Fairtrade Fortnight campaign in Parliament

Fairtrade Fortnight 2022 is currently underway, running from 21st February – 6th March. During this time, the Fairtrade Foundation is running a campaign to highlight the growing challenges that climate change brings to farmers and agricultural workers overseas, who grow popular products such as tea, coffee, cocoa and bananas.

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, was among 55 MPs that attended a drop-in session in Parliament yesterday (1 March) to learn more about the campaign.

At the event, MPs participated in a photocall, sampled Fairtrade products, were offered Fairtrade facemasks created by sustainable clothing company Neutral and to learn more about the Fairtrade Foundation’s work and campaigns.

Evennett supports Bill to improve access to transport for disabled people

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, has given his support to a Private Members Bill that would improve access to transport for disabled people.

The Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Disabled Persons) Bill was submitted to the House of Commons by Rt Hon Jeremy Wright, MP for Kenilworth and Southam. It would oblige drivers of taxis and private hire vehicles to accept passengers with disabilities, to refrain from charging them extra and to provide them with appropriate assistance, unless there is good reason as to why they should not be subject to these duties.

The Bill went through Committee Stage yesterday (9 February). Sir David served on the Committee and expressed his strong support, and used the opportunity to commend London Black Cab Drivers as well. He commented:

This is a most welcome Bill. Many taxis in London already do the things he highlights—I am a big supporter of London taxis, because they do a fantastic job and offer a good service—but the new duties are needed to ensure that those with disabilities are treated as fairly and equally as everybody else. I welcome the Bill, and I put on the record that London taxis are great.

Sir David Evennett signs Holocaust Educational Trust Book of Commitment 

Today, Rt Hon Sir David Evennett signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment, in doing so pledging his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people today.

This year we are marking 77 years since the liberation of the concentration camps of Europe and the end of the Second World War. On the 27th January, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, people across the globe will remember.

In the lead up to and on Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. The theme for this year’s commemorations is ‘One Day’.

Sir David commented, “Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity for people from Bexleyheath and Crayford to reflect on the darkest times of European history. We must never forget the horrors of the Holocaust and always remember the six million Jewish victims. It is also imperative to pay tribute to the survivors.”

Karen Pollock, CEO of the Holocaust Educational Trust, added “As the Holocaust fades from living memory, it falls on all of us to ensure that their stories and the stories of the 6 Jewish million men, women and children brutally murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators, are never forgotten. We all have a duty to remember the Holocaust and to stand up against antisemitism and hate, now more than ever.”

Evennett backs measures to recognise animals as sentient beings

© Parliamentary Recording Unit

Yesterday (18 January), the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill had its Second Reading in the House of Commons. The Bill will ensure that animals are recognised sentient beings that are capable of feeling pain and joy. It will also see the creation of a new Animal Sentience Committee made up of experts in the animal field appointed by the Secretary of State, who will be tasked with reporting on whether central Government policy decisions have considered the effect on animal welfare.

During the debate, Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, expressed his strong support for the measures contained within the Bill and congratulated the Government on implementing this manifesto commitment from the 2019 General Election. He also commented:

Many of my constituents across Bexleyheath and Crayford are pet owners and are passionate about animals and animal welfare. Pressure from public opinion has resulted in this measure coming forward and being in the 2019 Conservative party manifesto, and I welcome those things. Britain has a proud history of animal welfare, and has always been a global leader, and I very much hope that, being outside the EU, we can go much, much further… I am sure the Government will continue to improve the lives and welfare of animals. They launched the action plan for animal welfare to ensure that we go further, and I welcome that passionately.

I have read the enlightening debates on the Bill in the other place. I have great interest in the Bill’s many issues, and very much hope to participate further in Committee and as the Bill makes its passage through the House. Sir David’s full speech, as well as the entire debate, can be read at: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2022-01-18/debates/33984457-F036-4329-B701-FC4F71A26E62/AnimalWelfare(Sentience)Bill(Lords)

Statement on Labour Mayor of London’s plans to decriminalise drug use in Bexley

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett MP and Cllr Peter Fortune AM

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett MP (Bexleyheath and Crayford), Louie French MP (Old Bexley and Sidcup), Cllr Peter Fortune AM (GLA representative for Bexley and Bromley) and Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE (Leader of Bexley Council) have issued a joint statement following reports that the Labour Mayor of London intends to weaken drugs laws in Bexley:

“We are appalled to learn today through the media that the Labour Mayor of London plans to impose on Bexley a policy of decriminalising drugs, without any discussion with the Council Leader, Assembly Member, Members of Parliament, or indeed any resident.

We strongly opposed the Mayor of London’s decision to axe Bexley’s Borough police force and merge it with Lewisham and Greenwich, which has meant that our residents lose out as valuable resources are concentrated in areas with higher levels of crime, and yet again the Mayor is showing he doesn’t care about our residents or what they want.

We now stand together in saying that we do not support any weakening of drugs laws and we do not want our borough to be a guinea pig for this policy – and nor do Bexley residents.”

Evennett guests at Belvedere Tory Club

Pictured with Chairwoman of the Club, Pat Alliston

Yesterday evening (18 November), Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, was the guest speaker at the Priory Conservative Club in Upper Belvedere. It was not a political event, and was instead a light hearted view of politics and Sir David’s experience as a politician.

Sir David spoke about his life, career before politics and told anecdotes about his time in Parliament. In particular, he reminisced about his time during the Thatcher years and working under David Cameron. Following his speech, Sir David took questions from guests.

The Club will be making a donation to Sir David’s chosen charity, the Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice.

Evennett backs “positive and constructive Budget”

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, warmly welcomed the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s (Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP) Autumn Budget and Spending Review in the House of Commons yesterday.

Mr Sunak outlined the Government’s plans to help working families meet the cost of living, support businesses’ recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, deliver world-class public services, and drive economic growth across the country.

Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, Sir David focused on the commitments on supporting businesses and boosting skills. Businesses will benefit from a range of new measures, including a 50% cut in business rates next year for 90% of retail, hospitality and leisure, which is alongside a freeze of all rates. The Chancellor also announced the creation of new business rates relief to encourage green technologies and improvements to properties and a doubling of creative industries tax reliefs for the UK’s world-leading theatres, orchestras, museums and galleries.

Among other measures to drive economic growth, overall skills spending will increase 42%, equating to £3.8 billion, over the course of the Parliament. This includes more hours learning for 16 to 19-year-olds, including those who are taking T-levels, more traineeships, building institutes of technology to help to close skills gaps in key STEM areas; funding the lifetime skills guarantee; upgrading the further education college estate, quadrupling the number of places in skills bootcamps. Funding for apprenticeships will also increase to a record £2.7 billion by 2024-25.

Sir David concluded his speech by commenting:

“I am pleased to give this Budget my full support. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor has struck the right balance between improving public services, supporting businesses, upskilling individuals and looking at the public finances. He has delivered a positive and constructive Budget that is good for our country. I think I can do no better than quote my right hon. Friend’s concluding sentence, when he said: “This Budget builds a stronger economy for the British people.”

Evennett holds Westminster Hall debate on Public Health Funding for Bexley

© Parliamentary Recording Unit

Earlier today (26 October), Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, Member of Parliament for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, secured a Westminster Hall debate on Public Health funding in Bexley. During the debate, Sir David called for “the unfairness in the public health funding formula to be looked at and addressed”.

Sir David expressed concern that Bexley receives the lowest Public Health Grant of the 32 London Boroughs and his view “that Bexley’s public health funding does not reflect its current population, public health needs or its ambitions to reduce health inequality”. He praised the “excellent leadership on Bexley Council”, particularly the political leadership under Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE, and highlighted how he and Cllr O’Neill “are working very hard to persuade the Government that they need to look at the formula for public health funding for outer London boroughs such as Bexley”.

Sir David and Bexley Council both acknowledge and welcome the real-terms increase in the Public Health grant allocations nationally for 2021-22; however, he commented that “the main hindrance to Bexley is that the allocations granted remain largely dependent on historical patterns of spend before local authorities took over responsibility for public health”. He concluded by commenting that “this historic funding issue needs to be addressed so that we can be a lead on the challenges we have today, and those we face ahead. Bexley Council is innovative, takes the initiative and leads in many fields”.

The debate was answered by the Minister for Vaccines and Public Health, Maggie Throup MP, who agreed to having a meeting with Sir David and Cllr O’Neill to discuss the issues further.

Sir David with the Minister, Maggie Throup MP, following the debate

David pays tribute to James in the House of Commons

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In the House of Commons yesterday (20 October), Members of Parliament held a minutes silence and then paid tribute to Rt Hon James Brokenshire, who tragically passed away on 7 October with lung cancer. Among the tributes, Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, said:

I would like to pay my tribute to my friend and parliamentary neighbour, James Brokenshire. He was a hard-working, efficient and effective Minister, and a strong champion for his constituents in Old Bexley and Sidcup.

During the past decade, I have been privileged to really get to know James and to work closely with him on so many issues and campaigns on behalf of our borough of Bexley. He was serious in his work, but he had a great sense of humour, which we experienced at many Bexley social occasions. We will miss him at all such future occasions.

James was a devoted husband and father. I pay special tribute to his wife Cathy, who gave such great support to James in so many ways over so many years. We are grateful to you, Cathy, and the family, for all that you have done in Bexley while James was a Member of Parliament.

James was a devout Christian and a man of honour and integrity who will be sorely missed locally and in Parliament. Our country has lost a great public servant, and in Bexley we have lost a real friend and an excellent Member of Parliament. We thank you, James, for all that you have done. We will always remember you with pride, love and affection, aware of all your commitments to causes that we must continue to support and develop in memory of a great man.