Ben Dean-Titterrell

Politics and beer

Month: April, 2016

James Heappey weekly: No.5

jamesheappey

Week 18 April – 24 April

In a week when President Barack Obama said it was in Britain’s best interest to stay in the EU, the Queen turned 90, and legendary musician and performer Prince died, what did James Heappey do?

Speeches and written questions

On 20 April James Heappey spoke in a Commons debate considering several amendments made in the House of Lords to the Energy Bill. Mr Heappey spoke at great length in the debate. The Wells MP showed frustration at the delay in the the Government not being able to fulfill its manifesto pledge to close the renewables obligation to new onshore wind because of “the intervention of the unelected Members of the other place.” Mr Heappey said “It is important that we do not allow the closure of the renewables obligation for onshore wind to be cast as anti-green.” adding “The Government need to deliver their manifesto commitment to ensure that bill payers are not expected to foot the bill for the excessive deployment of this type of generation.” Following an intervention from a fellow MP, Mr Heappey urged that it was time for onshore wind to have an equal footing in the energy market, “This is not the end of onshore wind in that onshore wind is not being banned, but is simply being told that it is time to find its own feet and to go it alone, where it can be sited in a permissive planning environment.” He closed his speech by talking about the work of the Energy and Climate Change Committee in preparation for the next energy Bill, “It is also important to note that the Energy and Climate Change Committee has recently begun pre-legislative scrutiny of the next energy Bill. There is a great deal in it that is quite exciting, in my view, so let us get this one done and get on with that one.”

Voting Record

On 19 April James Heappey voted five times, all five votes were on aspects of the Bank of England and Financial Services Bill [Lords]. Mr Heappey voted: against a second reading of a clause to the Bill submitted by SNP MP George Kerevan which said the Chancellor, when nominating people to the Bank of England’s Court of Directors, must have regard to the importance of ensuring a balanced representation from the nations and regions of the United Kingdom; against a second reading of a clause to the Bill submitted by Labour MP Richard Burgon which said, among other things, that regulators must undertake an annual review for presentation to the Treasury into abusive tax avoidance; against an amendment, also submitted by Richard Burgon, which outlined how someone would be guilty of misconduct; against an amendment to the Bill submitted by Plaid Cymru MP Jonathon Edwards which said that Lloyds Banking Group, the holder of the Bank of Wales trademark, be given power to issue banknotes in Wales; and for moving the Bill onto a third reading.

On 20 April James Heappey voted twice, once on the Energy Bill [Lords] and once on how Acts of Parliament are recorded. Mr Heappey voted: for a government motion to disagree with an amendment from the Lords to the Energy Bill that went against the government’s plans for planning permission of new wind power projects; and for a motion put forward by Conservative MP James Gray which said that Parliament continue to record laws on vellum, a type of parchment made from calf skin.

James Heappey voted with the majority and was loyal to the government on all seven votes.

Energy and Climate Change Committee

The Committee did not hold any oral evidence sessions this week. The Committee announced that on Tuesday 26 April they will question Andrea Leadsom, a Minister in the Department of Energy and Climate Change, as a part of their inquiry into low carbon network infrastructure.

Expenses

Any data later than November 2015 on MPs expenses has not yet been published. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority have not specified a specific date for when they will publish the data, but they say it will be at some point in May.

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James Heappey weekly: No.4

jamesheappey

Week 11 April – 17 April 2016

The parliamentary Easter recess has, at long last, come to an end. So in a week where several prominent politicians published their tax returns, Vote Leave was designated the official campaign for leaving the EU, and Jeremy Corbyn made a reluctant pro-EU speech, what did James Heappey do?

Speeches and written questions

James Heappey hasn’t made a speech in Parliament since 8 March. Nor has he submitted any written questions. Nothing to see here, move along.

Voting Record

This week James Heappey voted once on 11 April and four times on 13 April. On 11 April Mr Heappey voted: for a second reading of the Finance Bill. On 13 April he voted: against a motion put forward by John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, that the government, among other things, launch a public inquiry into the Panama Papers and commit more resources to HMRC; for amending an Opposition motion that ‘called on the Government to put on hold its plans’ to expand school accademisation to one that ‘welcomes the commitment to achieve educational excellence everywhere’;  and for approving the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2016.

Energy and Climate Change Committee

On 12 April the committee met to hear evidence relating to their inquiry on low carbon network infrastructure. James Heappey asked 18 questions during the session. Among his questions were several to Maxine Frerk, Acting Senior Partner at the Networks department of Ofgem, about the potential for the government to set up an independent system operator – a replacement for the National Grid. Mr Heappey asked “If the Government were to create an independent system operator, would it be best for this to be directly under DECC (Department for Energy and Climate Change) control, or would you want to control it, or should it be an entirely separate public entity?” Ms Frerk replied that “if there were an ISO, we would expect it to be a licensed entity that we regulated in the same way as we regulate Grid.” The MP for Wells, unsatisfied with the answer, pushed for clarification on whether an ISO would be a completely stand alone entity. Mr Frerk stated that “if we were in the ISO world, to us that means we would want it to be independent of Government as well”, she added “It would just be separate from Grid rather than part of the Grid organisations.”

Expenses

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has still yet to publish any expenses data later that November 2015. The IPSA website says that they will publish data for MPs’ expenses for December 2015 and January 2016 at some point in May.

James Heappey weekly: No.3

jamesheappey
Week 4 April – 10 April 2016

Parliament is still on its recess. Therefore James Heappey hasn’t made any speeches or cast any votes or really done anything worth writing here. Again, I’m going to pick a random day in the last 11 months that James Heappey has been in Parliament and write about that.

This time I’ve chosen 1 December 2015. It was a Tuesday, and it was overcast yet unseasonably warm.

1 December 2015

Speeches and written questions

James Heappey rose to speak once in the House of Commons on 1 December 2015. The MP for Wells presented a petition on behalf of his constituents that supported the same request as an earlier petition presented to the House by fellow Conservative MP for Beverley and Holderness, Graham Stuart. That petition was about the need for a new national formula for funding schools in England, noting that the gap in money received per pupil within the ten best funded areas and the ten worst funded areas can be more than £2,000.

Voting Record

Mr Heappey voted five times on the first day of December last year, all on various clauses the Immigration Bill. He voted: for making it a criminal offence for someone to work if their immigration status prohibited it; for making it an offence to rent a home to someone who is disqualified from renting as a result of their immigration status; for restricting the support available to failed asylum seekers and illegal migrants; for extending the power to deport an individual before considering an appeal on human rights grounds; and for moving the Immigration Bill onto a third reading. James Heappey was loyal to the government and voted with the majority on all five votes.

Energy and Climate Change Committee

The Committee took oral evidence relating to their inquiry into Investor Confidence in the UK Energy Sector. James Heappey asked 12 questions during the session and began by asking about any impact that cuts to wind and solar subsidies could have on investors.

He asked Alan White, Director of Carlton Power Limited (a holding company), “Can you just explain the impact that the potential cuts to wind and solar had on your investors?” Mr White answered, “When investors see changes happening to subsidy regimes…it becomes unsettling and that nervousness then comes into an investor’s mind when they look at another opportunity.” Mr Heappey then asked Mr White if “the sort of changes in subsidy regime in other sectors still make you nervous, regardless of the Government’s enthusiasm for your method of generation?” Mr White replied “yes, there is nervousness around and changes to policy can impact general market sentiment from investors in the energy sector.”

James Heappey later went on to ask more questions to other witnesses present at the Committee’s hearing.

Expenses

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has, at the time of writing, not yet published any expenses claims dated after 18 November 2015. As a result it is currently unknown whether James Heappey made any expenses claims on 1 December 2015.

James Heappey weekly: No.2

jamesheappey

Week 28 March – 3 April 2016

The week after I started this summary of my MP’s work in Parliament, he went on holiday. Obviously James Heappey hasn’t done anything since the start of the House of Commons recess on 24 March and as a result I have nothing to write about.

My contingency plan for this situation is to pick one specific day of James Heappey’s Parliamentary career and write about what he did on that day. The day I’ve chosen this time is 27 October 2015. That day was a Tuesday, and it was cloudy.

27 October 2015

Speeches and written questions

James Heappey rose to speak in the House of Commons to ask a question to the Chancellor, George Osbourne, about tax on Cider, saying “Will the Chancellor continue to support hard-working people and lubricate the Somerset economy by cutting tax on cider?” The Chancellor replied by recalling a pre-election visit to Hecks Farmhouse Cider in Mr Heappey’s Wells constituency and stating that he thinks “the industry is incredibly important and I will take what steps I can to support it in the future.”

On 27 October James Heappey also received an answer to a written question he’d submitted six days earlier. The question was to the Chancellor about what fiscal steps the Treasury was taking to support business. The answer came from the Financial Secretary, David Gauke, who said the government was committed to supporting business and pointed to the fact that the government aimed to lower corporation tax to 18% in 2020.

Voting Record

The Wells MP voted five times on 27 October, all on aspects of the Welfare Reform and Work Bill. He voted: for reducing the amount people are paid in tax credits; against a transitional scheme to protect those currently receiving tax credits as reductions in the amounts paid are brought in; for removing the “work-related activity component” from the Employment and Support Allowance; for removing the “limited capability for work” element of Universal Credit; and for moving the Welfare Reform and Work Bill onto a third reading. James Heappey was loyal to the government and voted with the majority on all five votes.

Energy and Climate Change Committee

The Committee did not carry out any hearings or other business on Tuesday 27th October 2015.

Expenses

James Heappey made one expense claim on 27 October. The claim was for £1,950 to pay the rent of his London accommodation. The claim was paid in full and none of the claim has had to be repaid.