December 2018: Your Local MP
Your Voice in Parliament
As I write, the Government is falling apart and the Prime Ministers’ job is on the line. I have to say, I’m furious. This isn’t an episode of the West Wing, it’s real life. And – in my view – the Government should be ashamed of the mess we’re in. So much is at stake.
The 585-page draft UK/EU Withdrawal Agreement has also now been shared with MPs and the nation. As your MP, and as a member of the House of Commons EU Scrutiny Select Committee, I’ll be studying it closely. But I have some bad news: this isn’t the “deal”, it’s only about how the UK should leave the EU and what happens in any transition period. The Prime Minister’s “deal” on the future UK/EU relationship was a mere seven pages that committed to nothing at all. So this is just the beginning of the end, not the end of the Brexit process!
As you will all know, I think Brexit is bad for Bristol. The Prime Minister doesn’t have a majority of the House and politics seems pretty broken – which is why I support you have the final say on the Prime Ministers’ deal when it’s ready. This is something I promised in my election address and I’ve stuck 100% true to my word ever since.
Alongside the continuing distraction and chaos of Brexit, I held two important environmental debates. The first focused on intensive farming in the UK. Intensive farming in “megafarms” is the practice of farming large numbers of animals in close confinement, leading to animal welfare, environmental and human health issues. In the debate, I described the way in which it is harmful and laid out how Brexit could make farming conditions even worse and lower animal welfare standards.
I also hosted Parliament’s first debate on climate change since the launch of the UN’s report stating that we only have 12 years to prevent catastrophic damage due to climate change. The report received global attention but was not put forward for debate by the Government. With the help of Zac Goldsmith MP, I successfully applied for a debate considering the report in the context of the recent global increases in extreme weather. Given the scale and speed at which it is increasingly affecting humanity, I used the debate to call for increased attention and action on climate change. I have also signed an important cross-party letter to the Prime Minister calling on her to adopt a target of zero net emissions by 2050 and will keep raising this issue in the House of Commons.
Your Champion in Bristol
As your Member of Parliament, it’s a real honour to represent our collective thanks to those who fought for us to protect our way of life, and to think of those that continue to do so. That’s why I joined a local Remembrance service in Shirehampton this year. I feel it’s particularly important to reflect on how Bristol North West has been affected by war and the sacrifice constituents past and present have made. I joined veterans and representatives of the Armed Forces in the procession from St Mary’s Church and laid a wreath on behalf of the House of Commons. To ensure I meet as many veterans and local families as possible, I have pledged to attend a different local service each year and will be attending the Westbury-on-Trym service in 2019.
Back in November, I was delighted to be asked to open the new post-16 education centre at Claremont School in Henleaze called The Hive. Claremont is a Special Education Needs (SEND) school with one ethos – that they want all their students to achieve the best they can. I think it’s vital that there is investment in children and young people with SEND and I know that all too often parents feel the right support is hard to come by. It’s therefore fantastic to see this new centre being opened here in Bristol North West. I wish the school and their students every success.
We’ve all seen the number of vacant premises on high streets grow in recent years, I therefore continue to urge us all to shop locally, support local events and back our fantastic variety of small businesses. To show my support for Small Business Saturday on 1st December, I’ll be visiting the new bookstore, Max Minerva, in Henleaze to stock-up for Christmas. And on that note, as we approach the festive season, I’ll be attending lots of events including opening this year’s Westbury Christmas Fair on Saturday 15th December – I hope to see you there.
I’ll also be hosting more of my regular café and pub politics sessions in the local area after Christmas so keep an eye on my website and Facebook page for details and in the meantime, let me wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.