“On Your Bike!”
Local MP Madeleine Moon Joined Service Personnel in Support of The Royal British Legion’s Annual Poppy Appeal
On Wednesday 01 November the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence, Rt Hon Tobias Ellwood MP, the Director General of The Royal British Legion, and over 80 Members of Parliament raced alongside serving members of The Armed Forces on an exercise bike to raise money for The Royal British Legion’s annual Poppy Appeal.
The 12 hour bike ride was held from 08:00 to 20:00 in Portcullis House, Parliament and aimed to raise money for the Legion’s national Poppy Appeal. Madeleine Moon MP represented her constituency of Bridgend.
The bike ride was organised by the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) and The Royal British Legion following on from the successful bike ride held in 2016 (where 77 MPs and Peers cycled a total of 128.8 miles in 12 hours). This year’s race emphasised that The Royal British Legion will once again be asking the nation to ‘Rethink Remembrance’ and consider the meaning of the poppy as a symbol of Remembrance and hope.
MPs were encouraged to donate as they take part, with all of the money raised on the day going to help The Royal British Legion provide lifelong support for the Armed Forces community. The Central Parliament Poppy Appeal is the only charity that can fundraise in Parliament.
Madeleine Moon MP said:
“I would like to thank the Industry and Parliament Trust and The Royal British Legion for arranging this event. The Royal British Legion provides invaluable support to The Armed Forces community; I am pleased to have been able to support such a worthy cause.
Nick Maher CEO of the IPT said:
“The work of The Royal British Legion is essential to the lives of the whole Armed Forces community across the UK and I am delighted that MPs and Peers are supporting us in our efforts to raise money for such a worthwhile cause. The support and enthusiasm from parliamentarians and service men and women has been fantastic’.
“On Your Bike!” Local MP Madeleine Moon Joined Service Personnel in Support of The Royal British Legion’s Annual Poppy Appeal On Wednesday 01 November the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry...
Watching the unfolding twitter storm, insult trading and intercontinental missile launches it is easy to forget that the UK was the second largest military contribution to the Korean War in 1950. Most of the personnel were National Service Conscripts and more were killed and wounded than in both the recent Iraq and Afghan wars.
The UK, a Permanent Member of the National Security Council sent personnel as part of a UN force led by the US. We remain committed to the defence of South Korea to this day. The UK has always send forces to the Invincible Warrior exercises held by South Korean and US forces. Not large numbers but we remain committed to the protection of South Korea as a standing commitment to the UN. Here in Wales, Operation Vambrace Warrior, brought Special Forces from the UK, US and Japan to take part in a week long exercise to repel an attack from North Korea.
As a member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly I was invited to attend meetings in South Korea to discuss and review the current tensions and planning there. There was a vote in the Commons on the second reading of the ‘Great Repeal Bill’ but whips agreed it was important I attended the meetings. I was ‘paired’ with a Conservative who would also miss the vote so the outcome would not change.
Before leaving for these visits there are briefing documents to read and meetings to attend so you arrive understanding the UK perspective. Looking back reading about North Korea sending people to work in China, Russia and even to Poland to earn foreign currency came as a surprise. Conditions in the labour camps especially in Russia were harsh yet despite the North Korean state taking 80% of the wages earned there did not appear to be a lack of volunteers to take on the tasks. The new leader Kim Jong-un came to power promising two areas of growth, economic and the development of nuclear weapons capability. He has kept both promises.
The contrasting wealth, technological innovation and economic success of South Korea is stark. From the devastating poverty and infrastructure devastation following the Korean War the country has built a highly successful economy. Samsung televisions, computers, mobile phones, Daewoo Buses, Hyundai and Kia cars, ship building, minerals and plastics all drive a thriving technologically advanced economy. There is massive investment in education and in research and development. Korean beauty products and music are the must haves of many of the younger generations.
This is a dangerous part of the world. Historic tensions have been put to one side, but not forgotten, to allow trade to develop between South Korea, China, Russia, and Japan. Japan and South Korea are close allies of the US. Japanese brutal occupation of South Korea is etched deeply into memories. China and Russia have been long term supporters of North Korea and are opposed to greater US involvement in the South. When US THAD (Terminal High Altitude Defence) missiles were deployed into South Korea after the firing of missiles from the north, China retaliated. 87 South Korean department stores in China were closed for fire safety infringements and Chines tourism into the South declined by 75%.
A visit to the DMZ (de-militarised zone) the border between the North and South is an earie experience that exemplifies the tension. There is an air unreality as you gaze across mine fields, see the three tunnels built by the North Koreans to bring military forces into the South and see the memorials to soldiers killed by invading forces during the armistice; there is no peace agreement ending the war in 1953. When you enter the South Korean zone, soldiers leave the North Korean side of the border to photograph your every move. The tension is palpable.
This visit to South Korea is one I will never forget. I met Civil, Military and Government leaders. Talked to Ambassadors and visited key sites, then collapsed with a Korean strain of double pneumonia and was admitted to hospital. My NATO colleagues left, most of the medical and nursing staff had little English and I was very ill. The care was superb, and it’s amazing what you can do with sign language, single words and google translate. I was in the hospital for five days and back in a hotel room for a further five days negotiating between an insurance company and an airline to convince everyone I was fit to fly.
Those days were awful but incredibly useful. Talking about why I was in the country, how Korean’s felt about the missile threats and the growing tension and ways forward were illuminating. The resilience of the South Koreans living with the daily tension and threat from the north was amazing. The kindness and eagerness to explain despite the language barrier inspiring.
Now I am back in Porthcawl breathing good Welsh air and trying to rebuild my strength. So what next? Sanctions have to be the way forward; there is much that can be achieved there. There is an opportunity for old enemies to face the need to work together and find a common solution. In Panmunjom there is a telephone line between the North and South Korean governments. The line is rung four times a day. It was last picked up by the North Koreans in 2013. Dialogue is ultimately the only way forward, so we must hope one day soon, the phone is answered.
Watching the unfolding twitter storm, insult trading and intercontinental missile launches it is easy to forget that the UK was the second largest military contribution to the Korean War in...
Deciding to review the Battle of Monte Casino with a World War 2 historian may not be everyone’s way of starting a summer break. It is what I chose to do for three days in the company of a small number of MPs and Peers who take an interest in defence. Understanding the decisions of military commanders and their outcomes is important and as ever, history has much to teach us.
The Battle of Monte Casino broke two cardinal rules of warfare. Don’t fight north to south and do not start a campaign in winter. The allies felt they had no option to break the rules but a heavy price was paid with over 105,000 killed in four campaigns lasting from December 1943 to May 1944.
The Monastery of Monte Casino was built in 529 and held a commanding view over the surrounding countryside. In December 1943 the Germans made an agreement with the Vatican that the monastery would not be occupied by their troops. The allies did not believe such a commanding position would not be used and bombed it several times in February 1944. The Germans then moved into the rubble which gave cover and protection from which to attack the valley below, most effectively with sniper fire.
We talk of coalition war fare a great deal today but we have always fought in coalitions. Divisions from New Zealand, India, Gurkha’s from Nepal, Canadians, Americans, South Africa, France, Morocco, Italy, Poland and the UK fought in the long and bloody battle through bitter cold, snow, driving rain and with virtually no shelter. Some divisions had losses as high as 80%.
There are so many lessons to be learned from this one battle. Talking to an old man who as a small boy had hidden in the caves nearby as the battle raged around them, highlighted the horrors faced by starving civilians. The old man’s village was destroyed as part of the fighting and is now preserved as a memorial to the war and the battle for the monastery.
Descriptions of the fighting conditions are stark. Soldiers unable to move a muscle as they crouched behind inadequate cover for days, for fear of sniper attacks, were sometimes so locked into their positon they had to be stretchered down the mountain as they were unable to stand. They watched as friends who moved died and could offer no help. There was little thought or understanding of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in 1945 when armies were dispersed. Regimental and campaign associations were the main sources of help and support as the trauma left many to battle mental and physical ill health for years after peace was declared.
Awareness of the impact of war on civilians and military personnel is growing but sadly individuals still fall though the net. The number of veterans seeking support as the struggle with life as a civilian has grown locally. This weekend Bridgend hosted a Police and community event on Newbridge Fields and there I met with a number of organisations campaigning for greater access to mental health support for veterans.
We have come a long way from the lack of support after Monte Casino but still too many veterans struggle to access the help they need when a crisis hits. Organisations such as Hafal, http://forcesforchange.wales/ Help for Heroes www.helpforheroes.org.uk and Change Step www.changestepwales.co.uk are here locally to help. All three are campaigning raise awareness of the support available to military veterans and those who served in the emergency services.
This seems an apt place to ask readers to think about who they admire and which organisations are making a huge difference in their community. The Welsh Diversity Awards, are an opportunity for individuals to recognise unsung amazing positive role models, community organisations and iconic figures in their communities.
Nominations are now open, in a variety of categories including: Positive Role Model Award, Community Organisation Award, Welsh Cultural Icon Award, Diverse Company of the Year Award, Sports Personality of the Year Award and Lifetime Achiever Award, amongst many others.
I don’t know if Justin Hostettler-Davies is an iconic figure but he terrifies me every year with his latest test of endurance. Justin has been raising money for Motor Neuron Disease for a number of years. Each summer he finds a more gruelling test of stamina and fitness. This year’s challenge to raise awareness of MND was- Stadium2Stadium4MND - a 100km walk from Parc Y Scarlets in Llanelli to Rodney Parade in Newport (via Swansea, Bridgend, Pontypridd and Cardiff). All nonstop through the night. The group of about 60 started at 1pm from Llanelli and finish sometime on the Sunday afternoon in Newport. Locally the determined participnts stopped for 15-20 minutes at about 11pm at Pyle Cross and then about 1.30am at the MacDonald’s outlet in Bridgend before heading off towards Pontypridd. (Please could someone cut the brambles back on the footpath along past Stormy Down)
I'm told that only 7 people survived the entire journey. Justin was there as was Simon Green who pushed his wheel chair through the gruelling 67 miles of the challenge. Well done all of those who took part for both raising awareness and money for MND. I'm told that late into the night a man stopped his car to ask what the event was for and handed over a donation of £50. Well done that man. You can still donate via https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stadium2stadium4mnd.
Deciding to review the Battle of Monte Casino with a World War 2 historian may not be everyone’s way of starting a summer break. It is what I chose to...
There are 529 remarkable people who are registered stem cell donors in Bridgend. These individuals are real-life heroes who will potentially save the life of someone with blood cancer. Anthony Nolan is the incredible charity that helps to match patients with donors from their register.However, 1 in 8 people across the UK tragically do not find a match. Consequently, more needs to be done to increase the number of potential donors. An estimated 2,000 people in the UK are in desperate need of a bone marrow or stem cell transplant ever year.
There is an extremely common misnomer that donating can be painful. In fact, most donors only experience mild flu-like symptoms and may feel a bit tired afterwards. A short-term inconvenience that will make the world of difference to someone whose life could be saved.
Every 20 minutes someone in the country is diagnosed with blood cancer and only about 60% of them actually find their best possible match from a stranger. Donors can help cure someone’s cancer and give them a second chance at life.Donors must be between 16 - 30 and in good health, To find out more go to: https://www.anthonynolan.org/8-ways-you-could-save-life/donate-your-stem-cells
There are 529 remarkable people who are registered stem cell donors in Bridgend. These individuals are real-life heroes who will potentially save the life of someone with blood cancer. Anthony...
When Parliament returns in September, MPs will have the Repeal Bill waiting for them to debate and vote on. It essentially converts EU law into UK legislation.
Controversially, the Bill includes proposals to give ministers extensive “Henry VIII powers”, also known as statutory instruments, to make changes to laws without full Parliamentary approval. The Government say they need this to correct some laws after Brexit. For example, they will need to amend laws that refer to the “European Commission” or to the UK’s “EU Obligations” as they will no longer apply once we exit.
There’s a reason why they’re known as Henry VIII powers. Just like the Statute of Proclamations gave Henry the power to make any laws he wanted simply by decree; statutory instruments will allow ministers to change Bills with little or no Parliamentary oversight. This means hard-won rights could be removed or weakened without any say from Parliament. It’s estimated that there could be between 800 and 1,000 statutory instruments which will have limited Parliamentary scrutiny. This raises serious concerns about democratic legitimacy and parliamentary sovereignty - the government could change laws without your elected representatives having a vote.
At a time where the constitutional fibres of the UK will be reshaped because of swathes of legislative changes, total transparency and accountability is needed more than ever. Some of our cherished rights will be left to the whims of ministers and their Henry VIII powers – and we all know what Henry did with such sweeping powers.
When Parliament returns in September, MPs will have the Repeal Bill waiting for them to debate and vote on. It essentially converts EU law into UK legislation. Controversially, the Bill...
This week I made a visit to the Parliamentary archives in the Elizabeth Tower. The Tower is the large central one which dominates the Palace. It was specifically designed to hold the Parliamentary archive after a fire burned down the medieval Palace in 1834. The great rolls of vellum stacked on shelves that hold the Laws of Britain look like the age rings of giant trees.
You can see how busy monarchs were by the number of rolls carrying their name. Interestingly there are few rolls for Charles 1st, a man who did not like to call Parliaments, did not like to be held to account for his spending and ….. the rest is history.
We are coming to the end of the first session of this Parliament. It's been slower to get going than my previous three Parliaments. Structures have to be in place before Parliament can fully function and we can add to those rolls of vellum. We need a Speaker so that MP’s can take the oath of allegiance to the Queen before they can speak in the Chamber and debates can begin.
You need to elect Deputy Speakers and select of Members of the Speaker’s Panel of Chairs to facilitate the debates. You also need Chairs of Select Committees, Members of Select Committee’s and other outside bodies.
I have been elected to the Defence Select Committee and re-appointed to the Speaker’s Panel. I will Chair debates in Westminster Hall and deal with the legislative processes of Bills, Statutory Instruments and Delegated Legislation. We expect a wide range of legislation to be brought forward for debate as we unpick the consequences of Brexit and the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.
The Bill is highly controversial as it contains what are called Henry VIII powers enabling the government to deal with ‘deficiencies arising from withdrawal’. It gives power to Ministers (not Parliament) to make regulations as they consider appropriate to anything they feel may be needed to ‘prevent, remedy or mitigate’ the transfer of EU legislation into British legislation. Government has awarded itself huge powers over Parliament. You can expect a noisy Parliamentary session ahead as the traditional battle between Government and back benchers and oppositions goes into overdrive.
Why will Parliament not just nod changes through? Because rules, standards and agreements matter. Two areas which impact on life in communities across Bridgend have come up this week.
Euratom is the agency which regulates the transportation of nuclear materials across the 28 member states. Nuclear material used to generate energy for electricity for homes and business, to power submarines or for use in medicine and research. The UK cannot move or access nuclear materials from the EU without complying with these regulations. The body ultimately responsible for arbitration in disputes is the European Court of Justice and the Government wants to leave the ECJ.
The Reach Rules control the use of chemicals across the EU. Britain’s motor manufacturing companies must abide by the Reach Rules as four fifths of cars produced in the UK are exported to Europe, the world most valuable consumer market. The car export market is worth £17.8 billion to the UK so we cannot ignore it.
To protect our future economic wealth, our industries, local jobs, our health service, power generation and defence capability those Henry VIII powers will be challenged.
Governments don’t like to be challenged. They don’t like to be told they have made mistakes and their sums don’t add up. I’d like congratulate the Gem for demonstrating this most graphically in a recent article. Commenting on my contribution to the Queen’s speech debate. In an exchange with Chair of the Defence Select Committee (Conservative Dr Julian Lewis) we both expressed our concern that the government was only able to claim it was spending 2% on defence by including military and civil servant pensions. Dr Lewis commented, “It is a measure of the management downwards of our expectations that we are supposed to ring the church bells in triumph at our not falling below the bare minimum that NATO members are supposed to achieve. We really have to rethink this. We really should be looking at 3% of GDP, and not this bare minimum of 2%.”
I was therefore delighted to see the quote from Minister Mark Lancaster in the Gem article. As a national defence journalist texted me ‘if the minister wants to lash out they can be v quick at giving a quote’. Seems my speech and the Gem article touched a nerve. We are underfunding our armed services, personnel numbers are cut to the bone because the MOD is struggling to pay for American equipment it cannot afford, partly because of the drop in the value of the pound. The £20 billion black hole in the budget is not shrinking no matter how much Mark claims was spent in the past in Iraq and Afghanistan or is being spent with Welsh business.
The next few years are going to fill up those shelves with more rolls of vellum as we tackle Brexit. The impact on Britain and our place in the world will be tested and the need for ingenuity in legislation and decision making stretched. The largest roll in the current archive dates from 1820 and contains the registration of all of the land ownership in England and Wales for that year. Talking to the archivist I question how often this figured in the rolls. We plan to look for Bills relating to the building of the railroad and harbour in Porthcawl to transport coal from the mines in valleys to the north. That was our past. I’m confident Bridgend will add more to those rings of vellum over the next few years.
This week I made a visit to the Parliamentary archives in the Elizabeth Tower. The Tower is the large central one which dominates the Palace. It was specifically designed to...
Madeleine Moon MP says that the army must do more to ensure that those who leave, have the skills and recognised qualifications employers are seeking.
The Army are lagging behind the likes of the RAF and Navy in ensuring that its staff are equipped to secure civilian employment after they leave. Madeleine Moon said that RAF and Navy personnel had more transferable skills due to their technical training and were hence more employable.
Mrs Moon, member of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, said that:
"With the Army, particularly the infantry, they are lagging behind in terms of transferability of skills and making sure the qualifications that are attached to those skills are ones that have an understandably recognised qualification at the end of their career".
For more information see here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-40805594
Madeleine Moon MP says that the army must do more to ensure that those who leave, have the skills and recognised qualifications employers are seeking. The Army are lagging behind...
Bridgend MP Madeleine Moon attended a Carers Week speed networking event with carers and charities in Westminster, pledging her support to unpaid carers locally.
The event was in support of the recent Carers Week, to celebrate and recognise the vital contribution made by the 6.5 million people across the UK who currently provide unpaid care for a disabled, ill or older family member or friend. It matched up MPs and carers to share experiences of caring and discuss ways to build Carer Friendly Communities – places where local people and services support carers to look after their loved ones well, while recognising that they are individuals with needs of their own.
Madeleine committed to meeting with carers locally and local services to find out about the challenges faced by carers. Encouraging organisations, services and employers in her constituency to become more Carer Friendly and raise the profile of caring and speaking up for carers in Parliament.
“I was proud to represent my constituents today at the Carers Week event and I pledge to support the 10,000 carers in Bridgend Constituency throughout this Parliament. Unpaid carers make a huge contribution to our society, providing vital and often hidden support to friends and family members, and it is right that we value them and ensure they have the right support at the right time. I look forward to working with the Carers Week charities, and, with unpaid carers, locally, to make a difference to their lives. In the Bridgend Constituency last week I was delighted to attend the Bridgend Crossroads Coffee Morning arranged for Carers Week. There were stalls of bric a brac, books, plants and delicious cakes and also a raffle. A great success with a total of £352 raised for Bridgend Crossroads.
Carers Week 2017 is made possible by Carers UK joining forces with Age UK, Carers Trust, Independent Age, Macmillan Cancer Support, the Motor Neurone Disease Association, MS Society and Which? Elderly Care and kindly supported by Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition and the Lockwood Foundation.
For further information visit www.carersweek.org
Bridgend MP Madeleine Moon attended a Carers Week speed networking event with carers and charities in Westminster, pledging her support to unpaid carers locally. The event was in support of...
On Thursday 29 June 2017 Madeleine Moon MP voted to support Amendment G to the Queen’s Speech. Among other proposals it called for the Government “not rule out withdrawal from the EU without a deal, guarantee a Parliamentary vote on any final outcome to negotiations, set out transitional arrangements to maintain jobs, trade and certainty for business”, and crucially, to “set out proposals to remain within the Customs Union and Single Market”.
Madeleine said: My position on this is no secret, I believe that remaining in the Customs Union and the Single Market is vital for Bridgend and the UK in order to protect jobs, maintain competitiveness and attract future investments, particularly for companies like Ford and others in the automotive sector.
The Society of Motor Manufactures and Traders (SMMT) have made it crystal clear that retaining the benefits of the Single Market and tariff and customs free trade with the EU is imperative for the automotive industry. It is a highly integrated global industry with vehicles and parts crossing European borders many many times during the assembly process. The SMMT said that reverting to World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariffs and customs checks at UK borders would significantly increase costs and impact competiveness. They found that a 10% tariff on finished vehicles because of WTO rules could cost the industry £4.5 billion which would inevitably increase costs for consumers. It has also been estimated that the list price of cars imported to the UK from the EU could increase by an average of £1500.
Not only this, jobs could be at risk. This is not scaremongering, it’s a very plausible outcome when we think about it. If we leave the EU with no deal, we automatically resort to WTO rules, which equals tariffs. Tariffs then mean the cost of production increases. Economically, it would make sense for some manufacturers to leave the UK if 10% WTO tariffs are introduced. The PA Consulting Group found that the increased cost of exporting 200,000 cars a year from the UK would be £920m after two years. This could easily cover the cost of building a new plant in an EU Member State which has access to the single market and customs union. We must absolutely avoid this scenario and I feel the amendment offered a path to mitigate such risks.
It is without doubt that the imposition of tariffs by losing access to the Single Market and Customs Union puts our businesses in Bridgend such as Ford at a significant disadvantage. I have always stood up for what is in the best interests for the constituency and if there is ever a chance to protect Bridgend from the damaging impact of Brexit, I will always put the constituency first.
On Thursday 29 June 2017 Madeleine Moon MP voted to support Amendment G to the Queen’s Speech. Among other proposals it called for the Government “not rule out withdrawal from...
Following the Queen’s Speech debate Madeleine Moon MP supported Amendment I, calling on the Government to end the public sector pay cap. Mrs Moon spoke several times in the debate highlighting the unjust cuts to public services, the gaps in defence spending and called on the Home Secretary to support victims of domestic violence.
During the Queen’s Speech debate on Wednesday (28th June 2017), Mrs Moon paid tribute to the bravery of members of our public services, juxtaposing this with the treatment they have received from the government in terms of cuts to budgets, pay caps and unpaid work.
“Throughout today’s debate there has been a lot of talk about British values, but what do we mean by British values? Do we mean the bravery of those doctors, nurses, firefighters and police officers who ran to help those being attacked by terrorists? Do we mean those who ran into Grenfell Tower to help people at a time of distress? Do we mean those we have been insulting with a 1% pay rise, year on year, driving them into poverty? Do we mean those NHS workers who between 2010 and 2016 have lost £4.3 billion in cuts from the NHS staffing budget? Is that who we mean when we talk about British values? Or do we mean the 42% of NHS workers who do unpaid overtime to keep the NHS going?”
Mrs Moon also exposed how the armed forces “are being bled dry” and called for an urgent review of the capability of the armed forces and its funding, to ensure the UK maintains its standing in NATO. There is a gap in the defence budget of between £10 billion and £20 billion over the next decade which raises yet more questions about how the UK can meet its commitment to NATO of spending 2% of national income on defence. The government includes war pensions and intelligence-gathering in this 2%, which previously came under other budgets. Due to this and budgetary holes, Mrs Moon said that “our capability to defend this country is diminishing day by day.”
In her last intervention of the day, she called the Home Secretary to look at victims of domestic violence, who she said are: “subject to a new form of abuse, namely being constantly returned to court by ex-partners demanding extra access to the children? That is a way to intimidate, bully and impoverish many of those who have the children in their care.” This led to the Home Secretary confirming the government would be looking into this issue in the Domestic Violence Bill.
Following the Queen’s Speech debate Madeleine Moon MP supported Amendment I, calling on the Government to end the public sector pay cap. Mrs Moon spoke several times in the debate...