Madeleine Moon MP

Labour Member of Parliament for Bridgend

This Week in Parliament 8th - 11th June

This Week in Parliament 8th - 11th June

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This was a busy week in Parliament. The legislation that was discussed and the debates that were had will shape the political and constitutional landscape of the U.K. for many years to come. I had a packed schedule with meetings and engagements on a wide range of important issues. This week we also welcomed Matthew Ward into the parliamentary office and bid farewell to Sam Mannion. We wish Sam well for the future.

MONDAY 8th June

Monday’s session kicked off with Questions to the Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon. A wide variety of issues were raised, from how the government is countering the threat of ISIL in Iraq to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

However, the most eagerly anticipated business of the day was the second reading of the Scotland Bill. This piece of legislation contains the proposals of the Smith Commission for the further devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament. Under the plans, Holyrood would be able to manipulate income tax rates and bands and have more autonomy over welfare policy in Scotland. The Scottish government would also have control over 40% of the revenues it raises. This represents a profound change in Scotland’s constitutional status and has implications for the status of the UK’s other constituent nations. Having participated in the Smith Agreement, Labour welcomed further devolution in order to create a fairer and more equal Scotland. However, Labour opposed the proposal of the Scottish National Party for full fiscal autonomy, fearing that this would put an unnecessary strain on Scotland’s public services. With a general consensus across both sides of the House the Bill proceeded to the Committee stage of the legislative process without the need for a vote.

For the full text of the Scotland Bill debate, see: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm150608/debtext/150608-0001.htm#1506082000001
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TUESDAY 9th June

On Tuesday the EU Referendum Bill received its Second Reading. It is another important piece of constitutional legislation which has the potential to transform our relationship with Europe and the EU. However, the early stages of this Bill have been characterised by the internal conflict and confusion of the Tory Party. The Prime Minister angered his backbenchers by indicating that he would sack any minister who continued to oppose Britain’s membership of the EU following a renegotiation of the terms of membership. This tension spilled out onto the floor of the House in what turned out to be a lively and passionate debate. Labour supported the staging of a referendum following the Prime Minister’s renegotiation but argued for the extension of the franchise to young people aged 16 and above in recognition of the importance of the decision for future generations. Hilary Benn, Labour’s shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs also entertained the possibility of having a period of purdah before the referendum to facilitate a more honest and frank discussion. He further emphasised the importance of holding a referendum on a day on which no other elections were being held.
 
On Tuesday I also met with Air-Marhsall Bagnall to discuss the pressures facing the RAF in the context of an increasingly uncertain strategic and economic global landscape.
 
For the full text of the EU Referendum Bill debate, see: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm150609/debtext/150609-0001.htm#15060939000003



 
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WEDNESDAY 10th June

Following the weekly Questions to the Prime Minister, Wednesday’s business was handed over to the Opposition which chose to focus on the pressing issues of housing and climate change.
 
Emma Reynolds, the shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, described the ‘urgent and growing housing crisis’ facing the UK. She called on the government to ‘bring forward a comprehensive plan’ to tackle the problem and criticised the government’s record on homelessness and house building. Other contributions to the debate criticised the government for failing to control the inflation of housing prices. It was also argued that the government’s plan to sell off a considerable proportion of the social housing stock would exasperate an already severe housing crisis and drive more families into homelessness.
 
On the issue of climate change, Labour’s Caroline Flint argued that the UN conference in Paris this year presented a unique opportunity to persuade world governments to keep their promises to reduce global temperature increases. I look forward to meeting delegates from the constituency in Parliament’s Central Lobby to discuss the issue in anticipation of the Paris meeting. On Wednesday, I met with a delegation from Bahrain to discuss the nation’s recent social and political progress and the serious challenges that the region faces.  Tensions between religious groups, terrorism, human rights violations and the role of women remain high on the agenda of most of the Gulf Cooperation Council and it was helpful to meet and discuss the role Bahrain is playing.  The U.K. has a considerable Royal Navy presence in Bahrain.

For the full text of the Housing debate, see http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm150610/debtext/150610-0002.htm#15061057000001
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THURSDAY 11th June

Thursday’s business focussed on the report produced by the senior judge David Anderson which reviewed the investigatory powers that the security services have to tackle terrorism. The question was one of balance: how do we equip these agencies with the resources they need to protect the population, without giving them the capability to undermine the liberties and freedoms that they are established to uphold? In response to fears that the Home Secretary Theresa May was introducing a ‘snooper’s charter’ onto the statue books, Labour’s Yvette Cooper emphasised the importance of introducing new powers within a clear and transparent legal framework. In a characteristically incisive contribution from the backbenches, the Tory MP David Davis impressed upon the House the important role that the courts have to play in checking ministerial decisions to prevent the use of invasive surveillance where it is not appropriate.
 
On Thursday afternoon Valerie Vaz MP opened an Adjournment debate on the important issue of mental health in Higher Education Institutions. She described the pressure that young people experienced in a fluid and competitive jobs market, compounded by the heavy debts that they carry through from their university and college educations. Throughout the coming years I will continue to chair the Suicide and Self-harm Prevention group in Parliament as we seek to address this pervasive, but too often neglected, health and social problem. 

For the full text of the Anderson Report debate, see: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm150611/debtext/150611-0002.htm#15061141000003
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