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- 31 October 2017
It was great to attend the United Against Puppy Farming rally, which was held to coincide with the Paws 4 Thought 36 hours of action, and meet the puppy Plum Pudding! Members of the public, campaigners, MPs and rescue organisations came out to show their support for banning both the practice of puppy farming, and the sale of puppies through pet shops and puppy dealers. Thousands of puppies are bred in unlicensed puppy farms every year. These puppies most often grow up in cramped and dirty conditions, with the puppies suffering from infections and chronic health conditions, as well as abuse and inhumane practices at the hands of their breeders. Allowing these puppies to be legally sold in pet shops is allowing these practices to continue and grow. I am therefore urgently calling on the government to ban puppy farming, and to ban all sales of puppies through pet shops and puppy dealers. #UnitedAgainstPuppyFarming
- 30 October 2017
It was good to be able to attend Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning, an annual fixture encouraging people to get together and talk about all the issues people living with cancer have to deal with. This year’s theme was life after cancer and the fact that “Just because the hospital appointments and treatments are over doesn’t mean that life goes back to the way it was before a cancer diagnosis” This is not just about practical support or physical care for those who have had cancer, but also attention to their mental wellbeing, with counselling if needed. A cancer diagnosis is a traumatic, life-changing experience, and being given the all-clear after treatment doesn’t necessarily mean that someone has fully recovered. Macmillan does a great job in supporting people not just while they have cancer, but afterwards too.
- 27 October 2017
I recently met with Paul Gentry, father of Izzy, a student at St Brendan’s Sixth Form whose life was tragically cut short by Meningitis B. It was humbling to meet with Paul and see his determination to raise awareness of this horrible illness, so that more young lives are not lost in future. I am pleased to be able to support his efforts, most recently by raising the issue of Men B vaccination at Prime Minister’s Questions. Paul and I, along with my colleague Jim McMahon MP and fellow families of meningitis victims, will soon be meeting with the Secretary of State for Health to discuss what more the Government can do to take action on this. I encourage you to watch and share the Meningitis Now video of my meeting with Paul, which aims to raise public awareness around the symptoms of Meningitis and what concerned individuals can do to lobby their MPs about this important public health issue.
- 26 October 2017
In March this year I voted against the triggering of Article 50, which started the clock ticking on our exit from the EU, because I simply did not believe the Government was ready to do so. It hadn’t done its homework; hadn’t clarified what kind of Brexit deal it wanted; wasn’t prepared for negotiations. As each day goes by and the chaos at the heart of government is revealed, I become more and more convinced I was right to do so. I am not the only one. "If you wanted to avoid being screwed in the negotiations in terms of the sequencing, if I can put it brutally, you had to negotiate with the key European leaders and the key people at the top of the institutions and say: ‘I will invoke Article 50, but only under circumstances where I know exactly how its’ going to operate’. That’s not what we did." - the UK's former top Brussels diplomat Ivan Rogers.
- 26 October 2017
I have joined over 100 MPs in calling for Oxford and Cambridge to take urgent action to widen its admissions base after recent revelations that Oxbridge’s undergraduates remain largely white, wealthy and from the south of England. I am particularly appalled that nearly one in three Oxford colleges failed to admit a single black British A-level student in 2015. I firmly believe that all our universities need to ensure they are open to all students, regardless of race, economic background or geographical origin. As supposedly world-leading higher education institutions, Oxford and Cambridge must do more to reach out to talented individuals from less privileged backgrounds and ensure that their student population reflects the diversity of Britain as a whole.
- 26 October 2017
I welcome the Government’s u-turn on its plan to cap housing benefit for those living in social housing and supported homes – a u-turn that came when Labour called an Opposition Day debate on the issue. People in these houses are often vulnerable, with one in five people living in supported housing suffering from mental illness, and many who are fleeing abusive relationships or are in other situations of turmoil. Since the Government announced plans to cap the benefit, construction in over 85% of new supported housing schemes were put on hold because they didn’t have financial security to ensure their sustainability. Theresa May must now act quickly and provide investment into supported housing to mitigate the damage.
- 25 October 2017
Later today, a 10-Minute Rule Bill prohibiting live animal exports will be introduced in the Commons, which I fully support. During the EU referendum, I was very cynical about the way in which Brexiteers claimed this could only be done once the UK left the EU. While the UK cannot ban it unilaterally if we are part of the EU, this was pretty disingenuous when the Government had failed to support efforts by EU countries and the European Parliament to limit journeys to 8 hours (which would have brought most UK exports of live animals to an end) or strengthen the rules. This cannot become yet another empty promise that was made during the referendum campaign. I am determined to ensure it is not reneged on, and will keep on holding the Government’s feet to the fire on this until we can bring this barbaric and cruel trade to an end.
- 24 October 2017
Last week, Labour’s motion calling for the Universal Credit roll-out to be halted so that serious concerns about its impact could be addressed, passed the House unanimously, 299 votes to none. The Government abstained from the vote but made clear its intention to ignore the result. The Speaker made clear his displeasure at the Government’s tactics and has now allowed Labour’s application for an urgent debate under Standing Order 24, which will take place later today. The introduction of universal credit in its current, flawed form, is causing destitution and distress in areas where it has been piloted. These flaws must be fixed before it’s rolled out in Bristol, and I will be wholeheartedly supporting Labour’s motion today.
- 24 October 2017
We need radical action to fix our broken housing system and build the homes we need. I’m glad to see that the Communities Secretary is calling for significantly more borrowing to fund the building of hundreds of thousands of new homes. The Labour Manifesto was clear that a long-term investment like this will pay off over the long-term. I hope that the Chancellor listens ahead of the Budget on November 22nd.
- 20 October 2017
I am supporting Chris Bryant’s Bill Private Members Bill to be debated today which will create a new offence of assaulting an emergency worker. This is currently a major problem and deserves to be taken more seriously; there were 23,000 assaults on police officers last year, meaning the average police officer is assaulted 19 times a year, and over 70,000 assaults on NHS staff in 2016. The bill will provide protection to police officers, firefighters, doctors, paramedics, and nurses by sending a message in the strongest possible terms that assaults on emergency workers are completely unacceptable. I hope it passes Second Reading today.
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