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Darren takes on trade diplomacy responsibilities at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

CPA, trade, diplomacy, malaysia, commonwealth

Since my election I have worked with the Commonwealth on its human trafficking project, working with Commonwealth nations to harmonise legislation across the world to more effectively deal with the trade in human slaves and the illegal trafficking of workers against their will.

This year, I extended my work with the Commonwealth to include trade diplomacy, an important issue in post-Brexit Britain. In this role, I was invited to join a small trade delegation to Malaysia and Singapore during recess last week. We met with British companies and ex-pats, our High Commissions and trade commissioners as well as parliamentarians, ministers and trade groups in both Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

Of particular interest to me, is the potential for UK technology exports and the legislation Singapore has put in place to deal with fake news. Defence procurement was also included, important to defence manufacturing businesses in North Bristol.

I also had the privilege to lay a wreath at the Kranji War Memorial in Singapore on the grave of an airman from Bristol, who died as part of the Japanese invasion during WWII.

Whilst in Kuala Lumper, I also met with YTL, which owns Wessex Water and is developing the Filton Airfield (including the proposed Bristol Arena, which sits within my constituency). In line with the extensive feedback I’ve received from constituents, I raised local residents’ concerns about transport infrastructure around the proposed Arena and the need to invest to reduce the risk of gridlock on our roads when events take place. I was told of YTLs investment into road, rail, bus and cycle infrastructure and about the ongoing negotiations with both Bristol City Council and South Gloucestershire Council.

Britain’s education system is a vital part of our relationship with allies across the world, and I heard many positive stories of scholars from both Malaysia and Singapore who have studied in the UK including Bristol.

When published, you will be able read the formal CPA delegation report here.

Darren highlights 5G security worries

Darren spoke this afternoon about the risks of relying on Chinese Government-backed technologies to build our critical digital infrastucture.

Commenting, he said:

The Commons has been debating whether to use Chinese owned technology in our mobile networks today. Without Huawei we won’t deliver 5G on time. But there are concerns Huawei provides a backdoor for the Chinese state to use either today or in the future.

The evidence from my Technology Select Committee inquiry last year was that the underlying technology provides a similar hacking risk to that from other providers. The main issue, therefore, is a geopolitical one (would we rather work with European or American companies instead).

That’s a decision for the government to take. The reality, however, is that we don’t have a British option. We do have the people and skills to build this stuff though. That’s why today I asked the Government to prioritise British business so that when we need to, we can buy British.

 

What do you think? Shall we use Chinese technology in our mobile networks? The Commons has been debating whether to use Chinese owned technology in our mobile networks today. Without Huawei we won’t deliver 5G on time. But there are concerns Huawei provides a backdoor for the Chinese state to use either today or in the future. The evidence from my Technology Select Committee inquiry last year was that the underlying technology provides a similar hacking risk to that from other providers. The main issue, therefore, is a geopolitical one (would we rather work with European or American companies instead). That’s a decision for the government to take. The reality, however, is that we don’t have a British option. We do have the people and skills to build this stuff though. That’s why today I asked the Government to prioritise British business so that when we need to, we can buy British.

Posted by Darren Jones MP on Monday, 27 January 2020

Darren presses Ministers on facial recognition rights

Darren spoke in the House of Commons today to raise concerns about the use of cameras deploying live facial recognition technology to scan members of the public. Commenting, he said:

These can be used by police or councils to find people they want to arrest or fine, but are also used by shopping centres and certain land owners. They can keep a record of where you’ve been and also tell the users certain things about you, although often incorrectly.

Independent commissioners and civil liberty groups have expressed concerns about the use of this technology, and I’ve called on the government to put a proper legal framework in place before using this more widely.

 

I raised concerns this week about the use of cameras with live facial recognition technology – scanning the faces of members of the public. These can be used by police or councils to find people they want to arrest or fine, but are also used by shopping centres and certain land owners. They can keep a record of where you’ve been and also tell the users certain things about you, although often incorrectly. Independent commissioners and civil liberty groups have expressed concerns about the use of this technology, and I’ve called on the government to put a proper legal framework in place before using this more widely.

Posted by Darren Jones MP on Thursday, 30 January 2020

Darren signs Holocaust Book of Remembrance

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day — where we remember the 6 million Jewish people murdered in the Holocaust, alongside all other victims of the Nazis — and Darren added his name to the Holocaust Educational Trust’s annual Book of Remembrance in Parliament.

2020 also marks 75 years since the liberation of Europe’s concentration camps and the end of the Second World War. We must recommit to learning the lessons of the Holocaust and resist the scourge of anti-Semitism, racism and prejudice wherever it occurs.

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Darren backs Alzheimer’s UK report

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has offered his support to Alzheimer’s Research UK’s new report. The report calls on government to prioritise funding and research to find a cure for dementia.

In their 2019 manifesto, the Conservative party pledged to launch a “Dementia Moonshot” to find a cure for dementia – doubling research funding and speeding up trials for new treatments. Alzheimer’s Research UK’s plan outlines the steps government must take to deliver its Moonshot ambition of finding a life-changing treatment for dementia.

These are:

  1. Find ways to detect the diseases that cause dementia 10-15 years earlier, to broaden the search for new treatments and intervene with those most at risk of developing dementia.
  2. Find ways to more effectively validate novel targets in early drug development to maximise chances of successful clinical trials.
  3. Make the UK the best place to conduct clinical dementia research.
  4. Expand research infrastructure to maintain the UK’s position as a world leader in dementia research.
  5. Further our understanding of dementia risk reduction and prevention and dementia in the context of multi-morbidities.
  6. Develop robust prevalence data for dementia to further our knowledge of the impact of dementia across our society.

Darren said:

” Dementia affects 1483 people in Bristol North West and, as a Dementia Champion, I know just how devastating dementia can be for families. Alzheimer’s Research UK has launched an ambitious plan in response to the government’s pre-election pledge to find a cure for dementia.

Dementia is the nation’s biggest killer. By 2021, over one million people in the UK will be living with dementia, and the condition will cost the UK economy a staggering £30bn each year. Despite this, dementia treatment and research lags far behind other serious diseases.

Finding new treatments means investing in key areas which have historically received little or no government funding. Government must take note of this report and act quickly. Opposition parties must hold the government to account to ensure they deliver on their manifesto promise”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find out more about Cystic Fibrosis and the support available here.

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Darren calls on Environment Secretary to adopt Deposit Return Scheme

Darren Jones, the MP for Bristol North West, has written to Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers MP to ask her to adopt the suggestions of Girlguiding’s Future Girl campaign on a Deposit Return Scheme for plastic bottles.

Darren said:

Proposals for a DRS have already won approval across party lines. In December 2017, the Environmental Audit Committee produced a report on plastic bottle waste which found that the UK uses 38.5 million plastic bottles every day, of which 15 million are not recycled; they recommended that “the Government adapts a producer responsibility compliance fee structure that stimulates the use of recycled plastic, rewards design for recyclability, and increases costs for packaging that is difficult to recycle or reuse.” They also recommended “that the Government introduces a legislated Deposit Return Scheme for all PET plastic drinks bottles.”

Darren reflects on Australian bushfire crisis

In the House of Commons today, Darren shared his prayers with those suffering from the ongoing bushfires in Australia, and called on the British Government to do more in assisting our friends and allies in decarbonising power generation.

With 75 percent of electricity in Australia still reliant on coal, it’s clear that taking necessary steps to decarbonise over the coming decade will require some big changes, but as Darren argued this afternoon, Britain should be leading the world — starting with its presidency of the COP 26 climate talks later this year.

 

Australian Bush Fires and Coal Power

In the House of Commons today I shared my prayers with those suffering from the bush fires in Australia and called on the British Government to do more in assisting our friends and allies in decarbonising power generation. 75% of electricity in Australia still comes from coal. In the next decade, in the face of the climate crisis, the should no longer be the case.

Posted by Darren Jones MP on Thursday, 9 January 2020

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Darren welcomes Cystic Fibrosis breakthrough

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has welcomed news that a deal has been agreed between Vertex Pharmaceuticals and the NHS to supply revolutionary drugs Orkambi and Symkevi to people with cystic fibrosis.

Following multiple communications supported by Darren last year, the MP had co-signed new letters in July (available below) to Vertex Pharmaceuticals and the Secretary of State for Health and Social, Matt Hancock,  requesting both parties urgently sit down together and resolve the negotiations regards Orkambi so those with cystic fibrosis can have access to this revolutionary drug.

Darren said:

“After 4 years of hard work from Labour MPs and cystic fibrosis (CF) campaign groups and charities an agreement has finally been reached for these life-saving drugs to be available to people in the UK.

Median life expectancy for someone with CF is just 47 – in the context of that stark figure four years was harrowingly long to wait – I am glad that wait is now over and these drugs will be available within a matter of weeks.

Whilst I’m delighted with today’s (24 10 19) announcement, the 10,400 people with Cystic Fibrosis in the UK should not have been keep waiting 4-years for this vital treatment to be available.

I thank NHS England and Vertex Pharmaceuticals for finally agreeing a deal that is fair to the NHS”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find out more about Cystic Fibrosis and the support available here.

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Darren hosts Westbury Brexit Briefing

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has hosted the second in a new series of Brexit Briefings.

Following the event in Westbury on Friday 18th October, Darren Jones said:

“Thanks to those constituents that came to the second of my three public Brexit Briefings this evening. I always enjoy asking constituents how they’d vote in different scenarios if they were the local MP – and this event came just at the right time before the historic sitting of Parliament on so-called ‘super Saturday’!

It would be fair to say, most constituents attending this and my other events (as well as those who contact me directly or have completed my Brexit survey) are very supportive of my decision not to support Boris Johnson’s current deal and to push for a people’s vote of whatever final deal is proposed by the government. I know I continue to have my constituent’s support in backing a remain and reform agenda.”

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Darren slams cuts facing 100% of local schools

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones said:

“I’ve just received (25th October 2019) a briefing from the National Education Union which confirms Department of Education funding for local schools from 1st April 2020. Despite the government pretending otherwise, 100% of our schools will have less budget than they did in 2015!

I’ve visited nearly every school in my constituency over the last two years and I hear the same concerns at each one – we’re pushing overworked teachers out of the profession and forcing our kids to face larger class sizes with less staff available to help and less money for books, equipment and technology. This crisis is felt even more acutely with children who have special educational needs, young people with mental health needs and is also illustrated in the reduction of creative subjects being taught. Yet this Government continues to underfund and under-deliver on their responsibility to schools – all the whilst pretending austerity is over – and the nation’s children and young people.

Between 2015 and April 2020, our schools in Bristol North West will have faced a shortfall of £49,308 million. That’s – on average – £704 less per pupil than in April 2015. This is totally unacceptable and puts our kid’s futures at risk – education can’t and shouldn’t be done on the cheap!

Having just recently supported campaigns for improved nursery and sixth-form funding, I assure my constituents I’ll continue to do everything I can to achieve fair funding for our schools”.

Here are some examples of what these devastating cuts mean for our kid’s schools:

  1. Glenfrome Primary school, has been cut by an average £626 per pupil since 2015. Class sizes are above average. Class sizes rose from 25.0 pupils per class in 2015 to 28.4 in 2018. Cuts are above average. Cuts are equal to the salaries of 4 teachers. Funding is below average.
  2. Fairfield High School, Bristol has been cut by an average £855 per pupil since 2015. Class sizes are above average. Class sizes rose from 23.0 pupils per class in 2015 to 26.6 in 2018. Cuts are above average. Cuts are equal to the salaries of 17 teachers.
  3. Fonthill primary School has been cut by an average of £738 per pupil since 2015. Class sizes are above average. Class sizes rose from 26.9 pupils per class in 2015 to 28.9 in 2018. Cuts are above average. Cuts are equal to the salaries of 2 teachers.
  4. Stoke Park Primary School has been cut by an average of £520 per pupil since 2015, which has badly affected the school. Class sizes are above average. Class sizes rose from 23.7 pupils per class in 2015 to 27.3 in 2018. Cuts are above average. Cuts are equal to the salaries of 2 teachers.
  5. Sea Mills Primary School has been cut by an average of £654 per pupil since 2015. Class sizes are above average. Class sizes rose from 25.8 pupils per class in 2015 to 27.9 in 2018. Cuts are above average. Cuts are equal to the salaries of 2 teachers.

You can support the NEU’s campaign and find out about cuts to your local school here.

You can follow Darren’s work on education here.