By Jonathan Isaby
All MPs campaign on issues which relate to their constituencies. But many also champion causes of national or even international importance.
ConHome recently highlighted how Harlow MP Robert Halfon has been campaigning against the "privatised surveillance society" as represented by the intrusive acitivies of Google.
I recently contacted all Conservative backbenchers to ask which non-constituency campaigns they are waging and below is a summary of the responses I have had so far.
(N.B. MPs who have not replied to me yet should email me and I will post a further instalment in due course)
- Seeking to reform the way in which payments to MPs are administered: He is introducing a bill aiming to cut the cost of MPs by about £4m a year by asking the IPSA to introduce a Members’ Allowance that is transparent, cheap to administer, and paid at a consistent level for an entire parliament.
- Promoting meritocracy: He is keen to ensure that political parties, Parliament and the Government do not fall into the trap of patronage to bring about equality of representation, which creates resentment and segregates society by embedding groupism. He will be writing a series of pamphlets advising that the Government avoid the knee-jerk reaction of implementing special group privileges to achieve the goal of a more open, diverse and inclusive system.
- Promoting the value of science and scientific evidence in informing parliamentary debate and policy-making, through his chairmanship of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology.
- Promoting training and employment opportunities in Afghanistan and trying to create markets for Afghan goods through his work as a Trustee of Afghan Action and Afghan Training.
- Trying to help young entrepreneurs and communities in Africa with self-help and job creation project through Friends of Africa.
- Promoting the Job Clubs model nationally and highlighting the problems of NEETS.
- Addressing the West Lothian Question.
- Benefits reform through her work on the Work and Pensions Select Committee.
- Lookig at the regulation of Independent Financial Advisers.
- Championing the cause of Equitable Life policyholders (as noted here on ConHome).
- Promoting selective education as chairman of the Friends of Grammar Schools.
- Seeking a reform of the election franchise to ensure a clear link between voting in general elections and citizenship, and allowing all British expatriates to vote.
- Disability issues – particularly relating to Autism and ASD, and Speech, Language and Communication Difficulty. He has highlighted the need for improved mental health treatment for people with these problems who come into contact with the criminal justice system.
- Seeking protection for War memorials from desecration and neglect.
- Promotion of Umbilical Cord Blood (as noted here on ConHome).
- Tackling C.diff.
- Seeking better rehabilitation and mental health care for veterans and reservists.
- Trying to get to the bottom of the role of the last Government in the release of the Libyan bomber Al Megrahi. He has raised it on the floor of the House in business questions, through written questions, and has written to the Cabinet Secretary about releasing papers relating to the advice Ministers received during the negotiation of the Prisoner Transfer Agree with Libya with regards to the possible Implications for Al Megrahi. He has got the Government to place in the Library of the House all of the documents that we have made available to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has written to Senator Kerry about the matter.
Nick de Bois
- Highlighting concerns about the European Arrest Warrant.
- Campaigning to reduce the chances of fraud through electoral registration reform.
- Making the case for why prison works.
- Making the case for CCTV and a DNA database.
- Campaigning to introduce informed consent prior to abortion (as noted here on ConHome).
- Championing the Direct Democracy agenda of local referendums and proper recall mechanisms, on which he hopes to craft amendments to government legislation in due course.
- Campaigning against the mega (8,000 cow) dairy in Nocton because he believes that model, if it spreads, would spell the end of small scale dairy farming in Britain and thinks the Conservative Party should be standing up for domestic food producers.
- He is also pushing a bill to ensure that the £2bn annual food budget for the public sector is used to support sustainable domestic producers – to bolster our food security, support rural communities, provide good quality food for patients and pupils, and cut unnecessary ‘food miles’.
- Supporting the Government in its efforts to sort out the economy.
- Stopping windfarms destroying the natural environment.
- Promoting the introduction of additional Daylight Saving Time through her Private Member's Bill, which she says will cut crime, save llives, improve sport and health, cut CO2 emissions and fuel bills, and create 80,000 jobs at the stroke of a pen (as she has written about here on ConHome).
- Working towards creating a realistic policy for Afghanistan and pushing for a sensible overarching strategy for "what we called the War on Terror".
- Looking at animal welfare aspects of intensive dairy farming.
- Highlighting issues surrounding sheltered accommodation and the trend among housing associations to force through changes to lease agreements on older people.
- Trying to get the Department of Health and the Royal Colleges of Midwives and Obstetricians to classify babies who don't reach term and die more or less immediately as 'pre-term births' rather than stillborn, which is how they are classified at the moment;
- Looking into classification of violence against and torture of people with learning disabilities – she thinks judges should be able to impose a longer sentence in these cases.
- Highlighting the persecution of gay people in Uganda.
- Campaigning to speed up skin cancer checks.
- Highlighting issues of Infant Mental Health and early attachment (as she has written about on ConHome here).
- Promoting the setting up of Job Clubs to help the unemployed find work.
- Encouraging schools to forge links with schools in Uganda.
- Wind farms – she believes it is important for local residents to have a say if a Wind farm is planned nearby.
- Looking at train franchising in terms of getting improved train stations at no cost to the taxpayer or Treasury.
- On renewable energy, highlighting the opportunity for the Eastern Coastline to compete with the North for the business to service and supply the new offshore markets.
- Campaigning on and writing about a variety of defence-related issues.
- Working on securing better treatment for service casualties.
- Campaigning for a PFI Rebate, i.e. a reduction in the cost of PFI projects nationwide. He says that there is huge potential for savings of up to £500 million and that no-one should be exempt from the current financial austerity – with all the money saved goes back into the schools and hospitals etc. concerned, not the Treasury. He has held an adjournment debate on the topic, written in the FT about it and launched a new all-party group on the issue.
- Promoting the Campaign Against Political Correctness.
- Backing the Better Off Out campaign in respect of British membership of the EU.
- Campaigning to end the "outdated and cruel practice" of allowing the sale of Primates as pets.
- Highlighting the effect on businesses of proposed changes to employment law.
- Heading the campaign (through the group he runs with Frank Field) for Balanced Migration, and pushed for the full day’s debate on immigration taking place today in the Commons chamber. He has written about the issue here on ConHome.
- Pursuing the issue of Elected Mayors, seeking to amend the forthcoming Localism Bill to reduce the threshold requirement for a referendum on the issue to 2% from 5% of the local electorate.
Sir Peter Tapsell
- Concentrating, as always, on "the great issues of the economy, foreign affairs and defence".
- Promoting his 10-Minute Rule Bill on Developer Bonds. His concern is that when a new housing development is built, the area remains the responsibility of the developer until it is adopted (covering street scene issues like street cleaning, grass cutting, repairing roads and potholes etc.) an that this will generally take several years. The problem he is seeking to resolve is that where a developer doesn’t maintain an area, there are currently no powers to force them to do so.
- Pushing for compulsory financial education in schools.
- Campaigning for a reversal of Labour's Tobacco Display Ban (as he wrote about here on ConHome).
- Working to educate MPs and the general public as to the importance of copyright protection within the creative industries and encouraging young people and new musicians to pursue a career in music, and promoting live music venues.
- Seeking faster legal redress for landlords against tenants who fail to pay rent.
- Pushing for squatting to become criminalised.