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- 05 February 2018
As temperatures drop below freezing it’s welcome to see that emergency beds are being made available for the homeless. Many in Bristol are, justifiably, concerned by the number of people sleeping on the streets. While local councils are doing all they can to house the homeless, they are being undermined by a Government which is slashing their budgets and failing to tackle our country’s housing crisis.
- 04 February 2018
Are you a homeowner, landlord or private tenant living in a property without cavity wall/loft insulation? E.ON is currently fitting free insulation to people regardless of energy supplier, in a installation which usually costs around £775 and can save up to £285 a year in energy bil
- 03 February 2018
On Thursday the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee released its report on the Animal Welfare (Sentience and Sentencing) Bill, following our recent inquiry. The report makes it clear that the draft Bill was presented to the public in a far from finished state, with key terms in Clause 1, which deals with sentience, left undefined. Whilst higher sentences for animal cruelty to five years are welcome, the vagueness of the rest of the Bill, and the inevitable wrangles over its scope and meaning, will only serve to delay their introduction. The EFRA Committee has therefore recommended that the Government splits the Bill, and deals with sentience and sentencing as the separate issues that they clearly are. I would like both measures to be as ambitious as possible, with legislation on sentience not just protecting the current position under Article 13 of the Lisbon Treaty, but strengthening it.
- 02 February 2018
Surfers Against Sewage has just demanded that the UK parliament cut its use of single use plastics. Freedom of Information requests they submitted revealed that over 1 million coffee cups and 22 thousand plastic straws were used in the Commons and Lords just last year. I was very happy to be able to support the launch of this campaign, which comes after a report was released by the Environmental Audit Select Committee - of which I am a member - that puts pressure on the Government to introduce a 25p ‘latte levy’ on disposable coffee cups. I strictly only use a reusable coffee cup now, and I urge everyone to start making these small changes to their daily routine as well – they cumulatively have a huge impact on protecting the environment from rubbish and pollution.
- 02 February 2018
Last week at the Council of Europe I spoke briefly in a debate on good football governance, urging clubs to consider human rights when negotiating big money sponsorship deals. As an example I highlighted Liverpool FC’s deal with Tibetan Water Resources Ltd, a Hong Kong registered company which sources its water from a Tibetan glacier. I spoke of the oppression of the Tibetan people, the destruction of Tibetan culture, and environmental concerns about the impact of climate
- 01 February 2018
You may be eligible to get £140 off your electricity bill through the Warm Home Discount if you get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit or if you are on a low income and meet British Gas’s criteria for the scheme. To find out if you're eligible, you can get in touch with British Gas by: 1) Visiting their website 2) Calling 0800 072 8625 3) Calling 0800 294 8604 for pay as you go energy customers
- 01 February 2018
The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ Select Committee has just concluded its pre-legislative scrutiny of the new Animal Welfare (Sentience and Sentencing) Bill. This Bill was hastily drafted after the row just before Christmas when the Government voted down an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill on animal sentience: a principle that is recognised in Article 13 of the Lisbon Treaty but is not specifically recognised in UK law. This Bill aims to rectify that, but as currently drafted it is clearly not fit for purpose. There are too many question marks over what the undefined terms in Clause 1 – dealing with sentience - mean, and how widely it could be interpreted. There are calls to extend the principle to, for example, crustaceans and octopi. Clause 2, which increases maximum sentences for animal cruelty, could also be more ambitious in its scope. The consultation ended yesterday (January 31st) and the EFRA Committee’s verdict is under embargo until midnight. I look forward to
- 31 January 2018
I’m pleased to say that I’m now a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Rohingya. The APPG was founded by Anne Main MP, who also chairs the APPG Bangladesh. She has recently written to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to express her concerns about the proposed repatriation of Rohingyas to Burma. I share these concerns, particularly given the Rohingyas have not been able to actively feed into the repatriation process. The Rohingya people have endured horrific violence, and many of the camps where they are staying are facing outbreaks of disease. Over 640,000 Rohingya are thought to have fled from Burma to Bangladesh since last August. See below for the FCO’s response to Ms. Main’s letter. I look forward to working with my Parliamentary colleagues to help offer a safer and more secure future for the Rohingya.
- 31 January 2018
I was appalled to read that the EUGT (European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector), which is funded by Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler, had commissioned tests in which both humans and monkeys were exposed to toxic diesel fumes – in some cases for several hours in airtight rooms. Exposing people to such health risks, as well as experimenting on animals in this way – especially primates - are completely unacceptable practices and should be ended. This comes soon after Volkswagen’s ‘diesel-gate’ scandal, in which it was found that Volkswagen had fitted devices to their cars to cheat emissions tests. I’m glad that the company is being held to account for its unethical practices, but stronger checks must be put in place to ensure that we don’t see any re-occurrence.
- 30 January 2018
The Government’s own Brexit analysis has been leaked and it is reported to show that any deal - a Free Trade Agreement, WTO rules, no deal - would impoverish every single region of the UK and virtually every single sector of our economy. David Davis must publish this analysis now so that Parliament can carry out its proper role in scrutinising the decision-making of Government. This isn’t “Project Fear”. As leaving the EU draws closer, we must be in full possession of the facts to ensure that decisions are taken in the interest of the many, not the few.
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