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On Monday 11 January, Kevan spoke in the debate on the remaining stages of the Armed Forces Bill, in support of an amendment removing remaining discriminatory legislation from the statute books.
Kevan said, "Tomorrow will be the 16th anniversary of the Labour Government abolishing the draconian regulations that meant that someone who was gay or bisexual could be dismissed from the armed services, so it is apt that we are agreeing to the amendment today.
It is strange how things work out. I moved similar amendments in Committee and on the Floor of the House. I pay tribute to the Minister, whose approach to the Bill has been constructive, ensuring that practical measures such as this are taken forward. I accepted during earlier stages of the Bill that the measure should apply also to the merchant navy, and I look forward to the Government introducing legislation to mirror this provisions for the merchant navy.
I join the Minister in paying tribute to Professor Paul Johnson, professor of sociology at York University, who not only gave evidence to the Committee but in my conversations with him assisted me and ensured that I understood that the legislation currently on the statute books was discriminatory. As the Minister rightly said, it means nothing, but for lesbian, gay and bisexual potential members of the armed forces, the measure expunges those provisions from the law. That should celebrated. I wholeheartedly support the new clause, which is a great step forward."
You can read the full debate here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm160111/debt...
On January 8th (Friday), MP for North Durham Kevan Jones visited Dogs Trust Darlington. This was Kevan’s first visit to the rehoming centre, and he was given an extensive tour of the facilities by staff. He also met a number of dogs currently waiting for their “fur-ever” homes, including two year old terrier crossbreed Foxy.
Kevan has marked the 20th anniversary of CRY with a blog post for Politics Home. in his article, Kevan pays tribute to the work of the charity and talks about his involvement with CRY over the years.
You can read the article here: https://www.politicshome.com/health-and-care/articles/opinion/cardiac-ri...
On Monday 4 January, Kevan visited 'Sing for the Brain', a group run by the Chester-le-Street branch of the Alzheimers Society at Cornerstones, Chester-le-Street Methodist Church.
On Saturday 19 December, Kevan officially opened 'Mrs Boucake', a new cake shop at 2 West Lane, Chester-le-Street, run by Ashley Harkness.
On Friday 18 December, Kevan joined local school children at a 'Mini Police' event at Durham Constabulary Headquarters at Aykley Heads.
The next advice surgeries will take place on Saturday 9 January, at the following venues:
St. Mary’s & St. Cuthbert’s Parish Centre, Church Chare, Chester-le-Street
9:00am to 10:30am
The Community Centre, Front Street, Great Lumley
11:00am to 11:45am
Sacriston Library, Plawsworth Road
Prince Bishops Community Bank, 25-33 Front Street, Stanley
1pm to 2:30pm
From February, the surgeries will be on the first Saturday of the month as usual.
With best wishes for Christmas and the New Year,
On Wednesday 16 December, Kevan, in his role as Shadow Armed Forces Minister, spoke for the Opposition in a debate on the Armed Forces bill.
You can read Kevan's contribution and the rest of the debate here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm151216/debt...
On Wednesday 9 December, Kevan spoke in a House of Commons debate on mental health.
In his remarks, Kevan said, "I have a simple view on mental health, which is that we need to talk about it more, because that will change attitudes. What do we do next? Well, we need to hardwire mental health and mental well-being into public policy and society. To those who ask why that is important, I say that not only is it the right thing to do, but, even in these times of austerity, it makes economic sense. It saves money as well as lives. We need a system in which every single Government policy is road-tested against mental health and mental well-being."
You can read Kevan's full contribution, and the rest of the debate, here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm151209/debt...
On 1 December, Kevan spoke for the opposition in a Westminster Hall debate on the Rules of Engagement and the use of drones.
You can read Kevan's speech, and the rest of the debate, here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm151201/hall...