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Bill Wiggin MP

Member of Parliament for North Herefordshire

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Bill Wiggin MP attends Remembrance service in Herefordshire

Bill Wiggin MP has paid his respects to the fallen in Herefordshire this weekend, by attending a Remembrance service with local servicemen at the garrison in his Constituency.

As well as taking part in a local service, Bill Wiggin MP also placed a cross in the garden of Remembrance in Westminster.

Commenting, Bill Wiggin MP said:

“At this time of year, we take time to remember all those who have died fighting for our freedom and our Country, in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.

For those, like me, who have served or had family members who served in the armed forces, it is an especially poignant time of year.

I am incredibly proud of the courage and bravery of our armed forces, they represent the very Best of Britain.

Herefordshire is home to many ex-servicemen and women, as well as the best soldiers in the world, who continue to valiantly serve their country.

It is important we take this moment to reflect and honour these soldiers, and all who have died in the service of our Country.”

The Standards Procedure system is deeply flawed, and reform is long overdue. 

However the amendment voted on did not seek to exonerate or excuse Owen Paterson.

Because the amendment delays rather than cancels any decision on his case. 

I supported the amendment because of this and the opportunity to improve the system is available now. 

I accept that the timing and optics are not good but the system is still wrong and I would not stand by if one of my constituents was being treated like this.

I don’t believe that it will make any difference to Owen Paterson and I would still have voted for this if it had been a Labour or any other MP.

I spoke briefly in the debate saying:-

“Once again, we are seeing this become partisan and we are examining the cases of the individual. But for me, the key thing that is not right is that even the Commissioner is in an impossible position and therefore we desperately need to reform the system that puts the staff in that place.”  

I understand there is a considerable variety of media versions of the debate, however it is important to state that this is the first time we have seen the Commissioner for Standards being called out and I believe we should certainly investigate what happened even if it means delaying the suspension for three months.

A system of regulation which is so flawed that we have national coverage with cries of foul seriously needs to be looked into.

If you would like to watch the debate in full you can do so by following the link below to Parliament Live TV, where my intervention took place at 14:18:40. 

https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/be47898e-2937-495e-a050-1cb40148deeb

Bill Wiggin MP holds Westminster Hall debate on Motorcycling

On Tuesday 26th October I held a Westminster Hall debate on Motorcycling.

During my speech, I called for Motorcycling to be recognised by the Government as an alternative mode of transport alongside the likes of walking, cycling and e-scootering.

Motorcycling is a key mode of transport that can be a safe, effective and low polluting way to get around.

However, it needs to be actively supported in policy if we are to see its further uptake.

This includes the need for adequate expenditure of roads to be spent in a motorcycle-conscious way, such as the removal of wire crash barriers.

Between 2020-2022 Herefordshire Council will have received over £33 million in road funding.

Yet, the County’s roads remain difficult for motorcycles and even cars so we need more transparency requiring Local Authorities to outline how they intend to spend these funds.

I believe that motorcycling has a part to play in our future transport strategy.

However, this can only be achieved by actively promoting motorcycling and making the country motorcycle friendly and safe.

If you wish to watch the speech, you can do so here.

Bill Wiggin MP speaks on the Second Reading of the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill

On Monday 25th October, I spoke during the debate on the Second Reading of the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill.

The Bill covers various key pieces of legislation that will protect animals in the future.

I spoke of my support for part 1 of the Bill relating to primates and the rules for keeping of them.

I have my concerns over the outright banning of things and therefore welcome that the Government will have the flexibility through legislation to take into consideration individual circumstances for higher creatures such as primates.

I also wholly welcome part 2 of the Bill, which relates to dogs attacking or worrying livestock.

This is sadly a regular occurrence in North Herefordshire and something that causes great distress to both the animals and of course farmers who care deeply for their livestock.

The issue lies with dogs and their owners.

Dog walkers want extra access to the countryside; so, it is only right that in return people must be more considerate about how their dogs behave and ideally have them on a lead.

Part 2 of the Bill will take firm action to protect livestock in England and Wales from dog attacks.

This will protect our hard-working farmers from incurring uninsured financial costs and ease the burden of uncertainty this causes.

I am deeply concerned about the banning of live exports for slaughter.

The beneficiaries will be supermarkets and the Republic of Ireland.

The Government should not be in the business of banning but of licensing as I mentioned earlier.

Only then can the highest level of animal welfare be achieved. Sadly, instead, I am sure these sheep will now go through Ireland and make a much longer journey to France and Spain.

This legislation, while well-intentioned, is too full of loopholes.

That is why licensing is much better than bans which allow the unscrupulous to win and I look forward to the legislation being ironed out in Committee stage.

Finally, I spoke of the puppy smuggling trade.

I appealed to those considering getting a dog to look at adoption.

There is no better way of ruining the market for illegal puppies than simply getting them from the plentiful rehoming centres and charities.

I look forward to seeing this key piece of legislation progress through Parliament and I will of course be keeping a key eye on it as it does so.

To watch the full speech, please click here.

The Archbishop’s Sermon at a Memorial Service for Sir David Amess MP

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, preached the following sermon at St Margaret’s, Westminster at a Memorial Service for Sir David Amess MP:

Isaiah 12; I Thessalonians 4:13-18

Come Holy Spirit and comfort our hearts with the fire of your love. Amen.

The noble calling of politicians in a democracy is to make all manner of sacrifices – seen and unseen – for the freedom and prosperity of our nation. It is for that reason that across the nation we should be thankful to everyone who is here, and throughout especially the House of Commons, who give so much, despite the cynicism, abuse and cruelty that they so often endure.

Too often, when great tragedies happen, we have to reflect that the best seem to be the first to suffer. In this great tragedy, there is a unanimous conviction amongst all who knew him that Sir David was of the best. Eloquent contributions in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords have spoken of his exceptional character. A friend to his constituents and to his constituency; a wholehearted supporter of causes from the now-achieved City Status for Southend, to great causes of the future of our nation around Brexit.

And all with a robust fairness of spirit and charity of heart that won the admiration and affection of all sides, regardless of whether they agreed with him politically or not.

It was a charity of heart that came from his deep Catholic Christian faith, which was mentioned so often, by so many, in the Lords.

He was of the best, and his name will be remembered with Airey Neave, Robert Bradford, Anthony Berry, Ian Gow and Jo Cox, those MPs murdered since 1945, and others – like Andrew Pennington – who have died in the course of public service.

Public service in politics is a sacrifice that should be honoured and respected, even when differences of opinion run very deep indeed. David showed that.  

Sacrifice is the rent paid to liberty by those who represent us. But when the cost is seen so visibly, with such demonic horror, what do we say so that we may comfort the grieving and be resilient in tragedy?

First, that the light lit by public service must not be put out. Even in the darkest moments – and especially for Julia and David’s children, this is as dark as could be – light continues. In our first reading we heard the words of the prophet Isaiah to defeated Jewish captives held in slave labour camps outside Babylon. Their King was overthrown, their temple destroyed, their leaders scattered to the winds. Yet Isaiah speaks of future triumph because of the faithfulness of God.

Cruel adversity is not final destiny. Darkness does not endure.

The light that Sir David held out through his service, inspired by his strong personal faith – that light held by all in public service – may flicker but it will not be extinguished. In the face of such injustice, it must be for all of us to determine to shine that light all the more brightly.

Second, there is the promise of justice. St. Paul’s words are to a small church grieving humanly for those who had died. Paul tells them that grief is right and normal, but for those who are servants of Christ, like David, grief is accompanied by the certainties of life and justice. Life because Christ rose from the dead and gives life; justice because there is a final judgement where all that is good, and all that is evil, is judged by God.

We mourn and grieve, and so we must. We shudder at loss, how could we do otherwise? Yet we also thank those who serve in politics: we need them, we join them in commitment to the life of hope through their service – a service to which all are called to emulate David in kindness, humour, grace and simply sheer goodness.

Above all, we hold to the Christian certainty of life, to the joy of justice done. David, full of faith, will rest in peace and rise in glory.

Grief remains the deepest pain, but God promises an end in light, and love, and the enduring hope of the resurrection.

Bill Wiggin MP welcomes ambitious Budget

Bill Wiggin MP has welcomed the Budget as it provides the foundations for a stronger economy in North Herefordshire and the Country as we continue with an extraordinary recovery from the pandemic.

He was particularly pleased to see:

  • An increase in pay for the public sector, In particular our armed forces and NHS who did so much throughout the pandemic to help us all.
  • The biggest simplification of cider duty since 1923 and a change to way in which alchohol is taxed.
  • A cut in business rates by 50% next year for 90% of retail, hospitality, and leisure, and freezing all rates.
  • Over £270 million of local roads maintenance funding in the West Midlands between 2022-23 and 2024-25 (enough to fill over 1 million potholes a year, every year for  the next 3 years).
  • An increase in the National Living Wage to £9.50 an hour.
  • Building 10 Community Diagnostic Centres in the Midlands in 2021-22, which expand diagnostic capacity across the country whilst targeting investment at areas of deprivation.
  • £5 billion for Project Gigabit, rolling out gigabit capable broadband for homes and businesses across the UK. In particular, this continued roll-out will be welcome in North Herefordshire.
  • Over £2.6 billion for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund over the Spending Review, focused on helping people into jobs and supporting businesses across the UK.

Commenting Bill Wiggin MP said:

“ I welcome the Chancellors budget today that despite the unprecedented challenges caused by the pandemic, shows this Conservative Government is getting on with the job and delivering on the priorities of the British people.

It provided great news for our Cider makers and hop growers who will see the alcohol duty system become simpler and fairer.

For example, we will be cutting the tax on draught fruit ciders by 20 per cent. 

Until this new system is in place, we will freeze all alcohol duties for the third year in a row which translates to a tax cut for families worth £500 million every year.

The new Draught Relief will apply a new, lower rate of duty on draught beer and cider sold in large kegs over 40 litres – cutting duty by 5 per cent.

This will be the biggest cut to cider duty since 1923 and the biggest cut to beer duty for 50 years boosting British pubs by nearly £100 million a year

New cider makers will also benefit from a small craft producers’ relief.

Duty is due to be cut and cider will now be taxed on alcohol content equal to beer. This will cause some big changes but now we are on equal terms.

Cider was always at a 2p a pint disadvantage to beer previously.

There are of course challenges to producing cider and becoming profitable however, I believe this budget announcement will help promote the entrepreneurial spirit of drinks manufacturers that Herefordshire is famous for.

There were also some key announcements that will directly aid those in North Herefordshire.

This includes a significant tax cut for low-income families by reducing the Universal Credit taper rate from 63 per cent to 55 per cent and a 6.6 per cent increase in the National Living Wage to £9.50 an hour.

This will be giving a £1,000 pay rise to 2 million of the lowest paid as well as increasing pay for public sector workers.

Tax payers want to know that those on the lowest incomes are benefiting and people on Universal Credit will now find it even more worth their while to find work than before. 

I would like to see the taper continue down so that every extra pound earned made even more of a difference.

This budget was complicated and did not contain the tax cuts that many wanted to see. 

However by putting the NHS and our armed forces first and by making those on the most modest means better off he has reflected the mood of the Nation, in all parts of the United Kingdom.

With the various investments in infrastructure and training he has put in place the building blocks for even greater economic growth and he hinted about how, in future budgets, the burden of taxation can be lifted.

We have been through a global pandemic and we are emerging as the fastest growing economy in the G7 with employment far higher than even the most optimistic predictions, this budget will mean we can stay in the lead.”

Sir David Amess MP

I am devastated to hear the news that my friend David Amess has been murdered.

David was a colleague of mine for as long as I have been an MP, and I am struggling to imagine Parliament without him. I send my deepest condolences to his family during this dreadful time.

He was truly a credit to his constituency, his Party and to Parliament and I know that he will be sorely missed by all those who had the pleasure of knowing him.

Joint letter to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury regarding funding to tackle phosphate pollution in the River Wye

On 30 September, I co-signed a letter to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury to make the case for a three-year integrated spending package, in the forthcoming Spending Review, focused on cleaning up the River Wye.

A copy of the letter is included below:

Bill Wiggin delight as Leominster and Ledbury awarded gold in Heart of England In Bloom competition

Bill Wiggin, MP for North Herefordshire, has today spoken of his delight after both Leominster and Ledbury achieved a Gold award in this year’s Heart of England In Bloom competition. Commenting Bill said: “I am thrilled for the teams at Leominster in Bloom and Ledbury in Bloom that all of their hard work and dedication has been rewarded with these richly deserved Gold awards. The competition is always fierce, but our entrants not only make our beautiful market towns even prettier, but they do so much to showcase the wonderful community focused nature of the good people of Herefordshire. While this year’s event was online, the portfolios submitted by the team reflected just how much effort has gone into this throughout the year, including touching tributes to our NHS workers. I offer my heartfelt congratulations to all involved from the two teams who achieved this excellent result.”

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