Anne Snelgrove MP has signed up to become a member of the newly formed All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gurkha Rights, and in September met a delegation of Gurkhas outside Labour Party Conference in Manchester.
The Gurkhas have been campaigning for equal treatment with other Commonwealth soldiers who are entitled to settle in the UK at the end of their period of service. Currently only Gurkhas discharged from the British Army after 1997 are entitled to settlement rights. Gurkhas also receive substantially less in wages and pensions than soldiers in other British regiments despite being deployed in some of the most dangerous conflicts in the world on behalf of Britain.
The delegation will comprise Gurkhas from Reading and the Thames Valley and elsewhere in the country and will include the Victoria Cross holder Gurkha Ram Bahadur Limbu. MPs who have agreed to meet and show solidarity with the Gurkhas include Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee Keith Vaz, Martin Salter MP (who organised the campaign) and others.
Anne Snelgrove said:
“I am pledged to do all I can to raise the issue of equal rights for all Gurkhas both within the Labour Party and in the House of Commons when Parliament returns. Whilst I acknowledge that the Government has improved the situation for those Gurkhas discharged after 1997, I believe that it is fundamentally wrong to have two classes of soldiers serving in the British Army. We have many servicemen and women and ex-servicemen and women in Swindon who know the Gurkhas as ‘the bravest of the brave’ and it is right and proper that we acknowledge the tremendous debt that we owe them for putting themselves in harms way on our behalf.”
Swindon MP supports campaign to turn down ocean noise and protect whales
South Swindon MP Anne Snelgrove has pledged her support for whales by backing the campaign to “turn down” man-made ocean noise.
Anne met representatives from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester to discuss the growing threats posed to whales, dolphins and porpoises by increasing levels of ocean noise pollution, which are making it ever harder for marine animals to navigate, locate food and mates and avoid predators.
Anne made a You Tube video available on her website: http://www.annesnelgrove.co.uk/swindon_conference_live
Anne is backing IFAW’s calls for man-made ocean noise, from sources such as military sonar, commercial shipping and seismic surveys for oil and gas exploration, to be recognised as a pollutant in the forthcoming Marine Bill.
Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, said: “Ocean noise in an invisible but deadly form of pollution which poses a serious threat to the survival of marine mammals. It can dramatically alter their behaviour and in extreme cases can cause strandings and death. We are grateful to Anne for her support on this issue.”
Anne added: “I am very happy to support IFAW’s ocean noise campaign. I learnt from talking to IFAW activists at Labour Party Conference that background noise from man-made sources in the world’s oceans must be reduced to protect our whales, dolphins and porpoises from harmful high intensity sound. We need to take action now on ocean noise and turn it down.”
Anne is also urging her constituents to write to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Hilary Benn MP, to urge him to recognise man-made ocean noise as a pollutant in the Marine Bill.