Madeleine Moon MP

Labour Member of Parliament for Bridgend

This Week in Parliament 29th June- 2nd July

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This was a busy week of parliamentary receptions, debates and meetings with Ministers. Although my engagements spanned a bewildering range of important policy areas, I was also able to take a moment to relax with reserves and cadets in what was a highlight of my week. See what else I got up to below...

MONDAY

On Monday I was honoured to host a reception for Reserves and Cadets from across the UK.  

Britain’s defence and security is increasingly dependent on the men and women in our Reserve and Cadets forces. The vital role that Reserves play in the nation’s defence and in their local communities is too often hidden from view. Monday was a chance to remind MPs and peers that the armed forces are not a distant and separate group in society. They are composed of men and women working alongside civilians on a daily basis in our communities. It is important that they know that their voices are heard across both Houses of Parliament. Having been offered an insight into the world of Reserves and Cadets, MPs were delighted to show representatives from their regions around the Palace. 

I was particularly pleased to meet volunteers from Airbus in Wales, including a Cadet traning leader. Not only do they do important work at the cutting edge of aerospace engineering, they also give up their spare time in defence of their country and in the service of their communities. We must never forget their quiet bravery and daily sacrifice. 
We were privileged to be joined by the Minister for Reserves, Julian Brazier MP (far right).
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TUESDAY

Tuesday was dominated by All Party Parliamentary Groups. These are groups of MPs and Peers from across the political spectrum who agree to work with each other on issues of shared interest. Whilst they do not have legislative powers or formal constitutional status, they remain important organisations through which to campaign around government policy. I am chair of the Motor Neurone Disease, Suicide and Self-harm Prevention, Kidneys and Reserves and Cadets APPGs. I am also Co-Chair of the Parkinson's APPG.

On Tuesday, the focus was on the Suicide and Self-harm Prevention, Turkey and Women in the Penal System groups. I was shocked to learn that the female prison population has nearly doubled over the last twenty years. Too many women are sentenced to short-term prison sentences that are expensive for the taxpayer and traumatic for the prisoner. I want to see more money diverted to women's centres and diversion schemes that have proven success in rehabilitating women prisoners.

On Tuesday I also participated in a parliamentary debate on the welfare aspect of the Scotland Bill- the piece of legislation going through Parliament at the moment that brings into law the recommendations of the Smith Commission for the further devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament. I intervened in Kate Green MP's speech to highlight the cases of people with Motor Neurone Disease who have had their benefits challenged even following their receipt of a DS1500 giving them less than 6 months to live. For Kate's speech and my intervention, see the link below or click here for the text.


 
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WEDNESDAY

On Wednesday morning I welcomed Gurkhas in the British Army to the House of Commons and gave them a tour of the Palace. It is important that they know that their voices are heard in Parliament. They give twelve years of their lives to uphold our security and way of life and they deserve our respect and gratitude.
I also attended a Fair Fuel Campaign reception on Wednesday. Whilst it is vital that families and businesses reduce their reliance on cars for transport, I also support a reduction in the price of fuel to help out with the cost of living.

Here I am with former BBC 'Top Gear' presenter, Quentin Wilson.
 
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THURSDAY

On Thursday, I took meetings with two ministers. The first was with Mark Lancaster, the Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans. I was relieved to hear that after nearly two years of me persistently lobbying his Department, the Minister now acknowledges that it must do more to assist ex-servicemen and women who were illegally dismissed for having formerly received a police caution. I will continue to monitor the MOD's progress on this important issue.
Later on in the day, I went with representatives from the Motor Neurone Disease Association and Parkinson's UK to meet the Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson. We had a productive discussion about the challenges facing claimants of the Personal Independence Payments scheme. I look forward to meeting with the Minister in autumn to check on the progress of his Department in making the process more open, accessible and sensitive to the needs of claimants with life-ending degenerative illnesses.  
In the House on Thursday, the Leader of the House of Commons, Chris Grayling MP, made a statement on 'English Votes on English Laws'. This is the question of whether MPs from constituent nations of the United Kingdom with devolved assemblies should be allowed to vote on laws that only apply to England. This is also known as the 'West Lothian Question', referring to the constituency served by Sir Tam Dalyell who first framed the question.

The government's proposed solution to this problem is for committees considering a piece of legislation to be composed only of MPs from nations that the legislation effects. Whilst the Shadow Leader of the House, Maria Eagle, recognised that there was a constitutional irregularly that needed addressing, she criticised the government for rushing what was a profoundly sensitive decision. See the link below for the debate, or click here for the Hansard text. 


 
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