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- 05 November 2017
Following on from my article yesterday, it’s great to see Avon and Somerset Police are taking modern slavery seriously and now have three successful prosecutions against people who ran nail bars in Bath, with workers in shameful conditions. We must send the clearest possible signals that treating people in this way is not acceptable, and that exploitative employers will be caught and brought to justice.
- 04 November 2017
As a member of the Environmental Audit Committee I have this week taken part in two sessions where we questioned the junior Environment Minister, Therese Coffey, and Michael Gove, the EFRA Secretary, on the need to take action on the Circular Economy and reducing waste, particularly of disposable packaging such as plastic bottles and coffee cups. Here’s a video explaining how a Deposit Return Scheme for plastic bottles would work.
- 04 November 2017
I’ve written in the Huffington Post on tackling a growing, but often overlooked, problem in Britain, that of modern slavery. People, who often have been trafficked into the country, speak little English and have no support network, or, in other cases, people with learning difficulties or the homeless and vulnerable, are taken advantage of by exploitative employers. Public attention and government action is necessary to tackle this, and I fully support the efforts of Unseen and Avon and Somerset Police to highlight the problem.
- 03 November 2017
I’ll be voting for Seni’s Law today to stop the inappropriate, dangerous and traumatic use of force in Mental Health Units.
- 03 November 2017
I was in Parliament to support Jim McMahon’s Votes at 16 Bill and it was very disappointing to see it talked about by Tory MPs. This means the Bill will go no further in the parliamentary process. This often happens on a Friday with Private Members’ Bills and, as I have said many times, before, it’s time we reformed the process so that this can’t happen. There is no good reason why we can’t schedule a set time to debate each Bill, which a vote at the end of, say, 3 hours of debate. On a more positive note, however, Steve Reed’s #SenisLaw bill on the use of force in Mental Health Units, which was debated first, was not opposed by the Government and has therefore proceeded to Committee Stage.
- 02 November 2017
This report by the Huffington Post reveals one of the key reasons action to address the housing crisis is so ineffective; too often developers are able to avoid their responsibility to build affordable housing by using a legal loophole in viability assessments. In Bristol when developers did not use such assessments, 30% of houses were affordable which is bang on Bristol City Council’s target. But for those which did use a viability assessment, only 8% of housing was affordable! This needs to end.
- 02 November 2017
In 2005 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the UK’s blanket ban on prisoners voting was unlawful. I was one of only 22 MPs - including Jeremy Corbyn - to vote against the blanket ban when it came before Parliament in 2011. Today, 12 years on, the Government has finally brought forward proposals to meet its obligations under the Hirst judgment - but all it has done is allow prisoners on temporary licence, ie those allowed out of prison to work, to vote. This will affect only 100 or so prisoners at any given time. In questioning the Justice Secretary on this in Parliament today, I said that imprisonment should be about deprivation of liberty, not deprivation of rights. There is no security risk in allowing prisoners a postal vote, and it could also be an important element in rehabilitation, impressing upon prisoners their role as citizens, who are part of, not outside society.
- 02 November 2017
I have been contacted by a constituent who, quite rightly, flags up her anger that it seems sexual harassment and abuse of woman at work and in public places is only now being treated seriously following the revelations about the sleazy - and in some cases, criminal - behaviour of Hollywood directors and actors, and Westminster politicians. I think she is right to feel aggrieved that what she describes as “the experiences of everyday women” are often downplayed or dismissed. There have been announcements this week by the Speaker and by the political parties on what they are doing to make it easier to report abuse and harassment, along with support for those who come forward, and a determination to take action, both in holding perpetrators to account and in stamping out such behaviour. As the very brave Bex Bailey has said this week, it is crucial there is an independent agency to report to. But it is not enough as politicians to put our own house in order; I am determined to do all I
- 01 November 2017
Project Rugby, a new grassroots engagement initiative by England Rugby and Premiership Rugby designed to increase participation in under-represented communities, looks like a great project and I’m glad Bristol Rugby is participating. Watch the video here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ywh9B2FadZk&feature=youtu.be
- 01 November 2017
At today’s Environmental Audit Committee I questioned Michael Gove, the Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the legal framework of environmental protection we will be left with after we leave the European Union. Worryingly, he was able to offer little reassurance that key environmental principles - such as polluter pays and the precautionary principle - will survive Brexit. Watch live here - http://www.parliamentlive.tv/…/f78595ec-6ffa-4344-88d6-e885…
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