11 APR 2019

Therese Welcomes new Online Harms White Paper

Social media is brilliant at connecting people across the world but for too long platforms have not done enough to protect users, especially children, from harmful online content - including violence, encouraging suicide and cyberbullying.

Therese said: "That's why I welcome the publication of a new Online Harms White Paper published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Home Office. The new proposals will include an independent regulator to enforce stringent new standards and a mandatory 'duty of care', which will require companies to take reasonable steps to keep their users safe and tackle illegal and harmful activity on their services."

"The regulator will have effective enforcement powers and the Government are consulting on powers to issue substantial fines, block access to sites and potentially to impose liability on individual members of senior management."

The consultation closes on July 1st an can be accessed here.


01 APR 2019

Brexit Update - Statement from Therese

Last week, there were a series of votes on alternative ways forward. I decided not to support any of them as I believe the deal already negotiated is the best way forward in delivering the outcome of the referendum and also acknowledges the closeness of that result, while putting the decision on whether to adopt future EU regulation changes in the hands of the UK Parliament (or in some circumstances the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly or Northern Ireland administration),

We will be asked again today to vote on some motions, most of which will be the same as last week. The main reason why I decided to vote remain 3 years ago was because I did not want to end up in a Norway style situation where we will adopt all the rules without a say. It would also require accepting full freedom of movement. That is why I won't support the so called Common Market 2.0 option.

Regarding the Customs Union, this hands over to the EU how we choose to do trade deals with other countries. There are always trade offs during these negotiations. More often than not, for the EU, agriculture and food get the priority over services. The UK economic output (Gross Value Added) is about 80% services.
Furthermore, not only do we have to adopt EU regulations - again without a say on what they are in the future - but it penalises us actually doing fairer trade with poorer countries around the world and we can see that with many fruits and everyday items we take for granted like coffee.

It is a very frustrating situation in Parliament at the moment. Yes, I do think Labour are trying to have it both ways by pretending they respect the referendum as they said they would in their manifesto but it is clear that Jeremy Corbyn wants to destabilise the situation to get another general election. In my own party, there are a small number of people either wanting to stay in the EU or think the deal is too much of a compromise for them.

As for a second referendum, the people supporting it are exclusively those who wanted to remain. I reiterate that ignoring the 2016 referendum would be wrong and would be the greatest insult to democracy that this country has experienced. I have always respected the outcome of the referendum and will continue to do so.


14 MAR 2019

Brexit votes

UPDATED (below): As I set out in my public meeting last week, events, debates and voting on Motions in Westminster would be very fluid regarding how we would leave the EU.

Yesterday, I voted with the intention of keeping all options open to the government to try and secure a deal that would help us leave the EU. The government's motion was never actually voted on, as we voted on amendments first. That included me voting to keep no deal on the table and to keep the so called Malthouse compromise in play as a way to help negotiations.

The Commons voted by a majority of just 4 to amend the government's motion so that the UK should only leave with an agreed withdrawal agreement and future political declaration.

My concern is that Parliament has now voted in effect to give the control on how we leave the EU to the other 27 EU countries, unless we vote to endorse the already negotiated withdrawal agreement and future political declaration.

The government can present a statutory instrument to change exit date and today's motion suggests that would be 30th June. However, we need the other 27 EU countries to agree that new date, else we leave by default on 29th March. I think it likely that the EU27 would agree a short technical extension to allow formal ratification of the agreement and legislation to ratify the treaty, but only if Parliament agrees to what has been negotiated.

If Parliament cannot accept what has been negotiated already and given it has now resolved that we should leave with a deal, that gives the potential to the EU27 for all sorts of changes and the length of time that we could still be in the EU. It has been suggested that could be staying in as a full member till the end of 2021.

This week has been extraordinary and somewhat tense. The majority of people I meet in Suffolk Coastal are fed up with all of this and just want Parliament "to get on with it". I agree. I'm a democrat and I think we have to respect the 2016 referendum result. I continue to hope Parliament will do that.

UPDATE : I voted for the PM's motion to agree that if Parliament votes for the Withdrawn Agreement and Future Declaration that the PM could ask for a three month extension so we can do the necessary legislation in Parliament, as I think we will need more than a week to do it. I also voted against a second referendum. 


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