The crisis in Afghanistan
Since mid-August, like many other MPs, I’ve spent much of my time trying to help constituents who have close family members trapped in Afghanistan, or who are trapped there themselves.
Watching the scenes at Kabul airport leaves me with a feeling of grief and anger.
Grief for the millions of Afghan women and girls, in particular, who were promised a brighter future and the opportunity to learn, to work and to pursue their dreams.
And anger that the many pledges made to the Afghan people over the past 20 years have been broken, as we abandon them to their fate.
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.