This week, Vernon has been privileged to take part in local and national Holocaust memorial events. He was present at Redhill Academy on Monday when Holocaust survivor Simon Winston spoke to students about his experiences during World War II. Vernon is pictured below with Mr Winston, whom he was honoured to speak with. Continue reading
Vernon enjoyed celebrating Burns Night yesterday evening with the Gedling Constituency Labour Party. The local branch got together for a Burns themed fundraiser featuring music and traditional Scottish fare, including delicious Cranachan courtesy of Jackie Feeney (pictured below). Continue reading
This morning Vernon was pleased to visit the Gedling Memory Café, a friendly and informal gathering of dementia patients and carers in Gedling. The cafés are run by Alzheimer's Society whose staff are on hand to give practical information and emotional support, encouraging patients and carers to talk openly about living with dementia. Continue reading
Today, Vernon voted against the government's plan to replace student maintenance grants with loans. The proposed policy change, announced during George Osborne's autumn statement, will adversely affect 500,000 of the poorest students in this country. Vernon is pictured below with NUS representatives who attended Parliament to oppose the measure. Continue reading
This morning, Vernon was very pleased to award badges to the newly elected "MPs" at Phoenix Infant and Nursery School in Gedling. Children across the school voted for classmates to represent them on the 'Phoenix Parliament'. Over 30 children were elected to work with their Head teacher, Mrs Harper, on improving the school in a number of different areas. Continue reading
Today, Vernon was pleased to attend a football tournament arranged by Nottingham Lions FC to raise money for CALM, a charity committed to preventing male suicide in the UK. The Lions hosted the tournament in memory of their teammate, Andrew Johnson - known as AJ - who tragically took his own life. Continue reading
Many people have contacted me recently regarding the Government's regulations on fracking. I share their concerns about the Government's weak regulations, which allow for fracking to take place below national parks and other protected areas, and which I voted against on 16th December 2015. When the Infrastructure Bill was being debated during the last Parliament, my Shadow Frontbench colleagues tabled an amendment to introduce tough environmental standards before any shale gas drilling could go ahead. This included a ban on fracking in areas where drinking water is collected and protected sensitive areas like our national parks or important wildlife sites. At the time, the Coalition Government accepted this amendment. However, Ministers backtracked and tabled a redrafted amendment which removed a number of protections, notably the ban on drilling in or under national parks and where drinking water supplies are too close by. Unfortunately these weaker regulations formed part of the Infrastructure Act. The current Government carried out a consultation between 4th November and 16th December 2015 on proposals to prevent fracking from new or existing wells drilled at the surface in specified protected areas. I was pleased by this Government U-turn but I appreciate groups such as Greenpeace remain concerned that the Government still intends to allow fracking to take place under these areas, and that in order to access shale gas reserves below the ground, fracking rigs will need to be located along the edges of our National Parks and other protected areas to drill down and then horizontally across. I share these concerns and believe there are still huge concerns over the environmental impact, including light, air, water and noise pollution. Unfortunately, the Government appears set against giving all MPs the opportunity to debate this issue. Indeed, on 16th December 2015 there was a vote on the Government's weak fracking regulations without any debate. Because Government MPs supported the regulations, they were passed by a majority of 37. I believe we should have a moratorium on fracking in Britain until we can be sure it is safe and won't present intolerable risks to our environment. In my view the Government is ignoring people's legitimate concerns and imposing fracking on communities. I will continue to press the Government to listen to genuine and widely held concerns about fracking.
Vernon has been getting into the Christmas spirit at many events across Gedling. On 4th December he attended his first carol concert with Netherfield & Colwick Senior Citizens Club and enjoyed the Netherfield Christmas light switch-on with Councillor Nikki Brooks, Gedling Mayor Meredith Lawrence and his wife Wendy. Then, he donned his party hat at the Carlton House Christmas Party (all pictured below). Continue reading