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Darren launches bid to be BEIS Chair

On April 14th, Darren launched his bid to become the new Chairperson of the Business Environment and Industrial Strategy select committee. Darren would be replacing the outgoing chair Rachel Reeves, who is now Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

Darren has been a member of the BEIS Committee since 2018 and in that time has highlighted the key economic concerns of Bristol North West and stood up for environmental and worker standards nationally. As chair, Darren says he would continue to bolster the collaborative spirit of the select committee.

Writing about his bid in Politics Home, Darren said:

Looking ahead to this Parliament, the Committee has a full agenda: scrutinising government support for business through the pandemic; holding businesses to account for their treatment of workers; ensuring our net-zero policies effectively tackle climate change; making a success of Britain’s leadership of COP26; effectively scrutinising Government policy on energy infrastructure; and properly understanding the impact of technological change on work, training and skills.

But this isn’t just about me and what I think. It’s about the type of rigorous, professional and genuinely collaborative committee we can be together. The committee provides a service to the whole House, and to the country it serves. I am a team player and I will never use the chair for my own political purposes. If elected, I’ll ensure that every Committee member, regardless of party, is empowered to lead.

 

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Darren takes on lead MP role for the Bristol Economic Recovery Board

Darren met leaders of Bristol businesses, communities, third sector and academics to chart a course for the city’s economic recovery from the Coronavirus. Darren was asked to be the lead MP for the board by Mayor Marvin Reese and to advocate for Bristol in Westminster. The board was chaired by Deputy Mayor Cheney Craig and met for the first time on Tuesday, April 28th.

Speaking about their first meeting, Darren said:

I’ve had the privilege to listen to so many businesses, academic, third sector and community groups across Bristol already and pay thanks to Bristol Business Wes for their leadership. We’ve still got to get through this, but let’s be confident as we face the future together.

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Darren highlights privacy concerns with NHSX’s Contact Tracing App

On Monday, April 27th, Darren questioned the CEO of NHSX, Matthew Gould, about privacy safeguarding and the use of Facial Recognition Technology. NHSX a government agency responsible for technology transformation, data and innovation in the National Health Service. NHSX has been tasked with developing a contact tracing app that could be used to ease national Coronavirus lockdown measures.

You can watch Darren’s questions here:

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Darren backs a virtual parliament during the pandemic.

Darren joined a cross-party call for Parliament to return so that MPs can work together and scrutinise the Government’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic. The letter urges the House of Commons to work with the Parliamentary Digital Services to find a way of hosting a secure virtual parliament.

Update: Parliament returned from recess on Monday, April 20th in a semi-virtual format using a special version of Zoom to facilitate engagement.

You can read the letter that Darren co-signed here:

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Darren calls on Chancellor to support dental practices suffering during the Coronavirus.

This week, Darren wrote to Rishi Sunak, UK Chancellor, in support of the thousands of high-street dentists and local practices impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. According to the British Dental Association (BDA) over 70% of practices will struggle to survive past the summer under current conditions.

While these practices perform a vital public health service, many do not qualify for the support offered by the Treasury to businesses and other organisations. Darren’s letter calls for proper support to be given to the dental industry including the fast-tracking of CIBL support, an extension of business rate relief to these practices, and dedicated grants offered to high-street dentists.

You can read Darren’s letter to the Chancellor here:

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Darren demands support for charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises hit by the Coronavirus

On March 21st, Darren called for proper support to be given to charities, social enterprises and the voluntary sector. Along with almost 250 MPs and Peers, Darren asked the chancellor to update the support offered for organisations impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic to include charities and other groups.

Update: On April 8th, the Chancellor outlined plans to support Charities and the 3rd sector with dedicated Coronavirus funds. Details here. Darren continues to push for a broader and more inclusive safety net for any charity or 3rd sector group affected by Coronavirus.

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Darren calls for further action on fly swarms during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Darren wrote the Environment Agency today calling for further action on the recurring and unpleasant increases in flies in Avonmouth and the surrounding areas.

This letter asks for an independent investigation into the causes of the annual spikes in fly populations in these areas. This is so a consensus can be reached between the groups responsible for finding solutions to this problem. The letter also calls for fly spray and paper to be provided for those people the at are self-isolating in the affected areas. Some of those staying at home are not able to get these supplies and are bearing the brunt of the flies.

 

 

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Colour in Bristol North West

To help make the second half of the Easter Holidays a bit cheerier, we’re running a little competition to colour in some of our great landmarks in North West Bristol.

To enter the competition, please send me your coloured-in pictures to darren.jones.mp@parliament.uk. The competition runs all of this week and ends on May 1st.

If you take a picture of your colourings and pop it on Facebook and tag me, I’ll do my best to leave a comment and a thumbs up too.

Thanks,

Darren Jones

Thank you to Ella Bryden (@ellabrydendesign) for the great illustrations of Avonmouth Bridge, the botanical gardens and Blaise Castle!

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Darren updates on postponement of May local elections

The Government has decided to postpone local councillor, mayoral and police and crime commissioner elections in Bristol and the rest of the UK. The May elections would coincide with what is currently predicted to be a peak in the spread of the Coronavirus. As this is a scheduled event, and one that would normally involve lots of smaller events in the run-up, it is responsible to postpone until they can be held at the safest times.

The government has announced that May’s local and mayoral elections in England will be postponed for a year due to the coronavirus outbreak.

It comes after the Electoral Commission said on Thursday the polls should be delayed until the autumn to “mitigate” the impact of the virus.

The polling watchdog had said there were “growing risks” to the delivery of the polls, due on 7 May.

Ten people have died with the virus, with 798 cases confirmed UK-wide.

Downing Street said it would be impractical to go ahead with the elections as planned, as they would come during the peak of the spread of the virus.

Local elections were due to take place for around 118 English councils, the London Assembly, the Mayor of London and seven English regional mayors.

Voting has also been due to take place in both England and Wales for police and crime commissioners.