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- 21 January 2018
The Dogs Trust recently released its third investigation into the puppy smuggling trade, and the findings are harrowing. Puppies are smuggled into the UK from across Europe, often having been bred in industrial-scale puppy farms, and suffering long journeys in cramped, filthy conditions with no food or water. The Dogs Trust found instances of dogs being sedated to get them through customs and vomiting due to heat stress. It’s crucial that you’re aware of the tell-tale signs that the puppy has been illegally smuggled when buying a puppy. Be sure to ask the following questions, and if in doubt contact your local authority or the RSPCA (England & Wales): Ask about the puppy’s age: puppies are not allowed to leave their mum until after 8 weeks old. Ask about the puppy’s microchip: all puppies must be microchipped, with the details of the chip registered to the breeder. Ask about the vaccinations and worming treatments the puppy has had, and make sure to get the associated paperwork
- 20 January 2018
Only a minority of people choose to participate In the so-called “sport” of grouse shooting, but their hobby affects us all. As moorland is burnt or drained by grouse moor managers, the risk of flood increases hugely – and has already caused flooding in areas such as Hebden Bridge. The burning of moorland also releases huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, that contributes to climate change. And, as well as millions of game birds dying each year, shooting is associated with the illegal persecution of hen harriers; England has enough habitat to support 330 breeding pairs of hen harriers, in 2016 there were only 4 pairs recorded. In 2016 I spoke in Parliament in support of a ban on driven grouse shooting, and just this month we’ve had the great news that Bradford Council has voted to ban the practice on Ilkley Moor. I urge you to sign the latest petition below that calls on the Government to introduce a nation-wide ban.
- 19 January 2018
Today I was in Parliament to support Karen Buck’s Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill, which will establish a minimum standard for private landlords to let out their property. Too many people today rent properties which are simply not fit to live in, with widespread problems of damp and mould, leaks, or other unsafe conditions. Given that the Government has blocked this change twice in the past, I’m delighted this Bill has just passed its Second Reading with Government support. It now has to go through Committee stage, Third Reading, and pass through the Lords, but the fact that it now has Government backing means it shouldn’t be too long before it becomes law – and not before time!
- 18 January 2018
Brilliant to hear that the Government is bringing the Agent of Change principle into planning law to protect small venues! This will come as a big reward to music campaigners who have been fighting for this for years, such as the Music Venue Trust and Chris Sharp from The Fleece Bristol. There are other challenges facing small music venues, and I will continue to campaign on those, but this is a very welcome move.
- 18 January 2018
Last Friday I visited Colston’s School in Stapleton. I was also joined by Sangeetha, who has been shadowing my Parliamentary work through Operation Black Vote. We were given a tour of the school, and then met with the School Council to talk about what it means to be an elected representative. After lunch I then spoke to pupils about gender and power, both in politics and in society more generally. It was a pleasure to talk to so many enthusiastic young people, who were keen to know what they could do to make our society more equal.I was also asked about other issues, such as protecting the environment and, of course, Brexit. Thanks to everyone at the school for welcoming me.
- 17 January 2018
Our local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are holding a consultation on proposals to improve services. The changes would affect breast reconstruction services, access to homeopathy treatments and prescription of gluten free foods. To find out more about the proposed changes and to share your views please go to the CCG websites. The consultation is open from 22nd January to 15th April 2018. www.bristolccg.nhs.uk/get-involved www.northsomersetccg.nhs.uk/get-involved www.southgloucestershireccg.nhs.uk/get-involved
- 17 January 2018
As of this week, new EU rules on payment services apply which will: - prohibit additional charges for payments with credit or debit cards, both in shops or online - introduce strict security requirements for e-payments - enhance consumers' rights This is what 28 European Countries working together can deliver for consumers, but something which a single state working on its own will struggle to do. In fact, although it’s now trying to claim credit for this, the truth is, the UK Government played an obstructive role during negotiations, having been ‘got at’ by business interests. If our Government had had its way, these changes wouldn’t have happened. Many of our country’s problems can only be solved by countries coming together and working collaboratively on these issues whether it’s tackling tax havens, combating terrorism, or developing technology and new cross-border businesses, which is why Brexit is such a tragedy.
- 17 January 2018
It’s great to see Forbes reporting on Plamil - the UK’s longest running vegan business, and the first in Europe to make products like soya milk and dairy free chocolate. Plamil’s philosophy of ethical business that includes not just veganism, but also making ethical banking decisions and paying all staff a living wage, was ground breaking, and sadly, is still the exception rather than the norm. Plamil was also an industry-leader in catering to those with severe food allergies. If it wasn’t for Plamil’s innovative thinking that started way back in the 1920’s (!) then there probably wouldn’t be the interest in veganism and vegan products that we have today. It’s exciting to see businesses operating like this, and hopefully many more businesses will follow Plamil’s lead.
- 16 January 2018
While yesterday may have been ‘the most depressing day of the year’ according to some formulae, we must not forget that for many people the stigma of mental health issues affects their lives all year round. In order to highlight the everyday occurrence of mental health issues amongst different types of people and across various age groups, Royal Mail - in collaboration with Action for Children, Mind and Mental Health UK – has launched the following film called “Everyday People”. I hope you will watch this video and share it widely to help tackle the stigma of mental health.
- 16 January 2018
I wasn’t able to make the Commons statement on Carillion yesterday, due to other commitments, but I agree entirely with my fellow Bristol Labour MP Darren Jones MP, that the Government should take this opportunity to bring the contracts back into public ownership. It is good to hear reassurances that jobs, pensions and services at Southmead hospital are safe until a new contractor is found, but we need to ensure that such a catastrophe can never happen again.
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