It’s been a week of challenging issues and sometimes raw emotion, with the chance to showcase some amazing work by campaigners and colleagues – but also with reminders of too many continuing injustices. Like many of you, I did start the week with a spring in my step, though, after our cracking result against Italy on Saturday. Hearty Congratulations to the boys, and commiserations to the women who were so close!
On Monday I spoke in Defence Questions to ask the Government what they are doing to support veterans’ mental health when they leave the Services. Sergeant Michael Rowley served for 25 years, but suffered from combat-related PTSD which seriously impacted his life. We need to do more to make sure that veterans, especially those who experience combat, are given the specialist support and help that they need. ‘Help a Squaddie’ was initially formed to help house homeless veterans, but soon realised that homelessness can be prevented if issues are addressed much sooner. Heavy drinking, gambling into huge debts, and mental illness can easily lead to a descent into homelessness and we need to work to ensure that we tackle the problems head-on before they can escalate to homelessness. While charities such as Help a Squaddie do such amazing work in our communities, the Government has to step up and ensure that the provisions are there for those who need them. We owe them that much.
In November 2018, the law changed to allow access to medical cannabis to those who needed it. Yet in the time since, not one NHS prescription has been issued on the NHS for medical cannabis that can prove so life-changing to severely ill children. There is so much evidence to show that their quality of life can be greatly improved by the use of medicinal cannabis. Currently, families are having to travel abroad and spend huge amounts of money to procure the drug for their children, when the law is in place to allow them to get it in this country. I attended an ‘End Our Pain’ event in Parliament on Wednesday and signed a letter to the Prime Minister to ask him to personally intervene. The Secretary of State for Health promised back in March to help, saying he would make it his priority to help the children and their families in desperate need of medical cannabis, and yet the Government is still failing these desperate families. I will continue to speak up in support of these families who are fighting for their children to have a better quality of life.
I met with fellow Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty, Aesthetics, and Wellbeing to discuss how best to move forward in the months ahead. I have already spoken with the Teenage Cancer Trust about the work that they do and how we could support them, and with Dawn Knight who campaigns for better safety for patients undergoing cosmetic surgery through stricter regulations of the industry. The British beauty industry is facing a number of challenges, from sustainability and inclusivity, to regulation. We need more discussion and awareness of the issues surrounding them in order to better improve people’s wellbeing and happiness.
BBC Radio 4 listeners and BBC Breakfast viewers may have heard and seen me this week discussing the plight of parents who historically suffered miscarriages or stillbirths in the UK. This preceded an important debate in the House of Commons this Thursday on Historic Stillbirth and Cremations, which came about after I raised in Parliament last month just how many parents who lost children as a result of miscarriage or stillbirth do not know where their child is buried. Local Authorities must have had contact with undertakers who would have buried the children who died, and therefore there must be records. We must open these records to allow families who wish to know where their children are buried to find them and make the place their own to commemorate with a plaque or flowers. I am pleased that the Government has allowed time for this important debate, but it is clear that much more needs to be done to offer these parents some closure and a place to visit to remember their lost child. The pain of losing a child is not lessened because they were miscarried or stillborn and parents deserve to know what happened to them.
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, and Pob lwc to all those pulling on a Welsh jersey!