So now we know – we’re heading for the first December election since 1923. Boris Johnson keeps saying he had to call an election because Parliament wouldn’t pass his Brexit deal – but thats just another lie. The truth is, he pulled the deal because he knew it wouldn’t stand up to proper Parliamentary scrutiny. But as far as I’m concerned, now that a damaging No Deal Brexit is off the table, I’m absolutely relishing the chance to get out and fight for a Labour Government. Swansea East, Wales, and the whole UK really does deserve better than this Tory shambles – and I’ll work night and day to make that a reality.
But as those of you familiar with my weekly rounds-ups will know, for me, the hard work never really stops. And I’ve spent my last full week in Westminster for a while doing what I always do – fighting for the people and the causes that are close to my heart.
On Monday, I was on the front bench with my Shadow team for Home Office Questions, and I called on the Government to do more to protect young people who are caught up in “county lines” operations – a practice whereby drug gangs from big cities expand their dealing to smaller towns and villages, often using violence and exploiting the young and the vulnerable to sell drugs. Earlier this month, South Wales Police arrested more than 700 people and confiscated £400,000 worth of drugs, with 49 “deal lines” disrupted. It’s clear that this is a serious issue and the Government are not doing enough to protect the public.
On Wednesday night you may have seen me on Newsnight, where we discussed the culture of abuse that has developed in politics. A number of female MPs have said they are stepping down at the next election because of the abuse they face for doing their jobs. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a privilege to represent the people of Swansea East in Parliament, and I don’t expect an easy ride. None of my colleagues do. But some of the online abuse I’ve received has been completely unacceptable. These people think they’re keyboard warriors but they’re not – they’re keyboard cowards. They happily type things that they’d never say to anyone’s face. It will take more than that to stop me from doing my job – but they should be ashamed of themselves.
Just before I left Westminster on Thursday, a House of Commons committee report into the Whirlpool faulty tumble dryer scandal was published. The BEIS Committee’s report on the safety of electrical goods in the UK criticised Whirlpool for its slow response in modifying or replacing faulty machines, slammed the company’s use of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) and criticised Whirlpool’s efforts to deflect the concerns of safety organisations and customers rather than focussing on practical steps to address the safety problems. As Chair of the APPG on Electrical Safety, this is an area I’ve done much work on, and was pleased to see this report from some of my Parliamentary colleagues take such a tough stance.
My office was closed Friday as we were all been paying our respects to former Lord Mayor of Swansea Alan Lloyd who died recently. He was a Labour Councillor from 1967 to 2012 and was appointed an OBE for services to local government and democracy in Wales and abroad. When asked once what made a good councillor, he replied, “listening to people”. I think that’s a message we can all take on board.
I’m delighted that for the next few weeks of campaigning, I’ll be able to spend even more time than usual in my fantastic Swansea East constituency. I hope to see lots of you out and about, but 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.
I hope you all have a great weekend!