Congratulations to Boris!

Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Barrow and Furness, Simon Fell, has today congratulated Boris Johnson for his resounding win today in the Conservative Leadership election.

Speaking from Ulverston, Simon said:

"I want to congratulate Boris Johnson on becoming the next Conservative Leader and Prime Minister. His clear message on Brexit, and his optimism and passion for Britain shone through during the campaign and carried him to victory.

"As a someone who voted to Leave the EU myself, I'm glad that we now have a committed Brexiteer at the helm. It's time to get out of the EU and unite the country once more. We are an incredible nation with so many opportunities ahead of us. Boris' positivity and vision will be crucial in the days and weeks ahead of October 31st."

Simon Fell selected as Conservative candidate for Barrow & Furness

At a special meeting of the Barrow and Furness Conservative Association at the Drill Hall last night, Simon Fell was overwhelmingly selected as the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Barrow and Furness. 

Mr Fell is Chairman of the Barrow and District Credit Union and a director of fraud prevention agency, Cifas. He is married to Pippa and has a 3-year-old daughter, Peg ,with another on the way. Since 2015, Mr Fell has reduced the Labour majority in Barrow to just 209 votes.

Speaking after the selection, Simon said:

I’m delighted by the result tonight. For too long Barrow and Furness has been denied a strong voice representing it in Westminster. Furness needs an MP who will work constructively with the government to deliver the changes we so badly need in our road, rail and broadband networks, who can secure the funding we need for our vital public services, and who will champion the world-class industry in our area.

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party offers nothing for Barrow except uncertainty. He wants to shutter our largest employer and will decimate our local economy and public services by doing so.

I’m looking forward to finishing the job we started 5 years ago and turning Barrow blue once again. 

Speaking after the selection, Chair of Barrow and Furness Conservatives, Andrew Butcher, said:

Local Conservatives overwhelmingly voted for Simon. This is absolutely the right result. He is passionate about the area that his family have lived in for generations and has a positive vision for what Barrow and Furness can become. I look forward to seeing him elected in due course.

Time for a new approach to banking

Following the news that Ulverston’s branch of Santander is marked for closure, Simon Fell, Conservative Spokesman for Barrow & Furness, has written to the Minister for Financial Services today, and called on the Government to look afresh at plans for multiple banks to share a single branch.

Speaking from Ulverston, Simon Fell said:

“Ulverston has already lost too many banks. Yes, more people are banking online or via apps, but that does not suit everyone.

“It is time for the government to consider bringing in a system which works in the USA, where multiple banks offer simple counter services from a single branch.

“These branches are cheaper to run but essential to customers who now find themselves having to travel long distances to perform essential banking services.

“Branch closures are so damaging to our local high streets. Ulverston is thriving, but to remain that way, we need a strong banking presence to remain.

“I have asked to meet with John Glen MP, the Minister for Financial Services, to discuss this issue in more detail and to call on the Government to consider themes that would allow banks like Santander to remain and possible for others to move into Ulverston.”

Defence Secretary offers support for Barrow

On Thursday 17 January, the Defence Secretary the Rt Hon Gavin Williamson MP visited Barrow and Furness to speak to party activists.

Over the course of a well-attended dinner at the Olde Mill, the Defence Secretary chatted with activists new and old, and shared stories of his time in government - from being David Cameron’s PPS, to becoming Chief Whip and then Defence Secretary under Theresa May.

Gavin Williamson praised the ‘world class’ workforce in Barrow, calling them the ‘envy of the world’ and promised that a Conservative government would never let its commitment to the Yard, or to Barrow, slide. Highlighting Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s affiliation with the campaign for nuclear disarmament, the Defence Secretary made it clear that Labour could offer no such assurances and were a ‘real risk’ to the future success of the area.

It was fantastic to have the Defence Secretary join us for a relaxed meal and discussion. He gave an excellent speech and provided a commitment to this area that was warmly welcomed. It was especially heartening to hear the Defence Secretary praise Barrow and its workforce. He was right to say that the skill base here is second-to-none, and to commit continued support to the Yard.

It was only in December that the Defence Secretary opened the £25million Submarine Academy in Barrow and provided a £400million funding boost to the Dreadnought programme, securing over 8,000 jobs.

Victory for A595 campaign!

Simon Fell, Conservative Spokesman for Barrow and Furness, has welcomed today’s announcement by the Transport Secretary that work will begin to build a bypass at Grizebeck, providing relief for locals and commuters alike.

At Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced the first five upgrades to the Major Road Network. One of these is at “the infamous farmyard bottleneck’ at Grizebeck.

Speaking at the Conference, Simon Fell said:

“I’m glad that after years of campaigning on this issue, the Government has pledged action to fix the A595. I would like to pay tribute to the hard work of many who have doggedly campaigned on this issue.

“It beggars belief that one of the main roads in our area runs through a farmyard and I look forward to this dangerous bottleneck being removed.

“I took Chris Grayling to Grizebeck with Trudy Harrison last year to see the bottleneck for himself. He was staggered by what he saw, and I’m very glad that his warm words are being translated into action.”

Labour’s not-so-secret plan to scrap Trident

At Labour Party Conference in Liverpool on Monday, Senior Labour MP Fabian Hamilton laid bare his plans for the Dreadnought programme and Barrow’s shipyard.

Speaking at a CND fringe meeting, Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘Minister for Peace’ said that he and Jeremy Corbyn want to scrap Trident and begin a ‘defence diversification’ programme that would see shipyard workers retrained to work in other sectors.

Simon Fell, the Conservative Party Spokesman for Barrow and Furness said:

“This deeply worrying and entirely naive policy would decimate Barrow and the surrounding areas.

“Labour have gone back to the 70s. This pie-in-the-sky idea would lead to highly-skilled workers leaving our area and a generation of talent lost.

“It’s not just the Yard that would be hit, but also the wider supply chain, apprenticeship programmes, and retailers. It would also be harder still to make the case for further investment in our schools, Furness General, roads and rail network with such a major employer brought to its knees by Jeremy Corbyn’s reckless Labour Party.

“It’s time for Jeremy Corbyn and his ‘Minister for Peace’ to think again so that these dangerous ideas are never allowed to rip the heart out of our town.”

Simon Fell: £394 million a week is the birthday present the NHS deserves

Simon Fell, Conservative Spokesman for Barrow and Furness, has wished happy birthday to the NHS as it celebrates its 70th birthday on Thursday 5 July, marking 70 years of access to healthcare which is free at the point of use.

The NHS belongs to all of us. It’s a legacy we pass down from generation to generation. And it’s a legacy this Government will protect.

That’s why the Government has announced that it will increase NHS funding by almost £400 million a week – more than £20 billion a year – by 2023/24 as part of a historic long-term funding plan for the NHS.

The NHS must be supported and protected so that it can continue delivering the best quality care for the next 70 years and beyond, which is why the NHS will also produce a new ten-year plan, setting out a long-term vision for the health service to ensure every penny is well spent and services are fit for the future.

Commenting, Simon Fell said:

“I am delighted to wish the NHS a happy 70th birthday. Much has changed since the NHS was founded in 1948, but the fundamental principles are the same: a service which is universal, comprehensive, and free at the point of use.

“The NHS has been there for all of us over the past 70 years, and we must ensure it continues to be there for everyone in the future. Theresa May’s historic funding announcement will guarantee this, and is a fitting birthday present for our world-renowned health service.”

Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP said:

“As we celebrate the 70th birthday of the NHS, this Conservative Government remains committed to its future with a historic long-term funding announcement. £394 million extra a week by 2023-24 will ensure the NHS can continue delivering valued services, and improve and adapt for the future.

“This year we have also announced a pay rise for nearly a million of the dedicated staff who make the NHS what it is, and over £200 million of funding for vital health research which will prepare the NHS for the next generation of health challenges.”

Looking back on a memorable few months

It’s been a remarkable few months for Barrow and Furness Conservatives.

We’ve had visits from the Prime Minister in support of the SLDC elections: Jake Berry MP, the Northern Powerhouse minister, to launch a new round of Coastal Communities funding; the Health Minister to view the South Lakes Birthing Centre, and also the Defence Secretary to announce £2.4bn in funding for Barrow’s submarine programme, securing over 8,000 local jobs.

Less glamorous perhaps, but it’s also worth noting that the government announced a £152,000 fund to repair more than 27,000 potholes across Barrow. Your cars’ suspension will thank us!

These visits and announcements speak to a bigger story: we’re back on the map and the central party considers us a force to be reckoned with and one to be supported.

You only have to think of how far we’ve come -

In 2015, when I first fought Barrow & Furness, it was a safe Labour seat - now it’s ultra-marginal. In 2017, we came within spitting distance of taking Cumbria County Council. And this year, we made strong gains - especially compared to the national picture - in the South Lakes elections.

We’ve managed it because we’re pulling together as a team. With an excellent campaign manager in place, an office in Dalton, and teams from across the area working to support each other, we’re taking the fight to Labour and the Lib Dems. As we lean into the Barrow Borough elections next year, we need to maintain that momentum (no pun intended!) and present a positive Conservative vision for the town.

We have a fantastic record to fight on: the economy continues to grow in spite of naysayers claims; the UK has the highest employment rate in four decades; we’ve introduced a national living wage, and - at time of writing - we’re just put paid to fixed-odds betting terminals. All this while ploughing on with the hard business of Brexit.

Over the next few months I hope to announce a speakers’ programme for Barrow and Furness, where we can get together and socialise while hearing stories from the front line of politics from some of our best MPs. Watch this space!

In the meantime, enjoy the bank holiday weekend.

Simon Fell Celebrates National Apprenticeship Week

This National Apprenticeship Week, Simon Fell, Conservative Spokesman for Barrow and Furness, is celebrating the vital contribution of apprentices in Barrow & Furness.

Since 2010 there have been 8930 apprenticeship starts in Barrow & Furness and over 1.2 million new apprenticeship starts nationally since 2015. Take up of higher-level apprenticeships in 2016-17 was up by nearly 35 per cent compared to 2015 -16. In Barrow and Furness there were 1,280 apprenticeship starts in 2016-17 alone.

Apprenticeships are at the heart of the Conservative Government’s strategy to expand opportunity and develop the skilled workforce the country needs. This includes working with industry to deliver an ambitious target of 3 million new apprenticeship starts by 2020.

But we know there is still more to do, which is why we recently launched an education and funding review that will help people make more effective choices between the different options available to them, promoting parity of esteem between technical and academic pathways.

Commenting, Simon Fell said: ‘Apprenticeships allow people to earn while they learn, and open doors to highly skilled, rewarding careers.

This Government’s reforms are not only increasing apprenticeship numbers, but also driving up the quality of apprenticeships, meaning they have real value in the jobs market.

This is vital for Barrow & Furness, as it ensures that people have an opportunity to gain the skills they need to work in our world-class employers and remain in our area.

Only the Conservatives are working hard to ensure everyone can get on in life, and go as far as their talents and hard work can take them.



  •          There have been over 1.2 million new apprenticeship starts since May 2015, and the take up of higher-level apprenticeships in 2016-17 was up by nearly 35 per cent compared to 2015 -16 (Hansard, 1 February 2018, WA, linkHansard, 10 January 2018, WA, link).
  •          The Government has set an ambitious target to deliver 3 million new apprenticeship starts by 2020, from May 2015. The Government’s strategy for achieving this is outlined in English Apprenticeships: Our 2020 Vision (English Apprenticeships: Our 2020 Vision, accessed 5 March 2018, link).
  •          Between 2010 and 2015, the Government created 2.38 million apprenticeships, which is more than double the number created by Labour in their last term. Between 2005-06 and 2009-10, there were 1,103,800 new apprenticeship starts (BIS, FE data library: apprenticeships, 11 September 2015, linkBIS Press Release, 14 October 2015, link).
  •          Employer-led apprenticeship reforms continue to improve the quality of apprenticeships. Supported by the Institute for Apprenticeships, employers are designing new, high quality apprenticeship standards to ensure apprenticeships are more responsive to their needs (Institute for Apprenticeships, accessed 5 March 2018, link). 
  •          Apprenticeships are at the heart of Government’s broader skills agenda, and will sit alongside ‘T levels’ within a reformed vocational training system. T-Levels are technical qualifications which will be as rigorous and respected as A-Levels. They are being developed in partnership with industry professionals from companies including Rolls Royce, Fuijitsu and EDF to ensure they have real credibility (DfE, 11 October 2017, link). 
  •          Under Labour, at least 350,000 young people were let down by courses which had ‘little or no labour market value’. In 2011, the independent Wolf Review found that ‘the staple offer for between a quarter and a third of the post-16 cohort’ was ‘a diet of low-level vocational qualifications, most of which have little to no labour market value’ (DfE, Review of Vocational Education – The Wolf Report, 3 March 2011, link).

         This National Apprenticeship Week runs from 5 – 9 March, and is marked by events celebrating apprentices and encouraging more people and businesses to get involved. The theme of this year’s National Apprenticeship Week is ‘Apprenticeships Work’ (ESFA, 5 March 2018, link).