Sheryll Murray MP

5 Dec 2012 11:09:15

70 Tory MPs vote to repeal the Human Rights Act

By Matthew Barrett
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BACON RICHARDYesterday in Parliament, Richard Bacon, a Conservative backbencher, tried to introduce a Bill which would repeal the Human Rights Act 1998. One of Mr Bacon's lines of argument was that the legal requirement for Ministers to amend legislation - without a vote in Parliament - in order to comply with European human rights legislation - is "fundamentally undemocratic":

"Under section 10, a Minister of the Crown may make such amendments to primary legislation as are considered necessary to enable the incompatibility to be removed by the simple expedient of making an order. In effect, because the accepted practice is that the United Kingdom observes its international obligations, a supranational court can impose its will against ours. In my view this is fundamentally undemocratic."

Mr Bacon also compellingly argued that the controversial social issues that judges often like to get involved in should be decided by "elected representatives and not by unelected judges":

"[T]here is no point in belonging to a club if one is not prepared to obey its rules. The solution is therefore not to defy judgments of the Court, but rather to remove the power of the Court over us. ... Judges do not have access to a tablet of stone not available to the rest of us which enables them to discern what our people need better than we can possibly do as their elected, fallible, corrigible representatives. There is no set of values that are so universally agreed that we can appeal to them as a useful final arbiter. In the end they will always be shown up as either uselessly vague or controversially specific. Questions of major social policy, whether on abortion, capital punishment, the right to bear firearms or workers rights, should ultimately be decided by elected representatives and not by unelected judges."

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1 Dec 2012 08:18:01

A productive day in Parliament - with progress on banning illegal scrap metal dealing

By Matthew Barrett
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PARLIAMENTGenerally speaking, Fridays are unproductive days in Parliament. They are used to consider Private Member's Bills, which are often talked out by MPs, some of whom are serious in their opposition, and some of whom have been asked to block a Bill by a party hierarchy (not always their own). With the possibility of a PMB passing through to the next stage of consideration by Parliament often being risky, a day when several PMBs go through is notable.

Such a day happened yesterday. There were PMBs passed through in both Houses. In the Commons, Bills included:

  • Mental Health (Discrimination) (No. 2) Bill - Gavin Barwell
  • Marine Navigation (No. 2) Bill - Sheryll Murray
  • Presumption of Death Bill - John Glen
  • Mobile Homes Bill - Peter Aldous

And in the Lords, two went through:

  • Disabled Persons' Parking Badges Bill - Simon Kirby/Baroness Thomas of Winchester
  • Scrap Metal Dealers Bill - Richard Ottaway/Baroness Browning

The titles might be a little dry, but they dealt with common-sense causes, including stopping non-disabled drivers using disabled car parking spaces, and trying to stop illegal scrap metal dealing - often involving the terrible crime of stealing from churches and graves.

24 Oct 2012 18:40:54

New 1922 Committee and Select Committee members elected

By Matthew Barrett
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After today's 1922 Committee elections, Robert Buckland has been elected Joint-Secretary (replacing Karen Bradley, an Assistant Whip) and Simon Hart and Karl McCartney have also been elected to the Executive, replacing George Hollingbery (now PPS to Theresa May) and Simon Kirby (now PPS to Hugh Robertson).

A few results of the Select Committee elections have trickled through, and this post will be updated with a full list of newly elected committee members in due course.

7pm Update: 

The following MPs have been elected to Select Committee vacancies:

Business, Innovation and Skills Committee

Caroline Dinenage and Robin Walker

Culture, Media and Sport Committee

Continue reading "New 1922 Committee and Select Committee members elected" »

22 Oct 2012 15:31:06

Conservative Select Committee appointments announced

By Matthew Barrett
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SelectCommittesGuido Fawkes has a list of new Conservative members of Select Committees, from Graham Brady's office. Mr Brady explains: "For the following committees I have received the same number of nominations as there are vacancies, the following are therefore elected". The appointments are:

Communities and Local Government

John Stevenson (Carlisle), replacing George Hollingbery (Meon Valley), who became PPS to Theresa May at the reshuffle.


Chris Skidmore (Kingswood), replacing Damian Hinds (East Hampshire), who became PPS to Mark Francois, the Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans.


Andrew Percy (Brigg and Goole), replacing Dr Daniel Poulter (Central Suffolk and North Ipswich), who was made the Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Health Services.

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6 Jul 2012 13:17:19

41 Tory MPs join call by Robert Halfon MP for OFT to investigate high petrol prices

By Matthew Barrett
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C-home Fairness for motorists

Robert Halfon, the Member of Parliament for Harlow, and one of the most successful campaigning MPs in Parliament, has organised a motion, backed by 60 MPs from all parties, and including 41 Tories, calling for the Office of Fair Trading to investigate allegations of price-fixing by British oil companies. The full motion is worded as follows:

"That this House urges the OFT to investigate oil firms active in the UK; calls on the Government to consider the emergency actions being taken in other G20 nations to cut fuel prices, for example President Obama strengthening Federal supervision of the U.S. oil market, and increasing penalties for “market manipulation”, and Germany and Austria setting up a new oil regulator, with orders to help stabilise the price of petrol in the country; finally urges the Office of Fair Trading to note that the Federal Cartel Office in Germany is now investigating oil firms active in the UK, after allegations of price-fixing."

Continue reading "41 Tory MPs join call by Robert Halfon MP for OFT to investigate high petrol prices" »

15 May 2012 15:45:08

Tomorrow's 1922 Committee Elections - nominations in full

By Paul Goodman
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8.45pm Update by Matthew Barrett: I have now learned which candidates are being backed by the traditional organisations on the right of the Conservative Party, such as the No Turning Back group. I have highlighted these in purple.


The following have been returned unopposed:-




Posts for which elections will take place (I have marked those previously identified by Tim as members of the 301 slate in blue):

1) Secretary - the following nominations have been received for TWO posts:


2) Executive members - the following nominations have been received for TWELVE posts.

PRITI PATEL - Priti Patel is being backed by both the 301 group, and the right of the Party.

Finally and separately, the following nominations have been received for Conservative members of the Backbench Business Committee - four posts:


4 May 2012 06:14:38

What is the Cornerstone group? Matthew Barrett profiles the socially conservative Tory backbench group

By Matthew Barrett
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My series profiling the backbench groups of Tory MPs has so far mainly featured groups founded or mostly composed of 2010 intake MPs. Last time, I looked at the Thatcherite No Turning Back group, founded in the 1980s. This week's group is somewhere between the two. The Cornerstone Group is the main group whose defining mission is to represent socially conservative Members of Parliament. The group was formed in 2005, and presented some challenges for David Cameron's leadership. In this profile, I'll see how the group is doing now.

Origins of the group

HayesLeighCornerstone was founded by Edward Leigh and John Hayes, who still chair the group. Leigh has been the MP for Gainsborough since 1983, and is a former Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department of Trade and Industry, who was sacked for his opposition to Maastricht, and John Hayes, who has been the MP for South Holland and the Deepings since 1997, and the Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning since 2010.

Cornerstone admired the work done during Iain Duncan Smith's time as leader to promote a more communitarian, Burkean conservatism, and wanted to ensure IDS' work on this front was carried on.

When the group launched formally in July 2005, it released a pamphlet, which criticised Michael Howard's election campaign for being too quiet about tax cuts, public service reform and family values. Strongly condemning the personality politics and liberalism of New Labour, Leigh wrote:

"We believe that these values must be stressed: tradition, nation, family, religious ethics, free enterprise ... Emulating New Labour both lacks authenticity and is unlikely to make us popular. We must seize the centre ground and pull it kicking and screaming towards us. That is the only way to demolish the foundations of the liberal establishment and demonstrate to the electorate the fundamental flaws on which it is based."

The group first exerted its influence during the 2005 leadership contest. A group of about twenty Cornerstone supporters interviewed David Cameron, David Davis and Liam Fox. Fox apparently put in the best performance, while David Davis was, reportedly, not able to take criticism well. This meeting, combined with David Davis' alienating stint as the Minister for Europe under Major, and Davis' reluctance to support Iain Duncan Smith's compassionate conservatism programme wholeheartedly, is thought to be why many Cornerstone supporters first voted for Fox, and then switched to Cameron.

Continue reading "What is the Cornerstone group? Matthew Barrett profiles the socially conservative Tory backbench group" »

19 Jan 2012 08:02:00

Sheryll Murray MP introduces Bill to ban keeping primates as pets in Britain

By Matthew Barrett
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Murray SheryllYesterday, Sheryll Murray, the Member for South East Cornwall, introduced her Keeping of Primates As Pets (Prohibition) Bill.

The aim of the Bill is to:

"prohibit the keeping of primates as pets in the United Kingdom and the breeding, sale and purchase of primates; to introduce breed-specific codes of practice for the keeping of primates in animal sanctuaries and for species conservation; and for connected purposes."

Mrs Murray introduced her Bill:

"I present this Bill to the House today on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves. I refer to non-human primates, most commonly referred to as monkeys. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Wild Futures estimate that between 2,500 and 7,500 primates are kept as pets in England, Wales and Scotland, but others suggest the number might be as high as 15,000 to 20,000. Owing to the lack of registered breeders and the unregulated nature of selling monkeys to private buyers, it is very difficult to come up with an exact figure."

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18 Jun 2011 10:39:59

Sheryll Murray makes a heartfelt plea for the retention of local marine rescue co-ordination centres

By Jonathan Isaby
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Murray Sheryll Tuesday this week saw a debate in Westminster Hall initiated by a Labour MP on the future of the coastguard service. The first speech from a Conservative MP came from Sheryll Murray, MP for South East Cornwall and her contribution was all the more poignant because her husband, a fisherman, was killed in an accident a sea just three months ago.

She took the opportunity in this week's debate to make a plea to the transport minister, Mike Penning, not to close local marine rescue co-ordination centres (MRCCs):

"I am pleased that we are looking at the co-ordination role of the coastguard co-ordination stations, which has not always been focused on in other debates, and at their role in overseeing incidents at sea. It is the local coastguards who pull together the emergency services during an incident and who, over many years, have built up relationships with those services. We remove that local relationship at our peril.

"I firmly believe, as did my late husband, that there should be modernisation of coastguard equipment to allow, for example, the position of vessels transmitting with the voluntary class B automatic indicator system to be identified easily, but that there should be no cull of marine rescue co-ordination centres. Because of my personal position, I have received representations from concerned sea users all over the country, but it is appropriate for me to concentrate on my own area.

"The marine rescue co-ordination centre in Brixham covers my constituency of South East Cornwall, and has built up unique experience from so many incidents over many years. The search and rescue area covered by Brixham stretches from Dodman Point halfway along the south coast of Cornwall to Exmouth in Devon, and it is essential to emphasise something I am sure the Minister will recognise and agree with— that local knowledge of topography saves lives. The care that I was afforded on 25 March by Looe RNLI crew and Brixham and Looe coastguards was beyond anything I could have expected, and I thank all those involved in the emergency services, and indeed the south-west fishing industry, for their kindness.

"This past Saturday I spent time with my local RNLI personnel and my local volunteer coastguards, who are all concerned about the Minister’s proposals. They feel that he has not had the opportunity to speak to people who operate at the sharp end, and I would like to invite the Minister to visit Looe — if his busy schedule allows it — to hear for himself their concerns."

Continue reading "Sheryll Murray makes a heartfelt plea for the retention of local marine rescue co-ordination centres" »

7 Dec 2010 11:30:01

Damian Green "punctures the myth" that most immigration to the UK comes from within the European Union

By Jonathan Isaby

Damian Green Commons 2 At Home Office questions yesterday, Immigration MInister Damian Green answered a selection of questions on non-EU migration, further to the recent announcement that there will be a reduction in the number of visas issued next year from 28,000 to 21,700.

As a supplementary question, Sheryll Murray, the new MP for South East Cornwall specifically asked how many migrant workers are from within the EU and how many are from elsewhere, to which the minister replied:

"I am grateful to my hon. Friend for asking that question, because it enables me to puncture one of the great urban myths in the immigration debate, which is that most immigration comes from within the European Union. The net migration figures - which we will get down to the tens of thousands by the end of this Parliament - show that the vast bulk of immigrants come from outside the European Union. She asked about the numbers. In 2009, 292,000 non-European economic area migrants entered the UK and only 109,000 left. The House will see that the vast majority of net immigration comes from outside the European Union. Such immigration is precisely what we will take action on."

There were several other supplementaries from Tory MPs on the subject:

Karen Bradley (Staffordshire Moorlands): Will the Minister assure the House that the new proposals to control immigration will protect the interests of legitimate businesses?

Damian Green: I give that assurance to the House and, beyond that, to business. We held something that has been unusual in recent years: a consultation that genuinely consulted. We listened to business and changed the rules on inter-company transfers. That is also why we got rid of most of tier 1 and left a small remainder for the very exceptional. We now have a system that will not only enable us to get immigration to sustainable levels, but protect businesses and educational institutions that are vital to our future prosperity.

Robert Buckland (Swindon South): What evidence has he found of abuse in the points-based immigration system that was introduced by the previous Government?

Damian Green: Regrettably, there is large-scale abuse. For instance, we looked at a sample of the migrants who came here last year in tier 1, which is meant to cover the brightest and the best of highly skilled migrants, and nearly a third of them were doing completely unskilled jobs. We have also found widespread abuse in the student system. That tells us that we must refine and smarten the points-based system that was left to us by the previous Government so that it does the job of ensuring that we get immigration numbers down to sustainable levels.

23 Jun 2010 15:48:20

Penny Mordaunt and Sheryll Murray speak up for the Navy in their maiden speeches

MORDAUNT PENNY Penny Mordaunt won Portsmouth North at the general election and in giving her maiden speech during a debate on defence matters on Monday, she declared that like Sir Rogere Keyes, her one-tome predecessor as MP for Portsmouth, she intended to regularly come to the chamber “to speak for the Navy”:

“I was at primary school in Portsmouth during the Falklands conflict. Britain did not expect to face such an act of territorial expansion, but the Navy was unfaltering in its readiness and commitment to the defence of the British people. That spirit of duty and service made a deep impression on me, even though the Navy had already played a major role in my life before that. Indeed, I am named after HMS Penelope, which was the first cruiser able to do a complete about-turn within her own length-a manoeuvre that I hope never to have to deploy here.

“That spirit of service is as strong as ever in the Royal Navy, but although it is understandable that recent debates in the House and the wider media have focused primarily on the Army, the senior service has, as a consequence, often felt under-represented and unappreciated. I am sure that Members on both sides of the House recognise the contribution that the Navy makes to our way of life, to our ability to trade, to hydrographical and meteorological services, to tackling crime and to providing help in times of crisis. However, the breadth of its role should not detract from the depth of its contribution to the defence of the realm-continuous at-sea deterrence, delivery of commando force and air assets and mine counter-measures are but a few of its roles.

“In the review, we must not be sea-blind. We face very tough challenges and calls for immediate cuts. To see the scale of the challenge, one has to look just at the disparity between what the last strategic defence review suggested for the Navy and the current number of ships in service or planned to be in service. For example, the last review recommended 12 destroyers, but we are building only six. To close the gap between need and affordability and to preserve the development and maintenance capability that we want in our bases and dockyards, we need a planned but flexible approach to procurement. The review must listen to the drum beat of production in those UK yards and must seize every opportunity to strengthen UK exports.”

Murray Sheryll Meanwhile Sheryll Murray, who gained Cornwall South East from the Lib Dems, also chose to concentrate on naval matters:

“HMS Raleigh - the Royal Navy's premier training establishment in the south-west and a real part of the community, where all ratings join the service and receive the first phase of their naval training - is located in South East Cornwall and has considerable influence on the town of Torpoint, as well as the Rame peninsula. Four new accommodation blocks, built as part of the major upgrade of facilities, have recently been unveiled. They are named Antelope, Ardent, Sir Galahad and Conqueror to commemorate four ships that played a part in the Falklands campaign.

“I have a specific interest in the Navy because my daughter is a serving Royal Navy officer. I have gained first-hand knowledge of the various ways in which our senior service operates in many roles around the globe. The Royal Navy is flexible, resilient and capable, providing Government with a range of options to deal with threats and challenges facing the UK and her allies. The varied tasks undertaken include: providing support for the Department for International Development; supporting the Home Office in protecting the territorial integrity of our home waters; providing fishery protection in English, Welsh and Northern Irish waters; and supporting the Cabinet Office in co-ordinating UK maritime surveillance information.

“The UK has been the world's most successful defence exporter over the past 10 years, and the naval sector earns around £3 billion of revenue per year. Flag-officer sea training is based in Plymouth. Over 100 ships and submarines from the Royal Navy and the navies of NATO and allied nations benefit from FOST's training expertise each year. I hope that the strategic defence review will recognise the return that could be generated from any investment in the Royal Navy, which offers variety and flexibility in the way in which it operates. I hope that my colleagues on the Government Front Bench appreciate that Devonport's dockyard and naval base provide South East Cornwall and, indeed, the city of Plymouth with a huge amount of benefits. I urge my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to keep funding in South East Cornwall, and to use the wealth of expertise that we have in our area.”

Jonathan Isaby