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SYED KAMALL MEP
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New Year Update
Dear friends,

I hope you had a restful Christmas and New Year, although it seems like so long ago as much has happened this year already. I was grateful to be able to enjoy a few days with my family and to "recharge my batteries" for the year ahead, and January has been as busy as predicted. 

2017 will bring some monumental changes for our country and I for one am excited about the new opportunities this year will bring. By March, our Prime Minister will trigger article 50, and our departure from the EU will be set in motion. 
 
Much is being made of what sort of Brexit we should seek, but I think we need to be clear on who is it for and what it is we want to achieve. Rather than a Brexit that is seen to benefit only bankers, or farmers, we need a Brexit that benefits everyone. 
 
In this crucial time before Article 50 is triggered we need to be clear about our priorities, we need to set the right tone, we need to understand how the EU works and identify potential trade-offs. We need to be bold in what we ask for, and to be prepared to walk away if the deal is seen to be unacceptable. I believe our Prime Minister set exactly the right tone in her speech in mid-January and has given our country the direction and leadership we need.

However, our success relies on our unity; we have to move forward together. Our PM needs our support and by pulling together as a country the opportunities that lie ahead are endless.  
 
Warm wishes,



Syed Kamall MEP
DO YOU HAVE YOUR COPY OF MY BREXIT POCKET GUIDE?
I know there is a lot of information about Brexit out there and it can be confusing to know what's actually happening. I've written a short pocket guide explaining the process and options for the UK. It will be updated as the negotiations begin and progress.  You can download the latest version here: www.syedkamall.co.uk/brexitguide/ or email me at syed.kamall@europarl.europa.eu and I will send you a copy. 

CHRISTMAS CARD COMPETITION SURPRISE
With Sofia Jedrejko and her family and teacher
Last year I ran a competition for primary school pupils across London to design my Christmas card. It was a tough decision, but in the end I selected Zofia Jedrejko's wonderful picture of a snowman.

I would like to thank Our Lady & St.George’s Roman Catholic school in Walthamstow for the warm welcome I received when I visited the school in December to announce the winner.

Zofia only found out that she had won at the special school assembly her school had organised. I was delighted to be able to congratulate her and her proud family personally.
 
To see the moment Zofia heard the news, click the video below.


STANDING UP FOR THOSE AFFECTED BY THE STRIKES
If you live in London or the South East, then I am sure you have had enough of the chaos caused by strikes in London.

We've already seen this year more weeks of strike action, on the underground and, yet again, on Southern Railways.

I asked people what impact the strikes were having on them so that I could create a video to highlight their plight. It is only by making it clear that Londoners and commuters have had enough, that we will be able to change things.

To see my report, click the video below.

HAVE YOU COMPLETED MY BREXIT SURVEY?
It is just over 6 months since the UK voted to leave the EU and I wanted to gain an insight into how you saw Brexit now. In the last few weeks, I have sent out hundreds of surveys through the post and launched a survey online.
 
So far, and I must emphasise the final results are not in yet, respondents have told me that they believe that MPs should have a say on invoking Article 50, but that MPs should also respect the decision of the British people in the referendum. Do you agree?
 
To have your say, please follow the link to the survey 
www.syedkamall.co.uk/survey/
SUPPORTING OUR FRIENDS OUTSIDE OF LONDON IN THEIR ELECTIONS
Out campaigning with Alexis Beeching and Joe Rich
You'll no doubt remember that last year, many people from outside London came to help out and campaign for Conservative candidates during the Mayor of London and GLA elections. Since there are no major elections in London in May 2017, over the next few months, I and other London campaigners will be helping to return the favour by travelling to some of the surrounding areas just outside London to help with their local and county elections. 

The first mutual aid campaign day was on Saturday 4th February when we campaigned for Conservative candidates Alexis Beeching and Joe Rich for the by-election in Eslenham & Henham ward on Uttlesford District Council in Essex. Conservative Progress, Queen Mary University Conservatives and Conservatives for Liberty joined us on the day.
 
MEETING THE MALTESE PRIME MINISTER
Conference of Presidents meeting with the incoming Maltese Presidency of the council in Malta.
In my role as leader of the European Conservatives & Reformists (ECR) Group, I am often invited to meet with Prime Ministers from across the EU. In December, I travelled to Malta to meet with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to discuss Malta's Presidency of the European Council, Brexit and the shared histories of our two countries.

The rotating Presidency of the Council (representing the 28 EU governments) allows each EU member state to preside over Council negotiations for a six-month period. Malta will take the lead from January to June 2017, during which the UK government will invoke Article 50 to leave the EU.
 
The Maltese PM hopes Malta can benefit from Brexit by attracting some London financial services firms to set up their EU subsidiaries in Malta. Both Mr Muscat and his Deputy Prime Minister, Louis Grech, were students in the UK and hoped that we could find a Brexit deal that works for both the UK and the European Union. They also expressed their desire to maintain a strong bilateral relationship with the UK, especially since Malta is still a member of the Commonwealth.

 
AN UPDATE ON MY WORK ON THE PRIIPS LEGISLATION
Discussing PRIIPS
With so much EU legislation after the financial crisis, as a MEP covering financial services, I often find myself trying to limit the damage of the domino-type effect where a new piece of legislation leads to inconsistencies with other EU laws. This was the case once with the Package Retail Insurance-Based Investment Products (PRIIPS) regulation.
 
The legislation was originally proposed to help retail investors better understand and compare the key features, risk, rewards and costs of different investment and insurance products in a short and consumer-friendly Key Information Document (KID).
 
However, upon receiving the proposal it became clear that the original draft would not achieve the clarity the legislation sought. Much of my time before Christmas was spent scrutinising and re-drafting this regulation to ensure a better document for consumers. An unlikely alliance across all the political groups in the European Parliament resulted in a hard-fought victory that sent the proposed guidelines back to the European Commission, which will come back with new guidelines later this year.
DISABILITY RIGHTS
With Yannis Vardakastanis and colleagues at the Disability Forum
To coincide with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, in December I co-hosted an event with the European Disability Forum, the European Parliament disability inter-group, and representatives from other political groups in the European Parliament, to discuss help for disabled people within the workplace.

Breaking down barriers to access and increasing opportunities for persons with disabilities is an issue close to my heart. We need to do all we can, both politically and personally, to remove obstacles that may exist in our communities and show there are no limits to what can be achieved. On behalf of the ECR Group, I signed a declaration committing to a series of important initiatives to ensure the full inclusion of persons with disabilities and the enforcement of their rights.

The declaration can be found 
here.
MY NEW ROLE AS A BREXIT ADVISOR TO TechUK
With Simon Legg at the Makers Academy
I am passionate about Tech and I have been since I first learnt to code at school and university.

TechUK claims that new research shows that the internet economy contributed 10% of our GDP in 2015, making it the second largest economic contributor behind property. Nesta, a research group, argue the UK is in a clear first place as the best country in Europe for people to start a tech company. Not surprisingly, the Tech sector, like many others have questions on how Brexit will impact them.
 
Given my passion for tech, I was delighted to accept an invitation to join theTechUK Brexit Advisory Panel, in a voluntary capacity. I look forward to helping this exciting sector to take advantage of the opportunities of Brexit and to maintain London as a hub for innovation.

 
New Office
Due to increased demands on my time to liaise with government ministers, MPs and others during the Brexit negotiations, I have relocated my office to Westminster.  From the end of February, my new office address will be:

Office of Syed Kamall MEP for London 
10 Greycoat Place
London
SW1P 1SB 
With Rab Forman, Chairman of the Scottish Conservatives 
Meeting with the team from Brexit Central in Brussels
With BME media journalists visiting Strasbourg
Addressing Columbia Law School students visiting Brussels
With residents from Northwood, visiting the European Parliament
HOW TO GET IN TOUCH
If you have an issue that you would like my help with or if you would like me to speak at a local association event or organise a campaign day, please do get in touch on the details below.

European Parliament Office:

Dr Syed Kamall MEP
European Parliament
WIB 06M097
Rue Wiertz 60
1047 Brussels
Belgium.

Tel: 00 32 228 45792
Email:  syed.kamall@europarl.europa.eu

London Office:

Office of Syed Kamall MEP
10 Greycoat Place
London
SW1P 1SB 

 
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