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- 16 February 2018
Were it not for the battles fought by trade unions we wouldn’t have the weekends, paid holidays, and many other of the workers’ rights we enjoy today. A union gives strength to an organised workforce, which can then demand fair pay and good conditions at work, In the past year we saw McDonald’s staff strike for the first time in Britain and successfully win higher wages, but many challenges still remain. I’m proud to be a representative of the Labour Party which was formed by a collection of trade-unionists, socialists, feminists, and working-class organisations over 100 years ago. I will continue working to support trade unions and strengthen working protections in our changing employment market. Join a union today -https://www.tuc.org.uk/join-union
- 15 February 2018
I’ve written a blog for the Huffington Post on Theresa May’s recent visit to China and the UK’s future trading policy should we leave the Customs Union. Striking a trade deal is one of the few times when we can influence China on its human rights record: Beijing’s desire to do trade with the UK gives our Government leverage over the issue of human rights. Yet when visiting the country earlier this month, Theresa May failed to raise either Hong Kong or human rights concerns with her Chinese counterparts. This sets a worrying precedent; recent talks between China and Norway were only possible once Norway recognised Beijing’s “One China” policy, which precludes any support for Tibet. Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary, has demonstrated little interest in the human rights agenda, be it in his dealings with Sri Lanka or Filipino President Duterte, a man nicknamed “the Punisher”. This is why it is so important for Parliament to be able to properly scrutinise trade deals in fut
- 14 February 2018
This morning the Labour Party released its new 50 point plan for protecting and enhancing animal welfare. It’s an exciting and radical set of proposals - and one that I’m proud to support. It covers many of the issues that I have campaigned on over the years, including ending the routine use of antibiotics in farm animals, banning imports of foie gras, ending the badger cull and banning wild animals in circuses. The paper is endorsed by WWF, the League Against Cruel Sports, Compassion in World Farming and Cruelty Free International, showing that Labour truly is the party of animal welfare. From banning fox hunting to introducing the 2006 Animal Welfare Act, Labour has been consistent and steadfast – not dependant on watching the latest TV show, or when looking for a political reinvention, as seems to be the case with Michael Gove and the current Government. Labour is consulting on the plan until the end of May. You can have your say here - http://action.labour.org.uk/p…/s/anim
- 10 February 2018
During Attorney General Questions I raised the fact that there still hasn’t been a single conviction in the UK for Female Genital Mutilation under laws introduced in 1985 and 2003. There was one unsuccessful prosecution, back in 2014, and another case currently in the courts, but that is all. It has been estimated that 170,000 women and girls are living with FGM and that 65,000 girls aged 13 and under are at risk. The Home Affairs Committee published a report in 2014 which stated that the failure to respond adequately to the had likely resulted in the preventable mutilation of thousands of girls. Speaking in the Commons I praised some of the work that has been done in Bristol to raise awareness of the issue, and asked whether more could be done to encourage the police to investigate and put evidence to the CPS for prosecution. The Government must make preventing FGM a priority, and ensure that the police and CPS are adequately resourced to help tackle the problem.
- 08 February 2018
It was very worrying to read in today’s Guardian that animals raised for food in America are dosed with five times as much antibiotics than animals raised for food in the UK. The Government has made a trade deal with Donald Trump one of its top priorities for post-Brexit Britain, but this latest revelation lays bare just what is at stake for our farmers and our public health. This is not a niche concern – the World Health Organisation and even former Chancellor George Osborne have warned against the routine overuse of antibiotics: it’s heavily associated with rising resistance to drugs as well as the evolution of seriously harmful “superbugs” leading to severe illness or even death. To take just one example, the use of the drug colistin in the pig industry is leading to a growing resistance of the drug in humans. Yet colistin is used to treat lung infections arising from Cystic Fibrosis, which several of my constituents, as well as my niece, suffer from. Brexit is not a zero-sum
- 08 February 2018
I am pleased to have joined the Alzheimer’s Society’s Fix Dementia Care campaign. While there is no cure or effective treatment for this disease, hundreds of thousands of people with dementia in the UK rely on social care to help with daily tasks such as washing, eating and dressing. With an ageing population and increased prevalence of conditions such as dementia, it’s crucial that we provide the resources and reform our social care system requires. The Government must ensure the needs of those in receipt of social care, including for dementia, are addressed in the Green Paper due to be published this summer.
- 07 February 2018
It’s great to be able to support the Food Foundation’s #vegpower campaign. Currently, 95.5% of teenagers and 80% of adults don’t eat enough veg – and consumption is still declining. This is partially because most vegetables are unbranded and don’t have access to big marketing budgets. So whilst there is huge amount of junk food advertising, there is relatively little for fruit and veg. The Food Foundation and I, as well as other MPs and celebrities including Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver, are therefore asking for the Government, growers and retailers to contribute to a pooled marketing fund. This will enable better advertising for fruit and veg, which will in turn drive up demand and consumption, as well as supporting our farmers.
- 07 February 2018
It was a pleasure to meet with history and politics students from Colston’s School on their visit to Parliament earlier this week. They had lots of questions about my role as an MP, as well as proportional representation, moving to a more modern building and the effectiveness of select committees.
- 06 February 2018
Last Thursday I spoke in a Westminster Hall debate on chemical regulation after Brexit, as well as writing for Business Green on why the Government’s current approach is putting the health of the public, animals and the natural environment at risk. REACH (the EU’s legislative framework for regulating chemicals) maintains 600 staff at the EU Chemicals Agendy, which monitors the estimated 140,000 chemicals currently in the EU market. Establishing a ‘British REACH’ – which gives rise to the unfortunate acronym BREACH! - is neither realistic nor feasible. With new chemicals continually being manufactured, and side-effects to existing chemicals being newly discovered, the social cost of inadequately regulating chemicals, even momentarily, could be huge. I will continue to push the Government to either stay in REACH, or to quickly produce an equally effective alternative. It’s astounding that nearly a year after Article 50 was triggered the Government still has no clear plan.
- 06 February 2018
The process of producing foie gras is barbaric, causing huge suffering for the ducks and geese involved. The animals are force fed massive amounts of food through metal tubes, whilst being kept into tiny metal cages, until their livers swell to 10 times their natural size. Whilst the UK has banned the production of foie gras, it’s still legal to import – and many shops including Harrods and Fortnum & Mason continue to stock it. I’m campaigning for a full ban on imports of foie gras into the UK. As the UK leaves the EU we should close this trade loophole and ban it for good. Please lend your support by signing the petition here: http://animalequality.org.uk/foie-gras/ #FoieGrasFreeGB
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