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Update on my work in Parliament and the constituency
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News from your local Labour MP

Thank you for reading my June 2016 update on my work in Cardiff Central and in Parliament. It's a year since you elected me as your MP and it's a real privilege to represent you. Thank you for all your support during the past year. I have produced and distributed an annual report. If you haven't received a copy and would like one, please get in touch. You can also read it online here.

During May my team and I held 11 advice surgeries for constituents, including specialist weekly immigration clinics and my first Saturday morning supermarket surgery at Sainsbury's on Colchester Avenue. I hope to repeat this every few months. Details of July surgeries are at the bottom of this email. You don't need an appointment for surgeries, please just drop in.

This month in Parliament has been very difficult for several reasons. I lost my friend and colleague Jo Cox MP to an act of unspeakable brutality. Having campaigned hard for Britain to remain in the EU, the referendum was narrowly lost. And post-referendum, when Government and Opposition should be be focused solely on influencing and securing the best for our country in preparing for withdrawal from the EU, we are looking inwards instead of outwards.
European Referendum

On Thursday 23rd June, Britain went to the polls to decide whether or not we want to Remain in or Leave the European Union. The overall vote was 52% to Leave and 48% to Remain.

Though I am pleased that Cardiff voted overall to Remain, the national result is desperately disappointing. My priorities now are to make sure that jobs are safeguarded and that we find a way for Cardiff-based businesses to continue trading competitively with customers in Europe. I will also support our universities so that they are able to continue their world-leading research and teaching and support the many EU nationals who live and work in Cardiff Central who are extremely worried about what the future holds for them and their families.

Many constituents have contacted me to express their concerns about the referendum campaign, the result and what happens next. The current situation is completely uncertain but I will do my best to answer questions where I am able to.
Jo Cox MP 1974 - 2016
Jo and I didn’t just share a name. We shared a job, a love of our Party and its values, and a passion for campaigning on behalf of vulnerable people who need a voice, both here and abroad. You will have read about Jo’s many incredible achievements. She made such an impact in her all too short life.

The outpouring of concern, support and love for Jo across Cardiff Central, the UK and beyond has, I know, been an enormous source of comfort to Jo’s family. It is essential that we all continue to uphold what Jo stood for in our richly diverse, tolerant, welcoming and happy city.

I joined hundreds of people from across Cardiff at the #MoreInCommon event, held in honour of Jo.

Thank you to the many people who have sent me kind and supportive messages and encouragement following Jo’s death. They have meant such a lot.
#RefugeesWelcome Coffee Morning
The weekend after the referendum result I hosted a coffee morning at St John's Church, Cardiff City Centre, to say #RefugeesWelcome to Cardiff. We had a great turnout raising funds which will be split between three charities which support refugees and asylum seekers: Oasis Cardiff, Asylum Justice and Welsh Refugee Council.

Thank you to everyone who attended and supported the event.
Out and About
As regular readers will know, I'm a committed football fan. The Euro 2016 tournament has been a dream come true for Welsh football fans after such a long wait for international success. Not only has the team done us proud, Welsh fans' behaviour has been exemplary, both in France and at the fan zone here in Cardiff Central. Fingers crossed for this evening. Allez les Gallois!
I was pleased to be invited to the launch of the Refugee Wales art exhibition at Wales Millennium Centre this month. The exhibition, curated by the team from Oasis Cardiff, is the final stage of a two year long project aiming at enabling refugees and asylum seekers to tell their own stories through creative activities including photography and visual arts.
I visited St Philip Evans Primary School this month and was delighted to meet with the school council and other pupils during my visit. The school had held its own EU Referendum - strongly voting to Remain - and were keen to discuss the process and what happens next. I wish I was able to enlighten them!
I held an Eid Card design competition, with Jenny Rathbone AM, for pupils at Cardiff Muslim Primary School. This winning design, created by 11 year old Nusaybah Sheikh, has been printed on cards for people celebrating Eid in Cardiff Central. I would like to send very best wishes to all my Muslim constituents and everyone celebrating. Eid Mubarak.
Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaigners visited Parliament this month to campaign against the unfair changes to pensions affecting women born in the 1950s. The Government has tried to implement changes faster than promised and with no transitional arrangements to support people coming up to retirement. I was pleased to see such a large number of women campaigning, and I will continue to strongly support the campaign.
I spoke at GMB Union annual congress this month with a panel of fellow GMB women members who are Labour MPs: Gill Furniss MP, Paula Sherriff MP and Ruth Smeeth MP. We took questions on a wide range of issues from conference delegates and officially launched the Harry Harpham GMB Parliamentary Programme in memory of Gill’s late husband, and our colleague, Harry Harpham MP who died at the start of this year.
I met with Colombian National Peasant Leader, Cezar Jerez, and Justice for Colombia in Parliament this month to discuss the ongoing Colombian peace process. Justice for Colombia is now playing an official role in the peace process and its implementation. We discussed an agreed EU funding package that will help peasant farmers to stop growing coca and move to legal sustainable crops.

In Parliament

Justice Questions
This month in Justice questions I focused on the importance of EU membership to protect us against crime, terrorism and threats to our security. Being part of the EU gives member states access to 'compulsory prisoner transfer' arrangements, enabling the UK to deport EU national prisoners to their country of origin.

Leaving the EU will mean having to agree deportation arrangements individually with every single EU country, returning us to a system where the UK has no ability to deport any foreign prisoners to their country of origin unless we can persuade the government of that country to accept them.

Click here to watch the full exchange.
Fit for Work - Disability Debate 
On 8th June I spoke in a debate on supporting people with disabilities to get them back into work. The 'Fit for Work' service, launched by the UK Government, was due to be rolled out across Wales to support the 48,000 Welsh workers who are out of work for more than 4 weeks, and help them plan their return to work as their health improves. This was a particularly important service for Wales as many people are employed by small businesses which do not have in-house occupational health teams.

The scheme has been badly advertised, badly implemented and within a year, the centre in Nantgarw providing it in Wales closed down with job losses. Following the debate, I had a meeting with the Government Minister to press him further on addressing  the problems.

Watch the exchange here.
Urgent Question on Conduct of Football Fans
Following an urgent question to the Home Secretary about the conduct of football fans attending Euro 2016 games in France, I took the opportunity to praise the Welsh team, and one of our stars, Cardiff's own Gareth Bale, for their success so far.

The Secretary of State agreed with me that the best antidote to disappointing violent behaviour would be a friendly and successful match between England and Wales. I'm pleased to say that it appears this was the case and fans enjoyed a great game peacefully and safely.

Watch my question to the Home Secretary here.
Organ Donation
Figures were released this month by the Welsh Government, showing that six months after moving to a system of presumed consent for organ donation, the policy has increased the number of people receiving lifesaving organ transplant surgery.
 
Following my question to the Prime Minister on this subject earlier in the year, he wrote to me claiming that there isn't sufficient evidence to move to this system in England as well as Wales. I'm pleased that these new statistics show that there is indeed evidence that the policy is successful and I am continuing to raise the issue with the Government and to build cross-party support for equivalent legislation across the UK. 

Click here to read the full story.

Upcoming Advice Surgeries

I hold regular surgeries around the constituency. All surgeries are drop-in, no appointment is needed.

Every Wednesday, 11am - 12 noon
Immigration Clinic at Constituency Office, 116 Albany Road

Friday 22nd July, 4pm - 6pm
Advice surgery at Constituency Office, 116 Albany Road

Full details of upcoming surgeries are listed on my website.

Copyright © 2016 Jo Stevens MP, All rights reserved.


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