As Parliament goes into its Summer Recess, MPs have all returned home to their constituencies. This is the longest recess of the year, stretching from the 22nd July to the 5th September. Throughout this period, my office and I will continue to be working and available for any issues.
The news item on everybody’s agenda this month has been Boris Johnson’s resignation, and the depressing leadership race we are all witnessing. Both Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have attempted to pretend that the current state of the country after 12 years of Tory government is nothing to do with them. But both have been reliable stooges of the Johnson administration, voting for every one of the Tories’ 15 tax hikes on businesses and people and reliably parroting Boris Johnson’s lies and distortions until the bitter end.
More than ever, it is clear that Britain needs a Labour Government, with Keir Starmer as Prime Minister. Labour is the only party offering a credible plan for the economy and cost-of-living crisis. As part of Labour’s plan to reboot growth, a Labour government will establish an Industrial Strategy Council — on a statutory footing. Labour growth and Tory stagnation. That will be the choice at the next election, and we all need to be ready. Ready to renew the contract with working people. Ready to reboot our economy and end the cost-of living crisis. Ready to unlock the contribution of every business, every person, and every community.
This month I was pleased to secure a Westminster Hall debate on the size of the army. Throughout my time in Parliament, I have always been devoted to evidence-based policy. The evidence from the Defence Select Committee is clear. We are in danger of having an army that is obsolete and outgunned. The Government insists on cutting our current capabilities without procuring replacements. This is a worrying approach with a poor likely outcomes. You can watch my full speech here. As always, MPs from all parties continue to stand in solidarity with Ukraine as they continue to fight against Russian aggression. It is important that we don’t let fatigue distract us from our commitment to supply Ukraine with the aid they need to defend democracy and freedom in Europe.
It was also a pleasure to welcome Revd. Canon Rachel Firth and Revd. Amanda Ogilvie-Berry from Huddersfield Parish Church to Parliament this month. It was brilliant to hear about the work that the Parish Church is doing to serve our community. I’m always pleased to meet with the variety of faith groups in our town.
Furthermore, it was fantastic to hear about the great work that Home-Start Kirklees are doing to support families and young children in Huddersfield. It was a privilege to open up their new Bates Mill office this month.
As many of you will know, I am a passionate campaigner for clean air and chair the Westminster Commission for Road and Air Quality. This month I have been wearing an air quality monitor around Parliament to record the levels of pollution MPs and their staff are working in. The results are dire. Air quality is often way above WHO recommendations, and this is not just an issue for those in Parliament. In Huddersfield, air quality is often at harmful levels, and I want to see much more sustained action to reduce pollution. In September, I will be presenting a Private Members Bill that would require emissions testing for DPF filters in diesel cars. This Bill would have a huge impact on reducing levels of harmful particulates in urban areas.
As I write this report, it was only last week that the country was roasting in a record-breaking heatwave. This extreme weather should be a wakeup call to all policymakers to get a grip on the climate crisis. You can read more of my thoughts on this here, in a blogpost for Sustainable Huddersfield. The extreme weather, combined with the recent High Court ruling that the Government’s Net-Zero Strategy was unlawful has prompted many to discuss what actions need to be taken. I told the Secretary of State that we need to intervene now to bring forward our Net-Zero target and put in place a detailed and comprehensive plan of how we plan to do so. You can watch my question here. Climate change remains the defining issue and challenge of our times.
As always, please provide me with your thoughts, views and concerns. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.