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- 24 January 2018
It’s great news that Sky the Pitbull has been saved from being put down, after campaigners successfully fought to overturn a destruction order in court. Sky is legally registered and there has never had any concerns about her behaviour – her only crime was being considered as looking like an illegal breed by the flawed Breed Specific Legislation. In this way, the Dangerous Dogs Act has resulted in hundreds of friendly, family-owned dogs being put down since the legislation was introduced – regardless of whether the dog is well behaved or has a suitable owner. I have been fighting hard against Breed Specific Legislation – most recently writing a series of letters to Ministers both on behalf of Sky and highlighting the legislation’s deficiencies. This issue has strong cross-party support, and the fact that dog bites have increased since the legislation was introduced only shows that it is not fit for purpose.
- 24 January 2018
A few constituents have contacted me regarding fines being issued to dog-walkers who had let their dog off the lead in a public park. Fortunately I’ve now been informed that these fines were issued in error, as they were in places where dogs are permitted to be off the lead, and the fines will be cancelled (and refunded to those who have already paid). Following a Public Space Protection Order the Council issued last October, dogs must now be kept on a lead at all times when on public land, save for some areas which are exempt from the order, which includes most parks. A full list can be seen here –
- 23 January 2018
It’s deeply disappointing to see the Government giving the clearest indication yet that the Bath-Temple Meads section of the rail link to London won’t be electrified, meaning we will not benefit from modern electric trains which are quicker, more reliable and produce less air pollution than diesel trains. I suppose at least Grayling has come clean on what was clearly his intention all along, instead of continuing with the pretence that it has just been put on hold. Labour has pledged to complete these works in full if elected to Government. While it is welcome that the Government has said it is looking at opening additional suburban rail routes, this should be in addition to, and not instead of, electrification. I sincerely hope that they do open up new routes, as well as re-opening St Anne’s Station.
- 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.
- 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.
- 12 January 2018
If you’re in Bristol city centre this weekend I encourage you to stop by this outdoor exhibition by photography Rory Carnegie, commissioned by the National Crime Agency, which aims to shed light on the victims of modern slavery. Home Office figures predict that there are currently some 13,000 modern slaves in the UK, but the true figure is believed to be much higher. As Bristol-based anti-slavery charity Unseen have demonstrated with their #LetsNailIt campaign, raising public awareness is a crucial step toward tackling this hidden crime. Invisible People is on show on the Centre Promenade, Broad Quay, 13/14 January.
- 12 January 2018
This morning I met with the Mayor, Marvin Rees, and Councillor Nicola Beech, who leads on Strategic Planning and City Design in the Mayor’s Cabinet, to talk about what more we can to protect our night-time economy and music venues. Music venues are a crucial part of what makes Bristol a great place to live, and small venues in particular are really important in nurturing new talent. The Council is very keen to protect our grassroots music venues, but needs to be given the powers to do so, as we saw when the Council tried to protect the Fleece from developers, but was overruled by the Planning Inspectorate. The Agent of Change Bill currently going through Parliament, and embedding this principle in Bristol’s Local Plan will play an important part in this.
- 06 January 2018
E.ON are opening up funding opportunities worth up to £2,000 which can cover the full or partial cost of energy-related improvements and activities for local community groups and charities. For many groups, the paying of heating bills can form a major part of an organisation’s budget so being more energy efficient can save a lot of money in the long-run. To be eligible for funding, organisations must submit a request by midnight on Monday 29th January 2018. Please visit to find out more.
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