Author

Huw Merriman MP

EU Drama plays out in Parliament

It’s been another tumultuous week in Parliament. Last week, the Prime Minister published the draft EU Withdrawal Agreement. Over 585 pages, this document sets out how the UK will leave the European Union. It was accompanied by a shorter document, which sets out how we hope to form a new trading and relationship accord with the EU once we leave. Difficult provisions in the first agreement, are meant to be solved in the second. However, this gap in timing in the two agreements is causing some to become anxious that we will not leave the EU entirely in March next year if we have not nailed our future terms and dates.

Opinion
Remembrance in Parliament SUS-180811-120053001

Remembering the Fallen from Parliament

One hundred years ago this week, Parliamentarians gathered in the House of Commons and the House of Lords to receive the formal announcement of the acceptance of the terms of the Armistice imposed on Germany by the Allies and the United States of America.

Opinion

Great people work without political borders

This week I want to start my article by paying tribute to Cllr Stuart Earl. His sad passing leaves a huge hole in the many organisations and causes he worked for so tirelessly. It also robs us of a friend and colleague who dedicated his life to civic duty in his community.

Opinion

Voting to Modernise Parliament as a Workplace

Parents caring for newborn babies or those suffering with a health condition, are protected in law in the workplace. Their jobs are covered by another employee and they must be allowed back to work. What happens, in the same situation, for MPs in Parliament? Being elected as individuals, MPs are not allowed to hand the voting card over and have a constituent cover us. As a result, an MP on parental leave or sick is left with two choices: find some way of attending Parliament or miss voting on their constituents’ behalf.

Opinion
Huw Merriman is backing Briitsh farmers SUS-180913-095848001

Crunch time for British farmers

Wednesday was ‘Back British Farming’ day. To mark the event, I joined the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) in Parliament to discuss some of the challenges faced by farmers and producers in East Sussex. The NFU provided MPs with a large wheat-pin badge to publicly display support for the sector during PMQs in Parliament. I had to disappoint on that front; I hate all of the gimmicks which MPs pin and wear. If you added a year’s worth, we would look like Pearly Kings and Queens. The only item I display on my person is a poppy.

Opinion
Huw Merriman MP being filmed by the BBC at one of his Brexit talks SUS-180830-124257001

Returning to Parliament from Bexhill to drive down insurance costs

Next week, after a summer getting across the constituency, I am back in Parliament. On the first day back, we are debating the introduction of the Civil Liability Bill. This legislation, amongst other things, seeks to tackle the rise in motor insurance payouts, and fraud, for whiplash claims which account for 75% of all motor insurance claims.

Opinion
Dr Adrian Bull SUS-160803-122733001

Happy to give Trust praise it deserves

Shortly after being elected as your MP in 2015, the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHT) which runs our hospitals in Bexhill, Hastings and Eastbourne was put into special measures by the health regulator. The main areas of concern cited were maternity services, outpatient provision, surgery and accident and emergency care. Despite frontline caring services being rated as good, ESHT was rated overall as ‘inadequate’. With a higher than average elderly population, and therefore more vulnerable people needing an excellent health service, this situation was particularly troubling.

Opinion
EU flag ANL-150307-182123001

Leaving the EU: Devil in the Detail

As if I needed to add an explanation, matters relating to leaving the European Union have dominated the airwaves, and our division lobbies in Parliament. Readers have probably had enough, hence I say from the outset that this column aims to provide information to explain where we are and why the current furore.

Opinion

Flying the Flag for England

Having my Bexhill office on Sea Road opposite Louis Fish and Chip shop has it’s obvious advantages when it comes not only to a great lunch but also in keeping an ear to the ground. One great bit of feedback from customers was why, I was, as they put it, ‘proclaiming my Welshness in their faces by flying the Welsh Flag.’ This would appear to be a fair point. There is indeed a Flag of The Red Dragon which is fluttering above the sign indicating my first name. However, it does not belong to me but the residents who occupy the floors above me. For the record, and despite being proud of my Irish-Welsh roots, my first name may be of Welsh origin but I was born and brought up in England.

Opinion
Southern rail's new timetable launch did not go to plan last month Picture: SWNS

Challenging Local And National Transport Issues

I have just completed my third year as your MP. As I have said before, to represent the community I have been a resident of for the last twelve years is a great privilege for me. There can be few constituencies as rich in coastal, rural, community and cultural tapestry as this one. So many of you are involved in standing up for your community and caring for its residents. I have been supported in most which I have tried to do, and not just by those who were good enough to vote for me. As for many in the workplace, this job is challenging at times but my desire to work with others to deliver better services and opportunities for us all remains undiminished.

Opinion
Sergeant Tom Carter with Huw Merriman and  T/Superintendent Emma Brice SUS-180706-105257001

Putting Weight of Parliament behind Rural Policing

Having lived in a rural part of East Sussex for over ten years, I am well aware of the concerns which remote areas have about crime and police resourcing. Whilst crime has reduced by a fifth since 2010, it has shown signs of an increase in the last year. Our towns and villages have lost many dedicated police resources albeit the latest plans from Sussex Police, following the increase in your Council Tax, is to recruit a further 200 officers.

Opinion
Representatives of head teachers from schools across the county, as well as the County Education Department, came to Parliament SUS-180524-123955001

Battle for School Funding Continues

Working with constituency schools, and spending time in the classroom with pupils, is one of the great pleasures of my job. I have a huge amount of respect for the teaching profession. The job is very demanding and the pay and standing is not what it was when my mother worked in the profession many years ago. On entering Parliament in 2015, I listed education as one of my priorities and so it remains.

Opinion
Huw Merriman, MP's, visit with UNICEF to Africa SUS-181005-121728001

My visit with UNICEF to Africa

Over the Bank Holiday weekend, I visited the African country of Djibouti with UNICEF. Djibouti is a small country with a population of just over one million, but hosts the key strategic port for the Horn of Africa. It is surrounded on land by Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea. Across the Dead Sea is Yemen. Many residents from these neighbouring countries are fleeing their homelands. Djibouti tends to be a transit point for these migrants who are on the move for a better life.

Opinion
In the House with Huw Merriman SUS-151007-132058001

Delivering the case for transport

This week, I was successful in calling for a Westminster Hall debate on ‘Transport for the South East’. This is the name of a new transport body which has been set up by local authorities and enterprise partnerships spanning 7.5m residents in the south east. Its aim is to be given legal responsibility to steer and deliver major transport improvements in our region. The debate was a good opportunity for MPs in our region to talk of their support for this and their own transport challenges.

Opinion
In the House with Huw Merriman SUS-151007-132058001

The Case for Military Action in Syria

The Syrian conflict has created the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. Half the country’s pre-war population — more than 11 million people — have been killed or forced to flee their homes. I’ve seen the impact of it myself, standing 15km from the Syrian border in the world’s second largest refugee camp in Jordan with 100,000 displaced Syrians being supported by British aid.

Opinion
In the House with Huw Merriman SUS-151007-132058001

Enjoying all that Bexhill and Battle has to offer over Easter

Easter is almost upon us. After a busy week debating Local Government finance, Police resources, Russia and where our passports are produced, Parliament has entered recess for two weeks. I will not be in need of a passport over Easter because I will be spending the bulk of my fortnight in the constituency and hoping that Spring will do as its name suggests and bring forth a burst of fine weather.

Opinion
In the House with Huw Merriman SUS-151007-132058001

It’s snow way to run a democracy

I hope that all readers are keeping safe and warm during this period of cold weather. My late father was a devoted amateur weatherman. As my mother once said, ‘When I married your father, I married the weather.’ He would certainly have enjoyed this week.

Opinion
In the House with Huw Merriman SUS-151007-132058001

Counting the cost of a working margin

Last week in Parliament, the focus from MPs was on the levels of central funding which will be given to our local councils and services. The current Government has made it an aim to see councils becoming self-sufficient. The ambition is for local councils to keep the money they raise from council tax and business rates and then decide how much to spend and raise via these forms of local taxation.

Opinion
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