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Mike Gapes MP has called upon the UK government to become a world leader in protecting the oceans by signing the Blue Belt Charter.

Through advancements in satellite technology and developments in international law, it is now possible to monitor and protect vast areas of ocean with ever greater effectiveness and lower cost. 

The UK Government is already leading the world in this work, having stated its intention to create a “Blue Belt” of marine protection around a number of the UK Overseas Territories.

The UK has already protected a massive 830,000 sq km site in the Pacific, around the Pitcairn Islands. This is one of the largest marine reserves in the world, more than three times the size of the UK.

Mike Gapes is supporting a campaign, called #BackTheBlueBelt, calling on the Government to create more protected areas in a number of our Overseas Territories.

Mike hopes that this will include the announcement this month of the largest marine reserve in the Atlantic, around the incredible South Sandwich Islands near the Antarctic, home to a huge array of whales, fish, birds, seals and over 10% of the world’s penguins.

Mike said:

“No one could have watched Blue Planet II and not be struck by the amazing beauty and fragility of the life in our oceans. We are incredibly lucky in the UK to be the stewards of some of the most pristine places left in the global ocean, thanks to our Overseas Territories. I am delighted to support this campaign to protect these special places, and call on the Government to designate the South Sandwich Islands as a marine reserve as soon as possible.”

Mike Gapes MP supports the Blue Belt Charter to protect our Oceans

Mike Gapes MP has called upon the UK government to become a world leader in protecting the oceans by signing the Blue Belt Charter. Through advancements in satellite technology and...

On 21st March Mike Gapes MP, in his capacity as a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, posed a number of questions to Foreign Secretary The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP. The full committee hearing can be viewed here. 

 

Mike Gapes MP Questions Boris Johnson on Foreign Affairs

On 21st March Mike Gapes MP, in his capacity as a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, posed a number of questions to Foreign Secretary The Rt Hon Boris Johnson... Read more

Although the events in Salisbury must remain our immediate focus it is necessary to take a wider perspective, writes Mike Gapes 

 

Vladimir Putin has responded not just by expelling 23 British diplomats but also by closing down the British Council in Russia – something which will be very damaging to the many young Russians who benefit from its excellent English language programmes. Putin has done it because he wishes to reduce British influence on the new generation of Russians and to send us a gesture of defiance. It is a sign of his weakness, not of strength.

Although it has a vast land area Russia has a relatively small economy. It is a mafia state kleptocracy presided over by a personality based clique of ex-KGB/FSB officers. Despite vast natural resources it has failed to diversify its economy, making it vulnerable to volatile gas and oil prices and sanctions.

Russia has never been a pluralistic democracy. Vladimir Putin was installed into office as prime minister in a deal to protect the family of the ailing alcoholic president Boris Yeltsin twenty years ago. He ruthlessly concentrated power by using the war in Chechnya, responding to terrorist attacks with brutal force and by intimidating (and even removing) journalists and political opponents. Putin now has another six-year term as president, having engineered the barring of his main opponent, Alexei Navalny, from standing.

'How Do We Deal With Russia' - Mike Gapes MP writes for Progress

Although the events in Salisbury must remain our immediate focus it is necessary to take a wider perspective, writes Mike Gapes    Vladimir Putin has responded not just by expelling... Read more

Mike Gapes MP has signed EDM 1071, which accepts the Russian state's culpability for the poisonings in Salisbury and supports the UK government's sanctions against Russia thus far.

Mike Gapes MP signs EDM 1071 accepting the Russian state's culpability for the Salisbury poisonings

Mike Gapes MP has signed EDM 1071, which accepts the Russian state's culpability for the poisonings in Salisbury and supports the UK government's sanctions against Russia thus far. Read more

On Monday 13th March, Mike Gapes posed the following question to Minister of State at the FCO and DFID, The Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP:

 

Mike Gapes: The Foreign Affairs Committee went to Turkey in January 2017 and had meetings with President Erdoğan and his senior Ministers. It was made very clear to us that Turkey intended at some point to relocate hundreds of thousands of the 3 million Syrian Arab refugees who were in Turkey, into the areas on its border in the north and to prevent the Kurds from having a contiguous area under their control. Why did the international community not do more to stop that, and is the Minister really serious when he thinks that there will be a political solution and that Daesh will be defeated when Turkey sees its priority as stopping the Kurds rather than getting a political solution?

Mike Poses Question to Alistair Burt on Civilians in Afrin

On Monday 13th March, Mike Gapes posed the following question to Minister of State at the FCO and DFID, The Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP:   Mike Gapes: The Foreign... Read more

On Monday evening (12th March), Mike Gapes MP raised a Point of Order in the House of Commons regarding the lack of response from the Government to Foreign Affairs Committee Reports dating back to March 2017. The full text of the Point of Order, along with the response from the Deputy Speaker, Dame Rosie Winterton, can be viewed here: 

 

Mike Gapes MP: On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I seek your advice. One year ago today exactly, on 12 March 2017, the Foreign Affairs Select Committee published its ninth report, “Article 50 negotiations: Implications of ‘no deal’”. We also published several other reports last March, on Turkey and Russia, and our second report on political Islam, responses to which were received from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 20 July and published as soon as the Committee was re-established in September. We have received no response to the report on the implications of no deal.

 

I raised the matter with the Foreign Secretary when he came before our Committee on 1 November and reminded him that the Committee had not yet received the customary response within two months. He said:

 

“I think you are asking the wrong Department. I think it is DExEU that is drafting the response to your excellent report.”

 

I asked whether he had seen any draft, and he said:

 

“Not that I am aware of.”

 

Then he promised:

 

“I will make sure we take it up with DExEU”,

 

and I said: “It is eight months.” He said:

 

“Thank you, I will make sure that we take it up.”

 

To date, despite expecting a response, the Committee has not received one from the Department for Exiting the European Union or the Foreign and Commonwealth Office—one year after the report’s publication. Madam Deputy Speaker, can you suggest any course of action that can be taken? I am speaking on behalf of the Committee at the request of our Chair. What can we do to get the basic courtesy of a response from the Government on a matter of topical and vital interest to our country and our Parliament? How can we get the Government to respond, as they are supposed to do, to a Select Committee report?

Mike Gapes MP Raises a Point of Order on Lack of Response from Government to March 2017 FAC Report

On Monday evening (12th March), Mike Gapes MP raised a Point of Order in the House of Commons regarding the lack of response from the Government to Foreign Affairs Committee... Read more

Mike Gapes MP put the following question to the Prime Minister, Theresa May, following her statement on the recent incident in Salisbury:

 

Mike Gapes MP: Can I also commend the Prime Minister for her remarks? The last time we had a clear, defined, state-sponsored act of terrorism was in 2006, and she has referred to that. Can she have conversations with her predecessor, Tony Blair, who was Prime Minister at that time, about some of the issues that arose subsequent to the actions we took because it is clear that the Russians will retaliate and we will then be in a tit-for-tat process? They think we will back down. We have to say, resolutely and strongly, that we are not backing down. This is an act of terrorism and all Members of Parliament should stand together.

Prime Minister: The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. When we take action, we must ensure that it is action that we will continue to follow through. As I said in my statement, many of the actions taken in response to the Litvinenko murder are actually still in place in relation to our relations with the Russian state. Nobody should be in any doubt, however, of the likelihood of an impact from the Russian state in attempting to suggest, as it did in that case, that the information we put out is incorrect. The inquiry, which followed significantly later, very firmly put the responsibility for Litvinenko’s murder at the door of the Russian state and, indeed, of President Putin.

Mike Gapes MP Questions the Prime Minister on Salisbury Incident

Mike Gapes MP put the following question to the Prime Minister, Theresa May, following her statement on the recent incident in Salisbury:   Mike Gapes MP: Can I also commend... Read more

On Monday evening (5th March) Mike Gapes MP (Ilford South) hosted a well-attended public meeting in Ilford Town Hall to discuss the recent rise in burglaries in Ilford and across Redbridge.

 

Mike_Gapes_Mp_Burglary_Meeting_1.jpg

Speaking to the residents in attendance were Detective Superintendent Neil Matthews (Operation Mexico Lead), Cllr Jas Athwal (Leader of Redbridge Council), Mark Benbow (Community Safety Lead for Redbridge Council) and Mike Gapes MP (Ilford South) in the chair.

 

Mike Gapes MP Holds Public Burglary Meeting

On Monday evening (5th March) Mike Gapes MP (Ilford South) hosted a well-attended public meeting in Ilford Town Hall to discuss the recent rise in burglaries in Ilford and across... Read more

Mike Gapes MP has contributed to a report written by the Foreign Affairs Committee Report on the 2017 Elections to the International Court of Justice. The report, which Mike as a member of the FAC helped contribute to, can be viewed, in full, here.

Mike also contributed the following to the debate on the report:

Mike Gapes MP Contributes to Report on 2017 Elections to the International Court of Justice

Mike Gapes MP has contributed to a report written by the Foreign Affairs Committee Report on the 2017 Elections to the International Court of Justice. The report, which Mike as a member... Read more

The new ‘Vision Express at Tesco’ store in Goodmayes has officially opened its doors, with a celebration led by local MP Mike Gapes who joined the team’s optical experts to encourage the community to get regular eye tests.

Mike_vision_express_ribbon.jpg

Mike Gapes, MP for Ilford South, was on hand to help cut the ribbon on the premises. It is home to sophisticated sight screening equipment that will deliver a thorough eye health service to local residents, as figures indicate a worrying outlook for vision in the region:

  • Almost 1,800 people are suffering from age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is 2.5% of the local population. Research also shows almost 8,000 people (11.2%) have a heightened risk of developing AMD, due to drusen – yellow deposits under the retina.
  • There are a further 8,000 residents (5.6%) living with suspected glaucoma, the silent thief of sight.

Mike Gapes MP Officially Opens New Vision Express store in Tesco

The new ‘Vision Express at Tesco’ store in Goodmayes has officially opened its doors, with a celebration led by local MP Mike Gapes who joined the team’s optical experts to... Read more

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