Alan Whitehead MP

Member of Parliament for Southampton Test

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Alan Whitehead, MP for Southampton Test, last night (27th Oct) backed Zac Goldsmith’s amendments to the Recall Bill, which would give constituents the power to recall a misbehaving MP.

Unfortunately in a vote, the majority of MPs voted against the amendments.

Alan said: “ I backed these amendments because I think it is right that MPs should be more accountable to their constituents.  What we are now left with is the Government’s version of the Recall Bill, which is pretty weak and is not about empowering the electorate. It’s a damp squib which would allow recall of an MP in very narrow circumstances – when there is misconduct or a criminal offence which results in a prison term of less than a year.

Unfortunately Zac’s amendments failed – a huge missed opportunity as far as I’m concerned. I’m now going to back Labour’s amendments to the Bill so we have a hope of making the Government’s proposals stronger. Constituents should be able to hold their MP to account more than twice a decade.”

ENDS

Notes:

  1. Zac Goldsmith hatched a plan which would allow constituents to recall their MP for any reason. These amendments to the Bill would have meant that an MP would face a recall referendum if 5% of voters in a constituency sign a "notice of intent to recall" and 20% then sign a "recall petition". This would then trigger a by-election.
  2. The government’s Recall Bill is a response to part of the 2010 coalition agreement. That bill proposes that an MP would face a by-election if 10% of constituents sign a petition after the MP is found guilty of "serious wrongdoing".
  3. Unfortunately Zac’s amendments were defeated in the Commons when it came to a vote. Labour have now tabled amendments to try to widen the scope of the government’s Bill.

 

 

Alan Whitehead MP votes for greater democracy

Alan Whitehead, MP for Southampton Test, last night (27th Oct) backed Zac Goldsmith’s amendments to the Recall Bill, which would give constituents the power to recall a misbehaving MP.

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On Friday I met parents at Maytree school.

One of the biggest issues I spoke to parents about was the lack of affordable child care. Many people said that they wanted to get back to work or to play a bigger part in the community but that they found it difficult to get care for younger children. A Labour government will tackle this problem by giving parents of 4-5 year olds 25 hours of free childcare a week.

Another major concern parents had was the effect the filming of Immigration Street would have on the area. A lot of people were very worried about Derby Road being misrepresented by the programme. The residents said that whilst the street has a strong community, they were worried about the show disrupting the harmony.

Please get in touch with me if you'd like to discuss any of the issues flagged here in greater detail.  

Alan talks to parents at Maytree school

On Friday I met parents at Maytree school.

Today I will be voting to urge the Government to recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel. 

 

Bz1d0cTIMAIpByD.jpgThis motion reflects my support for the principle of recognition of Palestinian statehood and my view that such statehood is not a gift to be given but a right to be recognised. Therefore, I am glad that since 2011, Labour has supported Palestinian recognition at the United Nations.

I fully support two states living side by side in peace, and recognised by all of their neighbours and it is clear that the events of recent months only underline the dangers for both Palestinians and Israelis of a resumption of violence and bloodshed.

We should be clear that this conflict and an eventual two state settlement will only be resolved through negotiation. However, after decades of diplomatic failure there are those on all sides that today question whether a two-state solution is any longer possible.

That is why I believe that, amidst the undoubted despair and the disappointment, the international community must take concrete steps to strengthen moderate Palestinian opinion, encourage the Palestinians to advance along the path of politics and rekindle hopes that there is a credible route to a viable Palestinian state and a secure Israel achieved by negotiations.

We must be clear that Palestinian recognition at the UN would be such a step. That is why Douglas Alexander, Shadow Foreign Secretary, called on the then Foreign Secretary, William Hague, in 2011 and in 2012 to commit Britain to supporting the Palestinians' bid for recognition at the UN, not a means of bypassing the need for talks, but as a bridge for restarting them. This would be based on a reality that Israel would no longer be able to claim that its actions were a matter of internal security but of an approach to an independent and recognised state.

There is a strong case for the recognition of a Palestinian state, and I believe that the British Government should be willing to support the recognition of Palestinian statehood. This is an integral part of working towards a two state solution. It is also vitally important that any change in the level of Palestinian recognition is followed by meaningful negotiations between Israel and Palestine.  

Recognising Palestine

Today I will be voting to urge the Government to recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel.   


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