Return from November Recess
As Parliament broke for Recess this month, I thought it would be a good time to provide an update to my constituents on my latest work in the House of Commons in the week leading up to the November break.
Sir David Amess
As Parliament returned from Conference Recess in October, we were confronted with the tragic murder of Sir David Amess MP. Sir David was a dedicated Parliamentarian and one of the kindest colleagues I have had the pleasure to meet. Sir David was an outstanding MP, campaigner and colleague; all of us in Parliament will miss him dearly and cherish memories of him.
I wrote an article in the Yorkshire Post which outlines my views on how we can prevent a tragedy like this ever happening again. You can read it here.
The Environment and COP26
The news this month has been dominated by environmental issues and the importance of COP26 in delivering the meaningful action our planet desperately needs. I have been pleased to raise these issues several times with ministers over the last month.
On 2nd November I held a Westminster Hall debate on the topic of COP26 and air pollution. As Chair of the Westminster Commission for Road and Air Quality I know the severe impacts air pollution has on the health and wellbeing of people all across the UK. I firmly believe any solutions to tackling climate change must also commit to reducing the toxic levels of air pollution that envelop our towns and cities. I challenged the Government to commit to real action at COP26 to reduce air pollution and commit to meaningful climate policies. You can watch my speech here.
The Environment Bill has also been making its way through the House of Commons this month. The Tories have repeatedly refused to make this Bill stronger by voting down every Labour amendment. Labour colleagues and I have been campaigning to hold water companies to account for leaking raw sewage into our waterways and for proper, World Health Organisation, air pollution limits. I asked the Minister why the Government’s approach was so glacially slow, you can watch here.
Only a few days after COP26 finished, I asked the Prime Minister what he was doing to materialize the Glasgow Pact in every town and city across the UK. For COP26 to be a success, I believe me must mobilize every town and city across the country with a new sustainable agenda. It will be through empowering communities that we make COP26 a success. Watch my question here.
I have a close, personal interest, in issues that affect autistic and the wider neuro-divergent community. As a result of this interest, alongside a cross-party, cross-sector group of Parliamentarians, autistic people, parents/carers, academics and health professionals, I set up the Westminster Commission on Autism in 2016. This month the Commission launched its latest report: “Support Surrounding Diagnosis: An inquiry into pre-and-post support for the Autism Diagnosis Pathway”. Our report brings together the latest research in the field and will go on to make a huge difference to the autism diagnosis pathway. You can catch up on the report launch here.
Questioning the Government
Over this last month I have been pleased to have several opportunities to hold different Government ministers to account. I raised the issue of sustainability with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and asked if they would commit to using the Sustainable Development Goals to put health and wellbeing at the heart of our communities. Watch here.
I also raised the issue of forensic science with the Ministry of Justice. There are many who are concerned about the quality of forensic science in our country, and as Chair of the All-Party Group for Miscarriages of Justice, I know that mistakes can have awful results for the individuals and families involved. I asked the Minister if he would work with us to put right the current flaws in the system. Watch here.
I am sure many of you are concerned about the escalating situation on the Poland – Belarus border, with Belarus, supported by Russia, using refugees as a weapon against the EU. I asked the minister what he was doing to work with NATO to stand up to Russian aggression. Watch here.