Ben Dean-Titterrell

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Tag: European Union

Bernard Jenkin weekly: No.13

Week 30 January – 5 February

In a week when MPs voted overwhelmingly to give the government power to activate Article 50, thousands joined protests around the world against President Trump’s travel ban, and a judge in Seattle suspended the travel ban nationwide across America, what did Bernard Jenkin do?

Speeches and written questions

Mr Jenkin spoke many times in Parliament this week, mainly when he made a statement to the House of Commons in his role as chair of the Public Administration and Consitutional Affairs Committee.

First however he contributed to a debate on Brexit on Thursday 2 February. He asked the Brexit Secretary David Davis whether after activating Article 50 the government will “take that opportunity to frame the negotiation by making it clear that we expect to agree the framework of our future relationship, as specified in article 50?” Mr David replied by saying that Mr Jenkin was quite right and the issue he raised would be thew first the government would need to resolve at the beginning of the negotiations.

Later that day Mr Jenkin made his statement to the House as chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, the statement focused on the committees recently published report into the National Health Service. Mr Jenkin started his statement by laying out how the NHS has consistently made the same mistakes repeatedly over the last several years despite multiple reports into the problems within the organisation.

“In its report “Learning from Mistakes”, which was published last year, the Public Health Service Ombudsman highlighted the fear of blame that is pervasive throughout the NHS. That fear drives defensive responses and inhibits open investigations, which in turn prevents NHS organisations from understanding what went wrong and why. That also undermines public trust and confidence, because the public can see that NHS organisations are failing to learn from mistakes—if they did, that would drive improvement.”

The MP for Harwich and North Essex said the committee’s report “Will the NHS never learn?” concluded that “if the Department of Health is to achieve its policy of turning the NHS into a learning organisation, it must integrate its various initiatives to tackle the issue and come up with a long-term and co-ordinated strategy. That strategy must include a clear plan for building up local investigative capability, as the vast majority of investigations take place locally. We will hold the Secretary of State for Health accountable for delivering the plan.

Mr Jenkin also commented on the establishment of the Health Services Investigations Branch, “The Government accepted our recommendation, and HSIB is due to be launched in April. It will conduct investigations into the most serious clinical incidents, and is intended to offer a safe space to allow those involved in such incidents to speak openly and frankly about what happened.”

He brought his statement to a close by expressing his hope that the government will implement the committees recommendations, “There is an acute need for the Government to follow through on their commitment to promote a culture in which staff feel able to speak out and in which the emphasis is placed on learning, not blame. I very much hope that they will implement PACAC’s recommendations as a step towards achieving that as soon as possible.”

Mr Jenkin then took several questions from other members on the committee’s report, one of which came from Labour MP Justin Madders. He first said Labour welcomed the report and thanked those who contributed to it before asking about delaying the launch of HSIB, “To give HSIB the strongest start, it was the clear view of the Committee, HSIB, the Expert Advisory Group, HSIB’s chief investigator and even the Minister himself that legislation is needed, but, as of today, no legislation has been forthcoming. Given that, does the Chair of the Committee agree that it might be better to delay implementation to allow time for legislation?”

Mr Jenkin replied, “The answer is, as the hon. Gentleman suggests, for the Government to bring forward the legislation as quickly as possible. I know that efforts are being made in that direction, but perhaps the Minister will have something to tell us.”

Voting record

Mr Jenkin voted three times this week all on 1 February regarding the bill to give the government the power to activate Article 50.

He voted: against a proposed SNP amendment to the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill that would decline giving the Bill a second reading; for a motion to give the Bill a second reading; and for setting out a three day programme for moving the Bill onto a third reading.

Mr Jenkin was loyal to the government and voted with the majority on all three votes.

Select Committees

None of the committees Mr Jenkin sits on carried out any oral evidence sessions this week.

Bernard Jenkin weekly: No.3

Week 24 October – 30 October

In a week when the government announced it would be going ahead with the plan to build a third runway at Heathrow airport, Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith resigned and triggered a by-election where he will run as an independent in protest over the Heathrow decision, and Japanese car maker Nissan was reportedly given insight into the UK’s negotiating position on Brexit, what did Bernard Jenkin do?

Speeches and written questions

Bernard Jenkin spoke once in Parliament this week where he asked the Prime Minister a question about a joint ministerial meeting she had with the First Ministers of the devolved assemblies.

He asked whether the Prime Minister would “in future give oral statements to the House on meetings of that Joint Ministerial Council to emphasize the importance of those meetings?”

In the same contribution he also wanted to know whether the other administrations accepted “the principle that there should be a sub-committee looking at the particular issue of Brexit?”

Voting record

The MP for Harwich and North Essex only voted in one division this week on the matter of the crisis in Yemen.

He voted: against an Opposition motion that would have condemned the reported bombing of civilian areas and called on the Government to suspend its support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces in Yemen.

Mr Jenkin was loyal to the government and voted with the majority.

Select committees

None of the three select committees Mr Jenkin sits on carried out any oral evidence sessions this week.

James Heappey weekly: No.14


Week 20 June – 26 June

In a week when the UK voted to leave the European Union in a referendum, David Cameron announced he would resign in October following the Brexit result, and Parliament was recalled to hear tributes to late Jo Cox MP after she was killed in her constituency of Batley and Spen the previous week, what did James Heappey do?

Well, to be honest, there’s nothing to report this week.

Parliament was due to be on recess this week but was recalled so it could hear tributes for the Labour MP Jo Cox. There were no other debates or divisions and the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee did not hold oral evidence sessions.

The only suitable thing to is make this week’s edition of James Heappey weekly a special EU referendum edition. So, here’s that.

James Heappey voted to “Remain” in the EU referendum on 23 June. He finally announced how he would vote in an article for the website ConservativeHome on 13 June.

James Heappey said he was no great fan of the EU but leaving wasn’t the answer and was openly critical of the tone of the campaign, “We’ve been given plenty to worry about from economic Armageddon to all of Turkey leaving home and coming here. The bulls**t detector has been in overdrive.”

He was surprisingly frank on the personal implications of opting to back the Remain campaign, “Career wise, being openly critical of both sides has probably not been the smartest move. Choosing in the end to go the opposite way to the bulk of the Wells Conservative Association and, I suspect, a majority of my constituents is certainly not the easy option.”

The MP for Wells’s position on the EU could be best be described as choosing the devil you know rather than the devil you don’t, “If we vote to leave, everything around us will react to our decision and we just don’t know what the cost of that reaction will be. Then we’ll start negotiating for our future and with just ten days to go, nobody seems to have any idea what it is we’ll be asking for. To avoid that whopping great leap into the unknown, I’ll be holding my nose and voting to remain.”

Following the Brexit result on Friday morning, Mr Heappey tweeted:

After David Cameron announced he would resign as Prime Minister in October, the MP tweeted his disappointment:

It is currently unknown who James Heappey will back in the upcoming Tory leadership contest.