March 2020: News from your local MP
Your Voice in Parliament
PARLIAMENT is just about back up and running. The Government has just appointed the new Cabinet and Ministers, although the budget is likely to be delayed. Our select committees aren’t yet established, but I’ve opted to rejoin the science and technology committee when it is. And the Government isn’t doing a great deal of legislative work yet, focusing primarily on agriculture bills related to Brexit. Important nationally but not overly related to Bristol.
Outside of formal business, I’ve recently finished chairing the first of a series of roundtables about my Private Member’s Bill on Forensic Science and Facial Recognition. A Private Member’s Bill is an opportunity for non-Government MPs (in this case: me!) to attempt to pass legislation. You only get one shot and you still need government support so it’s a fine balance between wanting to do something worth while whilst doing something that might get government support.
My bill will do two things: first, give legal powers to the forensics regulator who is unable to deal with a failing privatised forensics service which is making it harder to prosecute criminals: and second, to require the government to complete an annual review about the use of technology and biometric data, including the current use of auto facial recognition cameras. Right now, facial recognition is being used (for example at Cardiff stadium) without a proper legal framework and using technology that keeps mistakenly identifying women and BAME people as criminals when they aren’t. This cannot continue and I hope to address this in Parliament.
I’ve also pushed, again, for the government to bring forward new powers to deal with the negative consequences of dealing with waste processing - an issue we often experience in Avonmouth. This was as part of a Westminster Hall debate on waste incineration. Bristol is actually very good at recycling and our new recycle and reuse centre in Avonmouth is looking great. Unfortunately, the government was once again unable to commit to anything useful so we can deal with issues when they do arise more quickly.
Your Champion in Bristol
In development related news, the initial consultation for the new A4018 proposal has started. This is the updated proposal after the campaign I led last year calling for changes. The new proposals include changes to crossings along the A4018 and a new segregated cycle and pedestrian route between Crow Lane Roundabout and Charlton Road. It also includes welcome traffic lights to the A4018/Greystoke Avenue junction and a new zebra crossing on Shipley road. If you have concerns or ideas on this, please take part in the consultation. You can find details online, here: www.bristol.citizenspace.com
Related to this is the West of England Transport Strategy, which I’m pleased includes a number of the recommendations made in my North Bristol Transport Plan. The proposals include new park and ride alongside rail investment at the commuter entry points to the city which I'm sure will help with daily gridlock at peak hours on our local roads.
I also met with the owners of the old Bristol airfield, YTL, recently and continued to stress the need for proper transport infrastructure to support their proposed YTL Bristol Arena in the Brabazon Hangar.
Lastly, I know there’s heightened concerns on both sides of the debate about people living in mobile homes and parking around the Downs. I have some further work to do to listen to local residents (in both mobile and non mobile homes) as well as looking at the legal and political situation. If you have any views on this issue I’d welcome them, so please do let me know.
As always, if you have any questions or need my help just drop me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), call 0117 959 6545 or write to me. My Facebook Page is at www.facebook.com/darrenjonesmp and you can sign up to my cafe or pub politics in your area via my website at www.darren-jones.co.uk
Darren Jones MP
Member of Parliament, Bristol North West