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

Stephen McPartland MP was asked to speak at the launch of the YuriGagarin50 launch event in Westminster on behalf of the Parliamentary Space Committee, after which he was interviewed by Russian TV. Below is text on which his speech was based:

“It is my pleasure to be asked to speak, and to represent Stevenage, which can reasonably claim the title of being the home of Britain’s space industry.  I’m delighted to learn that the sector aims to create a further 100,000 new jobs in the UK over the next twenty years, many of which will be in my constituency. This is a sunrise sector that is set to keep growing; it already supports 70,000 jobs across the UK, adding over £6 billion to the UK economy each year, and growth in the UK’s space economy has consistently outstripped the rest of the economy for a decade.

Space is a vital part of the economy in the constituency I represent.  We are very proud to be home to Astrium, Britain’s largest space technology company.  Astrium alone employs more than 1,500 people in my constituency, and these are quality jobs, too.  Space employs the most highly skilled workforce in UK manufacturing – in Stevenage more than two thirds of Astrium’s workforce have at least one degree, many two – this is twice the national average.  Space is big business here in Britain, and it is driven by innovation.  Today’s satellites can broadcast 500 digital channels, 200 HD channels or 4000 radio stations.  Ten years ago a satellite could broadcast 30 channels.

As part of my most recent visit to Astrium, I toured the main offices to talk to my constituents about what working in the space sector is like. I was impressed by their enthusiasm and by the sheer variety of their work.  Engineers in Stevenage are designing Britain’s Mars Rover, they are designing a new satellite, Aeolus, that could transform weather forecasting by measuring wind speed and direction at 25 different altitudes using high-powered laser; I spoke to young engineers working on a science mission called LISA Pathfinder that will test Einstein’s Theory of Relativity by trying to measure the gravity waves emanating from the Big Bang.

When I first visited Astrium, I asked the question, how can you help raise aspiration amongst young people locally?  It is through events such as this and around the UK, and building the vital relationship between business and education space in Stevenage. Astrium currently relies heavily on a team of about 50 STEM Ambassadors, as they are now known, in Stevenage. They work closely with the local Setpoint or Stemnet organisations and visit two or three schools or colleges each week during term time and run many visits on site.  They also help out with UK Space School visits, Science and Careers fairs and supervise Engineering Education Scheme teams and Nuffield students. In all it is estimated that they 'see' more than 5,000 students a year.

The STEM Ambassadors work with many local schools in Stevenage and the surrounding area.  John Henry Newman, Heathcote, Marriott and Barnwell participate in the RAEng's Engineering Education Scheme with Astrium Engineers setting teams of 4 or 5 students the task of designing and building a specialist piece of hardware for a new space mission while many other schools, visit the site to learn about the UK's leading role in the International Space Industry and speak to the young engineers and scientists who are designing our satellite systems for TV broadcast satellites or missions to Mercury and beyond!

Students see many of the spacecraft being built and also get the chance to touch and feel the lightweight materials used.  They can also join in team working exercises to either build a 'Balloon Rocket' which has to carry 'diamonds' on a cable over a ravine or design and build an 'Eggsat' satellite with an egg as the payload.  In doing this they have to work out the lightest weight structure and lowest cost systems that will complete the mission, but also survive the harsh vibration testing require to launch into space.  Many eggs do not survive!

So it is my pleasure to be here, to thank you all for your vital work in Britain’s schools, including the many in my constituency that have been touched by space, and to congratulate the many young faces here today for choosing a sector that is one of the most exciting in Britain today. I wish you all good luck!”

Stephen McPartland, MP for Stevenage, is backing a new campaign by the National Autistic Society (NAS), You Need to Know, which aims to tackle an unfit mental health system that fails two thirds of children with autism and often makes their mental health worse.

Stephen said; “We all need to know that by giving children with autism the understanding and support they need, we help promote their health and happiness. Too many are currently developing preventable mental health problems and find themselves up against a broken system that doesn’t understand them or their needs. It is a tragic waste of their potential.”

Stephen said: “There are many individuals who are making a tremendous difference to the life of a child with autism, and this is being recognized by the Happiness Hero award. I call on local children and families affected by autism to nominate their Happiness Hero, an individual who has gone the extra mile - it could be a mental health professional, teacher, youth group worker or another individual who has made a positive difference.”

Carers' Week - Stephen with Dr Chris SteeleStephen McPartland MP has teamed up with ITV’s This Morning celebrity GP, Dr Chris Steele MBE, to support this year’s Carers Week (14 - 20 June) and celebrate the contribution made by people in Stevenage and throughout the UK, who provide unpaid care for someone who is ill, frail or disabled.

The theme of Carers Week is ‘A Life of My Own’ with calls for greater understanding and support for the army of carers who provide vital care for their families, friends and communities. In doing so, many sacrifice much in their own lives, unable to do the little things that most of us take for granted. All too often, these unsung heroes also suffer ill health.


Stevenage’s new MP has pledged to support muscle disease patients and help them secure better health services. Conservative MP Stephen McPartland signed up to the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s Manifesto for Muscle in the lead up to the election on 6 May, promising backing for constituents with muscle disease in their fight for better healthcare services if elected.

Stephen McPartland MP said:“I made this commitment to supporting muscle disease patients and their families if I was elected because I believe they need, and deserve, much better healthcare. I’m now keen to take up the challenge of helping local people fight for better care and services, and will help with the campaigning work they do.”

Stephen McPartland MP will be a vital link for local patients and families by raising awareness of muscle-wasting conditions and putting pressure on the NHS to improve health services.

Stephen McPartland, the new Member of Parliament for Stevenage has hit the ground running. He is determined to help local people cut through all the bureaucracy and excuses of why things cannot be done and deliver real change locally. Stephen has already taken a number of cases up on behalf of local people and held his first surgery last Friday to deal with a number of urgent cases.

Stephen said "I am determined to help local people and be a champion for them and Stevenage. I will be holding regular surgeries at Stevenage CVS."

For an appointment or to contact Stephen please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or write to the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Stephen held his first surgery since being elected as Member of Parliament for Stevenage earlier in May.  His surgeries will be held at the CVS in Stevenage town centre.

Stephen's First Surgery

Stephen said, "I am very pleased to have a place on the Science and Technology Select Committee as I believe the topics covered and issues addressed by this committee are of key importance to our economic recovery. The work is highly relevant to my constituency as there are many employers in Stevenage involved in high-technology. I will continue to raise the profile of Stevenage nationally and work to maintain and increase local jobs in these industries."

Nigel Fine, CEO of The IET, which is based in Stevenage, added, "I am delighted that Stephen McPartland MP has joined this important committee at a time when the contribution that science and engineering can make to economic prosperity and quality of life in the UK has never been greater."

The King Pin pub on Archer Road is being threatened with closure by Stevenage Borough Council who bought it in December. Local residents are fighting to keep the pub open and have already collected 418 signatures for a petition.

Stephen visited the King Pin pub and said, “It is an absolute disgrace that Stevenage Borough Council are trying to close this community resource. This local pub clearly has a lot of support and should be allowed to remain open until regeneration work begins. I understand that there is no fixed date for the redevelopment and can only imagine that this will turn into another Council-led regeneration that never happens.”

Stephen added, “I am also supporting the Protection of Local Services (Planning) Bill, as I believe that local communities should have a say in the future of local services that matter to them. I urge the Council to consult the local community and actually listen to their views.”


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