It is the greatest honour of my life to represent the people of my home city. I delivered my first speech in the House of Commons last month, where I gave my heartfelt thanks to every person in Nottingham East who elected me and invested their trust in me. Many of you inspired me to stand and I will not let you down.
Since then, it has been a hectic few weeks and I thank you all for your patience whilst I set up my office from scratch. I will continue with regular updates.
If you have a tenants’ association, community group, or local business, I would love to meet with you to hear about your work and how I can support it. Please also get in touch if you have questions that you would like to ask government departments, and I will try to make sure that these are tabled in Parliament.
I interviewed for a Parliamentary Assistant. We received over 400 applications, so have a very difficult decision to make!
I am in the process of signing the lease for my constituency office and hope to have the keys soon. I am also finalising the recruitment process for my parliamentary and constituency offices. Once my offices are running, I will publish details for my regular advice surgeries and I will also decide which local causes receive donations from my MP salary. Until then, please email me any urgent issues and I will respond to them as soon as possible.
I have been in contact with Highways England and am receiving regular updates. I met with Cllr Adele Williams, portfolio holder for transport, and Cllr David Mellen, Nottingham City Council Leader, for an update on the A52 bridge closure and the awful traffic jams it has caused in Nottingham. Nottingham City Council has acted quickly to clear the way for public transport and suspend all planned road works.
Highways England now says that Clifton Bridge is not likely to be fully re-opened until the end of the year. Nottingham MPs will continue to work alongside Nottingham City Council, urging that repairs are completed as quickly as possible and questioning how this situation arose.
I have met with local groups such as Himmah food poverty and wellbeing project and youth climate strikers; visited independent businesses; hosted Deliveroo workers in Westminster; and supported the UPHD Nottingham’s successful campaign, together with the City Council, to allow taxi drivers to register with multiple operators and therefore have greater control over their hours and earnings.
I led a Westminster Hall Debate on Climate Justice ahead of COP26, because Climate breakdown does not impact everyone and every nation equally, with those who have contributed the least suffering the most. Climate justice is about ensuring that they are compensated.
I asked the Minister what action the government has actually taken since a climate emergency was declared and urged him to get our own house in order. This means stopping Heathrow expansion, lifting ban on onshore windfarms, major investment in clean green jobs fit for the future, and it means that we must stop investing in fossil fuels.
COP26 is our last chance saloon for the planet, but everything points to this whole process being recklessly mismanaged by a Prime Minister who has described climate change as a “primitive concern… without foundation”.
Alex Norris MP for Nottingham North also took the Minister to task from the Labour front bench, and we both paid tribute to Nottingham City Council putting us on track to be the UK’s first carbon-neutral city by 2028.
In Prime Minister’s Questions, I asked the Prime Minister whether he would immediately suspend the charter flight planned to deport 50 people to Jamaica on 11th February, until the much-delayed Windrush Lessons Learned Review is published and its recommendations implemented. His response was a woefully inadequate “I think the whole House will understand that the people of this country will think it right to send back foreign national offenders”.
In fact, all of the people being deported have served their sentences, many have lived here since childhood and have committed non-violent single-time offences as teenagers, such as drug possession. In deporting them, the government breached recommendations of its own leaked review.
I wrote a letter, signed by over 170 cross-party colleagues, urging the Prime Minister to respond to concerns raised, and I joined the protest outside Downing Street led by activists and families affected.
After a legal challenge and huge public pressure, the government deported only 17 out of the 50. The charter flight was utter chaos, with people being dragged off only 9 hours before it was set to leave. Since then, the Home Office has refused to provide a list of names and has only provided a list of offences (none of which were murder or attempted murder as previously stated). We will continue to fight the government rushing through deportations before it learns the lessons from the Windrush scandal.
Apart from Stonebridge City Farm, we don’t have farms in Nottingham, but we do have people who need food to eat and a healthy planet to live on! The Agriculture Bill fails on food poverty, food standards, and sustainable food production. So, I spoke in the debate on behalf of the 26,000 people in Nottingham who used food banks for emergency supplies last year; everyone who does not want to eat chlorinated chicken post-Brexit, and our planet which needs targets for the agricultural sector to reach net zero. After this I was selected to sit on the Agriculture Bill Committee, where this week I pressed expert witnesses on the Bill’s failings.
I have been elected to the Environmental Audit Select Committee, which is responsible for ensuring that all government policy meets its climate responsibilities.