PRESS RELEASES ARCHIVES

Nov 2002 - Aug 2003 (below)

Archive April 2001 - July 2002

Archive March 2000 - March 2001

Nov 2002 - Aug 2003

22 August 2003
Wife of longest serving British prisoner in Saudi jail sends plea to Prince Charles

15 August 2003

Campbell's Niger Contradiction

11 August 2003

MP at Local Optician's Open Day Launch

04 July 2003

UK Government keeps intelligence from Weapons Inspectors


06 June 2003

Blair challenged over Niger uranium

27 May 2003
Blair avoids MP's questions on weapons of mass destruction

14 May 2003
Silence from PM on crucial questions on weapons of mass destruction

31 January 2003
'Please do not forget us' Palestinians tell Birmingham visitors

30 January 2003
Make it easy for pensioners to get their cash over the counter

05 December 2002
Keep Moseley Baths open

27 November 2002
Lynne Jones supports Real Nappy Week

 22 August 2003

WIFE OF LONGEST SERVING BRITISH PRISONER IN SAUDI JAIL SENDS PLEA TO PRINCE CHARLES

 Please see letter below from my constituent, Mrs Shaheen Chaudhry to Prince Charles

E N D S

HRH Prince Charles
Prince of Wales’ Office
St James’s Palace
London
SW1A 1BS

21 August 2003

Sir,

Mohammed Chaudhry, longest serving Briton in Saudi prison

My husband Mohammed Chaudhry has been languishing in prison in Riyadh since 23 June 1999. He was kept for two years without a trial. Eventually, in March 2002, he was convicted of negligence through a process which he felt was heavily biased against him. Mohammed’s punishment was a fine of SR250.0000, equivalent to 400.000, which is a sum completely beyond our means. Thus he remains incarcerated for a "crime" the penalty for which four years imprisonment would already seem excessive. I am sure you will understand that the possibility of indefinite detention is having a severe effect on his mental health.

My MP Dr Lynne Jones has recently asked a Parliamentary question on the detainees in Saudi, and it was confirmed by the Foreign Office that Mohammed is the longest serving British prisoner in Saudi Arabia.

I understand that your Highness has helped with the other Britons who were imprisoned in Saudi who were released on 8 August 2003. I have written to you on two previous occasions asking for help in securing my husband’s release.

The British Ambassador has delivered clemency pleas to His Majesty King Fahd on 14 September 2002, and another one to HRH Prince Sultan on 29 January 2003. Despite our Government’s support, we are still waiting to learn of the final outcome although we have heard that the clemencies are with HRH Prince Abdullah.

Mohammed’s elderly parents, myself and our children would be most grateful if you could help in any way you can in securing his release.

I have the honour to remain Sir, your humble and obedient servant,

 Shaheen Chaudhry

 

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CAMPBELL’S NIGER CONTRADICTION

Lynne Jones has received a Parliamentary answer from Bill Rammell MP stating that the reason the UK didn’t give its Niger intelligence to the weapons inspectors is because it came from another country.

 

This is in direct contradiction with a statement made by Alastair Campbell when he turned up out of the blue on 27 June for a live interview on Channel Four News as the government's row with the BBC over its Iraq coverage intensified.  Campbell stated that it was the fake intelligence that was from another country but that:

“the British intelligence put what they put in that dossier on the basis of British intelligence. Get your facts right before you make serious allegations against a government.”  In view of his comment about factual accuracy, Lynne Jones has written to Tony Blair to ask which is the correct position; that stated by Mr Rammell or by Mr Campbell.  She is also continuing to seek clarification from the Prime Minister about the legality of withholding intelligence from the IAEA, even if it did come from another country.

Click here for the full text of Lynne Jones’ letter to the Prime Minister.

ENDS

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MP AT LOCAL OPTICIANS’ OPEN DAY LAUNCH

11 August 2003

Today, at a visit to launch the newly opened Knights Ophthalmic Opticians in Weoley Avenue, Lynne Jones MP welcomed the local services being provided.

Claud Abban, who runs the new practice, has for the past four years, been registered to screen for diabetic retinopathy in conjunction with Selly Oak Hospital and local GPs.  He has now opened a practice-base to offer this speciality as well as glaucoma and cataract screening and regular opticians’ services.  Previously Mr Abban had to divide his time between various practices in Birmingham.

Lynne Jones said:

“Good quality primary health care should be available in the local community and I am delighted that these important screening services will be so convenient for local people in the Weoley area, where there are many elderly residents.  Since the Labour Government’s reinstatement of free eye tests, many more elderly people are coming forward for the screening that is so important for the early detection and treatment of conditions such as diabetes.  Elderly and disabled people can take advantage of the home visit service that Mr Abban also provides and the occupation of a previously vacant shop unit will help ensure the ongoing vitality of the Weoley Avenue shopping parade.”

Lynne Jones is pictured with ophthalmic optician Claud Abban (holding portable eye test equipment) and the practise manager, Sam Lilley.

 

E N D S

 

UK GOVERNMENT KEEPS INTELLIGENCE FROM WEAPONS INSPECTORS 04 July 2003

The British Government has finally been forced to admit that it has not passed any intelligence to the IAEA on allegations that Iraq attempted to procure uranium from Africa, despite this claim being in the September 2002 dossier.

The break with the UK Government’s obligations under UN Security Council Resolutions was revealed to Lynne Jones, Jones MP for Birmingham Selly Oak in a Parliamentary Answer:

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his Answer of 10th June, Official Report, column 793W, when the UK Government gave the IAEA the information upon which it based its assessment that Iraq sought to procure substantial quantities of uranium from Africa.

Date answered, 3 July 2003 Mr MacShane

The UK Government did not pass to the IAEA any information on Iraqi attempts to procure uranium.

The Birmingham MP will be tabling the following Parliamentary Motion which questions why the Government has not submitted its evidence to the scrutiny of the IAEA:

UK GOVERNMENT KEEPS NIGER INTELLIGENCE FROM IAEA

That this House notes the comment from the Prime Minister in a letter dated 22 May 2003 to the Member for Birmingham Selly Oak that “we remain confident that Iraq sought to procure significant quantities of Uranium from Africa”; further notes that in its report to the Security Council on 7 March 2003, the International Atomic Energy Agency concluded that this specific allegation was unfounded; also notes the question by the Member for Birmingham Selly Oak to the Foreign Secretary asking whether access to all information in his possession on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was given to (a) the Chief Weapons Inspector and (b) the Director General of the IAEA and the answer given by the Member for North Warwickshire that the Government shared all relevant information about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction with the weapons inspection teams from both UNMOVIC and the IAEA; further notes the question put by the Member for Birmingham Selly Oak to the Foreign Secretary asking when the UK Government gave the IAEA the information upon which it based its assessment about attempts by Iraq to procure uranium from Africa and the answer given by the Honourable Member for Rotherham, that the UK Government did not pass to the IAEA any information on Iraqi attempts to procure uranium; and therefore questions why the UK Government has not submitted the evidence, upon which it bases its assessment, to IAEA scrutiny, in line with its obligations under Security Council Resolutions.

 

ENDS

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06 June 2003

BLAIR CHALLENGED OVER NIGER URANIUM

 

On 8 April, Lynne Jones MP wrote to the Prime Minister urging Mr Blair to explain why the IAEA rejected the allegation that Saddam tried to import uranium for Niger even though the Government passed information form its other sources to the agency and to the United Nations.  She asked the Prime Minister:

 

“Can you please confirm that all the information on which you have based your assessment has been passed to UNMOVIC and the IAEA?

If this is the case, is the Government saying that Dr El Baradei and Dr Blix have been deliberately misleading the Security Council and the public by failing to mention the existence of the more secure information that the British Government has provided them?”

 

Mr Blair replied:  “information was passed to the UN inspection teams from a number of sources…the documents referred to by Dr Al-Baradei were not supplied by the UK.  We remain confident in our assessment that Iraq sought to procure substantial quantities of uranium from Africa.”

 

Lynne Jones has now put down the following Parliamentary Question:

*22

Lynne Jones (Birmingham, Selly Oak):     Whether access to all information in his possession on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was given to (a) the Chief Weapons Inspector and (b) the Director General of the IAEA.

(OPQ, for FCO Tue 10 June).

11 June, the following answer has now been received:

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Government shared all relevant information about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction with the weapons inspection teams from both UNMOVIC and the IAEA.  [117959]

(For full text of Lynne Jones’ letter and a scanned version of the Prime Minister’s letter see http://www.lynnejones.org.uk/4war.htm).

ENDS

 

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27 May 2003

BLAIR AVOIDS MP’s QUESTIONS ON WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION

 

On 8 April, Lynne Jones MP wrote to the Prime Minister making the case that his assertions to the House of Commons about links between Iraq and Al-Qaida and weapons of mass destruction did not stand up and seeking answers to written Parliamentary questions that had not received serious replies.

(For full text see http://www.lynnejones.org.uk/4war.htm.)

The PM was asked to confirm that all the information on which he based his assessment that Iraq had been trying to buy significant quantities of uranium from Africa and had acquired aluminium tubes had been passed to UNMOVIC and the IAEA and, if so, whether the weapons inspectors had been deliberately misleading to describe the intelligence they had been given as unreliable.

The PM was also asked to confirm whether or not he had evidence that President Bush was correct to state that "Iraq has aided, trained and harboured terrorists, including operatives of al-Qaeda"?

On 22 May, Tony Blair replied, and the text of his letter is reproduced at: http://www.lynnejones.org.uk/4war.htm#PMres  The specific questions asked have still not been answered.

Lynne Jones said today: “Now that the war is over the Prime Minister has no excuse not to answer these crucial questions about the reliability of evidence he used to claim that Iraq possesses WMD and even the very existence of evidence to back up the claim that Saddam Hussein’s regime aided al Qaeda.  On the basis of the vague links he suggests might exist between Iraq and al Qaeda, almost any country in the world could be accused of harbouring members of the terrorist network.

The war on Iraq has replaced tyranny with anarchy in that unhappy land and made the rest of the world more susceptible to terrorist attacks. Those responsible should be able to give a better account of the reasons for dragging us down this dangerous road.”

E N D S

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SILENCE FROM PM ON CRUCIAL QUESTIONS ON WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION - 14 May 2003

On 8 April, Lynne Jones MP wrote to the Prime Minister making the case that his assertions to the House of Commons about links between Iraq and al-Qaeda and weapons of mass destruction did not stand up and seeking answers to written Parliamentary questions that had not received serious replies.  Despite two reminders, the PM has not even sent an acknowledgement to the Selly Oak MP.

The letter to the PM concludes:

“Since the whole rationale for the war on Iraq is that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction and, for the American people at least, would supply them to al-Qaeda, I hope you are confident that, when it is eventually released, the information on which you and President Bush have relied backs the assertions you have repeatedly made in the House.”

The MP said today “The lack of answers from Tony to my inconvenient questions speaks volumes.  The dreadful terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia shows that the war on Iraq has not made the world a safer place”.

ENDS

 

For the full text of Lynne Jones' letter to Tony Blair please click on link below

http://www.lynnejones.org.uk/4war.htm

23 May 2003 - Since this press release, I have today received a reply from the Prime Minister which is posted after the text of my letter - you can view this via the  above link.

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PRESS RELEASE**PRESS RELEASE** PRESS RELEASE**PRESS RELEASE

From West Midlands Palestine Solidarity Campaign e-mail: westmidspsc@ramallahonline.com, Birmingham Stop the War Coalition, Birmingham Unison and Birmingham Trades Council.

PLEASE DO NOT FORGET US PALESTINIANS TELL BIRMINGHAM VISITORS

Lynne Jones MP will be Chairing a Press Conference by Birmingham Trade Unionists who have just returned from the occupied territories of Palestine - the West Bank and Gaza. The Press Conference will be co-hosted by Councillor Mick Rice, Secretary of the Birmingham Trade Union Council.

The Press Conference will be held

AT: Birmingham Unison, 7th Floor, Centre City Tower, 7, Hill Street, Birmingham

TIME: 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.

DATE: Friday, 31st January 2003

The ten Birmingham-based trade unionists narrowly missed being caught in an Israeli assault on Gaza City that left 12 Palestinians dead. They had just passed through a checkpoint on their way back to the West Bank when shooting broke out behind them.

The incident occurred at the end of their week-long visit to the Palestinian occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza. During this trip they saw the effects on Palestinians of almost constant curfews, regular military incursions which leave swathes of destruction, military blockades which make travel of even a few miles extremely difficult, political assassinations and frequent harassment and detentions of young people. The Palestinian city of Hebron, for example, has been under curfew for more than 70 days.

Wherever they went they met Palestinians who welcomed them with open arms, glad to see that there were people who were not ignoring their plight. Many asked for links to be developed and maintained between them and the people of Birmingham so that they would not be left isolated. They suggested that twinning links be built between organisations in Birmingham and Ramallah - schools with schools, hospitals with hospitals, universities with universities, trade unions with trade unions, voluntary groups with voluntary groups and the City of Birmingham with the City of Ramallah.

This need for contact was felt particularly strongly as the clouds of war darken over the Middle East. Many Palestinians are worried that Israel will seek to push them off their land in large numbers under the cover of an attack on Iraq. This ethnic cleansing is demanded by some of Israel's political parties and supported by significant numbers of Israelis according to polls.

"This press conference will be a chance to obtain direct feedback from eye-witnesses of what is happening in the occupied territories. We will also be able to discuss with them what the Palestinians they met said about the best way we in Birmingham can promote peace and reconciliation in the region," said Lynne Jones MP.

"Birmingham has a great tradition of supporting human rights, from the support of the anti-slavery movement to our support for the battle against apartheid in South Africa and twinning with Johannesburg. We must do the same for the people of Ramallah and Palestine," added Councillor Mick Rice.

The ten trade unionists also met with Israeli human rights groups - Betsellem and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.

For Further Information contact Chris on 07785 342 124 

Note to Editors:

  1. Ten trade unionists were involved in the delegation, including members of Unison, the CWU, the FBU, the NUT and NUS. One delegate was supported by the Birmingham Trades Union Council. The delegation was also supported by the Birmingham Stop the War Coalition and west Midlands Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
  2. West Midlands Palestine Solidarity Campaign is part of the national Palestine Solidarity Campaign and it supports the right of Palestinians to self determination, an end to the illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, the right of return of Palestinian refugees and opposes all forms of racism including anti-Semitism.

 

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30 January 2003

MAKE IT EASY FOR PENSIONERS TO GET THEIR CASH OVER THE COUNTER

 

Lynne Jones MP has recently met with local subpostmasters and mistresses to discuss plans for urban post offices under the ‘Urban Network Reinvention Programme’. Those attending expressed concerns about the obstacles that appear to be being put in the way of people who want to go on receiving their benefits in cash over their post office counter, as is their right.

Lynne Jones said: "Pensioners and other benefit claimants have the right to open a Post Office Card Account but are being forced to phone a "helpline" to get an application form. Information from customers at local post offices suggests that, when people ring the helpline, all effort seems to be directed at ensuring that as few people as possible take out a Post Office Card Account. I have asked Stephen Timms, Minister of State at the Department of Trade and Industry, for a copy of the ‘script’ being used by helpline operators and demanded to know why my constituents cannot simply open a Card Account over the counter at their local post office.

The new arrangements for the payment of benefits will have a major impact on sub post offices and I will be meeting with Mike Dalton, the Head of External Relations for the Royal Mail, West Midlands to discuss the concerns of local proprietors who feel they are not being properly informed about the commercial strategy the Post Office is adopting".

The MP is supporting a Commons motion (text below) calling for a level playing field in the marketing, promotion and advertising of all the options for receiving benefits.

 

E N D S

 

EDM 572

That this House believes that those Post Office customers who wish to continue receiving their benefits, pension payments and tax credits through the Post Office, following the introduction of ACT in April, should be allowed to do so through a post office card account opened at the counter of a post office or sub-post office; further believes that customers should be offered a genuine choice between the options available, including a post office card account; supports the National Federation of Subpostmasters' call that there should be no administrative obstacles to customers opening a post office card account; notes the importance of post office card accounts to the future financial viability of sub-post offices; and calls upon the Government to ensure that there is a level playing field in the marketing, promotion and advertising of the banking options from all Government departments and agencies, including the Department of Works and Pensions, the Inland Revenue and the Veterans Agency.

 

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5 December 2002

KEEP MOSELEY BATHS OPEN 

Fears continue that Leisure Services bosses are to go ahead and close Moseley Baths despite strong local protest at any plan for closure.

Lynne Jones MP said "I am totally against any plan to close Moseley Baths – if this were to go ahead it would mean local schools having vital facilities taken away from them. There is already inadequate provision of swimming facilities in South Birmingham so the closure of this pool is the last thing the Council ought to pursue.

My constituents do not want their baths to close. I received a letter of protest this week from a constituent who has been using the baths for 30 years and her children learn to swim there through their school. There are no other baths in the area and 20 schools use the pools on a weekly basis as well as individuals, families, disabled groups, and clubs. Quite rightly people are encouraged to take exercise and be fitter so where is the sense in closing this facility which keeps a beautiful historic building in use? Renovation not closure is needed."

The issue will be discussed tonight (Thursday) at Kings Heath Junior School on Valentine Road at 7pm.

Ends

 

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Press Release: 27th November 2002

Lynne Jones SUPPORTS REAL NAPPY CAMPAIGN

Lynne Jones has joined 114 other MPs to sign an Early Day Motion (EDM) in support of the real nappy campaign.

The campaign’s annual focus - Real Nappy Week - is 7th to 13th April 2003.

Lynne Jones backed EDM 1318 ‘That this House notes that disposable nappies make up four percent of domestic waste in the United Kingdom, with three billion being thrown away each year; congratulates the Real Nappy Association on their excellent campaign to encourage families, nurseries and hospitals to switch to traditional cotton nappies; and welcomes the response to the campaign by local authorities and hospitals.’

Real Nappy Week is jointly organised by the Real Nappy Association and Women’s Environmental Network to raise awareness of the environmental impacts of nappies and inform parents about convenient shaped and fitted modern cloth nappies and nappy laundry services.

Parents interested in finding out where to buy cotton nappies can look up www.wen.org.uk or send a large SAE with two stamps on it to The Real Nappy Association, PO Box 3704, London SE26 4RX.

Ends 

For further media information contact Lynne Jones on 020 7219 4190 or Elizabeth Hartigan, Women’s Environmental Network, PO Box 30626, London E1 1TZ. Telephone: 020 7481 9004 Email nappies@wen.org.uk

Waste Reduction

Nearly 3 billion nappies are thrown away every year in the UK. Nappies make up 50% of the waste from a household with just one baby so families can cut their waste in half by using real nappies. With the cost to each local authority in hundreds of thousands of pounds per year on disposal (Bristol City, for example, spends 500,000 per year) it is not surprising that nappy schemes now play a key role in local authorities’ waste strategies.

Cost

You can kit out your baby in real nappies on the high street for under 60. This includes all the nappies and waterproof covers you will need for the whole of your baby’s nappy wearing life. The same amount of money will only buy your baby’s first seven to eight weeks of disposables. Even taking into account the total cost of laundering nappies at home, the savings are still considerable.

Health

Why put your baby’s bottom in a chemical environment when you could choose a natural product? Disposable nappies are made of superabsorbent chemicals, paper pulp and plastics while real nappies put natural fabrics next to your baby’s skin. If you want the best solution, free of pesticides and other synthetic chemicals, organic cotton and hemp nappies and organic wool waterproof overpants are available at reasonable cost.

Useful contacts:

The Real Nappy Association, PO Box 3704, London SE26 4RX. www.realnappy.com Tel: 020 8299 4519

Provides information on where to obtain cloth nappies. Send a large SAE with two stamps on it for a FREE parents' information pack.

National Association of Nappy Services (NANS), Tel: 0121 693 4949 www.changeanappy.co.uk

NANS members offer local delivery and collection of freshly laundered cotton nappies for parents, childminders, nurseries and hospitals. Also suitable for adult incontinence.

The Real Nappy Project, Women's Environmental Network, PO Box 30626, London E1 1TZ. Tel: 020 7481 9004 e-mail: nappies@wen.org.uk Website: wen.org.uk

 

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