Posts

,

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.

Darren gives update on team working-arrangements to prepare for Coronavirus

As the Coronavirus develops, businesses and teams will need to adapt so they can play their part in preventing the spread of the virus. Darren has outlined how his team are preparing for Coronavirus at this stage. The goal is to maintain a consistent full-time level of support throughout the development of the Coronavirus, although the constituency office response time may be longer at times.

As always, to find out information about the Coronavirus please go to the dedicated NHS 111 service.

Darren writes:

Dear constituent –

My first priority is to serve and represent residents across Bristol North West with personal, local and national issues.

As the COVID-19 pandemic develops, I want to take precautions in order to maintain our service delivery from both my Bristol and Westminster offices.

I have therefore asked my staff to work from home and there will be a pause in the events I regularly host, such as my coffee mornings and pub politics.

This means that we will be a little slower in responding to post and telephone calls due to re-direction. We will otherwise continue as normal but please bear with us, especially if we too suffer from illness within the team in the coming months.

If the situation continues to develop, I will look to host more online and telephone based briefings with constituents to ensure that you are as briefed as possible on wider local and national issues, as well as COVID-19.

In the meantime, I am keeping an updated COVID-19 FAQ page on my website which you can read here. You can also receive regular updates from my Facebook page, which you can follow here.

If you have symptoms or concerns related to COVID-19 you should firstly visit the NHS website. If this doesn’t answer your question, or if you don’t have access to the internet, you should call the NHS on 111. Please do *not* go to your GP surgery or A&E in person if you think you might have COVID-19 symptoms (i.e a dry cough, temperature and/or sore chest).

You can continue to contact me and my office on e-mail at darren.jones.mp@parliament.uk, whether about COVID-19 or not, and we will continue to do all that we can to help you.

Please follow the latest NHS guidance and look out for your neighbours.

With best wishes

Darren

Darren Jones MP
Member of Parliament, Bristol North West

, , , ,

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.

, , ,

ClairCity research, in partnership with BCC, shows Bristolians are more ambitious when tackling Climate Change

ClairCity, an EU-funded research project working with UWE and BCC, published a report this week that suggests that net-zero targets could be achieved more quickly if the public is involved in designing environmental policy.

A copy of the summary of their report can be found below. It includes details of a climate policy programme, designed by Bristolians, that tackles air pollution, calls for public transport investment, and more green housing initiatives.

Welcoming the report, Darren said:

This Action Plan shows the public want to tackle our Climate Emergency and they want our governments to be more ambitious when facing this challenge head-on. It also indicates that the contributions of the public are a valuable and underutilised resource when creating environmental policy, a view that I’ve held for some time. With Bristol piloting a climate focussed Citizen’s Assembly this year, I’m sure we will see even more evidence of this soon

Environment policy citizens assemble bristol

 

 

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.

, , , , ,

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.

, ,

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