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- 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.
- 30 January 2018
I’m pleased to see that the winning film in Bristol City Council’s Litter Superheroes competition was from West Town Lane Academy in my constituency. Their entry was filmed and produced by the pupils, and features a team of superheroes teaching people not to drop litter. It’s clear a lot of work went into this, and I hope it will make potential litter-droppers in Bristol think again! The entry can be seen here -
- 30 January 2018
During World War 1 and World War 2 over 80,000 Sikhs died and 100,000 were injured fighting for Britain. The campaign to start a war memorial to especially commemorate the military service of Sikhs will be the first of its kind, and the event had over 100 attendees. £375,000 was pledged to the cause on the night, and Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, promised to find a home for the memorial in Central London.
- 29 January 2018
I recently attended the launch of Open Doors’ 2018 World Watch List, which highlighted the persecution suffered by Christian communities across the globe. In particular, Open Doors are concerned about the growing use of non-violent persecution, from the surveillance of Christians in North Korea to the demolition of churches in Sudan. This kind of persecution is especially worrying because of its insidiousness and pervasiveness – and because it can so easily facilitate and become actual violence. Of course, violence against Christians remains high, but non-violent persecution is a daily reality for Christians across the world. More than 200 million believers in the 50 countries where it’s most difficult to be a Christian experience high levels of persecution because of their faith. To find out more about the work Open Doors is doing to address this, you can read the full World Watch List report below
- 26 January 2018
This week I’m in Strasbourg attending the Council of Europe, the pan-European body first set up in 1949 to promote human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. Today I spoke in the session on Israel and Palestine. I criticised the detention of Palestinian children and highlighted the case of Ahed Tamimi. I emphasised that Israel has the right to protect itself, but this does not excuse the demolition of Palestinian homes and the construction of illegal Israeli settlements. This, and the consequent fragmentation of the West Bank, threatens hopes of ever achieving a two-state solution. President Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem is a provocative and dangerous move, that risks further destabilising the situation. We need both Israel and Palestine to be part of a process to bring about peace and stability in the region.
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