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- 24 November 2017
There was a lobby of parliament on Palestine this week, where I was briefed by Ben Jamal, Director of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, on the current situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Sadly the issues we discussed were all too familiar - including the continued expansion of illegal settlements, and the detention of Palestinian children, some as young as 12, in Israel’s jails. Following the meeting I tabled a International Development question for next Wednesday on support for children in Palestine, but was not drawn in the shuffle. I will carry on trying to raise such issues in Parliament and by writing to Ministers.
- 24 November 2017
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Somaliland, which I helped set up back in 2005, has offered our congratulations to the new President-Elect Muse Bihi Abdi. We look forward to a productive working relationship with Mr Musa Behi in the future.
- 24 November 2017
Great news that so many numbers of film and TV studio jobs are being created by South Bristol’s Bottle Yard Studios. It’s yet another example of Bristol’s creative energy, and should add further weight to our case to become the new home for Channel 4.
- 23 November 2017
Back in March I, along with the other MPs in the All-Party Parliamentary Group of Vegetarianism and Veganism, sent a letter to Jeremy Hunt asking about medicines that contain animal products – and the impact Brexit will have on this. Current EU and UK legislation only requires the labelling of ingredients in medicines that could pose a risk to the safety of the patient. There’s no requirement to label medicines when they contain ingredients not suitable for vegetarians or vegans, or, indeed, people from certain faith groups – instead this information must be obtained directly from a pharmacist or online. The UK will continue to adhere to EU obligations on the labelling of medicines whilst we are a member. However the Government has refused to set out any position on the possibility of maintaining or changing this legislation once we leave the EU. It is, of course, sometimes not possible to find a non-animal based substitute for use in medicines. However it is important that people wi
- 23 November 2017
On November 10th London’s High Court heard the case of Sky – a dog whose owners, the police and Defra all agreed was well behaved, yet who was at risk of being put down just for ‘looking like’ a pit bull. Her owners had always complied with the required conditions to keep her, yet when they went to Australia and left Sky in kennels, police attempted to put her down without reason. It’s only because the kennel owners challenged this in court that Sky is still alive. Breed Specific Legislation was rushed through Parliament without proper consideration of its potential impacts. It continues to target harmless family dogs for just looking similar to banned breeds – whilst failing to protect the public from violent dog attacks, as the number of dog attacks has risen consistently since the legislation was introduced. The Government needs to ensure that cases like Sky do not continue to happen. This requires switching to an approach that focuses on better training for dog owners, clamping d
- 23 November 2017
At International Trade Questions today I asked the Minister why 99% of UK Export Finance spent on energy goes on the most polluting fuels, and whether that meant he thought his Department was exempt from the Government’s global commitments under the Paris Climate Change Treaty. His incoherent, stuttering response speaks for itself. Unless all Government departments are focused on the need to meet our climate targets, and act accordingly, the Paris Agreement won't be worth the paper it’s written on.
- 22 November 2017
Yesterday I supported a 10-minute Rule Motion which would introduce automatic compensation for cancelled and delayed trains and flights. With the information travel operators have, it should be easy for them to introduce immediate electronic re-imbursements to customers once they cancel a service. At the moment many customers don’t get the money they are owed because it’s made too difficult for them to make a claim. The Bill will now be listed for a Second Reading next year, but is unlikely to become law unless the Government picks it up.
- 22 November 2017
During the EU referendum, the Leave campaign promised an additional £350 million a week would be given to the NHS if we voted out. Today, the Chancellor is putting another £3 billion into planning for Brexit, whilst giving the NHS a one-off payment of £350 million to deal with the upcoming winter health crisis! Last winter the British Red Cross said we were facing a ‘humanitarian crisis’ in our health service. This year NHS England forecasts it to be even worse, and today’s Budget does little to address this.
- 22 November 2017
I’ve written in the Huffington Post today about the risk there will be a steep rise in the price of fruit and vegetables following our withdrawal from the European Union. We need to ensure that people are able to have access to good quality and healthy food regardless of income, and I am lobbying the Government for action to protect and promote this sector.
- 21 November 2017
I had a useful meeting on Friday with the Principal of St Brendan’s Sixth Form College, along with some of their students. We discussed the challenges arising from the underfunding of 16-19 education, which has seen a real terms cut in spending per pupil of over £200 since 2013. The college is determined not to introduce any cuts to the curriculum so as to keep students’ options as wide as possible, but they have reached the limit of what they can do to make savings. I have lobbied the Government about unfair funding for sixth form colleges in the past, and have again written to the Chancellor about this in the run-up to the Budget. We also discussed what the college is doing to raise awareness of Meningitis, given the tragic deaths of two students in the last few years, and encourage take-up of the vaccine amongst students, who, along with babies, are the most vulnerable to this disease.
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