Sir Greg Knight, MP for East Yorkshire, has welcomed comments from farming Minster George Eustace MP indicating that Britain could see a shake-up of food labelling rules after we leave the EU.
Currently food labelling regulations disadvantage British farmers, confuse consumers and do not promote animal welfare and currently, ministers are powerless to act because these rules are set by the EU.
Sir Greg, who has been a long-term campaigner on this issue, said: “Food labelling should be simple, clear and truthful but at the moment it is lacking all of these”.
In just this past year we have seen New Zealand lamb slipped into a major supermarket chain’s ‘Lancashire’ Hot-Pot, bacon from foreign reared pigs regularly passed off as ‘British’ because it was processed in the UK and, despite many concerned consumers asking for the information, people still have no idea if the meat that they buy has been pre-stunned before slaughter”.
“More and clearer information is desperately required. When these rules are updated it will not only be good for consumers but it will also give a boost to East Yorkshire farmers who pursue some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world but currently cannot differentiate their superior product on the supermarket shelves”.
Speaking about the method of slaughter used, farming Minister George Eustace recently made clear that he believes the public should be told how their meat is slaughtered. He said: “The Government believes that consumers should have the necessary information available to them to make an informed choice”, he added, “This is something we can consider in the context of leaving the EU.”
East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight has joined other MPs and music industry figures outside the Houses of Parliament to give his backing to the introduction of the Planning (Agent of Change) Bill.
The MPs, from across all political parties, were backed by Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, singers Feargal Sharkey and Sandie Shaw and UK Music Chief Executive Michael Douger.
The Bill, presented to the Commons by John Spellar MP and sponsored by Sir Greg aims to incorporate the ‘agent of change’ principle within planning law.
Presently when buildings near a much-loved local music venue are converted to residential use or a new development is erected, the onus is on the music venue to ensure the new dwellings are protected from noise. This situation is having a crippling effect on some of them.
This Bill would flip this responsibility and means that residential developers would be obliged to deal with the impact of sound from pre-existing businesses like music venues before going ahead with their plans.
Sir Greg said, “I welcome the introduction of the agent of change Bill as a vital means of protecting the future of our local music venues. All too often planning laws have placed unreasonable demands on small venues, threatening the development of our music industry.
I am pleased that this Bill recognises the challenges that music venues face. I hope the Government will take action to secure the changes needed.”
See the campaign launch
Sir Greg Knight, MP for East Yorkshire, welcomed Charlie Procter from Allerthorpe, near Pocklington, for work experience in the Palace of Westminster. The 17-year old A-level student who studies at York College helped out with Sir Greg’s day-to-day work. This involved updating records and seeing behind the scenes of the Palace and discussing with Sir Greg the issues that first-time voters are most passionate about.
During his time in Westminster, Charlie was able to sit in the gallery of the House of Commons during Prime Ministers Questions. Charlie also watched a Select Committee examining the Brexit negotiations and saw a debate in Westminster Hall discussing Legal Aid.
Charlie, who studies Modern History, Geography and Government and Politics, said, “I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Westminster and the interesting contributions I was able to make to the running of an MP’s office. I was able to see in the flesh some leading figures in today’s politics and hear some important questions being asked of the Government.”
“My time in Westminster has allowed me to experience the ‘mother of all parliaments’ in its daily running, and also to gauge what a career in politics would consist of. It has been an engaging and useful experience”.
East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight is ‘very concerned’ that some unelected health officials seem ‘hellbent on stripping services from smaller local hospitals’.
Greg says: “These changes cannot be driven by a lack of money as the NHS is receiving a record £124bn this year with a further £8bn planned in the next 5 years. Further, health managers themselves admit that the changes at Driffield Hospital have nothing to do with saving cash. It is a pity then that they did not listen to members of the public who made it quite clear that they did not support their proposed changes.
So far as Bridlington Hospital is concerned, it is a grossly underused NHS resource and I find it incredible that a ward closure is now proposed whilst over at Scarborough Hospital people are working out of porta-cabins.
I am therefore meeting the Chief Executive of the Trust responsible early in the New Year to discuss this worrying situation in further detail.
And that is why I have also raised my concerns in the House of Commons with the Health Secretary.
House of Commons Official Record 19th December 2018
Sir Greg Knight MP
Does my right hon. Friend not think it is unfortunate that, at a time when GP services are being sustained, local hospital services in some areas are being reduced? Does he share my concern that some NHS trust managers and clinical commissioning groups seem hellbent on removing valued local services from our smaller hospitals, such as at Driffield and at Bridlington in my constituency?
Jeremy Hunt MP
My right hon. Friend has talked to me extensively about this in private, and I fully understand his concerns. The Government are increasing funding to the NHS, which involves extra money going both to out-of-hospital services, such as general practice, and to hospital services. We expect all areas of the country to find sensible ways for those two sectors to work together.
East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight joined more than 60 MPs at the Parliamentary Cats Protection Annual Christmas reception to celebrate the charity’s work speaking up for cats, held at the House of Commons recently.
The event was hosted to thank Parliamentarians for their continued support of Cats Protection’s work throughout the UK.
Apart from Sir Greg, amongst those attending were Lord Gardiner, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity, and George Eustice, Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Cats Protection is the UK’s leading cat charity, helping around 190,000 cats every year through a network of over 250 voluntary-run branches and 34 centres.
The charity’s Head of Advocacy & Government Relations Jacqui Cuff said: “Cats are one of the nation’s favourite pets so it was wonderful to welcome so many politicians to our Christmas Reception.
“This reception is our way of saying thank you to our elected representatives and to the many other animal welfare charities and professional organisations we work with.
“We are delighted the Government has announced it will be reviewing air gun licensing. Sadly, air guns are frequently used to deliberately inflict harm and suffering on cats.
“All this shows that there are a lot of people who want to see real change to improve how cats are treated in the UK. It’s heartening that so many politicians came along to our reception to support Cats Protection.”
Two Yorkshire politicians are calling on the public to support small local businesses this Saturday (2nd December). East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight and Lord Kirkhope of Harrogate are backing Small Business Saturday to celebrate the UK’s small businesses and to encourage communities to support them at a key time in the shopping calendar.
Experience has shown that on Small Business Saturday, now in its fifth year, spending in small businesses has risen across the UK.
Sir Greg says: “Small Business Saturday is particularly relevant to East Yorkshire given the area’s market towns with high proportions of small and independent traders”.
“Shopping locally not only supports local jobs it also boosts local economic growth by putting more money in the pockets of local people. This weekend we encourage everyone in East Yorkshire to get out and see what our local traders have to offer”.
Lord Kirkhope adds: “Across Yorkshire trade at small independent businesses on the high street is much more sensitive to parking charges and the weather which can drive people to out of town retail parks, where the shops are all giant multi-nationals”.
East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight has welcomed the news that 6 British former soldiers, including Paul Towers from East Yorkshire, who have been imprisoned on weapons charges in India since 2013, are to be released.
The so-called ‘Chennai 6’ always denied the charges, which were initially quashed but later reinstated. The former soldiers appealed, and a judge has just ruled that they be acquitted.
It is not yet known when Mr Towers and the other British nationals will be able to return home, as the authorities might appeal against the decision.
Sir Greg said: “I am delighted at this court decision and pleased that it is a full acquittal. The court also ordered that the men’s passports be released which is a good sign that an end could be near for this whole sorry saga”.
Before the men leave India they need to obtain exit visas which are being urgently sought by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Sir Greg added: “The proceedings before the Indian courts have taken far too long. Even if all the men get home for Christmas, which now looks likely, there is an injustice here.”
East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight and Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart have expressed ‘concern and dismay’ at the decision by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel to rubber stamp East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (ERYCCG) plans to close the Minor Injuries Units at the Alfred Bean Hospital in Driffield and Hornsea Cottage Hospital and service cutbacks s at Withernsea Hospital.
Sir Greg and Graham paid tribute to local residents who had campaigned tirelessly against the closures. Thousands of people signed petitions, hundreds of people attended public rallies, local GPs expressed opposition as did East Riding of Yorkshire Council and town and parish councils.
Graham and Sir Greg have had an urgent meeting with Jane Hawkard, Chief Officer of the CCG. They urged, on behalf of their constituents, that the CCG reflects again on the public consultation it carried out and reminded her it is not too late to reverse these ill-founded plans. Ms Hawkard said that the CCG would ‘reflect on the position’ before confirming any changes.
East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight has welcomed Charlie Whitington from Pocklington, for a week of work experience in his Westminster office.
Charlie, a 19-year-old politics student, took a week out of his university studies to draft parliamentary questions, help with constituency work, and undertake research for Sir Greg.
Whilst at Westminster, Charlie was given a tour of the Palace of Westminster, had the opportunity to observe a House of Commons debate and sit in on some parliamentary committees. This all took place during UK Parliament Week, an annual event that seeks to engage people from across the UK with Parliament.
Charlie, who studies at the University of Sheffield, said “This week has been a fantastic opportunity, not only to allow me to learn about the inner workings of British politics, but also to be given the opportunity to perform tasks that are both interesting and have real importance.”
“Most of my time at University is spent studying theory, so it was exciting to get into real-life practice and experience the day to day workings of an MP’s office. It’s helped me develop skills and knowledge that I will be able to use in the future, as well as being a very enjoyable week.”
Sir Greg said: “I have been very happy to welcome Charlie to Westminster this week. It is important that MPs create opportunities for young people considering a career in politics to experience Parliament first-hand”.
East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight is sponsoring a House of Commons Motion calling for an end to exorbitant airport parking charges for those waiting to pick up and drop off passengers.
The move follows a new trend among airports across the UK to charge at drop off and pick up points close to the terminal for very short times. Some airports still allow free initial parking whist others now charge motorists as much as £7 for a brief stay.
Sir Greg said: “The fact that many airports offer free parking for picking up and dropping off passengers demonstrates that fleecing passengers at every stage of their journey is simply not necessary.
Charging motorists relatively small sums slows down the drop off and pick up process as motorists are forced to go through ritual of feeding coins into a payment machine or fumbling in their pockets for a payment card whilst the queue of cars behind them grows”.
He added: “This trend is especially concerning in the case of airports without rail links where many people have no choice but to use a car.”
The motion calls for an urgent review of the present situation.