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- 22 February 2018
Sending support to UCU lecturers who are striking today. Academic staff across the country have faced their conditions being eroded, and the most recent pension changes would leave them losing up to £10,000 a year in retirement. Universities must get back around the table and put forward a fair deal.
- 22 February 2018
I was shocked, but not entirely surprised, to read the Guardian’s investigation into the appallingly low hygiene standards in the USA’s meat production sector. I was happy to provide a comment for the article, as well as write a letter to Michael Gove and Liam Fox to seek assurance that this ‘dirty meat’ would not find its way into UK supermarkets in the event of a free trade deal being struck after Brexit. Investigators reported incidents including pig carcasses piling up on dirty floors after equipment breakdowns, meat riddled with faecal matter and abscesses, and chicken that had been dropped onto the floor being doused with chlorine before being returned to the production line. This is, to be frank, disgusting. If Gove and Fox don’t provide the public with certainty that this sort of product will be kept out of the UK, then they are putting the health of the public – not to mention countless jobs and businesses – at risk.
- 21 February 2018
High energy costs can be a big burden on a weekly budget, and it’s worth checking with your supplier to make sure you’re not paying more than you need to for energy. Too many households struggle with energy costs and can’t afford to keep their houses warm through winter, which is known to cause a range of health problems. Bristol Energy is hosting a free event this Saturday 11am-3pm at Hillfields Library giving advice and practical help on how you can reduce your energy bills. I’d encourage anyone interested in how they can save money to attend.
- 19 February 2018
Cath Moore, who is a resident in Fishponds, was so moved by the plastic waste problem she decided to go plastic free. When she found it difficult to find products locally, she set up a site and shop herself. You can read more about it here on the Facebook page Thangam Debbonaire MP for Bristol West and I have set up to highlight the problem of plastic pollution and some of the solutions. Do check out Cath’s site for those products it's difficult to find in the shops, and give the Facebook page a like if you want to be kept informed.
- 18 February 2018
I’m pleased to support the Women’s Institute #WIFoodMatters campaign, which is calling on all supermarkets to publish their food waste statistics, across their supply chains, and in a format that is accessible to consumers. As Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Food Waste, I have been an active campaigner for businesses to reduce their levels of food waste. It’s great to see the recent upsurge of interest in the issue, with Tesco pledging to end edible food waste by March 2018 and Aldi pledging to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030. However there is much more progress that needs to be made. Publishing food waste statistics will provide some much needed transparency to the issue, enabling consumers and charities to apply pressure onto businesses.
- 17 February 2018
Please follow the link below to read about the environmental and animal welfare-related work that I have been doing over the last few months. There has been a lot of activity recently on these topics in Parliament. I have sat on Select Committee hearings on the Animal Sentience Bill, green finance, F-gases, disposable plastics and China’s ban on waste imports. I also sponsored a debate on environmental education, as well as speaking in debates on chemicals regulation and the framework for agricultural policy after Brexit, and supporting campaigns for Lucy’s Law and a plastic-free Parliament. You can read all about it here, and sign up if you’d like to be kept informed in future.
- 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 -
- 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 -…/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.
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