Clare Moody

MEP for the South West and Gibraltar


Latest news and blogs

Shortage of workers is already affecting every sector in Gloucestershire, from social care to farming and food production, delegates heard at a key event to discuss the impact of Brexit on the county and beyond.

Business representatives, politicians and farmers attended the Gloucestershire Brexit Summit earlier this month at Forest Green Rovers Football Club, hosted by David Drew MP for Stroud and Clare Moody MEP for the South West and Gibraltar.

Delegates spoke of how Brexit is already having an impact and looked at ways to plan for the future.

The lack of labour is already starting to affect businesses and uncertainty is making it harder for them to plan ahead, said the speakers.

The conference on Friday saw presentations from William Fraser, NFU County Adviser, Gloucestershire; Matt Griffith, Director of Policy, Business West; Kelly Andrews, Regional Officer for GMB Trade Union and Adam Starkey, Chair of Green Gourmet Foods.

This event saw around 100 people gather at the New Lawn Stadium for the summit, supported by Business West and the S+D Group in the European Parliament.

William Fraser. National Farmers Union county advisor for Gloucestershire said  farmers were already reporting a deficit in labour which was increasing every quarter.

“Long term confidence of farmers has never been lower. There is huge uncertainty for them. But they can’t afford to take risks when they don’t know what support regime will be around.  The biggest single issue it access to labour force. This is an issue her and now farms are under staffed with not enough people on the ground to allow these businesses to function.”

“Our concern is the lack of detail we’ve seen so far. It’s been 18 months to pull some form of policy together on the future of agriculture and farming. The detail has been lacking and we still have an awful lot of work ahead of us to get operational plans together which will allow businesses to carry on investing with confidence. 

Kelly Andrews of GMB said;  “The UK government should make a commitment that UK legislation on workers’ rights never falls behind EU legislation. Any future trade deals must protect public services.”

Matt Griffiths, director of policy at Business West said a survey of businesses revealed that 77.9% were not taking measures to prepare for Brexit, largely because they don’t know what to prepare for.

“Europe is such an important market particularly for small firms. What we are seeing is a government imposing significant friction for our export market yet hasn’t conveyed what that means and how companies can adapt,” he said.

“Companies are worried and not ready, and are worried about their supply chain, and are unsure what are they supposed to be preparing for.”

Adam Starkey of Green Gourmet Foods said: “Brexit has accelerated the drive towards automation and the robotics industry. There will be winners in this, particularly if we can develop that industry and expertise in Gloucestershire.”

David Drew MP  said; “I was really pleased to welcome such a diverse and knowledgeable panel of speakers to our Gloucestershire Brexit Summit. What was clear from all of them is that it is already having an impact on all sectors. The government desperately needs to provide some clarity on how to address labour shortages. It has focused on reducing migration figures, yet failed to address the very real need for workers in key sectors.”

Clare Moody MEP, said: “This isn’t about remain or leave any more, this is about Gloucestershire being as best prepared as possible for Brexit. Sadly the impact is already here, with all our speakers reporting staffing  shortages  and uncertainty for the future. I was pleased to see so many delegates at FGR and the diversity of views.”

Gloucestershire County Council is facing the same challenges.

Lesley Williams, leader of the Labour group at Gloucestershire County Council said; “We are beginning to notice that it’s difficult to find people to work in the care sector. Here in Gloucestershire the majority of our adult care services are contracted out and we are getting reports that organisations we work with to provide care are finding it difficult to recruit staff.

“Here in Gloucestershire we have a mixture of rural and urban areas, and it’s even harder to recruit in rural areas.”

Gloucestershire Brexit Summit

Shortage of workers is already affecting every sector in Gloucestershire, from social care to farming and food production, delegates heard at a key event to discuss the impact of Brexit...

The World Economic Forum's 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings are stark.

It will take 217 years for disparities in the pay and employment opportunities of men and women to end. 217 years may seem like an impossible gap to reduce but with the recent increase in global activism for women's equality fuelled by movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp - there is a strong global momentum striving for gender parity. In light of this momentum, the campaign theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #PressforProgress.

In 2018, there are more women in the boardroom than ever and greater equality in legislative rights. However women are still not paid equally to their male counterparts, women are still not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women's education and health is poorer than that of men.

2017 was a particularly challenging year, with a shocking number of revelations of sexual harassment and assault from women in numerous sectors as well as the election of a US President who has himself been accused of assault.  Donald Trump quickly reinstated the Mexico City Policy after his election, also known as the “Global Gag Rule, which prohibits allocation of U.S. funding to foreign NGOs that offer abortion services or information about abortion. In just one year, the policy has had disastrous effect; with clinics shutting down, and unsafe abortions predicted to rise sharply. In response to decisions such as this, brave women and men across the world led a movement for change. We witnessed a significant attitudinal shift in the way that society addresses women's equality and emancipation.

However, although there is momentum for change, we cannot be complacent. Now, more than ever, there is a strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity. A call to continue to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.

Together we must be tenacious in accelerating gender parity and call for Press for Progress.

International Women's Day 2018

The World Economic Forum's 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings are stark. It will take 217 years for disparities in the pay and employment opportunities of men and women to...

Brexit and constituency update

A new year often brings a fresh look at life and work. When the result of the referendum was announced, I took it upon myself to go around the South West to see how we can make the best of the outcome that we now face. In the time since, I’ve met with hundreds of people and businesses from all around the region, trying to find ways to make the best of Brexit.  This period of reflection has left me with one conclusion: any Brexit harms our region and our country, and as an elected representative for millions of people, I cannot support something that I know will be detrimental, disadvantageous and downright damaging to the people as a Labour politician I came into politics to represent.

To that end, my team and I have been doing meetings around the region talking about stopping Brexit. We’ve received a great reception from Labour parties who know that the solutions our party offers are the only way of reversing the Government’s damaging policies, particularly for our NHS, housing and schools. They also know that leaving the European Union - particularly with the Tories at the helm - will diminish the ability of any future government of dealing with these crises. Put simply, we need a Labour Government and we need to remain in the EU, for the prosperity of all.

Sadly, it’s not Labour that is running the country at this critical time in our history.  The current Government should be governing in the interest of the country and to that end it should be using an evidence base to make its decisions.  In the last month, I joined forces with Bristol’s Labour MPs, David Drew MP and two of our Prospective Parliamentary candidates to call on the Government to commission and release an assessment on the impact of Brexit on Gloucestershire, Bristol, Wiltshire and North Somerset: recent research by the University of Birmingham revealed that this part of our region is one of the most exposed to Brexit in the whole country. The leaked Government analysis have sadly confirmed this to be true - not one region of the UK will be better off if we leave the European Union, regardless of which path - hard Brexit, soft Brexit, no deal - Theresa May chooses to take. You can read about this here. 

We’ve also seen the Government continue to take credit for work that has been initiated by the EU, whether it is charges for plastic bags or the abolition of credit card charges. It is no surprise that the reputation of the EU is not higher given the Government’s gall in claiming the actions of the EU as their own.

Away from Brexit, I’ve been able to meet with several groups of school and university students over the past month across the region. Our young people’s thirst for knowledge is always so impressive, as well as the questions they have for politicians like me - these are often better-worded and more informed than those we get from journalists or other politicians!

I also attended a very moving and poignant Holocaust Memorial Day event in Salisbury’s parish church. We should never forget the horrors of the Holocaust: the solemn event allowed us to remember the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, and the millions more killed by Nazi persecution. Holocaust Memorial Day is not just about the important act of remembering, it is about making sure we honour the memory by preventing such acts from happening again. An important message at the event is that the Holocaust did not happen overnight, individual citizens have a responsibility to ensure that bigotry and hatred are not allowed to take root in our society.  Events like this honour the survivors of regimes of hatred, and we must challenge ourselves to use the lessons of the the past to inform our lives today.

February marks the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1918. This legislation was the first time women were given the vote, albeit women over the age of 30, and significantly, it paved the way for universal women’s suffrage 10 years later.  The 2018 Act was also the first time there was universal suffrage for men. Throughout the month and into 2018 we will be marking this important milestone and honouring those who fought hard for universal suffrage with numerous events and exhibitions here in Brussels and back in Westminster and the South West.  A century later and we know the work to deliver equality is a long way from finished but the momentum of campaigns that started in 2017 could result in tangible wins for gender equality this year.

Industry, Technology and Research Committee

January was a busy month for the Industry, Technology and Research committee as three significant reports were voted on during the month’s plenary session, leading the way towards a clean and sustainable economic and social model in which energy and, importantly, energy efficiency plays a central role.

I was also delighted to take part in the 10th Annual Space Conference where I was joined by experts from the space and scientific communities and key policy makers. We discussed the expansion of European space policy to ensure the greatest benefits to society and the economy and how Europe can strengthen its position on the global space market. As a British MEP I recognise and cherish our ability to work together and I was joined on a panel by British astronaut Tim Peake whose Principa mission inspired so many and demonstrated how much we can achieve together.

Foreign Affairs + Security and Defence Committee

Over the past few weeks, there have been several committee meetings of both the foreign affairs and security and defence committees. The meetings ranged from voting on completed committee reports to be sent to the Plenary meeting in February through to wider discussions of current foreign affairs challenges such as the EU's response to the escalation of violence in Syria and how the EU can better defend itself in today´s more unpredictable world.

One of the more important reports that the foreign affairs committee voted on was the European Defence Industrial Development Programme, a fund that is expected to improve coordination between Europe's defence industries to help save defence budgets money across the EU.

Looking ahead, the Committees will be discussing the consequences and humanitarian impact of Turkey's incursion into Syria against Kurdish forces. The EU's position has long been to support the Kurds in their fight against Da'aesh and I will be pushing for the EU to make clear it continues to support the Kurds in this most recent escalation in violence.

February 2018 newsletter

Brexit and constituency update A new year often brings a fresh look at life and work. When the result of the referendum was announced, I took it upon myself to...


I’ve spent some time recently reflecting on the proud political traditions of my home city of Plymouth. Plymouth is a city with a proud, diverse and radical political history. It is the city of Michael Foot, of David Owen, and of Lady Nancy Astor, the first female MP to take her seat in 1919.

Recently, I caught up with former MP Linda Gilroy who opened my eyes to an under appreciated figure in Plymouth’s political history. Lucy Middleton MP was MP for Plymouth Sutton from 1945 to 1951.

Born in 1894 to parents with rural working-class origins Lucy trained to be teacher at Bristol University and worked in Westcountry schools for 10 years. In 1936 she became candidate for Plymouth Sutton. At that time, a Labour victory seemed unlikely as Nancy Astor had been the seat’s sitting Conservative MP for 17 years. But there was not to be an election until the 1945 landslide when Plymouth Sutton returned a Labour MP for the first time in its history.

The rebuilding of Plymouth in the post-war period and the provision of housing were Lucy’s main political priorities. For six years running she was elected to chair a parliamentary party committee to work on the concerns of blitzed areas. Lucy was active in international politics, and was a member of the executive committee of the British Section of the Inter-Parliamentary Union representing it at various conferences in Western Europe. She prepared a report assessing international provision of social welfare and legal protection for women and children. She was re-elected at the 1950 General Election but when another was held in October 1951, and John Jacob Astor, Nancy’s son, again stood as Conservative candidate, Lucy was defeated by 710 votes.

In 1952 Plymouth Sutton Labour Party voted unanimously to select her as their prospective parliamentary candidate. In her campaigning she contrasted Jakie Astor’s patrician background with her own humble origins. She said “Those who had rank, wealth and privilege would do right to vote for him, for he came from that class.  But I am far better able to represent those who work by hand and brain, and I make that same claim for my party.”  

But the results of the 1955 election were deeply disappointing for Lucy and the Labour Party locally and nationally. In the 1956 selection process the party short-listed but did not select Lucy thus ending her twenty years of service with Labour in Plymouth.

In a January 1955 speech she made to the Plymouth Sutton Labour Women’s Section she said “We are not yet completely emancipated economically and professionally… When this party (the Labour Party) started women did not have the vote and counted for nothing in the life of the nation… In those days the nation cared nothing for maternal mortality, for unnecessary deaths amongst the infant population… for housewives who were condemned to spend their lives in hovels.”

Lucy remained active in politics as a member of Wimbledon Party and other labour movement organisations. She was a director and foundation chair of War on Want.  She became vice-president of the Trade Union, Labour and Cooperative Democratic History Society and edited the 1977 book ‘Women and the Labour Movement.’ In October 1983, ill-health compelled Lucy to go into hospital and she died on 20th November 1983 aged nearly 90.

In her two decades in Plymouth Lucy made a significant contribution to the Labour Party. At a pivotal point in the city’s history her work as an MP on war damage was important not only to Plymouth but to other heavily bombed British communities. Lucy’s strong practical passion to build peace and stability shone through her international work over a period of six decades. 

Thank you to former Plymouth Sutton and Devonport MP Linda Gilroy for her help and ongoing research into Lucy Middleton and the political history of Plymouth.

Guest post: Charlotte Holloway on Lucy Middleton MP

I’ve spent some time recently reflecting on the proud political traditions of my home city of Plymouth. Plymouth is a city with a proud, diverse and radical political history. It...


This week is the centenary of the first granting of votes to British women. I hope this week everyone finds the time to reflect, even if just for 30 seconds, on 100 years of women’s suffrage. There have been many great articles written and this centenary is an important reminder of our shared history.

As the newly appointed PPC candidate for Labour in Gloucester I feel incredibly privileged to be one of so few women (relative to men) that have the opportunity to run for Parliament in this country. I feel like I stand on the shoulders of some magnificent giants.

It's significant that it's 100 years since partial women's suffrage. but it is important to remember it is only partial. The vote was granted only towomen over 30 who owned property or were married to a man who could vote, which was just 40% of women. Full women’s suffrage was only 90 years ago - so the real anniversary is yet to come. Today, women are just as likely to turn out to vote as men – but crucially women, especially younger women, are now voting Labour in greater numbers than men. At the last election women under 55 were more likely, by some way, to vote for Jeremy Corbyn.

What makes me particularly excited about the next general election is the possibility of a Labour government that is not only socialist but also feminist. We are still riding on the 4th wave of feminism, and that is unearthing a lot of things many people would prefer to keep shut in a box: sexual harassment, rape culture, and the #metoo campaign to name a few. The struggle for equality is hard and difficult, but totally necessary. We still have a long way to go and women’s voices in politics are still not where we need them to be - many women are being left out especially BAME women, trans women, women in prisons and more.

As a 32-year old I feel embedded in a generation (I think I am just about a millennial) that is not going to keep quiet on these issues. We need to stand in solidarity together and be  honest about what is happening, but also about what has happened to women in the past and how the struggles continue.


Guest blog: Fran Boait on women's suffrage

This week is the centenary of the first granting of votes to British women. I hope this week everyone finds the time to reflect, even if just for 30 seconds,...


In the week where we are celebrating the first women winning the right to vote, I've asked some Labour women in the South West to write about women and politics. Sarah Church, Labour's Parliamentary candidate for South Swindon, has written a profile of one of Labour's Parliamentary pioneers:

As one of Labour’s Parliamentary Pioneers, Dorothy Jewson did far more for women than to blaze the trail to the House of Commons. She understood that for women to gain true equality, education about and access to contraception was fundamental to women of any class, but particularly the working class, to take control of their bodies and their futures. Up to this point, a woman in her mid-30s could expect to undergo around 20 pregnancies and a large family of surviving children, a situation that took its toll physically, economically and professionally. Dorothy Jewson was the Labour women’s voice for birth control whose legacy has had an impact that spans generations and to whom I am personally grateful.

Dorothy only served as a Member of Parliament for ten months in total, but her work before, during and after this time as a campaigner marks her out. She had a privileged start in life with an education at Cheltenham Ladies’ College, but her understanding of the social injustices facing women of all classes, but most particularly the working class, led her politics. Dorothy joined with Margaret Bondfield and Mary McArthur as an organiser for the National Federation of Women’s Workers in 1916 before becoming MP for Norwich in the 1923 General Election. She became President of the Workers’ Birth Control Group in 1924.

Guest blog: Sarah Church on Dorothy Jewson

In the week where we are celebrating the first women winning the right to vote, I've asked some Labour women in the South West to write about women and politics....

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