I am writing to you firstly to express my strong concern at the arrest of the
Occupy supporters in Parliament square this morning.
I find it absolutely disproportionate that large numbers of Police officers have been used to break up what was simply a group of largely young people who wished to use the venue of Parliament Square for a time limited period to engage in political discussion.
Secondly I am writing to urge that the people detained this morning be released immediately. It is clearly disproportionate to arrest and detain people who are peaceably engaged in nothing more than a political discussion.
I would urge therefore that you take personal responsibility for securing the release of the people detained.
John McDonnell MP
Labour MP condemns the limited proposals of the Government’s Recall of MP’s Bill to complete Second Reading in the Commons today
Today, MP’s are debating Second Reading of the Government’s recall of MP’s Bill. The Bill has been strongly criticised by a range of campaigning organisations and falls well short of a genuine recall system which recent polling has shown is overwhelmingly supported amongst the British electorate surveyed.
The Government’s Recall of MP’s Bill as currently drafted provides that voters would only be able to remove an MP if fellow MP’s give permission to do so or if their MP is jailed. John McDonnell MP has criticised the government’s watered down proposals and supports moves to replace the Government’s trigger with a system voters themselves can initiate.
John McDonnell MP has today said:
‘The Government’s proposals fall short of providing a genuine system of recall for MP’s. At a time of increasing disillusionment among the electorate, I will be supporting Zac Goldsmith MP in amending Nick Clegg’s inadequate proposals with a system in which voters themselves can initiate the recall process.’
This week John McDonnell MP raised concerns in Parliament about the closure of the Heathrow Control Unit which is now desperately needed to confront Ebola.
In an oral question to the Secretary of State for Health John asked “In May the Government announced the closure of the health control unit at Heathrow airport in my constituency. It contained the staff who undertook the monitoring, screening and treatment of passengers who were sick. I believe many of those staff have now been made redundant, so can the Secretary of State tell me what the staffing arrangements will now be at Heathrow airport? Also, will a training programme be developed for airport staff themselves, including cabin crew and others?”
John was concerned at the decision last May to close the unit containing staff highly skilled and experienced health control staff at a time when many countries are strengthening their public health screening procedures at ports of entry. These countries believe Infectious diseases and pandemics such as SARS, H1N1, MERS and Ebola Virus are now primarily spread through aviation as a mode of transport.
John said, "Once again cuts to essential areas of service provision have been made by this government to find savings without thinking through the consequences and, in this instance, possibly putting the health of the nation at serious risk. I am naturally especially concerned for the health of my constituents working at Heathrow."
In responding to John’s question the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt, announced that the Government will invest in about 200 staff to screen for EBOLA at Heathrow and Gatwick Airports. Continuing concerns has been expressed however at the confusion displayed by the Department of Health in implementing the new screening procedures.
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