Wednesday, 20 July 2016

What is a long time in politics these days?




5 weeks ago today my lovely colleague Jo Cox MP was brutally murdered in her constituency;

4 weeks ago today the citizens of the United Kingdom went to the polls and decided by a majority of 1.4million, through a full referendum process, to leave the European Union.  The following day the Prime Minister David Cameron resigned;

3 weeks ago today, five Conservative MPs put their hat into the ring for the contest to select the Party's new leader, and the country's new PM;

2 weeks ago today, with the Cragg, Fox, Gove, Leadsom & May contest in full swing, Conservative MPs whittled the shortlist down to two, sending Leadsom & May out to Party members for final selection - three days later Andrea Leadsom decided to stand aside in the contest, leaving Theresa May the only candidate and therefore the new Prime Minister;

1 week ago today, our old Prime Minister had been to see the Queen to resign, our new Prime Minister had been asked to put together a new Government by Her Majesty, and new Secretaries of State and senior ministers in every department were being appointed. 2 new departments were also created - the Department for Exiting the EU, and the Department for International Trade.

Today, as MPs start recess, and head back to their constituencies for 6 weeks to catch up with all the local activities, the realisation that a week can be a long time in politics has never been more true.

I was elected 14 months ago, to take up the extraordinary privilege of being the voice of North Northumberland in Westminster. None of us could ever have imagined (in fact Lord Dobbs, of House of Cards fame, said to me that if he'd written this story no publisher would have taken it!) that so much would happen in such a short time. 

For us in Northumberland, our campaigning efforts for a Universal Service Obligation for broadband will come forwards in the Digital Economy Bill in the Autumn; the new Secretary of State for Transport has agreed to look again at the Mousen Bends section of the A1 Dualling project; I am continuing my work for new homes, working with the new Policy Board which PM May has set up to fund social housebuilding through a Bond method, and my work to make the Armed Forces Covenant a reality throughout the land for serving personnel, their families and veterans of all ages continues apace. My team & I have been able to help over 3,000 constituents with personal matters and will be battling public sector and private sector failures day-by-day to get a better, fairer deal for each and every one.
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Sunday, 26 June 2016

My Week In Westminster : The EU Referendum Result.


The EU Referendum last Thursday gave a clear result for the Government to take forwards, with 17.4 million voters calling for the UK to leave the European Union and to become self-governing once more. There have been strong views from both sides over many months, but I am pleased that the Prime Minister has been absolutely clear that the voters' instruction will now be taken forwards.

I will be working tirelessly on behalf of all my constituents going forwards, to ensure that farming continues to be supported as needed, that our North East businesses are in the thick of the new trade deal negotiations, that our poorest communities maintain financial support, and that the infrastructure we need to make us the most successful region we can be continues. 

I could take up the criticisms and abuse I have received and battle to explain why I voted to leave, but that time has now passed. This Facebook post from a friend's 18 year old son yesterday captures so many of the issues, so I shall let his voice be heard:

"I voted leave. Hate me for exercising my democratic rights. Hate me for having an option different to yours. Label me as racist or xenophobic. Accuse me of destroying this nation.

But you need to understand this. 17.4 million people have spoken. Just because a lot of them cannot defend themselves over social media you think it right to pretend you know their opinion and patronise them with your elevated saintly wisdom. 

You talk of the age differences in the voting patterns as a bad thing. A lot of the people who voted us out voted us in in the first place. Interesting that. You may categorise all old people as racist but I sat for 15 hours at an old people's home yesterday working at the polling station and that is not the case. I was impressed with their engagement with the issue and knowledge of pros and cons. A lot of them had sat listening to LBC and radio 4 etc. for hours upon hours making up their mind. Just because they are not on Facebook and cannot express their opinion does not mean you can make theirs up. They voted for change, because the EU fails them. They voted with hope not hate. Hope that we can have a stronger future. 

They are in more of a position to vote than we are, contrary to opinions. They know Britain's problems, they know how much of a failure the European Union has been, and how unlikely it is that this could change. They have built this country since the war and have as much of a right as we do to decide where it goes. Experience is worth a lot more than qualifications. Trust me I've been rejected from too many jobs. 

There will be a long, slow, calculated process of renegotiating our place in Europe, so please just chill out and see how this goes before you jump on the doom and gloom bandwagon that lost you this referendum. 

But whatever you do, do not hate. We should be seeing the last of people like Farage, who let me remind you will play no part in Britain's exit from Europe. The people have spoken so move on, for the sake of my Facebook timeline at least!"

Let us all move forwards with hope, not hate, for a stronger & brighter future for our great nation.

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Saturday, 25 June 2016

Statement from the Prime Minister : 24th June 2016

The country has just taken part in a giant democratic exercise, perhaps the biggest in our history.

Over 33 million people from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar, have all had their say.

 

We should be proud of the fact that in these islands, we trust the people with these big decisions.

 

We not only have a parliamentary democracy but on questions about the arrangements for how we are governed, there are times when it is right to ask the people themselves, and that is what we have done. 

 

The British people have voted to leave the European Union and there will must be respected.

 

I want to thank everyone who took part in the campaign on my side of the argument, including all those who put aside party differences to speak in what they believed was the national interest.

 

And let me congratulate all those who took part in the Leave campaign for the spirited and passionate case that they made.

 

The will of the British people is an instruction that must be delivered.

 

It was not a decision that was taken lightly, not least because so many things were said by so many different organisations about the significance of this decision so there can be no doubt about the result. 

 

Across the world, people have been watching the choice that Britain has made.

 

I would reassure those markets and investors that Britain’s economy is fundamentally strong and I would also reassure Brits living in European countries and European citizens living here that they will be no immediate changes in your circumstances.

 

There will be no initial change in the way our people can travel, in the way our goods can move or the way our services can be sold.

 

We must now prepare for a negotiation with the European Union.

 

This will need to involve a full engagement of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments to ensure that the interests of all parts of our UK are protected and advanced. 

 

But above all, this will require strong, determined and committed leadership.

 

I am very proud and honoured to have been Prime Minister of this country for six years.

 

I believe we have made great steps, with more people in work than ever before in our history, with reforms to welfare and education, increasing people's life chances, building a bigger and stronger society, keeping our promises to the poorest people in the world and enabling those who love each other to get married whatever their sexuality.

 

But above all restoring Britain's economic strength.

 

And I’m grateful to everyone who has helped to make that happen.

 

I’ve also always believed that we have to confront big decisions, not duck them.

 

That is why we delivered the first Coalition Government in 70 years, to bring our economy back from the brink.

 

It’s why we delivered a fair, legal and decisive referendum in Scotland and it’s why I made the pledge to renegotiate Britain's position in the European Union and hold a referendum on our membership and have carried those things out.

 

I fought this campaign in the only way I know how, which is to say directly and passionately what I think and feel, head, heart and soul.

 

I held nothing back.

 

I was absolutely clear about my belief that Britain is stronger, safer and better off inside the European Union.

 

And I made clear the referendum was about this and this alone.

 

Not the future of any single politician, including myself.

 

But the British people have made a very clear decision to take a different path.

 

And as such I think the country requires a fresh leadership, to take it in this direction.

 

I will do everything I can as Prime Minister to steady the ship over the coming weeks and months, but I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination. 

 

This is not a decision I have taken lightly.

 

But I do believe it's in the national interest to have a period of stability and then the new leadership required.

 

There is no need for a precise timetable today, but in my view we should aim to have a new Prime Minister in place by the start of the Conservative Party conference in October. 

 

Delivering stability will be important and I will continue in post is Prime Minister, with my Cabinet, for the next three months.

 

The Cabinet will meet on Monday, the governor of the Bank of England is making a statement about the steps that the Bank and Treasury are taking to reassure financial markets. 

 

We will also continue taking forward the important legislation that we set before Parliament in the Queen's speech.

 

I have spoken to Her Majesty the Queen this morning and advised of the steps I am taking.

 

Negotiation with the European Union will need to begin under a new Prime Minister and I think it is right that this new Prime Minister takes the decision about when to trigger Article 50 and start the formal and legal process of leaving the EU.

 

I will attend the European Council next week to explain the decision the British people had taken and my own decision.

 

The British people have made a choice.

 

That not only needs to be respected, but those on the losing side of the argument, myself included, should help to make it work.

 

Britain is a special country.

 

We have so many great advantages.

 

A parliamentary democracy where we resolve issues about our future through peaceful debate.

 

A great trading nation with our science and arts, our engineering and creativity, respected the world over.

 

And while we are not perfect I do believe we can be a model of a multiracial, multi-faith democracy where people can come and make a contribution and rise to the very highest that their talent allows. 

 

Although leaving Europe was not the path I recommended, I’m the first to praise our incredible strengths.

 

I said before that Britain can survive outside the European Union and indeed that we could find a way.

 

Now the decision has been made to leave, we need to find the best way.

 

And I will do everything I can to help.

 

I love this country, and I feel honoured to have served it.

 

And I will do everything I can in future to help this great country succeed.

 

Thank you very much.

 

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

My Week in Westminster: the loss of Jo Cox.

The unutterably tragic events of last Thursday, when my colleague Jo Cox MP was murdered on the street in the village of Birstall in West Yorkshire, have been difficult to get to grips with. Jo was a ball of energy and passionate advocate for all those issues which were close to her heart. She always had a smile, a spring in her step, and an enthusiasm for getting stuck in which was endearing and enthusing in equal measure. She took part in the annual Macmillan House of Commons Tug of War only a couple of weeks ago, and I had the greatest privilege of being on the team with her, laughing about how inept we all were, but happy to get stuck in and help raise money for such an important charity to so many of our constituents.

A bright light has gone out with her untimely death, and leaves two small children who will now not have their Mum with them in their daily lives. As one who lost a parent at a very young age, this is what hurts most: knowing that they will never be able to know her as we have all had the privilege to do.

But, from out of this dreadful tragedy, it has been deeply heart-warming for me to receive so many kind messages from constituents and people that I have worked with on campaigns more widely, thanking me for doing what it is that we do as MPs; something that we consider to be a true privilege and honour. There is nothing more worthwhile than being able to speak out on behalf of an individual, a group, a community or a campaign, where they cannot do so themselves. To change the course of a policy, or to build stronger solutions to a problem, or to fix something which is broken and damaging, are outcomes which are worth fighting for. 

We were recalled to Parliament yesterday for a tribute to Jo and a service of remembrance in St Margarets Church, Westminster- the Parliamentarians' church. The whole afternoon was filled with love, Jo's passion to make the world a better place, and an outpouring of affection for the two small children in the West Gallery who have lost their mother, murdered whilst working for her constituents' benefit and improvement.
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If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me directly anytime on 0207 219 4437 or by email to annemarie.trevelyan.mp@parliament.uk

Saturday, 11 June 2016

My Week In Westminster : less than 2 weeks to go (phew!)


As the EU Referendum draws closer, with less than 2 weeks to go until polling day, I am debating in town halls and TV studios most days. The bottom line for me is that remaining would continue to devalue our democracy, the one thing the UK has exported across the globe most successfully. Its when nations become true democracies that wars stop, and we must lead by example and protect our own, the oldest in the world, from EU technocrats who want to destroy nation hood in favour of a single state of Europe.

My predecessor Mabel Philipson MP, only the 3rd woman ever elected to the House of Commons as MP for Berwick in 1923, would be appalled by the EU's plans. I have written for Harpers Bazaar this week on why women should vote to leave the EU. You can read it at http://bit.ly/1UIwmed

To commemorate 150 years since the start of the battle for Womens' Suffrage, we had an extraodinary moment this week in the Chamber when the Speaker suspended the sitting so that we could do a photo of all the female MPs. Very moving, but mostly a timely reminder that there is so much more to do to encourage more women to stand for public office: I am only the 378th woman EVER to enter the House of Commons!

The most important bit of this week for me was the Public Accounts Committee hearing which we held on Wednesday, following the last 3 months of work I have been doing to try to get improvement to the Service Families' Accomodation problems. After weeks of evidence gathering, I was able to get the National Audit Office sent in by our committee to assess the civilian maintenance contract & various senior people were then summoned to explain themselves. It all crystallised on Wednesday when we grilled Carillion Amey & the MOD to explain their contract failure for military families. You can watch the hearing at http://goo.gl/9GBxpS 

Continuing my military education, I had the privilege to go onboard HMS Bulwark, the second of our Albion-class assault ships. A real tardis once inside, we saw the winners of the Peregrine Trophy, the military photography Naval Awards. A wonderful young sea cadet, Tom Gregory, won his section and it was a pleasure to talk to him & his parents about life as a young sea cadet.

I am delighted to be supporting my PAC colleague Caroline Flint MP's Amendment to the forthcoming Finance Bill calling for the UK to lead on demanding financial data transparency from multinationals like Google. We hope that the Treasury will accept it. All the Finance Bill stuff will be coming to the House for approval the week after the Referendum, so it might be lively!

Between EU debates I have had a busy constituency Friday in Berwick with a visit to St Cuthberts RC First School, being grilled by all ages about what its like to be an MP, do I want to be PM, what is my favourite hairstyle and do I get to visit lots of countries? The questions are always different and always keep me on my toes! 

I also had the chance to stop into North Northumberland Hospice's new shop in High Greens and found 2 fab new summer dresses for those hot & sticky summer days ahead when the House of Commons becomes very unpleasant due to weather rather than in-fighting! Do stop in for a coffee and a browse through all their lovely things. Great shop, great charity.

This weekend is full of Royal celebrations, with services of thanksgiving and street parties to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday. I am surely one of Her Majesty's greatest fans, and am looking forward to all of these, before returning to TV studios for the BBC North East's EU Debate on Sunday night. Lets vote Leave!
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If you would like details of local surgeries or to speak to my team, please email trevelyanoffice@gmail.com or call 01665 517512

If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me directly anytime on 0207 219 4437 or by email to annemarie.trevelyan.mp@parliament.uk

Monday, 30 May 2016

My Week in Westminster: our seas & our protection


This last week seems to have had a strong sea bias to it. It began at the weekend with an extraordinary trip to the Farne Islands for an evening picnic with the rangers who tend to our unique ecosystem over these islands, keeping a close eye on our puffins & seals, arctic terns and Eider ducks amongst others. We were privileged to get up close to the female Eider with her babies, and the puffins seem to take it as a personal challenge to fly as close to our heads as they can. One of the rangers suggested to me that since the Farne Islands are in my patch, that must make me the puffin's representative at Westminster! I am now contemplating how best to take on that role.
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Continuing with the sea theme, I had the enormous privilege (as a member of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme) to be invited onto HMS Duncan, our most modern Type 45 Destroyer. She was visiting London before heading up to Scapa Flow to participate in the Battle of Jutland 100th anniversary commemorations on 31st May.

As part of my continuing campaigning to get improvements to the service family accomodation, I was fortunate to be called by Mr Speaker to ask a PMQ to the Chancellor, with some of the crew of HMS Duncan in the gallery to hear their ship mentioned. 
You can watch PMQs here:
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We voted through the Queens Speech on Wednesday evening, setting up the legislative programme for the year ahead. I was very pleased that the Government accepted Peter Lilley's amendment which I seconded, to call for legal protection in the TTIP negotiations (the EU-UK trade deal being formed) for our NHS services. This means that we will be able to protect our NHS & the taxpayer from the threat of 
legal action if US investment into healthcare in the UK doesn't work out.
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The EU Referendum is getting closer! I spoke in an excellent debate at Barter Books in Alnwick, on the Leave side, which drew a crowd of all views & none. Its great to have the opportunity to discuss all the facets of this vitally important in our political journey within, or without, the European Union.
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I was able to visit the former Alcan site at Lynemouth to meet with new businesses who are creating jobs on the site. The famous smelter towers are soon to come down, so it was a privilege to get close up one last time before the new era of manufacturing different products for the construction industry, amongst others, gets fully underway. Change can be difficult, but its wonderful to see new jobs developing for the longterm in new businesses with great entrepreneurs investing in the future & local jobs.
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Do share this email with friends. To subscribe to My Week in Westminster, please email team.trevelyan@gmail.com with the word SUBSCRIBE in the subject box.

If you want to catch up on earlier Weeks In Westminster, you can find them at www.teamtrevelyan.co.uk

If you would like details of local surgeries or to speak to my team, please email trevelyanoffice@gmail.com or call 01665 517512

If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me directly anytime on 0207 219 4437 or by email to annemarie.trevelyan.mp@parliament.uk

Thursday, 26 May 2016

My Week in Westminster : a mew session begins


The start of a new Parliamentary session provides the opportunity for some of our excellent pomp & ceremony. The Queens speech, delivered by Her Majesty in Her Gracious Speech, included some key bills which will help Northumberland's economic future success. Bills include:

The Digital Economy bill which will give every household a legal right to a fast broadband connection if they request it. I plan to be closely involved in this, to ensure we enshrine the Universal Service Obligation for broadband connectivity, vital for rural dwellers' future;

Reforms to speed up the planning process to help build more homes, and empower communities through their neighbourhood plan;

Introduction of a Lifetime ISA to help young people save for their future;

Speeding up adoptions and giving children in care more support;

Making prisons places of education, work and purposeful activity – something close to my heart as a founding Trustee of the Oswin Project which does this at HMP Northumberland already, to help reduce re-offending, cut crime and improve public safety.
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One thing missing from the Gracious Speech was the mention of a Sovereignty Bill, which we had expected. This concerns me as it was planned, but it seems that following the negotiations by the PM with EU members in February in the run up to our Referendum in June, we have given away our power of veto to greater political
Union for Eurozone countries. Without a Sovereignty Bill I fear this leaves us even further exposed to EU powers. That is why I am supporting colleague Peter Lilley MP's amendment to the Queens Speech which calls on Government to exclude our NHS from the TTIP treaty presently being negotiated between the EU & the USA. Government has indicated it won't oppose our amendment. Fingers crossed that in the heated EU Referendum campaign period everyone sticks to their promise on this.
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To balance out the ceremonials at Westminster, I spent two days with a few colleagues at the UK Defence Academy in Wiltshire, learning about the high level strategic views of our military and forward planning towards 2050. This visit was as part of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme of which I am a part for a second year (learning about the Navy this coming year having focused on the RAF last year).
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The EU referendum continues apace, and I had the pleasure of speaking at the Churches Together debate at Sunderland Minster. 
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A1 update


Do share this email with friends. To subscribe to My Week in Westminster, please email team.trevelyan@gmail.com with the word SUBSCRIBE in the subject box.

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If you would like details of local surgeries or to speak to my team, please email trevelyanoffice@gmail.com or call 01665 517512

If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me directly anytime on 0207 219 4437 or by email to annemarie.trevelyan.mp@parliament.uk