We have been in Strasbourg this week and every time we make the journey I’m reminded about how ridiculous the whole process is. Transferring the offices of every MEP over 200 miles every month is a colossal waste of time and money. We thought we might be making some progress into scrapping the whole thing this week but alas, out plans were scuppered at the last minute! Read more here. But we will keep fighting!
This weekend is the South East regional conference and I’m really looking forward to getting down to Eastbourne to see so many of you and especially to hearing from the new MP for Eastbourne, the brilliant Stephen Lloyd!
Of course, it is also South Central conference next weekend and you can still register for that. It’s less of a trip for me as we will be welcoming everyone to my home town of Oxford! If you do want to register you can contact Vanessa McPake at email@example.com, but hurry, places are going fast!
Learning the Truth about Trafficking
Last weekend I hosted an event in Oxford inviting students, locals and those from further afield to learn the truth about human trafficking.
I was delighted to be joined by three of the most interesting and inspiring speakers and was more than happy that they could explain to all of us there, the real truth about human trafficking.
Superintendant Bernie Gravett (pictured) is the police lead on Operation Golf, the EU funded joint investigation team working to tackle the trafficking of children from Romania around Europe, including the UK. We heard about the true scale of the operation and it was also great to hear about the big successes that Bernie and his team have had, including this month, see here.
Lavinia Brennan, Director of Beulah London, a fashion label that works with and raises money for women who have been forced into the sex trade in India, some of whom have been trafficked. Lavinia explained the work that they are doing and the heartfelt story of how they ended up helping this wonderful cause. You can visit their website here.
We were also joined by Julia Immonen (pictured) who, as well as being a director for Sky Sports News, has also set up an excellent charity called Sport Against Trafficking. Julia has combined her love of sport with her determination to play a part in doing something to tackle human trafficking. We heard from Julia about the links between trafficking and large sporting events and I look forward to working with her closely over the coming years on my campaign (below). I would like to thank everyone who came and the European Affairs Society of Oxford University for hosting the event with me.
Stamp Out Trafficking at Our Olympics
As well as hearing from speakers I launched the campaign to Stamp Out Trafficking at Our Olympics.
As I said, we heard from Julia about the connection between large sporting events such as Olympic Games and World Cups and rises seen in human trafficking. This is mostly women as it is to meet the rise in demand in the sex industry. It has been demonstrated at both the Winter Olympics in Canada this year and the World Cup in South Africa. Julia visited South Africa herself in the build-up to the World Cup.
Superintendant Gravett pointed out that the number of brothels in some of the “Olympic boroughs” in London has doubled over the last year. It is suggested that this is due to the increase in construction workers into the area.
I want our Olympics to be the great sporting spectacle that they should be and not have them ruined by this disgusting trade in human beings. As Julia pointed out, “if one man, woman or child is trafficked into the UK because of our Olympics, it will be one too many.”
One of the great aspects about the event last week was that it generated some great ideas from the audience about what we all can do to help and I would more than happy to provide information to anyone who wants to play their part in ensuring that trafficking is stamped out at our Olympics.
Please Sign My Petition and forward it to as many people as you can!
Stop making ready meals for one which exceed 100% RDA of sat fat says Sharon
This month, my colleague in the South East Sharon Bowles is calling on the food industry to stop making ready meals for one containing over 100% of the recommended daily allowance of saturated fat.
According to the Food Standards Agency the recommended daily allowance of saturated is 30g for a man and 20g for a woman. The UK's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has said that thousands of lives could be saved if high levels of saturated fat in processed food are reduced.
Sharon said: "I do not believe a ready meal, marketed for one person, should contain more than 100% of the recommended daily allowance of saturated fat. While the traffic light system allows consumers to make a more informed decision about which food products they buy, there is no justification for producing, for mass consumption, ready meals so high in saturated fat.
"One example I have seen, a supermarket's own brand of macaroni and cheese, which serves one, contains 180% of the recommended daily allowance of saturated fat. That is nearly twice the recommended daily allowance in one meal. This should be marked with skull and crossbones, not just a red label! I am not telling people what they should or should not eat but rather calling on the food industry to stop making such appallingly unhealthy meals."
MEPs Pedalling for Primates!
On Tuesday, I’m hosting an event in Brussels and inviting MEPs to swap their desks for bikes to power a film about primate conservation and the Indonesian logging industry.
The film, Saving Tomorrow, made by the Great Apes Film Initiative (GAFI), can be shown without the need for electricity. It is screened using a a pedal-powered projector which has enabled GAFI to bring it around the remotest villages in Africa and Asia
We are delighted to be joined by Prof. Ian Redmond OBE (Tropical Field Biologist and Conservationist, and Ambassador for the UN Year of the Gorilla). A number of MEPs have already volunteered to take part in the cycling and I’ve started my training!
The evening will be a great occasion for MEPs of all parties and NGOs to meet with each other and to show their commitment to the conservation of the environment. I’ll let you know next month which MEP won the prize for the most spectacular cycling!
This Month’s Euromyth
This month I was contacted by a constituent concerned by an article he had read in the Daily Mail claiming to quote him:
“The General Medical Council automatically registers any doctor registered in another EU country that applies to work here but is banned from testing them for competency. EU rules state such tests threaten ‘the free movement of labour’, and countries in breach face heavy fines from Brussels.”
This is untrue The General Medical Council registers doctors with relevant UK qualifications and also recognises relevant qualifications from EU countries. The bodies equivalent to the GMC in other EU countries, automatically recognise UK medical qualifications in return.
Employers have a responsibility to check that their members of staff are competent. Primary Care Trusts employ the doctors so it is their responsibility to check the competency of the doctors. The checks can include checking that staff have relevant qualifications (by consulting the GMC) but can also include their own language checks. Checks by an employer, not a regulatory body, do not threaten “the free movement of labour”. My constituent was also specifically concerned as to whether or not this meant that a Polish plumber could practice medicine in the UK? But this rule would only apply if the Pole also happened to be a qualified doctor and could find someone to employ them!
For more myth-busting, have a look at the Euromyth section on my website. Hopefully our responses to these myths will help all of you if you’re challenged about them in a heated European debate!
Show your creative side...
While the MEPs are pedalling for primates you can play your part in supporting primates by entering the Sumatran Orangutan Society’s competition for the chance to see your design on the new SOS t-shirts. The deadline for entries is November 26th. There are two categories: adult t-shirt and child’s t-shirt.
You can find out how to enter here. If you’re not artistic yourself then forward the information to a friend or family member.
Good luck and I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible in Eastbourne and Oxford!
I will be keeping these newsletters coming out regularly to keep you all up to date with our work in the European parliament and the region but if there’s anything you want to see in these pages or any issues or problems you feel I should be looking at then don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With best wishes,
Member of the European Parliament for South East England
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