Week 11 July – 17 July
In a week when Theresa May became Prime Minister, Labour’s National Executive Committee ruled that Jeremy Corbyn would automatically be on the ballot for the party’s leadership election, and there was an ultimately unsuccessful attempted coup in Turkey, what did James Heappey do?
Speeches and written questions
James Heappey has not spoken in Parliament since 6 July when he spoke about the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war.
His written question submitted last week was answered by the then Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Sajid Javid on 14 July. Mr Javid replied to Mr Heappey’s question on the impacts of introducing a £17.50 per hour minimum wage by saying that introducing such a wage in 2020 for people aged over 25 would be a 143% increase on the current National Living Wage. He added, “We also estimate that there would be somewhere close to 1.75 million job losses and somewhere between 65,000 and 119,000 business deaths. There would also most likely be a substantial reduction in hours worked, increased labour costs and increased prices, and obvious disincentives to starting new businesses.”
Mr Heappey voted four times this week on four separate issues.
On 12 July he voted once on the impact of the EU referendum on energy environment policy. He voted: against an opposition motion that would make the House recognise the uncertainty created by the result of the EU referendum for the protections currently in place for the UK’s energy security, climate change commitments and the natural environment and would urge the government to identify and fill any legislative gaps in environmental protection that may arise from the removal of EU law.
Also on the same day Mr Heappey voted on the issue of SATs tests for schoolchildren. He voted: against an opposition motion that would note the fact the Government has published figures showing that a lower proportion of children were meeting the expected standard at the end of Key Stage 2 overall in 2016 than in 2015 and call on the government to urgently review primary assessment and the 2016 SATs results
Finally on 12 July Mr Heappey voted on civil proceeding and tribunal fees. He voted: for a motion to approve the draft Civil Proceedings, First-tier Tribunal, Upper Tribunal and Employment Tribunals Fees (Amendment) Order 2016.
On 13 July the MP for Wells voted once on a motion regarding an appointment to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. He voted: for a motion to present an address to the Queen asking her to appoint Jenny Willott to the office of ordinary member of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority with effect from 7 August 2016 for the period ending 31 December 2020.
Mr Heappey voted with the majority and was loyal to the government on all four votes.
Energy and climate change committee
The committee held an evidence session for their inquiry into 2020 renewable heat and transport targets on 13 July. Mr Heappey asked several questions during the evidence session.
He asked Andrew Jones MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, what was the average cost of installing an electric vehicle charging point. Mr Jones replied by saying, “This varies by how much work is required to provide the power supply as much as anything else. The actual charging point units themselves are coming down in price as technology develops.”
Mr Heappey then asked whether government on the issue was sufficient, “So the money allocated by the Government’s programme should be sufficient, in your expectation, to achieve your aim of one every 20 miles on the major road network?” Mr Jones assured the Wells MP that it was, “Yes. We already have over 11,000 public charge points now in the UK, and there are 60,000 domestic charge points. Most people, of course, charge their vehicles overnight—just a trickle charge when it’s cheap.”
Since be becoming Prime Minister Theresa May has decided to abolish the Department for Energy and Climate Change and replace it with the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The details remain unclear and it is currently unknown what will happen to James Heappey and the other members of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority have just published MPs expenses data for February and March 2016. Mr Heappey made 32 claims in this period totaling £3,234.18. This brings his total expenses claims as an MP to £54,518.71.
James Heappey’s largest claim over this two month period came on 25 February and was for £1,693.56 to pay the rent on his London accommodation. He also claimed £911.64 on 18 March to pay for his constituency office rent.
Most of his claims were small and medium sized amounts for travel within his constituency and between his constituency and London. He made 23 travel own vehicle travel claims in the February and March which ranged fro £0.22 to £61.65.
All of Mr Heappey’s claims have been paid in full and none have had to be repaid to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.