MP’s Report June 2020

Dear Newcastle 15th June 2020

We are slowly emerging from lockdown – but many are concerned we are doing so in an incoherent and haphazard way without the leadership we so desperately need. The actions of the Government over the past few weeks have made a difficult situation worse. The debacle over the return of schools has not increased public confidence. Now the Prime Minister has announced a review of the two metre rule which he previously promised for May 27th will be ready for July 4th, just in time for pubs going back. But pubs and other hospitality will have to do all the work to get ready for going back before they open, obviously. The Prime Minster told me that there would be spot checks by the HSE on employers to make sure they were safe, then we discover the HSE is not doing spot checks. He undermines public confidence by refusing to sack Dominic Cummings and then fails to deliver a working test, track and isolate system which can help people have the confidence to get the economy started.

In the House of Commons

At the start of the Coronavirus crisis most MPs were supportive of the Government, indeed Kier Starmer was criticised for not being critical enough. In a time of national crisis we need the Government to succeed. But in recent weeks the Government’s failings have become all too apparent and MPs have been clearly holding it to account. One key failing has been to not to involve Local Authorities, the skills and experience in, for example, contact tracing has been ignored for too long. And Government has also failed to communicate effectively with the NHS, schools, businesses or the general public. Ten years of austerity have left the Civil Service with limited capacity and we are seeing some of the consequences now.

Meanwhile in Newcastle casework remains at an all time high. We have so many Covid19 cases on top of all the usual casework. And the lockdown is causing serious issues around domestic violence, housing, schooling, access to public funds. There is real concern that things will get worse. A quarter of the region’s workforce has been furloughed, as that scheme ends more will lose their jobs… And currently, the Government’s has no plan to get us back to work.

The terrible murder of George Floyd in America sparked worldwide condemnation and protests under the Black Lives Matter Banner. But this cannot be allowed to be just another moment of protest against inequality we must ensure lasting change. Newcastle has always been on the right side of history on the great social justices issues of our nation’s history.

Backbench and Constituency Role
• Casework has increased significantly, with a greater variety of cases and of constituents, meaning each case takes more time.
• We have identified key areas of support and information on the Coronavirus outbreak to be able to share with constituents. We have made progress in helping constituents stranded abroad, or left without support here in Newcastle.
• Surgeries have moved online using zoom and phone calls but there is little uptake and I am looking for ways to better publicise them.
• My campaign for a digital parliament was successful – for a while! The Government insisted MPs return physically to Parliament on June 2nd, although they have been forced to put in place
• The George Floyd murder has caused anger and outrage here in Newcastle as well as around the world. I have responded to many emails on the subject and spoke at an online Newcastle protest:

Supporting Black Lives Matter at the Martin Luther King statue                                                

• Coronavirus outbreak has led to much new correspondence. I continue to engage with Ministers or Government Agencies on Health and Safety and work, RPI price rises, Mobile Phone Pricing, Care Home deaths from Covid 19, Health Inequalities and Covid 19, Safe working practices and Covid 19, Access to the Internet during Lockdown for School Age children, 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 Mobile UK on Data Caps on the Internet, with the Council on Homelessness and with LNER and Nexus on Disability Access

• We held a very successful Digital Toon Town Hall on the Saudi takeover.

Digital Toon Town Hall

• I spoke from the backbench six times (as of June 5th) Covid-19 strategy (11th May), Hybrid Parliament (19th May), Hybrid Parliament 2 (19th May), Hong Kong National Security (2nd June), British Airways Newcastle Call Centre (3rd June), Covid-19 effect on BAME & Working-class communities Question

• I asked 151 Written Questions Adult Education: Adult Education: Disadvantaged (11th May), Adult Education: Digital Technology (11th May), Science: Further Education (11th May), Further Education: Digital Technology (11th May), Social Distancing: Enforcement (11th May), Social Distancing: Enforcement (11th May), Disinformation: Coronavirus (11th May), Coronavirus: Screening (11th May), Pupils: Internet (12th May), Brexit and Coronavirus: Advertising (12th May), Internet: Safety (13th May), STEM Subjects: Higher Education (13th May), Higher Education: Coronavirus (13th May), NHS: Computer Software (14th May), Markets: Coronavirus (15th May), Apprentices: Coronavirus (15h May), Immigrants: Deportation (18th May), NHSX: Computer Software   (18th May), NHS: Computer Software  (18th May), Coronavirus: Disease Control (18th May), Utilities: Fees and Charges (18th May),  Postal Services: Coronavirus (18th May), Health Services: Coronavirus  (18th May), Markets: Coronavirus  (18th May), Markets: Coronavirus (18th May),  Developing Countries: Disease Control (18th May),  Immigrants: Detainees  (18th May), Developing Countries: Coronavirus  (18th May), Transport: Coronavirus  (18th May), Transport: Coronavirus (18th May),  Life Sciences: Coronavirus (18th May),  Digital Technology: Coronavirus  (18th May), Economic Situation: Coronavirus (18th May),  Broadband: Standards (18th May),  Planning Permission: Coronavirus (18th May),  Affordable Housing: Construction  (18th May), Temporary Accommodation  (18th May), Coronavirus: Screening (19th May),  Fraud: Coronavirus (19th May), Prison Service: Coronavirus(19th May),   Prison Service and Prisoners: Coronavirus (19th May),  Prisons: Coronavirus(19th May),   Prisons: Coronavirus (19th May),  Prisons: Coronavirus(19th May),  Utilities: Coronavirus (20th May), Manufacturing Industries: Coronavirus(20th May),  Research: Government Assistance (20th May),  Business: Research(20th May),  Universities: Loans(20th May),  Business: Research(20th May),  Universities: Research (20th May),  Universities: Research(20th May),  Disinformation: Coronavirus(20th May),  Care Homes: Newcastle upon Tyne (20th May), Coronavirus: Medical Equipment(20th May),

Unsafe and unnecessary recall of Parliament to Westminster

Amazon Web Services NHS: Computer Software (21st May), NHS: Cybercrime (21st May), Local Government: Coronavirus(21st May), NHSX: Computer Software(21st May), Tax Yields: Coronavirus(21st May), Social Rented Housing: Construction(21st May), Research: Publishing(21st May), Economic Situation: Coronavirus (22nd May), Water Supply: Coronavirus (22nd May), Future Fund: Subsidiary Companies(22nd May),   Research: Coronavirus Police: Coronavirus(22nd May), Coronavirus: Research (26th May), Broadband: Coronavirus (26th May), Cybercrime (27th May), Institutes of Technology(27th May),  Disinformation: Coronavirus (27th May),  Disinformation: Coronavirus(27th May),  NHS: Computer Software(27th May), Internet: Disinformation (28th May), Hormone Replacement Therapy (29th May), Coronavirus: Public Transport(29th May),  Internet: Education(29th May),Immigrants: Finance (1st Jun), Coronavirus: Disease Control(1st Jun),  Coronavirus: Disease Control (1st Jun), Coronavirus: Disease Control (1st Jun),  Coronavirus: Public Transport(1st Jun),  Research: Coronavirus(1st Jun),  Research: Coronavirus George Floyd(1st Jun), NHS: Computer Software(2nd Jun), NHS: Computer Software(2nd Jun),  Schools: Coronavirus (2nd Jun), Police: Protective Clothing (2nd Jun), Coronavirus: Tyne and Wear(2nd Jun),  Coronavirus: Tyne and Wear(2nd Jun),  NHS: Computer Software (2nd Jun), Easyjet: Disclosure of Information (2nd Jun), Postgraduate Education: Coronavirus(2nd Jun),  Social Media: Disinformation(2nd Jun),  Social Media: Disinformation (2nd Jun), Hospitality Industry: Government Assistance(2nd Jun),  Tech Literacy(2nd Jun), Care Homes: Coronavirus (3rd Jun), Care Homes: Newcastle upon Tyne (3rd Jun),EEA IP Practitioners (3rd Jun), EU Intellectual Property(3rd Jun), Science Budget(3rd Jun), Science Councils (3rd Jun), Horizon funding Broadband voucher scheme(3rd Jun), Agriculture: Seasonal Workers (4th Jun), Coronavirus: Disease Control NHS: Computer Software (4th Jun),  Bounce Back Loan Scheme(4th Jun),  Coronavirus: Disease Control(4th Jun),  Covid tracing app (4th Jun), NHSX Intellectual Property (4th Jun), NHS computer data (4th Jun), Transport for SEND pupils (4th Jun),  Energy companies debt Age appropriate design code(4th Jun) Mobile Phones: Coronavirus (April 24th), 5G (April 27th), Broadband (April 27th), Telecommunications: EU Nationals (April 27th), Digital Technology Economic Growth (April 27th),  Internet Safety (April 27th), NHS Computer Software (April 29th), NHS Computer Software (April 29th),  NHS Computer Software (April 29th), Internet Safety (April 29th), STEM subject Higher Education (April 30th), Higher Education Coronavirus (May 1st), Further Education Digital Technology (May 1st), Science Further Education (May 1st), Adult Education Digital Technology (May 1st), Adult Education Disadvantaged (May 1st), Coronavirus misinformation (May 4th), Detention Centres (May 4th), Covid-19 No recourse to public funds (May 4th), Social Distancing Police (May 4th), Enforcing social distancing (May 4th), Contact Tracers (May 6th), Facebook ads covid-19 (May 6th), Disadvantaged pupils 4G access(May 6th),   Apprenticeships (May 6th),  Covid tracing app software(May 6th),   Tracing app data(May 6th),   Tracing app ethics(May 6th),  Tracing app privacy (May 6th),  Supporting markets through covid-19 (May 6th).

Online discussion of mental health issues with CNTW NHS Trust

Shadow Ministerial and PES Role
• I am working on our approach to equitable access to Covid 19 vaccine working with the Shadow DFID team
• I am working on our approach to the fourth industrial revolution, working with the Shadow Education team and with input from well known economist Carlota Perez.
• We are continuing to meet with key stakeholders for the different briefs.
• I spoke from the Frontbench twice (as of June 5th) Draft Weights and Measures Act 1985 metre & kilogram amendment 3x contributions (2nd June), Online Harms (4th June).

• The entire team has moved to home working which is a significant achievement. We are meeting by zoom and sharing information and work flow in new ways in order to deal with the changing demands on all of us.

Quoted frequently in local and national media including Tyne Tees, Look North, Christian Radio interview, , The House interview, , BBC re Digital Town Hall, BBC technology & government,, Sky news – impact of Covid Newcastle, Newsnight on the R rate, BBC Look North & Radio Newcastle re George Floyd. Blog on the digital divide in schools.

BBC Politics online

Meetings and visits (as of 5th June)
Ethical medicines industry group, G Network broadband, Publishers association, Rachel MacLean surgery, Digital Service – Digital Parliament, Vodafone supply chain, Inspector Karen Madge Northumbria Police, Alistair Magowan – BBC, Newcastle City Council MP meeting, Northumbria Police Federation, Connectivity for children, CLP exec, Russell group, Association Medical Research Charities, Royal Mail, Chartered Institute Trade Mark Attorneys, Elizabeth Kanter – TikTok, IPPR Webinar New Corporatism, APPG Manufacturing Return to Work, Hayaatun Sillem – Royal Academy of Engineering, Insights Lecture Hadrian’s Wall, Julian David TechUK, APPG Africa World Health Organisation envoys, Julie Maxton – Royal Society, British Council briefing on closures, John Lawlor NHS Trust, Stephen Doughty MP re Africa, Richard Holden MP re Medomsley Detention Centre, Which, Tara Lemney, Newcastle Gateshead Initiative; Harvard Zoom – Why Fairness cannot be automated, Remote meetings with Members, US Embassy 5G, Google, COADEC, Scientists for Labour, Digital Divide meeting, Research Fortnight, Rachel Colidcott, APPG Health, BAME PLP, ng-voice, Newcastle Gateshead CCG briefing, NUFC takeover briefing, Chris Taylor – Post Office, Small Business Q&A, Chris Day – Newcastle University, Apple, Understanding the Northumbrians Northumbria Uni lecture, National Cyber Security Centre, Palantir, Contact tracing app meeting, John Whittingdale, Sue Black, Equitable Access to Covid 19 technology, Digital Parliament Voting Test, Jo Stevens, PES Presidency, Contact Tracing App, Minister SOLLOWAY Science & Covid, Future Fund Webinar, Stop Aids & Global Justice, Advertising Standards Authority, Vox Digital Parliament, Digital Policy Discussion, BT, Leonard Cheshire.

Daily Lockdown Exercise on the Town Moor

Speaking (as of 5th June)
Fabian women online launch, PICTFOR roundtable, Creative diversity APPG, Scientists for Labour Zoom event, North east Irish clip, Pride of Newcastle University clip, Voices of Virtue clip, Westminster Forum Fibre Infrastructure, Mock US Hearing, FT-Data privacy, NUFC Digital Town Hall , Gov lab update on digital parliament for US


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