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Category: News & Articles

  • October 28, 2010

    Housing Benefit

    Following a contribution he made to a Westminster Hall debate on Wednesday on housing investment, Mark's comments on the government's cap on housing benefit were picked up in a number of media reports. The speech he made has been copied below so that constituents can read his words verbatim. In short, Mark robustly supports capping the amount that can be claimed on housing benefit at £20 000 per annum. He believes reform of the housing system is...
  • October 20, 2010

    The first cut is the deepest?

    There has been furious activity in recent days amongst the ConHome community with claim and counterclaim about the extent of the cuts. So just how severe can we expect this week’s Comprehensive Spending Review to be? For sure the unrelenting austerity message risks undermining business confidence, which urgently needs to be boosted by a growth strategy and a consistent recovery plan. Moreover, the fall-out of the likely future spending cuts, especially in terms of public sector employment, cannot readily be dismissed as minor fiscal tinkering...
  • October 14, 2010

    Welfare reform never comes cheap

    No one can accuse the government of paucity of ambition as it seeks to overhaul the paralysingly complicated array of welfare benefits. Wisely it also recognises that such wholesale reform cannot be rushed. It will – electorate willing – prove a two-term task. The holy grail of ending the welfare trap for those in the workplace, who otherwise stand to be better off claiming benefits, has been tantalisingly elusive...
  • September 13, 2010

    An Inequitable Outcome?

    The saga of Equitable Life often seems second only to ‘Bleak House’ in the annals of protracted legal process. Rummaging through my own papers the other day I realised with amazement that I had first spoken in parliament as long ago as November 2002 in defence of Equitable Life policyholders, who have been treated so shabbily. Although the scandal never affected me personally, I have received in my postbag a long and steady stream of correspondence from Equitable Life policyholders since I was first elected in 2001...
  • September 13, 2010

    In a fix?

    The latest staging post on the coalition government’s whistle-stop journey of constitutional reform comes today as we debate the Fixed Term Parliament Bill. Much of the press coverage over this legislation concerns the technicalities around votes of confidence, which would trigger a general election before the end of the set fixed term. The proposal that power should be vested in the Speaker of the day to issue a certificate declaring that parliament had no confidence in the government places the Speakership in a potentially damaging position of partisanship at a critical political juncture. Worse still such certificates would – in the opinion of some constitutional experts....
  • September 6, 2010

    Some observations on electoral reform

    For almost two decades now, British psephologists have been in firm agreement that the First Past the Post (FPTP) electoral system has worked to the Conservative Party’s detriment. Yet despite this at each of the past four general elections we have campaigned robustly in its defence. Never was this more apparent than during the final weeks of this year’s General Election campaign....
  • September 3, 2010

    Co-operatives in Football

    FC Barcelona, one of the world's most successful football clubs, is famously run on a co-operative basis – in short it is a private non-profit making sports association. The Club is owned and run by its 175,000 members who each pay an annual membership fee of approximately £150 bringing in around £25 million. Members have voting rights similar to that of a Co-operative Community Benefit Society in the UK and as a body they are able to dictate the future direction of their club. Fan ownership has led to FC Barcelona being placed at the very heart of the fiercely independent Catalonian region which has a population of over 7.5 million. Barcelona supplemented their ...
  • August 11, 2010

    Media Round-Up

    Now that summer recess is upon is, we have rounded up a list of Mark's newspaper appearances so that constituents can get a feel for the sorts of issues he has been campaigning on since the new parliament began. The links to each individual article have been included but we cannot take any responsibility for the use and content of external sites once you leave Mark's own website. ...
  • July 28, 2010

    The Looming Threat of Protectionism and What It Tells Us About the Path Ahead

    ‘A Double Raid on UK Plc as Overseas Buyers Swoop’ was how the Evening Standard fearfully described both a recent bid by a US-Canadian consortium to buy British manufacturing firm, Tomkins, and the revival of merger talks between France’s GDF-Suez and the UK’s International Power. That news of either deal would have raised eyebrows in alarm a few years ago seems unlikely. And yet how the coalition government reacts to the selling of these British assets to foreign buyers is being watched with close interest....
  • July 26, 2010

    New West End Company Celebrates Its First Decade

    Mark hosted a reception in the House of Commons to celebrates the tenth anniversary of the New West End Company, an organisation which represents and promotes business in London's premier shopping district. He made the following speech: "Welcome everyone to the tenth anniversity celebration of the New West End Company representing and promoting businesses in Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street. A thriving West End is vitally important to both the economy and the character of London...