Portsmouth Labour MP votes to weaken water regulator


Portsmouth's Labour MP has supported controversial changes proposed by the Conservative government to weaken Ofwat, the water company regulator.

131 Labour MPs, including Portsmouth South's Labour MP, supported the Conservative government's new plans to stop any regulator imposing fines unless they can prove it will not impact economic growth.

Stephen Morgan over an image of sewage dumping
Portsmouth's Labour MP has broken his word to back the Conservatives on sewage dumping.

Well-respected environmental groups including Surfers Against Sewage and the Wildlife and Countryside Link have warned the plans will diminish the regulator's powers.

Portsmouth South's Labour MP voted to downgrade Ofwat's enforcement powers, despite cross-party opposition in the House of Commons. This is despite residents in Portsmouth raising sewage pollution in Southsea as a top issue ahead of the Local Elections on Thursday 2 May.


Liberal Democrat campaigner for Portsmouth South Charlie Murphy said:

"Stephen Morgan has always told Portsmouth he is campaigning against sewage dumping. That has been proven to be true only when convenient to him.

As soon as it conflicted with the Labour Party line, he dropped his opposition and let Portsmouth residents down.

Ofwat will now be fighting water companies with one hand tied behind their back.

Stephen Morgan is all talk and no action when it comes to sewage dumping in Southsea. Time and again, Conservative MPs have voted against taking tough action on Southern Water's pollution and now he has joined them.

It is a scandalous vote by a government which is woefully out of touch with this environmental crisis. Portsmouth residents are furious to hear the industry's enforcer has been weakened even more. Portsmouth's Labour MP should hang his head in shame."


Portsmouth Liberal Democrats have been campaigning consistently against sewage dumping in Southsea. However, after so many years of neglect, fixing the problem properly will take time. 

 As a minimum first step, Portsmouth Liberal Democrats are therefore calling for more transparency from Southern Water on the timing and quantity of sewage dumping and for the provision of better real time sewage monitoring along the seafront.  

That way sea swimmers, paddleboards and dog-walkers can decide for themselves whether they should swim or not.

As a result of Liberal Democrat action, Portsmouth City Council has already installed information boards on water quality

Portsmouth's Labour MP has proven he is not serious about stopping sewage pollution. Only the Liberal Democrats have a strong plan to stop the sewage in Southsea. Please support our campaign to stop the sewage.

Charlie Murphy, Portsmouth South campaigner

UPDATE: The Labour MP for Portsmouth South shocked campaigners again recently when he failed to turn up on a key sewage vote. The vote would have made sewage dumping a criminal offence, meaning water company bosses could end up in court if their firms dump sewage illegally. Portsmouth South's Labour MP did not turn up to vote.

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You can find a record of how every MP voted on this measure via the official House of Commons website. It shows that both Stephen Morgan (Labour MP, Portsmouth South) and Penny Mordaunt (Conservative MP, Portsmouth North) voted to make it harder to issue fines to water companies when they dump sewage as part of the Economic Growth (Regulatory Functions) (Amendment) Order 2024. The Liberal Democrats voted against. 

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