Today at PMQs, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Sir Vince Cable MP asked the Prime Minister what she was going to do about the burning injustices in education, given that her own alma mater, Wheatley Park School in Oxfordshire, has warned it needs to go part time due to budget pressures.
Sir Vince said: “References are already being made to the Prime Minister’s moving speech on ‘burning injustices’ in education. On the day when her own former school, I understand Wheatley Park Comprehensive School near Oxford, is planning to move to part time education because of what the headteacher calls ‘enormous financial pressures’. Does she not agree that she must secure, before she leaves office, additional funding outside the spending review?”
In her own constituency of Oxford West and Abingdon, Lib Dem Education Spokesperson Layla Moran has spoken to staff whose schools can no longer afford to employ teachers five days a week. According to the House of Commons Library, 89% of schools in the constituency are facing a funding shortfall, with its cumulative size since 2015/16 totalling £5 million.
Yesterday, Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon Layla Moran led the Estimates Day debate for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government's spending on behalf of the Public Accounts Committee.
Layla highlighted the Conservatives’ legacy in the Vale of White Horse, speaking about the council’s lack of funding for basic services, and financial woes, at a time of rising social care demand. The lack of central government grants “isn’t enough to fund basic services”, she said, “they are having to eat into their reserves.”
She also spoke about the Tories’ mismanagement of the Vale’s finances locally, saying: “An outsourcing agreement that was meant to save the councils involved £50million has in fact saved none and is projected to cost the taxpayer money. We are in a dire situation in the Vale.”
Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, today said she was “delighted” that two local services she nominated for the NHS Parliamentary Awards have been shortlisted.
Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership, together with Carol Gee and the Vaughan Thomas Ward at Warneford hospital have been shortlisted for the South East region. They will go up against those shortlisted from the other regions to compete for the final awards at a special ceremony in Parliament on 10 July.
Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership was shortlisted for the Excellence in Mental Health Care Award, whilst Carol Gee and the Vaughan Thomas Ward have been shortlisted for the Future NHS Award.
Commenting, Layla said:
“I’m absolutely delighted. The innovative and excellent work that both OMHP and the Vaughan Thomas Ward are doing is so inspiring.
“I look forward to meeting them on 10 July in Parliament, and to finding out if they’ve won the national awards!”
Layla Moran, the Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has today visited Richard Ratcliffe outside the Iranian embassy in central London. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been on hunger strike under imprisonment in Iran for ten days, and her husband Richard is joining her from the UK to raise awareness of her ongoing plight.
Layla spoke to Richard about his strike, and asked what she could do to help. Moran previously called on the Prime Minister to do everything possible to free Nazanin. Richard’s aunt Rosemary Gay, and her husband Colin, from north Oxford, have also supported him.
Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, yesterday pressed on the Government the need to consult local NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) as a matter of course during procurement processes.
Her question to the Minister, Seema Kennedy MP, comes after it came to light that the Oxfordshire CCG was not consulted at all on the controversial decision to award the PET-CT scanning contract in the Thames Valley to private firm InHealth. As part of a nationwide procurement process, the PET-CT decision bypassed the need for accountability to local bodies.
In yesterday’s oral questions, where Anneliese Dodds and Ed Vaizey also raised the issue, Layla said: “Surely the reason we have got to this point is that the clinical commissioning group was never actually consulted on what was right for the local population. How can the Minister ensure that, in future, centralised procurement services and local CCGs are always consulted as a matter of course?”
Moran, together with other Oxfordshire MPs, met with Kennedy yesterday afternoon to discuss why the Department for Health and Social Care refused to accept Oxfordshire Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s (HOSC) statutory referral over the procurement decision. This would have given the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care the final decision on whether to award InHealth the contract.
Speaking ahead of the launch tomorrow of Crisis’ report into the case for repealing the Vagrancy Act of 1824, which criminalises rough sleeping in England and Wales, leading campaigner Layla Moran MP has said that “now is the time to act”.
The MP for Oxford West and Abingdon held a debate in the House of Commons in January on her campaign to repeal the Vagrancy Act, and also introduced a Bill to repeal it in February 2018.
The report says that the Act “does not tackle the problems people have, and there is evidence that it can also push people further from the help they need.”
At the launch of the report tomorrow afternoon, Layla will urge the Government to repeal the law, saying that “you can’t ignore the evidence”.
To mark Cervical Screening Awareness Week (10-16th June), Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon Layla Moran has teamed up with charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, to encourage people to attend their smear test in order to prevent cervical cancer.
Around 220,000 women are diagnosed with cell changes (abnormalities) every year in the UK following a smear test. Treatment for cell changes, given to prevent development of cervical cancer, is highly successful and 80% treated will not experience a recurrence.
However, new research by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has found that some women having treatment for cervical cell changes are not being informed about potential side effects. Many are unprepared for impacts such as pelvic pain, bleeding, anxiety and even loss of sex life, with the severity of some far greater than the current literature suggests. High numbers remain fearful of their cancer risk many years after treatment.
The new report ‘Not so simple. The impact of cervical cell changes and treatment’ highlights one in five (20%) of the 1,622 women surveyed said possible impacts of treatment were not explained to them. There was variation in the number aware of specific side effects. While 86% experienced bleeding or spotting for up to 6 weeks, one in seven (15%) were unaware of this common side effect. The charity wants to see standardised information about potential side effects.
Commenting, Layla said:
“I am pleased to be supporting Cervical Screening Awareness Week to highlight the importance of cervical screening – just a 5 minute test that can prevent cervical cancer. I know that many women are nervous about going for the test, and I hope that we can encourage more people to attend.
“220,000 women in the UK are diagnosed with cell changes from their smear test every year, which can be a confusing and distressing diagnosis.
“Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust have published a really welcome ‘jargon buster’ to explain what all the terms mean. We are calling for more support for those affected.”
Layla Moran used an Oral Question to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) yesterday to press for cross-departmental working to ensure that primary school children learn about climate change as part of the national curriculum.
Moran highlighted a letter sent by a nine-year old at West Oxford Community Primary School to make her point. The child write to Layla saying: “Words are not enough – urgent action is needed within the next decade if the world is going to survive as we know it.”
She pressed for the Government to work across Departments to ensure that the importance of tackling climate change was taught to students in Key Stages 1 and 2, something many schools already do.
Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has said that “the Conservatives are making a big mistake in their strategy for Brexit”, following polling analysis by campaign groups Best for Britain and HOPE not hate that shows they would lose the constituencies of Wantage and Witney if an election was held today.
The report shows that the Conservative Party would lose a shocking 34 seats in the South East overall. 7 of those seats, including two in Oxfordshire, would go to the Liberal Democrats. Anne Milton, Ed Vaizey and Steve Brine stand to lose to the pro-Remain party.
Nationally, the analysis also shows the Conservative Party would experience its largest ever parliamentary collapse, with prominent Tory MPs such as Amber Rudd, Gavin Williamson, Penny Mordaunt and James Brokenshire all set to lose their seats if a general election were held today. Boris Johnson would see his seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip become very marginal.
Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon Layla Moran has secured the backing of 68 MPs from 6 political parties today, as they call for an immediate inquiry into the turning away of EU citizens from polling stations in last month’s European Election, as well as the many issues faced by UK voters living abroad.
The MPs have said “we find it deeply concerning that the Government appears to have taken no action to stop such serious disenfranchisement from occurring”, given that the Electoral Commission recommended reform following similar issues in 2014.
The letter is addressed to the Chair of the Electoral Commission and the Cabinet Secretary.
They have called for “a comprehensive and immediate inquiry to look into these issues and make recommendations to the Electoral Commission and to the Government.” The letter sets out recommended lines of enquiry, and says that “[h]ad the Government confirmed that we would be taking part in these elections sooner, rather than on the same day as the deadline for the return of the UC1 form, we could have largely avoided this situation.”