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Yesterday (Tuesday 18th July 2017), I and other parliamentary colleagues, met with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on HIV & AIDS and organisations from across the HIV sector to learn more about their work supporting some 37 million people estimated to be living with HIV across the globe.

Each year, a further 1 million people acquire the virus and those groups that are disproportionately affected continue to be subject to stigma, discrimination or criminalisation in many of the highest prevalence countries.

The APPG on HIV & AIDS is one of the oldest all-party groups in Parliament having been formed in the mid-1980s in response to the emergence of HIV and AIDS in the UK. MPs and peers who have joined the Group have done so because they are concerned about both the devastation that HIV and AIDS are causing in developing countries and about their impact here in the UK including in our constituencies. This year, the Group has focused on the impact of HIV internationally, having received reports from a number of organisations on the negative impact that changing aid priorities has had on key populations and women and girls in middle-income countries.

HIV continues to affect over 100,000 people in the UK. While advances in treatment mean that someone diagnosed early with HIV can expect to live as long as someone who has not acquired the virus, it is estimated that 13% of people living with HIV are undiagnosed in the UK, which means they are unable to take steps to prevent damage to their immune system or prevent onward transmission to others. Members of the APPG are determined to ensure that no one affected by HIV is left behind as part of the UNAIDS commitment to end AIDS by 2030.

Mike Gapes MP meets the All-Party Parliamentary Group on HIV & AIDS

Yesterday (Tuesday 18th July 2017), I and other parliamentary colleagues, met with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on HIV & AIDS and organisations from across the HIV sector to learn more about their...

Ilford South MP Mike Gapes has given his support to a new ivory surrender launched by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to help protect elephants from further slaughter for the illegal ivory trade.

Members of the public are being invited to surrender their own ivory which will be destroyed as part of a campaign to close the UK’s ivory market and save this iconic species from the threat of extinction.

IFAW, which has run previous successful public ivory surrenders in the UK, believes it is vital now more than ever before that the British public stand up for elephants by helping to end consumer demand for ivory products and keep up the pressure for a domestic ban on the ivory trade.

New polling released by IFAW reveals that the vast majority of the UK public want to protect elephants with a UK trade ban and do not wish to purchase ivory themselves. An overwhelming 95% of respondents polled by YouGov stated that they would not be interested in purchasing antique ivory*.

Mike Gapes, MP for Ilford South, said: “With elephant populations at an all-time low and the species facing extinction due to the ivory poaching crisis which is killing at least 20,000 elephants each year, I am very pleased to support this important IFAW initiative which enables members of the public to make a real difference for elephants and their future survival. I would encourage any of my constituents who have unwanted ivory to support IFAW’s ivory surrender which will help ensure that ivory is only valued on a live, wild elephant, where it belongs.”

Anyone wishing to donate ivory items is asked to post them to: Campaigns Department, International Fund for Animal Welfare, 87-90 Albert Embankment, London, SE1 7UD. For queries or large items, email info-uk@ifaw.org or call 020 7587 6700.

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Mike Gapes MP backs UK ivory surrender to protect elephants

Ilford South MP Mike Gapes has given his support to a new ivory surrender launched by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to help protect elephants from further slaughter...

Earlier today (Tuesday 18th July 2017) raised a point of order in the House of Commons calling for the Government's response to two Foreign Affairs Select Committee reports on Russia and Turkey.

Mike Gapes MP (Ilford South): On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I seek your guidance and advice. As you are aware, it is regular and customary for the Government to give a written response to Select Committee reports within two months of publication. The Foreign Affairs Committee published reports in March, in the previous Parliament, on Russia and Turkey. Given the topicality of the anniversary of the attempted coup in Turkey, I was hoping to read a Government response to the report on Turkey. I know we have had a general election and that the period of two months was not continuous, but the period between March and Parliament resuming is more than two months. I would therefore be grateful if you advised me on what I can do to ensure that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides the long-overdue responses to those Select Committee reports.

John Bercow (Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority): I am very sorry to disappoint the hon. Gentleman, whose interest in and knowledge of such matters are well known and respected throughout the House, but the short answer is that the best way to guarantee a timely—or at least less untimely—response to the Select Committee reports will be to reconstitute the Foreign Affairs Committee as soon as possible. He is absolutely right that there has been a long delay. Ministers can take the view that they are responding to a report from a Committee and that the Foreign Affairs Committee currently does not exist and needs to be reconstituted.

I think the hon. Gentleman might have been present when I volunteered some thoughts with some asperity on the merit of getting on with the reconstitution of Select Committees. Although the Chairs have been elected, I am saddened that members have not been elected across the House—it is a pity if some have not got round to doing that. Frankly, however, there is not much that I can do other than say that I am always looking out for the hon. Gentleman. If he bobs up and down with a view to raising the matter, I will try to accommodate him. [Interruption.] It is always a delight to hear the views of John Mann, to which I have been accustomed for the past 30 years. It is always better when they are offered from him on his feet, rather than from his seat, but I heard him chuntering from a sedentary position.

Mike Gapes calls for Government response to Select Committee reports on Russia and Turkey

Earlier today (Tuesday 18th July 2017) raised a point of order in the House of Commons calling for the Government's response to two Foreign Affairs Select Committee reports on Russia...


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