100 days to COP26
One of the issues about marine protection is that, too often, it’s out of sight out of mind. If you saw bulldozer going into a nature reserve and churning it up, people would be outraged. But because it’s happening out at sea, and to most people is invisible, it feels like it’s not on anyone’s agenda.
The Building Safety Bill being discussed and debated in Parliament yesterday could, and should, have been be an opportunity to ensure that leaseholders will not be saddled with costly bills to address the fire safety risks in their homes – risks caused by defects and issues that date back to when they were built.
Covid restrictions lifting
As from today, almost all mandatory Covid restrictions are being lifted in England in what is a huge gamble with public health. The fact that this is happening when there are more than 50,000 new infections a day is even more alarming, and underscores how reckless this Government is being over Covid.
The “Bloom or Bust” report
The Environmental Audit Committee, of which I’m a member, published an important report on the steps that need to be taken urgently to halt the catastrophic loss of biodiversity in Britain. Called Bloom or Bust, it makes a number of important recommendations including removing subsidies for activities which harm nature, aligning all public spending with biodiversity targets and, most importantly, ending the focus on GDP growth which treats nature as expendable.
Two important bills were debated in Parliament before the recess: the Finance Bill which implements the Budget proposals and the Environment Bill.
State Opening of Parliament and the Queen’s Speech
It’s two years since Parliament declared a climate emergency and we are at the start of a decade that is absolutely critical in terms of climate action. Yet astonishingly climate was not mentioned once in the Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament, and the background briefing notes released by the Government shortly after had no new initiative or plan to tackle an accelerating crisis.
Sleaze and truth-telling
In my last newsletter, I wrote about Tory sleaze, the lack of truth-telling by the Prime Minister and the failure to uphold the Ministerial Code which governs conduct in public office.
Since then, the situation has got even worse. Text messages, cover-ups over the refurbishment of the Downing Street flat, and a deeply offensive comment about Covid deaths have all been revealed by the newspapers and broadcasters, denied by the Prime Minister, then confirmed by other journalists.
Dear Mr Speaker
We write as leaders of our parties in the House of Commons to express our deep concern that the standing and reputation of the House is being endangered by the lack of truthfulness in statements by the Prime Minister.
As you will know, one of the Nolan principles is that holders of public office should be truthful. It is also set out in the Ministerial code. We believe the Prime Minister consistently fails to meet this standard.
Sleaze in government
The lobbying scandal over Greensill Capital and the role of David Cameron has consumed most of the front pages for the past week. The revelations have been shocking, revealing a culture of sleaze and cronyism which runs right through this Government. It’s not just about the secrecy and exploitation of the “chumocracy” – it creates a dangerously corrosive effect on public trust, posing real risks for our democracy.