Alan Whitehead

Labour MP for Southampton Test

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Meeting the Guide Dogs and PMQs

This week was another varied but exciting week, the highlight was meeting a pack of Guide Dogs in parliament. Read on to find out more about my week...


I started the week in the constituency meeting with residents who were having some trouble with Anti-social behaviour. I hope I can work with them and the council in the coming weeks to address the issues raised. I also spoke in the Queens Speech debate and raised my concerns regarding cuts to public services, and the fact that in the Queens Speech some services were assigned to local government without any plan for how local government would absorb them. As the Tories are cutting more and more from local government they are also handing them more responsibility for things such as children's services and social care which worries me.  

I also had several energy meetings today including the Carbon Connect and Westminster Sustainable Business Forum round table: ‘Energy efficiency and heat - joining up policies’ and the Labour Environment Campaign Executive meeting.


I had quite a few meetings today with APPGs otherwise known as All Party Parliamentary Groups. These are informal cross party groups that organise around a set of interests, today I attended the APPG on Carers and the APPG on Motor Neurone Disease to discuss the carers strategy. 

I also had some energy meetings including meeting Drax to discuss transitioning away from coal and Perpetuus Tidal Energy centre regarding a tidal energy project on the south coast just off the Isle of Wight. I finished today speaking at a British Academy 'Cultures of Community Energy' report launch. Community Energy is something at the forefront of Labour's energy policy and to find out more you can find the report here. 


Today was an exciting day, with weekly PMQs (where I even got to ask a question) and a meeting with a pack of brilliant Guide Dogs and the brilliant people who train them.  

PMQs this week was similar in many ways to the PMQs of old, even though it was George Osborne who was at the helm. The Tories were tearing each other apart over the E.U. referendum which would have been amusing to watch if it weren't over an issue so fundamental to Britain's future. I got to ask a question which wasn't answered by Osborne. no surprise there. I wanted to know whether the government had any plans to crack down on bad letting agents who are letting tenants down over the safety of their housing and the return of their deposits. Just recently in Southampton a letting agent has been shut down, it was using tenants deposit money on other things and not keeping it secure as required by law. Osborne just mentioned something vague about cracking down on bad landlords, which wasn't what I asked. Given the government's poor response I will take this into my own hands and I'll be doing work on this issue in the next couple of months in Southampton. 

The Guide Dog Lobby was excellent, I already had the pleasure of meeting some of the Guide Dog U.K team when I went on a guided walk down Portswood Road last year. It was good to hear how they are getting on with their work on providing blind people with these dogs and also with their work on raising awareness of the perils of busy high streets. 

I also had time today for some other meetings with the new chief constable for Hampshire Police, my colleagues on the Shadow DECC team, the APPG for Universities and Students on the growing consumer culture in higher education, as well as a round table event on the 'Role of Utilities in Europe' All in all a busy but enjoyable Wednesday. 


Today I met with the Institute of Civil Engineers regarding their state of the nation report on Devolution and Infrastructure planning, before heading back to spend the weekend in my constituency with constituents, colleagues, volunteers and my family. 


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