November 2018: Your Local MP
Your Voice in Parliament
I know that many of you will be bored of reading about Brexit, but now really is crunch time for the Government.
That’s because, as part of the team that defeated the Conservative Government by four votes before Christmas 2017, I was able to secure a “meaningful vote” in Parliament on the future relationship between the UK and the EU after Brexit. That means I get to vote on whether to support the Prime Minister’s proposed deal (when/if she gets one) or not. If Parliament and I don’t back the Prime Minister she will be forced to go back to the EU to get a better deal. If the Prime Minister fails to get her deal through Parliament she could be forced to call a General Election or a People’s Vote on the trade deal.
Whether you support Brexit or not, I think most people agree that we need to know what the future trading relationship will be before we agree to leave (and before we pay the bill to leave). My current view is that, without clarity on that future trading relationship and how the Prime Minister’s deal will protect jobs and investment in the UK, I can’t support it. And following Labour Party conference, I’m pleased that my party’s position is now largely aligned with my own. Readers will know that I’ve stuck true to my word, and always put you and the country first even when that’s meant having to break my party whip. Thankfully, I can now do that and will do so with my Labour colleagues too.
But this isn’t just about what I think. As your Voice in Parliament I want you to have as much access to the information as you’d like, and as many opportunities as possible to take part in the debate, to ask me questions and to influence how I vote. That’s why I’ve put on five public events (one online and four offline), including one at the Hub in Lockleaze, to hear directly from you. And it’s why I’ve delivered nearly 15,000 letters across Bristol North West and invited you to take part in my Brexit survey. If you’re reading this before the vote has happened, and you want to let me know what you think, check out www.darren-jones.co.uk/brexit-briefing.
Your Champion in Bristol
I recently accepted the privilege of becoming the Honorary President of the 2442 Air Cadet Squadron based in Westbury-on-Trym. I enjoyed attending a drill night in late August to meet the cadets and the team who support them, and joined the Squadron for their Annual Awards Evening held in September - it was inspiring to hear about the achievements and aspirations of young people from across Bristol North West.
I recently held a talk with residents of St Monica Trust Retirement Home on Cote Lane. I was asked to discuss how I came into politics, getting elected and my first year in this rather unusual ‘Brexit Parliament’ which also happened to include becoming a dad. I also got to hear about the renovations being undertaken to the chapel from the Reverend Alan Cook and hear about resident’s concerns and hopes for the future.
I know many of you are concerned about the number of vacant stores appearing on many of our local high streets. I’ve been following up on the old Lloyds Pharmacy in Westbury and, having realised Lloyds are keen to get rid of it, I’m now waiting to speak with the London-based agents for the landlord. I’ve also met with the chair of Westbury Business Association and supported ‘Social Saturday’ by visiting ‘We Make Bristol’ in Westbury-on-Trym. Social Saturday is an annual campaign which inspires consumers to buy from social enterprises, businesses that put people and planet first. I’ll also be promoting our high streets and independent stores in the run-up to Small Business Saturday on 1st December.
Lastly, thanks to everyone who joined my recent North Bristol Transport Forum, which has formed the basis for my new North Bristol Transport Plan. We’re putting forward proposals for better bus lanes, a super cycle highway, upgraded rail routes and local stations, a new Park and Ride and ride sharing schemes which can take you to your nearest public transport connection. We need to get public transport right, so it’s easier to use than our cars. And we need to get all of our public transport providers out of polluting vehicles and into clean vehicles powered by renewable energy.
As always, I’m hosting a series of coffee mornings and pub politics events across the constituency. Thanks to those of you who came to Grounded in Henleaze in October. If you’d like to join me for a festive mince pie at my Christmas special on Saturday 2nd December you’d be welcome to do so too – we’ll be at Stoke Bishop Village Hall. To find out more, please visit www.darren-jones.co.uk/cafepolitics.