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North East Somerset Labour Parliamentary Candidate Supports Anti-Fracking Rally at Party Conference

Todd Foreman, the Labour Party's parliamentary candidate for North East Somerset, took part in an anti-fracking rally organised by Friends of the Earth at the Labour Party's annual conference in Manchester on 21 September.  The rally was headlined by the former environment minister, Rt Hon Michael Meacher MP,  Barbara Keeley MP (Worsley and Eccles South) and other Labour campaigners. Speakers highlighted the environmental risks of fracking, the practical downsides for communities where shale gas exploration has taken place, and also made clear that proponents of fracking have overstated any positive impact on energy prices that fracking in the UK would bring.

Commenting on the event, Todd Foreman said, “It was great to be a part of the well-attended and spirited anti-fracking rally at Labour Party Conference. There is a very real risk that fracking could take place in North East Somerset in the near future, as 165 fracking sites have been identified across the constituency, including in the close to proximity to Chew Valley Lake and the undergrounds springs at Bath Spa, and in the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  Bath and North East Somerset Council has clearly said that North East Somerset is not an appropriate place to conduct fracking, and I strongly support that position.

“I was particularly interested to hear about the experience of Barbara Keeley MP in her own constituency of Worsley and Eccles South. Barbara described how exploratory drilling has already begun within her constituency. This activity is having a negative impact on local house prices, with some residents living near drill sites finding that they are unable to sell their homes.  Residents are also having trouble obtaining home insurance. Payments of around £100,000 that communities are receiving to allow fracking locally are not necessarily directed at those who are suffering, and are a drop in the ocean compared to costs to affected homeowners.

“I will continue to be a voice against allowing fracking in North East Somerset, in contrast to North East Somerset's current Tory MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg, who is a strong supporter of the fracking industry.  Our priority should be to promote clean and renewable energy sources that don’t have the environmental risks and negative impact on homeowners and communities that fracking brings.”

 

  1. Details of sites identified for fracking in North East Somerset can be found in this report by Frack Free Chew Valley: https://frackfreecv.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/unconventionalgasexplorationinsomerset_160614a.pdf
  2. Bath and North East Somerset Council has reached a cross-party consensus against allowing fracking locally:  See http://www.bathchronicle.co.uk/Political-parties-unite-opposition-fracking-Bath/story-19507361-detail/story.html
  3. The current MP for North East Somerset Jacob Rees-Mogg is a strong proponent of fracking: See http://www.todd4nesomerset.com/fracking_0814

Candidate Supports Anti-Fracking Rally

    North East Somerset Labour Parliamentary Candidate Supports Anti-Fracking Rally at Party Conference

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Labour Parliamentary Candidate for North East Somerset reflects on clear endorsement of union by Scottish voters, constitutional reform to come

Todd Foreman, Labour's Parliamentary candidate for North East Somerset, spent the day of the Scottish independence referendum on the Labour Party's “Battle Bus” campaigning in and around Glasgow.  Todd campaigned alongside Anas Sarwar MP, Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, and Labour Party activists from Scotland and elsewhere in the UK. 

 

Commenting on the campaigning and the result of the referendum, Todd said, “I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to campaign for a 'No' vote in the Scottish referendum.  The referendum was a once in a lifetime event and making the case to Scottish voters to stay in the United Kingdom was a great experience.

 

“It was obvious on the ground that the supporters of the 'Yes' campaign for Scottish independence were running the louder campaign, but the referendum result shows that speaking loudly doesn't necessarily mean that you have won the argument.  On a very high turnout 55% of Scottish Voters have voted to remain in the UK, and I am pleased that the result has been clear cut and any question of Scottish independence has been settled for the foreseeable future.  The majority in Scotland have truly said that Britain is better together than apart.

 

“While Scottish voters have rejected independence, we know that further devolution is coming for Scotland.  Those of us in other parts of the UK will need to consider the implications that this will bring.  The national conversation that we are about to have regarding constitutional reform is an opportunity for all of us to consider how we can improve our democracy, and I know that many of us in North East Somerset will want to take part in this conversation. 

 

“I hope that major constitutional reform will at last include House of Lords reform.  The current structure of the House of Lords, which includes hereditary peers, is deeply undemocratic and anachronistic and reform is long overdue.

 

“Clearly the Scottish referendum has sparked debate about the nature of citizenship and democracy, and I hope that we can enact positive reforms that make our governance more representative and democratic.”

Endorsement of Union

  Labour Parliamentary Candidate for North East Somerset reflects on clear endorsement of union by Scottish voters, constitutional reform to come

A meeting of the Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES) Liberal Democrat Cabinet has agreed to restructure Children’s Centres based on cuts of £1.5m, and to support a ‘right to provide’ request which could see Children’s Centre staff set up a staff mutual to run the service in the future. 

Labour activists before the meeting

Councillor Liz Hardman (Labour, Paulton) said “The B&NES Labour Group, Labour activists, and families using Children’s Centre services have successfully campaigned to reduce the scale of the cuts to Children’s Centres which were originally set at £2.3m.  The additional money has helped to reduce the impact of the cuts on the most vulnerable children in our area. 

“However, the cuts remain very significant.  Children’s Centre staff believe that if they are allowed to run the Children’s Centres themselves, they will be able to provide more services with less direct B&NES funding."

"The Labour Group will continue to campaign for Children’s Centres and the services they provide by lobbying for transitional money to help set up a staff-run organisation as quickly as possible so that the universal services which are being cut, such as Messy Play, can be allowed to continue”.

 


 

ENDS

For more information contact Cllr Liz Hardman 07999 894925

Notes to Editors:

The B&NES Cabinet met last week, on 10 September, when it considered the future of Children’s Centres in the light of the proposed budget cuts.

The Future of Children's Centres

A meeting of the Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES) Liberal Democrat Cabinet has agreed to restructure Children’s Centres based on cuts of £1.5m, and to support a ‘right to...

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