Darren challenges the government over Universities and Defence

In Science and Technology Committee today, Darren asked Government minister Sam Gymiah – Minister for Universities and Science – about two different issues.

Firstly, he asked whether or not universities could really be expected to regulate themselves. Currently, aside from in a few high risk areas universities are responsible for regulating the integrity of their own research. Darren asked whether or not this presented a conflict of interest risk. The minister agreed, and promised to ‘keep looking at’ the issue. But he thought there was ‘no immediate’ need to do anything. You can watch this exchange below:

Secondly, Darren asked when employees of defence companies were going to know about post-Brexit contracts, including contracts for the Galileo satellite project. Currently, security co-operation with the EU after Brexit has not been negotiated, meaning that Britain’s ability to win EU defence contracts is up in the air.  You can watch this exchange here:

 

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Darren wants your view on YardArts Development

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones is seeking local residents views on the proposed YardArts development on Penpole Lane in Shirehampton.

Darren said:

“ Many local residents have contacted me about the proposed Yard Arts circus development on the edge of Kings Weston Estate on Penpole Lane (on land privately owned next to the small warehouse currently in place). I met with Yard Arts, local residents and the land owner on Saturday 28th April to hear each side of the story.

Yard Arts hope to install a circus tent, a coffee shop and various wooden cabins (much like a German Christmas Market) to put on creative and artistic performances for local residents. In addition, they want to provide a space for temporary housing for the artists who will perform to live in. It is not yet clear whether this temporary housing will be log cabins, metal trailers or caravans.

The landowner is keen to use the space next to the warehouse. He has failed to get planning permission on a number of occasions for other uses, and has therefore offered this space on an up to 10 year lease to Yard Arts.

Some local residents (including the Kingsweston Action Group, the cricket club and the football club) are against the proposals and support the current position in Bristol City Council planning policy that the area should remain only as a park / green space and not have further development on it.

I have made it clear that I will only support the Yard Arts development if it has the consent of local residents. I therefore need to hear your views.

Please can you let me know whether you support this idea, by completing my survey at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/YardArts or by writing to my office. In that survey, you can also let me know if you would like to come to a public meeting to hear from Yard Arts, the land owner and Bristol City Council as well.

Please can you respond ASAP, as some have suggested that the development could start sooner rather than later”.

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Darren speaks on Grandparents’ issues, and supports Bristol Grandparent Support Group

Currently, there is no legal right for grandparents in the UK to see their grandchildren. That can lead to some grandparents having contact with grandchildren completely halted. That’s what happened to Jane Jackson – but she used the experience to build a support group for people in a similar situations to her, and to speak out and campaign on this issue. Darren spoke in Parliament in support of her and her work.

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Darren votes for government to release Windrush scandal documents

The government have been trying to deport UK citizens. Members of the Windrush generation, who came to Britain from the Commonwealth before 1971 and were granted UK citizenship, have been threatened with deportation because they couldn’t find the right documents from when they moved to Britain.

What’s more, the government’s ‘hostile environment’ policy, designed to make life difficult for anyone even suspected of being an illegal immigrant, will have harmed the Windrush generation.

This is because it takes benefits, housing, NHS treatment and bank account access from anyone whom the Home Office thinks can’t find the right documents.

Darren voted for the release of government documents relating to the deportation of the Windrush generation. The government voted against this.

You can read the full motion below:

That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, that she will be graciously pleased to give directions that the following papers be provided to the Home Affairs Committee: all papers, correspondence and advice including emails and text messages, from 11 May 2010 up to and including 1 May 2018, to and between Ministers, senior officials and Special Advisers relating to policy decisions including on the Immigration Acts 2014 and 2016 with regard the Windrush generation cases, including deportations, detentions and refusal of re-entry, the setting of deportation and removal targets and their effect on the Windrush generation, and action taken within Government following the concerns raised by Caribbean Governments with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office including the original decision by the Prime Minister not to meet Caribbean Heads of Government and officials, and all copies of minutes and papers relating to the Cabinet’s Immigration Implementation Taskforce.

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Darren thanks Bristol Firefighters

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has pledged his continued support to Firefighters on the second annual Firefighters’ Memorial Day.

Darren said:

“ Tomorrow (4th May) is Firefighter’s Memorial Day – at midday across the UK fire stations will fall silent for one minute to honour the memory of 2,524 firefighters who have died in the line of duty. Many other thousands will have been seriously injured performing their duty.

This memorial day, in its second year, is a hugely important tribute to some of our most-valued public servants. I will be attending my weekly surgery tomorrow morning but all firefighters will be in my thoughts. I would also like to thank all of the firefighters across Bristol for their courage, conviction and sense of care to others – each one should be proud of their work and the help they give others in often the most demanding, dangerous and stressful of circumstances”.

You can read more about Firefighters Memorial Day here.

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Darren votes to improve anti-tax avoidance measures in the Sanctions and Anti Money Laundering Bill

Darren voted on this bill, which will decide the rules for government action on sanctions and against money laundering. Money laundering is where illegally gained money is harboured so as to make it look like it was legally gained.

Darren voted for the following changes to the bill, which were rejected by the government.

  • To create a public register of beneficial ownership information for companies and other legal entities outside of the UK that own or buy UK property, or bid for UK government contracts, within 12 months.
  • To ensure that when a company is formed in the UK, the relevant formation services must identify the beneficial owners of the company. It will also treat Companies House as a “company formation agent”, ensuring that the data on the public register of beneficial ownership for companies is accurate.
  • To remove paragraph 2(a) from Clause 48, which enables the appropriate Minister to amend, repeal or revoke enactments for regulations under section 1 or 44 using Henry VIII powers.