MEP pledges support for British breeding industry
THE European Agricultural Policy and protecting the thoroughbred population from infectious diseases were among the topics discussed when MEP Vicky Ford and Newmarket MP Matthew Hancock met Thoroughbred Breeders' Association chief executive Louise Kemble last week.
In a statement released after the meeting it was reported that both Ford and Hancock promised to maintain their support for the equine sector. Ford is already actively involved in promoting equine issues at the European Parliament in Brussels, including campaigns for improved welfare for horses travelling across the continent for slaughter and increased funding into an African Horse Sickness vaccine.
Speaking after the meeting, Ford said: "From the top racehorse to the Thelwell pony, the equine sector is a very important part of the UK's rural culture. Newmarket is not only the home of racing, it is also home to world-leading breeders and many jobs rely on this. Organisations like the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association in Newmarket and Norfolk-based World Horse Welfare do a great job, and it is vital their concerns on international issues are addressed."
Thoroughbred Breeders' Association chief executive Louise Kemble said "We cannot overstate the value of the positive support we receive from both Vicky Ford and Matthew Hancock. Since taking office as MEP for the East of England, Vicky and her colleagues have always been on hand to provide the TBA with unstinting support. Their input has helped to safeguard the breeding industry on a number of occasions, and maintaining this work is particularly important with the upcoming European elections."
Read more at Racing Post
CONSERVATIVE campaigners were out in force at the weekend to support Harlow MP Robert Halfon.
As part of a major campaign day around 100 Tory activists from across the country visited the town and were joined by the Harlow Conservatives, Essex Tamil and MEP Vicky Ford, whose constituency includes Harlow.
Read more: Harlow Star
On the day the National Farmers Union launch their European elections manifesto, East Anglian MEP Vicky Ford has launched a plain English guide to summarise the reform negotiations.
Mrs Ford said "I remember writing essays in the need to reform the CAP when I was a student in the 1980s and it's still far from perfect. In particular some of the "greening" elements which are meant to help biodiversity are a huge backwards step for many East Anglian farms – they won't help food, farming or the environment. As a result I did not support this package of reforms – but it's never the less important that people can see what has been agreed."
The report is available here
Read more at Your Thurrock
THURROCK MEPs Vicky Ford (Cons) and Richard Howitt (Lab) spoke out in frustration last night after a close vote in the European Parliament which could severely limit the work of the Internet Watch Foundation in their fight against child sexual abuse images on the internet.
New European rules on electronic communications included special clauses which allow for specialist organisations like the IWF take action to prevent serious crimes. The IWF, which is a charity based in Cambridgeshire, shares information about websites hosting child sexual abuse images with internet operators so that they can be blocked and ultimately removed from the internet.
However an amendment tabled just days before the vote by socialist, liberal and green MEPs deleted these powers. It was passed by a narrow 330 votes to 275. Fortunately this is not a final vote as the amended law will now be sent back to ministers in the 28 countries concerned for their further negotiations.
Speaking after the vote Vicky said, "This amendment is dangerous and irresponsible. Child sexual abuse is unacceptable, we need world wide action across the World Wide Web – I'm all for an open internet but this goes too far. IWF is doing an amazing job, I will fight their corner and will not support measures that risk their work."
Read more at Your Thurrock
What Conservatives have achieved by sitting at the EU table
SIR – In Britain, people often talk about how the EU needs reform, but do not recognise the reforms that have already been made, which stem from much hard work by Conservative MEPs and a Conservative government.
A few days ago, we completed a major agreement on how to change international laws for failing banks. The United Kingdom achieved three important victories.
First, future bank collapses will not result in taxpayer bail-outs but in large creditor bail-ins, with ordinary people's deposits protected. Secondly, eurozone bank failures will not undermine the rest of Europe's economy and create the uncertainty of recent years, thanks to a common fund for resolving their difficulties, managed at an EU level. And thirdly, Britain has been protected by a firewall from having to pay towards bank failures in a currency we chose not to join.
All this was achieved because we sat at the table and promoted this reformist agenda. That includes the final 16-hour all‑night negotiations with EU ministers.
This shows that not only is reform of the EU possible, but that we are delivering it already. We can only build on these successes if we have MEPs willing to sit around the table and fight Britain's corner.
Vicky Ford MEP (Con)
Read more: Daily Telegraph
Data protection package and NSA surveillance: "Europe needs a digital Bill of Rights"
The lack of progress in the Council towards agreeing on an EU data protection package in response to US surveillance of EU citizens, companies and governments was severely criticised by MEPs in Tuesday's debate.
Rapporteurs also called on the members of the EPP and ECR group - some of whom are hesitating or threatening to vote against - to back the data protection package to be put to a vote on Wednesday.
"We have shown that this Parliament cares about citizens' concerns about the use of their personal data. After two years of negotiations it would be irresponsible to postpone the adoption of the package. (..) The only winners would be the big data companies in Silicon Valley", said rapporteur Jan Albrecht (Greens/EFA; DE).
Members of the EPP (Sean Kelly, IE) and ECR (Vicky Ford, Timothy Kirkhope) warned that the package might hamper the work of medical researchers or scare off businesses.
Read more European Parliament News
Lord Risby made charity's patron during Haverhill visit
Lord Risby of Haverhill, Richard Spring, became patron of the alcohol and drug abuse treatment charity, Open Doors, during a recent visit to its Haverhill centre.
The former West Suffolk MP visited the centre in Strasbourg Square with Vicky Ford MEP, Haverhill Mayor Cllr Roger André, county and borough councillor Anne Gower and borough and town councillor Maureen Byrne.
Read More at Haverhill Echo
Celebrating success as £43M construction programme takes shape at TWI
A visit to TWI on Friday 7 March 2014 by Member of Parliament for South Cambridgeshire and Leader of the House of Commons Andrew Lansley CBE, and Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts, has given the seal of approval to the company's 25,000 square metre expansion programme at its Granta Park headquarters.
Andrew Lansley and David Willetts, accompanied by Vicky Ford MEP and Sir John O'Reilly, the government's Director General of Knowledge and Innovation, visited the South Cambridgeshire R&D premises to lead a site ceremony alongside TWI Chief Executive Christoph Wiesner and staff member Sarah Preston to mark the end of the steel construction phase of the build programme.
The ceremony, which included lowering into the ground a friction-stir welded capsule containing examples of research and innovation in materials joining and structural integrity technologies, was held in front of invited guests from the region, the design and build teams, government funding bodies, and partners representing the new National Structural Integrity Research Centre (http://www.nsirc.co.uk/).
Read more at Business Wire
Conservative MEPs question whether plastic bag use should be in EU's remit
EU plans to slash plastic bag use by 80% took a major step forward this week, after MEPs approved proposals to curb the sale of single use plastic bags in every member state.However, despite the ENVI Committee's overall support for the plan yesterday, Conservative MEPs were strongly opposed to the idea. Writing on Twitter, MEP Vicky Ford questioned if plastic bag use should be within the remit of the EU.
'Why do some people always want to ban things. Voting now on #plasticbag ban. Surely not an eu competence!'
— vickyford MEP (@vickyford) March 10, 2014
It now remains to be seen whether the whole Parliament will now approve the plans in April, when they are due to be discussed at a plenary session.
Read more at The Guardian
MEP praises Canvey 'cat' factory
THE Tory MEP for Essex has praised a growing Canvey business for its importance on the international stage.
Conservative Member of the European Parliament Vicky Ford joined Castle Point MP Rebecca Harris and Canvey councillor Ray Howard for a visit to Blyth Workcats on Charfleets Industrial Estate last week.
Blyth Workcats designs and builds customised boats for charter angling, diving, commercial fishing, passenger carrying, crew transfer or survey work to companies all over the world.
The visit gave the company the chance to speak to the political heavyweight about the barriers it faces as a business and what changes could be made to help it grow.
Mrs Ford said "It's great to see a local business exporting all over the world. We have already unlocked some new funding to help exporters, but this needs to work for specialist companies like Blyth Workcats too.
Read more: Echo