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PRESS RELEASE ARCHIVE
April 2001 - July 2002

03/07/02 Independence Day Demonstration - Menwith Hill,  MP Says No to Use of US Bases in Britain for "Star Wars"

28/06/02 The UK Must Not Vote to Undermine the International Criminal Court

19/06/02 Birmingham People of All Ages Come to Westminster for Trade Justice

19/06/02 Lynne Jones MP Goes Green for World Summit

09/05/02 Ousted Director General of Chemical Weapons Watchdog to Address MPs

01/02/02 46 Labour MPs Back Amendment on Faith Schools

10/01/02 Major New Education Portal For West Midlands Launched

08/01/02 Local MP Calls For Tighter Arms Controls As Lords Consider Export Control Bill

23/11/01 Free Fruit Scheme Launched in the West Midlands

20/11/01 MP Opposes Proposals for Health Service Shake Up in Birmingham – There Should Be One Primary Care Trust for the City Says Lynne Jones

16/11/01 Human Cloning: Commons Select Committee Told Government About the Need for Urgent Action in 1997

18/10/01 MPs Deliver Petition Signed By Half a Million to 10 Downing Street

05/10/01 Local MP Speaks Out on UK Response to the US Terrorist Attacks

28/09/01 CITY HONOURS VOLUNTEERS INCLUDING 90 YEAR OLD MABLE READ THOUGHT TO BE BIRMINGHAM'S OLDEST VOLUNTEER

21/09/01 LOCAL MP ECHOES CHIEF CONSTABLE’S MESSAGE IN SUPPORT OF MUSLIM COMMUNITY

03/09/01 61 PLACES IN BIRMINGHAM FOR 239 PEOPLE ASKING FOR DRUG/ALCOHOL TREATMENT

07/08/01 MP OPENS CRICKET FESTIVAL FOR KIDS

27/07/01 VALUED VOLUNTEER

18/07/01 MP QUIZZES PM ON A FAIR DEAL FOR BIRMINGHAM’S COUNCIL TENANTS

12/07/01 PROTEST OVER SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS PROPOSALS GETS RESULTS

12/07/01 Check that your holiday is protected,urges LYNNE JONES MP

27/04/01 MP JOINS PARENTS TO CELEBRATE JOB SUCCESSES

Click here for PRESS RELEASE ARCHIVE
March 2000 - March 2001

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03 July 2002

INDEPENDENCE DAY DEMONSTRATION - MENWITH HILL

MP SAYS NO TO USE OF US BASES IN BRITAIN FOR "STAR WARS"

 

Lynne Jones will join Mark Thomas and Caroline Lucas MEP at the annual Independence Day demonstration calling for the accountability of American bases

Lynne Jones said:

"I welcomed Tony Blair’s statement on Newsnight on 16 May that he believes weapons of mass destruction to be a "real evil" - but the US abandonment of the ABM Treaty and the instigation of ‘National Missile Defence’ completely undermines our Government’s stated aim of ridding the world or nuclear weapons.

If the US Government really wanted to make the world a safer place, they should be planning to spend the billions that ‘Star Wars’ will cost on global programmes to reduce conflict in the world".

There are also concerns that if we cooperate with this programme then Britain would be more likely to become a target in any future attack. US reliance on the use of the bases at Fylingdales and Menwith Hill in Yorkshire gives our Government influence on US policy – this influence should be used to press Bush to abandon NMD".

Lynne Jones is calling on the Government to raise with President George Bush the grave concerns expressed by its Foreign Affairs Select Committee and the 278 MPs who have signed a motion against NMD.

The MP said:

"July 4 is US Independence Day but in Yorkshire we will be reading a Declaration of Independence from American Militarism, the sentiments of which are heavily based on the original US Declaration!"

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Notes to Editors:

Lynne Jones has tabled a Parliamentary Motion: PRIME MINISTERS COMMENTS ON WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION 3/7/2 which will appear on the order paper on 4 July

The event is organised by the CAMPAIGN FOR THE ACCOUNTABILITY OF AMERICAN BASES (CAAB) – supported by Yorkshire CND

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28 June 2002

THE UK MUST NOT VOTE TO UNDERMINE THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

 9-11 Peace.org a US campaigning body are highlighting a US led UN resolution to undermine the International Criminal Court. 9-11 Peace.org have informed UK MPs that the vote is due to take place before 30 June. They say that Jack Straw is wavering on whether to vote against this proposal.

Lynne Jones has contacted Jack Straw to bring the Peace.org campaign to his attention. The MP said:

"I have written to Jack Straw urging him to reject any UN Security Council resolution that would provide blanket immunity from the ICC. The refusal of the US to sign up to the ICC and this apparent campaign to undermine it is deeply worrying and I hope that Jack will not be swayed".

 

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The text of the 9-11 Peace.org notice is reproduced below.

 

Dear friend of 9-11Peace,

In the next few days, Britain will decide whether or not to support a UN Security Council resolution that would undermine the International Criminal Court. The ICC, which the United Kingdom joined over 160 other countries in creating, will prosecute the world's worst criminals -- perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. But if the US's resolution exempting peacekeepers from the Court passes, it'll be a giant step backward for the Court and the entire structure of international law. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw is wavering on whether to vote against this proposal. The vote will occur some time before June 30 -- this Sunday. Please encourage Secretary Straw to hold firm against the United States'assault on international law. please urge him to:

"Reject any UN Security Council resolution that would provide blanket immunity from the ICC. Such a resolution would undermine the world's ability to bring to justice the perpetrators of genocide and war crimes."The Security Council resolution hardly came out of the blue. It's part of a sustained campaign by the US to get rid of the ICC. When President Clinton signed the Rome Statute establishing the Court in 1998, he committed the US only to not undermining the Court. But a few weeks ago, President Bush "unsigned," and, at the behest of right-wing elements in the US, he's now seeking to make it powerless. In practice, neither the United States nor any other government that sends peacekeepers on UN missions has anything to fear. Under current conditions, a person can only be brought before the court if he or she committed horrendous crimes, AND if these crimes go without investigation by perpetrator's own country. The ICC sets the bar very high, on the principle that international law should only come into play when national law fails. As long as the US conducted an investigation when there was an allegation that a US peacekeeper had committed a serious crime, the ICC would have no jurisdiction. Although the resolution is largely a symbolic gesture for Bush's right-wing constituents, it'll have very real consequences. According to the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, "This puts the very idea of treaty-making at risk. Why negotiate a document if the U.S. can change it later, behind the closed doors of the Security Council?" So far, Jack Straw has been quiet about whether or not he plans to vote against the resolution. 12 out of 15 Security Council members have already indicated that they won't support the resolution. But if Britain makes a compromise, there's a possibility that other countries will join in it. Please call Jack Straw now and urge him to hold strong. And please pass this message on to friends and colleagues. Time is of the essence.

Thank you,

--Eli Pariser
9-11Peace Campaign
MoveOn.org
June 27, 2002

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19/06/02

BIRMINGHAM PEOPLE OF ALL AGES COME TO WESTMINSTER FOR TRADE JUSTICE

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On Lambeth Bridge, outside Parliament with Selly Oak Trade Justice Lobbyists

As part of today’s mass lobby of Parliament organised by the Trade Justice Movement. Lynne Jones MP met constituents of all ages in Portcullis House to discuss the injustice faced by developing countries because of current trade policies.

Lynne Jones said:

"I was proud that so many people of all ages from Selly Oak came to London to lobby against the deeply unfair trading conditions faced by developing countries. We all agreed that we must work to remove the protectionist measures, including subsidies from rich nations, like the CAP, which prevent fair access to world markets for poor countries.

The international rules and practices that govern trade are biased in favour of the rich. Instead, they could be giving special help to the weakest and most vulnerable.

Many countries have signed up to the 2015 development targets but if these are to be reached we need to see a higher level of commitment on both trade justice and meeting UN targets on aid as well as dealing with the unnecessary imposition of structural adjustment programmes.

Campaigners against global poverty have demonstrated that they will not go away until anti poverty promises are met".

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I meet with constituents to discuss trade justice in Portcullis House on the day of the Lobby

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19/06/02

LYNNE JONES MP GOES GREEN FOR WORLD SUMMIT

Lynne Jones MP for Birmingham Selly Oak, today backed a global campaign to bring green energy to two billion of the planet’s poorest people.

By backing a House of Commons motion, Dr Jones pledged her support to the CHOOSE POSITIVE ENERGY campaign led by The Body Shop and Greenpeace The initiative is currently running in The Body Shop stores across 27 countries.

CHOOSE POSITIVE ENERGY is calling for a commitment from world leaders at the 2002 World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) to deliver renewable energy to two billion people in the developing world currently without access to electricity services by 2012.

EDM 1299 also calls on the Prime Minister Tony Blair, to give his support to the campaign call.

To date over half a million people have signed a global petition supporting the campaign, which will be delivered to WSSD in Johannesburg this August.

Lynne Jones said: "I urge my constituents to join me in supporting this campaign – look out for the petition in branches of The Body Shop. One in three people on planet Earth have no access to electric lighting or decent cooking facilities – renewable energy provided by the sun, streams, wind, wav and tides can meet people’s needs and help avoid climate catastrophe. World leaders at the 2002 World Summit need to make a commitment to support investment in renewable energy and phase out fossil fuel development."

The UK has a mixed record on its commitment to renewable energy. Renewable energy is already available for domestic and business use throughout the UK but targets for renewable energy use need to be massively increased if we are to help stop global warming devastating the lives of millions. For example, wind and wave farms out at sea alone could produce enough electricity to supply the UK's electricity needs three times over.

While the UK is the third highest giver of Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) to energy, only 0.07% is spent on renewable energy. In addition the UK’s Export Credit Guarantee Department has facilitated the construction of fossil fuel projects in the developing world that have contributed 13.3 million tonnes of carbon to the Earth’s atmosphere each year.

-Ends-

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9 May 2002

OUSTED DIRECTOR GENERAL OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS WATCHDOG TO ADDRESS MPs

Josť Bustani, former Director General of the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons will address MPs on The future of the OPCW on Tuesday 14 May. Brian Eno, one of the celebrities who wrote to the Guardian on this matter, will also be in attendance (other celebrity signatories tbc).

 The move to dismiss Josť Bustani as Director General of the organization charged with enforcing the Chemical Weapons Convention was led by the US. Bustani is the second head of a multilateral agency to fall to US pressure within a week, after the removal of climate scientist Bob Watson as chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The US charged the Brazilian diplomat with mismanagement and "ill-conceived initiatives" including ordering chemical plant inspections in certain countries for political reasons. However, whilst the US has posted a list of its allegations on a State Department website, it has never produced any evidence and has declined to conduct an enquiry to seek to substantiate its allegations. It has not answered Mr Bustani's rebuttal, which attributes financial problems to a lack of payments from member states and explains that the director cannot order inspections.

Lynne Jones MP arranged for Mr Bustani to come to the House of Commons after being unconvinced by the UK Government’s reasons for supporting the US campaign against him. The MP said:

"I was dismayed to learn that the UK was the first member state to co-sponsor the US resolution to dismiss Mr Bustani and I am deeply concerned that the US appears to be embarked on a policy of deliberately undermining international treaties. In view of the events of September 11 it is astounding that the US is forging ahead with this blinkered unilateralism and it is extremely worrying that the UK supported this US campaign."

"The purpose of the meeting, is to give Mr Bustani the opportunity to respond to the accusations made against him by the US and UK Governments and to discuss his concerns for the future of the Organisation and other international organisations in light of the actions of the US".

Dr Julian Perry Robinson an expert in chemical weapons from Sussex University’s Science Policy Research Unit will also contribute to the meeting.

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for more information on the event click here

 

1 February 2002

46 LABOUR MPS BACK AMENDMENT ON FAITH SCHOOLS

So far, the following Labour MPs have signed an amendment designed to limit the number of pupils that faith schools can select on the basis of their religion:

Frank Dobson, John Austin, Harry Barnes, Anne Begg, Andrew Bennett, Roger Berry, Colin Challen, Michael Clapham, Tony Clarke, Anne Clwyd, Harry Cohen, Jeremy Corbyn, Ann Cryer, Ian Davidson, Janet Dean, Gwyneth Dunwoody, Barbara Follett, Derek Foster, Neil Gerrard, Ian Gibson, Jane Griffiths, Kelvin Hopkins, Eric Illsley, Lynne Jones, Oona King, Jackie Lawrence, Terry Lewis, Alice Mahon, Bob Marshall-Andrews, Chris McCafferty, John McDonnell, Anne McKechin, Jon Owen Jones, Gordon Prentice, Ken Purchase, Syd Rapson, Terry Rooney, Martin Salter, Brian Sedgemore, Jonathan Shaw, Alan Simpson, Dennis Skinner, Gerry Steinberg, George Stevenson, Betty Williams and Derek Wyatt.

The amendment, tabled by Frank Dobson will be debated during the Report Stage of the Education Bill on Tuesday 5th and Wednesday 6th February 2002.

Lynne Jones MP has been involved in discussions with colleagues and has identified considerable unease amongst Labour MPs (including even Labour Whips) over the Government’s policy on faith schools. Lynne Jones said today "I anticipate many more colleagues will sign the amendment by next Tuesday. The Government needs to listen to its own backbenchers and revise its policy to ensure that faith schools are genuinely inclusive".

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Notes to Editors:

The text of New Clause 1:

No requirements of attendance at a place of religious worship

(1) It shall not be required, as a condition of a pupil being admitted to a maintained school, that:

(a) he must attend or abstain from attending a place of religious worship

(b) his parents or guardians must attend or abstain from attending a place of religious worship.

(c) the pupil, his parent(s) or guardian(s) belong to any particular faith or denomination

(2) The local education authority after consultation with the admission forum may by

regulation authorise that, notwithstanding (1) a maintained school may admit

between 20% and 75% of pupils who have a particular faith or denomination.

(3) Where the local education authority is informed that there are insufficient

applications to a particular maintained school to fill the available places, the local education authority may after consultation with the admission forum authorise an increase up to 100% in the numbers of pupils admitted who are of the particular faith or denomination of the maintained school in question.

 

For more details on my views on faith schools please: click here

 

11 January 2002

MAJOR NEW EDUCATION PORTAL FOR WEST MIDLANDS LAUNCHED

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Today at the British Education Technology Exhibition at Olympia, Lynne Jones MP launched the WMnet portal, www.wmnet.org.uk which is a part of the Government’s Curriculum Online strategy. lt will provide:

  • a cataloguing system for classifying and finding teaching resources
  • exemplar online teaching materials with evaluations
  • templates to support the evaluation of online teaching materials
  • gallery of content developments and projects
  • a video-conferencing directory to locate partners

Lynne Jones said: "The opening of this portal will provide a new opportunity for locating and presenting high quality, digitally-enhanced, teaching and learning materials for teachers and pupils in 2500 West Midlands schools. It will be a great a stimulus for the development of new ways of teaching and learning."

"These new techniques will use broadband to channel the power of video and animated presentations into increasingly more vivid teaching resources, harnessing information technology to the improvement of education standards."

Broadband facilities promoted through the portal will not be just about better facilities and materials for teachers. As well as enhancing teaching the facilities will provide resources for learners through which they can locate materials, publish information and set up their own learning collaborations with a greater degree of independence. By 2005 all schools in the region will have broadband access.

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08 January 2002

LOCAL MP CALLS FOR TIGHTER ARMS CONTROLS AS LORDS CONSIDER EXPORT CONTROL BILL

Birmingham Selly Oak MP, Lynne Jones, has signed a call to strengthen new arms legislation as the Export Control Bill receives its Second Reading in the Lords today.

The cross party Early Day Motion, supported by the UK Working Group on Arms, which includes Oxfam, Amnesty International, BASIC, International Alert and Saferworld, aims to tighten up legislation so that British-made and licensed weapons do not end up falling into the wrong hands. Developed in response to the 1996 Scott Report, the Bill still leaves much to be desired and could still mean that British weapons are used in human rights abuses or by those fighting UN and British peace keeping forces.

Lynne Jones MP said: "It is important that Britain tackles the issue of arms exports. We are one of the world's top three arms exporters and it is vital that there are no loopholes that allow British-made weapons to be used to fuel conflict and human rights abuses worldwide."

"Weapons that end up in the wrong hands, due to weak legislation and monitoring, can often destroy years of work helping countries overcome poverty. I am supporting this Early Day Motion to press for measures to ensure that Britain acts responsibly and is part of the drive to cut conflict around the world."

Oxfam, as part of the UK Working Group on Arms, demands that the Government takes responsibility for the wider effects of arms sales. The Export Control Bill must ensure that human rights are protected and conflicts prevented where possible. The Government must minimise the likelihood that weapons produced under UK license overseas find their way to conflict or human rights crisis zones and immediately revoke export licenses when weapons fall into the wrong hands.

Ends

TEXT of EDM 469:That this House congratulates the Government on introducing the Export Control Bill which represents a welcome step in strengthening the UK arms export regime; notes that a number of concerns have been identified in the Bill; further notes that the Bill could be strengthened to ensure that arms brokered or manufactured by UK citizens do not end up in the hands of terrorist groups or used to abuse human rights and exacerbate conflict; regrets that arms sales that damage sustainable development could still occur under the Bill; and calls on the Government to reconsider amendments raised at the committee and report stages during its passage in another place.

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23 November 2001

FREE FRUIT SCHEME

LAUNCHED IN WEST MIDLANDS

The Government is piloting the National School Fruit Scheme (NSFS) in 500 schools throughout England with the aim that all infant children will be entitled to a free piece of fruit each school day by 2004. The pilots are examining the practicalities of the scheme before rolling it out nationally. Lynne Jones MP welcomed today’s launch of in the fruit scheme in the West Midlands.

In recent pilots, children were given bananas, satsumas, pears and apples and although bananas were the most popular, all types of fruit consumption was high. 97% of schools regarded the NSFS as a support to teaching and learning about healthy eating and many schools had incorporated the scheme into health education lessions and other areas of the school curriculum such as science and numeracy.

The MP said:

"Too many children are not getting the healthy diet that they need and it is excellent news that the Government has introduced this school fruit scheme. I am encouraging Ministers to extend the scheme to older children once the practicalities of the pilots are worked out so that positive impact of the scheme in both educational and nutritional terms can be widened"

"I am also keen to promote the Dairy Council’s ‘School Milk’ campaign which provides subsidised milk in primary schools in ten regions in the UK, including Birmingham. The scheme is a good one but at the moment it relies on parents to request milk for their children. I am in contact with Tim Brighouse, the Chief Education Officer, at Birmingham City Council to ask how the Local Education Authority might lend its support to the scheme to increase the numbers of children who are taking up this opportunity and to find out about Birmingham’s plans for implementing the pilot fruit scheme."

"We have taken a big step in the right direction with today’s launch of the fruit scheme for infants"

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20 November 2001

MP opposes proposals for Health Service shake-up in Birmingham– there should be one Primary Care Trust for the City says Lynne Jones

In her submission to Birmingham Health Authority's consultation on proposals to establish Primary Care Trusts in Birmingham, Lynne Jones MP has rejected the amalgamation of the current seven primary care organisations into four new trusts.

Speaking today, the MP said; "There seems to be no coherence in the Health Authority’s proposals. The proposed structure creates bodies that are not small enough to enable genuine grassroots participation, particularly in South Birmingham where the proposals have been overwhelmingly rejected in the GP ballot, but neither does it work well for services that are to remain or develop at a City level. We learned this lesson 10 years ago when we amalgamated four health authorities into one. There should be no going back to this failed system. "

The MP is concerned that GPs who started out enthusiastic for new primary care structures now feel that they have no influence on the larger organisations. The solution to this problem is not to divide the City up into four but to keep one over-arching body that is able to devolve as much decision-making as possible to locality areas that are already a feature of the current plans.

"My biggest concern is that if we go ahead and create four new Primary Care trusts, it will not be very long before some bright spark comes up with the idea of joining them all together again. There are already rumours of work in hand to merge Good Hope hospital with Heartlands hospital, which will create pressures for the merger of the trusts covering the north and east of Birmingham before they have hardly got going. Healthcare workers in the City are desperate for some stability. They will not get it if these plans go ahead."

"I know there will be a reluctance on the part of ministers to accept that any new body should take on the same boundaries as those left behind by the soon to be abolished Birmingham Health Authority but they should not let political dogma overcome common sense."

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Click here to view my submission

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16 November 2001

HUMAN CLONING:

COMMONS SELECT COMMITTEE TOLD GOVERNMENT ABOUT THE NEED FOR URGENT ACTION IN 1997

 

Health Minister, Phil Hunt yesterday said that the advice the Government had received was that human reproductive cloning was covered by the Human Embryology and Fertilisation Act (HFEA). This was the same position given by the DTI Minister in response to exhortations in 1997 and 1998 by the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee that there was an urgent need for primary legislation to clarify the scope of the Act.

This is yet another example of the Government paying scant attention to the concerns of expert backbenchers.

In March 1997, the Select Committee produced a report on cloning. It pointed out that the cloning method uses an oocyte (egg) but it is not actually fertilised. Instead, the nucleus is directly transferred into it and thus the process may not be covered by the Act. Paragraph 29 of the report stated:

It is clear that the law relating to the cloning of humans by the Roslin method is at best ambiguous, and at worst sufficiently lax not to catch some applications of the technique at all. While Counsel's opinion will clarify the position, it will not be a binding interpretation of the law. It is not satisfactory for issues as momentous as this to be left until they are decided through test cases.

We recommended:

The HFEA should be amended to ensure that the Roslin technique comes within its scope. Anyone attempting cloning without the Authority's approval should face criminal charges.

We also put forward proposals for amending the law.

The complacency of the Govt's response resulted in further exhortations from the Committee in Feb 1998 (Given the potential for rapid developments in genetic science, we believe there is also a need for a degree of urgency) see: Science and Technology Committee website.

Again our advice was ignored leading to the chaotic situation we now find ourselves in!

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18 October 2001

MPs DELIVER PETITION SIGNED BY HALF A MILLION TO 10 DOWNING STREET

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Prime Minister Tony Blair today faced calls from MPs and half a million signatories of a petition organised by US citizen David Pickering to use moderation and restraint in responding to the terrorist attacks in the USA

David Pickering has come to Britain to personally deliver the petition, endorsed by half a million signatories from 190 countries (including 53,000 from the UK) collected over the internet in the last 3 weeks. He was joined by Valerie Davey MP, Lynne Jones MP, Paul Marsden MP, Adam Price MP, Alan Simpson MP and Hywel Williams MP.

The petition says:

" We implore the powers that be to use, wherever possible, international judicial institutions and international human rights law to bring to justice those responsible for the attacks, rather than the instruments of war, violence or destruction"

"Furthermore, we assert that the government of a nation must be presumed separate and distinct from any terrorist group that may operate within its borders, and therefore cannot be held unduly accountable for the latter's crimes".

The petition has also been signed by the family of Simon Maddison, a British citizen who was killed in the attack on the World Trade Centre.

Also delivered to Downing Street was a letter from Mr Pickering making the point that, whilst he understood that terrorism threatened the stability of the world, 'the military engagement that is under foot will only undermine that stability further’.

MPs are calling on the PM and other world leaders to give more emphasis to the safety of innocent civilians, who 'must not bear any responsibility for the actions of their government’ and condemned the use of cluster bombs, which kill indiscriminately. All the MPs called for a halt in the current bombing campaign to maximise the chance of humanitarian aid reaching people in need in Afghanistan.


Text of petition below:

We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of the United States of America and of countries around the world, appeal to the President of The United States, George W. Bush; to the NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson; to the President of the European Union, Romano Prodi; and to all leaders internationally to use moderation and restraint in responding to the recent terrorist attacks against the United States. We implore the powers that be to use, wherever possible, international judicial institutions and international human rights law to bring to justice those responsible for the attacks, rather than the instruments of war, violence or destruction.

Furthermore, we assert that the government of a nation must be presumed separate and distinct from any terrorist group that may operate within its borders, and therefore cannot be held unduly accountable for the latter's crimes. It follows that the government of a particular nation should not be condemned for the recent attack without compelling evidence of its co-operation and complicity with those individuals who actually committed the crimes in question.

Innocent civilians living within any nation that may be found responsible, in part or in full, for the crimes recently perpetrated against the United States, must not bear any responsibility for the actions of their government, and must therefore be guaranteed safety and immunity from any military or judicial action taken against the state in which they reside.

Lastly and most emphatically, we demand that there be no recourse to nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, or any weapons of indiscriminate destruction, and feel that it is our inalienable human right to live in a world free from the use of such arms.

www.9-11peace.org

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05 October 2001

LOCAL MP SPEAKS OUT ON UK RESPONSE TO US TERRORIST ATTACKS

 

On October 4 Parliament was recalled. Although indicating my wish to contribute to the debate and attending between 9-30 and 7pm, I was not called to speak. Below is a document giving the gist of what I would have said, had the opportunity arisen. Though several colleagues referred to the importance of reinvigorating international institutions, no other member who spoke made reference to the need to improve the effectiveness of our own democratic structures in which so many people demonstrated their loss of confidence at the General Election.

I was, however, pleased to be able to make interventions during Jack Straw’s

and Jeff Hoon’s speeches to highlight some of my concerns. Jack Straw’s indication that Kofi Annan had been fully briefed did provide some reassurances but I will be following this matter up to ensure this is the case.


Statement - 4 October 2001

Members of the House and the British people are thankful for the emphasis the Prime Minister has placed on justice and not revenge. The public mood is neither for war nor perpetuating the cycle of violence but for actions that will improve, not harm, prospects for world peace.

On Tuesday the Prime Minister told the Labour Party Conference that the justice we seek is not only to punish the guilty but to bring the values of freedom and justice to people around the world.

He is right.

But, though it would be wrong to foster prejudice against Americans, it has to be acknowledged that in many places the USA is seen as a supporter of anti-democratic regimes which have been kept in place to support US financial interests.

This is a point made time and again in the flood of communications I have received from constituents in the last three weeks.

As we cope with the aftermath of the terrible carnage in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, I agree with points made by several honourable members that we must bolster and extend the role of global institutions. I would particularly like to endorse the comments made by the Honourable Member for Sittingbourne and Sheppey (Derek Wyatt) in which he questioned the use of the veto in the Security Council.

We also need to reinvigorate our own democratic institutions, in which, we know from the general election, so many of our own citizens have lost confidence. This creates a dangerous vacuum that extremist elements will be only too happy to occupy.

We must make this Place more relevant.

Today, Parliament has been reconvened to give implicit, not explicit, support for the military action necessary to achieve the objectives that were laid down by the Prime Minister in his statement.

I, for one, accept the need for military action if we are to deal with those behind the atrocities in America, if at all possible by bringing them to justice in an international court. But action must be measured and only that which is strictly necessary.

There should have been a substantive vote today so that this House can set the framework within which we expect our Government to act on our behalf.

In a few weeks time, it is likely that the House will be asked to approve measures which we will be told will help combat international terrorism. The House has a responsibility to ensure that the effectiveness of any legislation is properly scrutinised, something that we have often not been effective in doing. The Government needs to consider whether the way it exerts its powers of patronage and marginalises critical voices contribute to good governance and effective law-making.

In my constituency, those of all faiths and none that I have spoken to have unreservedly condemned the atrocities committed in the USA. In Birmingham survivors of the 1974 pub bombings and the relatives and friends of those who did not survive, and even those like me who thought "there but for the grace of god go I" will empathise with the feelings of the American people. But at home it is the Muslim community that is suffering from threats of violence and actual violence. Those who threaten schools and mosques and circulate hate material are equally to be deplored as are those that rejoiced in the carnage in the USA.

Lasting good must come out of the events of September the 11th. We owe it to the lives lost that day.

On Tuesday the Prime Minister set out the challenges that face us. How can anyone think that National Missile Defence will help in anyway? The vast resources that would need to be deployed on this project would be better directed towards international institutions engaged in work to reduce conflict, bring justice and tackle the real threats to world order – poverty, climate change and abuse of human rights.

In everything we do from now on we should remember that this is what we want to achieve.

Lynne Jones MP

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28 September 2001

CITY HONOURS VOLUNTEERS

INCLUDING 90 YEAR OLD MABLE READ THOUGHT TO BE BIRMINGHAM'S OLDEST VOLUNTEER


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Lynne Jones MP joined the Lord Mayor in presenting over 70 'older volunteer heroes' with certificates in recognition of their work at an event in the Banqueting Suite at the Council House. The Lord Mayor also met Mable Read, thought to be the city's oldest volunteer, who gives her time to work at the Cotteridge Church day centre. At the end of the evening, a party of volunteers toured the Council House. Mable is pictured above with the Lord Mayor, the Lady Mayoress and Lynne Jones MP, surrounded by other honoured volunteers.

Lynne Jones said: "In this year above all, the International Year of Volunteers, I'm pleased to be part of an event to celebrate the work done by some of our 'Older Volunteer Heroes'. I got involved when I received a huge response to a request for nominations by the International Year for Volunteering 2001 Older People's Group."

"Many older people have been volunteers for years - helping in our hospitals or with children and young people and it is important to emphasise the key role played by volunteers in the well-being of our community".

"These are the heroes of our community, and we need to celebrate their contribution."

"And now that more and more people are retiring early and enjoying many years of good health, we should invite them to play an important part in the community."


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21 September 2001

LOCAL MP ECHOES CHIEF CONSTABLE’S MESSAGE IN SUPPORT OF MUSLIM COMMUNITY

 

Local MP, Lynne Jones, today spoke in support of Chief Constable, Edward Crew’s message that the views of a small minority of extremists urging Muslim men to fight against the US are not representative of the wider Muslim community.

Lynne Jones said:

"I am appalled and deeply saddened by the racist attacks inflicted on Muslims and others in Birmingham. Mercifully, these have been small in number and carried out by people whose own bigotry and intolerance does a disservice to the memory of those who died in New York and Washington. I urge all good people to act with understanding and respect as a small contribution towards redressing the injustices in the world. It is totally senseless to blame Islam for these atrocities".

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03 September 2001

61 PLACES IN BIRMINGHAM FOR 239 PEOPLE ASKING FOR DRUG/ALCOHOL TREATMENT

Lynne Jones MP has criticised the Government over the lack of resources for people needing treatment for alcohol and drug addiction in Birmingham. Birmingham Social Services have received 239 referrals for 61 treatment places (only 20 of which are residential).

Lynne Jones said:

"The extent of this problem came to my attention when I was contacted by a constituent, whose son had been subject to detoxification in Solihull Hospital an wanted to go into residential rehabilitation. He successfully completed the two week detoxification (prior to which he was drinking at least a bottle of spirits a day) but has since had to wait months for an assessment. As far as I am aware, he has still not been assessed.

It is totally unacceptable not to offer people a seamless package of treatment after they have gone through hospital detoxification. This leaves extremely vulnerable people without the rehabilitation they need at a time when they have made a major step in addressing their illness.

If programmes are to be successful Government needs to ensure that sufficient resources are available, either to Social Services or the NHS"

Birmingham Social Services had hoped to use funding from the Government’s new National Treatment Agency to help fund treatment but they have been told that NTA funding cannot be used for people addicted to alcohol.

 

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07 August 2001

MP OPENS CRICKET FESTIVAL FOR KIDS

6 –10th AUGUST

Lynne Jones MP has helped launch the Attock Cricket Club’s Second Cricket Festival at their home ground, at Moseley School in Wake Green Road. 160 children from local primary schools will participate in a week of cricket training and fun and games. Professional coaching is being provided by Warwickshire County Cricket Club’s Development Section and Richard Cox, their Director of Cricket, was also at the launch. The launch was also attended by Alamgir Sheriyar, a former member of the club who is now a professional cricketer with Worcestershire CCC.

The attached photographs show the assembled participants and Lynne Jones presenting a cheque for £5000 from Sportsmatch, a lottery funded venture which matches commercial sponsorship in support of community sports.

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27 July 2001

VALUED VOLUNTEER

bob fish.jpg (98572 bytes)

A special event was held in Portcullis House, in Westminster, on the evening of 17 July when a number of MPs took the opportunity to present Certificates of Achievement to older volunteers who had made exceptional contributions to benefit others.

The event was part organised by the Older People’s Group as part of the UN International Year of Volunteers. Some 250 MPs and their guests attended together with their nominated volunteers from all over the country.

Lynne Jones MP, presented Robert Fish with his Certificate in recognition of the outstanding work that he has done for the Selly Oak constituency at the local Citizen’s Advice Bureau for the last 14 years.

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18 July 2001

MP QUIZZES PM ON A FAIR DEAL FOR BIRMINGHAM’S COUNCIL TENANTS

 

Today, Lynne Jones sought assurances from Tony Blair that investment for Birmingham’s Council housing stock would still be available if tenants voted against a change of landlord. Like the response of the Housing Minister who, yesterday, responded to Lynne Jones’ debate on Housing in Birmingham in Westminster Hall, the PM’s response was evasive. Due to the lack of satisfactory responses to questions that are vital to the wellbeing of her constituents, Lynne Jones has now tabled the following Commons Motion:

This House notes that due to chronic under-investment caused by the refusal of successive Governments to permit Birmingham City Council to raise sufficient finance to invest even from its own resources in its housing stock, the backlog of repairs and renovations has risen from £750 million in 1985 to £1.3 billion in 1993 and £3.75 billion in 2000; is concerned that the Government is prepared to spend £650 million of taxpayers’ money in writing off overhanging debt on the housing revenue account only if tenants vote for a change of landord even though this will result in early redemption penalties of £240 million; believes that this money and the £38 million in consultancy and other fees preparing for the stock transfer would be better spent on housing improvements and on securing genuine tenant empowerment on decisions on the use of this money and calls on the Government to give assurances to Birmingham’s Council tenants that if they vote against stock transfer the Government will still keep its promise that their housing will be brought up to a decent standard by 2010.

Lynne Jones said "I am determined that Council tenants in Birmingham should get a fair deal from this Government. We need to end the discrimination against council tenants and council housing which has resulted in today’s problems on council estates across the Country".

 

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12 July 2001

PROTEST GETS RESULTS

 Lynne Jones and 6 other labour MPs joined in the opposition against the Government’s draft for a Special Educational Needs Code of Practice. Faced with the overwhelming argument that the Code revision would have reduced the requirement on local education authorities, like Birmingham, to quantify the support needed by children with special needs, the Government has agreed to rethink the proposals even though enough MPs voted in support.

Speaking today, Lynne Jones, welcomed this sign that the Government was beginning to listen more closely to rational argument and would think again about using the whipping system to force unpopular and inadequately considered measures through Parliament. 

 

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12 July 2001 

Check that your holiday is protected,

urges LYNNE JONES MP

 

"Summer is coming and many families in Birmingham are looking for late holiday bargains – and some are even planning next year’s break to the sun. To make sure that your money is safe, remember to look for the ATOL stamp," says Lynne Jones.

"ATOL is the only financial protection scheme for flights and air holidays in the UK. Twenty-eight million holidaymakers a year are ATOL protected, which means that if a travel organiser fails, their money is safe and they won’t be stranded abroad."

Lynne Jones added, "You can check if your holiday is protected by looking out for the ATOL stamp, or by visiting the ATOL website at www.atol.org.uk"

*ENDS*

Notes to Editors

  1. ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) is a statutory scheme run by the Civil Aviation Authority. All tour operators selling flights and air holidays must hold a licence from the CAA.
  2. ATOL gives 28 million people in the UK comprehensive protection from losing their money or being stranded abroad when travel organisers fail. It is by far the largest travel protection scheme in the UK and the only one for air holidays and flights sold by tour operators.
  3. The ATOL website www.atol.org.uk contains a database covering all ATOL holders, including a search facility to help people find information about particular firms.

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27 April 2001

MP JOINS PARENTS TO CELEBRATE JOB SUCCESSES

 

On Monday 30 April, Lynne Jones MP will be joining a group of eight lone parents returning to Kings Heath Job Centre to thank their New Deal advisers who helped them into work and self-employment. Two employers will also attend the event.

Under the New Deal, lone parents have a personal adviser to guide them through a range of options tailored to their needs, including education, training and job search. Gaining employment is only one of several positive outcomes to improve people’s quality of life and, crucially, help with childcare is given.

Lynne Jones said "I hope this event will help raise awareness amongst lone parents of the opportunities available to them under New Deal. Evidence shows that a lack of suitable affordable childcare and worries about being able to afford the transition into work are major barriers to lone parents being able to gain employment. The women attending will have individual stories to tell about how their personal adviser was able to help them overcome these barriers".

 

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Note to Editors

By the end of December 2000, 182,000 lone parents had joined the New Deal for Lone Parents, 89% of those who went to a first interview

Job entry for the West Midlands was 36% (compared to 41% nationally) and 7% (10% nationally) participate in education and training opportunities. Regional variation in take-up is thought to be due to the availability of good quality childcare. Recommendations of the National Childcare Commission on measures to improve childcare are currently being considered by the Government.

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Embargo 4.30pm Thursday 29 March

MP PRESENTS GOOD DEED DRIVER AWARD AND CALLS FOR LOCAL GROUPS TO NAME OTHER OLDER VOLUNTEER "HEROES"

 

Speaking as she awarded her constituent, Jeremiah Walls with his Co-operative Insurance Society’s Good Deed Driver Award, Lynne Jones welcomed a further initiative to emphasise the importance of volunteers for the well-being of our community.

The MP is supporting the International Year for Volunteering 2001 Older People’s Groups search for older volunteer ‘heroes’. She is calling on local organisations in South Birmingham to identify older people who are the ‘heroes’ of local volunteering. And those who are identified will be presented with a Certificate and an invitation to visit the House of Commons.

"Many older people have been volunteers for years - helping in our hospitals or with children and young people or like Mr Walls just being a good neighbour, offering lifts to disabled and infirm people - and helping themselves to keep active well into old age."

"These are the heroes of our community, and we need to celebrate their contribution."

"And now that more and more people are retiring early and enjoying many years of good health, we should invite them to play an important part in the community."

"In this year above all, the International Year of Volunteers, I’m pleased to be asking local organisations to nominate the older volunteers that they value and appreciate. I’m doing so at the invitation of the IYV2001 Group on Older Volunteering who want all of us to help celebrate the International Year of Volunteers"

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Note to Editors:

For more information about IYV2001 Older People’s Group:

After 1 April 2001 at Help the Aged 207-221 Pentonville Road London N19UZ Tel 020 7278 1114

or: Janet Atfield on Tel: 020 7278 2659 or email janetatfield@hotmail.com

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13/02/01

MP CHAIRS LAUNCH OF MAJOR NEW WEBSITE ON MENTAL HEALTH

emental-health.com

A new website www.emental-health.com was launched today at the House of Commons at a meeting chaired by Lynne Jones MP. The site is a development of schizophrenia.co.uk created by Dr Tonmoy Sharma from the Institute of psychiatry in 1999 which was so successful that it attracted 200,000 hits a month. In response to demand, emental-health.com has now been developed to cover depression, bipolar disorder and Alzheimer’s disease. It gives high quality information useful to anyone with either personal or professional experience of mental health problems and creates a virtual meeting place to debate hot topics and offer support. Emental-health.com offers a unique opportunity for people who use mental health services to share their experiences.

According to a recent MORI poll carried out for emental-health.com, which was presented at the meeting, 6 out of 10 people have experienced mental health problems either directly or in someone close to them. Yet the stigma associated with mental illness means that many people are reluctant to discuss their problems openly.

Summing up the meeting, which included a contribution from a service user, Lynne Jones emphasised the point made by several speakers that the more informed people are about mental illness, the better the outcome for sufferers. She said "It is shocking that due to ignorance, stigma and fear, the average time lapse between the first signs of schizophrenia and medical intervention is 18 months – causing lasting damage to sufferers. As one in three people use the internet, this new website will create enlightenment, helping bring mental illness out into the open".

 

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BIRMINGHAM COUNCIL TENANTS

LOBBY PARLIAMENT

23/01/01

On Wednesday, Lynne Jones MP will be meeting constituents Lobbying Parliament to "Defend Council Housing" and calling for a fair deal for council tenants.

Lynne Jones said: "A lot has gone wrong with council housing over the last 20 years, but this is not surprising given the deliberate discrimination against council tenants during that time. Whilst housing associations have been given taxpayers’ money to build and renovate homes and also allowed to raise additional borrowing for investment, local authorities like Birmingham City Council have even been prevented from raising their own finance to invest in council homes.

The City Council commissioned the ‘KPMG Report’ to look at alternatives to stock transfer. The Report demonstrates that these are not viable. It will, no doubt, be used at the forthcoming Council meeting on 6 February to argue that the only way forward is stock transfer. This is not a valid conclusion since KPMG were not asked to subject stock transfer to the same rigorous analysis as the other options. Had they done so they would have had to identify the enormous waste of taxpayer’s and rent payers’ money to pay the large financial penalties from the early redemption of debt necessary for stock transfer.

Understandably, when working to their brief, KPMG take as read that there are no prospects of loosening central government controls on housing investment carried out by local authorities (controls which do not apply to housing associations even though their spending can have a greater cost to the public purse). Also the Report does not consider the "daylight robbery" that takes money from the rents collected from tenants to save the Government housing benefit costs? If this was stopped, there would be an extra £8 - £12 million a year for repairs.

It is clear from the feedback that I have had from councillors that they are not happy with the privatisation of the Council’s housing stock but feel that there is no alternative. But there is and tenants are leading the way with tomorrow’s lobby. Tenants will be holding the Government to its commitment to bring all council housing up to a decent standard by 2010 so that tenants can have a genuine choice about the future management of their homes.

In arguing the case for a level playing field between local authorities and housing associations when it comes to investment and public subsidy, I am not accepting that the dysfunctional management of council housing in Birmingham should be allowed to continue. There is merit in the devolved management arrangements proposed under stock transfer. The 10 shadow Registered Social Landlords could potentially form the basis for devolved budgets, devolved management and a devolved housing repair service. Tenants and councillors should oversee the management of council housing in their area. Under stock transfer, the interest of private financiers will be paramount.

 

Council tenants say that if the Government is willing to "write-off" up to £850 million of the Council’s debt and redemption charges if stock transfer goes ahead, it should be possible to make the same money available to Council Housing. I agree with them and it would be money more effectively spent.

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MP AND LOCAL SCHOOL SUPPORT

BLUE PETER STAMP AID APPEAL

04.01.00

Lynne Jones MP has joined pupils of Hawksley Church Primary School in supporting the Blue Peter Stamp Aid Appeal. The MP has been saving stamps from her postbag to add to the stamps saved by the children. The money raised will be used to develop community health networks for the Quechua people of Peru. The Quechua live high in the Peruvian mountains and were caught up in a terrible civil war that lasted for 13 years. Although the civil war finished in 1992, people are still having to live with the results. At present basic health services are only available after a two day trek down the mountains.

Lynne Jones said today:

"It would be great if as many viewers as possible could donate their stamps to the appeal. It will only take 200, 000 people collecting 100 stamps each to support three villages, which is the Blue Peter target. If only a few more people in every community joined in, even more villages could be helped."

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‘SPEAKING OUT’

LOCAL MP BACKS AGE CONCERN’S CAMPAIGN ON NHS COMPLAINTS REFORM AND CALLS FOR RETENTION OF A ROLE FOR COMMUNITY HEALTH COUNCILS

21/12/00

Lynne Jones MP today joined forces with Age Concern by signing an Early Day Motion supporting calls for the NHS complaints system to be reformed, after older patients spoke out about their experiences in a new Age Concern report, ‘Speaking Out’.

MPs from all parties are now demanding that the government acts to ensure that the health service learns from its mistakes, that the complaints system is made more accessible, that there will be no recriminations against those who complain, and that those who complain have independent support. They also urge the government to acknowledge that ‘if it develops a complaints system which respects and acts on the views of older people, it will help to build a health service which is better for all’.

Age Concern have heard from over 2000 people, writing to tell their story, since the beginning of their campaign to raise awareness of age discrimination in the health service. Over a third of these people specifically raise the problems they have faced when making complaints, while some say they wanted to complain but would not because they feared recriminations.

 

Speaking Out quotes many more older people on how they have battled against secrecy, intransigence, incompetence and time-wasting which can last for three years or more – and in many cases still fails to provide satisfactory answers or outcomes. They identify four areas of the complaints system which must be addressed in order for the system to work. They want:

  • To make sure what happened to them never happens to others.
  • The system to be clearer, easier and more accessible
  • No fear of recriminations
  • Independent support

cont…/…

 

Lynne Jones MP said: "The Age Concern findings are totally consistent with my own experience supporting constituents in their complaints about NHS shortcomings. Access to independent support for complex cases is absolutely essential which is why I support the retention of the patient advocacy role of Community Health Councils"

 

Gordon Lishman, Director General of Age Concern England, said: "We are delighted that so many MPs have given their immediate support to this campaign. What is clear is that people make complaints in the hope that their voices will be heard. They need to see that the health service has listened and will learn."

ends

Notes to editors:

  • EDM 75: OLDER PEOPLE AND THE NHS COMPLAINTS SYSTEM. 11.12.00

That this House welcomes the new 'Speaking Out' report compiled by Age Concern highlighting the failings of the NHS complaints system in relation to older people; calls on the Government to act on older people's concerns by reforming the system to ensure that the health service learns from its mistakes, that the system is made more accessible, that there will be no recriminations against those who complain and that complainants have access to independent support; and urges the Government to acknowledge that if it develops a complaints system which respects and acts on the views of older people, it will help to build a health service which is better for all.

As of 15.12.00 the following MPs had signed: John Austin, Mr David Amess , Mr Peter Bottomley, Mr Paul Burstow, Dr Vincent Cable, Mr Martin Caton, Mr John Cummings, Mr Jim Dobbin, Mr Ronnie Fearn, Mr Andrew George, Sandra Gidley, Dr Norman A Godman, Mr Lindsay Hoyle, Ms Jenny Jones, Lynne Jones, Mr Richard Livsey, Mr Paul Marsden, Mr Edward O'Hara, The Reverend Martin Smyth, Dr Jenny Tonge.

  • Last year the NHS received 86,013 complaints about hospital and community health services in England alone.
  • Age Concern is running a high profile campaign against ageism in the NHS. This has included the publication of evidence by older people themselves (‘Turning your back on us: Older people and the NHS’), research showing that over three quarters of GPs believe age-based rationing occurs (Age Concern/NOP, May 2000), and evidence of ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ decisions being made without the involvement of patients.
  • Case studies may be available. Please call Alice Hunt or Katey Karam in the media unit on 020 8765 7200.
  • Radio producers please note: Age Concern England has an ISDN facility.
  • Visit the Age Concern website at www.ageconcern.org.uk.

Click here for a copy of Lynne Jones’ letter to the Secretary of State for Health on NHS reforms, including the role of Community Health Councils

 

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19/12/00

SACKED NURSING SISTER NOT THE ONLY ONE TO BLAME FOR ‘REIGN OF TERROR’

 

I have secured an adjournment debate into the management of the Birmingham Specialist Community Health Trust on Wednesday 20th December.

Following an incident in which a brain-damaged patient, Peter Collins, was refused bowel care for six and a half hours, further issues relating to maltreatment of patients and intimidation and bullying of staff were drawn to my attention. An Independent Inquiry was eventually set up on the working practices and organisation of Hillcrest and Ward 3 at Moseley Hall Hospital in Birmingham.

During the course of their Inquiry, the Panel, chaired by Professor McLellan of Southampton General Hospital, were so worried about the possibility of maltreatment of staff and patients that they felt obliged to tell the Chief Executive of their most acute concerns. As a result of this information the Nurse Manager was suspended. In their full report, the Inquiry Team recommended that the Nurse Manager’s suspension should be confirmed and she should be formally investigated for oppressive and unprofessional practices. They also recommended that the post of Clinical Manager should be discontinued and that Dr Jim Unsworth should be replaced as Clinical Director of the Unit whilst continuing in his role as Director of the West Midlands Centre for Rehabilitation, of which the Unit is a key component.

As a result, two female staff were suspended from work and Dr Unsworth from his role as Clinical Director. A formal disciplinary inquiry then began. The outcome of this was that the Nurse Manager was dismissed and the Clinical Manager (who had no clinical training) was given a final written warning and redeployed. A modified "Annex E" or intermediate procedure was commenced to investigate and advise on matters involving professional conduct or competence in relation to three senior members of staff. These were Dr Unsworth, Rick Roberts, the Acting Chief Executive of the former Southern Birmingham Community Health Trust, who had initiated the Independent Inquiry and Dr Imad Soryal, a consultant in rehabilitation medicine who, as on-call consultant, had intervened to get proper care for Mr Collins.

The adjournment debate I have initiated on management of the Birmingham Specialist Community Health Trust will explore how, in the words of the Inquiry Report:

 

"the nurse manager could have established such an effective regime for suppression of innovation and taken it to such extremes without the unwavering and ill-judged support of Dr Unsworth and the clinical manager"

The debate will also address the impact of the actions of the incoming Chief Executive of the new Birmingham Specialist Community Trust which was formed following the amalgamation of its predecessor with its Northern Birmingham counterpart.

Further matters relating to the inadequacy of two internal inquiries, conducted by Dr Alistair Main, the role of the Regional Director of Public Health and health ministers will also be raised during the debate.

Mrs Lorraine Collins, the wife of the patient that was the subject of the maltreatment that brought these various matters to light is willing to talk to the media about her husband’s experiences.

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18 December 2000

WIFE OF BRITISH MAN IN SAUDI JAIL TO MEET FOREIGN OFFICE MINISTER

 

This Wednesday morning, Lynne Jones MP will accompany her constituent Shaheen Chaudhry, to the Foreign Office to meet with Baroness Patricia Scotland to discuss the case of her husband Mohammed Chaudhry, who has been imprisoned without charge in a Saudi jail for 18 months.

The meeting follows yet another disappointment when the offer by a Saudi guarantor to give a personal guarantee for bail was refused on Monday by the Saudi authorities even though they had indicated to the British Embassy that appearance only bail would be accepted. Once more the Saudis are demanding an unlimited financial guarantee, which is impossible to give. This is the third time that hopes have been raised that Mr Chaudhry would be released on bail, only to see those hopes dashed.

Speaking in advance of the meeting Lynne Jones said:

"My constituent has been in jail for over a year and a half and still no charges have been brought. We will be calling on the Minister to step up diplomatic pressure on the Saudis including if necessary, summoning the Saudi Ambassador to the Foreign Office."

 

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news from Labour

Issued by Lynne Jones MP

07/12/00

MP WELCOMES GOVERNMENT PROPOSALS FOR ARMS CONTROL LEGISLATION BUT SAYS THEY MUST GO FURTHER

 

Lynne Jones MP has welcomed the export control bill promised by the Government in yesterday’s Queen’s Speech but has raised concerns that the proposed legislation does not go far enough. Lynne Jones said:

"I am pleased that the Government have announced their intention to publish a Draft Bill to bring tighter controls on the arms trade but as they currently stand, the proposals do not provide for proper Parliamentary scrutiny of arms exports. I would like the Government to hand the power to look at applications for arms export licences to a House of Commons Select Committee. This has been called for in many submissions to the Government’s Green Paper, including my own from November 1998 where I stated:

 

‘a new Select Committee should be established, empowered to monitor military export controls, co-operation among Government departments and the compliance of companies involved in arms exports, [and] its findings included as a commentary on the Government's own report.’

I have now called upon the Government to publish the results of its consultation."

The Selly Oak MP recently accompanied three students from Birmingham University who handed in a petition to the Prime Minister calling for tighter controls on the export of arms.

ends

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news from Labour

Issued by Lynne Jones MP

06/12/00

 

MP WELCOMES PROPOSALS IN QUEEN’S SPEECH FOR THE REGISTRATION OF "BOUNCERS"

AND CALLS FOR KERB CRAWLERS TO RISK ENDORSEMENT OF THEIR DRIVING LICENSES

 

Plans for the regulation for the private security industry announced in the Queen’s Speech were welcomed today by Selly Oak MP, Lynne Jones who, as long ago as 1998, tabled a Common’s motion calling for a national registration scheme for door supervisors, commonly known as bouncers.

Reputable entertainment companies who are members of the British Entertainment and Discotheque Association have also been calling for this measure for some time. Whilst the majority of door supervisors are professional and responsible, without a national registration scheme, the few who have demonstrated violent, racist or other criminal behaviour continue to tarnish the reputation of workers in the entertainment's industry.

In Birmingham there are over 300 premises licensed for entertainment and it is estimated that around 3000 door supervisors are likely to be employed in the City. Although Birmingham City Council has its own registration scheme, requiring pubs and clubs granted entertainment licences by the Council to maintain a register of door supervisors, the scheme lacks legal backing. At last the Government is putting this right with the setting up of a Private Security Industry Authority which will licence all those who provide private security services and ensure that standards within the industry are maintained and improved.

Lynne Jones also welcomed the proposal to make kerb crawling an arrestable offence. This was first proposed in the 1996 report of the Parliamentary Group on Prostitution, which the MP helped author. However, so far, the Government has not responded to the Group’s recommendation that kerb crawlers should risk having their driving licences endorsed. The Government’s proposals also fall far short of the comprehensive review of the laws on prostitution that was called for.

 

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news from Labour

Issued by Lynne Jones MP

15/09/00 

 

MP URGES BIRMINGHAM DRIVERS:

"TAKE CARE THIS AUTUMN"

 

Lynne Jones MP is urging road users in Birmingham Selly Oak to take extra care this autumn, traditionally a time when accident levels soar.

Children have now returned to school after the summer break, and with 20% of morning rush hour traffic caused by the school run, there is an even greater risk of danger. Lynne Jones MP is urging young people to develop safer and healthier ways of getting to school through the RAC Grass Routes Challenge.

In line with the Government’s commitment to cutting child deaths and serious injuries by 50%, the Challenge encourages young people to come up with safer ways of getting to school, by reducing the number of car journeys. The Challenge, which also promotes healthier and greener modes of transport, offers schools the chance of winning £4,000 to implement the Travel Plans they design.

Lynne Jones said:

"Increasing levels of traffic, particularly around schools, can cause a greater risk of accidents to young people and drivers alike. Autumn in particular is a time when extra care needs to be taken, as the weather becomes wetter and the nights draw in.

"The RAC’s Grass Routes Challenge is a great way of encouraging young people to develop safer, healthier and greener ways of getting to school and involving the whole community. I am therefore urging schools in my constituency to take up the RAC’s Challenge to develop School Travel Plans and help reduce the risk of accidents.

"Whilst the emphasis of the RAC campaign is on road safety, we must all learn from events of the past week that we, as a society, need to reduce our dependence on the car. This sort of campaign can only be the beginning of such a process"

- ends -

Notes to editors

  1. Schools can request an introductory competition by calling 0870 010 4443 or registering online at www.rac.co.uk
  1. The top prize, awarded for the most innovative Plan is £4,000.
  2. 20% of morning rush hour traffic is caused by the school run.
  3. 53% of secondary school students travel to school on foot - down from 61% in 1975.
  4. 2% of children cycle to school compared to 6% in 1975.

More than 300 schools have already signed up to the Challenge

 

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news from Labour

Issued by Lynne Jones MP

01/09/00 

MP HIGHLIGHTS NEED TO TACKLE NHS

LABORATORY STAFF SHORTAGES

 

In the euphoria over the NHS Plan and the extra money that has been given to the NHS a Birmingham MP has issued a plea to Ministers not to overlook the shortages of crucial laboratory staff in NHS trusts.

Lynne Jones MP for Birmingham Selly Oak, said today:

"I have been contacted by a constituent who had to wait 15 weeks for the results of her original cervical smear test which proved inconclusive. At her insistence the results of the repeat test have been marked as urgent. However, she has been informed that due to staffing problems, those who go in for tests now could have to wait for up to 22 weeks for the results. I know that Ministers at the Department of Health are aware of this problem and are working on a human resource strategy with the National Advisory Group for Scientists and Technicians (NAGST). However I remain concerned that this issue has not been given a high profile in the NHS Plan and improvements promised by Ministers are taking time to filter through. As the unacceptable delay highlighted by my constituent’s case shows, changes cannot come too soon."

This issue was brought to the Department of Health’s attention in April, when professional medical workers who are part of the MSF union lobbied Parliament to highlight the situation that whilst doctors and nurses are held in high esteem, the work that is carried out by medical scientists and technicians, often goes unrecognised. Lynne Jones MP said:

"I know from my visit to the Birmingham Women’s Hospital Trust last year that the laboratories there carry out as many as 45,000 routine tests a year but are also responsible for screening at-risk parents for rare genetic conditions like cystic fibrosis and thallasaemia. As many as 50 different tests can be carried out at the hospital. There are concerns that the qualified staff necessary for this work are simply not coming forward because of poor starting salaries.

"The problem is also outlined in a recent report by the Science and Technology Select Committee, Cancer Research – A Fresh Look, one of our recommendations was:

The introduction of a fast-track system for people suspected of having cancer will increase the demand on an already over-stretched service. Thus it must be matched by the provision of a greater capacity in radiology and pathology if the management of cancer patients is to improve

 

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news from Labour

Issued by Lynne Jones MP

20/06/00 

 

MP TAKES UP CHURCH COMPLAINT ABOUT RACE-HATE PROPAGANDA

This Friday, Lynne Jones MP is to meet members of the congregation at Cotteridge Church and other constituents who have contacted her to express their serious concern about the way issues concerning the treatment of asylum seekers have been reported and in particular, the way some party political propaganda has pandered to racism.

The MP has written to William Hague asking him to dissociate himself from a particularly nasty piece of propaganda which gives the false impression that asylum seekers receive more benefits than pensioners, thus legitimising racism and encouraging racist attacks.

The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss how to raise awareness of the reality of life in Britain for those fleeing persecution and also to speak positively about the contribution made by refugees and economic migrants who have enriched our culture and contributed to economic growth.

  

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news from Labour

Issued by Lynne Jones MP

20/06/00

 

SELECT COMMITTEE BREAKS NEW GROUND

 

The Science and Technology Select Committee breaks new ground tomorrow with the launch of a U.S.-style open witness session. An open-invitation was sent out to cancer charities and patient organisations to give oral evidence to the Select Committee who are conducting an enquiry into the organisation and funding of cancer research in the UK.

Twenty witnesses, all with valuable experience of cancer services, many cancer survivors themselves, have each been allocated 5 minutes to present key points of concern to the Committee.

Lynne Jones MP, member of the Select Committee has welcomed this fresh approach to Committee enquiries.

 

"We are so used to taking evidence from renowned experts it is easy to forget that many ordinary people have valid contributions to make. For the first time, a Select Committee in the United Kingdom Parliament has opened up the Select Committee system to the very people that will be most affected by the outcome of our enquiry".

 

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news from Labour

Issued by Lynne Jones MP

07/06/00

MPs PROTEST AT BRITON’S

12 MONTH DETENTION WITHOUT CHARGE IN

SAUDI ARABIA

 

 

More than 90 MP’s of all political parties are supporting an Early Day Motion tabled by Lynne Jones MP highlighting the plight of her constituent Mohammed Masseh Chaudhry. A copy of the Motion, which will appear on the Commons Order Paper on 8 June, is attached. 

 

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news from Labour

Issued by Lynne Jones MP

14/04/00

 

MP SUBMITS EVIDENCE TO THE COMMISSION ON THE SCRUTINY ROLE OF PARLIAMENT

Lynne Jones MP has responded to the Hansard Society’s consultation on the scrutiny role of parliament. In her contribution the MP made the following points:

1. Current Parliamentary scrutiny of the executive is not effective.

2. The purpose of scrutiny should not be to question the aims of Government policy but the effectiveness of a policy/piece of legislation in achieving those aims.

3. All legislation should be examined by committees set up by an independent body and selected from MP's who have expressed an interest in a particular policy area. The committees should invite written and oral evidence with the aim of assessing whether the legislation will achieve the aims set for it by the Government. A report should be produced following these deliberations making recommendations to which the Government should be required to respond, as for Select Committee reports. The same Committee should then go into "Standing Committee" mode.

4. A novel procedure might be to enable an interested person to submit oral evidence, perhaps setting aside half a parliamentary day, during which the public would be entitled to make, say, 5 minute statements. I understand this is done in Congressional hearings in the US.

5. Whilst there will always be a need for set piece, confrontational debates, the above procedures in committee might allow for a reduction in the amount of time for such, largely futile, exercises.

6. There should be more parliamentary time to debate select committee reports. Perhaps alternate question time sessions for a particular ministry should be set aside to allow questioning on select committee reports relevant to departmental ministers' responsibility. Question time sessions on particular subjects might be more productive than current free-ranging debate.

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news from Labour

Issued by Lynne Jones MP

31/03/00

 MP CHALLENGES GOVERNMENT MINISTER ON FINANCING OF PROPOSED REPLACEMENT FOR SELLY OAK AND QUEEN ELIZABETH HOSPITALS

 

Lynne Jones MP has challenged the Government to ensure that the appraisal of the University Hospital Trust’s business case for the new hospital will include a valid comparison between the value for money of the proposed private finance route and traditional public financing. She also asked for public capital to be made available if this offered best value.

In his response to Lynne Jones’ question in Parliament this week, the responsible minister John Hutton ducked the issues. Lynne Jones has now written to the minister spelling out the inadequacies of his response and asking for straight answers. Her letter ends:

"Without this information, I will not be able to reassure my constituents, who remain concerned that there will be a loss of beds in the new hospital that is to replace the much-loved Selly Oak and Queen Elizabeth hospitals."

  

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news from Labour

Issued by Lynne Jones MP

30/03/00

 

MP LAUNCHES INTERNET PENSIONS DEBATE

 

On Monday the House will be debating amendments to the Pensions section of the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Bill.

Lynne Jones MP has tabled a number of amendments and has also recently published articles on the subject in Tribune and Pensions Management.

Today, Lynne Jones MP launches a debate on pensions on her website www.poptel.org.uk/lynne.jones/ and invites constituents to feed back with their views.

 

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news from Labour

Issued by Lynne Jones MP

07/03/00

 

GOVERNMENT POLICY ON DIABETES AND DRIVING LICENCES: – ILLOGICAL AND INCONSISTENT SAYS SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE

 

Back in 1997, I was approached by constituents concerned that a new EU directive would make it illegal for 350, 000 insulin dependent diabetics to drive mini-buses and small lorries. After an exchange of letters with the Transport Minister if became clear that the Government’s interpretation of the Directive was not based on evidence. I asked the Science and Technology Committee, of which I am a member, to look at the development of policy on diabetes and driving licences as part of its general enquiry into the scientific advisory system.

That enquiry in now complete and the Report has been published today. I enclose a copy of a summary of the Committee’s recommendations and conclusions and our press release.

Whilst the Government will have to give its formal response to the Committee in due course, officials from the DETR have indicated that our Enquiry has prompted them to review this policy.

This is a good example of democracy at work. A few constituents lobbying their MP can lead to a change of policy.

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news from Labour

Issued by Lynne Jones MP

02/03/00

 

MP PRESSES MINISTER FOR ACTION ON STUDENT HOUSING

Lynne Jones MP today joined a group of Parliamentarians representing constituencies with high student populations in a delegation to Housing Minister, Nick Raynsford. MPs told the Minister of their concerns about the impact of students on the stability of local communities. Lynne Jones explained how the doubling of the student population at Birmingham University over the last 10 years has lead to a marked change in the character of the Bournbrook area of Selly Oak, highlighted in the recent Neighbours from Hell programme. Whole streets of terraced houses are now occupied mainly by students, causing problems for long-term residents.

Whilst the Government has already recognised the need for statutory licensing of housing in multiple occupation MPs were concerned that houses shared by three or four students count as single household occupation and may not be included.

MP’s pressed the Housing Minister to give local councils additional powers in defined student "zones" to deal with neglected properties and anti-social behaviour and to intervene to acquire properties to maintain balanced communities.

The Minister accepted the need for new legislation and promised to put forward proposals along the lines suggested by the MPs. It was hoped that there would be consultation on these measures "within a couple of months" with a view to legislation as soon as Parliamentary time can be found.

MP’s stressed the urgency of the need for action as some areas are declining rapidly and local schools becoming unviable as families move out.

Speaking after the meeting Lynne Jones said "I was pleased that the Minister recognised the special problems of student areas. I and the other eleven colleagues who attended the meeting will be writing to the Deputy Prime Minister and the Prime Minister urging them to bring forward legislation in the next Queens Speech"

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March 2000 - March 2001