• Conor receives Commons assurance that Foreign Office “will do everything it can” to help Mark Middlehurst

    Conor McGinn MP has raised the plight of his constituent Mark Middlehurst in the House of Commons today. Mark is in critical condition in hospital in Perth, Australia, after suffering a severe brain injury as the result of an accident. His family, who live in Billinge, have travelled to Australia to be with him. They need to raise over £50,000 so that he can make the journey back to the UK, accompanied by a full medical team.

    The St Helens North MP said:

    “I have been in touch with Mark’s parents Julie and Malcolm since shortly after his tragic accident. I and my office are liaising closely with the family to do whatever we can to help get them the support they need in Australia, and to enable them to make the journey back to the UK with Mark.

    “I hope by raising this in the House of Commons it will help Mark’s family with their fundraising efforts and ensure they receive the full support of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. I know they have received tremendous support from the community in St Helens and I know everyone will get behind them to help raise the money they need to get Mark back home to Billinge.

    “I am grateful to the Leader of the House for his assurance that the Government and the Diplomatic Service will do everything they can to help the Middlehursts, and I will be in contact again with the Foreign Secretary next week to ask for an update.

    “People say the world is a small place these days. But the Middlehurt’s experience shows that home can feel very far away when something awful like this happens. They are in all our thoughts and prayers, and I know everyone at home will keep doing whatever we can to support them through this.”

  • Conor slams Govt over rail fare rise

    Local commuters in St Helens North are now paying 25 percent more for their train fares under the Tories, because of yet another year of rail fare hikes.

    The announcement that rail fares will rise again in January 2016 means that passengers have been hit by a cost increase of 25 per cent since 2010.

    The new fare rises come into effect on 2nd January. Figures released by Labour show that the cost of an annual season ticket from Earlestown to Manchester has risen by £324 since 2010. The cost of a rail season ticket for commuters from Garswood, Rainford, Earlstown and Newton-le-Willows has risen by up to 25% since 2010.

     Conor McGinn, Labour MP for St Helens North, who has previously raised the issue in Parliament, has slammed the Tory government for hammering passengers and commuters.

    Commenting Conor said:

     “Passengers in St Helens North have been hit again and again by eye‐watering rail fare rises. Fares have now rocketed by 25 per cent under the Tories, far outstripping any increase in most people’s pay packets.

     “For many people here, travelling by train isn’t a luxury, it’s how they get to work every day. A season ticket to Manchester now costs over £324 more every year.

     “It is not good enough. More needs to be done to ensure that transport is affordable for the people who use it.

     “Labour’s policy is to bring the railways into public ownership so they can be run for passengers not profit. That means fairer fares, investment in a 21st century railway and giving passengers a stronger voice.”

     

  • Conor calls for priority payments to North West farmers affected by flooding

     
    Conor McGinn MP, has called on Government to ensure that North West Farmers affected by flooding receive payments before Christmas.
     
    The National Union of Farmers recently reported that many farmers in the North West have been informed by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) that they will not receive payments until February.
     
    Commenting Conor said:
     
    “It is simply unacceptable that farmers in the North West may not receive payments from the RPA until February.
     
    “The floods have led to the damage of the agricultural land of many farmers, and it is vital that they receive the funds for repairs.
     
    “I hope the Government will act decisively to ensure that farmers in the North West receive payments before Christmas.”
  • Conor supports local farmers and champions ‘shopping and eating local

     
    Conor McGinn MP, has called on the Government to do more to support local farms and local produce.
     
    Speaking in Parliament, Conor spoke on behalf of the many farms in his constituency which play an important role in the community.
     
    He also urged the government to do more to promote shopping and eating local.
     
    Commenting Conor said:
     
    “Local farms and shops like Foresters in my constituency are invaluable to our communities. They sell excellent local produce and are important part of the local economy.
     
    “The Government should be doing all it can to help promote local farms and encourage people to buy local.”
  • Conor calls for review of parole guidelines and secures Ministerial meeting for Marie McCourt


    Conor McGinn MP, has urged the Government to review parole guidelines for convicted murderers who do not reveal the location of their victim’s remains.

    McGinn spoke in Parliament on behalf of his constituent Marie McCourt, whose daughter Helen was murdered in Billinge in 1988.

    Helen’s killer was convicted and received a life sentence, but has repeatedly refused to reveal the location of Helen’s remains. He could now be released on parole, despite showing no remorse for his actions.

    Justice Minister Mike Penning, in response, agreed to meet with Marie McCourt and her family.

    Commenting McGinn said:

    “I’m glad the Minister has agreed to meet with Marie and I hope that this will lead to a review of the guidelines.

    “The impact of a murder to the family and friends of the victim is devastating, even more so when the killer refuses to allow a dignified final resting place.

    “Those who are convicted of murder should not be considered for release if they do not provide information about the location of their victim’s remains, which compounds the loss and devastation of the victims’ families.”

     

  • Conor calls on government to address TTIP concerns to deliver the jobs, growth and fairer deal for consumers

    Conor McGinn MP has said that TTIP must be transparent, promote decent jobs, avoid a race to the bottom, and ensure that the NHS and workers rights are protected.

    Commenting on TTIP Conor said:

    “Much has been debated in recent months on TTIP, and it is both welcome and vital that this deal is receiving proper scrutiny from trade unions, civil society and business.

    “I have heard from a number of constituents about their concerns on TTIP, for example that it could include insufficient exemptions for the NHS and other public services; that it could lead to serious legal challenges; and that the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) could result in transferring power away from people. These are all reasons why pushing for more transparency and accountability is vital.

    “We also need to recognise potential benefits that a deal on trade could provide for Britain’s workers and industries. Britain is a trading nation and balanced trade deals have a positive impact on jobs and growth. It is therefore crucial then that any benefits which an EU-US trade deal delivers filters down to employees, small businesses and consumers, that the deal is open and accountable, and that it does not dilute current labour, consumer, environmental and food safety standards.

    “Trade deals also provide unique opportunities to properly regulate global trade. This means we need careful and reflective thinking because in a rapidly changing global economy we are increasingly trading with countries, for example China, whose labour laws do not match our high standards. A balanced TTIP, one that promotes, rather than weakens social, labour and environmental standards, regulating a quarter of all global trade, could provide a welcome departure from a race to the bottom.

    “The proposals should receive proper scrutiny at both a UK and EU level and that any final deal must have transparency and accountability at its heart. I was disappointed that the Coalition Government paid such little attention to these concerns and I believe it is important the current Government ensure they are covered in the negotiating process.

    “I fought the General Election on a Labour manifesto that recognised the potential benefits of TTIP, but emphasised that any final agreement needs to ensure that the NHS is protected, promotes decent jobs and avoids a race to the bottom. Labour MEPs have also made the case in the European Parliament to exclude public services – including our NHS – from TTIP negotiations and to ensure workers’ rights, environmental standards and food safety standards are protected. A number of worries similar to our own have been raised by other EU member states and these will need to be reflected to secure agreement and therefore will have to be taken on board by the European Commission.

    “I hope that the Government now listen and respond to these concerns. I can assure you that I will follow this issue very closely and press the Government to ensure that TTIP delivers the jobs, growth and fairer deal for consumers we all want to see.”

     

     

     

  • My statement on the extension of British airstrikes against ISIL to Syria

    I have taken the difficult decision to vote to support the extension of British airstrikes against ISIL to Syria.

    I know that many people hold strong views on this and I fully understand that there will be many people who disagree with me. I completely respect their view, and despite reaching a different conclusion I know they have also made their decision in a principled way.

    I asked my constituents in St Helens North, including Labour Party members and supporters, for their views and listened carefully to what they said.

    I listened intently to the debate in Parliament today and have spoken with colleagues including the Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn, the Shadow Defence Secretary Maria Eagle and our Deputy Leader Tom Watson.

    I also received a private briefing at the Ministry of Defence from the Secretary of State for Defence and defence personnel. It was a sobering assessment of the direct threat Britain faces from ISIL terrorism and a detailed explanation of the current situation in Syria.

    On the basis of what I have heard, learned and discussed I believe the right thing to do – on balance and however difficult – is to support the extension of airstrikes against ISIL to Syria.

    In the coming days, I will be writing to all those to constituents who contacted me to fully set out my position.

    Conor McGinn MP

  • Conor responds to Autumn Statement

    Labour’s St Helens North MP Conor McGinn, responding to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement in Parliament today, said:

    “George Osborne’s u-turn on cuts to policing is welcome. But let’s not forget that the Merseyside force has already been subjected to huge reductions in funding under this Tory Government.

    “Likewise, the decision not to cut tax credits will provide some short-term relief to working families in St Helens who have seen costs rising and wages falling, but in 2018 all families will still suffer the full cuts under Universal Credits.

    “At first glance this Autumn Statement includes even further cuts to local government funding alongside a plan to place the burden for paying for social care on to local authorities. I have huge concerns about the impact this will have in place like St Helens.

    “Other than that, all we have seen today is more smoke and mirrors on growth forecasts, tax receipts and the deficit from George Osborne who seems to either get the sums wrong or change the question mid-exam, or in most cases simply make it up as he goes along.”

  • Conor challenges Prime Minister on Army numbers

     

    Conor McGinn MP challenged the Prime Minister on army numbers following the Government’s statement on the Security and Strategic Defence Review (SDSR).

    Speaking in Parliament, Conor directly questioned the Prime Minister’s commitment to increasing the number of deployable armed forces by 20,000 by 2025 given simultaneous plans to cut the Regular Army by 20,000 by 2020.

     Commenting McGinn said:

     “The Defence of the UK and its people is the first duty of any Government, and in a dangerous world the threats we face are complicated and challenging.

     “The Government’s promise to increase the number of deployable armed forces personnel by 20,000 over the next ten years whilst reducing the regular army by 20,000 over the next five years seem inconsistent. It is vital that a reduction in Army numbers does not affect the capability of our Armed Forces to deal with the modern challenges they face.

     “The SDSR should set out a comprehensive, joined-up vision for how the UK meets, prevents and mitigates the threats our country currently faces, and will face.

     “A lack of strategic long-term thinking in the last Parliament saw David Cameron waste millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on time-wasting reviews, botched procurement decisions and a flawed reconfiguration of the Armed Forces .

     “Whilst there are some welcome measures in the SDSR, the Government will need to show that its deeds match its words, and the British public will be watching closely.”

     

  • Conor raises concerns about impact of Brexit on British-Irish relations

    Conor McGinn MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Irish in Britain, has highlighted concerns about the potential impact the UK leaving the EU could have on British-Irish relations.

    McGinn’s intervention in Parliament followed the issue being raised by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD at a meeting with the Prime Minister in Downing Street.

     Commenting McGinn said:

     “The Government must adequately address the concerns that have been raised and assure the Irish and British peoples that the key relationship between our two countries remains paramount.

     “Ireland is one of Britain’s most important partners, and a UK exit from the EU would have a detrimental impact upon both countries, not least in terms of trade and of course in relation to Northern Ireland. It would also be felt by many Irish people in Britain who very much value our common membership of the EU.

     “I urge David Cameron to ensure British-Irish relations remain strong and continue to develop within the EU.”

     

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