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BILL WIGGIN MP

MP for North Herefordshire

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Brexit Update 4/9/19

Last night the Government lost the vote which would allow Labour and opposition MPs to set the agenda for today.

The Bill they propose will delay Brexit and is allegedly designed to prevent us from leaving the EU without a deal, but behind this is an agenda to remain despite the 2016 Referendum result.

If this Bill passes through the House of Commons today, which is highly likely, British negotiators will have no position to improve the deal which has currently been voted down three times by the House.

The Prime Minister therefore has no option but to call for a general election, but under the terms of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, 66% of the House of Commons must vote for a general election.

This is unlikely to be accepted as Labour and opposition MPs are fearful. We will then be left with a situation where the Government will have no majority and an opposition who are unwilling to fight a General Election.

There are several possibilities.

Firstly, a repeal of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, but this will depend on the number of MPs willing to trust the public.

Secondly, a European country may choose to veto an extension to Article 50 which is possible.

As you are aware, there are a lot of variable outcomes and I will do my best to keep you up to date.

I shall be voting for a General Election as I am willing to trust the public.

Best wishes

Bill

Bill Wiggin MP set for Bypass meeting with Herefordshire Council

Bill Wiggin, MP for North Herefordshire, is set to meet with Herefordshire Council Officials on Friday to discuss the Hereford Bypass.

Mr Wiggin will use the meeting to urge the new Independent Administration to end the delays to planning consent for the bypass around the city.

Commenting today, Mr Wiggin said:

“I am hopeful that Friday’s meeting with Herefordshire Council will bring about positive action on the bypass. I am concerned that the new administration’s delaying tactics will deny Herefordshire the £180 million of Government funding that has been offered, not to mention the £10 million that has already been spent in the consultation phase.

I will use this meeting to highlight the concerns of my constituents who want this bypass built. When the Government funding is withdrawn it is they after all who will have to find the money needed for the project.

We must also consider the volume of HGV traffic in the city as well as the air quality impact of this delay, especially in the wake of the Council’s declaration of a climate emergency.”

Letter from the Prime Minister 28/08/19

Letter from the Prime Minister received on 28/08/19:

LetterfromPM-1LetterfromPM-2

Bill Wiggin MP urges new Prime Minister to prioritise sealing a Vertex/NHS drugs deal

Following the Adjournment debate tabled in February by Bill Wiggin MP on enacting a Crown Use Licence on the Cystic Fibrosis drug Orkambi, negotiations have continued between the NHS, NICE and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. MPs across the House are now uniting to call on the Prime Minister Boris Johnson to make sealing a Vertex/NHS deal a priority for the new Government.

Bill said: “I would very much like to see a deal with Vertex, but if they refuse to accept the NHS offer then we should prepare to override their copyright protection, like in Argentina, where patients are able to acquire identical medication for a fraction of the price.

My proposal to allow Crown Use Licensing would have made similar low cost medicine legally possible here.

I urge the NHS and Vertex to keep trying to reach an agreement so that we do not need to use such serious powers as they do take longer and every day is precious to CF sufferers and their families.”

Endangered Spreading Bellflower re-introduced in Frith Wood, Ledbury

Bill Wiggin MP joined conservationists from Plantlife and Forestry England in Frith Wood to monitor the progress of the recently re-introduced Spreading bellflower (Campanula patula).

Plantlife Species Champion for the Spreading bellflower, Bill commented: “the Spreading bellflower is one of the rarest plants in the UK, growing in only a small number of habitats in the West Midlands and Welsh borders.

Increased levels of herbicides in roadside soil and changes in woodland management have brought the bellflower close to extinction in recent years.

Thanks to the hard work of Forestry England conservationists who re-planted the local bellflower seeds, I am delighted that this critically endangered species is alive and flourishing on our doorstep.

The newly flowering Campanula patula in Frith Wood demonstrate how the UK’s species diversity depends on a delicately balanced ecosystem, and that we must make sustainable land management a priority in order for endangered species to survive.

According to the UN Report on Biodiversity published earlier this year, 25% of species of flora and fauna globally are vulnerable, whilst 1 million species face extinction unless urgent action is taken to reduce biodiversity loss. It is therefore vital that we do all we can to protect biodiversity in North Herefordshire, and the re-introduction of the Spreading bellflower shows us what is achievable now on a local level.”

The biennial species can be recognised by its upright, funnel shaped purple flowers and narrow leaves. It flowers in June to September in its preferred habitat of fallow land, banks, meadows and open woodland.

Bill Wiggin MP holds environmentally conscious mobile surgeries promoting the use of electric vehicles

Bill Wiggin has been promoting the use of electric vehicles by using a BMW i3 to conduct his mobile summer surgeries in North Herefordshire.

Having won the opportunity to trial the fully electric car at a ‘Road to Zero’ Parliamentary reception hosted by the BVRLA (British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association) earlier this summer, Bill commented: “I am delighted to support the BVRLA and Alphabet’s important work promoting the use of electric vehicles. The benefits for the environment are clear; they reduce greenhouse gas emissions and harmful tailpipe pollutants, and are also more cost effective to run than petrol and diesel vehicles.

In North Herefordshire we are serious about reducing emissions and it is vital that the car manufacturing sector develops efficient green technology to achieve this as a priority.

Following my Ten Minute Rule Bill on standardised electric vehicle charging portals in November, I am pleased that progress is being made to make electric vehicles more accessible across the UK. Last month, the Department for Transport announced that all newly installed charge points will provide ‘pay as you go’ chip and pin facilities by spring 2020 in order to encourage the uptake of the UK’s charge point network.

The vehicle leasing, rental and car club sector offers the fastest way to get electric cars on our roads, but the right incentives and infrastructure need to be in place.”

Alphabet, who supplied the BMW i3 for Bill’s summer surgeries, currently manages over 138,000 vehicles in the UK and advises businesses on integrating electric vehicles into their existing fleets through its ‘AlphaElectric’ service.

Gerry Keaney, Chief Executive of the BVRLA explained: “We are very grateful to Bill for supporting our campaign to increase the uptake of electric vehicles. Our members currently purchase around a third of all new electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles sold in the UK.

Last year we pledged to go even further, with an ambition to see our members combined plug-in vehicle fleet size surge from 50,000 in 2018 to 720,000 by 2025. Achieving this pledge is only possible if we can secure the necessary support from the Government through forward thinking vehicle taxation, investment in charging infrastructure and adequate supply of the right vehicles.”

Bill is among nearly 50 other MPs who have so far signed a letter to the Government campaigning for the necessary infrastructure and funding required to increase the use of electric vehicles in the UK.

BMW 1

Bill Wiggin MP joins Shobdon residents in re-dedicating the WW1 Memorial

Shobdon memorial

On 20 July, a re-dedication ceremony on Hanbury Green marked the restoration and relocation of Shobdon’s WW1 memorial.

Bill Wiggin MP, the Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire, local councillors and Shobdon residents were among those who attended the ceremony to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the First World War.

Bill commented: “Thanks to the hard work of the parish council, volunteers, and local businesses, the Shobdon war memorial has now been restored to its former splendour and re-dedicated in honour of those who served in WW1.

Protecting our rich heritage is of paramount importance and I am delighted that this beautifully restored memorial is once again standing tall in Shobdon.

The re-dedication ceremony highlights the importance of paying tribute to the servicemen and women who lost their lives to protect our country.

This message will never fail to be relevant, and serves to remind us of the hard work and sacrifices that our military, police force and emergency services continue to make today to keep us safe.

It is wonderful to see the memorial re-instated at the centre of the Shobdon community as a demonstration of their bravery and dedication; a lesson that I hope will continue to inspire Herefordians of all ages.”

Bill Wiggin MP lobbies new Government for honesty in food labelling

Honesty in food labelling-chamber

Before the House rose for recess at the end of July, Bill Wiggin MP took the opportunity to lobby the new Government on universal access to safe, healthy and affordable food.

Commenting on the day’s debates, Bill said: “A key issue I raised with our new DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) Secretary of State today is the need for honesty in food labelling; something I know many North Hereford constituents care passionately about.

The problem with safe food is that we need to be able to read on the label that it is safe. 15 year old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse tragically died because she ate food that was contaminated with sesame seeds, but the label did not make that clear.

We still have a problem in this country with honesty in labelling and I hope that our new Government will do more to ensure that the label says what it is.

For example, grass-fed meat must mean 100% grass-fed, so that people with food allergies, and particularly those with a sensitivity to meat, know what they are buying.”

Watch Bill’s questions to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs here: https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/05844a50-a0d9-4d16-bd19-e9e3df717acb

View the transcription here:

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2019-07-25/debates/3AB4FA43-2251-4B93-BFD1-3BF44206FFBB/AccessToFood#contribution-428E5848-C106-4384-BBAD-2DECEAC39C7B

 

Bill Wiggin MP campaigns against animal cruelty in farming

This summer, Bill campaigned to show his support for a future of cage-free farming in Britain at Compassion in World Farming’s ‘End the Cage Age’ campaign.

According to Compassion in World Farming’s 2018 report, over 300 million farm animals are imprisoned in cages each year on farms under EU legislation. Around 16 million farm animals are still confined in cages in Britain every year, causing distress and suffering, and increasing the likelihood of spreading disease.

Compassion in World Farming End the Cage Age

Bill commented: “Cage farming is a central feature of farming systems in Europe. It particularly concerns pigs in sow stalls and farrowing crates, rabbits and quail in barren cages, and ducks and geese that are caged and force-fed to produce foie gras.

Cages isolate animals and pack them into confined spaces that prevent them from exercising and performing natural behaviours. Studies have shown that extreme confinement has severe health and welfare implications for the animals.

The UK was one of the first countries to completely ban sow stalls in 1999, and it was not until 2013 that a partial ban was introduced across the rest of the EU. We must continue to set an example of high priority animal welfare legislation to EU member states as we leave the EU this Autumn.

As a longstanding campaigner for animal welfare, I am delighted to support the ‘End the Cage Age’ campaign to reach the highest possible standards of farm animal welfare and ensure that the UK continues to grow as a global leader in ethical, sustainable farming.

Every animal in our food production chain should be respected as the sentient being that it is. It is vital that we adjust our farming culture accordingly and support new legislation to bring farming into the 21st century.”

105,785 people have already signed the petition to ban cages for all farmed animals. It will be debated in Parliament on 9 September 2019.

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