Local MP secures debate about Chilcott Inquiry and calls for the Iraq Inquiry report to be published

Lib Dem Norman Baker MP has won time for a House of Commons debate, calling for the immediate publication of the official Inquiry report into the Iraq War by Sir John Chilcott,  about how the Government behaved at the time. The debate, jointly secured with Tory David Davis and Labour Fabian Hamilton, will take place on January 29th. Four hours has been allocated.

The inquiry was established before the last General Election, some six years ago and Norman says that is long enough.

Norman saysI firmly believe that the people of this country are entitled to see this report before they go to the polls in May, yet there are no signs this will happen.

That’s why I have joined with David Davis and Fabian Hamilton to secure a debate on the matter in the House of Commons, thus ensuring that the calls for release are supported by Lib Dem, Tory and Labour MPs. The debate, in which I will speaking, will take place on January 29th.

“Why is this so important? Because, as I set out in my book The Strange Death of David Kelly, the period 2002/3 was a time when the normal conventions of government were set aside. A time when we had Tony Blair’s special advisor Alistair Campbell, amending intelligence reports which then turned into “dodgy dossiers”, hyping up fears about non-existent weapons of mass destruction. A time when unminuted sofa government replaced the proper civil service procedures. A time when the cabinet was bypassed. A time when Parliament was gravely misled about the threat the country faced, or didn’t face, as it turned out.

“As well as seeing the final report, we are also entitled to know why it has taken so long to produce, who is blocking release, and why.

The lessons of 2002/3 are not merely an historical matter. They go to the heart of how our country operates. We need to ensure there are safeguards in place to ensure what happened then can never happen again.”

Local MP champions better Health Care Provision in Commons debate

Norman Baker MP will be leading a debate in Parliament this week about Health Care Provision in the Lewes Constituency, to be held in the Main Chamber at the House of Commons on Friday 9 January 2015 at 14.30.

He will be calling for:

  • A robust way of handling minor injuries locally
  • Expansion to the range of treatments and services provided, in already established local facilities
  • Improved GP facilities, especially in Polegate
  • A halt to the transfer of services from Eastbourne DGH to the Conquest in Hastings
  • All sections of NHS to work together to produce a fair deal locally

Norman wants different sections of the NHS to work together to produce a fair deal. He argues that providing better facilities in each local town is not only more convenient for local residents, but also helps the NHS by taking pressure off local A and E departments.

His call for localised treatment have been backed by the Head of NHS England, Simon Stevens, who replied to Norman in a letter saying; “I do think we need a concerted programme across the NHS to find new ways to support small hospitals and we are working with a number if patient and hospital groups to discuss these new models”

Norman says: “It is not fair that my constituents have to travel to hospitals in Eastbourne, Brighton, Haywards Heath or even Hastings for services that they should be able to receive in their own town.

“There are facilities locally which are being under used or services farmed out to other hospitals, making access to those services even more difficult for local people. If services could be retained or reinstated at facilities like Lewes Victoria Hospital and Newhaven Downs with an expansion to the range of services at the new Seaford Horder Centre and local GP surgeries, my constituents would be better served for their health needs

Norman has also been fighting for funding for a health care centre in Polegate and has written to the NHS urging them to release it. He recently met with Lib Dem Health Minister Norman Lamb MP who pledged to do all he can to support the application.

Norman says: For far too long medium sized towns like Seaford, Polegate, Lewes and Newhaven have had the thin end of the wedge when it comes to health care services. Promises have been given over the years by far off and unaccountable NHS managers, all of which have been to no avail.

Now new legislation has provided more influence for our local GPs who have local knowledge and often live in the town where they are providing services. We also have a government policy commitment to localise services wherever possible, enabling local people to work together to help bring about improvements.”

MP meets Southern to push for more trains to stop at Cooksbridge

Southern’s Head of Timetable Planning has met with local MP Norman Baker, Lib Dem County Councillor Rosalyn St Pierre, and representatives from Hamsey Parish Council to press the case for improved train services for Cooksbridge.

After a long campaign Norman has been successful in reducing some journey times between Lewes and London by five minutes, and believes that the opportunity now exists to add an hourly stop for Cooksbridge throughout the day.

Norman explains: “I have long argued that we need a faster train once an hour between Lewes and London, and a service that gives Cooksbridge and Plumpton the services they deserve. After much campaigning, Plumpton now has an hourly service, and I want to see the same for Cooksbridge.

“Now we have the new franchise awarded, the focus moves from the Department for Transport to the rail company. If we are to make progress, it will be via Southern rather than the Department, which is why I have arranged for their Head of Timetabling to meet me and the local parish council this week.”

  • The meeting is taking place this morning.

Newhaven MP launches petition for free parking in Newhaven

Newhaven MP Norman Baker is calling on Lewes District Council to provide free car parking in Newhaven to support local businesses.

A petition has been launched by Norman to enable others to show their support for the initiative which would enable people to have free short stay parking in Newhaven town centre for up to 2 hours to encourage people to pop into the town centre and use facilities and services there.

Norman says “Newhaven businesses need the support from Lewes District Council to assist in bringing people back to the town centre of Newhaven.

“Parking is a factor that puts people off from popping into the centre to make use of facilities there, instead of driving out of the town and to areas where free parking is.

“I am disappointed the Tory controlled district council have not taken this chance to support small businesses.

“Lewes District Council have the opportunity to throw the town a life line and support local businesses to have the opportunity to thrive once more in the town.”

The call for free parking is also being supported by Newhaven Chamber of Commerce.

The petition can be accessed online at:


If you would like paper copies of the petition, please do contact our office and we can send them to you.