Appoint a Secretary of State for Mental Health (Grassroots Petition)

PM: Appoint a Secretary of State for Mental Health

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What are we asking for?

This petition is asking for the Prime Minister to appoint a ‘Secretary of State for Mental Health’.

Why does this matter?

The UK is burdened with a mental health crisis. At present, the ‘mental health’ portfolio has been bolted onto the job of ‘Secretary of State for Health’.

Under these conditions, mental health cannot receive proper government attention.

If the PM can create TWO new departments for Brexit (International Trade and DfExEU), then appointing a Secretary of State for Mental Health is not only possible, but desirable.

Appointing a Sec of State for Mental Health would give political parity between mental and physical health.

What can you do?

SIGN AND SHARE!!!

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The Chequers ‘Agreement’: Everything you need to know.

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The Chequers Agreement refers to a collective cabinet agreement about the UK’s desired future relationship with the European Union.

Since the Prime Minister formally triggered Article 50 in March 2017, her main challenge has been uniting her cabinet around a single negotiating position that can be presented to Michel Barnier – the EU’s chief negotiator.

The Chequers Agreement is crucial for the Prime Minister, who knows that time is running out if she wants Britain and the EU to stick to the original timetable for leaving the European Union.

 

Why has this been in the news?

Two leading members of the cabinet – David Davis and Boris Johnson – resigned just days after the initial three-page agreement had been published.

Davis, formerly responsible for leading the Brexit negotiations, argued that the Prime Minister was giving too much away and instead, should be more demanding in what she wants from her European partners as part of the terms of divorce.

Shortly afterwards, Boris Johnson also resigned his post as Foreign Secretary.

Other junior resignations from within the Department for Exiting the European Union also followed. In addition, the Vice Chair of the Conservative Party also resigned in protest at the Prime Minister’s negotiating stance.

Davis has been replaced as Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union by hardline Brexit supporter Dominic Raab, whilst Johnson has been replaced by former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Michael Gove, who was instrumental in the Vote Leave campaign during the 2016 referendum on EU membership remained in favour of the Chequers Agreement, arguing that a united cabinet would automatically put the Prime Minister in a stronger negotiating position.

This is significant as it represents a split between the long-standing Euro sceptic bloc of the Conservative Party, which have posed a threat to Mrs May’s premiership ever since her near election loss in June 2017.

 

What was agreed at Chequers?

The Chequers’ Agreement set out that –

  • A ‘Common Rulebook’ between the UK and EU would help create a frictionless border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The UK would commit to this rulebook by treaty, whilst also recognising the need for ‘continued harmonisation’ with EU rules.
  • On justice, the UK would still refer cases to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and recognise that institution as the chief interpreter of EU rules. A ‘joint institutional framework’ will also be formed, preventing any misinterpretation of rules by either the UK or the European Union. This would be done EU in EU courts and the UK in UK courts.
  • The UK government has made it clear that it wants to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
  • The UK-EU border would therefore, be regarded by the UK government as a ‘combined customs territory’. The UK government would understand this to mean that the UK could apply tariffs/no tariffs on goods intended for the UK, but charge and collect tariffs on behalf of the EU for any goods intended for the European Union. The EU would maintain powers to determine the charge (if any) it wants to put on goods imported from the UK.
  • The agreement recognises that free movement of people will end when Britain leaves the European Union and the transition period ends.

The agreement made at Chequers is discussed in greater detail in the long-awaited White Paper, published by the Brexit Secretary on 12th July.

 

Important quotes from the Chequers Agreement:

  1. “The UK and the EU will not have current levels of access to each other’s markets.” (Page 1/3)
  2. “The UK would commit to apply a common rulebook on state aid” (Page 1/3)
  3. The new customs controls arrangement would become “operational in stages as both sides complete the necessary preparations.”
  4. “But we also concluded that it was responsible to continue preparations for a range of potential outcomes, including the possibility of ‘no deal’.” (Page 3/3)

What are the issues with the Chequers Agreement?

The agreement’s proposal on a ‘facilitated customs arrangement’ between the EU and the UK certainly raises a few questions. The cabinet have come to the conclusion that the UK should charge tariffs on goods intended for the UK, whilst it can simultaneously collect tariffs set by the European Union on goods intended for Europe. But how can either party provide the technological apparatus needed to accommodate for such an arrangement? Furthermore, how can it be determined which goods will ultimately end up in the European Union and which goods will end up in the UK?

In addition to this, the agreement formed at Chequers does not adhere to the long-standing EU demand that a Britain without membership of the bloc cannot ‘cherrypick’ between the four freedoms of the EU Single Market of goods, services, labour and capital.

Evidence of continued efforts on the UK’s behalf to semi-abide by EU rules includes paragraph 4.a, which sets out the UK’s desire to commit by treaty to ongoing harmonisation with EU rules on goods. However, in paragraph 6.h, the cabinet has clearly rejected the third of the four freedoms by favouring an “end to free movement, giving the UK back control over how many people enter the country”.

In short, the Chequers Agreement lacks detail and fails to accept the red lines put forward by the EU. Throughout the entire Brexit process, the European Union’s negotiating team have been clear that there cannot be any compromise over the four essential freedoms. Of course, more can be expected from the full White Paper, but the initial shape of the Chequers paper indicates that the Prime Minister has not accepted this reality and instead, is heading on a path of intense conflict with our European allies. Mrs May appears to be planning for a show down, illustrated by the agreement being peppered with references to preparations for a ‘no deal’ outcome.

If a show down is Mrs May’s ultimate goal, this is alarming. With a crippled cabinet, hostile backbenches and a divided Conservative grassroots base, the Prime Minister hardly has the ammunition needed to enter this fight, let alone the ability to win it.

BREXIT UPDATE: Something BIG just happened in parliament. An Explanation.

london-2928889_1920Today, the government succeeded in suppressing an attempt by would-be Conservative rebels to ensure that MPs had the power to prevent the Prime Minister from leaving the European Union without a deal. The amendment failed with 303 votes in favour and 319 against.

The implications of this vote are huge.  

In place of the amendment, the government has agreed a compromise with Conservative backbench MPs. In the case of a no-deal, the Department for Exiting the European Union has suggested that the minister responsible should make a statement before MPs about the next steps. Although MPs will be given a vote on this statement, the Department for Exiting the European Union has agreed that this vote should take place ‘on neutral terms’.

What does this mean?

This means that MPs will simply note what has just been said, and do not have the power to make the usual alternations to the statement using amendments.

However, it is up to the Speaker of the House of Commons to decide whether votes will take place ‘on neutral terms’ or not. This means that the Speaker of the House of Commons (John Bercow) will decide during the address whether the minister’s statement is amendable or not.

What have the government said?

The government’s public motive for blocking the amendment is that it does not want parliament to ‘bind the hands’ of the executive as it negotiates Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.

What’s suspicious? 

As pointed out by Conservative MP Anna Sandbach, parliament will only be voting on the deal after the government has concluded its negotiations. It is therefore, wrong to suggest that by giving MPs a greater say over the negotiating process, it is in any way binding upon the Prime Minister at all.

Why does this matter?

In severely limiting the power of amendment, Theresa May has reduced the ability of parliament (all the MPs) to hold the government (Conservative ministers) to account in the event of a no-deal with the European Union.

Not only does this threaten the long-standing relationship between parliament and the Prime Minister, but it removes the safety net of parliament in the event of a no-deal with the EU.

Why should this anger leave voters?

Many who voted to leave the EU did so to ‘take back control’. At the time, it was assumed that this meant taking back decision-making powers from Brussels to Westminster. However, the Prime Minister has set a dangerous precedent by limiting the power of the British parliament in deciding how it wants to leave the European Union – especially in the event of a no-deal.

If leave voters thought Brexit meant empowering British democracy, this vote enforces the opposite.

 

Thank you for your support.

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In January, I announced that I would run in the Young Labour elections to become the Under-19s representative on its National Committee.

During the campaign, my priorities were:

  • Form closer links between CLP Youth Officers. This should make it easier to organise large events/fundraisers/socials/leafletting sessions in your local area.
  • Work to lower the voting age to 16
  • Massively improve the campaign to get young people to register to vote. It is especially important for Young Labour members who move out to university accommodation and do not change their voter registration information. Not only does this make voting difficult come election time, but it can act as an inefficient drain on CLP resources.
  • Give Under-19s a minimum allotted period of speaking time in main conference hall at the party’s annual conference.
  • I am keen to represent the concerns and ideas of the WHOLE membership, and not just that of a particular group from within the Labour Party.

Over the past two months, I have received much help and support from fellow Labour Party members. Thank you for this.

Although I was unable to top the ballot, I will continue to push for the changes I believe will make the Labour movement more accessible and appealing to our youngest citizens – particularly issues surrounding Labour’s annual party conference. (see below)

The election was fought in good spirit and I would encourage every Young Labour member to seriously consider standing for election next time. I have certainly learnt a lot about our party, its membership and how to run a campaign.

Congratulations to the successful candidates on all ballots. We have a busy two years ahead!

“As a Young Labour member and CLP Youth Officer, I understand the challenges in widening Labour’s appeal. Last year, I was able to represent my CLP as a conference delegate in Brighton. This was the first time I had seen our Labour movement on a national level. The week was busy and interesting, especially for Young Labour delegates and CLP delegates. As a first-time conference attendee however, there were some areas that needed improving.

  1. Speaking time for Young Labour members on the conference floor – I would encourage for there to be a minimum number of Young Labour speakers to address conference in the main conference hall.
  2. Jargon – Conference is full of acronyms and rules which are complicated to understand if you are a first time delegate or attendee. It would be helpful for all delegates to receive a booklet/email that outlines what much of the conference terminology means.
  3. Access for delegates with disabilities – Although there are few places in the UK where Labour can hold a conference of its current size, I did have some concerns about access for delegates and attendees with disabilities.
  4. CLP support – At conference, it was interesting to note the variation in the number of delegates/attendees that CLPs were sending. Some could afford to send up to nine, whilst others could barely afford to cover the costs of two delegates. This issue must be addressed.

I was grateful for the twenty-four-hour phone line which all Young Labour delegates were given before they went to conference. Young Labour delegates could use this phone line throughout their week at conference for any issue they may have. This provided an extra layer of security for first time delegates who may have been travelling/living on their own.

The party’s annual conference is the most exciting part of the year for Labour members. It is therefore, important that all members – particularly our youngest – feel confident and are financially capable of going.”
– 
Posted: parkin4younglabour.wordpress.com – 03/03/18

 

Under-19s Representative: Young Labour Elections 2018

MID WORCS AGM SEPTEMBER 2017

MID WORCS AGM SEPTEMBER 2017

There are only sixteen days left to vote in the Young Labour 2018 elections.

I am standing as Under-19s Representative on a ballot paper with sixty-two other candidates. The candidate with the most votes wins, so every vote makes a difference.

I joined the Labour Party at fourteen, having been an active local party campaigner since 2010. In the last eight years, the party has undergone an immense transformation. Membership numbers have exploded, giving grassroots members an opportunity to play a significant role in Labour’s next election campaign.

The enthusiasm, excitement and participation of our youngest members and supporters will determine Labour’s success next time. I am eager to encourage more young people to join and campaign for a Labour government.

This is why I am standing in this election.

As a Young Labour member and CLP Youth Officer, I understand the challenges in widening Labour’s appeal. Last year, I was able to represent my CLP as a conference delegate in Brighton. This was the first time I had seen our Labour movement on a national level. The week was busy and interesting, especially for Young Labour delegates and CLP delegates. As a first-time conference attendee however, there were some areas that needed improving.

  1. Speaking time for Young Labour members on the conference floor – I would encourage for there to be a minimum number of Young Labour speakers to address conference in the main conference hall.
  2. Jargon – Conference is full of acronyms and rules which are complicated to understand if you are a first time delegate or attendee. It would be helpful for all delegates to receive a booklet/email that outlines what much of the conference terminology means.
  3. Access for delegates with disabilities – Although there are few places in the UK where Labour can hold a conference of its current size, I did have some concerns about access for delegates and attendees with disabilities.
  4. CLP support – At conference, it was interesting to note the variation in the number of delegates/attendees that CLPs were sending. Some could afford to send up to nine, whilst others could barely afford to cover the costs of two delegates. This issue must be addressed.

I was grateful for the twenty-four hour phone line which all Young Labour delegates were given before they went to conference. Young Labour delegates could use this phone line throughout their week at conference for any issue they may have. This provided an extra layer of security for first time delegates who may have been travelling/living on their own.

The party’s annual conference is the most exciting part of the year for Labour members. It is therefore, important that all members – particularly our youngest – feel confident and are financially capable of going.

Tom Parkin for Young Labour National Committee Under-19s Representative

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Earlier this week, I announced that I am an standing to be elected as Under-19s Representative to Young Labour’s National Committee. The position has a two-year term.

This position is a recognition of the breadth of ages amongst our young members and the potential for under-representation of members under 19. The role of the Under 19s Officer is to represent young members who are under the age of 19 on the Young Labour National Committee, support these members and help campaign on issues that matter to them. This position is for a young activist who is keen to give younger members a strong voice and support them to play a full role in the Labour Party. – The Labour Party

For more information, please visit my campaign website at:
Tom Parkin for Under-19s Representative