COMMONS TRIBUTE TO AFGHANISTAN - LOCAL FAMILIES HAVE
NE Bedfordshire MP Alistair Burt, the former Minister for Afghanistan, paid tribute in the House of Commons on Monday 27th October to those who served in Afghanistan. Mr Burt coupled his thanks for the forces with a tribute to aid and development workers who continue their efforts there.
Mr Burt says: ‘Our forces have bought a chance of a better future for Afghanistan, and have paid very dearly. They cleared out the Al Qaeda threat to us in the west, and leave better education, health and infrastructure which will contribute to a more secure country which will benefit all of us. We owe them a great debt of gratitude, and local families with forces connections will be relieved that they are now home.
But I also mentioned Linda Norgrove, a young woman from Scotland, who gave her life as an aid worker, and whose funeral I attended. We also owe them a debt, as they exhibit the very best of British compassion and experience as they serve people overseas.’
Hansard extract: October 27th 2014
Alistair Burt (North East Bedfordshire) (Con): May I, too, take my right hon. Friend back to the beginning of his statement? Nearly four years ago, I attended the funeral of Linda Norgrove, a young woman from the Isle of Lewis who gave her life supporting widows and orphans in Afghanistan. As we rightly remember the contribution of our forces over the past 13 years, can we also remember those in the NGO community, some of whom lost their lives defending the people of Afghanistan and a number of whom will stay on to keep helping the people of Afghanistan and to fulfil this nation’s commitments?
The Prime Minister: My right hon. Friend is absolutely right to raise the issue of aid workers, who have put so much into rebuilding Afghanistan. I will never forget meeting Linda Norgrove’s brave parents, who were desperately sad at the loss of their child. She put a great deal into Afghanistan and came very close to being rescued and brought home. I commend my right hon. Friend for all the work that he did on such consular cases as a Foreign Office Minister.
MP WELCOMES STRONGER ACTION ON INTERNET ‘TROLLS’
NE Bedfordshire MP Alistair Burt has welcomed the announcement by the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling of more severe penalties for so called ‘twitter trolls’.
The Government’s proposal suggests quadrupling the present penalty by having jail terms available for up to two years, and extending the powers of the police to initiate prosecutions.
Mr Burt said ‘I have constituents who have made me aware of very serious abuse which they are suffering, both from anonymous social media users, but also in the form of severe harassment from known sources.
I think some of these cases are serious enough to involve the police, and have no hesitation in passing on those details which I think could form the basis of a prosecution.
Harassment and abuse takes many forms- but those who abuse in this manner should beware that society’s tolerance should not be stretched too far.’
North East Bedfordshire MP sets out why he voted to protect those under threat in the Middle East.
North East Bedfordshire MP and former Minister for the Middle East, Rt Hon Alistair Burt has released the letter he has written to constituents inquiring about today’s vote in Parliament.
“Thank you for contacting me about today’s debate on Iraq.
I will be voting for the Government’s motion, agreed by the Opposition, to support air strikes by UK forces against terrorist targets in Iraq. You are more than entitled to know why.
This terrorist group, neither Islamic nor a State, now occupies a swathe of territory the size of the UK. Its ideology is ruthless, offering those who live there the choice of surrendering to a severe form of Sharia law, fleeing their homes, or death. They have beheaded, crucified and raped civilian men, women and children who oppose them.
They have no territorial limits, and pursue a belief that a vast area from the Middle East to North Africa and the edges of Europe should be part of an Islamic caliphate bowing to their will. They have encouraged, and already committed acts of violence within Europe, and killed innocent UK citizens engaged in mercy humanitarian work. They have stolen young men from their families in the UK through corrupting them, and turning them into killers, and ensuring their deaths far away from home.
I happen to believe that the establishment of such a state, and the oppression of people, particularly women, to the extent already seen is neither in the UK’s interest, nor in the interests of humanity.
Therefore I believe the establishment of such a state should be stopped. In the first place the immediate threat is physical, which is what an alliance of nations, including many Muslim nations, have come together to combat. Like others I wish this could be done by diplomacy and communication. The so-called ISIL makes it clear that this is not their belief, and they have no legitimacy on which to negotiate. They have no moral basis on which we could even begin such an approach, which would be an insult to those already killed.
Accordingly the response must be physical in the first place. I believe the deployment of our air force, in company with others, will have an impact, save lives, and help contain the present menace.
After this however there is a need for more, and we should support those who must seek to save people through confronting the terrorists on the ground. I do not believe that yet involves the UK, and that the leadership is being taken by Muslim states is important.
But I fully agree that physical force alone is not sufficient, and proper planning for the future is needed. There needs to be a long term campaign, which has already started, to draw back the false ideology being promoted, and to help those youngsters who are being corrupted by it.
The response from the Islamic community in the UK, which has been particularly strong against these terrorists, demonstrates what that community thinks and bodes well for the future. We need also to be sensitive to injustices in the region which can fuel radicalism, and to continue efforts, with other states, to overcome them. None, however, justify the violence and barbarity we have seen from so called ISIL.
Some suggest that the answer is simply humanitarian and that we should provide asylum for victims. I fundamentally disagree that we should support the forced expulsion of millions of peoples from their homes of hundreds of years. Why should people abroad live with a situation no one in the UK would put up with for a moment, and demand action to redress?
This is not an easy matter for the UK to decide. The issues are messy and complex, and there is no easy answer, and I am more than aware that force can never be a complete solution. Nonetheless, for those facing great danger, they look to their friends to help them urgently, and I am going to vote to ensure that we offer that help.”
Mr Burt said: “Constituents have a deep interest and concern in a region which has seen so much agony in recent years. I know they will have watched events in Parliament today with care and I appreciated their comments both for and against UK action. It is for such freedom of speech that those who deny it to others must be challenged.”
MP welcomes good news for Bedford Hospital
MP for NE Bedfordshire, Alistair Burt, was delighted to hear of the Award of Excellence given to Bedford Hospital from the Chair of Examiners at the Royal College of Physicians of London for hosting clinical examinations for trainee doctors.
MP delighted to support Biggleswade family and the Max Appeal
On Friday 25th July Alistair will be part of a group helping to name a First Capital Connect train specially branded ‘Max Appeal’ at a ceremony at King’s Cross Station in support of the Max Appeal.
Max Appeal supports children and their families with 22q11 Deletion Syndrome (DS) – a complex condition that is often undiagnosed and leads to lifelong struggles for those affected.
NORTH EAST BEDFORDSHIRE MP SUPPORTS WHICH? TASK FORCE BATTLING NUISANCE CALLS
The Task Force, which was set up as part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Action Plan on nuisance calls, today urges organisations and individuals to share their views to help in Which?’s inquiry.
The aim of the call for evidence is to understand the issues surrounding consent to direct marketing and how this impacts consumers. They also want to hear about any proposed solutions and how they could be applied.
UNEMPLOYMENT FALLS FURTHER IN NORTH EAST BEDFORDSHIRE
Alistair Burt, MP for North East Bedfordshire is proud to announce further reductions in unemployment in his constituency.
Mr Burt says: ‘The number of unemployed claimants of Job Seekers Allowance in North East Bedfordshire in May 2014 was 922. This represents a rate of 1.7% of the economically active population aged 16 to 64, ranking North East Bedfordshire 517th of the 650 UK constituencies, with the 650th constituency having the lowest rate of unemployment.