what I have been doing over the past month. However, hopefully it provides a flavour of some of the local issues I have taken up as well as my actions in Parliament. You’ll find updates on North Worcestershire Golf Club, local government funding and other issues. As ever, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me on these or any other issues.

Best wishes,

Richard

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