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BLOG: Time for the Prime Minister to reach out to all MPs to stop a disastrous No Deal Brexit

Brexit is by far the biggest and most divisive single issue to have arisen in British Politics in my political lifetime. 

I am often reminded by voters that ‘the people voted out’ and indeed, in Chesterfield around 60% of voters backed Leave, I accept that the Referendum vote can’t be ignored. 

When I stood for re-election in the 2017 ’snap’ election, I was clear about what a vote for me meant. I would respect the Referendum result but I would hold the Government to deliver on the promises Leave voters were made during that referendum.  

In simple terms that means continued trade with European nations, control of immigration and the ability to attract world class talent.  

It was always going to be the case that the final EU deal would leave many dissatisfied, but these are the key tests that I think would be a fair delivery of the Brexit vote. Labour’s proposed deal would do just that, with permanent membership of the Customs Union, but control of immigration restored.  

And whilst a no-deal Brexit might open opportunities to sign Free Trade deals with other countries these would leave us with a huge immediate deficit if it came at the cost of our current EU free trade deal, and each of those new trade deals would likely come with their own pitfalls. No US trade deal would be completed until US Healthcare giants could get their claws on to our NHS for sure. 

Since the General Election, the issue of Northern Ireland and achieving a Brexit deal that is compliant with the UK’s commitments in the Good Friday Agreement has also moved to centre stage. Membership of the Customs Union would at least alleviate the trade concerns. 

I have had huge numbers of letters on Brexit from all shades of opinion. But I worry that we are moving further away from consensus.  

I think if Labour’s Brexit deal is supported there will be no need for a second referendum. Labour’s deal is not so far removed from what most Leave voters expected nor would it push us towards the catastrophe of WTO Terms 

However, Jeremy Corbyn this week suggested that if we fail to convince Parliament of the need to support a deal in line with the one I have outlined, that he would support the Prime Minister’s deal being put to the British people for ratification. 

also declined to vote to extend Article 50 as sometimes deadlines are helpful in focusing minds, and reaching an agreement. I hope that the Prime Minister will allow Parliament to vote on Labour’s deal but if that and all other options fall we may be forced to delay leaving the EU, which I know would be a huge frustration to many.  

However, I also reject the second most regular suggestion- that a Leave vote meant moving to WTO terms on trade with EuropeMany Leave campaigners promised during the Referendum campaign that trade would be unaffected and the consequences of leaving the EU without a deal would include huge tariffs on all imported food averaging at 22%. Even worse, tariffs on dairy products for example are 35%. We import over 30% of all the beef, pork and lamb we consume and 39% of all fruit.  

I am aware that many people have simply switched off from the whole issue and just want it over. They want politicians to work together, but firstly there needs to be agreement on what the ultimate objective should be. I believe there is a majority in the House of Commons for delivering on the Brexit vote without the damage of leaving without a deal, I hope the Prime Minister reaches out to those members across the house who will approve a deal of this sort.  

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Toby with keen gardeners Brian Bailey and Eric Loe

Chesterfield has received trees to plant as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy

 

Toby with keen gardeners Brian Bailey and Eric Loe

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins has joined over 500 other MPs to plant trees as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, a network of forest conservation initiatives to mark Her Majesty’s lifetime of service to the Commonwealth.

The trees – two silver birch, two rowan, and a hazel – were planted at the Ashgate Road allotment.

They were donated to Toby Perkins thanks to a partnership between the Woodland Trust, Sainsbury’s and ITV, who screened a landmark documentary, The Queen’s Green Planet.

At the heart of the film was a conversation between the Queen and Sir David Attenborough talking informally about climate change and trees.

In support of the programme the Woodland Trust provided 50,000 trees for ITV viewers, and via the Rt Hon Frank Field MP, who conceived the QCC initiative, also offered a special commemorative pack to every MP in the UK.

Woodland Trust Chief Executive Beccy Speight said: “We are delighted so many MPs have decided to join us in our bid to plant trees. They are crucial in improving soil health and water quality, reducing carbon, trapping pollutants, slowing the flow of flood water, providing a home for wildlife or a space for us to breathe. I hope the residents of Chesterfield will enjoy watching them flourish as part of this wonderful legacy initiative.”

 

Toby said “I was very happy to receive the tree saplings as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy and Woodland Trust initiative and was delighted to present them to the Ashgate Road allotment, which has undergone some impressive improvements in recent times. The trees have been well placed by dedicated gardeners on ‘Brian’s bank’ and I will be returning with interest to see how well they have grown. We don’t always fully appreciate how important trees are to the environment, to biodiversity and the well-being of people, so this initiative goes a small way to increase awareness and tree population.”

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Derbyshire distillery Feb 2019

Chesterfield is the place to be for gin enthusiasts

Chesterfield is proving the place to be for gin enthusiasts, as Derbyshire Distillery expand due to a high demand for their crafted spirits. Their success story was shared with local MP Toby Perkins, who was impressed to learn about their expansion plans.

Experienced brewer David Hemstock has joined the increasingly popular gin market by producing a range of premium quality products using both state of the art and traditional copper alembic stills. The distillery is the first commercial distillery in Chesterfield and was set up in 2018. The products use the best local and International ingredients and fresh, cool Derbyshire water.

Toby said “I am always pleased to learn about local business successes and Derbyshire Distillery have captured the demand for discerning gin drinkers with a master blend and a couple of well flavoured editions. I wish them every success for their expansion and I am delighted to see that Chesterfield is well and truly on the map as a source of top quality drink brands.”

 More information about Derbyshire Distillery can be found at https://www.derbyshiredistillery.com/

 

 

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Toby with team from Royal Primary Care

Toby Perkins in discussion with GPs from Royal Primary Care

Toby with team from Royal Primary Care

The GP shortage and continued issues accessing a GP appointment were amongst topics discussed at a recent update meeting Chesterfield MP held with bosses at Chesterfield practice Royal Primary Care.

Royal Primary Care is a part of Chesterfield Royal Hospital and they stepped in when crisis struck Holywell Medical Group handed back their GP contracts on four sites in 2015. The group now comprises of three sites in Chesterfield, which are located in Grangewood, Inkersall and Staveley, and two in Clay Cross.

The practice team gave a full appraisal of the current situation to Toby. The practice are affected by the national recruitment shortfall of GPs, particularly in deprived areas, where there is often the greatest need.

This shortfall of clinical or non-clinical staff is keenly felt by patients demanding a same-day service. However, the practice were keen to point out the improvements they have made and are continually working on, to improve primary medical care for patients.

Toby said “The Royal Primary Care are clearly working hard to determine where the greatest areas of need are and are actively recruiting to fill the gaps in their provision. Sadly, like many other areas of the country, there is a shortage of permanent GPs to fill the gaps to meet health demand. Government funding is not provided to the areas with the greatest need and this is an issue I will be taking up in parliament. Funding is determined by population but not by levels of deprivation or affluence despite the long established link between poverty and poor health.”

They also discussed the issue of providing state backed indemnity for GPs who commit themselves to permanent jobs in the NHS. Toby said: “We need more GPs to commit to permanent contracts. The Government is investigating providing state backed indemnity to GPs, this may be an opportunity to incentivise more GPs to join up with practices full time which is crucial for the stability and economy of the NHS.”

Recent statistics show that up to 90% of all calls to the practices are answered and up to 80% within 10 minutes. Toby said “Being able to get in touch with your GP practice to make an appointment or enquiry should be straightforward, especially when you are unwell, but patient demand is high at certain times and the practice still estimate that they have 51 fewer appointment slots than they need. I was reassured that the practice are aware of the issues and have plans in place to try and address the shortfall.”

The improvements were recognised by the most recent CQC inspection which had upgraded the previous ‘Inadequate’ grading to ‘Requires Improvement’, and as a result, took Royal Primary Care out of ‘special measures’. They were rated ‘good’ in the Safe and Effective domains. The previous CQC report stated that “The providers had significantly strengthened their leadership and management and had taken a proactive team approach to making and sustaining improvements in quality.”

The next inspection is expected to take place in 2019 and they are continuing to work towards being rated as ‘good’.

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Toby Perkins MP hosts the Parliamentary Pub of the Year Awards

 The inaugural Parliamentary Pub of the Year awards have seen a Cardiff pub, The Four Elms, nominated by Jo Stevens MP, beat off competition from 13 other entrants from across Britain to claim the title.

The awards were held on the 15th of January in the Terrace Marquee in the House of Commons and attended by dozens of MPs, pub industry leaders and supporters of the 14 entrants.

The event, which was the brainchild of the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Pubs, Toby Perkins, saw nominations from 85 MP’s from the North of Scotland down to Cornwall.

The entrants were whittled down to 14 National finalists as a result of video submissions from the entrants, the finalists videos can be found here: https://twitter.com/ParliPubOTY

At the event MPs and industry bosses were given a handheld device to vote for their choice to claim the prestigious title. With over 30% of the votes, the Four Elms, pipped runner up Kash 22 from Frodsham, Cheshire, nominated by Mike Amesbury MP and third placed The Crown, from Hastings, nominated by Amber Rudd MP.

 

Toby’s nomination the Chesterfield Arms in Chesterfield which was selected by the panel of judges as the East Midlands regional winner. Emma Clarke and Josh Clarke from the pub travelled down to London for the awards ceremony.

The Newbold Road hostelry was chosen by the judged for its strong commitment to charitable giving, importance to the community and its excellent range of real ales that has resulted in it winning the CAMRA Pub of the Season award.

Toby said: “The interest in the awards, the quality of video entries and the positive coverage of the great and diverse range of pubs in Britain has exceeded all our expectations. The event was a great success, and I’d like to thank Rebecca Pickering from my office, David Wilson of the British Beer & Pub Association and all the MPs and pubs who entered for making it such a success.

Already, people are thinking about how to go one stage further and improve their entries next year, and I hope the awards will go from strength to strength”

To learn more about the Parliamentary Pub of the Year awards click here: https://parlipuboty.wordpress.com/

 

 

The 14 nominated finalists were:

Winner: The Four Elms (Jo Stevens Cardiff Central) Wales

Runner Up: Kash 22 (Mike Amesbury, Weaver Vale) North West

Third: The Crown, (Amber Rudd, Hastings & Rye) South East

Yorkshire Winner: Grayston Unity (Holly Lynch MP, Halifax)

North East Winner: The Stapylton Arms (Grahame Morris MP, Easington)

West Midlands Winner: The Robin Hood (Eddie Hughes MP, Walsall North)

East Regional Winner: Kings Arms (Liz Truss MP, South West Norfolk)

East Midlands Winner: Chesterfield Arms (Toby Perkins MP, Chesterfield)

South West Winner: The Westbrook (Claire Perry MP, Devizes)

London Winner: The Alexandra (Stephen Hammond MP, Wimbledon)

Scotland Winner: Brass & Granite (Alan Brown MP, Kilmarnock and Loudoun)

Scotland Runner Up: The Criterion (Stephen Gethins MP, North East Fife)

Wales Runner Up: The Fat Boar Wrecsam (Ian Lucas MP, Wrexham)

North West Runner Up: The Victoria Walshaw (James Frith MP, Bury North)

 

 

 

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Holocaust Memorial Day Signed Message 1

Toby Perkins MP signs Holocaust Educational Trust Book of Commitment

Last week Toby signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment, in doing so pledging his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people today.

Holocaust Memorial Day is marked annually on 27th January, the anniversary of the liberation of the former Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

In the lead up to and on Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. The theme for this year’s commemorations is ‘Torn from Home’.

After signing the Book of Commitment, Toby Perkins MP commented:

“Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity for people from Chesterfield and across the country to reflect on the tragic events of the Holocaust. As the Holocaust moves from living history, to ‘just’ history, it becomes ever more important that we take the time to remember the victims and also pay tribute to the survivors. I would encourage my constituents to show their support for such an important day.”

Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said:

“The Holocaust did not start in the gas chambers but with hate filled words. Our mission is to educate young people from every background about the Holocaust and its contemporary relevance. We are very grateful to Toby for signing the Book of Commitment, signalling a continued commitment to remembering the victims of the Holocaust as well as challenging antisemitism, prejudice and bigotry in all its forms.”

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love our colleges photo 1

Celebrating Midlands Colleges at the Association of Colleges reception and #loveourcolleges debate

The importance of further education and its role in supporting the life chances of Chesterfield students was the theme of a speech in Parliament by Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins.

Toby was the Parliamentary speaker at a reception which focused on Celebrating Midlands Colleges and had approximately 200 attendees including students, governors and principals from more than 50 further education, sixth form and specialist colleges in the Midlands.

The event was organised in partnership with the Skills and Education Group, and hosted by the Baroness Garden, the reception was a unique opportunity for Midlands parliamentarians, business leaders and stakeholders to connect around the skills, productivity and growth agendas and mark the important work colleges do in supporting our local businesses to grow and communities to thrive.

The event highlighted that a new Youth Opportunity Index, published by the Learning and Work Institute, shows young people in the East Midlands have varying chances of success depending on where they live.

Young people living in the region’s cities have worse education and employment opportunities that those in the counties. Leicester, Nottingham and Derby are all in the bottom 20 of the 150 local education authorities included in the Index, while the counties perform much better.

Following this Toby attended the Westminster Hall debate on #loveourcolleges in response to a petition with over 70,000 signatures on college funding. Toby spoke about the great job that Chesterfield College do and the funding pressures that could lead to more redundancies and a narrower curriculum.

The speech can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0ETCyGqSAY

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Photo Fibromyalgia

Toby Perkins named Fibromyalgia Champion

On the 15th of January Toby held a Westminster Hall debate on the recognition of Fibromyalgia as a disability.

The debate follows a petition set up by Chesterfield Constituent Adrienne Lakin who set up a petition on Change.org which has over 119,000 signatures, the petition can be found here: https://www.change.org/p/uk-parliament-make-fibromyalgia-a-disability

In January last year Toby held a Parliamentary Reception on Fibromyalgia, the reception raised awareness of fibromyalgia with MP’s and the support that those with the condition need.

Following this Toby presented a petition to the house in April 2018, the Hansard for this petition can be found here: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2018-04-25b.985.2

This January’s Westminster Hall debate was extremely constructive. Numerous MPs came and subsequently raised their extreme concerns at both the lack of awareness of Fibromyalgia and the difficulties faced by those suffering from the condition.

The Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, acknowledged that there were many difficulties faced by those with the condition, which need to be addressed. She assured those present that actions would be taken to improve the quality of lives of sufferers – such as promoting greater awareness amongst doctors for diagnosis, and amongst employers.

After the debate Toby said “Instead of being a debate where we just identified problems – I think we also managed to identify many potential solutions”.

The debate has led to an invite to a roundtable and summit with the Minister for Disabled people, Health and Work, the Minister responsible for the main disability benefits and Ministers from the relevant departments.

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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 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

Surgeries

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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