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- 18 October 2017
Today in the Commons we will be putting pressure on the Government to halt the roll-out of Universal Credit until some key concerns have been addressed, including the fact that some claimants may have to wait up to six weeks before receiving any money. All four of us Bristol MPs have written to the Minister, urging him to think again, and I will be voting for the Labour motion tonight. I hope the Government listens not just to us but to critics on its own side, including former Prime Minister John Major, making a very rare intervention on domestic issues.
- 18 October 2017
Great news, the Government has announced it intends to ban all sales and exports of ivory! I will be making sure they stick to their timetable, so that soon after the 12 week consultation on implementing this policy the trade is banned for good.
- 17 October 2017
Dreadful news coming from Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital city, with over 500 casualties and at least 300 people now confirmed dead due to a terrorist act. Jeremy Corbyn has condemned the terror attack, tweeting “Devastated to hear of the horrific terror attack in Somalia and the loss of so many lives. My thoughts are with the victims & their families.” I concur with his sentiments. I have asked the Foreign Secretary what support we can give to the government in Somalia to help deal with the immediate aftermath of the attack, as well as assisting with future counter-terrorism efforts.
- 15 October 2017
The world renowned and widely respected International Monetary Fund has now rejected the long accepted orthodoxy that raising taxes on the wealthiest earners will be harmful to growth. Over the past few decades, but particularly since the financial crash of 2008, we have seen wealth and income inequalities rise, as the experiences of those at the top completely diverged from the majority of people facing the brunt of austerity, wage shrinkage, and a rising cost of living. I hope we are able to reopen the discussion about a more progressive tax system, which I see as key to achieving a more equal society.
- 14 October 2017
I’m late to this - Tory MP Rebecca Pow, claiming at her party conference that Labour MPs ‘don’t have soil in their constituencies’ Clearly this is a nonsense; what is more invidious is her claim that this issue of soil depletion ‘is not on Labour’s agenda’. She boasts that it is now on the Government’s agenda ‘because of a parliamentary inquiry and a debate’. Well yes. That would be the inquiry into soil health carried out by the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) chaired by Labour’s Mary Creagh, and the subsequent parliamentary debate on soil, led by Mary too, in which I also spoke (as you’d think Ms Pow might recall, given that she intervened on me several times).… I could also point Ms Pow, as Chair of the All-Party Group on Agroecology, to the three part inquiry on soil health it conducted which preceded the EAC inquiry. Or to my Westminster Hall debate on urban food-growing, at which I waxed lyrical about the need to protect soil classified
- 13 October 2017
Earlier this week I was in Strasbourg as a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which covers 47 European countries and is primarily concerned with matters of democracy and human rights. I have added my name to this statement on the humanitarian situation affecting the Rohingya people in Myanmar. The Disasters Emergency Committee has now set up an appeal fund and I would urge those of you who can to make a donation -…
- 13 October 2017
Following my question to the Prime Minister on Wednesday about meningitis and the risk for young people, I am keeping up the campaign to extend the provision of vaccination against Meningitis B to all children and young people. Raising awareness alone is not enough; we need Government action on this. I have written this article urging the Government to do more, and will be taking relatives of Izzy and George to meet with the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, on 1st November. Sign the petition to vaccinate all children against Meningitis B here -
- 12 October 2017
I am launching a new report which warns of the dangers of a hard Brexit to farmers and our food – just days after reports that crashing out of the EU without a deal will see the return of customs controls and investors redirecting their money from the UK to the EU. The report follows an inquiry by the Agroecology All-Party Group, which I chair, during which we heard from witnesses that a hard Brexit would result in a rise in food prices and farms going out of business due to tariffs and labour shortages. The report sets out clear recommendations for protecting higher-welfare British farmers from lower welfare imports (especially from the US) – but I am less than confident that the Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, can be trusted not to trade-away animal welfare and food safety standards, as part of future trade deals.
- 12 October 2017
I have co-signed, with This is Rubbish, a letter to the Environment Minister, urging her to support ambitious EU food waste targets, from farm to fork. There are signs the Minister is not keen on having EU targets, but given that we are leaving the EU and would not then be bound by the targets, it would be wrong for the U.K. to sabotage EU proposals. You can see our letter below and also follow my food waste Facebook page -
- 11 October 2017
Earlier today I asked the Prime Minister whether the Government would do more to raise awareness of Meningitis and extend free vaccinations to teenagers. This is following the deaths of Izzy Gentry and George Zographou, students at St Brendan's Sixth Form from Meningitis B, and a further death of a student at Orchards School from suspected Meningitis. Unfortunately, despite me tipping her off about my question in advance, I didn't get a good response on vaccinations, but I will continue the campaign.
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