I've been continuing to ask questions of the Government about plans for fracking in Britain. Specifically I've been pushing for answers about whether a thorough assessment has been made of the use of chemicals in past drilling activities - and whether previous drilling has left the Ryedale site at risk.
With fracking set to start in Yorkshire imminently i'm keeping a very close eye on developments - and doing all i can to expose corner cutting by the company and government.
Casualties in Yemen bombings
British forces are engaged in combat in many places around the world, often in secrecy. I'm particularly concerned by what's happening in Yemen - where attacks by coalition forces are reported to have caused large numbers of civilian casualties. I'm keeping a close eye on this issue - and demanding answers from the Government - but sadly ministers refuse to answer basic questions about the number of people killed or injured by joint US/UK operations.
Over three years ago I stood up in the House of Commons, calling on the Government to immediately ban third party puppy sales as a first major step to combat puppy farming and smuggling. Turn the clock forward to today and what has changed? Puppies are still being sold by pet shops and dealers, and puppies are still being imported from foreign puppy farms. This isn't good enough.
That's why i'm supporting the Lucy's Law campaign, which effectively removes the market for irresponsibly bred pups born in the UK or abroad, including impulse purchases at Christmas. It forces prospective dog owners to see pup interacting with mum at the breeders premises, or better still seek out a rescue dog instead. Lucy’s Law is long overdue and we all need to keep up the pressure for action.
Journalists pursued after Snowden leaks
After reading reports of police investigating journalists involved in the Snowden leaks, I wrote to the Government asking what kind of operation officers are pursuing against reporters. I strongly believe that whistelblowing and independent reporting are crucial, which is why I was disappointed that the Government didn't give any details in their answer.
I wrote to Boris Johnson asking that he clarifies his position in relation to Sudan, after finding out that the UK is planning to co-host a trade conference with the country. The UK's official policy is to not promote trade with South Sudan, which seems to be being contradicted.
Transparency International ranks Sudan as 170th out of 176 countries in its global corruption index, noting that corruption is present in all sectors and across all branches and all levels of Government. President Al-Bashir is subject to an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court for numerous human rights violations – which are still ongoing. It is vital that the UK Government uses its influence to help tackle corruption, human rights abuses and poverty in Sudan before it seeks to bolster trade relationships, otherwise there is a real and ongoing risk that trade will do little to improve conditions for the Sudanese population and may indeed cause more harm than good.
The Great Smog
This week was the 65th anniversary of the Great Smog in London. Shockingly we're still seeing thousands of lives cut short in Britain because of filthy air, which is why I tabled and Early Day Motion urging ministers to do more to tackle this crisis. Specifically the EDM demanded more clean air zones that would charge the dirtiest vehicles to enter the UK's most polluted cities and a diesel scrappage scheme being brought in without delay.
The Greys Pub
On Friday I visited The Greys pub in Hanover following the launch of their Crowdfunder last week, through which locals are able to buy shares in the new community pub in return for donations.
Their vision is to reopen The Greys as a social enterprise owned and run by the community of Hanover and the wider public of Brighton and beyond.
As well as a brilliant community pub, the campaign want The Greys to become a daytime space for community groups and voluntary organisations, aiming to be a home for creativity, learning, support and wellbeing initiatives run by, and for, residents.
I also visited the new home of Café Domenica in Brighton.
They are a truly inspirational initiative who are doing some incredible work removing barriers for people with learning disabilities in Brighton. Their aim is to help young adults with learning disabilities find and retain meaningful employment focussing not only helping to prepare candidates for the workplace, but by developing their capacity to lead happy fulfilled lives as well. This is work is carried out by an amazing team through the Charity’s Training Centre, Training Café and Employment Agency.
Find out more here