You won’t have failed to notice that Parliament returned this week. Whether it’s been on your TV screens, in the newspapers or down the pub, it goes without saying that this has certainly been an unprecedented week in UK politics. Labour now stands ready to fight a General Election, as soon as we can be sure Boris Johnson is unable to deliver a No Deal Brexit.
Away from Brexit, I’ve been busy working hard on some of my key campaigns and holding this shambolic government to account on a range of different issues.
On Tuesday, I chaired the latest meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Home Electrical Safety. I’m pleased that the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility, Kelly Tolhurst MP, was able to attend this meeting – particularly in light of the recent Whirlpool tumble dryer recall. During this meeting, I was able to tackle the Minister on a number of issues, including the progress and effectiveness of the recall and the public safety risk posed by the growing number of recalled electrical products being sold via various online platforms. I’ll be continuing to put pressure on the government on this – it’s simply something they cannot afford to get wrong.
Wales Questions on Wednesday was another opportunity to hold the Welsh Secretary, Alun Cairns MP, to account for his complete inability to stand up for Wales. As part of my question to him, I quoted the words of a Welsh domestic abuse survivor who said that, as a result of Universal Credit, “women survive violence, then have to survive on peanuts”. Since Universal Credit was first created, it’s been clear that it’s not been working for the people who need it most. It’s increasingly clear that this includes victims of domestic abuse. While the Minister pointed to the training being rolled out in job centres in Wales, it seems obvious to me that what they’re offering is not going to be nearly enough to help these victims properly. Quite simply, we need much more support in place to help these people who have often been subjected to horrendous treatment in the past.
Later on Wednesday, I chaired an evidence session for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Related Harm. As part of this session, we had invited Bet 365, William Hill, Sky Betting and Gaming, Flutter Entertainment and Tombola. Kenny Alexander from the Ladbrokes Coral owner, GVC, failed to turn up to answer our concerns, despite the fact several families who have lost loved ones to problem gambling were in attendance. I am pleased that executives from Bet 365, William Hill, Sky Betting and Gaming, Tombola and Paddy Power Betfair acknowledged the harm that problem gambling was doing to communities across the UK and agreed that they needed to do more. This is positive progress and I truly hope to be able to work constructively with the industry to help prevent further individuals and families from being devastated by gambling addiction.
Throughout the week, I’ve also had the opportunity to meet with various different organisations including Age UK, Crisis and Agenda to discuss the ongoing Domestic Abuse Bill. This is a crucial Bill which provides us with the opportunity to finally put a proper system in place to provide proper support for victims of domestic abuse. I, like many Parliamentarians who have been calling for this Bill for so long, am concerned that the prorogation of Parliament could mean that this Bill is shelved. I will continue to put pressure on the government to ensure this is not the case. The government can – and must – deliver on the promises it has made to the victims of domestic abuse. Minister must not fail them now.
To wrap up the week, I’ve been holding another of my regular constituency advice surgeries today and catching up with my constituency casework. As always, if you have any issues or concerns to raise with me as your local MP, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01792 462054.