Week 6 May – 12 May
In a week when the deadline for voter registration for the EU referendum was extended for 48 hours following problems with the government website, the value of the pound fell sharply following a poll showing a 10% lead for the Leave campaign, and Euro 2016 kicked off in France, what did James Heappey do?
Speeches and written questions
James Heappey has not spoken in Parliament since 9 May when he spoke in a debate about the government’s academisation of schools policy.
Mr Heappey voted 11 times this week, mainly on the Investigatory Powers Bill.
On 6 June he voted five times on the Investigatory Powers Bill. He voted: against a proposed Liberal Democrat amendment that would outline how the Investigatory Powers Commissioner would have to notify the subject or subjects of investigatory powers; against a proposed SNP amendment that would set up an Investigatory Powers Commission; against a proposed SNP amendment that would make it clear that voluntary, unsolicited disclosures are protected, and that any whistle-blower is also protected from criminal prosecution; against a proposed SNP amendment that would retain the capacity of a single warrant to permit the interception of multiple individuals but would require an identifiable subject matter or premises to be provided; and against a proposed SNP amendment that would would require that there is reasonable suspicion of serious crime for a warrant authorising interception.
On 7 June the Wells MP voted a further four times on matters relating to the Investigatory Powers Bill. Mr Heappey voted: against a proposed SNP amendment that would leave out the section on bulk interception warrants; against a proposed SNP amendment that would require authorisation from a Judicial Commissioner to obtain telecommunications data; against a proposed Liberal Democrat amendment that would exclude the collection of internet collection records; and for a motion to move the Bill onto a Third reading.
On 8 June James Heappey voted twice. He voted: against an Opposition motion to say the Government’s White Paper on the BBC fails to provide an acceptable basis for Charter renewal; and against a motion to express regret about the Government’s lack of progress towards halving the disability employment gap.
Mr Heappey voted with the majority and was loyal to the government on all 11 votes.
Energy and Climate Change Committee
This week the Energy and Climate Change Committee held an oral evidence session as part of their inquiry into the challenges of the UK meeting its 2020 renewable energy targets for heating and transport. Mr Heappey asked many questions during the session on a range of issues.
At one point during the session Mr Heappey asked questions to Christopher Snelling, Head of National and Regional Policy and Public Affairs at the Freight Transport Association, about the process of encouraging people to buy electric cars. Mr Heappey said, “If you look back at what they did 100 years ago to try to pave the way for the petrol engine, it is inconceivable that they could have considered putting out the petrol pump network first in order to incentivise people to buy the cars.” Mr Snelling replied that the situation today was different and “back in those days the car was a new invention completely, as merely an alternative to the horse. It started out with leisure usage and short-term usage from home.”
Mr Heappey then raised the point that many of the same concerns at the time when petrol cars were introduced are present today around electric cars, “stuff that was in newspapers 100 years ago when people were talking about the advantages of going for a petrol engine are exactly the same debate as people are having now, whether or not they should get an electric vehicle.” Mr Snelling responded that “For us as operators it is still the lack of confidence not only that there is the sufficient refuelling infrastructure to get around the UK to wherever you need but it is also this issue of will it be there for the next 20 years.”