December 2009

Here you can find information on some of the key parliamentary motions that I signed in December 2009.

EDM 481 – Emergency Services at Christmas
EDM 471 – Age Concern’s Action Against Burglary Campaign
EDM 469 – British Troops at Christmas
EDM 455 – Tony Blair and Iraq
EDM 447 – Joe McElderry and the X Factor Competition
EDM 434 – Gurkha Pensions And Public Expenditure
EDM 430 – Free Television Licences for Pensioners
EDM 407 – Winter Fuel Payments for over 80 year olds
EDM 391 – International Human Rights Day
EDM 383 – People with a Learning Disability and Voting
EDM 380 – Trident Replacement

EDM 481 – EMERGENCY SERVICES AT CHRISTMAS

This motion states the House of Commons support and gratitude for the work of the emergency services, acknowledging the vital and often life saving service that they provide all year round. In particular, it highlights the hard work they put in over the festive season, and wishes all members of the police, ambulance services and fire brigades a safe, peaceful and happy Christmas.

EDM 471 – AGE CONCERN’S ACTION AGAINST BURGLARY CAMPAIGN

This parliamentary motion commends the joint Home Office and Age Concern campaign to help older people to take measures that help them to feel more secure this winter. This has involved a leaflet campaign by Age Concern that advices elderly people on how to beat threats such as bogus callers, and provides assurance to help them to feel safe in their homes. Older people are no more at risk of burglary than other members of the community, but the impact of burglary‚ or just the fear that it might happen to them‚ can be much more significant, so it is important to address this.

EDM 469 – BRITISH TROOPS AT CHRISTMAS

This EDM recognizes the courageous work and sacrifices that are made by all members of the country’s armed forces, who are serving all round the world in the festive season. It acknowledges that this is an especially difficult time of the year for all the troops and their families and friends, and wishes all service men and women a safe and happy Christmas.

EDM 455 – TONY BLAIR AND IRAQ

This motion concerns Tony Blair’s omission in a interview that he still would have gone along with plans to join the US-led invasion of Iraq, even if had he known at the time that they had no weapons of mass destruction. In light of this, this motion states that the former Prime Minister was not candid with the House of Commons when making the case for war, and calls for appropriate legal action to be taken to address this.

EDM 447 – JOE MCELDERRY AND THE X FACTOR COMPETITION

This parliamentary motion celebrates the success of 18-year-old South Tynesider Joe McElderry on winning the 2009 X Factor competition. It acknowledges the massive achievement that this represents and the great job he did representing the North East of England. It also recognizes the support he reached from people in the region and the facilities at the Performance Academy at Newcastle College.

EDM 434 – GURKHA PENSIONS AND PUBLIC EXPENDITURE

This EDM welcomes the settlement rights that have been given to former Gurkha soldiers, however notes that one serious inequality remains, as Gurhkas who served prior to 1997 still do not receive a fair and equal pension compared to other fellow Commonwealth soldiers. Given that many Gurkhas choose to settle in the UK only to receive fair financial treatment in this respect, and would prefer to remain in Nepal, it calls on the Government to consider changing the current pension settlement to make if fairer.

EDM 430 – FREE TELEVISION LICENCES FOR PENSIONERS

This is a motion I tabled myself, encouraging the Government to extend the free licensing system not just to those aged over 75 years but to all pensioners, regardless of age. In these difficult economic times, increasing numbers of pensioners are finding themselves in fuel poverty, and introducing a measure such as this would help to alleviate this.

EDM 407 – WINTER FUEL PAYMENTS FOR OVER 80 YEAR OLDS

This EDM congratulates the Government on the provision of winter fuel payments for those aged 60 and over, and supports its move to increase the payment for those aged 80 and over. However, it is concerned that this only applies to those who turn 80 before the arbitrary date of the 27 September. While this measure is a positive move, this motion calls for the date to be changed so that those aged 80 on or before 31 December receive the increased payment too for the relevant winter, making this measure fairer.

EDM 391 – INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS DAY

This parliamentary motion states the House of Commons support for International Human Rights Day on the 10 December 2009. It is important that we continue to condemn those countries where human rights abuses occur on a daily and systematic basis, such as the case of Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma, which highlights the suppression of democracy and war crimes carried out my the ruling military junta. It also calls on international agencies such as the UN to refocus their attention on human rights violations where they occur.

EDM 383 – PEOPLE WITH A LEARNING DISABILITY AND VOTING

Only 20 per cent of those who are eligible to vote with a learning disability did so in the last General Election, and this motion supports two campaigns that are aiming to tackle this low turnout, and also calls on all prospective parliamentary candidates to make the election material more accessible to those with a learning disability. Mencap’s ‘Get My Vote’ campaign encourages parties to produce easy to read manifestos, while United Response’s ‘Every Vote Counts’ campaign aims to ensure that people with learning disabilities can engage in the democratic process.

EDM 380 – TRIDENT REPLACEMENT

This EDM calls on the Government to cancel the replacement of the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons system, and re-orient the skilled manufacturing workers it employees towards modern investment in green technologies. In the current economic crisis, the country cannot afford to maintain a £76 billion defence system that does nothing to combat contemporary security threats such as terrorism. Furthermore, it makes it difficult for the Government to promote non-nuclear proliferation internationally while it still insists on maintaining our own weapons systems.

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