My grateful thanks go to the TGWU for their generous support for my publications
MEP NEWS – 2 – U April/May 2001 A monthly Newsletter to Labour Members across the South East
A word from Pete Skinner MEP
Once again, it has been a busy month. As you can see I have been out and about in the South East campaigning, I have also been busy in the European Parliament as well as going to speak at a health and safety conference in Bilbao, Spain.
Yours, Pete World Workers Memorial Day
On Friday 27th April, Peter joined members of UNISON, Paul Clarke MP, Bob Marshall-Andrews MP and Cllr Paul Godwin, Leader of the Medway Council Labour Group to commemorate World Workers Day at a remembrance service in Rochester Castle Gardens.
It is an international day of Remembrance of Workers killed, injured or made unwell by their work. The slogan for the day was ‘Remember the dead – fight for the living’.
The World Trade Union movement estimate that 500 workers are killed at work every day. Studies by the Health and Safety Executive have shown that 90% of accidents are preventable and 70% of these are a result of employers failing to take appropriate action to prevent them. Peter with Bob Marshall-Andrews MP
MEPs approve new deal on freedom of Information
On 3rd May Euro MPs voted to approve a new EU code on transparency which gives citizens unprecedented access to information from the EU institutions. There will now be a public register of all EU documents, 90% of EU documents will be available from the Internet, and there will be an annual report on transparency to the European Parliament.
This is a watershed for the EU. It is essential that the EU is transparent and accessible to its Citizens, and this is a crucial step forward. CLP Visits and Campaign News Europe Direct
Did you know that you can now get up-to-the minute information and advice on all EU issues and policies from the comfort of your home? Europe Direct is part of the Commission's 'Citizen's Europe' drive which puts the views and aspirations of the citizens of Europe at the heart of the EU's activities.
You can contact Europe Direct by phone on 0800 581591, by e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org or on the web at http://www.europa.eu.int/europadirect Once again, Peter has been out in the region trying to meet as many CLPs as possible. 29th March Mid Kent and Faversham CLP, Members meeting & PPC Graham Birchall 30th March Banbury and Bicester CLP, Les Sibley PPC & Members Curry Night 31st March Crawley CLP, Canvassing with Laura Moffatt MP & members meeting 1st April Milton Keynes CLP, Voter id with Brian White. 6th April David Petford, Chief Executive, Maidstone BC, to discuss Europe & the SE 7th April Arundel and South Downs CLP, PPC Charles Taylor 15th April Gravesend Gudwara, with Chris Pond & Leslie Christie County Councillor 18th April Eastbourne CLP and Bexhil and Battle CLP, PPC Anne Moore-Williams and Members Meeting 19th April Gravesend CLP, voter id with Chris Pond MP 22nd April Gillingham CLP, voter id with Paul Clark MP 27th April World Workers Memorial Day, Rochester Castle Declaring War on Accidents at Work
On Tuesday 25th April, Peter spoke to European Health and Safety representatives at a conference in Bilbao, Spain. The event was organised by the Swedish Presidency, the European Commission and the European Agency for Health and Safety at work. The aim of the conference was to set future priorities, goals and strategies for improving Occupational Health and Safety in the European Union.
Peter pointed out that in a recent mori-poll, 77% believed that Health and Safety was a crucial responsibility for the employer, in fact it came out above human rights, job security and the environment.
The speech concentrated on SME's as the rate of accidents is 50% higher in SME’s than large companies. Business needs to be a willing partner in establishing the spread of good practice and setting benchmarks for the tracking of effective prevention of accidents and illnesses in the workplace across the EU.
“Implementation is just as vital as law making", he said. Contact details: UK 99 Kent Road, Dartford, Kent DA1 2AJ Tel: 01634 409222 E-mail: email@example.com Brussels 13G 142 European Parliament Rue Wiertz, B-1047 Brussels. Belgium Tel: 00 32 2 2847458 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Please note this newsletter is intended for further distribution to those whom wish to keep abreast of the activities of Peter Skinner MEP, so please feel free to pass it on or copy it to other members. (Published & printed by Peter Skinner MEP, 99 Kent Rd, Dartford, Kent).
MONTHLY NEWS FROM MARK WATTS
Labour MEP for the South East
Making a Difference in Europe
March 2001 Newsletter – Issue No. 7
My first constituency engagement of a very busy March was a meeting of the local CBI in Southampton on March 2. I make every effort to attend similar CBI meetings around the region in order to maintain an ongoing dialogue with local business people.
On Sunday March 4 I travelled to Gosport to speak at the Gosport CLP’s AGM. It was good to meet so many local party members and hear their views.
Back in Brussels on March 6, I hosted a delegation of over 50 school pupils on a visit to the European Parliament. The visit had been organized by the European Movement, and I am grateful to Neil Kinnock, with whom I have worked closely since 1994, to allow the group to visit him in his office.
Naturally, my main focus during March has been to help CLPs across the region with campaigning, and the weekend of March 10/11 saw me in Hove helping Ivor Caplin MP with Voter ID work, in Gillingham leafleting to help get Paul Clark MP re-elected, Brighton Kemptown canvassing with Dave Lepper MP and in Newhaven distributing budget leaflets in the High Street with PPC Paul Richards.
As Labour’s Transport Spokesperson in Europe, I issued a press release calling for an overhaul of the way we manage our airspace. Our over-stretched air traffic systems won’t be able to cope with the forecast increases in air travel, and Europe is now taking the lead in co-ordinating the thousands of flights that cross its skies with a new EU Single Sky initiative.
I followed this up on March 12 by accompanying Minister for Europe Keith Vaz MP on a visit to celebrate Hastings’ new multi-million pound European funding programme, in the company of local MP Michael Foster. In the evening I attended Tony Blair’s Q&A in Hove and met hundreds more party members.
After a busy round of Parliamentary meetings in Strasbourg and Brussels, I greeted a group of Sussex University students in Brussels on March 20, picking up the pieces when one of the perennially-absent Tory MEPs let them down.
In the middle of the month I met Lord (Larry) Whitty to discuss Transport issues and in a separate meeting, discussed foot and mouth issues with the NFU Deputy General Secretary, Tim Bennett. Again, I pressed home my call for a permanent end to long distance live animal transport which has undoubtedly contributed to the spread of the disease.
My press release welcoming the EU’s crackdown on silicone breast implants led to several radio and newspaper interviews across the region. The EU’s decision to take meaningful action is a victory for the hundreds of women throughout the UK and the whole of Europe and for the Labour MEPs who have led the campaign for the last six years.
On March 23, I joined Nick Raynsford MP and PPC John Adams on a visit to Ashford to discuss regional housing issues, and on March 26 I led a Sixth Form Conference on Europe at a Dover school.
March 27 saw me co-hosting with Joanna Lumley the launch in the European Parliament of a Compassion in World Farming film on animal cruelty ‘Some Lie Dying.’ I am determined to stamp out the cruel live animal trade, and it was a huge boost to my campaign to be able to host this showing of the film, which was attended by MEPs from all nations and all parties – who were outraged at what they saw. I have now passed a copy of the film to Commissioner David Byrne as evidence to be used against those involved in the cruel animal trade.
The following day I returned from Brussels to take part in a Meridian TV interview on a new threat to ports. In the evening I gave a talk on my work in Europe to Woking CLP’s GC, followed by a Q&A which gave me the chance to respond to many questions from members.
On March 29, I gave a speech promoting inward investment in the South East at a seminar at the British Embassy in Brussels, in the presence of the Ambassador and senior management of Eurotunnel, who hosted the event.
At the end of the month (March 30), I attended the Thames Valley European Forum meeting in Reading on the theme of ‘environment and sustainability’, before going on to spend the afternoon and evening campaigning in Portsmouth helping Syd Rapson MP.
Saturday March 31 saw me campaigning in Maidstone in support of PPC Mark Davis.
I will also repeat the offer I made last month to all CLPs and PPCs. As MEP for the South East, I am entitled to a free hard copy of the newly-published Electoral Register, for every constituency in the region. I am willing to make this copy available to any CLP or PPC that can use it, and if a letter of authority to your local Electoral Registration Officer is required, I will be happy to provide this on request. The take-up of this offer has been extensive and it has been great to provide practical help to so many CLPs, PPCs and local election candidates in this way.
I look forward to meeting many of you during my continuing all-year-round programme of helping CLPs with campaigning during April.
Mark F. Watts MEP
Note to Secretaries: CLP Secretaries are invited to put this newsletter on the agenda for GC meetings under the heading 'European Parliamentary Report.'
31 March 2001
My grateful thanks go to the TGWU for their generous support for my publications
MEP NEWS – 2 – U
A monthly Newsletter to Labour Members across the South East
A word from Pete Skinner MEP
It has been a busy month. I have welcomed a wide variety of visitors to the Parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg, as well as campaigning widely in the South East.
Tony Blair in Brighton
On Monday 12th March, Peter joined MPs Dave Lepper, Des Turner and Ivor Caplin when Prime Minister Tony Blair attended a school in Hove to participate in a Q&A session with Brighton´s influential political community – a positive evening was enjoyed by all.
Trade Union Hearing on Restructuring
Following developments at Corus, Vauxhall and elsewhere in recent months, the EPLP Trade Union Group organised a hearing on restructuring on 6th March.
As Chair, Peter welcomed trade unionists from MSF, AEEU, TGWU and the GMB to help us identify gaps and deficiencies in the current legislative framework covering mergers, transfers, take-overs & worker information and consultation.
It is important for Trade Unions and MEPs to work together to identify problems and ways forward. The Trade Unions were able to give us concrete examples of how current legislation is failing, and as MEPs we made a commitment to work together to overcome these problems.
Animal Testing for Cosmetics – a European Ban!
The European Commission is proposing a ban on testing of cosmetic ingredients on animals, which is to be debated and voted on in the Parliament soon. Also the Commission faced hostile questions from MEPs on the issue of transportation of live animal across Europe as the Commission continue to drag their feet on this issue. "Many people write to me on animal welfare issues, it is of tremendous interest to ordinary people. Crucially we must reflect those concerns and attend to the well being and welfare of the animals" (Peter is an active member of the European Parliaments animal welfare intergroup where other issues such as the transportation of live animals is among the hot subjects discussed).
CLP Visits and Campaign News
In March Peter continued to get out in the region & tried to meet as many CLPs as possible.
Sunday 25th February - attended Thanet CLP. Friday 2nd March - joined Brighton Pavillion campaign team & met with the Fabians in the evening. (photo inset of David Lepper´s team out in Brighton).Saturday 10th March a street stall with Gosport CLP & Portsmouth N MP Syd Rapson and Saturday Aldershot with a v.i.d. team and Luke.
Oxford – Sunday 17th March with Andrew Smith MP and the team
Foot and Mouth
As you may have seen, on Sunday 4th March Peter debated the Foot and Mouth Crisis with Conservative Tim Yeo MP on LWT. Peter has also met with local farmers in the South East to discuss the effects on the industry and the lives of the farming community.
The South East in Europe
On Monday 26th February, Peter met a group from Kent Fire Brigade in Brussels to discuss health and safety issues facing fire-fighters across the UK
On Monday 5th March, Peter was the guest speaker at the launch of the “Minority Ethnic Involvement in Policing” Project by Reading Council for Racial Equality at South East house in Brussels. This project which looks at the role of Policing in the Thames Valley area and was sponsored by the EU Commission was well-attended by members of other police forces and community organisations across.
On Wednesday 14th March, Peter welcomed 35 Labour members from the South East on a sponsored visit to the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The group were able to see the Parliament 'in action', and meet MEPs. (Details of future trips from the SE Office c/o Vic and Magaret Stock whom run a tremendous event for all involved – many thanks).
UK Contact details:99 Kent Road, Dartford, Kent DA1 2AJ
Tel: 01634 409222
13G 142 European Parliament Rue Wiertz, B-1047 Brussels. Belgium
Tel: 00 32 2 2847458