Archive | November, 2015

The choice on Syria- BLOG

This article was written for the Derbyshire Times ahead of the vote on airstrikes in Syria:

This week I will be faced with the most difficult decision I have faced in the five and a half years that I have been an MP, namely whether to vote to extend airstrikes against ISIL from Iraq into Syria.

I have received many representations on the subject and I read them all. Recent polling shows that whilst a majority of both Labour voters and the General public support airstrikes, Labour Party members don’t- which is always difficult given that I answer to both constituencies.

Last Friday members of Chesterfield Labour Party met to discuss the situation. And whilst numbers were small, the prevailing mood against airstrikes was clear. The strongest reservation was the fear that our contribution would be both minor over there whilst creating further instability over here, this is reinforced by the fact that previous interventions have not led to lasting peace.

The contribution we will make is likely at this stage to be around 4-8 war planes, a small part of a large global effort. I have to balance up the fear that we may support action that will further muddle an already chaotic situation with our obligation to play a role in support of a UN resolution that calls on all governments to take all actions they can to degrade and defeat ISIL.

Whilst our bombing campaigns in Iraq have been targeted and have not led to civilian casualties, that is another fear.

And then there is the questions of how far and what the scope of our involvement should be; part of ISIL’s strength comes from them being the main opposition to Assad’s brutal regime, a plan for Syria that helps Assad causes me real doubts. though ISIL have a clear and stated aim to attack and kill us, Assad doesn’t and any action to destabilise him would bring us into conflict with the Russians, with goodness knows what consequences.

There seems to be a widespread view that ISIL won’t ultimately be defeated militarily without the use of ground forces. The make-up of these forces (and their commitment to joining an anti ISIL alliance) will be a key consideration that I will be seeking clarification on this week.

People have raised with me the question of non- military steps that could be taken to degrade ISIL. These include cutting off their funding sources, identifying who they are selling oil to and preventing them doing so and attempting to more successfully counter their propaganda against the West. All of these are important, though hard to do, I will be attempting to discover what steps have been taken to do this already and why it hasn’t been successful.

I am also very conscious that some of the logical steps that we could take against less ideological enemies are unlikely to have much impact here. Their ideology states that they are already at war with us, we have seen aid workers beheaded, people slaughtered in the most barbaric manner imaginable, gay people thrown from the roof, indiscriminate terrorist atrocities and terrorist plots against the UK foiled. They have killed far more Muslims than westerners but their hatred of all who do not share their warped ideology is established and limitless.

The strongest arguments in support of the action is that we are a part of the global community (as an internationalist I feel this strongly) and that we have a UN resolution and a specific request from the socialist French government and many other global allies to join this campaign.

The UN resolution, signed not just by the permanent members but by the entire Security Council calls on all members to take all available steps to defeat ISIL, it is beyond doubt that these actions would be legally justifiable. I also feel that having offered our solidarity to the French particularly, in the wake of the terrible atrocities, it is difficult to turn our back on that commitment when they have asked us to make that solidarity mean something.

It is also clear that our airstrikes in Iraq have made a tactical difference, they have succeeded in containing ISIL and stopping their advance and have pushed them back into their heartlands.

I can’t hide from the fact that there is also a political element to this question. One email I received summarised it perfectly. To paraphrase, it said this: “The world is imperfect, and terrible things happen. Wherever we intervene (Iraq, Afghanistan) we conclude we shouldn’t have, and wherever we don’t (Rwanda, Cambodia, Zimbabwe) we conclude we should have. Whatever we do here, many people will argue afterwards that things would have been better if we’d done the opposite.

Though I stand by my decision to vote against intervention against Assad in Syria in 2013, the appalling refugee crisis that has followed our choice not to stop Assad bombing his own people demonstrates that inaction can also have appalling consequences.

It appears pretty certain that, whatever I vote, the motion in support of airstrikes will be won. After the vote is won, airstrikes will take place and bad things will happen, the public can change their mind, but my vote will last as a matter of public record forever, I will need to answer for that vote and so I will read and consider representations that party members and constituents make as a part of that process. I can only promise that I will not vote lightly, or probably with any certainty that what I vote is the right decision either way, it is easy when you are certain, to think that the conclusion that you have come to is the obvious one, I see this as a very difficult balance but I will do my best to approach this question with an open and curious mind.

 

 

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Apprentice Video Screen Shot

Joint statement in response to Paris atrocities

Toby Perkins MP and Chesterfield Muslim Association have issued a in response to the appalling events that took place in Paris last Friday. it may be covered on tonight’s Calendar news programme on ITV Yorkshire.

STATEMENT

We renounce entirely the appalling violence seen on the streets of Paris, and send our prayers and solidarity to the people of Paris and all those affected.

The perpetrators of these terrorist acts are not Muslims, they are people who are abusing the name of Islam to promote their own violent agenda. True Muslims know Islam to be a peaceful religion and both Toby Perkins and Chesterfield Muslim Association jointly condemn these acts of terror and call on all our peoples to work together to further peace and understanding across the community and across the world.

ENDSApprentice Video Screen Shot

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Flood warnings for Chesterfield as heavy rain predicted

Flood warnings have been issued for Chesterfield this weekend as forecasts suggest a band of heavy and persistent rain will pass over northern parts of the country from Saturday afternoon into Sunday, posing risks of surface water flooding and the potential for flooding from rivers.

The Environment Agency are expecting areas around the Peak District to be the most affected, and are checking flood defences and making preparations to safeguard against potential flooding as much as possible, as well as monitoring the situation closely along with the Met Office and local Councils.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Environment Agency if you are concerned about river flooding or if you feel you may be at risk, and you can also visit the Environment Agency’s website and sign up for the free Flood Warnings service where available. This can be done by calling the Environment Agency Floodline on 0845 988 1188.

To find out more information you can also visit the below links:

 

For Flood Warnings and Flood Alerts, updated every 15 minutes, please visit: http://www.environmentagency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/31618.aspx

Social media updates are available from the Environment Agency’s Midlands Twitter account: https://twitter.com/envagencymids

National Twitter account: https://twitter.com/EnvAgency

Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/environmentagency

People can also sign up to receive Flood Alerts via the Flood Alerts Facebook App: http://www.facebook.com/FloodAlerts

 

 

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Andrew D

16 year old Andrew is charity hero

Andrew Davies from Chesterfield, has won a search for a charity hero for #GivingTuesday, a global campaign to celebrate charitable giving. Andrew, who was diagnosed with leukaemia at 13, has since raised nearly £60,000 for a children’s hospital charity in Sheffield, beat off competition from 50 other entries.

Andrew was announced as the winner at a Parliamentary reception today, where Toby Perkins MP, his local Member of Parliament, met with him and congratulated him on his fundraising efforts.

Toby Perkins MP said:

“Andrew is an inspirational young man who has turned a tough and difficult time of his life into an incredible success story raising an enormous amount of money to help other children suffering from cancer. His strength, courage and determination are an inspiration to us all, and I’m incredibly proud that such a deserving constituent has been awarded this great achievement.

 

In September 2012, Andrew was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, and underwent three courses of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. Then just 13, he lost his hair, endured crippling sickness and underwent endless hospital stays – all while keeping up with his school work.

Now 16, Andrew is in remission. But he knows others aren’t as fortunate and was determined to turn his experience into something positive for others, pledging to raise a staggering £150,000 for The Children’s Hospital Charity – the cost of the bone marrow transplant had it not been available on the NHS. So far, he has raised over £60,000 for the cause, benefitting Sheffield Children’s Hospital’s cancer ward, and has gone on to be an ambassador for the charity. All this, while maintaining an active social life and completing his studies. He just aced his GCSEs with 1 A*, 5 A’s and 6 B’s.

Andrew has a fundraising goal of £150,000 and hopes his success today will boost his fundraising efforts.

 

People wishing to support Andrew in his fundraising efforts can donate £5 by texting ANDD98 to 70070.IMG_0922

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Welcome

I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. If you would like to get in touch with me, my office is open and can be reached by phone on 01246 386 286. I also hold regular surgeries in Chesterfield and Staveley so that constituents can meet me and I can take up their concerns. If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact my office. Thank you for visiting.

Contact Toby

Tel: 01246 386286
Email: toby.perkins.mp@parliament.uk
Post: 113 Saltergate, Chesterfield, S40 1NF

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I hold regular surgeries for my constituents.
Please call 01246 386286 or email toby.perkins.mp@parliament.uk to make a booking.

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