Welcome to the latest issue of my weekly newsletter.
We returned to Parliament this week, with the expected debates on Syria beginning it, my contribution in which you’ll hear about below. I’ve been up to a lot more, but beforehand I need to talk data protection!
Earlier this week you will have received an email from me, asking for written permission (by email is fine) to store your email address for the purpose of sending these newsletters, and the occasional other political mailout. I love sending these newsletters and want them to get to as many of you as possible every week, but unless I receive an email or letter from you giving your permission before May 25th, I won’t be able to send them to you afterwards, until that permission is granted.
Hundreds of you have already replied, and for that I’m very grateful, but if you haven’t already then please do so if you would like to continue reading. The easiest way to do so is to either reply to this newsletter or the email I originally sent letting me know that I can keep your email address. If you change your mind at any point, you can be removed exactly the same way.
And I’m still raising money for this Sunday’s 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 hoped to raise at least £1000 for them, but thanks to everyone’s amazing generosity we’re already past £1200!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and I will include it in future issues. Please also forward it onto anyone you think may be interested.
Syria and War Powers
I spoke about Syria in depth last week, so will try not to repeat myself too much. At the time of last week’s newsletter, the UK hadn’t yet acted, but not long after, as you’ll know, Theresa May ordered air strikes without having consulted Parliament, along with the US and France.
I find it deeply regrettable that the Government, along with the US and French governments, have launched further military action in Syria in response to the suspected Douma attack, before any independent report by either the OPCW or any renewed UN investigation.
The Government’s decision to support that intervention and expand its military campaign in Syria should have been brought to Parliament and they should have been obliged to explain their strategy for the future of this conflict in advance of any action.
On Tuesday we discussed this in principle in Parliament, and I made the case for not only consulting Parliament before military action, wherever possible, but for codifying the process in general, to avoid the fudge we’ve had this week where we find ourselves debating the principle after the fact. I don’t believe there’s any good reason why we shouldn’t solidify the convention we’ve had since 2003, which puts lives in the hands of the people.
You can watch my full contribution to the debate here.
Earlier this month, West Bromwich Albion had a request to trial safe standing at their Hawthorns ground turned down by Sports Minister Tracy Crouch, as standing areas in football grounds for England’s top two leagues has been forbidden since the Taylor Report into the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.
It has since been proven that standing was not the reason for that horrible tragedy, and safe standing areas are used in lower leagues, Scotland, and across Europe. I think it is about time we gave them a go again in our top two leagues. When I raised this in Parliament on Thursday (you can watch here), the Leader of the House told me that there are arguments both for and against, and referred to the Hillsborough disaster.
I don’t think the reality is that balanced. I regularly attend football matches at my beloved Manchester City and know first-hand that there are areas of this and every other Premier League stadium where people stand regularly. Stewards often don’t try to get passionate supporters to sit. Take a look at any away section, and you’re unlikely to see many people sitting. With low seats in front rather than a rail, which would exist in a safe standing area, this is far more dangerous.
The obvious solution is to accept this reality and make the environment as safe as possible, while improving the atmosphere and giving fans what they want. I will be continuing to campaign to make this happen.
After a busy week in Parliament (the rest to come below), I got back to Nottingham yesterday afternoon and have been just as busy up here today. Here’s a rundown of what I’ve been working on locally:
- Last night I joined the Nottingham Allotments group’s meeting, to keep up to date with developments as we work together to keep allotmenting affordable and accessible in the constituency.
- I met with Ioan from East Midlands Airport to discuss the airport’s growth, and how we can work together through the East Midlands APPG, which I co-chair, to help promote its role in boosting the region.
- I visited Bulwell St. Mary’s Primary School to talk to a large group of environmentally astute year 5 students about the importance of to reducing, reusing, and recycling plastics and the damaging effects plastics have on our environment and wildlife, as well as my role as an MP.
- I met with the Reverend Chrissie Little, Andrew Jones and other members of the Church Council at Emmanuel Church Bulwell, to have a nice chat about the role of the church in the community and how I can support it.
- I headed over to the Attenborough Nature Reserve outside the city to meet with Rob, the CEO, and Erin, from the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. A few youngsters have written to me recently asking me to support the Trust’s Nottingham for Nature campaign, highlighting how important to them it is to have green spaces near their homes, and this is certainly something I’m happy to get on board with!
- I’ve just finished a meeting with Cllr Graham Chapman to discuss how we can integrate the work that my charity, Rebalancing, does with the Council’s area strategy.
And now I’m on my way to my latest surgery to meet constituents. Remember, just get in touch with my Nottingham office on 0115 975 2377 if you’d like to meet me at a surgery. Alternatively, if you have any issues you can contact me by email at email@example.com.
The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) are one of the UK’s largest unions, who primarily represent those working in public bodies, including government departments. As we know, under the current Government this has meant stagnating wages for far too long – in a time when prices are rising and other services have been cut. Their members are numerous in Nottingham North so I’m working closely with them on their campaigns.
On Wednesday I met with their representatives and we discussed a number of important issues on which I will be acting in support:
- Civil Service Pay – I will be writing to the Cabinet Office Ministers asking them to respond positively to PCS’ national pay claim, which includes a significant pay increase above the rate of inflation, and a living wage of at least £10 per hour.
- JobCentre Staff Safety – I will be using Parliamentary Questions to raise this issue with the DWP, with particular emphasis on the raise in knife crime.
- Ex-Carillion Staff at the British Museum – I will be writing to the British Museum director, to ask him to meet with these staff and secure their futures.
Hopefully this action will lead to solid progress for these important workers who the Government aren’t treating right. I’ll keep you informed.
As well as my contributions on Syria, Safe Standing and work with PCS, here’s how I spent the rest of my time in Westminster this week:
- On Monday I continued to press the Home Office about Modern Slavery. I was glad to see concessions on support for victims but it’s clear that too little is known about what happens to them afterwards. You can watch the video here. We also went into more depth on this at the APPG for Human Trafficking on Wednesday.
- I welcomed TUC and GMB back to Parliament to continue their Dying to Work campaign, aimed at supporting workers with terminal illnesses. I’ve already signed their pledge and was glad to see many other colleagues do so too this week.
- I attended the launch of Co-Op’s ‘Ownership Matters’ report launch. Public ownership leads to improved productivity and value for money, decisions made in the public interest, a check against re-privatisation, safeguarded levels of service quality and investment, and alignment of interests, and is therefore something that I’ll continue to campaign in favour of.
- I met with Patrick Cusworth from the British Vehicle Renting and Leasing Association to discuss how his organisation’s policy recommendations could help improve air quality both in Nottingham and nationally, while safeguarding the business of the fleet sector, as Nottingham becomes a Clean Air Zone.
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.
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
Community Integration Day
Free Family Food & Fun, including music, stalls, food & activities, and community support groups in attendance
St. Mary the Virgin & All Souls Church, Highbury Road, Bulwell
Saturday 5th May, 12-4pm
Bird Carving for Beginners Craft Workshop
Spring woodland workshop for adults and accompanied over 12s, all equipment provided
Barkers Community Woodland, Norwich Gardens, Bulwell, NG6 8GG
7th May, 10am-1:30pm
£30 p.p., all profits to woodland upkeep, to book call The Toy Library on
0115 975 3898.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or Andy Barrett email@example.com 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
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
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
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
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: www.creativenottinghamnorth.com, @CreativeNNorth, firstname.lastname@example.org
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: www.stmartinsbilborough.org.uk, email@example.com
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: www.apriltowriess.co.uk, firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com or visit their website at www.soundasapound.org.
If you would like your events advertised here, or further information on those advertised, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com 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: findyourmp.parliament.uk.
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
Alex’s Website: click here.
Alex’s Twitter: click here.
Nottingham City Council: click here.
Find your MP: click here.
Register to vote: click here.
School term dates in Nottingham: click here.
If you’d like to learn more about the Labour party their website is here.
To join the Labour Party click here.
Nottingham BBC news: click here.
East Midlands BBC news: click here.
Nottingham Post: click here.
Notts TV: 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 Direct.gov.
For the main Parliamentary website click here and to explore the Parliamentary education site click here.