Keeping you informed

Dear Newcastle December 8th 2021

The incredible video of Downing Street staff laughing at breaking covid rules and the Prime Minister’s ridiculous refusal to quash or explain rumours of Christmas Parties undermine public confidence in  Government and the public health measures so important to keep us safe.  The arrival of the omicron variant is both extremely worrying and expected. So long as we fail in our duty to vaccinate the world, the Covid 19 virus will mutate in the countries where there are high rates of infection and in our connected world, those mutations will spread. I am pleased that the Government took action quickly,  unlike with the Delta variant where they waited weeks before responding, but we must recognise that action comes at a cost for the country who worked so hard to identify the variant – South Africa – and others now placed on the red list. There is also a cost for the UK residents facing huge bills to return home to the UK from red list countries and the travel industry more generally. This really does emphasise the need to keep our promises to developing countries and support the roll out and production of affordable vaccines for all.

Cop26 was both a great inspiration and a huge disappointment. I was there for a couple of days and it was wonderful to see so many people from around the world so committed to our planet’s future and what we need to do to ensure global warming does not go above 1.5 degrees. 1.5 degrees will bring major changes to Newcastle and the North East. We are already seeing more ‘extreme weather’ events like the Toon Monsoon and Storm Arwen. These will get worse, causing more and more disruption. But unfortunately the reality of what was agreed in Glasgow means we are looking at rises in temperature much greater than that! It was really sad that the Prime Minister could not show the kind of global leadership necessary to keep 1.5 alive.

Storm Arwen caused massive disruption throughout the North East and Scotland. The fact that thousands of households were with out power a week after the storm shows the failing of our energy market and the Government’s ongoing lack of investment in our region. This came just after the Government tried to present abandoning its commitments to our region rail transport as some kind of ‘win’ for the North East.

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

 

Backbench and Constituency Role

Progress

  • It was great to get out and about across the constituency more and meet and talk to more groups, including my first school visit since Covid, to Broadwood Primary
  • IPSA agreed that the Covid budget increase would continue for the time being which means I can continue with my increased staffing to help with casework.
  • This year’s remembrance service was particularly moving as it we could not gather together last year. There was a large turnout and Muslim, Christian and Jewish faith leaders spoke.
  • Members and constituents have contacted me with regard to the terrible deaths of so many refugees in the English Channel. I raised this and the Government’s Nationality and Immigration Bill in Parliament with the Home Secretary. The Bill will not fix the broken asylum system.
  • I spoke to close Black Britain Beyond, a four day hybrid symposium held by Newcastle University on the Black Britons identity and relationships
  • I represented UK in British American Legislative exchange under the auspices of the Association of Marshall Scholars
  • I continue to engage with the Prime Minister, Ministers, Government Agencies regarding issues and demands for support for constituents and businesses, on the Football Index scandal, on the plight of opposition politicians in Sudan and responding to local schools concerns on climate change and food poverty, and with the Local Authority on pigeons in Old Eldon Square

 

Shadow Ministerial and PES Role

  • I am really pleased to retain the Science, Research and Innovation brief following the Labour reshuffle. I am now entirely in the Shadow BEIS team, shadowing George Freeman, with responsibility for science and research (domestic and international), UKRI, ARIA, fusion, artificial intelligence (Office for AI), joint with DCMS, innovation, intellectual property, space, technology (strategy and security) and life sciences (including vaccine production)

Media

Quoted often in local and regional media.

Parliamentary Activity

Parliamentary business 9th November –  December 3rd 2021

Spoken from the front bench: three times

Draft Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008 (Amendment to Schedule 3) (England) Order 2021 (29th November); Domestic Building Works (Consumer Protection) Bill (19th November); Life Sciences (16th November)

Spoken from the back bench: eight times

English Channel Small Boats Incident (25th November); Army Restructuring: Future Soldier (25th November); Business of the House (25th November); Transport for the North (24th November); Bus Services: North East England (24th November); Channel Crossings in Small Boats (22nd November); Integrated Rail Plan: North and Midlands (18th November); Strengthening Standards in Public Life (17th November);

Written Questions: 78

Dementia: Research (29th November); Business: Research (23rd November); Future Fund and Life Sciences (22nd November); Telecommunications: International Cooperation (29th November); Debit Cards (29th November); Social Services: Newcastle upon Tyne (17th November); Abdalla Hamdok (26th November); Future Fund: North East (25th November); Coronavrius Business Interruption Loan Scheme: Small Businesses (25th November); Treasury Staff (26th November); Sudan: Politics and Government (25th November); Welfare State (17th November); Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (24th November); Credit Cards: Debt (25th November); Amazon Web Services: Finance (19th November); Children: Health (19th November); Afghanistan: Taliban (23rd November); Digital Technology: Education (19th November); Digital Technology: Disadvantaged (19th November); Digital Technology: Disadvantaged (19th November); Digital Technology: Disadvantaged (19th November); Streaming: Advertising (24th November); Future Fund (18th November); Refugees: Afghanistan (18th November); Data Protection (19th November); Football Index: Compensation (19th November); Children: Poverty (17th November); Business: Research (22nd November); Mental Health and Suicide: Young People (17th November); Social Services: Newcastle upon Tyne (17th November); Social Services: Newcastle upon Tyne (17th November); Social Services: North East (17th November);  Social Services: Newcastle upon Tyne (17th November); Telecommunications: International Cooperation (22nd November); Special Educational Needs (19th November); Research (18th November); Equality: Artificial Intelligence (24th November); Business: Data Protection (19th November); 5G (19th November); Digital Technology: Disadvantaged (19th November); GCHQ: Amazon Web Services (15th November); Semiconductor Devices: Exports (19th November); GCHQ: Amazon Web Services (15th November); GCHQ: Amazon Web Services (15th November); GCHQ: Amazon Web Services (15th November); Capital Gains Tax (18th November); Debit Cards (18th November); Future Fund (18th November); Refugees: Afghanistan (18th November); Employment: Disability (17th November); Electric Vehicles (17th November); Employment Schemes: Disability (17th November); Kickstart Scheme: Newcastle upon Tyne Central (17th November); Railways: North of England (17th November); Regional Planning and Development: North of England (9th November); Sleeping Rough (9th November); Ofcom: Recruitment (16th November); Sudan: Politics and Government (9th November); GCHQ: Amazon Web Services (15th November); Amazon Web Services: Contracts (15th November); Amazon Web Services: Contracts (15th November); Amazon Web Services: Contracts (15th November); ICT: Finance (15th November); Amazon Web Services: Taxation (15th November); Amazon Web Services: Taxation (15th November); Mathematics: Higher Education (9th November); Mathematics: Investment (9th November); Sudan: Paramilitary Forces (9th November); Electricity Generation (9th November); Social Rented Housing: Construction (9th November); Climate Change: North East (9th November); Tax Avoidance (29th November); Streaming and Television: Advertising (29th November); Future Fund: Stocks and Shares (25th November); Bounce Back Loan Scheme: Small Businesses (25th November); Bounce Back Loan Scheme: Small Businesses (25th November); Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme: Small Businesses (25th November); Social Services: Newcastle upon Tyne (17th November)

Meetings

Facebook, Jewish Leadership Council, Online Safety, FAR Bingo, Judge Sustainability School X Newcastle University, Reith Lecture, COP26, Black Britain & Beyond reception, Remembrance Ceremony,  BAPG, EFG Jazz Festival, Labour Friends of Israel, Chief Supt Helena Barron Northumbria Police, David Connell, US Chamber of Commerce’s US-UK Business Council – BAPG Discussion, Excluded, Anushka Asthana, APPG for  International Students, Association of Marshall Scholars, You Gov, HMRC, Joint Radio  Council, Louis Capital, National Theatre, Red Wednesday event, Mouth Cancer  Action Charter launch, Pictfor, BUUK Infrastructure, Football Supporters Association Awards, APPG Engineering event with St Cuthbert’s & Kenton pupils, International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Black Tech, Advertising Standards Authority, East Coast mainline APPG, LifeArc, Joint Football APPGs, Foundation Science & Technology Tribute to The Earl of Selborne ‘COP26: Where do we go from here?, Blakelaw Social Club, Sir John Hall, Newcastle University Centre for Transformative Neuroscience, Orthopaedic meeting

Speaking

Broadwood Primary School, Black Britain & beyond, PICTFOR R&D event, Industry Forum Policy Implications of Quantum Computing, Africa APPG & Afrobarometer, Fabians digital inequality, Global Project Day: Eliminate Violence Against Women, Beating the Barriers Online Safety, Womens Engineering Society, APPG BAME Business North East hub consultation event, IET 150th celebrations

 

 

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