James Heappey weekly: No.8
by Ben D-T
Week 9 May – 15 May
In a week when it was announced that the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war would be published on 6 July, David Cameron called Afghanistan and Nigeria two of the most corrupt countries in the world, and Ukraine won Eurovision, what did James Heappey do?
Speeches and written questions
James Heappey spoke once this week in the Commons, asking Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan a question following her statement on the government’s policy on academies. Mr Heappey welcomed the Secretary of State’s statement, saying “The statement that she has made today will be most welcome in Somerset. I have recently visited a number of good and outstanding local authority-controlled schools in my constituency, which see the attraction of academisation but are nervous about the transition.” He asked if she would “set out how her Department will work with schools and local authorities to facilitate that transition at a time of a school’s choosing?” The Secretary of State replied that Mr Heappey should “speak to his regional schools commissioner, who has an important position in the local community in working with schools that want to convert and can raise any problems directly with me or the Minister for Schools.”
Mr Heappey voted six times this week on three different Bills.
On 9 May he voted once on the Energy Bill. He voted: for rejecting a Lords amendment to an earlier Commons amendment to the Bill regarding the issue of planning permission for onshore wind power stations in England and Wales.
Also on 9 May the MP for Wells voted three times on the Housing and Planning Bill. He voted: for rejecting a Lords amendment to an earlier Commons amendment to the Bill that would allow local planning authorities to meet all or part of its starter homes requirement through the form of other low cost housing if it can prove there is a need for alternative low cost home ownership; for rejecting a Lords amendment to the Bill that would allow local planning authorities to keep part of a payment due to the Secretary of State to build social housing; and for replacing a Lords amendment to the Bill that would set out the process of a neighbourhood right to appeal against new housing development with an amendment that would further set out what English local planning authorities have to include in reports on planning applications.
Finally on 9 May James Heappey voted once on the Immigration Bill. He voted: for accepting an amendment to the Bill that sets out for how long a pregnant woman may be detained.
On 11 May Mr Heappey voted once on the Housing and Planning Bill. He voted: for rejecting a Lords amendment to the Bill that would set out how many homes must be able to be built with any reduction in payment should the Secretary of State and a local housing authority enter into an agreement to reduce the amount that the authority is required to pay.
James Heappey voted with the majority and was loyal to the government on all six votes.
Energy and Climate Change Committee
On 11 May the committee held a one off evidence session on the issue of the economic recovery of the oil and gas industries. Mr Heappey asked several question during the evidence session.
He asked a panel of people involved in the oil and gas industry “What could be done to accelerate progress towards collaborative working across the industry?” Jake Molloy, Regional Organiser in the Offshore Energy Branch of the RMT Union, answered by saying “What would help [is] if the club to which all of the oil companies are joined up to, Oil & Gas UK, were bound by rules. [They] will no doubt tell you they can’t mandate what their member companies do, that to me is a failure.” Deirdre Michie, Chief Executive of Oil & Gas UK, replied “We’re not a golf club – we can’t mandate our members, in the same way as you don’t mandate your members, Jake. What we can do is we can encourage them and get them to show leadership in that space.”
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority have released MPs expenses data for December 2015 and January 2016. During those two months James Heappey made ten expenses claims totaling £10,930.81 with the largest single claim being made on December 15 for £3,443.04 to pay rent for Mr Heappey’s constituency office. On either London accommodation rent or constituency office rent the Wells MP claimed a total of £10,093.04 in the two months of expenses data added.
All of Mr Heappey’s claims have been paid in full and none have had to be repaid.