November 2019: News from your local MP
More consultation on A4018
Your Voice in Parliament
We formally started a new parliamentary term with a new Queen’s Speech. The speech, written by the government, appeared to be nothing more than a party-political broadcast. I was, however, pleased to see a renewed commitment to banning restaurants taking tips from waiting staff, an issue that I have campaigned on due to similar circumstances in restaurants in Bristol.
At the time of writing, we’re still in a Brexit holding cycle. On “Super Saturday” I voted to support the Letwin amendment, primarily as a measure to protect against Boris Johnson triggering a no-deal Brexit by the back door, which resulted in the government pulling the remaining votes. As a consequence, the Prime Minister was forced - albeit reluctantly - to request an extension from the EU in line with the emergency legislation that we passed (the ‘Benn’ Act).
The Prime Minister should put his proposals to the public in a confirmatory vote (I would campaign for remain and reform the EU). As always, I’ve been doing as much as I can to explain what’s happening and why and, most importantly, listen to you. Through several Brexit Briefing meetings, a new survey and the normal correspondence I get from so many of you, I’m confident my view best represents the majority view of Bristol North West.
In other news, I have been appalled to read of the escalation of military exercises by the Turkish Government in Northern Syria. I’ve signed a cross-party letter calling on the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, to outline urgently the steps being taken by the UK to support the cease fire. I also want to know what diplomatic routes we're pursuing with the US after they abandoned Kurdish soldiers who had bravely stood alongside Syrian and western forces to defeat ISIS.
Your Champion in Bristol
I know how much local transport is an issue for us across Bristol North West. That’s why I added my voice in support of the new Portishead rail line in the House of Commons. I called on the Transport Minister to see this as part of a wider network of public transport infrastructure to help manage increasing commuter traffic into and out of Bristol, as well as the need to connect the lines together into a wider Henbury Loop line. If we want to make it easier to use public transport instead of cars – and have a positive impact on our emissions as well as local parking problems – we’ve got to invest in accessible and reliable public transport.
Locally, I’ve been advised that the next stage of the A4018 project, which will see bus lanes introduced on the route between Henbury and Westbury, will go out to consultation - before any works commence - in early 2020. I will share further details of the proposals and the consultation once they’re available.
Thanks also to those of you who joined my public meeting at the Brabazon Hangars about the proposed Bristol YTL Arena. YTL is submitting plans to develop a 17,000-seater arena in Bristol North West, an issue I know many of you take an interest in. It was useful to hear their plans and the transport investment being proposed. I’ll only continue to support the project if there are adequate transport upgrades that make the arena easily accessible by public transport and ensure our residential streets in North Bristol aren’t turned into rat runs or car parks.
In non-transport related news, I always enjoy my visits to local schools, including my recent visit to Redmaids’ High School. I was also honoured to be presented with a book inspired by Oxfam Education’s ‘For the love of’ project which encourages young people to act on climate change. It is inspiring to see how engaged our young people are on tackling the climate emergency, single-use plastics and protecting the natural environment.
As always, if you have any questions or need my help just drop me an e-mail, call or write to me. To chat in person, pop along to one of my coffee mornings or pub politics events or ask me a question during 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