0191 371 8834
10am - 4pm
The Fulforth Centre
020 7219 8219
House of Commons
On Monday 18th July Kevan voted in favour of renewing the UK's independent nuclear deterrent.
In 2007 the then Labour Government, endorsed by a Parliamentary vote, began a programme to maintain the UK’s nuclear deterrent beyond the early 2030s.
Yesterday, MPs voted to authorise the manufacture phase of the Successor-submarine programme. Under this programme the Royal Navy's current Vanguard class ballistic missile submarines will be replaced by four new submarines at the end of their operational lifespan in the early 2030s.
Here is Kevan's speech in full:
I rise to support the motion. There are those who do not agree with my position, including in my own party, and I do not disagree that they have the right to hold their position. I respect their position; I do not question their motives, and I believe that people can argue from an alternative position to mine. Unfortunately, respect is something of a rarity in our political landscape at the moment, and it saddens me to say that that includes people in my own party.
Our independent nuclear deterrent has its origins in the great radical and reforming 1945 Labour Government. Political giants of my party took the decision that the UK should develop its own nuclear weapon. They saw that as being vital for our nation’s security against the rising threat from the Soviet bloc and the uncertain world they faced. That commitment to our national security, while pursuing a policy of outward-looking international engagement, has been a cornerstone of Labour’s position, and it is universally shared by our supporters.
Today we face an uncertain world, and some of the threats that we face are the same as those faced by our forebears in 1945. Those threats include state-on-state conflict and a resurgent Russia that is now wedded not to communist ideology and doctrine but to a crude nationalism that has no respect for international boundaries or laws. Russia has a clear path to increasing its military spending and its nuclear arsenal, and it has a doctrine of spheres of influence reminiscent of the 1940s. We also face threats such as Islamic terrorism, global warming and economic uncertainty. Is there one silver bullet to resolve all those threats? No, there is not, but the retention of our nuclear deterrent is vital to resist the threat of a resurgent Russia that is developing its nuclear weapons.
The Leader of the Opposition has portrayed today the uncertainty about the Labour party position. In the last Parliament I was asked by the then Leader of the Opposition to conduct a review of our deterrent. We met 28 stakeholders from all sides of the debate—including my right hon. Friend the Member for Islington North (Jeremy Corbyn), who was then chair of Labour CND—and that resulted in a report of more than 35,000 words. The report built on the work of the Defence Committee, the Labour Government’s 2006 White Paper and the Trident alternatives review. All the evidence that was taken came to the conclusion that replacing our Vanguard-class submarines was the only alternative. That report fed into our policy review and was adopted at our 2014 conference. That is the policy that I stood under, as did every other Labour candidate, including my right hon. Friend.
The rest of the debate can be accessed by clicking on the following link:
On Monday 4th July, Kevan raised his concerns about the lack of consultation with parents over the future of South Stanley infant and junior schools during Education Questions.
Kevan asked the schools minister, Nick Gibb:
"Durham county council is part-way through the legal process of merging South Stanley infant and junior schools to form a primary school, but on Friday the Department issued a notice that the infant school will now be part of Greenlands junior school as a new academy, completely ignoring any consultation with local parents. How does that fit with what the Minister has said about the involvement of parents in these decisions?"
The Minister subsequently agreed to meet with Kevan to further discuss the issue.
On Tuesday 10 May, Kevan spoke in the Westminster Hall debate on the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWCG).
The CWGC principal function is to mark, record and maintain the graves and places of commemoration of Commonwealth of Nations military service members who died in the two World Wars. The Commission is currently responsible for the continued commemoration of 1.7 million deceased Commonwealth military service members in 153 countries.
Kevan, a former Minister for Veterans, is one of the two parliamentary commissioners for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
During the debate, Kevan highlighted the work that the CWGC is currently undertaking and spoke about the history of the organisation.
You can read or watch Kevan's full speech, and the rest of the debate, by clicking on the links below:
On Wednesday 4 May, Kevan spoke in the Westminster Hall debate on the North East Ambulance Service, highlighting a number of cases in which his constituents had been let down.
During the debate Kevan said, "In the past 18 months, I have heard about 12 quite serious cases. The ambulance service is in crisis, and that is not down to the men and women who work in it; it is down to the management. Urgent action is needed if we are to avoid people dying and prevent the suffering that my constituents are going through.
" I did not think I would say this, but it might be time to break up the North East Ambulance Service and put it into special measures. It covers a large area and is completely failing. Will the Minister look into whether it is fit for purpose in the long term? I do not think it is. Urgent action is needed. People are not only suffering, but they have lost faith in the service, which is a terrible thing. What should be a flagship service—North East Ambulance Service—that people call upon only in a time of need is clearly failing."
You can read Kevan's speech, and the rest of the debate, by clicking on the link below:
On Wednesday 27 April, Kevan spoke twice in the Commons debate on the Trade Union Bill and added his voice to those that oppose the Bill. During the debate Kevan raised his concerns about the Government's attempt to restrict union political funds and about its opposition to e-balloting for trade union ballots.
During the debate Kevan said, " The clear impression given by the Conservative party and its supporters is that every single trade union that has a political fund donates it all to the Labour party, but that is simply not the case.
"Many are not affiliated to the Labour party, and many make no donations at all to any political party. Having run a political fund for the GMB, I know that the proportion that goes to the Labour party is small compared with the proportion that is spent on campaigning work.
"That allows the union not only to campaign on political issues, but to have a say, quite rightly, on things such as health and safety legislation or reorganisations of hospitals and other institutions. Without the political fund, the union would not be able to do that.
"The proposal would not only have taken away from my party the ability to receive money from trade unions, but would have hampered trade unions from taking part in civic life in this country, as they are quite right to do, through having a voice and making sure that their members’ collective voice is heard in consultations on whatever affects them directly."
You can read Kevan's full speech, and the rest of the debate, here:
You can also watch Kevan's two speeches by clicking on the links below:
On Wednesday 20 April, Kevan met with Ioan Davies, great great grandson of Jack Lawson, the Member of Parliament for Chester Le street from 1919 to 1949 and Secretary of State for War during the Attlee government.
Kevan, whose North Durham constituency incorporates Lawson's former seat, presented Ioan with a framed photograph of his great great grandfather during his visit to Parliament.
Kevan has been researching the life and career of former miner Lawson, who was also a minister in the 1924 first Labour government.
On Wednesday 20 April, Kevan called in at a Heritage Lottery Fund North East Drop-in session at the House of Commons to hear more about funding in Co. Durham, including the recent £11 million grant for Beamish Museum.
On Friday 15 April, Kevan visited the Hermitage Academy in Chester-le-Street, where he met with the school Debating Society.
On Friday 15 April, Kevan called in at the Just for Women Centre on Front Street, Stanley.
Click the link below to see Kevan's latest newsletter, to find out more about his contributions in Parliament and his activities in the constituency.