Stephen McPartland
Working hard for you
in Stevenage, Knebworth, Codicote, Datchworth and Aston

Earlier this term Stephen McPartland MP was pleased to welcome a visiting teacher from India who works at St Mary's Singla in Darleeling, a school which Aston St Mary's School has had a friendship link with for a number of years.

Stephen McPartland MP said, "It is very good to see how the friendship between the schools has developed over the years, with exchange of letters and pictures between the pupils, as well as one of the teachers from Aston St Mary's visiting India. I was very pleased to meet Miss Sudhina and that she hopes to establish a School council when she is returns to her school."

Aston St Mary's School has raised funds for their friendship school in India including to help purchase computer equipment. During her visit Miss Sudhina has spent time joining in with the school activities and has been able to pick up new ideas around teaching and pupil interaction to take back and introduce to her school in India.

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Stephen McPartland, Member of Parliament for Stevenage, visited St Nicholas Primary School, Six Hills Way, for a question and answer session with the pupils. The visit was part of their work learning about democracy and he also met up with the School Councillors.

Stephen McPartland MP said, “Visiting schools such as St Nicholas is an integral and rewarding part of my job. It is encouraging to see how interested they are – and who knows - some of the children may end up in politics or as an MP themselves one day!”

Deputy headteacher at St Nicholas School Mrs Lisa King commented, “We were delighted to show Stephen McPartland around our school and the children were fascinated to hear about his job. Even the younger pupils were asking thought-provoking questions.”

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I believe in democracy and whether I win or lose by 1 vote in an election, never mind 1.3 million, then I have to respect that decision. My constituency voted Leave, as did I, and the margin locally was just under 20 percent.

The ballot paper presented voters with an unambiguous choice to remain in the EU or to leave. The consequences of either decision were communicated by campaign groups through a variety of print, audio-visual and digital media. The Government also sent a document to every household in the UK on the benefits of staying in the EU.

In every election it is up to the electorate to judge the merits of the different arguments and over 17.4 million voters decided to leave the EU. Both main political parties also pledged in their manifestos at the General Election 2017 to respect the EU referendum result and these parties received over 80 per cent of the vote.

I warned back in February 2016 that "Britain can stand alone outside of Europe, but we will not have the chance. Project Fear will be launched this weekend and if we dare to vote to leave, then we will be told we face mass unemployment, surging interest rates, increasing prices, rapid inflation and increased risk of terrorist attacks."

In June 2016, I stated that “I am saddened I was right, but I am shocked at how Project Fear manages to keep reaching new lows, frightening pensioners, patients, public sector workers, home owners, students and anyone who dares to think that we are a great country and as the fifth largest economy can stand on our own two feet in the world. Quite simply, whichever way you vote in the referendum is your choice and neither side can tell you what is really going to happen, but the companies in Stevenage will still be here, employing local people, who will buy from the shops and pay taxes to keep the economy going and fund our public services. Neither side has the answers, as no one ever knows what the future will hold – this is your choice and you must decide, but I promise you and your family, that whatever the result is - I will stand up and fight for the best deal for Stevenage.”

We are now two and a half years on since the referendum was held and the divisions in our country have not been healed. The atmosphere remains toxic. The shouting from both sides has overshadowed our progress with record investments in our NHS, Schools, Housing, Transport and a million more people in work. The UK is the fifth largest economy in the world and last year saw the highest level of foreign direct investment projects into the country in our history. The future of the UK is bright. Forbes has ranked the UK as the best country for business in 2018 and PwC predicts that the country could become the fastest-growing economy in the G7 between now and 2050. Manufacturing orders are also at their strongest since 1988 and unemployment is at its lowest since records began. We live in a stable and liberal democracy, we have a significant role in maintaining international peace and security and we are open to the world for business.

I want a free trade deal with Europe, our largest trading partner, but I also want trade deals around the world. The scaremongering about “No Deal” and “crashing out” is irresponsible and damaging consumer confidence at a critical time, when we should be supporting manufacturers and retailers during the vital Christmas trading period. Millions of jobs depend on our High Streets and we cannot have first class public services without a strong economy to pay for them.

I cannot support the Withdrawal Agreement in its current form. There is much to dislike, but I accept the need for compromise in any negotiation. However, I cannot compromise on an “indefinite backstop” that prevents us from ever leaving the European Union and delivering on the result of the referendum.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen McPartland
Member of Parliament for Stevenage

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Stephen McPartland, Member of Parliament for Stevenage, had a further meeting with Highways England about the upgrade of the A1(M) at Stevenage to a Smart Motorway.

Stephen McPartland MP, said, "I have had a series of meetings with Highways England, about the widening of the A1(M) between Junctions 6 and 8 at Stevenage, since I secured the funds in the first Road Investment Strategy in autumn 2014.

"The scheme includes widening of the two lane section between Junctions 6 and 8, Welwyn to Stevenage, to three lanes with the hard shoulder converted to a permanent running lane. The upgrade will be for both north-and southbound, with a developing estimated cost of up to £170m, but it is important the scheme remains value for money.

"A huge amount of work has already been undertaken by Highways England, as they will be responsible for the full design and delivery of the scheme, and expect the preliminary design work to be completed in Spring 2019. I was delighted they confirmed the scheme is still on track to start construction work in March 2020, for completion before Spring 2022.

"Comprehensive planning at this stage is important to help reduce both construction time and any delays once construction is underway.

"I am grateful to Highways England for the work they have done to take into consideration a number of points I have raised on behalf of local people. The latest meeting was an exciting discussion and shows that by working closely together we can make excellent progress towards a highly beneficial upgrade that will release a chokehold on Hertfordshire's economy."

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Stevenage Arts Society is celebrating 50 years with its members' Art and Pottery Exhibition currently on at Springfield House in Stevenage. The Chairman of the society, Mary Green, and other members welcomed local MP Stephen McPartland, and showed him around.

Stephen said, "I was impressed with the high standard of the works and the range of artistic styles displayed. The pottery pieces were varied and the potters clearly had great fun making them, as I did when I had made my bowl with Vivienne. I am very proud of the artistic talents we have here in Stevenage."

The exhibition runs until Saturday 8th December, and is open on Saturdays from 10am to 5pm, and on weekdays from noon to 4pm, upstairs at Springfield House, in Stevenage old town.

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Member of Parliament for Stevenage, Stephen McPartland, gained a deeper insight into the challenges of delivering mail to every house and business, six days a week, when he joined a local postman on his delivery round.

Stephen McPartland MP said, “Postmen and postwomen play a really valuable role in our communities and should be able to go about their jobs safely.

“I was delighted to join Andrew on his round in Stevenage and he gave me a real insight into the life of a postman.”

Barry Aldridge, Royal Mail Delivery Manager at Stevenage, said, “We are delighted that Stephen is taking the time to experience the every day challenges faced by our delivery postmen and women.

“The visit gave us the opportunity to show Stephen how we are continuing to modernise and transform our organisation. We have invested in new sorting and delivery equipment as we respond to the changing nature of the modern postbag. We are delivering more parcels and fewer letters than ever before and the tools for the job need to reflect that.”

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Local MP Stephen McPartland visited one of the community pharmacies in Stevenage, Archer Pharmacy, to have his flu vaccination.

Stephen McPartland MP commented, "The NHS flu vaccination service is an excellent service and so accessible, with no appointments required. It only takes a few minutes and many patients are loyal to their pharmacy, so everyone knows each other quite well, making it an easy experience. The vaccination will help protect people through the winter months avoiding an illness that can have serious consequences. I encourage at-risk people in Stevenage to make sure they get their flu jab.

"I would also like to congratulate local employers, such as the NHS, Royal Mail and Stevenage Borough Council which are offering free flu-jabs to their staff."

Mr Mandora, local community pharmacist at Archer Pharmacy, Stevenage, added, “The NHS community pharmacy flu vaccination service, which is now available in Stevenage, is a great opportunity for more at-risk people to have their jab protecting them during the winter.

"Archer Pharmacy has been in heart of the community over the last 30 years providing an essential and important service to its patients.The support we have received from the local community has made it all worthwhile. The new owners Hyderali Datoo and Mohamed Irfan Moledina hope to build upon the great relationship and goodwill with local residents.

"Community pharmacies are the most accessible healthcare locations and this service makes it easier than ever for you to get vaccinated, in the main without the need for an appointment.”

As part of the NHS Flu Vaccination Service, all adults aged 65 years and over, and those aged 18 years or over and in clinical risk groups, can receive a free of charge NHS flu jab at community pharmacies. People in at-risk groups include pregnant women and those with certain medical conditions including asthma and diabetes. Pharmacists will be administering the same flu jab as those offered by GPs, and patients’ GP practices will be notified that they have been vaccinated.

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