Fixing the Finance Bill
Last Monday MPs debated the Finance Bill – which puts the Chancellor’s climate-wrecking Budget into law.
After he pledged billions for new roads and fossil fuel subsidies and did nothing to transform our economy so that it tackles climate breakdown and restores the natural world, I tabled an amendment calling on Parliament to reject his plans.
Standing up for homeless people
Brighton is facing a housing crisis that is forcing increasing numbers of people to sleep on our streets.
And last week a constituent sent me a photo of a fake flyer he’d been handed in our city.
This leaflet was clearly designed to provoke hostility towards people in desperate need of support, so I spoke to the Council, Street Link and the press to call out its malicious content. It’s vital we stand together as a community to stop homeless people facing abuse, and that MPs and councillors work across party lines to help them into safe accommodation.
I'm continuing to urge the council to open the homeless shelter as soon as possible (it's now been delayed until the end of November) and to commit to it being open throughout the year.
Committing to peace
It was very moving to see so many people attend the Remembrance service at the Old Steine, marking 100 years since the end of the First World War.
I was honoured to lay a wreath to remember all those killed between 1914 and 1918, and thought of the impact of all wars on those involved and those left behind.
Later in the day I attended a service at the Reform Synagogue hosted by Brighton and Hove’s Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women’s Service.
This Sunday I attended A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance at St Mary’s Church to commemorate those who died in the First World War and those left behind in Brighton and beyond. It was an afternoon of powerful music, history and poetry – and I had the privilege of reading an account about a nurse from Kemp Town who served in the Russian Red Cross on the Serbian front.
I spoke at the Wildlife Trusts’ annual parliamentary reception and met inspirational young people working to regenerate precious habitats across the country.
With so many of our children experiencing nature deficit disorder – a lack of time in green spaces – at the same time as ecosystems are collapsing due to climate change and harmful farming practices, the work of the Wildlife Trusts is crucial to getting young people outside and learning more about nature.
Defeating the gambling industry
After a huge campaign that saw constituents flood my inbox, the Government made a hugely welcome U-turn and cancelled the six-month delay in implementing the £2 maximum bet on fixed-odds betting terminals.
Thanks to all those who got in touch – your voice has beaten the gambling industry’s professional lobbyists.
Celebrating Votes for Women
This weekend I was proud to speak at Vote 100: Celebrating Women Composers with Music of our Time as part of Parliament Week. The concert at St George’s Church in Brighton featured beautiful performances of music by women composers including Lucy Pankhurst, and was a great way to mark the centenary of at least some women winning the right to vote.
The following day I was honoured to be part of the unveiling of the plaque on Victoria Road for Brighton suffragette Minnie Turner – who ran a boarding house welcoming suffragettes recovering from incarceration in Holloway Prison and the torture of force feeding. It’s vital that we continue to highlight their courage and commitment, and to continue the campaign for equality.
Supporting small businesses
I was incredibly proud when two Brighton entrepreneurs were shortlisted for the Best Small Shop Award 2018.
Kellie Miller of Kellie Miller Arts Gallery and Peter Allinson of Whirligig Toyshop came to a parliamentary reception to celebrate, and Kellie received a ‘highly commended’ award as special recognition of her innovative business.
I'd encourage everyone to visit the likes of Whirligig and Kellie Miller Arts Gallery in the run-up to Christmas.
Last Monday I sponsored Sanctuary in Parliament – an event designed to bring people seeking sanctuary and local volunteers together in Westminster to meet with their MPs, and ensure their voices are heard by those in a position to change things.
I heard powerful stories from refugees and people seeking asylum, and reaffirmed my determination to end the immigration detention the Government forces so many of them to endure.
Defending our democracy
With tech corporations building armies of political experts and becoming as powerful as nation states, the rights and freedoms that underpin our democracy are under serious threat.
I wrote for the Metro on the urgent need for the Government to bring our electoral laws into the 21st Century.
Ending stigma around HIV testing
Ahead of National HIV Testing Week, I joined the Terrence Higgins Trust for an event in Brighton, where I met local volunteers and was tested for HIV.
The test is quick and easy – so I'd encourage everyone to find out more about it and, if appropriate, get tested.
Planting trees for Westdene
On Friday I planted five trees at Westdene Primary School as part of an international network of forest conservation initiatives – the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.
I was really impressed by the outside learning space at Westdene when I last visited and know pupils will look after the trees well – so it was great to be joined by children from Westdene’s ‘school gardeners’ and Eco Council to bed in the silver birch, rowan and hazel saplings.
In the coming months I’ll be campaigning for the Government to announce new funding to restore nature across the country and bring more trees into all our lives.
Campaigning for a People’s Vote
Last week I sent an update dedicated to my recent work on Brexit and for a People’s Vote on the Government’s deal with the EU. If you missed it, you can find it here.