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On 8 February, Kevan spoke in a debate on the future of UK naval shipbuilding.
During the debate, Kevan asked:
"A basic question needs to be asked about shipbuilding: do we want sovereign capability to produce complex warships in this country—yes or no? It is a very simple question that the Government need to answer to give reassurance about the future of the jobs and technical expertise."
Kevan went on to raise concerns about how the Government's inertia on developing a clear shipbuilding strategy could have a national impact, saying:
"Our supply chain goes way beyond the Clyde—there is a national footprint of companies in leading-edge technologies. We need to ask whether we want those skills in this country or whether we will just buy from abroad."
Later in his speech Kevan spoke about the Government's overall management of the defence budget. He said:
"The Government need to be honest about where they are with the equipment budget.
"Labour got lectures from the incoming coalition Government about how frugal they would be, in terms of ensuring that they did not over-commit on defence, but they are clearly doing that now. The shipbuilding strategy needs to be published soon.
"If we are going to answer yes to the question, “Do we want a sovereign capability for shipbuilding in this country?”, we will have to put the money behind it and ensure that the work is of a nature that allows the industry to develop its skills and retain that capability."
To watch Kevan's speech in full, or to read the debate, click on the links below:
Following the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Government must now seek the approval of Parliament before it can trigger the formal Article 50 process of leaving the European Union.
The Government has now introduced the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, also known as the ‘Article 50 Bill’, to Parliament that would give it this approval. I will be voting for triggering article 50.
I accept the result of the referendum on the 23rd June 2016 concerning the UK’s membership of the EU and I therefore intend to vote for this Bill at its Second Reading in the House of Commons. It is clear to me that Britain’s future now lies outside the EU and our job is now to get the best deal possible for the UK.
Triggering Article 50 is just the start of the process for the UK to withdraw from the EU. It is important as negotiations go forward that we get a deal which includes tariff-free access for UK goods to the EU, which is particularly important for the North East’s economy, and that we protect those employment rights which have been gained from Europe.
I also feel that in order to give stability to EU nationals living here and UK nationals living in EU, the Government should seek an early resolution for the protections of their rights.
It is vital that the UK secures the best exit deal from the EU in the negotiations that will follow the triggering of Article 50 – one that protects jobs, living standards and workers’ rights – and I do not believe the Government should be given a blank cheque for the high risk approach it has chosen to take.
I will support amendments to the Article 50 Bill designed to ensure that the Government sticks to a number of principles throughout the exit negotiations. These will include securing full tariff-free and impediment-free access to the Single Market, protecting workers’ rights and confirming the legal status of EU citizens currently in the UK.
I will also support amendments to ensure effective parliamentary scrutiny of the progress being made on negotiations, and to provide a meaningful vote on the final deal before the Government agrees it with the EU.
I am also aware of a number of campaigns expressing support for continued membership of the EU and calls for there to be a second referendum. However, I do not agree with the need for a second referendum.
It is important that Parliament holds the Government to account throughout the negotiation, and seeks to ensure the Prime Minister secures the best deal for the whole country.
My next advice surgeries will take place on Saturday 7 January at the following locations:
9:00am - 10:30am St. Mary’s & St. Cuthbert’s Parish Centre, Church Chare, Chester-le-Street
11:00am - 11:45am Great Lumley Methodist Church, Front Street, Great Lumley
12:00noon- 12:30pm The Library on Plawsworth Road, Sacriston
1:00pm - 2:30pm The Venue, Wear Road, Stanley
All constituents are welcome, and no appointment is necessary.
Please also click below to see my latest newsletter.
With best wishes for Christmas and the New Year,
Kevan Jones MP
On 18 December, Kevan called in at PACT House in Stanley where a fundraiser was being held for Stray Aid, a County Durham charity working to rescue and rehome abandoned or lost dogs. Below, Kevan is pictured with Dave Clarke from Durham Police.
On 18 December, Kevan was pleased to attend the Kinship Carers Christmas Party at South Moor Golf Club.
Below Kevan is pictured with Lyn Boyd from Kinship Carers.
On 2 December, Kevan visited the Tesco Store in Chester-le-Street to show his support for their latest Food Collection campaign. Below, Kevan is pictured with staff and volunteers at the store.
On 1 December, Kevan led a Westminster Hall debate on the decision by the England and Wales Cricket Board to sanction Durham County Cricket Club.
The decision by the ECB means Durham will start next season in Division Two of the County Championship on minus 48 points, stripped of the right to host Test cricket and given a string of financial sanctions as agreed conditions to the governing body’s £3.8m bailout of the club in October.
Kevan described the treatment of the Club by the England and Wales Cricket Board as a “scandal” and urged the sport's governing body to publish the method by which the punishment was calculated.
Kevan stated that, while Durham were in financial difficulty, the club has not actually gone bankrupt and therefore ECB regulations, which he has obtained through a source inside the governing body, should not have been applied.
Speaking in his debate, Kevan said:
“I don’t think openness and transparency is what comes to mind when it comes to the ECB.
“The regulations should be public documents. What have they got to hide, unless they are trying to cover something up?”
Later on in the debate, which was attended by a number of MPs, Kevan said:
“The way this has been done is a scandal. Loyal fans who have supported the club over many years through a passionate love of cricket have been completely disregarded.
“You have to ask, what is the purpose of the ECB? Is it to protect interests and act a cosy club? Or is to support those people who want active involvement in cricket? That is the clear question. This type of secrecy and lack of transparency in 2016 cannot continue.”
At the end of the debate, Kevan called for a meeting with the Sports Minister to
discuss in more detail not only Durham, but wider governance and the ECB, and the funding situation in cricket.
To read the debate in full click here: https://goo.gl/eTPJ4L
To watch the debate click here:
(Kevan's debate begins at 15:00:26)
On 23 November, Kevan spoke in a debate on the transport situation in the North East.
Speaking about transport provision in North Durham, Kevan said:
"We have no large employers in my constituency, which is a former coal-mining area, and many people move out to work around the region. The other main network for my constituents, apart from the buses, is the railway and Chester-le-Street station. It is 10 minutes from that station to Central station in Newcastle. However, trying to get any investment, not only in upgrading the station but by ensuring that the operators stop more regularly and at times when people actually want to travel, is very difficult.
"That could be dealt with straightaway by ensuring more stopping services and hourly services not only during the day—that is what we have at times; at other times they are half hourly—but at peak times, to ensure that we have regular stopping services at Chester-le-Street. That would avoid many people having to use their cars to travel into Tyneside, as they do at the moment.
"We need investment in rail—whether it be the Blyth-to-Tyneside route, the Leamside line or others—to increase capacity on the east coast main line, but I fear that over the next 20 to 30 years, most of the money will be sucked into the vanity project that is High Speed 2 and High Speed 3."
To read Kevan's speech in full, and the rest of the debate in full, click on the link below:
On 23 November, Kevan challenged North Durham CCG to scrap its new contract with private healthcare company, About Healthcare, which will charge £10 per letter to review GP’s referrals before they are passed on to hospitals.
Speaking about the issue in the House of Commons, Kevan said:
"The decision of the North Durham CCG raises some fundamental questions about how the NHS is run in North Durham, and our constituents’ relationship with the NHS.
"The decision changes the fundamental relationship of trust between a patient and their GP. My constituents have never been asked for permission for our private medical information to be passed to a private company.
"I have questions about the way the contract was let. We have had no information about how that happened. Was it by competitive tender? Did any individuals employed by the CCG have any pecuniary interest in awarding the contract? How will it be evaluated? What ability will patients have to say whether they agree with the outcomes? I challenge the North Durham CCG to publish the contract and all information and decision making about how it was awarded, because the cloak of secrecy around it is a disgrace. I also challenge it to scrap the contract and answer a basic question: why is it treating its patients with such contempt?"
To read Kevan's full speech and the rest of the debate in full, click on the link below:
On 19 November, Kevan visited the Alzheimers Society Christmas stall on Chester-le-Street Market.