Clare Moody

MEP for the South West and Gibraltar

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It was a great pleasure and an honour to have been asked to speak at the Bristol for Europe rally last Saturday. There was a great atmosphere and a good crowd who heard some really inspiring and uplifting speakers, including fellow MEPs and our wonderful Bristol MPs Thangam Debbonaire, Darren Jones and Kerry McCarthy who are working really hard in Parliament on the UK/EU Withdrawal Bill.

It was also great to hear from Dr Mike Galsworthy of Scientists for EU. I am passionate about the need to maintain not just the EU funding for science but also the opportunities that cross-border working brings for more robust research, including the ability for scientists, technicians and others to move to the UK. 

I was really pleased to see so many people from across the region, including Gibraltar, coming together to celebrate what we value as members of the EU. The energy from the crowd was magnificent.

For my part, I am particularly concerned that the needs of people are not forgotten. I have looked very hard, but have failed to see how Brexit will make anyone better off. We must keep fighting and sharing our fears for the UK post-Brexit and more importantly the EU values that we hold dear.

Photo courtesy of Mick Yates - www.mickyatesphotography.com

Bristol for Europe rally

It was a great pleasure and an honour to have been asked to speak at the Bristol for Europe rally last Saturday. There was a great atmosphere and a good crowd who...

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If anyone had been in any doubt that the Brexit process is going badly for Britain, my Cornwall Brexit summit would have quickly updated them on the reality.

The speakers were Tim Jones, Chair of the Devon and Cornwall Business Council, Dr Ian Tonbridge, Chair of the Cornwall College Board, Professor Juliet Osborne, Director of the Environment and Sustainability Institute at Exeter University (Penryn) and Steve Attwill, Regional Officer with Unite. 

I held the event to look for positive ways to support Cornwall but listening to their concerns made me even more angry at this government’s current bluster and internal strife, when the future economy of our country is at stake. 

It was very worrying to hear Tim Jones also talk of dismay at the Whitehall shambles and government’s inability to give any certainty to business at the time when it is most needed. 

After 40 years of partnership building the integrated supply chain that underpins trade, business is understandably anxious about how the future will look. A 2 minute delay in shifting lorries through Dover leads to a 17 mile tailback to the town. 

With no help from government, business is looking for ‘DIY’ solutions but faces huge difficulties with negotiating other markets and fears a downturn due to the uncertain future. 

More positively, Tim said EU funding has supported new, adaptable businesses in Cornwall, we have more fibre than London and creative and digital businesses are more Brexit proofed. 

On skills and education, Dr Ian Tonbridge expressed concern about government’s refusal to release the sectoral studies into the effects of Brexit.  

He stressed the importance for the sector of continued access to EU research funds and student exchanges, which provide huge opportunities for young people. Foreign students are a good source of income as well as enriching college life but the Home Office crackdown on immigration is already having a negative effect. Students should not count in immigration figures. 

Professor Juliet Osborne gave a detailed presentation on income generated for Cornwall from our EU ties: the work at the university in Cornwall, research income and the knowledge economy contributing around £44.2 millions of Gross Added Value in Cornwall in 2015/6 and supporting 853 jobs. 

Juliet urged government to protect residency rights for EU nationals and to continue participating in EU research and exchange schemes and recognition of professional qualifications.  She expressed concern that we would no longer have a seat at the table discussing regulatory standards based on science but felt it is vital to maintain those standards.  

Steve Attwill spoke of problems faced by working people in Cornwall, where wages are still only 77% of the national average. The union wants continued access to the European Single Market and protection of employment rights. 

Unite wants to work with local government and business on a proper industrial and manufacturing strategy and to deal with increasing job insecurity and under employment. Devolving more powers to Cornwall would help implement a common agenda and Steve stressed that we have only months to prepare for Brexit, not years.  

Following this, we moved to an audience Q and A chaired by Jacqui Merrington, Editor of Cornwall Live. With me on the panel were Tim Dwelly, a Cornwall Councillor and founder of Workspace business units in Penzance, Matthew Thomson, who runs Fifteen in Cornwall and Lucy Jewson, founder and CEO of Fruji. The latter three were all born in Cornwall, left to pursue careers and then returned to work here. 

After many interesting questions and lively debates, it’s clear that for many people Brexit is not settled, no matter how many times we are told that the referendum decision is final. 

The panel were asked for their priorities for Brexit and this included rural communities and landscape. Farmers faced with huge tariffs on World Trade Organisation rules are talking about giving up farming. Who will look after our landscape?

There also concern from the panel on access to the single market and continued support for small business. 

Emily Thornberry, Shadow Foreign Secretary then joined us ‘virtually’ and gave Labour’s view.  What she said was, frankly, very worrying.  We had heard from business leaders and education providers of the risks we face and hoped there would be good news from Westminster.  Unfortunately, there was no sign of it. 

Emily told us that people across the country share our fear that government does not understand our needs but Brexit is being played out in the context of fights within the Conservative Party and government.  

Emily promised that Cornwall’s needs would be met. And, understanding business’ need for certainty, a Labour government would commit to five years continuity in infrastructure, regional funding and farming subsidies. 

Brexit without a deal would be devastating for Cornwall and the UK and Labour will not support the government in that.   At this stage, there is deadlock. Government has to come back to parliament in autumn with a deal to consider and at the moment, they can’t. 

As Emily said: this has massive implications for the UK, tax, the economy and the reality is that Britain is in a very bad place with Brexit negotiations. 

I found the whole event incredibly helpful in informing me about the challenges and risks of Brexit in Cornwall and am very grateful to all participants for the time they took to give considered responses and positive ways in which I can support Cornwall through the next few months and years.

My priority is people. Concern for workers and families facing restrictions on movement, residency and employment rights. The workforce are the people who pay tax and fund the public services that we rely on.  The situation is obviously very difficult but I will do whatever I can to move forward and hope that we can either persuade the government to take the country’s needs seriously or replace it with people who will. 

Clare reflects on Cornwall Brexit Summit

If anyone had been in any doubt that the Brexit process is going badly for Britain, my Cornwall Brexit summit would have quickly updated them on the reality. The speakers...

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Brexit update 

Theresa May’s speech in Florence last week brought a welcome change of tone there are still many questions to be answered regarding what the ‘Implementation’ period will include never mind what the final deal will look like. This all means that businesses and citizens are unable to effectively plan for the future, despite being 15 months after the referendum and 6 months after the Government triggered the Article 50 process with no plan in place.                                   

I’ve written a couple of articles this month on Brexit, follow the links below to read them: 

The will of the people for Brexit was not a vote for border queues, cuts in subsidies and a neglect of the NHS

May's Florence speech can't hide her Brexit indecision

Labour Party Conference 

I’ve just returned from a great few days in Brighton at Labour’s Annual Conference. Jeremy Corbyn’s speech to close the Conference on Wednesday demonstrated that Labour is a government in waiting, with the right solutions for the country on vital issues like housing, inequality and the NHS. Whenever the next General Election is called, we will be ready. 

Unsurprisingly, most conversations revolved around Brexit but I was heartened by the swell of support for the good work done in the EU, and the pitfalls of leaving the European Union. I want to make special mention of Thomas Haynes, youth delegate for Stroud CLP who delivered a storming speech from the Conference floor on how being European is an integral part of identity for many of us, young and old.  He was a strong voice among many at Conference recognising that we need to take a strong line on our future in the EU. 

I spoke at several different events, including the South West Reception that kicked off the week on Saturday night - it’s always a great chance to see friends old and new from across the region, as well as so many first time delegates and particularly the huge number of young members. I also spoke at the Gibraltar Reception and a LabourList fringe on the first 100 days of the next Labour government where I talked about the need for greater investment in science and research. It was also fascinating to tour the exhibition stalls meeting the various charities and other organisations doing so much good work around the country, such as Cancer Research UK, friends in the trade unions, and the White Ribbon campaign which encourages men to condemn violence against women. 

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Out and about in the constituency

Forest Green Rovers 

I had the opportunity to visit Forest Green Rovers FC in Nailsworth near Stroud at the start of the month. As well as being recently promoted into the Football League for the first time in their history, the club are regarded as the greenest in the world with an organic pitch, solar panel powered stadium, and being the world’s first ever vegan football club. I met with their new CEO, Helen Taylor, a real inspiration particularly as one of the few women in such a significant role in what is a male-dominated industry. We were also joined by newly re-elected local MP David Drew, who also serves as the Labour Shadow Minister for Food, Waste and Farming. 

As well as gaining an understanding into the way the club works, I wanted to discuss a zero-plastics strategy with the club. There is over a tonne of plastic for every person on the planet and although small steps (such as the ban on microbeads) are to be welcomed.  We all need to go much further in order to halt the damage plastics do to our environment. Although there are thousands of types of plastics, 90% of plastics are derived from virgin fossil fuels. About 6% of global oil consumption is used to produce plastics; by 2050, this share could reach 20%.  

The European Union is developing a plastics strategy as part of its Circular Economy programme of work, and I look forward to contributing to this as well as arguing for the UK to continue working within EU Regulations and working with our EU partners on this vital work once we have left the union. It was a very encouraging meeting and I look forward to working with the Club and others in making our region and our planet a more sustainable place to live and work. 

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Gibraltar National Day 

It was a great joy to be in Gibraltar for its National Day celebrations, particularly as this year marked 50 years since the 1967 referendum where 99.6% of Gibraltarians voted to remain British, only slightly more than the 96% that voted to Remain in the EU. The Government must not forget its obligations to Gibraltar as the Brexit process continues - the Rock relies on the freedom of movement for its workforce, with over 13,000 cross-frontier (Gibraltar-Spain) workers helping people and the economy on both sides of the border. 

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Salisbury for Europe 

It was a pleasure to speak at an event on Brexit: Where are we now? organised by Salisbury for Europe. I was in conversation with Dominic Grieve QC MP. There was a lot of agreement between us about the deep complexities that need to be dealt with and the frankly disingenuous, misleading and unrealistic statements that are being repeated by senior politicians.

It was good to see so many people interested in the views from Brussels and Westminster about the state of the negotiations and to have the opportunity to discuss this most important of all issues without political point scoring and meaningless soundbites.

In Parliament

Strasbourg September Session

The first Strasbourg session following the summer took place in early September and dived straight back into current issues. The Parliament highlighted the plight of the Rohingya people in Myanmar demanding that Aung San Suu Kyi in particular to do more to protect them from what the UN has called a ‘textbook ethnic cleansing’, with the Parliament threatening sanctions if the violence continues.

The Parliament also called for the EU’s rules on arms exports to be strengthened to stop countries exporting arms to countries that go on to break international law, yet the Tories voted against this report.

However, what grabbed the headlines in Strasbourg was Jean Claude Juncker’s annual State of the Union speech where he laid out his vision for the future of the European Union. In terms of tone it could not have been any more different from last year’s, whereas before the EU felt buffeted by joblessness, the rise of populism and Brexit, Juncker now believes that the wind is in Europe’s sails with rising employment, economic growth and populists on the back foot. Brexit barely featured in his speech in a sobering reminder that the EU has many challenges and opportunities to work on which are more important than the UK’s decision to leave the EU.  Much touted rules on preventing foreign takeovers of European companies in strategic industries are set to follow and the EU is planning on boosting its cybersecurity capabilities, providing much needed money and support for the EU’s cybersecurity agency, ENISA.

Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET) and Security and Defence Sub-Committee (SEDE)

I was honoured to be elected this month to the position Vice-Chair of the Security and Defence Sub-Committee. This is a committee of growing importance, and I am honoured to be taking on the role and working with colleagues across the Parliament in order to strengthen international security. The Committee also heard about security developments, particularly in Ukraine and Belarus. I will be following this situation with interest over the coming months. 

Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee (FEMM) 

This month the FEMM Committee has been focussing on Disability Strategy in Europe, and in particular the difficulties faced by women with disabilities in areas such as transportation, education, and employment opportunities. It is incredibly important that we ensure our disability policies work for all genders, and I am pleased that this issue is being looked at. We also spent time discussing increasing female participation in the labour market and ways to address the work-life balance challenges faced by working parents and carers.

Furthermore, I am delighted that the European Parliament voted to adopt the Istanbul Convention by 489 votes to 114. This is such an important step forward in preventing and combating violence against women and gender-based violence.  

Industry, Energy and Research Committee (ITRE) 

I was proud to join Theresa Griffin, the Labour MEP for the North West, in calling for changes to the Market Design Regulation. The proposed regulation could have had costly consequences for the UK, however with the changes tabled by Labour MEPs, this can be averted. Furthermore, we have placed the focus more on long-term investment in low-carbon technology, and promoting the use of energy from renewable sources. 

Other News 

I am very pleased to be working with the GMB on the 'Dying to Work' campaign, which seeks greater security for terminally ill workers. This is an incredibly important campaign, which works with employers to encourage them to adopt the Dying to Work voluntary charter, which includes a ‘protected period’ where terminally ill employees cannot be dismissed as a result of their condition. I look forward to working more on this in the future, and you can find out more about the campaign here: http://www.dyingtowork.co.uk/

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September review - Labour Party Conference, FGR and plastics

Brexit update  Theresa May’s speech in Florence last week brought a welcome change of tone there are still many questions to be answered regarding what the ‘Implementation’ period will include...

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Clare Moody MEP met scientists at the Francis Crick Institute in London, a pioneering biomedical research facility, to learn about their ground-breaking work into cancer.

The Francis Crick Institute is one of the world’s largest single-site biomedical research facilities, capable of shaping the future of global health. 

A partnership between Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research Council, Wellcome, UCL (University College London), King’s College London and Imperial College London, the Francis Crick Institute is dedicated to promoting collaborative research. Scientists are fighting back against some of the biggest threats to human health including cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases and diabetes. Cancer Research UK donated £100m for the build of the Crick and contributes £53m towards the running costs each year.    

During the visit, Ms Moody learnt about the research being carried out at the Francis Crick Institute into the biology and causes of cancer.

The MEP for the South West and Gibraltar met Dr Barry Thompson to find out more about how his research into cancer could help ensure more children and adults survive the disease. 

Clare said: “Cancer has a devastating impact on families in the South West, so it was inspiring to hear about the progress being made to beat the disease. 

“The visit highlighted why it is so important to support vital research that can benefit people affected by cancer, not just in my region but across the UK. 

“Visiting somewhere like the Francis Crick Institute crystallises the fact that we must stay part of the world’s largest research area, with the collaboration, funding, and life-saving research that goes with it.” 

Matt Davies, Head of Public Affairs at Cancer Research UK, said: “We are really pleased that Clare was able to spend time finding out more about the value of investing in research.” 

“Today, 1 in 2 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK survive their disease, but we need to do more. At Cancer Research UK, we are working to accelerate progress so that by 2034, 3 in 4 people diagnosed with cancer survive the disease. In order to achieve this ambition it is crucial that the government continues to encourage and support research. 

“Support from MEPs and MPs is vital to ensuring our work can continue and lead to ground-breaking discoveries that will benefit patients throughout the UK and beyond.”

Clare sees world class cancer research for herself at Francis Crick Institute

Clare Moody MEP met scientists at the Francis Crick Institute in London, a pioneering biomedical research facility, to learn about their ground-breaking work into cancer. The Francis Crick Institute is...

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Imagine you’re going to buy a new TV. You want it to be able to record programmes, connect to the internet, have Netflix and surround sound. The salesman confidently tells you that your new purchase has all of this and more. But once you get your new TV home, you discover that not only does it have none of these features, it’s not even colour. Your promised world-leading, unbeatable, top-of-the-range television is a black and white set. Put simply, you’ve been sold a dud.

It is now widely accepted that people voted to leave the EU for a plethora of reasons. But one thing that is clear is that people voted Leave as a means to an end - the means being the UK exiting the European Union, the ends being the wish to make our country a better place to live, giving people a fairer chance in our society and open to the world. David Davis, Boris Johnson and Liam Fox, on the other hand, want power for themselves - Keir Starmer was absolutely right to say the Bill formerly known as Great Repeal should be renamed the Great Power Grab.  ‘Take back control’ was never sold as giving a dangerous level of control to a minority government. 

As every day passes, it becomes clearer and clearer that leaving the European Union will not make our country fairer, a better place to live or open to the world.  What is becoming even more clear is that the Government has neither the capacity or competence to deliver Brexit, with Cabinet ministers fighting one another and an interim Prime Minister without a mandate. They want to limit debate on the Withdrawal Bill to just eight days and are grubbily attempting to take an unearned majority on the committees deciding legislation despite the British public denying them a majority just three months ago. 

Speaking in the House of Commons, the Secretary of State confidently claimed that no one had ever said Brexit would be “simply or easy”.  

Nobody, of course, except for Boris Johnson:

"There are plenty of people who now think the cost of getting out would be virtually nil and the cost of staying in would be very high" 

John Redwood: 

"Getting out of the EU can be quick and easy"

Liam Fox:

"The free trade agreement that we will have to do with the European Union should be one of the easiest in human history."

And the illustrious Secretary of State for Exiting the EU himself, David Davis:

"So within two years, before the negotiation with the EU is likely to be complete, and therefore before anything material has changed, we can negotiate a free trade area massively larger than the EU."

So now, when you hear David Davis assuring the country that we will be exponentially better off after we leave the EU you can judge him against the worrying reality that is unfolding.  

By raising questions I am not denying the will of the people. The will of the people was not to have 30 mile long queues at borders. It wasn’t to see our farmers lose their subsidies or the vital research and innovation done in our world-class universities grind to a halt. It certainly wasn’t to have every problem in our country that needs dealing with - housing, the NHS, skills, productivity - put on hold so that we can put ourselves through this damaging exercise. I can’t see anybody, apart from lobbyists or lawyers, who will benefit from the Brexit being set by the Prime Minister and David Davis; especially one that sees us crash out of the Customs Union and the Single Market.

Now is the time to have an honest conversation about what was promised, by whom and what they are actually going to deliver.  The ‘all things to all men’ promises that current ministers made last year can now be measured against what they are actually failing to achieve.  The election result and the track record of current ministers mean this government should be given less, not more, power in this process.  

This article first appeared on LabourList on 12th September 2017.

The will of the people was not a vote for border queues, subsidy cuts, or neglect of our public services

Imagine you’re going to buy a new TV. You want it to be able to record programmes, connect to the internet, have Netflix and surround sound. The salesman confidently tells you...

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Yesterday, the Government published their long awaited paper on the future for science, research and innovation after we have left the European Union.

Responding shortly after its publication, Clare said:

“This paper will have the EU negotiators with their heads in their hands because they have no idea what the UK wants when it comes to research and innovation. 

"The government is displaying a dereliction of their duty to protect our hard won reputation in this area - the paper is simply descriptive and provides no solutions. It does not say how we will repair the damage done by Brexit to our scientific community and our relationships across Europe.

"The paper recognises the value of the ability for researchers to travel freely but is completely undermined by the details leaked yesterday and previous government statements on immigration.  The Government is putting a ‘Keep Out’ sign on our borders, making the country look as if it wants to shut itself off from the world.”

Clare slams Government Science paper

Yesterday, the Government published their long awaited paper on the future for science, research and innovation after we have left the European Union.


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