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Mike's Ilford Recorder Column (17/09/2015)

During the EU Referendum Bill the Conservative government suffered its first defeat of this Parliament over the "purdah" rules regulating the campaign.

I proposed my own amendments to widen the franchise to all two million British people living in the other 27 EU countries and to all EU citizens living in the UK but these were not accepted. I also supported amendments to allow 16 and 17 year olds the vote but these were defeated. I joined my Labour colleagues to oppose cuts to funding for renewable energy, to vote against the vindictive and damaging anti Trade Union bill, and on cuts to tax credits.

I supported an Opposition motion for greater international and UK action to resolve the refugee crisis. I questioned David Cameron and said: "I welcome the Prime Minister’s statement—however belated and inadequate it is—and the action being taken against Daesh military terrorist planners. However, is not it a fact that the vast majority of Syrians who have had to flee their homes have been driven out by the actions of the Assad regime and that Assad continues to barrel-bomb civilian populations? What is our Government doing, alongside other Governments, to get a no-fly zone over those areas to protect Syrian civilians?"

The Foreign Affairs Select Committee has held several evidence sessions on the appalling civil war in Syria, including a two hour session with Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond where I again pressed for a No-Fly Zone.

I have been appointed to the Speakers Panel to Chair committees and debates. My first one last Thursday was the non controversial and welcome Delegated Legislation Committee to increase the rate of the National Minimum Wage.

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