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- 22 November 2017
Lots of constituents have contacted me regarding NHS funding ahead of the Autumn Budget, as they are understandably concerned that our health service is not being given the resources it needs. After seven years of Tory failure, our NHS is at breaking point. I have written to Phillip Hammond to urge him to commit to giving the NHS the billions of pounds of extra funding it needs to ensure that the impending winter health crisis - forecasted by the healthcare watchdog NHS Improvement - is avoided. I sincerely hope that the Government heeds these calls and gives the NHS the money that is desperately required to protect patients and staff and ensure the long-term sustainability of our health service.
- 17 November 2017
Ken Clarke issues a stark warning about the unprecedented powers being granted to the Government in the EU (Withdrawal) Bill which will let them amend, weaken and even repeal crucial EU laws without scrutiny in Parliament after we have carried them over into UK law. With characteristic candour he said that many Tory MPs would relish the opportunity to cut environmental protections and remove workers’ rights post-Brexit. This has been my concern all along and last night in Parliament I pushed my new clause 25 to a vote, as well as supporting the Labour frontbench’s new clause 58, both of which are designed to prevent too much power falling into Ministers’ hands. Sadly, but somewhat predictably, Ken Clarke was the sole Tory rebel against the Conservative whip so the votes were narrowly lost. The Bill is next due back in the House on Tuesday 21st, for day 3 of committee stage, but it’s unlikely day 4 (of 8) will come before December because of the Budget on November 22nd and subsequent d
- 16 November 2017
This week is UK Parliament Week, the aim of which is to engage people from across the UK with Parliament, explore what it means to them and empower them to get involved. As part of this I’ll be giving an assembly to the children at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in my constituency tomorrow morning. I’d encourage all of you to engage with Parliament throughout the year, not just during UK Parliament Week. All constituents are able to contact their MP to arrange a free tour of the Houses of Parliament, or to request tickets to watch debates from the Public Galleries in the House of Commons.
- 15 November 2017
Please click the link for an update on my work, on issues of the upcoming Autumn Budget, Police Cuts, Universal Credit, an update on my Meningitis Campaign, Brexit, Votes at 16 and Modern Slavery.
- 15 November 2017
Public sector workers need more than just a pat on the back. For the last 7 years, pay rises have been capped yet the cost of living has shot up. The Government needs to do more than just pay lip service, and give them they pay rise they deserve. Watch this amusing film from UNISON to learn more.
- 14 November 2017
This is very good news. Bees are a crucial part of our eco system but their numbers have been in serious decline. I am glad Michael Gove, unlike his predecessors, has come out in favour of a total ban. This is also why I am pushing for the precautionary principle, which has been involved in this case, to be protected when we leave the EU, and have tabled amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill, currently going through Parliament, to achieve this.
- 14 November 2017
Kerry's column in the Times
- 13 November 2017
Last week, I spoke in a Westminster Hall debate on the future of Community Policing and the funding crisis facing the police service. Sue Mountstevens, our police and crime commissioner, and Andy Marsh, our chief constable, have said the cuts they are being forced to make, of a further £17 million, are “simply unsustainable” and will have “extremely serious consequences” if they go ahead. Avon and Somerset Police has already had to reduce its budget by £65 million and lost over 600 officers since 2010, and residents of Bristol East are increasingly feeling like lower level crimes like burglaries and anti-social behaviour are not being given the resources and investigation they warrant. The Police’s ability to prevent harm, keep the public safe, protect the vulnerable, and respond to escalating threat levels depends on having enough resources to do so. Having done all they can to try to manage within tight budgets, they cannot go on like this. I’ve been collecting a petition to be pre
- 10 November 2017
Today is Equal Pay Day – the day from which women basically work for free, because they earn less than men for the same work. The gender pay gap means that women effectively aren’t paid for work between now and the end of the year. Despite the introduction of the Equal Pay Act in 1970, women still earn less than men in Britain today – 9.1% on average for those in full-time work. It is a sign of the slow progress that Equal Pay Day is the same as last year - at this rate it’ll take decades for women to get paid the same as men. The Government has already introduced a legal requirement for all employers with more than 250 employees to publish their data on gender pay and bonuses by April 2018. But more must be done to encourage employers of all sizes to account for the discrepancies between male and female staff pay. We should not have to argue that an employee’s work, and their contribution to the economy, is of no lesser value, just because they happen to be a woman.
- 10 November 2017
Some of you will have seen today’s press reports about Kelvin Hopkins, MP for Luton North and his past behaviour towards me. Although this is a difficult situation I now find myself in, and I do not relish being in the public eye over this, the decision to speak out was not a difficult one to make. As soon as I saw last week’s story involving Ava Etemadzadeh, and the similarities, I knew I had to support her. I therefore went to see the Chief Whip last Friday, and a senior member of the Leader’s office on Monday. This is the first they knew of it, and they could not have been expected to know before. I am doing this to support a young woman who was brave enough to speak out, and I will be submitting what evidence I have to the investigation involving her complaint, rather than initiating my own. As I say, my mind was made up as soon as the first story broke, but my resolve has been strengthened by seeing Ava come under attack from misguided, and in some cases, malicious individuals s
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