'Fratton boy' Portsmouth MP makes 'play up Pompey' maiden speech in House of Commons

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has made his first speech in parliament.

Wednesday, 13th September 2017, 7:02 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 11:41 am

The Labour politician stood in the House of Commons and delivered the speech today. Here is the full text:

Thank you Madam Deputy Speaker for allowing me to make my maiden speech in this debate and to follow the honourable member for Totnes.

Today’s debate on public sector pay is about the sort of people who ensured that this Fratton boy had the sort of opportunity and aspiration I want every single young person in Portsmouth to have.

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Public sector workers and Pompey people are key to delivering this ambition for my constituency - but more of that in a minute.

Firstly, I’m grateful to those who’ve made it possible for me to make this maiden speech today – the people of Portsmouth South - who put their trust in me at the last election.

I promise, as long as I have the privilege of serving in this place, I will be an active local campaigner and strong national voice for Portsmouth, across every single community.

I would like to thank my family and friends for also putting me here and the good employers of Basingstoke Voluntary Action for allowing me some holiday to fight the election!

I wish to pay tribute to my immediate predecessor, Flick Drummond, while only in this place for a couple of years, she used her time here well to advocate for women’s and transgender rights.

I wish her well as the new Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire - a task sadly made harder by cuts in police numbers in recent years.

In my life-time the constituency has cycled through representatives from the SDP, Liberal Democrats, Tories and now Labour.

I hope, Madam Deputy Speaker, it has now settled on a choice it can stick with

My first job in Portsmouth, was as a playworker serving the most deprived parts of the city - a city where, even today, too many families are still living in poverty, a city where too many are still, being held back.

And coming from a working class background and a family of public servants - my father, a former youth worker, my mother, a hospital cleaner - I’ve learnt the value of good public services meeting local needs, of working hard, and of helping others.

Proud to be Portsmouth through and through, it’s my great city I now want to talk about

The home of Dickens, Kipling, Conan Doyle, Brunel - and Amanda Holden - Portsmouth is a city of many firsts.

:: the first to host a football league game under flood lights

:: the home of the first person to use an umbrella

:: the first town to open free clinics for the treatment of venereal disease

:: the first cooperative society, set up by dockyard workers

And it is an honour, Madam Deputy Speaker, to be the first ever Labour member to represent this historic constituency - in my home city.

A city that - throughout its history - has punched above its weight.

It is also the home of the Royal Navy and our nation’s new carriers, the birthplace of great British authors, world leading engineers, the greatest football club in the land - and the occasional Labour Prime Minister - but one step at a time!

The constituency – made up of communities united by a strong sense of pride in Portsmouth – is the home of world-class businesses, built on a tradition of creativity and innovation that drove Britain’s industrial revolution.

Portsmouth’s success gave Britain a competitive advantage that has persisted into the modern era; we are a city of doers, and a city of makers.

Indeed I would go as far as to say that the success of the UK has been inextricably linked to the success of my great city.

The spirit of this innovation is driving success in Portsmouth’s modern economy

And, Madam Deputy Speaker, through my conversations with business leaders, I know that there is potential to build an economy that creates well-paid jobs for the many, not just the few.

Portsmouth continues to leave an imprint on the world

We welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors each year who take away with them an understanding of British naval history and an affection for a modern British city that has an unrivalled waterfront and world-class events.

And maybe Madam Deputy Speaker, it is our military reserve that means the people of Portsmouth don’t shout about their own success, they just get on with the job.

It is this spirit that has fortified the city in the most testing of times.

During wars and national emergencies, my city has just got on with the job.

In the two world wars it has played a key role in delivering victory and helping win the peace that we all enjoy today.

My own family - like millions of other families across Britain - played a role in the Second World War fighting against tyranny - my grandfather, leaving Southsea seafront on his 17th birthday to liberate mainland Europe on D-Day.

I am hugely proud of the strength and courage shown by all communities across Portsmouth during Europe’s darkest hour.

The city has a spirit and determination that is second to none; and that is why I love it

The sadness for me, though, is that far too many people in Portsmouth are continuing to fight their own individual battles.

Whether it is a daily battle to earn enough money to make ends meet. Or the battle to find a good school for your child. Or the battle to find a property you can call home.

These are the challenges, plus so many more, that people up and down the land face every day.

I want Portsmouth and our nation to tackle these individual challenges head on

I want our society and economy to be vibrant and diverse, so that we can take these individual battles, that ordinary people are facing, and make it our collective responsibility to resolve them together.

I want to help create a future that is better than the present, where hope replaces division, and everyone, and I mean everyone, is be better off.

We know from our history there is no challenge we cannot face, by working together.

So this is my call to every member of this House, unite to tackle the every day challenges of the many, and by doing this, I know that Portsmouth and Britain’s best is yet to come.

Most disturbing for me though, Madam Deputy Speaker, is that the generation that literally fought for our country are now facing new battles.

With adult social care and the NHS in crisis, the elderly are facing uncertainty in their old age.

This isn’t the world that we promised them. We promised homes fit for heroes. We are letting them down

And we’re not providing the level of public services they deserve, Mr Speaker, due to the current funding and staffing crisis, where years of pay freezes have created challenges for recruitment and retention.

I want the people who keep our communities safe, who educate our children, who defend our great nation, who save lives to be shown that the people in this place understand, value and respect them.

That’s why I was proud to stand with Portsmouth’s nurses at last week’s lobby of Parliament and why I’m particularly pleased to be making my maiden speech in today’s debate.

My own sister will rely on the care of these nurses at QA when she gives birth in the coming days. Sadly she cannot be here today which I’m personally delighted about in fear she may give birth in this place. Not another first any of us would want to see!

Madam Deputy Speaker, as I said at the start of my speech, it was those public sector workers who gave me hope, who taught me to never accept it when people said to a Pompey boy: “you can’t do that.”

What motivates me now is a simple notion: to ensure that the opportunities of a good education, a good home or a good job aren’t limited to the privileged few but can be enjoyed by all our citizens regardless of where they are born.

And Madam Deputy Speaker, for as long as I continue to enjoy the privilege of representing the people of Portsmouth South, I will fight for a future in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few.

Every day, when I, a Fratton lad arrive in this grand place, I will never forget who sent me here.

I will be an active local campaigner and strong national voice committed to serving their interests.

So to all those young people growing up in Portsmouth, as I once did, my message to you today is this: aim high, work hard and you will achieve. Never ever accept anyone telling you you can’t succeed.

Madam Deputy Speaker, as my fellow Fratton Park attendees say: “play up Pompey!”