John Whittingdale MP has shown his support for James Wharton’s European Union (Referendum) Bill. The Bill will set in legislation a requirement that the British public will be given the chance to vote on our membership of the EU in 2017. If the Bill is passed, any future Government will be unable to break the commitment to hold a referendum in 2017 unless they pass legislation to reverse it.

John Whittingdale had the opportunity to speak in the debate which saw James Wharton introduce his Bill to Parliament in July 2013. He said:

“Since joining this House I have voted against the Maastricht Treaty, the Nice Treaty, the Amsterdam Treaty and the Lisbon Treaty, and I have seen successive Prime Ministers from both sides come back to this House and claim triumph either because they made what was on the table slightly less damaging than it would have been or because they had managed to negotiate an opt-out for this country. It is clear that the people in the other countries of the EU have a different vision – or at least their Governments do – as to the direction we should be moving in. It is time the British people are able to express a view on the truth, not as set out in 1975, and about the direction we know the EU wants to go in.

“I hope the Prime Minister is successful in negotiating a new relationship. If he succeeds in doing so, I will be cheering him and I will campaign for a yes vote, but unless we have a different type of relationship, my next campaign in a referendum will be for a no vote.”

John is pictured with James Wharton MP

John Whittingdale today took part in celebrations of the FA's 150th anniversary.

An Early Day Motion was tabled, with John's support which read:

That this House congratulates the Football Association (FA) on the occasion of its 150th anniversary on 26 October 2013; notes that the FA is the oldest governing body in football; commends the FA's not-for-profit commitment to supporting football since 1863; further commends the £100 million invested by the FA annually into football including facilities for grassroots football, coaching programmes for boys and girls, and development programmes for people with disabilities; welcomes the FA's valuable contribution to and support of the national game; and looks forward to hearing the progress of the newly-appointed FA Commission into English Football.

 


Last night John Whittingdale, Member of Parliament for Maldon, presented the Rural Fair Share Petition signed by residents of St Lawrence in Maldon. 25 other Members of Parliament representing rural constituencies presented petitions in similar terms.

The Rural Fair Share campaign is calling on the Government to address the ongoing disparity in funding between rural and urban areas.

The Petition is asking the Government to reduce the Rural Penalty – which sees urban areas receive 50% more support per head than rural areas – by at least 10% by 2020.

John Whittingdale said: “Overall rural residents earn less, on average, than those in cities, pay council tax which is £76 more per person but see urban areas receive Government grants worth 50% more per head than those in the countryside.

“Delivering services in sparsely populated rural areas like the Maldon District also tends to be more expensive, which can add to the burden.

“The Government is proposing to freeze this position until 2020. Freezing the system is indefensible, locking-in past unfairness and stopping changes the Government has itself agreed from actually being implemented.

”It is deeply unfair that, at a time when local authority budgets are under such pressure, that Maldon District Council and other rural authorities are penalised by a system which is so biased towards urban areas. I am very pleased that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, was in the Chamber to hear the presentations of the petitions and we have also written to the Prime Minister to urge the Government to put this right”.

Graham Stuart MP, Co-Founder of the Rural Fair Share campaign said: “The rural voice has been too quiet and too easily ignored for too long. We need a change so that the money councils get from the Government is based on need, not a political fix. We want to see the Rural Penalty reduced so it is no more than 40% by 2020. This will be fair to urban and rural people alike.”

It is with great sadness that I learnt of the death of Margaret Thatcher today. She will be remembered as one of Britain’s greatest prime ministers. Under her leadership, the prospects of this country were transformed and Britain’s reputation in the eyes of the world was restored. However, for those of us who worked closely with her, we will remember her as someone who inspired huge loyalty as a result of her personal kindness and compassion. I will always regard it as the greatest privilege to have worked for her and today mourn the passing of a great prime minister and a great lady.

 

This week John Whittingdale signed a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, in doing so pledging his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who died during the Holocaust.

Sunday January 27th will mark the 68th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi concentration and extermination camp which is the site of the largest mass murder in history. In the weeks running up to the day, the Holocaust Educational Trust placed a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, giving MPs the chance to honour those who were persecuted and killed during the Holocaust and encouraging constituents to work together to combat prejudice and racism today.

In signing the Book of Commitment, John Whittingdale paid tribute to those who perished during the Holocaust and honoured the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people about what they endured, through the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Outreach programme. In the weeks leading up to and after 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. This year, people will also be encouraged to honour those communities that have been destroyed by genocide and reflect on the importance of coming together to oppose prejudice and hatred.

John said: “Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity to remember the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. I encourage all constituents to mark the day and to join members of community in the fight against prejudice and intolerance.” Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “We are proud that John Whittingdale is supporting Holocaust Memorial Day this year. It is vitally important that we both remember and learn from the appalling events of the Holocaust – as well as ensuring that we continue to challenge all forms of hatred and bigotry.”