Grahame Morris

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Grahame Morris

Grahame Morris (born 13 March 1961) is a British Labour Party politician. He was elected at the 2010 general election as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Easington, replacing Labour MP John Cummings, who decided to step down.

Socialist Campaign Group

In 2021 Grahame Morris was member of the Socialist Campaign Group in the House of Parliament.

Early life and career

Born in 1961, Morris was educated at Howletch Comprehensive School (now East Durham College). He first worked as a medical laboratory scientific officer in the Sunderland Group of hospitals, but has been involved with politics since 1987 when he became a District Councillor for Easington. He worked as a researcher for previous MP John Cummings since 1997, and was also Secretary of Easington Constituency Labour Party.

Parliamentary career

Grahame Morris was one of a handful of Labour MPs newly elected in 2010 considered to be on the left of the party politically.He was one of 16 signatories of an open letter to Ed Miliband in January 2015 calling on the party to commit to oppose further austerity, take rail franchises back into public ownership and strengthen collective bargaining arrangements.

In Parliament he was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Meg Hillier and later to Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rachael Reeves. He served on the Health Select Committee.

Morris chairs the Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East.He presented the motion in Parliament calling on the government to formally recognise Palestinian statehood.He is Chair of the Unite Group in Parliament and is a champion of people with disabilities. He takes a close interest in animal welfare issues. Morris was one of 36 Labour MPs to nominate Jeremy Corbyn as a candidate in the Labour leadership election of 2015.

On 27 June 2016, Morris was appointed to the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Shadow Minister for the Constitutional Convention.

On 22 April 2019, Morris retweeted a video supposedly about Palestinian children he had received and captioned it Israeli soldiers "caught on camera beating up Palestinian children for the fun of it." However, the video was actually of Guatemalan, not Israeli, soldiers. Morris later apologised and said it was an "honest mistake". He referenced the dangers of fake news and said he would check sources with more care in future.

Backing Tarry

Labour went into meltdown July 28, 2022 as union leaders and MPs blasted Keir Starmer for sacking Sam Tarry from his front-bench team.

The fallout came as former shadow chancellor John McDonnell backed calls for a general strike.

Sir Keir faced an open revolt in the party after sacking Mr Tarry as his shadow transport minister for joining a rail strike picket line on Wednesday and for giving a round of media interviews without permission.

The Labour leader’s move has been met with fury by union leaders and the left of the party.

In a statement, Mr Tarry said: “I remain committed to supporting the striking rail workers, and campaigning for a Labour victory at the next general election, which I will fight for relentlessly from the back benches.”

Mr Tarry received messages of solidarity from many of his parliamentary Labour colleagues.

Former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said supporting picket lines was “socialism 101 for MPs.”

Labour MP Grahame Morris said: “Where should a Labour shadow transport minister be, other than on the picket line, supporting transport key workers seeking to defend their jobs, terms and conditions.”

Former Labour Party chairman Ian Lavery called the sacking “shameful.”

On Wednesday, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch called for a general strike in retaliation to the government’s threat to curb industrial action, warning of “the biggest resistance mounted by the entire trade union movement.”

Mr McDonnell said he would support a general strike by unions.

The veteran MP said he had “never seen this level of anger, but also this level of solidarity — wave after wave of trade unions.”

Mr McDonnell added: “We can’t go on like this — we have got to protect people … and if that means co-ordinated action to make it more effective and to resolve disputes much more quickly, well, so be it.”[1]

Communist Party connections

Morning Star contributors

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Jeremy Corbyn, Len McCluskey, Matt Wrack, Louise Raw, Richard Burgon, Emily Maiden, Diane Abbott, Ken Livingstone, Ian Lavery, Elaine Smith, Bernadette Horton, Nathan Akehurst, Michelle Ryan, Grahame Morris, John Ellison.

Justice for Palestine

Justice for Palestine was a 15th May, 2021 letter from British Members of Parliament.

In the light of the Israeli Government’s military offensive on Gaza and its attacks on Palestinians in the Occupied Territories I have signed the following statement calling for Justice for Palestine issued by the Socialist Campaign Group...

As the former colonial power that issued the Balfour Declaration, and then was responsible for the Mandate leading up to the Nakba of 1948, Britain has a special responsibility to do all it can to ensure a just peace.

We, therefore, call on the UK government to:

  • Demand an end to the siege of Gaza and the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory.
  • Impose sanctions on Israel for its repeated violations of international law, place an embargo on arms sales and end trade with illegal settlements.
  • Demonstrate full support for the International Criminal Court’s opening of an investigation into alleged war crimes in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.
  • Recognise the state of Palestine.

Signatories included Grahame Morris MP.

Parliamentary Friends of Colombia

Justice for Colombia works closely with the Parliamentary Friends of Colombia group formed of over 60 MPs and Lords from the British Parliament.

Members include Grahame Morris MP.

Cuba letter

April 2020, 32 members of parliament, across various parties in the UK, signed an open letter asking for the US blockade to be lifted, at least temporarily, to help Cuba fight the coronavirus at home and abroad.

Grahame Morris MP signed the open letter, adding, "it's time for the international community to reciprocate and to lift the U.S. imposed blockade and end the embargo at the very least on a temporary basis."

Paula Barker MP said, “I call on the British Government to urgently request the US Government to cease the illegal blockade with immediate effect. The Cuban people have helped us in our time of need we must do the same.”

Cuba Solidarity at Labour Party Conference

Cuba Solidarity Campaign Monday, 4 October 2021.

After eighteen months and twenty online public meetings CSC was delighted to participate in and host our first face-to-face public meetings, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, in September.

At the Labour Party Conference in Brighton we were invited to speak at ‘The World Transformed’, the Young Labour rally, as well as organising a fringe meeting as part of the main conference fringe programme.

CSC’s conference exhibition stall was extremely busy all week. Several MPs had their photographs taken with our ‘End the US blockade, 60 years too long’ poster, and it was great to see many existing CSC members visit to say hello and give their support, as well as Labour Party delegates who came to ask questions, buy gifts and join. More than 20 new members were recruited during the week.

On Saturday 25 September, CSC’s Natasha Hickman spoke at two events. Joining speakers from Colombia, Brazil, and Bolivia at The World Transformed Festival running concurrently with the Labour Party Conference, she contrasted the lack of mainstream media coverage for the mass demonstrations against imperialism and right-wing governments that had been taking place in these countries for many months compared to the way that the same media had responded to localised and much smaller events in Cuba. The meeting, ‘Latin America Rising: Imperialism, Resistance and Solidarity,’ hosted by Alborada attracted more than 100 people. Later the same evening, Natasha told a crowd of 200 at the Young Labour Rally that there was nothing controversial about standing up against the US blockade whose aim was to starve the Cuban people into submission. Other speakers at the rally included MPs Jeremy Corbyn, Richard Burgon and Zarah Sultana.

On Monday 27 September a further 150 people listened to Cuban Ambassador Barbara Montalvo Alvarez speak at her first fringe meeting since arriving in the UK in March 2020. CSC’s meeting ‘Solidarity and resistance: Cuba’s fight against COVID and the US blockade’, was sponsored by Unite the Union, and chaired by the union’s Assistant General Secretary Steve Turner.

Grahame Morris MP told the audience about the measures taken both in and out of parliament by MPs to pressure the Biden administration to reverse sanctions imposed by Trump including allowing Cuban Americans to send family remittances to the island.

Labour NEC youth representative and junior doctor Lara McNeill shared her first-hand experience of training as a doctor in Havana and told the audience what it was like to work in Cuba’s world class healthcare system. She compared the cost of training to become a doctor in the UK and the debts students would rack up here with Cuba where medical training is free and as a result doctors came from much more diverse backgrounds than in Britain.

CSC Director Rob Miller closed the meeting with a call for solidarity given the current difficulties the island faced. “Cuba has given so much to the world, it is time for us to give something back” he said.

Labour MPs Mick Whitley, Navendu Mishra, Paula Barker, Rachel Hopkins, Kim Johnson and Sinn Fein’s Chris Hazzard and Mickey Brady attended the meeting and expressed their ongoing support.[2]

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October 2019;

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Douglas Beattie, Matthew Brown, Lauren Conway, Dan Wilson Craw, Jamie Driscoll, Angela Duerden, Hugo Fearnley, Paul Feldman, Craig Hannaway, Ian Hodson, Ian McInroy, Carla Keegans, Ian Lavery MP, Clive Lewis MP, Sarah-Jane McDonough, Paul Mason, Adam Mendum, Grahame Morris MP, Laura Parker, Laura Pidcock MP, Richinda Taylor, Paul Williams MP.

Cuba and Venezuela Labour Party Conference Fringe 2012

Wednesday 3 October, 12.45pm, Purity Bar, Peter St, Manchester.

Cuba and Venezuela - Another World is Possible

with guest speakers

References

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