Alan Whitehead

Labour MP for Southampton Test

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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 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. 

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