September newsletter

September newsletter

September newsletter

Sep 27, 2022

The Autumn equinox has passed and summer is officially over.

The Autumn equinox has passed and summer is officially over.

The Autumn equinox has passed and summer is officially over.

The Autumn equinox has passed and summer is officially over. At MP Watch we’re still reeling from Rishi Sunak’s fierce back-pedalling on green policies. Thankfully, the Good Law Project is on it already and taking this Government to court.  Again. And as the political party season kicks off, there is good news from the Lib Dems about their approach to the Rosebank oilfield. It’s not the greatest of news since the Lib Dems aren’t exactly favourites to form the next Government, but who knows what may happen. So, here we are in September with a roundup of what’s been happening locally and Nationally in the MP Watch ‘get those lies out of Parliament’ movement. As always, we give enormous thanks to all who contribute and share - this is challenging and important work carried out all over the country, doing the right thing to change the course of this exquisite jewel we call Earth. Let’s get stuck in.


MP WATCH ROADSHOW: On Tuesday 15th August, the MP Watch Roadshow hit Manchester. The event was attended by enthusiastic guests, interested in the work that we do. Reaction from the talks given were positive and full of energy

Since the Roadshow, a special shout-out has to go to the powerhouse that is Lesley Grahame from Norfolk who has, single-handedly, rounded up 7 out of 9 constituencies in Norfolk to start up their own MP Watch groups. Wonderful work, Lesley! If you are interested in holding a roadshow event where you are and would like some support, please get in touch by emailing us at

TRAINING: With the September cohort of trainees now unleashed and getting active in their local constituencies, we are making plans for the October training sessions. Please look out for a special update newsletter in the next week on this with more details.

IN THE NEWS: Jerome Mayhew Watch: Veteran road campaigner Andrew Boswell has launched a Jerome Mayhew Watch and with it a  crowdfunder to raise funds for a legal challenge against the Government's decision to widen the A47 in Norfolk. As Andrew points out in his X or Tweet: ’As extreme heat hits the world, senior DfT official tells MPs that cumulative carbon emissions from UK road schemes is a "big planning risk" which has now "gone" due to the A47 judgement’. The legal challenge has unleashed a scathing attack on Andrew from Jerome Mayhew and County Hall leader Kay Mason Billig,  hitting the local headlines. Scientists Westminster Action: We were delighted to see members of MP Watch support a brilliant action by a collective of over 100 Scientists who were joined by Chris Packham & Jenny Jones as they welcomed MPs back to Parliament with a clear message that the ‘Oil Party is Over!’. The magic of this action however was that the scientists reached out to their MPs ahead of time, and used the green card process once there, to get their MPs to come out and have a conversation. Pitifully few MPs did come out to meet their Scientist constituents, resulting in a brilliant piece of reporting stating: “It appears that this government is not listening to UK scientists, not listening to the public and constituents, not listening to international agreements, and not listening to its own laws. The question must be asked – in whose interests are they acting?” - a question that MP Watch has been asking for some time now. Jane Ripley is both a scientist and a member of Sally Ann Hart Watch in Hastings. She said of the action:“ We did attract new and younger people to this event. Scientists assembled at Parliament Square with Chris Packham and do photo shoots and interviews with press. There was a comprehensive and really useful myths/facts sheet of things we expected the MPs to use in defence of continued reliance on fossil fuels. I felt I would like a more specific ask as I’ve met my MP before, and I knew she would largely agree with me whilst still toeing the party line (cons). I posted in MP watch WhatsApp and got some really good points to make about NC7 of the Energy Bill and the Risk Assessments for the NZS being made public. At the time it was only for myself but as I chatted outside other people asked me to post them in the chat so that we could all ask for the same things to add weight. It did seem to work, my MP came down when she was green carded and did write down my points as she didn’t know about the RAs, and I think she appreciated that it was well prepared. I think having the experience and knowledge of MPWatch was extremely helpful and definitely lent weight to the proposals. “

RESOURCES: Some important information and steer from our parliamentary researcher Victor Anderson. 

POLITICAL AUTUMN DATES: Some political dates for your diaries: Liberal Democrat conference is in Bournemouth, September 23 to 26.Conservative Party conference is in Manchester, October 1 - 4. This is usually more interesting for the fringe meetings than for the more tightly controlled debates on the conference floor, but there will probably be some policy announcements in ministers’ speeches. Rutherglen & Hamilton West by-election on October 5 will provide a check on whether the SNP’s recent troubles really have led to Labour bouncing back in Scotland.The Green Party conference is in Brighton, October 6, 7 & 8.The Labour Party conference is in Liverpool, October 7 to 11. This will consider and inevitably approve the policy Programme.The SNP conference is in Aberdeen, October 15 to 17. The Mid-Bedfordshire by-election, one of the few seats which is a three-way Lib/Lab/Con marginal at the moment, is on October 19. Tamworth by-election on the same day.The House of Commons gets back on October 17 after the break for the conferences - but perhaps not for long as it is rumoured there will be a 2-week break before the King’s Speech. KING’S SPEECH & AUTUMN STATEMENT. This year, as is often the case, a new cycle for both laws and money starts in November.The King’s Speech and State Opening of Parliament on November 7 kicks off the legislative year, with announcements (backed up by far more detailed press briefings which you can find online) of the main new bills the Government intends to bring forward over the next 12 months or so. The Autumn Statement on November 22 sets out the Government’s latest economic forecasts, including for inflation, economic growth, and tax revenues, and the allocation of government spending between different departments and other categories (e.g. Scotland, Wales, local authorities, capital investment, repaying government debt). This provides a good indication of what the Government thinks it can afford to do - for example, is there a big increase in the schools budget for replacing dodgy concrete? Sometimes the statement is also used as an opportunity to announce tax changes as well, which turns it into what the media call a “mini-budget”.Legislation and spending are key topics for argument within government, which explains why we are seeing now in the media signs of Cabinet disputes about the pensions triple lock and the future of HS2.This year both the Speech and the Statement have a particular flavour because they are very likely to be the last before the next general election. The Speech therefore sets out not only what the Government wants to do, but more than usual, what they think it will be popular to be seen to be doing, and just as importantly for them, what they want the Labour Party to make itself unpopular by opposing, or at least give them dilemmas and internal arguments.The Autumn Statement is effectively a statement of political priorities, as well as spending plans. Including figures for the next few years after the general election, is a way of lumbering Labour (if they win) with spending commitments they may not want to have but may find it difficult to get out of.Before all this, on October 4, we will get Sunak’s speech to the Conservative Party Conference, which will tell us what sorts of things to expect.In MP Watch, we need to be thinking about “asks” for what we want to see in the Speech and the Statement. The bigger environmental NGOs and think-tanks will also be working on this.  At some point in October or November, there will also be a vote on the statutory instrument needed to delay the ban on sales of new petrol cars.Also worth having something on this - The Government is coming under criticism because of the failure of the latest auction for offshore wind projects to pick any projects at all, as the Government didn’t take into account the projects’ rising costs and therefore guaranteed a price that was too low for firms to think it was worth bidding. The Financial Times said (Sept 12): “Last week’s failure puts the UK’s net zero journey at risk”.

REBUTTALS: Tom Hardy, the co-founder of MP Watch has been steadily working on a document of common rebuttals to help our MP Watch groups reply to inaccurate replies coming from MPs. To give a flavour to the common statement given: “We are committed to Net Zero”Britain increased funding for fossil fuel projects overseas elevenfold last year. The UK allocated more overseas cash to oil and gas in the two years after signing the Paris Agreement than it had in the previous five. 97% of financial support to UK energy businesses operating overseas went to fossil fuel development, £2.5bn vs £100m for renewables.The UK subsidises the fossil fuel industries by £10.5bn, 50% higher than the £7.2bn we spend on renewables subsidies. All of the resources are available to people wanting to set up an MP Watch group. A growing network of experts and activists are waiting to help you, we offer regular training and support. If you haven’t yet joined, or have any questions, please email us at Twitter (or X). For a Twitter account that is exclusively dedicated to improving your performance on Twitter, follow Damon’s (from Steve Baker Watch) account @CyanWingTips . Steve Baker Watch (@SteveBakerhw) has passed the 7K followers mark with Damon at the helm on social media. Bravo!


COLLABORATIVE WORKING: An Update from the Climate Majority Project. As many of you know, MP Watch has been supported in its incredible journey so far by the Climate Majority Project (CMP). In particular MPW was the first incubatee and received some seed funding when we were tiny which set us on our way. Here’s a message from CMP: A huge thank-you and congratulations for all the work each of you have contributed. It is brilliant to see MP Watch grow from strength to strength.. Finally, the CMP crowdfunder is over half way towards reaching its target of £25,000 to support the next cohort of incubatees. MP Watch was part of the first cohort of incubated projects getting support from the Climate Majority Project, and we would love anyone here who is able to, to ‘pay it forward’ and make a donation to help us reach our target.


LOCAL UPDATES: Mark Jenkinson Watch. We have two posts from the last month’s Mark Jenkinson Watch Social Media channels, please click on the links and follow these active and beautifully crafted posts:

Robert Courts Watch. The RCW gang were out in force last weekend sporting a new handsome home-made banner and two key questions for passers by.Here’s an encouraging update from Hugo Kerr on the Group’s progress. Witney Eco-Forum held a spectacular September public meeting recently, chaired by the Bishop of Oxford and facilitated by Roger Harrabin. Our MP, Robert Courts (Con), was questioned by the great and good, the movers and shakers, from our constituency about climate change. He professed to be “passionate” about it, and explicitly accepted the scientific consensus and the Committee on Climate Change’s reporting. His answers, though, were all aspiration, delay, spin, disinformation and obfuscation. Robert Courts Watch was at the event and is pursuing this and publicising it, of course.  The event was held in a church, which was absolutely packed. Climate is clearly a hot topic in Witney! The audience on the night was not impressed by our MP’s responses, applauding only when Roger or the Bishop fact-checked, as they often had to. Otherwise, we continue to campaign out on the streets and in the media. Our constituency boundary is changing, so we have new ground to cover (and sad farewells to wave to some old). We are already embarked upon this and making good contacts and plans. Our new constituency will be much more marginal, so there’s an opportunity for pressure and potential change. Our government’s policies are dire and dangerous, but our MP is comfortable and defensive. We bash on! 

War on Words. Steve Baker WatchOur Steve Baker Watch Group has hit the headlines and been met with some resistance from Mr Baker this month. The Group received an intimidatory letter from Steve Baker (on Parliament-headed paper no less) Steve Baker Watch founder Gemma Rogers writes:“Steve Baker Watch has had some communication with our climate denying  MP in the last few weeks. We wrote him a polite request asking to meet and discuss Rishi Sunak's decision to grant over 100 new licenses for oil and gas exploration and in reply we received a long, cross letter accusing us of carrying out "defamatory stunts"  and veiled threats about our accepting "large donations from foreign donors" amongst other things. Pretty much all his accusations are false as we pointed out in our reply. Both letters can be seen on our website. This was covered in Byline Times and our local paper the Bucks Free Press, where he called us ‘clowns’. We have taken this on board and are organising our clown costumes as we speak.”MP Watch maintains that we endeavour to hold constructive engagement with MPs, and those that are deniers or delayists, who have gone beyond the benefit of doubt, we will unseat. We only want MPs who will serve our interest and actually act on the Climate Crisis.


Finally, on a light yet serious note, a great article from Stuart Lee, a sharp comedian who helped Steve Baker Watch get off the ground, all about Tufton Street and The National Trust. In it ,he mentions Steve Baker.

Until next time! The MP Watch Team