My Newsletter 13/04/18

Welcome to the latest issue of my weekly newsletter.

Recess is almost over now and on Monday I’ll be back in Parliament. This week’s been quieter than last so as well as what I’ve been up to, there’s some important world news to talk about, and I’ll preview what I have planned for when I returned to Parliament.

And I’m still training and raising money as on April 22nd I’ll be taking part in the London Marathon.

Tackling Domestic Abuse in Nottingham is one of my major priorities for my time as Nottingham North’s Member of Parliament. Largely I prioritise this through asking Parliamentary Questions or taking part in debates however this time I’m doing something a little more direct, as I run in support of Women’s Aid Integrated Services (WAIS) Nottingham.

WAIS do incredible work for women, teenagers and children affected by domestic abuse, and I’ve worked closely with WAIS Nottingham for many years – this is a small way of thanking them for all they do.

As for the run… it’ll be 26.2 pretty painful miles. I’ve done quite a bit of training so I should get around, but it’s not likely to be much fun. I’ll feel much better about grinding though those last few miles knowing that the money raised will be going to such an important cause. If anyone could donate to this great cause, my fundraising page can be found here. I’m hoping to raise £1000 for them, which is currently at an amazing £510! Thanks to everyone who’s donated so far.

Read on to find out how what my week’s involved…

As I’ve said before, I will strive to send you a newsletter like this each Friday to keep you updated on the work I’m doing in Parliament as well as in our community, and to inform you of any interesting events taking place in our area. To help me with the latter, if you are running or know of anything that you think may be of interest to others, feel free to drop me an email at and I will include it in future issues. Please also forward it onto anyone you think may be interested.


Chances are you’ve seen the awful news from Syria this week and several constituents have already contacted me sharing their views on the matter. I’m always happy to hear anyone’s views on any issue, and always try to reply directly to anyone who lives in the constituency, but thought I’d use the newsletter to lay out my position on the situation in Douma here too.

If you haven’t kept up to date with what’s going on, recent reports from Douma, a city on the outskirts of Damascus, point to an attack having been carried out with chemical weapons, in full contravention of international humanitarian law. The evidence of the deaths and suffering inflicted by the attack, including on young children, is horrific and I believe that those responsible must be held to account.

Both the Assad regime and Isis have been held responsible for the use of chemical weapons in the past since the start of the Syrian conflict, a war crime which I utterly condemn and therefore welcome the investigation being carried out in Douma by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Their inspectors should be given full access to the site.

Furthermore, I support the call by the UN secretary general for a wider and full independent investigation of the use of chemical weapons in Syria by any party to the conflict, which demands urgent Security Council agreement.

I am however deeply concerned at the threat by the US president to launch further military action in Syria in response to the suspected Douma attack, even before any independent report by either the OPCW or any renewed UN investigation. I therefore believe that any proposal by the Government to support such a US military intervention by the British government and expand its military campaign in Syria should be brought to parliament and its strategy held to account.

I am very keen to know what you think about this. It is possible that this will be the subject of a Parliamentary vote and would like to have a wide range of views and information on which to make these judgement.

The one thing I would ask is that if and when you communicate with me about the possible options you do so in the spirit that neither way is objectively the “right” one and that there is no immediate course of action that would stop the suffering of Syrians – something that we all seek. When this was last discussed in 2013 it seemed to me that MPs were made out to be the best or the worst people in the world, “warmongers” or “appeasers” – depending on your view – as if they weren’t trying to do the best by people who are suffering. I hope we can do better than this.

In Nottingham

I mentioned before that it’s been quite a quiet week as I have had some time off, but here are some of things I did get up to during my time in Nottingham this week:

  • I very much enjoyed attending the National Bowls Finals, which were hosted in the constituency this week, at the Nottingham Indoor Bowls Centre on Beechdale Road. It’s very rare that we get sportspeople from all over the country competing locally, making it a big occasion, and everyone taking part made it look so easy! I also had a chance to discuss more practical issues that the club are having with their board, which I’m keen to help with.
  • Ahead of this weekend’s Grand National, I visited the Coral in Bulwell to see how things operate on one of their busiest days of the year. As we look to protect people from exploitative practices and gambling addiction, it’s very important to work closely with the shops to do so, and there’s no better way to do that than seeing it first-hand. I also placed a bet, from which any unlikely winnings will go to support Women’s Aid as part of my Marathon efforts.

And tonight I’m off to the Theatre Royal to see This House, a play all about politics that I’ve heard great things about! A bit of a busman’s holiday when you think about it…

Looking forwards

I’m sure Syria will dominate Parliament when we return on Monday but there’s plenty more happening as the Parliamentary session continues until the summer.  Here are some of things that I have lined up, which I’ll tell you about in more detail as they happen:

  • Co-Op are publishing their latest report, ‘Ownership Matters’, next week, and I’ll be attending the event which also has a private roundtable discussion of its content.
  • I’ll be working with ‘Labour Together’, a group of like-minded Labour MPs, on a research project centred on understanding ‘new working class’ communities.
  • I’ll be continuing my work as part of Labour’s health team – with important debates upcoming on fertility services, surgical mesh, and cancer treatment amongst others.
  • In the next few weeks Parliament will be debating several important topics that have an effect on ordinary people’s lives, including the second reading of the Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Bill, and Westminster Hall debates on popular petitions on Brexit and the Privatisation of the NHS.
  • I will be campaigning in support of the reintroduction of safe standing areas to league football grounds across the UK – through Parliamentary Questions as well as trying to secure a Parliamentary debate
  • As well as the above, I’ll also be trying to secure debates on Shared Surface Roads and HMP Nottingham.
  • I’ll be continuing my work as co-chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary Groups for the East Midlands and Sport, Modern Slavery and Human Rights.
  • And of course, I’ll be spending as much time in the constituency as possible, meeting local people and organisations and doing what I can to help with the issues that are important to them.

There will be more detail on some of these next week, so keep your eyes peeled.

What’s On

I want these emails to be as interesting as possible. That means there’ll be some politics – it’s important that I am held accountable. But I also want to offer information about what’s on locally. So, if you have an event you’d like me to advertise, let me know.

Ties in Notts need your vote to win this year’s People’s Projects Central East. There’s more info below – but you can vote at from 9am Monday 16th April until midday Monday 30th April.

Free Organ Recital
With talented organist, Mr Michael Anthony
St Mary the Virgin & All Souls Parish Church, Highbury Road, Bulwell 
Tuesday 17th April, 10.40–11.15am

Erasmus+ funding
Funding is available for youth organisations in Nottingham North. Next deadline for youth funding is 26th April. More information here.

Joining Lines – Community Crochet Project for Bulwell Riverside 
Local Designer and Maker April Towriess has launched an appeal to crocheters from far and wide to send her white crocheted doilies! These will form part of an installation and exhibition at Bulwell Riverside in the this summer. You can follow April’s Unity Doily pattern, which can be found here or use one of your own. Use any white yarn or thread weight you like. When submitting your doily or doilies, let April know your name, age, gender and briefly describe who taught you to crochet and why you do it now.  Each doily and set of comments will be photographed and added to a blurb book which will be available to purchase. All proceeds will be donated to charity.  The closing date for submissions is Saturday 26th April 2018. 

Send your doilies to:
Chris Tilley Community Champion, C/O April Towriess Crochet
Joining Lines Project, Bulwell Tesco Extra Community Room, Jennison Street, Nottingham, NG6 8EQ

Three Doors Down
Over the next 6 months, Andy Barrett from Excavate Theatre Company is working with local people who live in and around Minver Crescent in Aspley, to uncover the stories of life in the area over the last 80 years. A series of events are being planned from theatre in living rooms and front gardens, to storytelling, filmmaking and photography to engage as many residents as possible. Contact Cathy Mahmood on 07808 165209 or Andy Barrett for further information. Dates for your diary include:

  • Sat 21st April, 11am-3pm, Film making Day
  • Sat 26th May, 6-8pm, The Minver Crescent Nosh Up.

Poems in the Pub
Open Mic Night, Free Admission, Local Talent, Full Bar
The William Peverel, Bulwell
Once a month, 7pm for 7:30pm start, next on 3rd May

Drop in Café
All welcome for a free cuppa and biscuit, and a place to sit and have a chat
Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Parish Community Centre, Brooklyn Rd, Bulwell NG6 9ES
Thursdays, 9:30am–12:30pm

Messy Church
All welcome – food, fun, arts & crafts, & God slot
St Mary the Virgin & All Souls Parish Church, Highbury Road, Bulwell
2nd Sunday every month, 3-5pm
The next Messy Church will be Sunday 8th April, tied in with a special 40th Anniversary Service & Rededication of the church’s West Room and Upper Hall.  Children and their Mums/Dads/Carers are invited to join at 9.30am for a free breakfast.  The special service starts at 10am, with fun games and arts & crafts to follow; all finished off with a lovely lunch.        

St Philip’s/St Matthew’s Knit & Natter groups
St Philip’s Church, Knights Close, Top Valley
1st and 3rd Wednesdays every month, 10am-12pm
Bestwood Community Centre, Gainsford Crescent, Bestwood Estate
2nd Monday every month, 10am-12pm

Messy Church Bestwood/Bulwell Forest
Bestwood Community Centre, Gainsford Crescent, Bestwood Estate
Various Tuesdays, 4:30-6pm
Bestwood Park Church, Beckhampton Rd, Bestwood Park
Various Thursdays, 4:30-6pm
Church on Rise Park, Revelstoke Way, Rise Park
Various Thursdays, 5-6:30pm

Messy Church
Drinks, crafts, activities, bible stories and a meal for all ages and interests
Bulwell United Reformed Church, Broomhill Road/Brooklyn Road, Bulwell
Usually first Saturday of every month, 10:30am-12:30pm

Bestwood Park Church’s Bestop Kitchen
Social Eating Event, Donations Welcome
Bestwood Park Church, Beckhampton Road, NG5 5NG
Every Tuesday, 12-2pm; Tuesday 26th June is the Kitchen’s 1st birthday

Free Community Cinema
Free screenings of films, everyone welcome!
St John’s Church, Key’s Close, Bulwell
2nd Friday every month, 7pm

Bulwell Connectors
Free monthly group developing opportunities for more art in public places in Bulwell. With trips to galleries and hands-on creative workshops, this group is for local people who want to be arts champions for Bulwell. Facilitated by Nottingham Contemporary associate artist Gillian Brent
Bulwell Riverside, Community Room 2
2nd Tuesday every month, 6-8pm
For further info:, @CreativeNNorth,

Crafty Ladies
Bring along a project, or learn to do something new.
St Martins Church, St Martin’s Rd, Off Strelley Rd, Bilborough, NG8 3BH
Every Wednesday, 11am – 2pm
50p, for further info:

Crochet Clinic
Community Room at Tesco Bulwell, Jennison St, NG6 8EQ (upstairs near the cafe)
First Wednesday of every month, 6:30pm–8:30pm
£5 (covers refreshments and materials)
For further info:

Sound as a Pound have asked me to advertise their 2-day finance ‘Money Talks’ courses in Nottingham. Transport and lunch are both provided, attendees will receive a £10 gift voucher for each day and there are plenty of other freebies on offer, as well as some sound money-saving advice! For further information you can call 0115 844 3745, email visit their website at


If you would like your events advertised here, or further information on those advertised, please email me at

That’s all for now! Details of how to get in touch or to have a look at the things I’m doing are below…

All the best,




How to contact me

If you would like to contact me, please email or give my Nottingham North constituency office a ring on 0115 975 2377.

If you are a constituent from Nottingham North e-mailing me regarding a casework issue you are my priority, so please ensure your message includes:

  • your full name
  • your full postal address, including postcode
  • a contact telephone number and
  • any helpful details relevant to your case such as date of birth, reference numbers etc.

Strict parliamentary protocol means I can only deal with issues on behalf of my own constituents. If you aren’t sure whether you live in Nottingham North, you can check who your local MP is by entering your postcode online here:

You may also wish to write to me with your concerns. If so please send your correspondence to Alex Norris MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A OAA. All constituents who take the time and trouble to write a personal letter will receive a reply as a matter of priority.


Other useful links


  • If you’d like to learn more about the Labour party their website is here.
  • To join the Labour Party click here.



  • Benefits Information: Here’s an excellent site that allows you to find out exactly what benefits you are eligible to claim: EntitledTo
  • Housing: please contact your City Council
  • Problems with benefits or the Child Support Agency? The Citizens Advice Bureau and the Nottingham Welfare Rights Service can give advice. Remember to have your National Insurance number handy if you make an inquiry.
  • Local schools / education matters: please contact your City Council.
  • Employment rights: see Citizens Advice Bureau or the Trades Union Congress for info.
  • Social services, environmental health, noise nuisance, parking, and Council Tax should all be addressed to the City Council.
  • Another useful website on public services is


  • For the main Parliamentary website click here and to explore the Parliamentary education site click here.

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