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Many of you have been in touch about TTIP. I've already blogged and published a statement from South West Labour MEP Clare Moody about the strong stance Labour has taken nationally on what we will do if we win a majority in May this year, to protect our NHS and other public services.

Some of you have also been asking how we can protect nation states from being sued under the controversial, worrying Investor-State Dispute Settlement, ISDS.

Labour MEPs have been working hard to make sure that we protect the NHS and public services from TTIP and also that we protect nation states from being sued by private corporations.

Today, I'm pleased to report that the Labour MEPs have agreed with the European parliament group of socialists and democrats that they will oppose the ISDS. Again, this reinforces the need for a change of government in May, as the Tory-LibDem government has not shown this leadership.

The proposal adopted today was drafted by a working group chaired by David Martin MEP, S&D Group coordinator on trade issues. Significant amendments proposed by Jude Kirton-Darling MEP, Labour's European spokesperson on TTIP and CETA, and Richard Corbett MEP, Labour's Deputy Leader in the European Parliament, were supported by the S&D parliamentary group by 78 votes to five.

David Martin MEP said:

"We have always been opposed to ISDS as a group, although we didn't have a chance to adopt a formal decision on this matter since the last European elections in 2014.

"In doing so today, we are responding to the thousands of constituents and the many civil society organisations that have asked us to clarify our position."

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP said:

"This decision by the European Socialists and Democrats Group will prove to be a real game changer not only in the negotiations between the EU and the US but also with respect to the ratification of the Canada agreement.

"The European Commission and Europe's Conservatives will need our support in the end if they want to see TTIP through. Today, we are sending them a loud and clear message we can only contemplate support if our conditions are met. One such condition is we do not accept the need to have private tribunals in TTIP."

Richard Corbett MEP said:

"Today the Labour Party has demonstrated that engaging with our neighbours across the EU yields tangible results in the interest of the general public.

"Labour were instrumental in securing this outcome, and this is a tribute to the hard work, commitment and resolve of Labour MEPs."

Voting for a Labour MEP in the South West has already got us results - and now we need a Labour government to protect the public sector and promote trade.

 

 

TTIP latest - Labour MEPs help to protect states from being sued by private companies

Many of you have been in touch about TTIP. I've already blogged and published a statement from South West Labour MEP Clare Moody about the strong stance Labour has taken nationally on...

Greater Bristol could have its own "director of school standards" under a future Labour Government. 

 

Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt, on a visit to the city, said that Labour plans to end the current system and devolve decision making back to a local level.

Mr Hunt spoke to staff, pupils, parents and governors - including his party's prospective parliamentary candidate for Bristol West, Thangam Debbonaire - at Glenfrome Primary School in Eastville.

Read the full story in The Bristol Post

Region could get own school standards chief

Greater Bristol could have its own "director of school standards" under a future Labour Government.   

Cuts to Bristol Libraries – Labour Reaction

I was shocked to hear of the sudden announcement yesterday of a decision by the Mayor to close seven of Bristol's libraries, including Redland and Clifton in Bristol West. There's been a consultation, but it now seems that the Mayor wants to go ahead. Austerity has led to savage cuts to the budget for local government, so it's strange that our Liberal Democrat minister MP along with several Liberal Democrat and Tory councillors are protesting - this is the austerity regime they introduced, hurting the people of Bristol once again.

It was only one week ago, at the council budget meeting,  thanks to their determination and an eye for detail, that Labour councillors found a way to invest £1.2 million in developing libraries into 21st century community hubs. It makes no sense to tear up these plans before they've even begun.

I was so pleased yesterday when Ed Miliband announced Labour's commitment to ensuring every child has access to arts and culture. Local libraries are an integral part of this - we need to value them, update them, yes, and keep them as a vital part of the cultural life of our city.

Bristol West Labour members have been in touch with me today and we are launching our own campaign to call for a halt to these cuts. I'm setting up an online petition to call on the Mayor to stick to what was agreed last week by full council, halt the proposals and return to the plan to work with local people to create the community hubs.  Please join us and sign online here.

Councillor Estella Tincknell, Labour's spokesperson for arts, said today:

“Most people feared that the Mayor’s consultation was a smokescreen for library cuts and closures and that’s the way it looks today. The proposed library closures across Bristol must be seen in the context of the huge cuts in funding suffered by Bristol City Council, through the ideologically driven austerity policies of the current  Lib Dem / Tory government. It is ironic that Tory and Lib Dem Councillors here are now shouting to save their local libraries.

As a former librarian, I know how important libraries are in our communities. However, they do need to refocus on the needs of the 21st century, and it is important to review their functions in a positive way so as to retain existing users and attract new ones.

Starting by announcing a list of proposed library closures and possible redundancies is not a constructive or positive way to begin this process. It seems to have been poorly handled, and library staff have not been well treated. Just last week council approved Labour’s Budget amendment earmarking £1.2m to invest in our libraries and this news cuts right across the spirit expressed by all sides at that meeting that this was a chance to build on what we have – working towards a 21st century library service. We back those communities which have suggested creative and imaginative ways of turning their libraries into community hubs – and that was the intention of our investment plans.

We should first agree the new model for our libraries as the starting point of the library review, if it is to be anything more than a smokescreen for cuts.

We are astonished that the Green Party Assistant Mayor – whose party is loudly criticising all austerity cuts – is delivering what looks like the biggest blow Bristol has suffered.

My view is that the closure list should be withdrawn and a consensus should be agreed on our model for libraries of the future,” says Estella Tincknell, Labour spokesperson for the Arts.

 

 

 

 

 

News of proposed closures to Bristol Libraries - reaction from Labour's Thangam Debbonaire

Cuts to Bristol Libraries – Labour Reaction I was shocked to hear of the sudden announcement yesterday of a decision by the Mayor to close seven of Bristol's libraries, including...

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