Shropshire Party PPC joins Liberal Democrats

Former Shropshire Party PPC, Robert Jones, has joined the Liberal Democrats and will be standing for them next May in Ruyton & Baschurch Division

Robert Jones, who was the Shropshire Party Candidate in North Shropshire at the last General Election, has joined the Liberal Democrats and will be standing for them at the local elections next May in Ruyton-XI-Towns & Baschurch division. This news is a significant boost to the Liberal Democrats who have ambitions to take control of the Authority next May. The Liberal Democrats are the main opposition party on Shropshire Council.

Robert said: “I want to stand up for, and represent my local community, to help hold the Tory council to account, and to work towards improving the lives of residents and communities across Shropshire.

“I feel particularly strongly about devolving power, empowering local communities and getting their voice heard. Standing for the Liberal Democrats is the best way to achieve that.”

Robert was born and bred in Baschurch and works in agriculture, specifically free-range poultry and egg production.

Helen Morgan welcoming Robert Jones to the Liberal Democrats in a socially distant way in Ruyton-XI-Towns
Helen Morgan welcoming Robert Jones to the Liberal Democrats in a socially distant way in Ruyton-XI-Towns

Helen Morgan welcomed Robert Jones to the Liberal Democrats in a socially distant way in Ruyton-XI-Towns.

Helen Morgan, who was the Liberal Democrat candidate at the last General Election, said: “The election next May will be hugely important. Residents will have an obvious choice, the incompetent and wasteful Conservatives or the Liberal Democrats who will fight for Shropshire and represent the only choice for change.

“Robert has a lot to offer the residents of Ruyton-XI-Towns & Baschurch. He is an excellent addition to our growing team. More importantly, he will be a first-class advocate for his community at Shirehall.”

Helen Morgan will also be standing for Shropshire Council next May in The Meres division. The Liberal Democrats will be building upon recent growth and fielding many more candidates in North Shropshire than they have for many years. They are optimistic about retaking previously held seats and making new gains

Robert concluded: “I can’t wait to get to work, win this election and then deliver for the residents of Ruyton & Baschurch division and for Shropshire.”

Former Shropshire Party PPC, Robert Jones, has joined the Liberal Democrats and will be standing for them next May in Ruyton & Baschurch Division
Former Shropshire Party PPC, Robert Jones, has joined the Liberal Democrats and will be standing for them next May in Ruyton & Baschurch Division

If you agree with Robert and think #ShropshireDeservesBetter than the Conservatives why not join us in fighting for Shropshire.

Owen Paterson has thrown British farmers on the scrapheap, Lib Dems warn

lib dems voted to protect farmers, animals welfare & food standards

The Liberal Democrats have warned Owen Paterson should “hang his head in shame” for voting against measures to protect high environmental and animal welfare standards.

Conservative MPs rejected amendments to the Agriculture Bill which would have forced the UK Government to ensure that British food and animal welfare standards are maintained in any trade deals.

Owen Paterson failed to back these measures, despite over a million people signing an NFU petition calling for the UK Government to put laws in place that prevent imports of food that is produced in ways that are illegal here in the UK, and a well supported local on-line petition.

The Liberal Democrats have committed to continuing the fight to protect British farmers, including exploring further amendments to the Trade Bill.

Helen Morgan reacted angrily to the news that Owen Paterson MP hadn't voted to support British Farmers. Helen is pictured supporting Helen supporting rare-breed farming in 2019
Helen Morgan reacted angrily to the news that Owen Paterson MP hadn’t voted to support British Farmers.

Liberal Democrat spokesperson Helen Morgan added:

“The Conservatives promised to protect British farmers, but they have betrayed that promise. 

“We now risk seeing foods that are currently illegal in the UK – like hormone treated beef, and fruit and vegetables produced using banned pesticide – making it onto our supermarket shelves.

“Owen Paterson should hang his head in shame. Despite the constraints of lockdown, North Shropshire Liberal Democrats were able to deliver a well supported on-line petition to him, highlighting the concerns of local residents about farming and food standards. He ignored them. He has let everyone across North Shropshire down by putting Boris Johnson’s government first.

Liberal Democrat Rural Affairs Spokesperson Tim Farron said:

“Unlike the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats back British farming. We want the Government to work in partnership with UK farmers to protect our world class food and animal welfare standards, cut greenhouse gas emissions and support the recovery of our natural environment.

“We will do everything we can to continue the fight to protect British farmers, including exploring further amendments to the Trade Bill.”

Owen Paterson must use last chance to back farmers

Helen Morgan reacted angrily to the news that Owen Paterson MP hadn't voted to support British Farmers. Helen is pictured supporting Helen supporting rare-breed farming in 2019

The North Shropshire Liberal Democrats have called on Owen Paterson to back British farming this week, and vote to protect our high environmental and animal welfare standards.

In a letter to Owen Paterson, Helen Morgan, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for North Shropshire, warned the Tories must not “risk farmers’ livelihoods to win a favourable trade deal from the USA.”

The votes come on Wednesday 04/11/2020 in amendments to the Agriculture Bill. The Liberal Democrats want MPs to ensure any post-Brexit trade deals meet UK animal welfare and food safety rules.

According to the NFU, over a million people have also signed their petition calling for the UK Government to put laws in place that prevent imports of food that is produced in ways that are illegal here in the UK.

Liberal Democrat Rural Affairs Spokesperson Tim Farron said:

“Farmers across the country are incredibly worried that the UK is about to be flooded with poor quality food undercutting their high quality produce.

“It doesn’t need to be this way. Liberal Democrats back British farming and want to work in partnership with our farmers to help cut greenhouse gas emissions, support the recovery of our natural environment all while continuing to produce the food that fills our cupboards.”

Liberal Democrat spokesperson for North Shropshire, Helen Morgan added:

“The Conservatives must not risk farmers’ livelihoods to win a favourable trade deal from the USA.

“If Owen Paterson is to truly back British farmers, he must vote to ensure any post-Brexit trade deals meet UK animal welfare and food safety rules.”

Please sign our petition calling for Owen Paterson to back British farmers, food producers and local jobs.

North Shropshire Lib Dems dismayed as local mp rejects free school meals for hungry children

o child should go hungry

Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson Helen Morgan has expressed disappointment that North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson failed to support proposals for free school meals in the holidays, despite a recent Children’s Society report showing 31% of children in North Shropshire live in poverty.

Helen said:

‘The report by the Children’s Society makes sobering reading – nearly a third of North Shropshire’s children live in poverty. It’s just unacceptable for their own MP to reject measures designed to help them, when they have been hardest hit by the pandemic.

‘These numbers aren’t theoretical. The Oswestry and Borders food bank has reported a 42% increase in the number of people needing help from April to September, showing that more and more local families are struggling to feed their children. It’s outrageous that the Conservatives do not recognise this hardship.

‘That’s why Kirsty Williams, the Lib Dem Education Minister for Wales, has acted to help hungry children in Wales, and why the Liberal Democrats are joining Marcus Rashford in his campaign to ensure that the most vulnerable English children don’t go hungry in the school holidays.’

No child should have to go hungry, on any day of the year

No child should have to go hungry, on any day of the year – add your name to the campaign

Liberal Democrats are calling for:

  • Free school meals to every pupil whose parents or guardians are in receipt of Universal Credit
  • Food vouchers for every one of those pupils in every school holiday and during any period of lockdown
  • Free school meals to pupils from low-income families whose parents or guardians have no recourse to public funds and destitute asylum seekers.

For more information:

The Liberal Democrat campaign for free school meals can be found here

The full report by the Children’s society for North Shropshire can be found here:

The news release by the Oswestry and Borders Foodbank can be found here:

Helen Morgan
Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for North Shropshire
07508 550361

Contact us if you would like to join our fight for a better Shropshire

Condolences for a tragic loss

Owen Paterson MP

Our sincere condolences to Owen Paterson, family and friends for their tragic loss. Devastating news 😢
https://news.sky.com/…/wife-of-tory-mp-owen-paterson-found-…

Heartbreaking news. I know from my own experience what how devastating this will be. Heartfelt condolences to Owen Paterson, family and friends

Constituency Chair, David Walker

I was shocked to read this news this afternoon – so sad for Owen Paterson and his family. My sincere condolences to them.

Helen Morgan – Parliamentary spokesperson for North Shropshire Liberal Democrats

DVSA unfairly penalising learner drivers

Clive Geary condemning DVSA unfairness for learner drivers

The DVSA is unfairly penalising learner drivers - Clive GearyNorth Shropshire Driving Instructor and Lib Dem campaigner, Clive Geary today condemned the Driver & Vehicle Licencing Agency’s treatment of learner drivers during the pandemic. Learner drivers are mainly young people.

Mr Geary said: “I cannot express enough how disappointed I am with the way young people are being penalised through no fault of their own by the DVSA’s policy at this moment in time.

“The Driving & Vehicles Standards Agency (DVSA) appear to be profiteering from the crisis. There are no driving tests and it would appear this will be for at least 3 months. But they will not extend anyone’s theory test certificate.

“The DVSA profess to make it cheaper to learn to drive as substantiated by a reduction in the cost of the theory test in the not too distant past.”

Clive Geary is a driving instructor based in Weston Rhyn, North Shropshire. He is concerned that the DVSA’s inconsistent approach is unfair.

Due to the Coronavirus, the DVSA has extended the validity of MOT certificates by 6 months. An MOT test is a safety check on a vehicle’s roadworthiness. Mr Geary ponders: “Should a vehicle suffer a brake failure and injuries result who might be at fault? This is generous, if risky. With regards to learning to drive, the DVSA has chosen to be less generous.”

Learner drivers who have passed their theory test are given a certificate which is valid for 2 years. Learner drivers have 2 years in which to book and pass a practical driving test.

All theory tests are currently suspended until the 31st May 2020. All practical driving tests are suspended until at least 20th June 2020, unless you are a critical worker.

Clive explained: “Assuming matters get back to a near-normal, you will not be able to book a practical driving test until at least October/November 2020, although you have paid for and passed a theory test you have not actually got a certificate that is valid for 2 years.

“It seems to me that the DVSA are profiteering from the ongoing crisis as they will not extend the validity of theory test pass certificates.”

If you have a similar issue of inequality during lockdown please contact us

Open Letter to Owen Paterson MP for North Shropshire

 

Open letter to Owen Paterson MP for North Shropshire, requesting a response to the Prime Minister’s press conference this evening.

Dear Mr Paterson,

This evening I have watched the Downing Street press conference. As you can imagine I am angered and frankly frightened about the damage the Prime Minister has inflicted on the country in such a short time.

He has effectively endorsed breaking the law, avoided legitimate questions about his own knowledge of Mr Cummings’ trips, and lied outright, not least by asserting that Mr Cummings was in need of childcare when it is known that this was not the case.

It is deeply insulting to those of us who have endured the lockdown for the greater good. Loved ones have died and been buried alone. Fathers have been unable to attend the births of their babies. Elderly relatives have been isolated from their adult children and their grandchildren.

More worryingly, it shows that Mr Johnson does not value the rule of law. He has lied to the nation in a live public broadcast, without conscience. Trust in the government will be undermined after this shameful display, and meaningful enforcement of public health measures could be very difficult. It is my belief that continued support from our MP is untenable.

I would be grateful if you could address the most concerning elements:

Number 10 Downing Street issued a statement which accused Durham Police of lying about speaking to Mr Cummings’ family. However Durham Police have confirmed that they indeed spoke to Mr Cummings’ family.  At a time when public trust in the Government guidance is critical to save lives, are you comfortable with the Prime Minister’s office issuing statements that are apparently false?

In Saturday’s evening press conference, the Transport Secretary suggested that the guidance had always been open to personal interpretation. However, experience shows the vast majority of the British public, and evidently Durham Police, felt that the guidance, ‘if you or someone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus, do not leave your home for any reason’ was unequivocal. Are you comfortable with the guidance being retrospectively twisted to save the career of an unelected bureaucrat, unaccountable to the British people?

In light of the immense community efforts taking place across the country, it is simply not credible that Mr Cummings’ family could not find the support that they needed in London. In the unlikely event that they are friendless, have no family in the area, and were unable to find paid support, there are community groups who would have helped them with their food shopping during the period.

In backing Mr Cummings, Mr Johnson has undermined public trust to an extraordinary degree, and now threatens the public health initiative.  The country desperately needs this to be effective, so that life can return to normal as soon as possible.

Democracy ends with ‘one rule for the people and another for the elite’ and the public will rightly not accept it. I am extremely concerned that social distancing, already fraying, will now become unenforceable, risking a very damaging second wave of the virus. There is a risk that thousands of people will lose their lives, and many thousands more will lose their jobs and businesses. This issue could not be more serious.

Mr Johnson has shown breath-taking arrogance and contempt for the public sacrifice made over recent weeks. You have made no public comment regarding the matter. Your constituents deserve to know whether you will be continuing to support him in light of the weekend’s dramatic developments.

I look forward to the publication of your response.

Yours sincerely,

Helen Morgan

Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for North Shropshire
07508 550361
CC: North Shropshire Liberal Democrats, Shropshire Star, Oswestry and Border Counties Advertiser, Whitchurch Herald, BBC Shropshire, ITV Central News, Oswestry Chronicle

Angry response as Owen Paterson voted against protecting British Farmers

Helen Morgan reacted angrily to the news that Owen Paterson MP hadn't voted to support British Farmers. Helen is pictured supporting Helen supporting rare-breed farming in 2019

Today Helen Morgan reacted angrily to the news that Owen Paterson voted in parliament to undermine hard-working farmers in North Shropshire. Yesterday, local MP Owen Paterson voted against an amendment to the Agriculture Bill that would have prevented trade deals which undermine current UK food and farming standards.

Helen Morgan reacted angrily to the news that Owen Paterson MP hadn't voted to support British Farmers. Helen is pictured supporting Helen supporting rare-breed farming in 2019
Helen Morgan reacted angrily to the news that Owen Paterson MP hadn’t voted to support British Farmers.

Helen (Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for North Shropshire) said: “I’m so angry that our MP ignores the needs of the local economy. In voting against the amendment he has effectively told farmers ‘we’ll sell you out to get our US trade deal, complete with hormone-fed beef and chlorinated chicken’. It’s outrageous.

“This amendment would have protected our farmers by preventing trade deals which allow the import of goods with lower production, animal welfare, environmental and labour standards.

“Along with the looming ‘no deal’ Brexit at the end of the year, our farmers are looking at tariffs on their exports and critical imports (such as machinery and fertiliser) and no protection from substandard food imports in any future trade deals.

“Agriculture and the food industries are our major employer here in North Shropshire, but our MP is more interested in an ideologically pure Brexit than protecting our jobs. North Shropshire deserves better”.

Neil Parish, chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, had called on MPs to back his amendment providing protection of our current production standards in law, saying:

“There is no point having world-leading standards in the UK if we do not expect trade partners to reciprocate. Allowing preferential access to food imports produced to lower standards will put many of our farmers at a competitive disadvantage and out of business.

“Not only will this export jobs in farming and food production, it will export the impact of this production, turning a blind eye to poor animal welfare standards abroad and encouraging environmental degradation there. We will be exporting control, not taking it back.”

Helen said: “Mr Paterson has notoriously travelled to the US to listen to the concerns of lobbyists there. But to safeguard jobs in North Shropshire he should be supporting British farmers and food producers. Liberal Democrats will continue to fight for our local industry and local jobs in North Shropshire”.

The NFU had been calling for greater protection for British Farms in the Agricultural Bill
The NFU had been calling for greater protection for British Farms in the Agricultural Bill


Yesterday MPs voted on a series of amendments to the Agricultural Bill

All MPs were sent a letter urging them to back British Farming
The letter said:
“As representatives of farming, consumer, environmental and animal welfare
organisations across the UK, we are urging you to take this last proper
opportunity to ensure that the Bill secures vital safeguards for the high
standards of food safety, animal welfare and environmental protection that
the public value so highly. At this time of crisis, you have the opportunity to
ensure that British farmers can produce the sustainable, healthy food we
need knowing that they will not be undercut by low standards imports as a
result of future trade policy, while meeting the public’s strong expectation
that food standards will be maintained. ”

The letter was co-signed by:

  • Minette Batters – President, National Farmers Union
  • Beccy Speight – Chief Executive, RSPB
  • Chris Sherwood – Chief Executive, RSPCA
  • Miriam Turner and Hugh Knowles – Co-Chief Executives, Friends of the Earth
  • Mark Bridgeman – President, CLA
  • Hilary McGrady – Director-General, National Trust
  • Helen Browning – Chief Executive, Soil Association
  • Sue Davies – Head of Consumer Protection and Food Policy, Which?
  • Patrick Holden – Chief Executive, Sustainable Food Trust
  • Shaun Spiers – Chair, Greener UK & Executive Director, Green Alliance
  • Craig Bennett – Chief Executive, The Wildlife Trusts
  • Richard Benwell – Chief Executive, Wildlife and Countryside Link
  • Kath Dalmeny – Chief Executive, Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming
  • John Davies – President, NFU Cymru
  • Caroline Drummond – Chief Executive, LEAF
  • George Dunn – Chief Executive, Tenant Farmers Association
  • Ivor Ferguson – President, Ulster Farmers Union
  • Jyoti Fernandes MBE – Chair, Landworkers Alliance
  • Martin Lines – UK Chair, Nature-Friendly Farming Network
  • Andrew McCornick – President, NFU Scotland
  • Darren Moorcroft – Chief Executive, Woodland Trust
  • Kate Norgrove – Executive Director of Advocacy and Campaigns, WWF-UK
  • Doug Parr – Chief Scientist, Greenpeace
  • James Thornton – Chief Executive, ClientEarth
  • James Robinson – Conservation Director, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust
  • Sarah-Jane Laing – Chief Executive, Scottish Land & Estates.

Owen Paterson voted against British farmers

Owen Patterson MP for North Shropshire voted against the amendments that the NFU and the other signatories were calling for.  Clause 2 proposed by Neil Parish, chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee would have safeguarded British Farms from inferior quality cheap imports and protected the animal welfare and food standards the public expects.

Owen Paterson failed to vote to support British Farmers
Owen Paterson was surprising satisfied that he had hadn’t voted to support British Farmers

Owen Paterson failed to vote to support British Farmers
Owen Paterson failed to vote to support British Farmers on the crucial amendments the NFU and others were calling for.

North Shropshire Lib Dems had previously backed the NFU’s calls to back British farmers. Before the coronavirus lockdown, we had launched a Farming and Food Standards petition to that effect urging Owen Paterson to:

  • Oppose any deals allowing imports of food that would fail to meet our current world-leading standards of hygiene and animal welfare.
  • Add concrete legal protections into the Agriculture Bill to keep current protections for food standards, hygiene and animal welfare, in time for the end of the Brexit transition period in December 2020.

Report stage of the Agricultural Bill

13 May 2020
Division 42
Ayes: 277 Noes: 328 (Owen Paterson voted  No)
13 May 2020
Division 43
Ayes: 221 Noes: 352 (Owen Paterson voted  No)
13 May 2020
Division 44
Ayes: 56 Noes: 362 (Owen Paterson voted  No)

Third reading of the Agricultural Bill

13 May 2020
Division 45
Ayes: 360 Noes: 211 (Owen Paterson voted  Yes)
Indeed all of Shropshire’s Conservative MPs failed to back British Farming despite pledging to do so in their manifesto

Reaction to the votes on the Agricultural Bill yesterday

“Despite frequent warm words, it is disappointing the government did not take the opportunity to legislate that they will not allow the imports of food that would be illegal to produce here.” NFU Brexit director Nick von Westenholz‘s response to the Agriculture Bill report stage.

Soil Association reaction: Liz Bowles, Assoc. Director of Food and Farming at the Soil Association said: “As a farmer, and a member of society, I was disappointed in yesterday’s outcome.”
Liz manages one of the largest pedigree flocks of Shropshire sheep in the UK and combines this with being a Council Member of the Breed Society.

Demand Better for farming and food industries
Demand Better for farming and food industries

Public Accounts Committee Press Release

David Walker in West Felton

David Walker, campaigner in Whittington Division, issued a Press Release ahead of the Public Accounts Committee inquiry into local councils buying commercial property that starts on Monday. The Shropshire Star has used some of it here: https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/business/2020/05/08/council-questioned-over-shopping-centres/

My Press Release: Public Accounts Committee inquiry into council commercial spending

07 May 2020

Embargo: none

Commenting on the news that The Public Accounts Committee will look at Shropshire Council’s £52m shopping centre purchase as part of their inquiry into local authority commercial investment, David Walker said: “The purchase of these shopping centres represents a huge risk to Shropshire Council’s finances. Senior administration members seem to have forgotten it isn’t monopoly money they are playing with. Or indeed their own money. They are risking public money!”

The inquiry will be looking to see if the Government Department has effective oversight of the risks to the financial sustainability of local authorities investing in commercial property. The Public Accounts Committee will look at these purchases on the 11th of May.

David Walker is a Civil Engineering Surveyor who has worked in the property and construction industry for over 30 years…

Read more here: https://cllrdavidwalker.org/52m-shopping-centre-purchase-inquiry/

£52m shopping centre purchase inquiry

David Walker in West Felton

It is welcome news that a parliamentary watchdog is to examine Shropshire Council’s £52m shopping centre purchase. This is part of a wider look at local council involvement in purchasing commercial property. The Public Accounts Committee will look at these purchases in May.

The purchase of these shopping centres represents a huge risk to Shropshire Council’s finances. Senior administration members seem to have forgotten it isn’t monopoly money they are playing with. Or indeed their own money. They are risking public money! The risks in the investment clearly outweighed the potential gain. More so when you consider the perilous state of their finances. More so given that more prudent investment strategies would give a better return.

Read more: https://cllrdavidwalker.org/52m-shopping-centre-purchase-inquiry/