Clare Moody

MEP for the South West and Gibraltar

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Like nearly everyone else in the world of politics, I was taken by surprise when Theresa May announced the snap General Election from the steps of Downing Street. She and her spokespeople had repeatedly said there would not be an early election and she claims to be a woman who sticks to her promises - something that is now clearly questionable and makes me wonder whether they will stand by anything else she promises, including the forthcoming Tory manifesto.

 

Equally, I found the content of her justification for going back on her word extremely concerning.  Effectively she said she doesn't want any opposition to what she choses to do over Brexit. This goes against democratic values, British values and, indeed, the principles of good decision making.  As Prime Minister she has already shown a worrying tendency to exclude anyone from outside her closest circle from decision making and brooks no opposition, as when she sat in the House of Lords to watch over them like a monarch from centuries ago.  Without scrutiny any government gets distorted and complacent but that is what Theresa May has said she wants to achieve.
 
This is what should be at the forefront of people's minds for the election taking place on 8th June. Labour was right to vote for the election to happen – this is our opportunity to take our arguments to the country and return a Labour Government. It is clear that this is one of the final opportunities afforded to people who want to avoid a hard Brexit – one that will cost jobs and livelihoods.
 
I look forward to campaigning alongside our four fantastic Labour MPs in the South West (Thangam Debbonaire, Karin Smyth, Kerry McCarthy and Ben Bradshaw) as well as the Labour candidates in the other 51 constituencies across the region. 
Last week, I was out and about in the constituency. On Wednesday I travelled down to Cornwall, campaigning alongside our fantastic candidates in Falmouth. Cornish people have been let down by the Government and Leave campaigners who made assurances that Cornwall would receive the same levels of funding post-Brexit that it currently gets from the European Union.

On Thursday, I was in Bath to launch Bath Labour Women’s Forum alongside Lesley Mansell, the party’s candidate for the West of England Metro Mayor. It was so encouraging to see enthusiastic women getting involved in politics, particularly at such a vital time in our country’s history. 

On Friday, I met with key businesses from the South West to discuss their plans as the UK leaves the European Union. It is clear that a hard Brexit, driven by ideology, would be disastrous for our world-leading businesses across the region. I also attended a West Dorset for Europe meeting alongside Oliver Letwin MP in Dorchester. It was fantastic to see a packed hall for this informative and revealing debate. 

Saturday saw the March for Science take place in Bristol. I was delighted to attend and met various key stakeholders from across the region including the RSPB, Bristol Centre for Synthetic Biology and the Bristol Astronomical Society. The EU has enabled vital scientific collaboration and research across the South West and the UK as a whole. I then followed up the science march by doing an update meeting with Thangam Debbonaire MP on leaving the EU. It was great to see another packed-out room and to share a stage with a woman is clearly the progressive and pro-European choice for Bristol West.
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May's General Election U-turn

Like nearly everyone else in the world of politics, I was taken by surprise when Theresa May announced the snap General Election from the steps of Downing Street. She and...

Last Wednesday, Theresa May sent the letter to the European Council invoking Article 50 and formally starting the UK’s process of leaving the EU. It was an emotional afternoon all round in the European Parliament. Last year during the referendum campaign, we had the support of so many of our European neighbours. There is an enormous affection for the British and deep regret both that we lost the referendum and also for the way that the UK Government have chosen to interpret the result.

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I am honoured to represent the South West of England and Gibraltar, but the Government has completely failed to represent the interests of either of these places. The Article 50 letter referred to only one land border with the EU, when with Gibraltar there are two, thereby ignoring the very real concerns of Gibraltar – Gibraltarians voted 96 per cent to remain in the EU. We saw in the Budget how hollow the referendum promises – like guaranteeing places like Cornwall the same funding in the future as they currently get from the EU – really are. 

I feel a deep sadness when I think of our country leaving the European Union. For forty-three years Britain has been at the heart of EU, making decisions, negotiating for Britain’s interests, and sharing the values of our European neighbours. This collaboration has delivered workplace rights, consumer benefits and environmental protections as well as the countless jobs that rely on our membership of the single market. 

There is genuine shock and disbelief from our colleagues at what this Tory government is trying to do to our great country. The idea of our European rights and privileges being stripped away on the whim of the agenda of a privileged few stands in the face of everything we believe in as Europeans.  

The Prime Minister has done nothing to ensure the British government receives a warm response in Brussels. The practical result of triggering Article 50 is that the UK has lost some of its sovereignty over what our future relationship with the EU will look like. I am in no doubt that it will be our economy and society – the small businesses, the universities, the rights so hard fought for – that will suffer if the UK government continues down its current path.

This week, alongside my Labour colleagues, I voted in favour of the European Parliament’s resolution on accepting the negotiating guidelines for the UK leaving the EU. It was my honour to put down an amendment in support of Gibraltar, which received the support of all my Labour colleagues.  

It angers me that people wrap themselves in the British and Gibraltarian flags when they actively have worked against the interests of citizens of both places, both in the referendum campaign last year and since.  The empty nationalistic rhetoric, warmongering and flag waving that UKIP and senior Tories have been indulging in is damaging to Gibraltar’s interests.  The case to support a final deal that includes Gibraltar and Gibraltar’s self-determination is a straightforward and rational one that is most effectively made when the UK is seen to be the responsible party in the negotiation with the EU 27.  

I will certainly continue to stand up for the interests of all my constituents as these crucial negotiations begin. The government – and particularly those Cabinet ministers that supported the Leave campaign – must take responsibility for delivering on the promises they have made.

The Government must start focusing on the reality of the situation – it is in the national interest that it now begins acting in a responsible and honest manner. 

Out and about in the constituency

During the last couple of months, I have been lucky enough to participate in many varied events throughout my constituency.  Highlights included a visit to two schools; one in Cheltenham and the other in Taunton, as well as meeting with EU staff and students at the University of Exeter. I’ve also met with UNITE Aerospace & Shipbuilding delegates in Taunton and attended SW CWU Regional AGM in Bristol.  I visited and spoken with organisations and companies across the South West to discuss the possible consequences of Brexit and what needs to be done to mitigate these. IMG_0374.jpg

I have spoken at a number of Labour party meetings across the region. I also addressed a Cheltenham for Europe meeting where I was delighted to answer questions on everything from Northern Ireland to my role in the next few years as an MEP. I’m very pleased to see so many grassroots cross-party groups springing up across the region, promoting the positives of the European Union and campaigning to mitigate the effects of leaving the EU.

On Friday 21st April I will be speaking at West Dorset for Europe in Dorchester. The event starts at 7pm at Dorchester Town Hall. I’d be very happy to see you there.

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you wish me to either speak at a meeting or arrange a visit. 

FEMM Committee and Women’s EU Rights Campaign 

This month has been an important one for women’s equality work in the European Parliament. With International Women’s Day held on the 8th March, I took part in a number of events to raise awareness of projects promoting gender equality around the world.  

This included the ‘She Decides’ campaign, which aims to plug the gap in funding for family planning and sexual health left by Donald Trump’s ‘Global Gag’ rule. I was fortunate to receive broad backing in Parliament for an amendment I submitted, which called for EU funds to be available to help fill this gap. International Women’s day also saw the gender pay gap highlighted in a debate in the European Parliament. IMG_0342.jpg

This month has also included the approval of my report on EU Funds for Gender Equality, which was adopted by 437 votes in favour. This is a really positive step forward, as gender equality, despite being a fundamental value of the EU, has yet to be achieved in practice and must be translated into policies and spending. The report calls for the application of gender equality practices across the whole of the EU budget, ensuring that the budget focuses on gender implications in all areas, not simply those deemed as ‘women’s issues’. 

Work in the FEMM committee has also been focused on a wide variety of measures to improve gender equality, from women’s economic empowerment to preventing human trafficking; from stopping the exploitation of children to combatting domestic violence; from improving the lives of women in rural areas to ensuring that all men and women have equal access to goods and services across the EU. It has been a busy month, but there is much more still to do. 

One of my key campaigns about the risks of leaving the European Union is about the effect on women. The Women’s EU Rights (WEUR) campaign recognises that we make up 51% of the population, are most effected by the Tory policies of austerity and have most to lose in terms of the rights that we have gained through our EU membership. 

I have run two successful events, one in Bristol and one in Exeter where women from across the region came together to share their experiences and further their understanding about the importance of the EU legislation that underpins maternity and paternity rights, equal pay and equal treatment for part-time workers (the vast majority of whom are women) and how EU funding is targeted at tackling inequalities. I have set up a campaign Facebook page and you can sign up for the WEUR newsletters here: http://www.claremoodymep.com/womenseurightsnewsletter 

Other Parliamentary work 

In the last few weeks among other things I have voted in the European Parliament for:

  • the Parliament’s resolution on Brexit negotiations, as well as my amendment to ensure Gibraltar was mentioned in the resolution;
  • greater consumer rights for car buyers and protections for VW workers in the aftermath of the diesel-gate scandal;
  • the release of £50m of European funding for flood affected areas in the UK;
  • the #EndoftheCageAge, to stop the suffering of 350m caged rabbits across the EU;
  • preventing the minerals trade from funding conflict and human rights violations;
  • the end of oil drilling in the Arctic;
  • a clampdown on the import of unsustainable palm oil and its use in biofuels;
  • the strengthening of requirements for medical devices (such as breasts implants) and requiring high-risk devices to undergo additional, pre-market assessment;
  • ensuring that in vitro diagnostic medical devices (like pregnancy or blood tests) are accurate and reliable.

I hope that the European legislation in these areas, and many more, will still apply to the UK whatever our future relationship with the EU.

Monthly review - Article 50, Gibraltar, Parliament's resolution

Last Wednesday, Theresa May sent the letter to the European Council invoking Article 50 and formally starting the UK’s process of leaving the EU. It was an emotional afternoon all...

“I am and always will be European.” These were the heartfelt words of the Labour leader in the European Parliament, Glenis Willmott, to a meeting of Socialist & Democrat colleagues following Theresa May’s article 50 letter of notification.

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Fellow MEPs from Germany, France, Denmark, Romania and many other countries spoke up to express their friendship, support and solidarity for us at a time when they see many British voices being silenced by a Tory government with a right wing agenda. And Glenis, I and other colleagues confirmed that there is more than one view of Britain’s future from here.

Yesterday was a real testament to the strength of our relationships with our neighbours, as MEPs within the S&D Group demonstrated their respect and support for their Labour colleagues. Glenis received a standing ovation and I was touched by the kindness I received from many of those I have worked with since I was elected.

It was an emotional afternoon all round in the European Parliament. Last year I had offers from colleagues from many of the other countries to help with the campaign to stay in the EU. There is an enormous affection for the British and deep regret both that we lost the referendum and also for the way that the UK government have chosen to interpret the result.

Our hearts are breaking as Theresa May pushes Britain into the unknown with apparently little regard for the incredible risks she is taking with the British people’s future.

I have the good fortune to represent the South West of England and Gibraltar, but the government has completely failed to represent the interests of either of these places. The article 50 letter referred to only one land border with the EU, when with Gibraltar there are two, and talked only about the UK thereby ignoring the very real concerns of Gibraltar – Gibraltarians voted 96 per cent to remain in the EU. We saw in the Budget how hollow the referendum promises – like guaranteeing places like Cornwall the same funding in the future that they currently get from the EU – really are.

I feel a deep sadness when I think of our country leaving the European Union. For forty-three years Britain has been at the heart of EU, making decisions, negotiating for Britain’s interests, and sharing the values of our European neighbours. This collaboration has delivered workplace rights, consumer benefits and environmental protections as well as the countless jobs and taxes that we have had as a result of our membership of the single market.

There is genuine shock and disbelief from our colleagues at what this Tory government is trying to do to our great country. The idea of our European rights and privileges being stripped away on the whim of the agenda of a privileged few stands in the face of everything we believe in as Europeans.

The warmth of yesterday afternoon was very real. However, so too was the fact that my European colleagues now also have to develop their position with regards to the way the rest of the EU will respond to Theresa May’s Brexit agenda. The prime minister has done nothing to ensure the British government receives a warm response. Yesterday we lost our sovereignty over what our future relationship with the EU will look like. I am in no doubt that it will be our economy and society – the small businesses, the universities, the rights so hard fought for – that will suffer if the UK government continues down its current path.

Yesterday was a dark day in Brussels, but there is more than one way forward

“I am and always will be European.” These were the heartfelt words of the Labour leader in the European Parliament, Glenis Willmott, to a meeting of Socialist & Democrat colleagues...

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The awful events in Westminster last week gave us all time to reflect, both to think of those who lost their lives or are still in hospital but also of the freedoms we hold dear and that we must continue to cherish. Our emergency and security services once again showed their bravery, rushing towards a situation that everybody else runs away from. Last Wednesday’s events showed us at our best, demonstrating a calm and determined resolve to carry on whatever the challenge and we should be proud of that.

Last week, LabourList published my article on the Euratom nuclear treaty and Article 50. We now know Theresa May will trigger Article 50 this Wednesday, 29th March, and this formally begins the process of the UK leaving the European Union. However, Wednesday will also mark the start of the UK leaving Euratom, a completely separate Treaty.  As I write in the article, “Leaving the Euratom Treaty without ensuring there is a proper replacement to its provisions is very dangerous – not to put too fine a point on it but there are life and death implications. Life-saving radiotherapy treatments are managed through our membership of Euratom. Our nuclear energy sector provides around a fifth of our electricity and is dependent on our membership of Euratom.”.

I was delighted to speak at the launch of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee’s report on ‘Science Priorities on Brexit’ in Westminster on Tuesday. I was keen to stress that we must demonstrate the UK’s willingness to work with the EU going forward through programmes such as Horizon2020 and Euratom. However, I expressed my concern that the mood in Brussels is turning against the UK following Theresa May’s decision to not guarantee the rights of EU citizens living and working in Britain.   The complexity of the forthcoming negotiations haven’t been discussed widely but there is a huge amount at stake for the science and innovation community and the government must do more to protect their future, for all our sakes. 

It is important to ensure that we address gender inequality in all parts of EU policy, including those aimed at entrepreneurship and innovation. To this end, this week I supported the amendments that my colleague, Sirpa Pietikainen (EPP), suggested for the report on the extension of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). This report presents an excellent opportunity to ensure that future investments are in line with gender mainstreaming values, and I was pleased to co-sign amendments suggesting that the Steering Board should be gender balanced, and that we should actively seek to provide assistance for projects initiated, owned, and led by women.

In Budget Committee last week, I tabled amendments to a report on Horizon 2020, which funds programmes in universities. Horizon 2020 funds, on average, a third of UK universities’ income. In fact, the UK gets back £3 for every £1 we invest into Horizon 2020, including millions for universities in the South West

The report looks at the future of the EU’s science programmes and it is vital that the UK remains part of these programmes.

My amendments focus on maintaining scientific excellence as the core pillar of the Horizon 2020 programme for Research & Innovation. We cannot allow Horizon 2020 to be watered down from this key aim. I have also tabled amendments that affirms the Parliament’s commitment to reduce as much as possible the potential negative impact on Horizon 2020 of the EFSI negotiations.

Reflecting on the Westminster attack, Euratom, and Horizon 2020

The awful events in Westminster last week gave us all time to reflect, both to think of those who lost their lives or are still in hospital but also of...

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Last week, the #SheDecides initiative was launched following the decision which prohibits US government funding for NGOs that provide family-planning services and access to or information on abortions, known as the Global Gag Rule. The initiative aims to compensate for the funding gap. Fortunately, a broad majority was secured for my amendment on the Global Gag Rule, calling on the EC to earmark EU funds to fill this financial gap. I was proud to stand alongside with my Socialist & Democrat colleagues from across Europe to show our support for #SheDecides. 

In Brexit news, last week saw the Government’s Bill that would let them trigger Article 50 become an Act, upon receiving Royal Assent from the Queen. Theresa May has now signalled her intention to trigger Article 50 on 29th March, at which point the formal process of leaving the EU begins. The European institutions will, soon after Article 50 has been invoked, respond accordingly. I remain disappointed that the Government refused to accept the Lords’ amendments on the rights of EU citizens in the UK and on a final meaningful vote in Parliament after the conclusion of the negotiations.

FEMM

This week, we voted on three important resolutions on gender equality, including my report on EU Funds for Gender Equality, which was adopted by 437 votes in favour, 166 against and 80 abstentions. During the debate, I argued that gender equality, despite being a fundamental value of the EU enshrined in the treaties, has yet to be achieved in practice and must be translated into policies and spending. I called for the application of gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting across the EU budget. You can watch my speech by following this link: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/plenary/en/debate-details.html?date=20170313&detailBy=date

I was also interviewed by French and Italian media on my report.

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It was a positive week for members of the FEMM committee but also highlighted the work that we still have left to do.

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PATH

It was a pleasure to meet representatives from PATH, an international non-profit organisation working on innovative technologies in the field of global health. We discussed the role of Horizon 2020, the EU's science funding programme, in supporting innovation for sustainable development, and in particular for global health, climate change and food security. It was very interesting to hear about PATH's experience using technological innovations in developing countries, especially their knowledge of developing health products tackling poverty-related and neglected diseases.

#SheDecides and the Global Gag Rule - last week in Strasbourg

Last week, the #SheDecides initiative was launched following the decision which prohibits US government funding for NGOs that provide family-planning services and access to or information on abortions, known as...

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As I write this, the House of Commons is debating the Lords' eminently sensible amendments to the Brexit Bill, specifically guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens in the UK and ensuring that Parliament has a meaningful vote on the final deal. More importantly, the Lords inserted an amendment that would mean that Parliament would have a vote if the Government comes back with no deal whatsoever. Disappointingly, it appears that the Government will reject these amendments and the Bill will pass in its original, unamended form. Effectively, Theresa May will be able to do what she wants in the forthcoming negotiations, and I am becoming more and more concerned that the prospect of exiting the EU with no deal seems to be increasing by the day. This would be a catastrophic outcome for our country in countless ways - from certifying our aircraft to fly to getting isotopes for life saving radiotherapy treatments. 

In an eventful period in our politics, last week saw the Chancellor present his Spring Budget. Given the dangers that leaving the EU presents to jobs and our tax base it is that it is truly remarkable that he did not mention Brexit once in the hour he was stood at the despatch box. The Chancellor's Budget - as well as penalising the self-employed - is merely tinkering around the edges before we encounter one of the greatest economic challenges of our time in Brexit.  

FEMM Committee and International Women’s Day

The Labour Party believes in empowering women to make their own choices so I was proud to join Labour colleagues this week in support of She Decides, a new global initiative on sexual health and family planning. The initiative was established in response to US President Donald Trump’s decision to reinstate the Mexico City Policy, or the global gag rule as it is often known, which bans financial support to foreign organisations providing abortion counselling and access to safe abortion. It is of upmost importance that this gap in funding is plugged immediately to protect the lives of women and children worldwide. 

On Wednesday, we celebrated International Women’s Day with a host of events in Brussels. International Women’s Day is an important day to focus all minds on what we still have to achieve and help us to move closer to gender parity, including the reduction of the gender pay and pension gap. This week I also made the finishing touches to my report on EU Funds for Gender Equality which will be voted on next week during the plenary session in Strasbourg. image003.jpg

Women’s EU Rights Campaign Workshop 

It was fabulous to spend Saturday in Exeter with so many inspirational women to talk about how precious the rights that we have gained from our membership of the EU are and how we need to campaign to keep them. It is always interesting to hear of others experiences but I was particularly concerned that so many women are still experiencing harassment, discrimination and bullying in the workplace. 

WiFi4EU 

The EU is proposing to fund a new scheme to deliver free, open access WiFi to towns and communities across the UK and Europe. This scheme is called WiFi4EU, and over the next five years it will deliver WiFi hotspots funding to local authorities to install whereever they see fit in towns and communities to provide a free service for citizens. It is a first come first serve bidding process, and South West towns could stand to gain significantly from this scheme in our remaining two years in the EU. I am working closely to ensure the delivery of this legislation, and I am excited to see it enacted in the South West over the coming months.

PATH

It was a pleasure to meet representatives from PATH, an international non-profit organisation working on innovative technologies in the field of global health. We discussed the role of Horizon 2020, the EU's science funding programme, in supporting innovation for sustainable development, and in particular for global health, climate change and food security. It was very interesting to hear about PATH's experience using technological innovations in developing countries, especially their knowledge of developing health products tackling poverty-related and neglected diseases.

Brexit Bill, FEMM, and International Women's Day - last week in the Parliament

As I write this, the House of Commons is debating the Lords' eminently sensible amendments to the Brexit Bill, specifically guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens in the UK and...


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