Clare Moody

MEP for the South West and Gibraltar

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This year is the 30th anniversary of the Erasmus+ Programme, which started life in 1987 as a student mobility programme and has since helped millions of young people to travel abroad to study and work, gaining invaluable experience and skills but, vitally, building understanding and links across borders. It’s wonderful that over the 30 years so many students from across the country have benefitted from Erasmus+, with over 50,000 students participating in the programme over the last couple of years alone. This important anniversary is being marked with numerous events across Europe including here at the European Parliament.

Widely recognised as one of the most successful EU programmes, Erasmus+ aims to reduce early school leaving and unemployment among young people whilst promoting adult learning, especially for new skills required in the labour market.  Participants cover a huge range of subjects while frequently learning a new language or finding a new passion for volunteering.

From a European perspective, Erasmus+ provides a concrete example of the positive impact of European integration and international outreach. The programme promotes cooperation and mobility between young people across member states and the EU's partner countries. As Dr. Pablo Biderbost of the Bringing Europe Closer project says: 'Erasmus+ helps to create institutional capabilities that enable European values such as solidarity, free speech and equality to be shared'.

This anniversary coincides with another important milestone of European history: the 60th Anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, which established a common market where people, goods, services and capital can move freely and created conditions for prosperity and stability for European citizens. Both anniversaries celebrate a common goal: bringing understanding and collaboration to countries that have spent too many centuries warring with each other. We should celebrate that achievement and, in particular, all that Erasmus+ and its millions of participants, both at home and abroad, have achieved thus far.

Celebrating 30 years of Erasmus

This year is the 30th anniversary of the Erasmus+ Programme, which started life in 1987 as a student mobility programme and has since helped millions of young people to travel...

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As I write this, Theresa May is Prime Minister and the negotiations regarding the UK leaving the EU are still due to begin next week. But forgive me for feeling as if everything else in politics, including in our own region, has been somewhat turned upside down.

Labour is far closer to No 10 than it was before last Thursday’s election thanks to our positive campaign led by Jeremy Corbyn. As well as making gains — more of which in a minute — we closed the gap in a whole swathe of seats, making them Labour-Tory marginals going forward. From Camborne and Redruth to Filton and Bradley Stoke, constituencies that in recent years we have considered out of reach are now integral in ensuring a Labour government is elected the next time we go to the polls. I want to place on record my congratulations and thanks not only to those candidates who stood and were unsuccessful, but the leaflet deliverers, door knockers and all those who gave up their time to help. 

Labour made three gains in the South West, upping our representation from four to seven MPs. In Plymouth Sutton & Devonport, Bristol North West, and Stroud three brilliant Labour candidates managed to topple the Tory incumbents, meaning the South West has a few more islands of red in the blue tide. I have no doubt that Luke Pollard MP, Darren Jones MP and Dr David Drew MP will do an exemplary job. I have known all three for many years and it is a joy to know they will be standing up for their constituencies and for the South West in Westminster. 

Our four MPs elected before last Thursday managed to hugely increase their majorities. Many congratulations go to Ben Bradshaw, Karin Smyth, Kerry McCarthy, and Thangam Debbonaire (who managed to secure the biggest rise in vote share for a Labour candidate ever). 

While we are, and we should be, celebrating the result we must also recognise we did not win and the Tories are still in government. That means, among other things, that they are the ones negotiating with the EU27 over Brexit. If we can't be in the negotiations then we must do all we can to protect our jobs, manufacturing sector, and the finances for our public services. All we are getting from the Tories on Brexit are decisions based on narrow party interest - we must put the interests of our county first. 

I am looking forward to working with our Magnificent Seven MPs, as well as our Labour voices elsewhere in the region to ensure that the party’s message and manifesto of hope, equality and social justice is heard at home, in Westminster, and in Brussels. Our work now is to build on the current success to ensure we will be making all the decisions as a Government after the next election.

Labour's South West election success

As I write this, Theresa May is Prime Minister and the negotiations regarding the UK leaving the EU are still due to begin next week. But forgive me for feeling...

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Clare Moody, Gibraltar MEP, praises Labour manifesto for Gibraltar promises 

Labour’s MEP for the South West & Gibraltar, Clare Moody, has welcomed the party’s manifesto pledges on Gibraltar that was released yesterday (16th May). 

The manifesto states that if Labour wins the UK General Election on 8th June, the party will ensure that “there is no change in the status or sovereignty of Gibraltar.” 

The manifesto goes further, saying that Labour will “protect Gibraltar’s economy and ensure that its government can continue to create jobs and prosperity in the years to come.” 

Speaking after the manifesto launch, Clare said: 

“I warmly welcome my party’s pledges on the future of Gibraltar as we head into the Brexit negotiations and beyond.  Labour has made it crystal clear that the sovereignty of Gibraltar would not be up for negotiation under a Labour government. There can be no doubt that Labour respects and supports the self-determination of Gibraltarians, as well as wanting Gibraltar to succeed on its own terms into the future. 

“It is vital that the next Government recognises and delivers on the interests of Gibraltar, both with the ongoing relationship with the UK and on the border and other issues related to the future negotiations.  I am proud to say that is exactly what a Labour government will do.” 

 

Clare praises Labour manifesto for Gibraltar pledges

Clare Moody, Gibraltar MEP, praises Labour manifesto for Gibraltar promises  Labour’s MEP for the South West & Gibraltar, Clare Moody, has welcomed the party’s manifesto pledges on Gibraltar that was...

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Clare Moody, Labour MEP for the South West, has welcomed Labour’s “bold, radical and realistic” General Election manifesto that was launched this week. 

In particular, Clare praised the pledges on infrastructure spending for the South West, commitments on the triple lock for pensioners, and the Party’s proposals on renewable energy.

Speaking after the manifesto was launched, Clare said: 

“Labour has presented a bold manifesto that is both radical and realistic. As opposed to the Conservatives’ repetitive dogma, Labour is providing the country with the solutions required to take us forward into the 2020s and beyond. 

“I particularly welcome the Party’s pledges for infrastructure spending here in the South West, both on rail electrification and on universal superfast broadband by 2022. For seven years, the Government has failed our region on infrastructure, leaving us poorly prepared to face the challenges of the future. Businesses and residents across the South West will benefit from a Labour government investing in our regional infrastructure. 

“I also welcome Labour’s pledge to maintain the triple-lock for pensioners. The Government has consistently refused to provide the reassurances that pensioners deserve over their incomes. 

“The pledges to reinstate the Agricultural Wages Board and establish a science innovation fund to work with farmers and fisheries show Labour’s commitment to rural areas and all sections of the South West economy, including seasonal and agricultural work. 

“On EU exit negotiations, I warmly welcome Labour’s pledges to maintain the benefits of the membership of the single market.  This is vital for our valuable manufacturing jobs in aerospace, automotive and other sectors.  I also welcome the commitment to the UK’s membership of crucial bodies such as the Euratom treaty, which regulates our nuclear safeguarding industry, and the Common Aviation Area and Open Skies arrangements which have such a positive effect in the South West with Bristol, Exeter and Newquay airports. 

“As the UK approaches the negotiations for leaving the EU, Labour has produced a manifesto that provides the solutions that the South West and the country as a whole requires as we enter the greatest political and diplomatic challenge of our lifetimes — embedded in the values of equality and social justice." 

Clare welcomes Labour's "bold, radical, and realistic" manifesto

Clare Moody, Labour MEP for the South West, has welcomed Labour’s “bold, radical and realistic” General Election manifesto that was launched this week.  In particular, Clare praised the pledges on...

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A packed week involved lots of good things happening in Brussels as well as at home in the constituency. 

It was great to be with Keir Starmer, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, along with Labour’s excellent Parliamentary candidates in Bristol on Friday. I chaired an event at Bristol University on Friday at which Keir and Thangam Debbonaire (Bristol West) spoke about Brexit and how the Labour Party and its candidates are the progressive choice in the upcoming General Election - it was encouraging to see so many young people engaging with both the election and the topic at hand. In the evening, I attended the Society of Labour Lawyers dinner in Bristol with Keir, Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East), Karin Smyth (Bristol South) and Thangam.

Thangam, Karin and Kerry are really strong representatives for Bristol and the Labour Party - they have led on Labour issues in Westminster and given steadfast opposition to the Tory Party in Parliament and I sincerely hope that they will continue to represent the great city of Bristol in the future. On Saturday, I joined Ben Bradshaw on the campaign trail in Exeter.  Ben has an extraordinary reputation in his constituency and is standing on the record he has built up in his twenty years as Exeter’s MP.

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I was also able to appear on ITV West Country to discuss Labour’s plans for affordable housing. Whilst under the Tories house-building has fallen to its lowest peacetime level since the 1920s, Labour is pledging to build over a million new homes in five years, including half a million council homes. Brilliant Labour councils like Stroud and Bristol demonstrate what can be done with limited resources, but it requires a Labour Government to unleash the house building programme that the whole of the country needs.

Energy Poverty

This week I attended a meeting with other members of the ITRE committee to discuss energy efficiency and the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive, which establishes an overall policy for the production and promotion of energy from renewable sources in the EU. It requires the EU to fulfil at least 20% of its total energy needs with renewables by 2020 – to be achieved through the attainment of individual national targets. All EU countries must also ensure that at least 10% of their transport fuels come from renewable sources by 2020.

On 30 November 2016, the Commission published a proposal for a revised Renewable Energy Directive to make the EU a global leader in renewable energy and ensure that the target of at least 27% renewables in the final energy consumption in the EU by 2030 is met. 

Child Online Sexual abuse

This week I presented a file to the FEMM committee for which I am shadow rapporteur. The file is an opinion which will be presented to the LIBE committee to influence their upcoming report on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography. The rise of the digital age has changed the way children interact with others and exposes them to previously unknown challenges and dangers, whilst the growth of the internet has also seen a rise in different techniques used by criminals. It is the responsibility of the FEMM committee to ensure that the gender aspect of child abuse, child exploitation and the production and distribution of child pornography is not overlooked.

Research 

I met with representatives of Commissioner Moedas to discuss the future of the EU research programmes, in particular, the Commission's proposal to establish a European Innovation Council to replicate the success of the European Research Council. The UK has been a winner with the ERC, receiving the largest amount of grant money of an EU Member State (€951m), to finance cutting edge innovation in our universities. UK universities receive more money from Horizon 2020 than all other European Universities combined, and it makes up approximately 16% of university income across the UK.

It is vitally important that the UK continues its relationship with the EU Research programmes, for the sake of our universities, our industry (which develops hundreds of millions of pounds worth of innovative technology with EU money), and for the employability of graduates, students, and highly skilled workers across the UK.

Sky and Space lunch 

I attended a meeting of the Sky and Space Intergroup, where we discussed the future of innovation in the aerospace sector. The EU's Clean Skies initiative has brought together successful UK companies like Airbus and Rolls Royce to develop new cleaner, environmentally friendly technologies for aircraft. This initiative has invested heavily in plants around the UK, and has helped ensure quality jobs in places like Filton. I am anxious that we do not lose that cutting edge in aerospace technology for the South West when we leave the EU, and I think it is vital to keep all options open in ensuring a successful future cooperation in these innovative technologies with our EU partners.

Cornwall

This week I met with Katie Cavell from the office for Cornwall in Brussels. Cornwall is facing a difficult future, with a shortfall in funding predicted due to our exit of the European Union. There is a great deal of worry for the future, but there is a great deal of work to do in order to mitigate the potential risks of Brexit for Cornwall. Unfortunately the minority Tory Council in Cornwall is not facing up to these challenges, so we all need to work together to ensure that Cornish businesses are able to compete with their European counterparts after we have left, that infrastructure projects remain funded, and that we ensure the best possible outcome for Cornish communities.

Another packed week at home and in Brussels

A packed week involved lots of good things happening in Brussels as well as at home in the constituency.  It was great to be with Keir Starmer, Labour’s Shadow Secretary...

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Last Thursday saw the first of two sets of elections to be held in the next month. The local elections took place across most of the South West, including the inaugural contest for the West of England (Bristol, BANES and South Glos) Metro Mayor where our excellent candidate, Lesley Mansell, came within a whisker of winning the contest.

Firstly, I want to place on record my thanks to all those who stood as Labour candidates across the region - it is no easy task to put yourself in front of the electorate, especially in a part of the world that is not particularly fruitful for the Labour Party.  Congratulations to those that won and will speak up for Labour values in our region. 

My heart goes out to those hard working Labour councillors who lost their seats on Thursday through no fault of their own. We must now get on with the General Election campaign on June 8th.  We are fortunate in having four great Labour MPs in the South West, in Bristol and Exeter.  It would be fabulous to have more but we must ensure that we keep these four representing our region and our interests in Westminster beyond 8th June.

Gibraltar 

I was delighted to return to the more geographically distant part of my constituency for a visit to Gibraltar. I held productive meetings with, amongst others, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia, the Minister forthe Environment and Education, as well as Unite the Union, the local Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Small Business.  I was also able to visit both Gibraltar’s airport and border frontier with Spain.

Primarily, my discussions were focused on preparations for United Kingdom leaving the EU, bearing in mind Gibraltar’s 96% Remain vote in the Referendum and Gibraltar’s unquestionable right to self-determination.  There are very specific issues that Gibraltar face as a consequence of the vote last June and I will continue to ensure that there is a Labour voice representing them in the European Parliament as well as to the UK Government.

I am looking forward to future visits to Gibraltar as the UK’s negotiations to leave the EU get underway. 

Meeting with ALL Ladies’ League

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting with members of the Brussels chapter of the ALL Ladies’ League to discuss their upcoming work in organising the Women’s Economic Forum (WEF) in Brussels next year. ALL is a worldwide web of women's leadership, friendship and entrepreneurship with over 500 chapters and over 50,000 members across 150 countries, committed to women's economic empowerment. 

ENVI workshop on marine litter 

A workshop was organised at the request of the ENVI Committee in order to contribute to European policy making to address marine litter. The workshop was part of the ENVI Committee’s follow up to the European Commission’s Circular Economy Action Plan. Marine litter is one of the fastest growing threats to the health of the marine biosphere and a driver of socio-economic costs in a range of sectors. The committee was joined by many interesting guests who discussed issues such as marine clean-up measures, the challenges of preventing marine litter and the appropriateness of existing policy measures.  

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FEMM – gender pay gap 

Last week in FEMM committee we voted to adopt a text which highlights the need for a better work-life balance, as well as the need for an EU strategy to end and prevent the gender pension gap and fight inequality in employment. The committee calls on the Commission and Member States to strike a better balance between private lives for women and men including investments in childcare facilities and flexible working hours to combat inequality in career opportunities.

A “multi-faceted” approach, which addresses the disparities between men and women in terms of their careers and abilities to make pension contributions, as well as those resulting from the way in which pension systems are organised, is required to succeed with the strategy. I am delighted the report was adopted by 17 votes to five with 13 abstentions.

Local Elections, Gibraltar and the Gender Pay Gap

Last Thursday saw the first of two sets of elections to be held in the next month. The local elections took place across most of the South West, including the...


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