AUGUST 2022: News from our local MP Darren Jones
Feeling the heat: an unprecedented time for both politics and weather
We’ve all experienced incredibly high temperatures in the UK this July, and it is impossible not to see the danger we face due to climate change. On the same day that the Met Office issued a Red warning for exceptional heat for the first time, I took part in a Joint Committee meeting to ask Ministers about how prepared the country is for dealing with extreme weather. (The timing was sheer coincidence!)
Earlier in the month, I also took part in a debate in Parliament on the Government’s action to meet net zero targets, in which I urged Ministers to move more quickly on building decarbonisation, as buildings account for 20% of emissions in the UK. I’m not the only one sounding the alarm; in a report published at the end of June, the Climate Change Committee was scathing about the Government’s delivery of its commitments to insulate UK homes.
Over the past month, things have been heating up in UK politics, too, with the Prime Minister in the hot seat over fresh allegations about his conduct and a flurry of Government resignations. You may have seen me in the media when this all came to a head, as I was the one to break the news to Boris Johnson that the Cabinet was waiting for him in Downing Street to tell him that his time as Prime Minister was up. This came during the Liaison Committee – the ‘committee of committees’, and the only one that gets to ask the Prime Minister questions.
In my six minutes to question the Prime Minister, I read out a quote he had authored: “When a regime has been in power for too long, when it has fatally exhausted the patience of the people, and when oblivion finally beckons, I am afraid that across the world you can rely on the leaders of that regime to act solely in the interests of self-preservation and not in the interests of the electorate.” When asked who said these words, he answered in typical Boris style, with suggestions that maybe Aristotle or a list of other ancient philosophers were behind the quote.
But, like I said in the Liaison Committee, this isn’t a joking matter. People are struggling across the country with the cost-of-living crisis and worried about energy bills rising further in the autumn. We need a Government that can focus on the job at hand.
In the fallout of the Boris’ resignation, the Online Safety Bill, which I have worked on in my role on the Joint Committee, was dropped from Government business in the week leading up to the summer recess, with a view for it to come back in the autumn. I fear it may be dropped for good.
It isn’t just the work of the Government that I scrutinise – I am just as passionate about concerns at a local level, too. This month, I met with the CEO of the St Monica’s Trust, where carers have recently taken industrial action over new work contracts, to stress the importance of coming to an agreeable outcome. I hope this issue can be resolved soon.
Moving on to some good news from the month, it was a pleasure to help welcome Bristol Pride to the Downs as part of the Labour Party stand at the entrance to the event. Once again, Bristol Pride proved to be a positive, energetic and fun-filled day for everyone involved – well done to the organisers. I was also delighted to support the announcement made at Pride by Mayor Marvin Rees that Bristol will be bidding to host Eurovision 2023 on behalf of Ukraine at our new Bristol Arena. The Arena falls within my constituency, so I’ve let the Mayor know I expect to open the event should we be successful.
It’s also been great to be out on the doors again (even in the summer heat), talking to local residents about their hopes and concerns. I know it’s a little odd having a politician knock on your door, but it’s a great way for me to hear from you and I’m grateful for the time residents take to talk to me and my team. If you haven’t had the chance to speak with me recently, I’m running another Pub Politics event on Thursday, 28th July in the Henleaze area.
I like to keep the group size for these events small to give everyone a chance to talk, so tickets are free, but limited, and need to be booked in advance. Please visit my website for full details: darren-jones.co.uk
Finally, I’m hoping that by the time you read this the temperature will have dropped significantly, but if you are looking for somewhere to spend some time outdoors without baking in the sun, then I highly recommend a trip to Badock’s Wood, which sits in the middle of Southmead, Westbury and Henleaze.
I spent a lovely hour with the Friends of Badock’s Wood recently to learn more about being awarded Bristol’s only Queen’s Green Canopy Award, making it one of 70 ancient woodlands across the country to be dedicated to The Queen in celebration of her Platinum Jubilee.