Alan Whitehead MP

Member of Parliament for Southampton Test


Recent Activity

I had the pleasure of meeting a team from Guide Dogs UK today, who came to show me some of the perils a blind person and their dog can face on busy high streets.

The team brought Taylor the dog with them, who led me down Portswood High St so I could get a feel of what blind people experience when being led by their dog on a daily basis. 

Something that the Guide Dog team are campaigning on at the moment is raising awareness of how obstacles, particularly parked cars can be dangerous to blind people and guide dogs. The dogs are trained to move around objects, as Taylor did with me whilst walking down busy Portswood High St, but sometimes the path is so congested the dog can't find a way round and can get anxious. 

As Taylor took me down the street, I was very aware of just how many obstacles there are on the average street, but luckily Portswood High Street is quite broad and we were able to get past without much trouble. This isn't always the case and the team informed me that in some cities a lot of people avoid going out because the streets feel dangerous. 

I want to thank the Guide Dog team for coming to Portswood today, I had a great time with Taylor and the team.

A walk with the guide dogs

I had the pleasure of meeting a team from Guide Dogs UK today, who came to show me some of the perils a blind person and their dog can face...

This week I have mainly been working in the constituency with a day in parliament and a day in Glastonbury (not part of my world rock tour like Bestival) and this weekend I am off to Labour Party Conference. Read on to find out more about my week


One of my particular interests is further and higher education so it was a very happy Monday for me as I go to visit both Richard Taunton's college and Solent University. I am appalled at the Tories cuts to further education colleges, they serve to increase inequality in education. Disadvantaged pupils are more likely to attend 6th form colleges rather than a 6th form attached to a secondary school, so these cuts are hitting exactly the people who are already under-represented in further and higher education. 

At Solent University I had the chance to meet the Vice-Chancellor and tour their new building. I was dismayed at Tory councillor Nigel Heck's comments earlier in the month suggesting that Solent was not a 'real' University. A high proportion of Solent students stay in the city after graduating and Solent is doing a great job of providing them with the skills they need to make the city stronger. It was great to tour the new building and see how Solent University is growing. 

On the subject of growth on Monday afternoon I visited the new Boutique Village in Millbrook. This is a great addition to our city, and exactly the kind of unique attraction that gets people spending money in our city. 


I visited the National Oceanography centre today for their 20th Anniversary. It was great to hear about the work that NOC do researching the oceans from coastal areas to the deep sea. 


I spent Wednesday with my constituency staff, planning next week and looking over any constituent issues that were outstanding. I also spent some of Wednesday meeting constituents one on one. 


I was back in London on Thursday where I had a meeting with the directors for the Parliamentary group on renewable energy and sustainability. Unfortunately I can no longer chair this group as I am a shadow minister but I am still interested in it's future and this is what we were discussing. I also chaired a panel meeting on sustainable homes. The government is currently putting the sustainable homes programme in jeopardy due to its refusal to invest in energy efficiency programmes and renewable energy.

In the evening I had a Labour Party meeting, where we got to vote on who we wanted to run the local party for the next year. This reminded me just how much talent we have amongst our members in this party and how much work they put in to making it a success.


On Friday I went to Glastonbury. This was not part of my rockstar festival tour like Bestival the other week, but a visit to British Solar renewables to see their battery storage project. 


I will be out in Shirley ward in the morning talking to residents and taking up any issues they might have with their local councillors. Then I'm off to the football in the afternoon, hoping for another 6-0er. 


I will be off to conference on Sunday and will be at many fringes over the week talking about all things energy and climate change. I hope to see some of you there. 

Off to conference this week

This week I have mainly been working in the constituency with a day in parliament and a day in Glastonbury (not part of my world rock tour like Bestival) and...

As a Labour Party MP this has been an exciting week. We have a new leader and a new shadow frontbench. Perhaps most exciting for me is that I take a seat on this front bench as a shadow minister for Energy and Climate Change. I look forward to working with Lisa Nandy and the rest of the team. Read on for what else I got up to last week in parliament and in Southampton.


I started the week in a meeting with Network Rail and the South West train alliance trying to secure investment for the Wessex Route and South West mainline both of which service Southampton. Anyone who regularly travels on these lines will understand the need for more investment, as they are invaluable to those who commute to London or use it for leisure to get around the South. I also had a meeting at the All Party Parliamentary Group on limits to growth, discussing what impact economic growth has on the environment amongst other things. 


Had another meeting of the Energy and Climate Climate Change select committee holding the government to account over their plans, or lack thereof for sustainable energy in the U.K. If you want to read more of my views on this you can read them here. As I am now shadow minister in this area I will not be able to sit on this committee but I shall continue to hold the government to account on their complete disregard for renewable energy from the front opposition benches. 


Wednesday saw our new leader Jeremy Corbyn's first PMQS. I thought that asking questions from members of the public and thus giving them a platform in parliament was great and it indicates the kind of new politics that Jeremy Corbyn will bring to the table now he is leader. 

On Wednesday I also met with hospitality and tourism businesses from Southampton as part of hospitality and tourism day. This was a great opportunity to meet businesses that contribute so much to Southampton. Tourism and hospitality provides a lot of business and jobs to our city particularly with our thriving cruise ship industry. 

On the subject of the Southampton economy, I also met with the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership to discuss the Solent Strategic Economic plan and how we make our economy in Southampton stronger with the partnership of  surrounding cities in the Solent. 


I started my day in a meeting with Southampton University and Southern Water discussing issues over water demand in Southampton. If you read these diary summaries regularly you'll see that I often meet with Southampton University in partnership with other local organisations. Southampton Uni do great work across the city on many different issues and provide top class research and aide many projects in Southampton. 

As my Thursday's are usually very energy heavy, I had another meeting on this topic with Endurance Wind and Power discussing the future of onshore wind. I am very worried about this as the current Tory government seems to have scrapped all commitment to wind power, and I am concerned about what this means for meeting our legally binding carbon targets and for the future of clean energy capacity in the U.K. more generally. 

I finished Thursday back in Southampton at a Labour Party meeting where it was great to update our members on my work in parliament. It was also great to see so many new faces, and I hope to meet them all out while campaigning to keep Labour in control of Southampton City Council in May 2016. 


I was back in Southampton for the whole day on Friday where I had my third constituency advice session of the month. Again this involves meeting constituents who have a variety of different issues, and doing my best to help them work these issues out. 


Unfortunately I was not invited to any music festivals this weekend. However I did get to hold a coffee morning for Shirley residents. Coffee mornings are a bit different to my advice surgeries in that this is a chance for residents not only to discuss issues with me but with each other as well in a more informal session. You can find out what we had a chat about here


Even MPs get one day off a week, and I spent mine watching Man United play Saints at St Marys. It was a shame that the result wasn't as good as my week but there's always next week! 

What an exciting week

As a Labour Party MP this has been an exciting week. We have a new leader and a new shadow frontbench. Perhaps most exciting for me is that I take...

View More Activities

The Labour Party will place cookies on your computer to help us make this website better.

Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site.

To find out more about these cookies, see our privacy notice. Use of this site confirms your acceptance of these cookies.