From Stephen Kinnock MP <[email protected]>
Subject September 2019 Newsletter
Date September 30, 2019 3:08 PM
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** September 2019 Newsletter

** We Must Give Extension A Purpose

There have been extraordinary scenes in politics since Parliament returned from summer recess.

Boris Johnson’s decision to prorogue parliament was not only an afront to our democratic principles and a decision I called for him to reverse his decision, but it also kick started an exceptional series of events.

I supported Hilary Benn’s Bill to prevent a No Deal Brexit by legally compelling the Prime Minister to write to the EU to ask for an extension to 31 January if Parliament had not agreed a deal.

However, we must also give that extension a specific purpose, I therefore tabled an amendment to the Bill so that we use the extension period to pass a Brexit deal and avoid ending up in the same predicament come January. This passed.

As part of the newly formed cross-party group, MPs For A Deal, I’ve been calling for the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which was the result of the cross-party talks and has never been put to Parliament to form the basis of a deal.

It includes concessions to Labour on workers’ rights, environmental standards, a vote on a customs arrangement, a role for Parliament in future UK-EU trade talks, and even a vote on whether to put the deal back to a confirmatory public referendum.

The Johnson administration have said that they will test the law on this and the Prime Minister would rather ‘die in a ditch’ than ask for an extension, which only demonstrates their distinct lack of respect in the law of the land and why this administration cannot be trusted.

Parliament went on to force the Government to publish the so called Yellowhammer papers which made clear the catastrophic impact of a no-deal Brexit.

** This Month Around Parliament

No Deal Brexit Represents Existential Threat To Steel Industry
Before the Johnson administration took over I challenged the government on the threat a no deal Brexit would have on the UK steel industry. The UK exports 2.6million tonnes of steel to the European Union every year and it is estimated that a no-deal Brexit would add £70 million of additional administration costs and costs relating to border checks. No Deal is the worst possible outcome for Britain, Wales and Aberavon.

Not a penny less, not a power lost
In the short time that was available for Parliament to hold debates after the summer recess I took part in a debate on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). There are deep concerns that the Government is considering merging it with the England only local growth fund and that the funding will fall short. Concerns persist around the UKSPF becoming a politicised slush fund and that constituencies who need the money will be left short-changed. I also called on the Government to publish the consultation that they promised but has still not materialised.

Support For Orb
I joined other Welsh Labour MPs in Parliament to show solidarity with the workforce at Orb. We called on the Government and Tata Steel to keep the Orb works open.

** This Month Across Aberavon
* There was an amazing atmosphere at the annual Chariot Festival in Port Talbot in July. It was a pleasure to join in the festivities. There was so much energy, great music, dancing and wonderful community spirit!

* I met with Tata Steel to discuss the issues around dust and emissions following several complaints from residents across Port Talbot.
They have assured me they are continuing to look for and implement opportunities for environmental improvements on the site and want to work more closely with neighbours, on-site contractors and regulators to do so.

* I held a street surgery in Aberavon with David Rees AM, Cllr Stefffan ap Dafydd and local activists. There were lots of local issues to discuss until horizontal rain stopped play.

* Following my earlier meeting with Tata I went to visit the Coke Ovens at Tata steel to see the process of coke making in action and the ongoing environmental improvement works to install a new extraction system there – this should be finished later this year and will reduce the emissions from this area of the plant.

* After the coke oven visit I joined the Port Talbot Harriers for a run and saw their new clubhouse.

* Next up was a street surgery in Margam. It was great to chat to residents on the door step in Margam Village about local issues.

* I then went on to visit Margam Park. It was great to see the amazing Friends of Margam Park volunteers putting on a good programme of family activities, and really exciting too to visit the set of a new TV series, part of which is going to be filmed at the Park.

* This was followed by a packed surgery at Age Cymru Afan Nedd Centre.

* The following morning I held a street surgery in Skewen with Cllr Angharad Aubrey. It was good to speak with residents on Caewathan estate.

* On the Sunday I was proud to attend the Merchant Seaman Memorial Service at the lifeboat station and way tribute to the brave men and women who serve in our merchant navy.

* Before Parliament returned I visited St Mary’s Community Centre in Skewen. It seems like only yesterday that they cam to see me to discuss funding, but it was actually 4 years ago! It was so good so see what they have achieved and its become a vibrant community hub.

** Media Highlights

As Boris Johnson became Prime Minister I took part in a discussion on the Victoria Derbyshire Show ([link removed]) alongside the SNP’s Pete Wishart and Tory Mark Francois.
After the Brecon by-election I was interviewed on the Jeremy Vine Show ([link removed]) .
As discussions turned to motions of no confidence in Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn becoming caretaker Prime Minister I was interviewed on Radio 5 Live ([link removed]) and Sky News ([link removed]) .
I then did interviews on Radio 4’s PM programme ([link removed]) and World At One ([link removed]) about a snap general election.

When Parliament returned I did lots of media on preventing a no deal Brexit , my amendment to the Hilary Benn Bill and agreeing a Brexit deal: BBC Breakfast ([link removed]) ; Radio 5 Live ([link removed]) ; Radio 4 ([link removed]) ; Jeremy Vine ([link removed]) ; World At One ([link removed]) ; TalkRADIO ([link removed]) ; BBC Radio Wales Breakfast ([link removed]) ; Sky News ([link removed]) ; Politics Live ([link removed]) ; and Channel 4 News ([link removed]) .

For the Western Mail ([link removed]) I wrote about needing to make a case of the United Kingdom to stay united in the face of growing calls for independence in Wales.

I wrote two articles for Politics Home ([link removed]) (2) ([link removed]) on preventing a no deal Brexit and a further article for the Guardian ([link removed]) on the Lib Dems’ plan to revoke Article 50.
All the best,

Stephen Kinnock
MP for Aberavon

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