Of course, it includes Swire and Parish

“In the House of Commons on Tuesday, MPs defeated a Labour motion, moved by Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner, to block a planned government move that will take a free, hot school meal from the mouths of around one million children from low-income families.

Tory MPs have attempted to deflect blame for their callousness by selectively quoting a Channel 4 Fact Check article – which said it could not fault the Labour Party’s calculations – in order to claim they are actually giving free meals to an additional 50,000 children and not taking it away from the million.

But that pathetic deflection was laid to rest in the very first exchange of the debate around Labour’s motion:

Chris Philp (Croydon South) (Con)

Does the hon. Lady agree with Channel 4’s FactCheck, which says:

“This is not a case of the government taking free school meals from a million children”.

These are children who are not currently receiving free school meals, and in fact the Government’s proposals ​would see 50,000 extra children receive free school meals. Perhaps the hon. Lady could stop giving inaccurate information to the House.

Angela Rayner

The hon. Gentleman should know that his Government have introduced transitional arrangements, and we are clear that under the transitional arrangements, those 1 million children would be entitled to free school meals. With the regulations, the Government are pulling the rug from under those hard-working families.

In my own boroughs of Oldham and Tameside, a total of 8,700 children growing up in poverty are set to miss out. In the Secretary of State’s own area, the total is 6,500. So much for the light at the end of the tunnel that the Chancellor mentioned over the weekend on “The Andrew Marr Show”!

The UK has one of the worst rates of child malnutrition and ‘food insecurity’ among rich nations – with one in five UK children suffering food insecurity.

In spite of this – and the callousness of depriving hungry schoolchildren of food, with the consequent impact on their health and education – the government defeated the motion.

Not a single Tory MP rebelled – and of the ten DUP MPs, ‘incentivised‘ by a Theresa May pledge to maintain the free school meals for Northern Irish children – only one declined to vote away the provision for children in Britain.

The full roll-call of shame of MPs who voted down Labour’s attempt to protect poor children from hunger is below [includes Swire and Parish]”


Will East Devon MP Neil Parish will benefit from Exmoor Brexit initiative?

Well, he should, considering he is a former Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee and for his entire career in the European Parliament he was a member of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (from January 2007 to July 2009 he was Chairman of the Committee AND he was appointed Conservative spokesman on agriculture and he was also the delegation’s deputy chief whip) …. and he farms from his family home on Exmoor.

Just a pity the test area isn’t in his Tiverton and Honiton constituency.

BUT what is it about East Devon that BOTH of our MPs choose not to have a home here (Swire’s second home is in Mid-Devon).

Still, on the bright side, at least his main interest isn’t the Middle East and, in particular, the Maldives!

“Exmoor’s farmers have received the backing of Cabinet minister Michael Gove MP.

Backed by the Exmoor Hill Farming Network, conservationists and local public bodies – Exmoor’s Ambition – aims to sustain and enhance Exmoor’s farmed landscapes and communities following the UK’s exit from the EU. …”


Swire sees the light on hospital beds (because it could be a big vote loser?)

Owl is concerned that local MP Hugo Swire is very, very slow in the uptake. After resting on his laurels by seeing community beds in his constituency staying while those in Neil Parish’s patch of EDDC have all gone (except for Tiverton – not part of East Devon which can’t be closed because it is a PFZi hospital), he finally wakes up and realises that it has left a black hole that will stop many people voting for either of them next time! AND result in people switching their votes to Claire Wright (Independent, East Devon) and maybe Caroline Kolek (Labour, Tiverton and Honiton)!

Sir Hugo Swire said the area’s demographics are 20 years ahead of the national average and it was ‘absolutely ridiculous’ the two services should have separate funding.

This comes after Dr Mike Slot raised concerns to Devon’s health watchdog that carers are not available to implement ‘care at home’ – the model the NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) moved to after it closed 140 community hospital beds across the county.

Dr Slot said: “The loss of community hospital beds was intended to be offset by increasing the capacity of community care so that patients could be cared for in their own homes.

“This may or may not have been realistic since many of the patients in the hospital system cannot be managed in the community, even with excellent community services.

“However, with or without community hospital beds, it is an excellent idea to expand community services so that all those patients who can be cared for out of hospital can remain at home.

“Unfortunately, there is not sufficient capacity in the home care services to do this job.

“When GPs ring the single point of access number asking for rapid response or night sitting, the carers are not available.”

In a joint statement, the CCG and provider trust the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital acknowledged that recruitment had been ‘challenging’ in a few places, but the bodies were working hard alongside other agencies to address the issues.

A spokeswoman said more than £2.5million had been redirected into growing and strengthening their community teams so more people can be cared for at home.

They added: “A large part of the reinvestment has been to increase the number of nurses, therapists and support workers and in most areas we have successfully recruited the additional staff.”

Social care was brought under the remit of health secretary Jeremy Hunt in the last cabinet reshuffle – a move welcomed by Sir Hugo, who said: “I think in future there will be far greater use of hubs.

“We must look to do the same with social care. It requires brave, strategic thinking. We have to get it right.

“The East Devon demographic is where the country is going to be in 20 years’ time. Sidmouth is even ahead of that. East Devon should be a template – use us as a guinea pig for integration of health and social care.”


“Male MPs ‘seat-blocking’ safe constituencies in the Commons, says new report”

East Devon has two safe(ish) seats (though getting less safe by the day)!
Hugo Swire and Neil Parish are male.
Claire Wright is Independent and female.
Just saying …

“Male MPs are effectively “seat-blocking” safe seats in the Commons and holding back gender progress, according to new research that calls for an overhaul in the way politicians are elected to Parliament.

The new study from the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) claims that hundreds of seats have effectively been “reserved” by male politicians – forcing women to contest in marginal constituencies in order to enter public life.

The research, published on Tuesday, shows that of the 212 currently-serving MPs first elected in 2005 or before, just 42 are women. …

Jess Garland, the director of policy and research at the ERS, added that while Britain has experienced progress in gender equality at recent elections, it is being “held back by Westminster’s broken voting system, which effectively ‘reserves’ seats for men”.

She continued: “Over 80 per cent of MPs first elected in 1997 or earlier are men, with the one-MP per seat one-person-takes-all nature of First Past the Post leaving few opportunities for women’s representation once a man has secured selection. Sitting MPs have a huge incumbency advantage, and since open selections are relatively rare, we face a real stumbling block in the path to fair representation. …

Parish questions community bed closure figures – too little and far too late

Owl says: how come WE knew all this and FOUGHT it whereas Parish, seeing votes lee h away from him, only sees it when it is FAR too late?

Where was he last Saturday when hundreds of people protested bed cuts and underfunding?


“situation reasonably good”
‘big concerns”
“figures not necessarily correct”
“strong representation”
“being looked at”
“necessary resources”
“not convinced”
“a little bit worried”
“watching very carefully”


“Devon MP has raised fears over the closure of beds in community hospitals across the county.

Speaking to Mid Devon District Council, Tiverton & Honiton MP Neil Parish said that although the situation in Tiverton was reasonably good, he had a “big concern” over the closure of beds in both Honiton and Seaton.

“I’m not happy with it because I don’t necessarily think they’ve got the correct figures,” he said.

“I also think that the acute hospital in Exeter the RD&E is also overstretched. The community hospitals have enough ability to be able to take that strain, and so I have been making very strong representations.”

Mr Parish said that decisions had been made by the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), but that strong representation had been made.

He added: “Of course, the social care services and health are being looked at by the Government at the moment to be combined more than ever to be able to look after people longer in their own homes. I think it’s a really good idea, but you do need the necessary resources to be able to do it, and certainly, that’s what’s been happening in many areas.

“So far from what I’ve heard in Seaton, Axminster and Honiton areas are that it’s worked reasonably well and I think we need to keep a watching brief on that. I think whenever possible people want to stay in their own homes, but of course, there will be those who need hospital treatment and care. That’s where community hospitals come into the equation.”

The MP considered that care packages in his constituency were currently providing services well and he had been assured that there would be an improvement. He asked that incidents of care packages not being put in place satisfactorily in his constituency be reported to him so that he could make specific enquiries. He added that although he considered being cared for at home was the right thing for some patients; he was not convinced it would save money and that enough people were needed to undertake the work. With an ageing population it was essential to ensure that the resource was in place.

“My representations I’ve had in Honiton, Axminster and Seaton where hospital beds have gone so far seem to be getting those care packages in place reasonably quickly. What I’m a little bit worried about is that they’ve put a lot of resource in now to get it right and they don’t take it away later. Therefore I’m watching that very carefully.”


Who fights for the NHS in East Devon? Your Independent councillors!

At today’s Save Our Hospital Services demo in Exeter today. East Devon Alliance and Claire Wright make their mark but not an East Devon Tory (including our two East Devon MPs) to be seen!

East Devon Alliance DCC Councillor Martin Shaw

East Devon Alliance EDDC Councillor Cathy Gardner

DCC Independent Councillor Claire Wright

East Devon Alliance Councillors Marianne Rixson with East Devon Alliance Councillor Cathy Gardner

One of the many interviews the independent councillors did on the day.