July 2019: News from your local MP
5,100 in our area betrayed by BBC licence fee decision
Your Voice in Parliament
The governing party is currently in the midst of a leadership election so the Government isn’t tabling any substantive business in the House of Commons at the moment. With Summer recess and the conference season ahead, we have only a few weeks of parliamentary time left before the next Brexit no-deal deadline. I promoted myself as the “pro-European choice” at my election and pledged to campaign to put the question back to the public if Parliament couldn’t agree what to do. I’ve stuck true to that position all the way through this saga and will continue to do so. As we’ve seen in recent votes to block a no-deal Brexit, a single vote by a single MP can make all the difference!
I’m aware many residents, and family members, are concerned about changes to the TV licence for the over 75s. It is a clear breach of the last Conservative manifesto, and the 5,100 households in Bristol North West who stand to lose out will rightly feel betrayed. I share their anger. Uptake for Pension Credit is also woefully low, and the Government isn’t doing anything to ensure vulnerable pensioners get what they’re due now. I have written to the Secretary of State to share my concerns and ask that he urgently reconsiders this shameful u-turn.
Following the EU elections, several constituents who are European citizens shared their experiences of being unable to vote, despite being told they were eligible to do so. This is totally unacceptable and concerns me greatly. I have therefore signed a cross-party letter calling on the Cabinet Office and Electoral Commission to launch an immediate inquiry into why so many EU citizens were unable to vote and prevent these issues from arising at any future elections. You can see the letter here: www.darren-jones.co.uk/eu-elections
Your Champion in Bristol
The council cabinet met on June 18 to review amended proposals for the A4018 bus lane. I am pleased the Mayor dropped many of the most-concerning elements of the draft proposals, following an overwhelming response to my petition and public meetings. Because of residents’ engagement through my office we won the debate on proposals to carve up Westbury village, to remove the Crow Lane roundabout and to install multiple turning restrictions into Brentry and Westbury. As with the first consultation and the revised cabinet plans, I will do all that I can to make sure residents are able to have their say on the amended proposals. I have a dedicated North Bristol Transport Group, that’s hosted on Facebook, and encourage you to join for the latest news.
As part of my wider work on transport across the constituency, I have also written to the council’s lead for transport calling for the business case for a station at Lockleaze to be reviewed, the full Henbury Loop (not just a spur) to be supported and broader, continued investment into North Bristol’s infrastructure. This is off the back of meetings with ministers in the Department of Transport in Westminster. Given the thousands of new homes and large-scale developments to be built in the area, only by taking a long-term, multi-function and hub-based approach, will we protect ourselves from ever-rising congestion and air pollution.
I’ve now also had a reply from the Bristol commissioners (called the Clinical Commissioning Group) about my concerns regarding the recent awarding of a new NHS contract for psychological-therapy services to a private company based in Essex. You can see the CCG’s reply on my website at www.darren-jones.co.uk/mental-health-contract-2
Thanks to the wonderful team and students at Westbury-on-Trym Church of England Primary School for hosting my recent visit. I heard about the students' excellent development work in Nepal with the Pahar Trust, listened to the school choir and got to answer some tough questions from the school council. And lastly, I really enjoyed popping in to the BS9 Arts Trail a few weeks ago – the artwork from students at Redmaids was especially inspiring.
As always, if you have any questions or need my help just drop me an email, call, write to me or message me on my Facebook page. To chat in person, pop along to one of my coffee mornings or pub politics events or ask me anything you like as part of my Wednesday night Facebook Live Q&As from 19:30.
All the details can be found on my website at www.darren-jones.co.uk.
You can also find me on Facebook at fb.com/darrenjonesmp, on Twitter at @darrenpjones or sign up to my monthly newsletter at www.darren-jones.co.uk/sign-up.
Darren Jones MP
Member of Parliament, Bristol North West