MPs watch: NHS ‘on the table’ in US trade talks?


Last updated Jul 31, 2020

Every month the Stray Ferret has been trying to find out what our local MPs have been up to in their constituencies and in the House of Commons.

In July, lockdown restrictions were eased which saw a raft of businesses reopen in the district, including pubs, restaurants and hairdressers. It was also the last month in Parliament before the summer recess and several crucial votes were cast.

This month, we have included Conservative MP Nigel Adams as several villages in his Selby and Ainsty constituency fall within the Harrogate district — including Huby, Spofforth, Kirby Overblow and Sicklinghall.

We asked Mr Adams as well as Harrogate & Knaresborough MP, Andrew Jones and Ripon MP Julian Smith, if they would like to highlight anything in particular, but we did not receive a response from any of them at the time of publication.

So here is what we know after analysing their online presence and activity in Parliament.

Andrew Jones, MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough.

In Harrogate and Knaresborough here is what we found on Mr Jones:

  • On July 7, Mr Jones voted against offering financial support for migrant victims of domestic abuse.
  • On July 20, he voted against protecting NHS in a post-Brexit trade deal with the United States.
  • Earlier in the month, Mr Jones praised a rainbow tribute to NHS and key workers on the Stray. He said: “Our key workers have kept the nation going throughout lockdown and I want to see local and national celebration of that.”
  • Mr Jones tweeted just five times during July, down from nine tweets in June. He does not have a Facebook page.
  • He posted on his website a message of good luck to Harrogate Town ahead of their play off final this Sunday.
  • In a Commons debate about the future of the Palace of Westminster, Mr Jones called on lawmakers to invest in improvements. He said: “We need to save it for future generations as our national Parliament, making sure not only that it is modernised, but that it is fit for service for centuries ahead.”
  • On July 8 he gave a “cautious welcome” to pledges made by Bauer Media about the future of Stray FM. The company told Mr Jones that no jobs would be lost as the station transitions to Greatest Hits Radio.

Read more:

Julian Smith, MP for Ripon and Skipton.

In Ripon here is what we found on Mr Smith:

  • Mr Smith also voted against protecting the NHS in a future trade deal with the US. Unlike Mr Jones, he wrote to the Stray Ferret to explain why he voted this way. He said: “No future trade agreement will be allowed to undermine the guiding principle of the NHS.”
  • On July 23 Mr Smith went on a tour of Spirit of Masham, a gin distillery that has been producing hand sanitizer during the pandemic.
  • On July 16, Mr Smith published on his website letters he received from HBC’s Wallace Sampson and NYCC’s Richard Flinton regarding infrastructure improvements to the proposed Ripon Barracks housing development.
  • As businesses reopened in Ripon in early July, Mr Smith visited Little Ripon Bookshop where he was “heartened” by the hard work of staff to make the shop Covid secure.
  • On July 2, he attended a virtual environmental lobby organised by green group The Climate Coalition that discussed how to encourage a healthy and green recovery from coronavirus.
  • 11 of Mr Smith’s 23 tweets were about Irish politics. He was sacked as Northern Ireland secretary in February.

Nigel Adams, MP For Selby and Ainsty

In rural south Harrogate here is what we found on Mr Adams.

  • Mr Adams is the minister for Asia in the Foreign Office and he answered several questions in Parliament about China. Regarding the detention of human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, he said: “We remain concerned by restrictions on freedom of expression in China, and urge the authorities to immediately release human rights lawyers detained for the peaceful and constitutionally protected expression of their views.”
  • He also said he was “seriously concerned” about the situation involving Uighur Muslims.
  • The majority of his 25 tweets concerned foreign affairs in countries including Vietnam, Nepal and Myanmar. None related to his constituency
  • Mr Adams voted in line with the government on the Trade Bill and the Domestic Abuse Bill.
  • He hit out at Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer saying he had an “obsession” with undermining the Brexit vote.
  • A Liverpool fan, he tweeted “rejoice” at his club winning the Premier League title.
  • The news section of his website has not been updated since April.


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