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- 10 October 2017
Today is World Mental Health Day, which is a time to raise awareness of how many people will be affected by a mental health condition during their lifetime, and to consider what more can be done to help them. Young Minds, the children’s mental health charity, is urging people to wear yellow today and tweet their support at #HelloYellow. They say that three children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health condition, and over 80,000 young people in the UK are severely depressed. But it’s becoming more difficult to get assessment or treatment, and more and more young people are being admitted to A&E for self-harm. I have co-signed a letter, along with many other Labour MPs, calling on the Government to give mental and physical health parity of esteem, and to ensure funding for mental health services is protected by ring fencing.
- 10 October 2017
As I have posted on here recently, there are growing concerns about the roll-out of universal credit. Councils have now said they fear a surge in evictions will inevitably follow, as claimants wait up to six weeks to receive any money. The Government should put the roll-out of universal credit on hold until these issues are addressed.
- 10 October 2017
Today Theresa May launched the results of her audit of racial inequality and said ‘there will be nowhere for it to hide’. But currently the Home Office’s immigration officials do not collect ethnicity data on the people they stop and, as the Bristol Cable has revealed, many British citizens have been questioned when coming into the UK, for immigration crimes they cannot commit (because they are British!) There is no official data on the race of the people who have been stopped, but it is clear racial profiling techniques are being used. If the Government really wants to shine a light on ongoing racial injustice then Departments like the Home Office must be included.
- 09 October 2017
I’m campaigning for a full ban on imports of foie gras into the UK, due to the extreme suffering the ducks and geese used to make this dish are forced to endure. Producing foie gras is already illegal in the UK, and when the UK leaves the EU we should close this trade loophole and ban it for good. – Sign the petition in support here -
- 06 October 2017
I’ve just written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to call for additional money to be given to sixth forms colleges such as St Brendan’s in my constituency. Currently 16-19 education is severely underfunded, with students receiving 21% less than the funding for 11-16 year olds and 48% less than the average university tuition fee. This unfair underfunding of sixth-form education must be stopped.
- 04 October 2017
123 MPs of different parties have signed a letter to David Gauke, Secretary of State for Work & Pensions, to urgently call on him to delay the planned roll out of Universal Credit to 55 new areas a month from next week, to avoid hardship and increased debt for millions of families.
- 02 October 2017
I am delighted to see that the Government has given into the pressure for longer punishments for those who commit animal cruelty offences, with the announcement yesterday by Michael Gove that sentences will be extended to up to a maximum of 5 years in prison. Currently, England and Wales has the lowest sentence across 100 jurisdictions including Europe, the United States, and Australia for these types of crimes. I sponsored my Labour colleague Anna Turley MP for Redcar's Animal Cruelty (Sentencing) Bill last Parliament which would have made this change in sentencing, but unfortunately the Bill never got to a debate. This is a success for animal rights campaigners who have been working on this issue, and shows we are prepared to take tough action against those who commit sick animal abuse offences. I hope Michael Gove will not delay too long in bringing legislation forward.
- 29 September 2017
I was pleased to support the TUC’s ‘Dying to Work’ campaign, as I think no one who wants to remain in work should face job dismissal after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Every person battling terminal conditions deserves to be able to choose how to spend their final months. I will support any change in the law that will close the legal loophole allowing heartless employers to dismiss dying employees due to their illness, and encourage business in my constituency to sign the Charter committing them to support employees who have been diagnosed with terminal illnesses. -
- 22 September 2017
I was very pleased to support the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s campaign to increase protection for elephants as a matter of urgency last week. This is a cause I care deeply about, and I have been clear that the UK should legislate to completely outlaw the ivory trade, which would stop the sale of modern ivory sold by traders who are getting away with passing it off as antique. IFAW’s research shows that the UK and Europe as a whole do play a role in the illegal ivory chain; this reinforces the need for an ivory ban here in the UK to close these markets and help save elephants in the wild.
- 21 September 2017
Thousands of dolphins, porpoises and whales die in UK seas every year by getting trapped in fishing gear. These horrific and unnecessary deaths can be prevented, and I am calling on the Government to work with NGOs, the fishing industry and coastal communities to do much more to reduce and prevent this. I am also supporting the WDC (Whale and Dolphin Conservation) campaign to ensure the UK has strong laws to protect dolphins, porpoises and whales after we exit the EU.
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