Layla Moran tables parliamentary motion in campaign to save easitNETWORK rail discount scheme

Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has tabled a motion in Parliament calling on the Government “to do all it can to encourage Great Western Railway to continue to participate” in the easitNETWORK rail discount scheme.

Layla expressed her “deep concern” that GWR’s decision to end its support will lead to commuters switching back to using cars rather than rail.

The MP previously wrote to the Managing Director of the rail firm, calling for “a compromise” and offering to host a meeting between GWR, representatives of easitNETWORK and other MPs whose constituents are affected.

Tabling the motion, published yesterday evening, Layla said “I hope all MPs who can support this motion do, to send a strong message to GWR that their decision is concerning when we are in the midst of a climate emergency.”

The motion also raises concerns that the loss of the scheme will lead to “increased congestion, poorer air quality and higher carbon emissions”.

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Moran: “dark day for local democracy” as Conservatives and Labour vote to strip local council of say over local plan

Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has said it is a “dark day for local democracy” as Oxfordshire County Council voted in favour of taking over the local plan of South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC), if they are invited to do so by Whitehall.

 

Moran was offered a meeting with Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State responsible, and council leaders, although a date has not yet been offered. The MP said “getting everyone round the table is now urgent.”

 

Layla said that it “would be a great shame” if democratically-elected local councillors had the power to decide local housing policy taken away from them by another political party.

 

In May 2019, Liberal Democrat and Green councillors on SODC were elected on a clear mandate to challenge the housing figures in the local plan and revise them.

 

At the vote during a meeting of the county council today, all Liberal Democrats and Greens voted against the motion.

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Moran welcomes Cotswold line investment plan, but calls for wider strategic rail network for Oxfordshire

Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has welcomed news that the North Cotswold Line Task Force have submitted proposals to improve the line to the Government, calling for a “wider strategic rail network for our county, including the Cowley Branch Line and new stations at Grove and Begbroke.”

Moran met on Tuesday with officials from the Department for Transport to make the case for a strategic network across Oxfordshire.

Whilst Layla has said she fully supports the plans for the Cotswold line, she has made it clear that “we need to be joined-up, and pool our efforts to deliver the best rail network possible for the communities we represent.”

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Moran: “heartless” that one in three EU children refused permanent residency in UK, with only half of all Oxon applicants granted full settled status

Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has said it is “heartless” that one in three under-18s from the EU living in the UK have been refused permanent residency, according to figures published today by the Home Office, leaving over 100,000 children living in uncertainty.

The figures also reveal that almost half of the EU nationals who applied for permanent residency in Oxfordshire were only granted the weaker pre-settled status.

Of the 316,960 under-18s who have applied so far for the Conservative government's settlement scheme nationwide, only 199,260 have been offered settled status, which gives the right to stay permanently in the UK. 116,620, or more than one in three, were offered the weaker pre-settled status which only gives a temporary right to remain. Another 1,080 applications from under-18s were withdrawn or deemed invalid or void.

In total 32,830 EU citizens have now applied to stay in the UK under the settlement scheme in Oxfordshire. Of these, over 14,000 have only been offered the more precarious pre-settled status. This means they will have to reapply for the full, permanent settled status once they can prove they've been in the UK for over five years.

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Layla Moran presses Government for rail investment in Oxfordshire

Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has today met with officials from the Department for Transport to make the case for the reopening of rail lines in Oxfordshire, including the Cowley Branch Line and Grove Station in Wantage, saying “if the Conservatives are serious about reviewing the Expressway, they’ll invest in our rail.”

Moran was invited to attend a drop-in session organised by the Department, and spoke to civil servants and ministers about the “urgent and important” need to “invest in connectivity across the county, not just in and into Oxford.”

The MP laid out the importance of building a new station at Grove in particular, on land already safeguarded under the Vale of White Horse’s local plan, which would help bring people into an area that houses a growing number of enterprises such as the Williams Formula 1 team.

Although the Oxfordshire Growth Board’s recent study into developing rail infrastructure said the station would become viable in 2028 with future housing growth, Moran said that “we need this station sooner, as we need to take current congestion and a lack of public transport capacity into account.”

Layla also spoke about restoring the Witney to Oxford line and building a station at Begbroke, actions that would help ease congestion in west Oxford including along the Botley Road.

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Layla Moran: “let’s make 2020 the year that we finally scrap the Vagrancy Act”

Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, is to call for the Dickensian Vagrancy Act to be scrapped in a debate on homelessness in the House of Commons tomorrow, highlighting new stats that show a majority of people think rough sleeping should not be criminalised.


The MP will say that “Even one person sleeping rough in this country in 2020 is a disgrace”, bringing the campaign to scrap the Vagrancy Act back to Parliament following the General Election.


Moran introduced a Bill to repeal the law from 1824, which makes rough sleeping a criminal offence, in the last parliament, and will say tomorrow that her draft legislation “can be brought back in a heartbeat with this Government’s support.”


She will also highlight the “‘out of sight, out of mind mentality’” shown in the installation of a new gate close to MPs’ and peers’ private entrance to Westminster tube station, which “pushed the homeless people out of MPs’ and peers’ way”.

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Layla Moran calls for compromise over at-risk rail discount scheme for commuters

Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has today written to Great Western Railways calling for “a compromise” over the easitNETWORK travel scheme, which offers discounted travel schemes for commuters across the South East.

Writing to Mark Hopwood, the operating company’s managing director, Moran made it clear that “sustainable travel has never been more important”, expressing her concern that “without the easitNETWORK in place, many commuters will instead move back to using their cars”. The MP has offered to host a meeting between GWR, easitNETWORK and MPs whose constituents are affected.

The scheme offers discounted travel for commuters going in to towns and cities across the South East region, using up capacity on trains leaving London that would otherwise be empty.

In later 2019, GWR indicated that it was going to stop offering the easitNETWORK discounts, indicating that Transport for London’s takeover of some routes ahead of the delivery of Crossrail influenced the decision. However, TfL have reassured easitNETWORK that they will continue to offer the discounts if GWR do.

Layla has questioned whether GWR has assessed the impact on its revenues that stopping support for this scheme would have, with fewer commuters likely to travel by rail going forward.

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Moran builds cross-party support for campaign to save Erasmus access

Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has tabled a motion with cross-party support calling on the Government “to seek full association to the 2021-27 Erasmus programme”.

Continuing her campaign to protect Erasmus, which saw her push an amendment to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill two weeks ago, Layla has reached out to colleagues in the Lib Dems as well as the SNP, DUP and Greens to co-sponsor her motion.

In the motion, Moran notes that the EU is expanding the Erasmus programme from 2021, tripling its budget and placing greater emphasis on widening access to the scheme for pupils from lower income backgrounds.

Layla also highlighted the House of Lords European Union Committee’s 28th Report of Session 2017-19 that concluded that a replacement UK-led student mobility scheme, something the Government is considering, would find it impossible to replicate aspects of Erasmus which are key to facilitating international exchanges.

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Moran expresses “disappointment” at failure of Government to meet with Expressway campaign group

Writing to Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport, Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has expressed her “disappointment” at the Government’s decision to not meet with the No Expressway Group (NEG).

During the General Election, Grant Shapps visited Cumnor to announce that a Conservative majority government would ‘review’ the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway.

Following the news that the Secretary of State did not find time to meet with the NEG when the group wrote to request a meeting, Layla has written to Mr Shapps saying “I firmly believe that any such review must include representations from campaign groups including the NEG, to make sure their voice, and those of many of my constituents, are heard.”

In the letter, Moran reiterated her call for the Expressway to “be scrapped and replaced with a fully electrified East-West Rail”.

The MP asked for Shapps to “reconsider [his] decision to not meet with NEG”, making it clear that it was important to engage with a wide range of stakeholders, including the campaign group, in any forthcoming review.

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Layla Moran questions Government over inclusion of Extinction Rebellion on list of extremist organisations, defends schoolchildren’s free speech

Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has written to the Education Secretary to express her “concerns about the implications” of the inclusion of Extinction Rebellion on a list of terrorist and extremist organisations “for our schools and children.”


The MP, who is addressing the student climate strike in central Oxford today, took the Government to task for the document, first uncovered by The Guardian, which has since been recalled.

Despite this, Moran in her letter wrote that the “episode also carries significant implications for free speech, inside and outside of the classroom: can a student truly voice their opinion if they are worried that their teacher might report them?” She continued: “It is frankly worrying that this is a question that even needs to be asked.”


The document that included Extinction Rebellion, circulated by Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE) in November to their statutory partners including teachers, put the non-violent campaign group alongside proscribed organisations such as the neo-Nazi National Action as a group to watch out for.


This meant that teachers would have been mandated to report activities matching those listed in the document under Extinction Rebellion, such as using ‘emotive’ language to talk about climate change, to the Prevent programme.

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