Richard Graham urges the Prime Minister not to forget young people

Richard Graham (Gloucester)

The Prime Minister is absolutely right that all of us who voted remain must accept the referendum result and do our best to implement it as well as possible. The manner and tone of his resignation speech and statement today is absolutely in keeping with the unifying, one nation Toryism he has done so much to advocate.

Among the divisions left in the wake of the referendum, many young people feel let down by their parents and grandparents. Does my right hon. Friend agree that in the weeks ahead the current Government should seize all opportunities to reassure young people that the opportunities and benefits that many of them see in Europe will still be available to them after the process of leaving the European Union?

The Prime Minister

My hon. Friend makes an important point. We must accept the result. During this process of debate and discussion involving Parliament and Government, there will be many arguments that people will want to look at on how we exit the EU and the relationship we will have at the end. What will it mean for young people in terms of travelling, working and studying? Those are all questions. Now that we are not talking about theoretical alternatives to membership, but are talking about the actual alternatives to membership, we need the maximum amount of detail, transparency and debate so people can make their voices heard.


  • Volunteering at the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital Volunteering at the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital Helping a GRH patient get to their appointment on time.
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  • Visiting Gloucestershire Enterprise Limited Visiting Gloucestershire Enterprise Limited With five new Glosterpreneurs from landscape gardening to book keeping.
  • Robinswood Go Wild Event Robinswood Go Wild Event With new friends Stan Laurel and Frank Sidebottom. Supporting Gloucester Guildhall.
  • NCS Team NCS Team Great to see NCS Team 4 on Southgate Street raising money for the British Heart Foundation.
  • Visiting Imperial Commercials Visiting Imperial Commercials Apprentice Ben and I with the CAB tilt pump in their Gloucester service station.
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  • Welcoming Gloucester's latest HQ Welcoming Gloucester's latest HQ Tidal Lagoon Power has relocated from Cheltenham and aims to generate 10% of Britain's energy needs.
  • Celebrating Jess Ridler's fundraiser for Teenage Cancer Trust Celebrating Jess Ridler's fundraiser for Teenage Cancer Trust With Jacqui and Rob Ridler, loveliest and bravest of parents.
  • Highlighting new Veterans Transition Guide Highlighting new Veterans Transition Guide With Ex Glosters Ray Peart and RBL's Bob Perkins in Eastgate Market
  • The Employers at my Gloucester Academy Jobs Fair The Employers at my Gloucester Academy Jobs Fair This was my ninth jobs fair and we had over 30 employers offering hundreds of different jobs in Gloucester. Thanks to all who came.
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  • Barton Jobs Fair Barton Jobs Fair I have organised 11 Jobs Fairs/events, including three in Barton.
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  • With Sports Minister High Robertson and Jon Garner at Gloucester Rowing Club With Sports Minister High Robertson and Jon Garner at Gloucester Rowing Club The Minister was impressed with the clubs plans for a new boat house on the south bank of the Gloucester Canal. The project has been made possible with Sport England funding
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  • Supporting Alzheimer's Society Supporting Alzheimer's Society
  • Cutting the ribbon to open the new Gloucester Academy Cutting the ribbon to open the new Gloucester Academy The first new secondary school in Gloucester to be opened for 30 years.
  • Thank you to Beastie for the quizzical portrait now on loan in my office Thank you to Beastie for the quizzical portrait now on loan in my office
  • Running with Gloucester's 1982 world record breaker Dave Dowdle Running with Gloucester's 1982 world record breaker Dave Dowdle Jeremy Mower (No30), Richard Graham MP (No40), Dave Dowdle (No39) and winner Dan Lawson (No25)
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  • Exciting discussion with Helen Moore of City&Country Residentia Exciting discussion with Helen Moore of City&Country Residentia Prison purchase completed very soon then Consultation

Tribute to Mew Ning Chan Edmead


In the much quoted maiden speech of Jo Cox MP she laid out her strong belief that what we all have in common is much greater than what divides us.

As readers will know, I’ve always believed that: and last week was another bitter sweet moment seeing the truth of this.

Mew Ning Chan Edmead was a remarkable woman who bridged the different worlds of wartime Hong Kong and peacetime Gloucestershire, and in her very busy retirement found a cause that linked the lands of her father and her husband – to the huge benefit of many.

She was born in mainland China in 1935, and I think Mew Ning then came to Hong Kong after the Japanese invaded Canton (Guangdong), as did many other refugees.  She went to school during and after the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong and studied at the Hong Kong Art School, developing the skills and interest in design printing that led to a career in Hong Kong and then in Gloucester and Stroud, after her marriage to Bill Edmead in Hong Kong in January 1962.

When they came to Gloucestershire, Mew Ning worked in Bon Marché, the Gloucester Carpet Co, Clarke Engineering Stroud and then Stoate & Bishop printers, retiring in 1995.  But by then she had already started what was to be her major, and I hope lasting, achievement: the founding of the Gloucestershire Chinese Women’s Guild (GCWG) in 1990.

Many of the older Gloucestershire residents of Chinese origin were from Hong Kong’s New Territories, had not studied much English and typically worked here in laundries and takeaway restaurants.  They found implementing an increasing number of hygiene, health and safety and local government regulations very hard because of the language barrier: and in their own lives often found communication with doctors and hospitals hard.

Mew Ning set out to solve these barriers with indomitable enthusiasm and good will, translating documents, providing welfare services, solving problems for the Gloucestershire Chinese community, liaising with local government and bringing everyone – whether of Hong Kong or mainland Chinese descent – together through social and fundraising events.

Chinese people love food and Chinese New Year celebrations, with centuries of traditions that were never interrupted in Hong Kong, and Mew Ning successfully added contributions from the NHS, local councillors (especially her friend Pam Tracy from Bon Marché) and myself, and organised amazing parties every year for the community.

Over the ten years that I saw the GCWG, Mew Ning was the energy, the guiding spirit, MC and Head Mistress, helped by a wonderful team of Irene, Jean and others. So it was no surprise at her funeral last week that so many former Mayors and Sheriffs, and the City Council Leader, gathered at Coney Hill to pay respects to her, Bill and the Gloucestershire Chinese community.

Mew Ning’s dynamic energy, and selfless 21 years of entirely unpaid volunteering on behalf of others, well deserved to be recognised as a woman whose example of service I am inspired by. Her Majesty the Queen did meet Mew Ning, and perhaps both saw something similar in each other – small of stature, giant hearted, indomitable of spirit and generous of her time for all who needed help.

For me, Mew Ning was a fantastic example of how much immigrants bring to our city: a bridge between two cultures, a life enhancer, someone who cared deeply about Hong Kong, Gloucester and Gloucestershire. Her laughter, her enthusiasm and her ability to help others mean that Gloucester will remember Mew Ning for a long time, and all our thoughts, and thanks for her life, are with Bill and both families.

Today is the day..when we decide our relations with our neighbours

with the Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Neil Carmichael MP and Alex Chalk MP

with the Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Neil Carmichael MP and Alex Chalk MP

It’s gone on a long time: important, frustrating, emotional; and a source of endless argument. It is the Referendum – and many of my constituents are still unsure which way to vote. I break the issues into five: the Big Picture, Money, Security, Sovereignty and Immigration.

The Big Picture. I believe we need as many friends and allies as possible: in the UN Security Council, at the heart of the Commonwealth, the G7 & NATO, in a special relationship with the US, a strategic partnership with China, very close to Ireland – and a member of the EU. We are smaller by losing any of these.

And our history is one of tremors from quakes on the continent. We’ve often had to intervene and make war to keep the peace, and above all keep the balance of power – preventing dominance by any one country, which is always bad for us. Whether against Louis XIV, Napoleon, Hitler or Russian communism, we’ve teamed up with a coalition of the willing to stop them – like the Welsh archers, Eugene of Savoy, Blucher and the Polish and Commonwealth airmen. England has never fought alone in Europe.

Money. Almost everyone, including the leading Brexiters, recognise there’ll be a hit if we leave, as sterling drops, inflation rises and interest rates and mortgages go up. The markets have already shown what they can do. I worry about how quickly things would recover, how long it would take to replace the 53 Free Trade Agreements the EU already has, and the long term impact of trade duties on e.g. our aerospace exports to Airbus in Toulouse. Short term this would inevitably lead to less tax revenue for the NHS and other public services – and for how long we just don’t know.

Security. There is no single global policeman today. We need maximum co-operation against e.g. terrorists, especially with our nearest neighbours. Our security could not be increased by acting more alone, without the European Arrest Warrant, or by having the refugee camps at Calais moved to Dover. Home to GCHQ and the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC), in Gloucestershire we know the value of partnerships and sharing information carefully.

Of course immigration and sovereignty are also argued over. I hear comments like ‘I want my country back’, ‘our infrastructure can’t cope’ and ‘so many of our jobs are taken by foreigners’.  Nor can these just be dismissed. We must make our own decisions in our own Parliament: but we can also accept legislation e.g. to protect workers’ rights, improve our beaches and water that came from the EU: 14% of our total laws. And when it comes to sovereignty I see no advantage to business in not having a voice at the table on decisions that affect almost half of our exports.

Ultimately, I don’t see leaving the EU will solve immigration – are we going to ask weekending French to apply for a visa, or a German engineer visiting his business here to apply for a work permit? No. Or if yes, then increase the cost of leaving as we axe cheap flights to Europe, many jobs at airports and across the travel industry.

In a nutshell if we want free trade then we pay the club sub and accept free movement to work – we just lose any role in decisions. If we don’t want free trade then watch out for the hit to jobs and the 75% of tax from business.

If we want the surest prospects of future jobs for our children then let’s make the European partnership work, recognising some compromise in all partnerships. And if we’re concerned about immigration and pressures on schools etc then yes, push at us MPs to do more – taking out from the stats students who pay for our universities would make sense – but leaving the EU is not a solution to that. Ultimately the complete lack of detail about what the Leave campaign would do is a huge risk, and although safety is not as sexy as risk, this is a risk I wouldn’t recommend at all.

Best regards


CWGC in Gaza


Recently in Parliament I spoke about the Commonwealth War Grave cemetery in Gaza, which I visited in 2010. It has been tended by the same Palestinian family since it was put up, now presumably almost 80 years ago. It contains Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Hindu memorials. The cemetery is in a large and beautiful garden in a small territory very short of public space.

During Operation Cast Lead (2008-9), an Israeli tank broke through the walls and damaged some grave stones. Eventually, when imported construction materials were allowed again, the reparation of those grave stones was a priority. It is a great testament to the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the respect they are held in.

When I visited in 2010, I laid a wreath at the Cemetery on behalf of Parliament to the 3,000 buried here from the First World War, with almost 800 unidentified.

Lt Anderson of the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars is one of those in the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Gaza. He died after the Battle of Katia (Qaatia) in the nearby Egyptian Sinai on Easter Sunday 1916. The RGH lost four officers and 16 other ranks were killed, with 64 taken prisoner, defending work on a new railway, against a much larger German led Turkish force.

History knows links we only become aware of by accident. I did not expect to find, in a Gaza cemetery, the gravestone of a young officer who was the son of the agent for Earl Bathurst in Cirencester Park: where I was a tenant for ten years before moving to Gloucester. And the current Lord Bathurst’s wife is now our High Sheriff.

Also there at Katia, playing a key role with his machine gun, was Sgt Walwyn DCM. He came back alive, and with his brother created a photographic shop on Southgate Street that many will remember.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission tends the graves of the past, but their echoes are all around us. I greatly respect their work.


PRESS RELEASE: City Council brings new lease of life to cemetery

IMG_9332The Bridge Before


Gloucester MP Richard Graham is pleased that a constituent’s complaint about the state of the bridge in Tredworth cemetery has resulted in the City Council improving things.

Richard commented: “The Victorian bridge had been rather neglected, and when constituent Viv Thwaites emailed me to highlight this, I asked the City Council’s Cemetery Department to look into it.

“It is good to see such a quick and positive response by the City Council a month later. The bridge looks much better.”

Viv said: “The refurbishment of the bridge over the brook in Tredworth cemetery is now attracting positive comments from the many people who visit the cemetery. It is no longer an eyesore.”


Julienne Reeves, Carly Hughes and Iona Lennon from the City Council. Jason Draper and Chris McCavley the Gardeners. Councillor Jim Porter. Simon COllinson, Russell Ward and Pete Chesterman from Gardiners.

Julienne Reeves, Carly Hughes and Iona Lennon from the City Council. Jason Draper and Chris McCavley, the Tredworth Cemetery Gardeners. Councillor Jim Porter. Simon Collinson, Russell Ward and Pete Chesterman from Gardiners, the contractors who fixed the bridge.

PRESS RELEASE: Gloucester MP and GWR work to cater for more bikes at renovated Gloucester Station

Following comments left on MP Richard Graham’s bike at Gloucester Station, Great Western Rail has agreed a plan for additional cycle racks there.

In the new plans for an additional entrance via Platform 4 and car park at Gloucester Rail Station, approved by Gloucester City Council last week, new racks will be included. Work starts this Summer and finishes in early 2017.

Richard said ‘if the City Council’s £4.8m bid via the Local Enterprise Partnership to the government succeeds (this Autumn) then we’ll do more for cyclists at the front of the station as well.’ Funds are intended for the station forecourt, façade, road exit and cycle route.

Richard reached out to GWR after a constituent left a note on his bike parked at Gloucester Station, asking for more racks to be added to the platform. Richard tweeted that he was ‘on the case’. The MP said ‘basically this is a compromise: the first additional bike racks will be in the new car park. This will increase capacity and suit some, but not all. So the next phase matters and the overall result should be a more cycle friendly station – which in turn should mean less car traffic and traffic jams’.

Mark Hopwood, Managing Director of GWR said: ‘We, as a business and as individuals, have a responsibility to reduce the impact we have on our environment. Listening to the needs of our customers, I’ll be delighted when this improvement is completed, allowing passengers to take greater advantage of the full range of services that we offer.’



 The additional bike racks will add to GWR’s latest cycle policy which introduces compulsory bicycle reservations on trains to accommodate cycling passengers. Station staff have also been briefed to allow bikes on board if there is space available on board when bookings have not been possible.

Reservations remain free and can be made online, by phone (0345 7000 125) or at a station when booking a ticket. Reservations can also be made after the ticket is purchased by phone or at a ticket office. This should be done by 18:00 the day before departure, although they can take bookings on some services up to 2 hours before departure.

You can see the tweet and picture of the note left on Richard’s bike here:

PRESS RELEASE: Gloucester MP welcomes lowest national rate of unemployment for a decade and further fall in Gloucester

Richard Graham MP said: “Wednesday’s unemployment figures show that national unemployment fell to 5%, the lowest rate for a decade. In Gloucester, the number of jobseekers has fallen by 6% since April, which is also very encouraging.

“There are more people in work than ever before and wages continue to grow with average pay up 2.3% over the year. With around 750,000 vacancies across the country at any one time, there are plenty of opportunities and I hope this trend continues, although I do have real concern about the impact of any vote to leave the EU.

“I also want to highlight the work of Pluss, who have worked with employers to help over 85 people with disabilities find work in May. The government is committed to bringing a million people with disabilities into work and I want to see as many local employers as possible offer those chances.”

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