Westminster diary wb 24th April


I met with Scottish Government officials to discuss Climate Action Hubs. The structures that we utilise to address climate issues is very important and the question we need to answer is how local the hubs should be. Can we address a worldwide problem by treating them as local issues? I think a local hub would play a huge part in rolling out improvements and educating the general public. It’s also important that people are empowered to take positive actions to improve their communities and in doing so bring pressure to bear on councils and governments. I raised two questions in the House. The first was about the repeated lack of enforcement of the ministerial code and the second was on the lack of support for U.K. citizens trying to escape from Sudan.


I was on the rota as I was covering for a colleague, unfortunately I was feeling unwell and so muddled through the day with the help of the parliamentary nurse. I did have a fruitful discussion with Jason Reed from Law Enforcement Action Partnership regarding drug policy. We voted at 7pm and I retreated to my hotel for a good night’s sleep.


I dropped in on the Alcohol and Families Alliance policy fair. I took the opportunity to talk with a number of groups including Turning Point and Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs. Prime Minister’s Questions was so loud and abusive that I could hardly hear what was being said. Every week the speaker threatens to send someone out for an early cup of tea, and he never does. I think an early exit may be a good thing. And quite shockingly when asked by Stephen Flynn if a child being evacuated from Sudan would be refused entry to the U.K. the prime minister has no answer. This Conservative and Unionist government has no shame. Stephen Flynn used standing order 24 (a motion may be made by a Member ‘for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration’) to try and secure a debate on the illegal migration bill but the speaker did not grant it. The APPG on gambling related harm discussed our response to the white paper on gambling reform which is always difficult when we are second guessing its content. The APPG on Drugs Alcohol and Justice heard about cooperative working across services. I had a short phone call with Stuart Andrew (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Civil Society) to inform me that the white paper would definitely be published tomorrow. We then had five votes on the disgraceful Illegal Migration Bill.


I had planned to return home last night but stayed over for the U.K. government’s white paper on gambling reform. Before that I bobbed for a question on voter Id. It will be tried in full during the upcoming English council elections and there are still grave concerns about the impact it will have on voter turnout. The gambling statement was superficial and leans to far towards the gambling commission for my liking. The white paper is 256 pages most of which is the art of stating the blindingly obvious, but it does include some good stuff and a lot of areas to be pursued. This paper heralds the start of a new conversation. I had a meeting with the minister as a follow up to the publication of the white paper. Unfortunately, a delay in my scheduled travel meant I had to cancel an interview with BBC news channel.


I visited Mind Mosaic to catch up with the work they do regarding child and family therapies. I attended the service to commemorate International workers day. And finally, I visited Wiltshire Farm Foods to better understand the challenges facing the industry with the extended producer responsibility (EPR) legislation.