Dear Newcastle March 8th 2020
A series of storms during February brought high winds to the North East which caused some disruption but we were spared the floods which devastated other parts of the country. The absence of our ‘Part time Prime Minister’ from the flooded areas, as well as Corona Virus briefings, was disappointment for all seeking reassurance and support in the face of these significant events. The Government did suspend their boycott of BBC Today Programme in order to share information on the Corona Virus but the fact is that there is still not enough detailed credible and regionally targeted information or concrete action. The NHS has suffered from ten years of austerity and too many working people have neither the access to sick pay nor the child care to make self-isolation and/or school closures viable. Labour did manage to force the Government to offer sick pay from day one but much more is required. The new Chancellor’s first budget will be a real test of their commitment to the North.
International Woman’s Day was as always a joy, I spoke at four events in the constituency.
TKO Newcastle Boxing & Learning Centre in Kenton
Backbench and Constituency Role
- I raised the issue of the comparative costs of Newcastle and London bus fares with the Prime Minister & his response showed he had no interest at all, the video of the exchange attracted a lot of support on social media. Bus fares are a key issue and I will be continue to campaign for fairer fares.
- Recess was as always a great opportunity to spend more time in the constituency meeting local organisations and groups. Unfortunately, no bingo sessions could be found.
- I spoke from the Back Benches five times: International woman’s day (5 Mar), Flybe (5 Mar) NE Farmers & US trade (5 Mar) US/UK Trade (5 Mar) Points based immigration (24 Feb) Buses (11 Feb).
- We have updated our Correspondence given that many of the Ministers have changed but I continue to engage with Ministers or Government Agencies on Litter, Long Term Support for Victims of Operation Sanctuary, Newcastle United Finance, Weinstein, support for Digital Products and Algorithms in the Home Office, with Ipsa on Relocation, with the Council on Homelessness and with LNER and Nexus on Disability Access
- I wrote again to the Honours Commission asking for Weinstein to be stripped of his CBE for services to the Film Industry. I consider that an insult to all working women.
Fenham Association of Residents event
I asked 34 written questions: Electronic Government: Proof of Identity (4 Mar), Electronic Government: Proof of Identity (4 Mar), Electronic Government: Proof of Identity (4 Mar), Electronic Government: Proof of Identity (4 Mar), Electronic Government: Proof of Identity (4 Mar), STEM Subjects: Ethnic Groups (4 Mar), Digital Technology (4 Mar), Mass Media: Ministers (3 Mar), Radio: Ministers (3 Mar), Digital Technology: Adult Education (3 Mar), Developing Countries: Energy (3 Mar), Technology: International Cooperation (2 Mar), UK Shared Prosperity Fund: North East (2 Mar), Cabinet Office: Huawei (2 Mar), Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Huawei (2 Mar), Internet: Safety (2 Mar), Artificial Intelligence: Public Sector (2 Mar), Economic Growth (2 Mar), Technology: Finance (28 Feb), Higher Education: Disadvantaged (28 Feb), Electric Vehicles: Batteries (27 Feb), Digital Technology (27 Feb), Medical Records: Data Protection (27 Feb), Africa: Renewable Energy (27 Feb), Bus Services: North East (27 Feb), Bus Services: North East (27 Feb), Ministry of Defence: Huawei (26 Feb), Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport: Huawei (26 Feb), Special Educational Needs: North East (26 Feb), Local Government: Internet (26 Feb), Data Protection (25 Feb), Digital Technology: Trade Agreements (25 Feb), Advertising: Internet (25 Feb), Internet: Parents (25 Feb), Disinformation: Coronavirus (25 Feb), Internet: Disinformation (25 Feb), Internet: Safety (25 Feb), Internet: Safety (25 Feb), Digital Technology: Regulation (25 Feb), Digital Technology: UK Trade with EU (25 Feb), Data Protection: EU Law (25 Feb), Disposable Income: North East (24 Feb), Mobile Phones (24 Feb), Mobile Phones (24 Feb), Schools: ICT (24 Feb), Digital Technology: Economic Growth (24 Feb), Ofcom: Finance (24 Feb), Huawei: 5G (24 Feb), Data Protection: 5G (24 Feb), Telecommunications: Security (24 Feb), Bank of England (24 Feb), European Regional Development Fund: North East (14 Feb),
Fans Food Bank collection
Shadow Ministerial and PES Role
- The digital brief occupied significant time. The Telecoms Infrastructure Bill had its Committee Stage and I was the Shadow Minister in charge of it. We successfully put down a wide range of amendments covering support for tenants, national security and consumer protection.
- The issue of Huawei and 5G surfaced in an Urgent Question and a Westminster Hall Debate. We are hoping to raise the issue again through the Telecoms Infrastructure Bill 3rd Reading this
- Spoke from the Frontbench six times on Huawei 5G (4 Mar), Research and Development Investment (3 Mar), Net Zero Buildings (26 Feb), Online Harms (13 Feb) Broadband (13 Feb) Telecoms Infrastructure Bill committee (11 Feb)
Quoted frequently in local and national media. Centre for life film & interview, BBC Inside out no – no recourse to public funds. Huawei blog and BBC Politics North.
Backing the WASPI women
Meetings and visits
Mobile UK, APPG diversity in STEM, APPG Media, Parliamentary space committee, Safer internet day, business and the global goals event, climate coalition, open reach, Adam Collerton, Keith McGee & Kim Dubois, Sky @Tate modern, citizens data rights, black tech awards, Olivia for theatre – the visit, Ben Scott luminate, COADEC, IET, YMCA space 2, Almond Kellacher, NCC City Centre traffic, Simon Hanson FSB, Sue Black, Northern Powerhouse, John Hillary, MakeUK Northern members, APPG for energy studies, Influence group STAGE, Tendo Consulting – Cyber security & computer misuse act, Virgin Media, Crisis, TUC, William Webb OFCOM, Bryan Glick, Level-up industry launch, APPG Jazz, Park lives, Foundation International research collaboration – post Brexit, National Trust, The Federation Manchester, Dark money Files, Joint police issues surgery, MP’s meeting NCC, Tyne tunnel, Hatton Gallery, 3rd Bar52 opening, NBC Universal, Airspace modernisation, living wage foundation, wellcome science & health, Mondelez, APPG Autism, Co-op community wellbeing index launch, National Cyber Security Centre, ITV, Daffodil appeal, , City fibre, Anti-Semitism policy trust, Police Federation, Celebrating women of colour, Pictfor, Teach the future climate energy education plan, Unite, APPG energy studies,
Visit to The Federation powered by the Co-op
Telecommunications Infrastructure bill, Extension Rebellion love songs for the planet, UK SCN Climate strike, These Islands conference, Energy efficiency in buildings debate, Northern Powerhouse Conference, FAR Homelessness event, Royal Society pairing event, Security Implications Huawei debate, NESTA innovation, International Women’s Day events at HMRC, the Biosphere, Northern TUC and National Education Union Northern Women’s Conference.