Alan Whitehead

Labour MP for Southampton Test

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 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! 

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