Labour group backs change in Portsmouth council leadership

Today the Labour Group voted with the Lib Dems to end four years of Tory rule in Portsmouth. Gerald Vernon-Jackson, as the new council leader, must now work with other parties on the city council.

The Labour Group will support the administration if and when it is in the best interests of the city and delivers our positive plan for a fairer Portsmouth, a city which works for everyone.

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NEW PORTSMOUTH LABOUR TEAM HIT THE GROUND RUNNING 

Portsmouth’s new Labour team visited Parliament today to meet with city MP Stephen Morgan and key members of the Shadow Cabinet

The visit to the House of Commons follows three gains at last week’s local elections and Labour’s share of the vote increasing by 12%, the highest of all political parties in Portsmouth.

New councillors Tom Coles, George Fielding and Judith Smyth, joined Cllr Yahiya Chowdhury in meeting the group leader and Portsmouth South Member of Parliament Stephen Morgan.

The group met with Andrew Gwynne, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Angela Rayner, Shadow Education Secretary, and deputy party leader Tom Watson.

Topics high on the list for discussion included better funding for Portsmouth, more resources for local schools, and ending Tory and Lib Dem austerity. Under the Tories, local government has been cut by over 40%, our city’s schools are set to lose £3.6m, and 1,000 police officers have been lost already.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

It’s so good to have a growing Labour team in Portsmouth. Working together, we will stand up for the public services we all rely on, both on the council and up in Westminster. 

The Government have their head in the sand over so many issues coming up on the doorstep in our great city and it’s great to have new councillors elected to fight for a fairer city which works for everyone”.

Andrew Gwynne, Shadow Communities Secretary added:

It was a pleasure to catch up with the new Labour councillor team and congratulate them on last week’s election results. 

I wasn’t surprised to see Labour in Portsmouth gaining in wards we have never won in before, and making significant progress in others, putting the party in a great place for future elections.

I will be working with Stephen on taking forward the ideas we discussed and know the team will serve Portsmouth well”.

Fratton’s new councillor and City MP praise work at Kingston Rec

The sunshine is back and Kingston Rec off St Marys Road reopened to the public ahead of an official reopening next month – with families across Fratton and beyond enjoying the new facilities.

Cllr Tom Coles, Fratton’s new ward councillor paid the park a visit this weekend with his family and city MP Stephen Morgan.

Fratton Big Local created a new design with additions like a double zip wire and a water play area in consultation with local people. The transformation was made possible though local grants ensuring the £300,000 met local

demands.

Cllr Tom Coles said:

“Our park has been transformed and will be the envy of every community in Portsmouth. I encourage every Fratton family to pay it a visit. 

My thanks to Anna and the team at Fratton Big Local for delivering yet another successful project for our community”.

Stephen Morgan MP added:

It was a pleasure to pop back and see the completed works at the Kingston Rec on a sunny day following a wander round on a wet day in April. 

Being the park I went to growing up in Fratton, I’m hugely proud of those who have made this important project a success. 

I look forward to working with the team to continue their good work”.

Labour won here – again

Portsmouth Labour made progress towards taking back control of the city council this week, following a series of successful results across the city.

Labour candidates were elected in Fratton, Central Southsea and St Jude wards, with the share of the vote up +12% according to analysis by the BBC.

The party also did well, but did not win, in a number of other wards across the city, narrowly losing in Paulsgrove, beating the Lib Dems to second place in Eastney and Craneswater and helping to make St Thomas ward a three-way marginal for further local elections next year.

In St Jude, Cllr Judith Smyth made history being the first ever Labour councillor for the ward following Stephen Morgan’s historic general election victory in the constituency last year. George Fielding unseated the longstanding Lib Dem councillor overturning a significant majority, whilst local man Tom Coles took the seat for Labour in Fratton.

The Labour Group is now five strong with Cllrs Smyth, Fielding and Coles joining Cllr Yahiya Chowdhury and Cllr Stephen Morgan MP.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“This year’s local elections for us were about demonstrating we could build on the historic win in Portsmouth South at last year’s general election.

I am over the moon we have taken seats from both the Tories and Lib Dems by offering a credible alternative to their running of the city over the years.

I look forward to working with the team to deliver on the promises we made on the doorstep and taking action to build a fairer city which works for everyone”.

Cllr George Fielding, Central Southsea ward councillor, said:

“These elections were an opportunity to tell the Tories and Lib Dems that they have ran the city for too long.

We ran a positive campaign across the whole city offering residents a plan which would ensure a team who would stand up for our schools, our police and help protect local services.

I’m delighted the people of Central Southsea have put their trust in me and other new Labour councillors”.

Portsmouth MP meets Pompey owners at Westminster

 

Portsmouth South MP today met with Michael Eisner and family in Parliament to discuss Portsmouth Football Club and the future of the city.

Part of the visit included a tour of the Houses of Commons and Lords and a meeting with the family following their purchasing of the Club last year.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

 

“It was a real pleasure to welcome Michael and his family to Parliament today.

 

They have such exciting plans for our city and football club, and are as convinced as I am that we are very much a city and team on the up.

 

I used the opportunity to offer my support as a city MP to help achieve the Club’s ambitions.”

 

Statement from Portsmouth Labour Party

The following statements are in regards to reports in today’s Portsmouth News on behalf of Claire and Portsmouth CLP.

Claire Udy said:

“I deeply regret the comments I made on my Twitter account in 2013, and profusely apologise for any hurt or distress this may have caused.

These remarks were made before I joined the Labour Party or indeed ever contemplated standing for public office. I have become more informed of the impact these views and words can have and hope I can prove through my actions they will never be repeated again”.

A spokesperson for Portsmouth Labour Party added:

“Portsmouth Labour Party’s Executive are aware of social media posts from Ms Udy’s personal account, and following concerns raised, this has been reported to the national party.

Portsmouth Labour Party would like to re-iterate that any form of anti-semitism or racism will not be tolerated in the party. We are working hard to root out it’s corrosive impact on our society”.

City MP takes fact finding visit to Royal Navy in Scotland

Portsmouth South MP spent some of the Easter recess from Parliament up at HMNB Clyde to meet with frontline armed forces personnel and observe training exercises

Stephen Morgan, MP for Portsmouth South, has spent the last two days visiting Her Majesty’s Naval Base on the Clyde.

Mr Morgan as well as meeting sailors, marines and MOD police officers serving on the frontline, he was briefed on the future of the submarine fleet, visited the Faslane Flotilla, Northern Diving Group, and toured the base, as well as gaining an insight into the military training programme up on the Clyde in Scotland. The naval base is one of three locations across the UK the Royal Navy are based. The Royal Marines are also hosted on site.

Stephen travelled to Clyde as part of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme, a programme which allows Members of Parliament and Peers to gain a wider understanding of service life and the training delivered. Its aim is to improve the quality of debate on military issues, and does this by exposing its members to first-hand experience of the service.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

 

“I want to thank everyone at HMND Clyde for an useful and highly informative visit. To see first-hand the skill and dedication of those who serve our country in the armed forces is always a very special privilege.

It was useful to receive the latest briefings on the future of the fleet and speak with submariners and officers about their work keeping our nation secure against developing and manifest global threats.

I will continue to be a strong national voice on matters raised by our armed forces and will be taking back feedback on service personnel recruitment, accommodation arrangements and future equipment needs to inform debates in Parliament”.