James Heappey weekly: No.6
by Ben D-T
Week 25 April – 1 May
In a week when a two year long inquiry found that the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster were unlawfully killed and that the fans were in no way responsible for their deaths, Labour MP Naz Shah was suspended from the Labour Party for making anti-semitic comments on Facebook in 2014, Ken Livingstone was suspended from the Labour Party for saying Hitler supported Zionism, what did James Heappey do?
Speeches and written questions
James Heappey has not spoken in the Commons since 20 April and has not submitted a written question since 18 March.
It was a busy week for the Wells MP who cast a total of 12 votes on three different bills.
On 25 April James Heappey voted five times on aspects of the Immigration Bill. He voted: for rejecting a Lords amendment to the Bill that would have allowed 3,000 unaccompanied refugee children from Europe into the UK; for rejecting a Lords amendment to the Bill that would have required immigration rules to make provision for leave to remain in the United Kingdom to be granted to an overseas domestic worker; for rejecting a Lords amendment to the Bill that would have set out a time limit for how long a person can be detained and replacing it with an amendment that sets out the requirement to consider an application for bail; for rejecting a Lords amendment to the Bill that would prevent the detention of any person the Secretary of State knows to be pregnant and replacing it with an amendment that says no pregnant woman may be detained for longer than 72 hours, or seven days when a longer detention is authorised; and for rejecting an amendment that would set out permission for asylum seekers to work after six months of their asylum application being submitted.
On 26 April James Heappey voted five times on aspects of the Policing and Crime Bill. He voted: against an amendment to the Bill that would prevent Police and Crime Commissioners from taking over the functions of Fire and Rescue Authorities; against an amendment that would require the Secretary of State to conduct a review on the level of funding the Fire and Rescue Service requires in order to secure public safety before she may allow a Police and Crime Commissioner to be a fire and rescue authority; against an amendment that would ensure that a Police and Crime Commissioner can only take over a Fire and Rescue Service with the approval of local people or their local representatives; against an amendment that would remove the provision for volunteer PCSOs to be issued with CS spray and PAVA spray (two types of pepper spray); and against an amendment that would guarantee that police funding would be protected in a police grant settlement approved by Parliament before proposals to grant additional police powers to volunteers can be brought forward.
On 27 April James Heappey vote twice on aspects of the Trade Union Bill. He voted: for accepting a Lords amendment to the Bill that sets out an independent review into electronic balloting; and for rejecting a Lords amendment to leave out a clause that would require relevant public sector employers to publish information on how many of their employees are involved in the relevant trade union.
James Heappey voted with the majority and was loyal to the government on all 12 votes.
Energy and Climate Change committee
On 26 April the committee held an oral evidence session for their inquiry into low carbon network infrastructure. James Heappey asked a dozen questions during the session and asked many of them to Andrea Leadsom, a Minister at the Department for Energy and Climate Change.
Among the questions Mr Heappey asked were several on the issue of smart meters and what the government would deem a successful level of uptake. Mr Heappey said “Minister, would you care to offer what percentage uptake of smart meters would you deem to have been a success by 2020?” The Minister replied that “The absolute goal is that every consumer is offered a smart meter by 2020.” Mr Heappey pushed for a precise figure on what the DECC would consider a successful level of uptake. After several more questions and an intervention from Angus MacNeil, Chair of the committee, it was established that there was no target.
It’s now May. At some point this month the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority will publish expenses data for December 2015 and January 2016.