MP’s Report July 2020

MP’s Report 22nd July  2020

Parliament has now recessed for the summer so I this is in some ways my ‘end of term’ report  before we return in September. Parliament is an odd place at the best of times but particularly since we went back to the building in June, with long lines of socially distanced MPs at snaking around the corridors when there are votes and the whole place bereft of most of the staff all the time. The important business of holding the Government to account continued, however. Increasingly it has become clear just how many questions the Government has to answer!  I tried to be  supportive of the Government’s approach in the early days of the pandemic but as their mistakes and lack of capacity and capability have increasingly impacted the country’s wellbeing, I have highlighted them, particularly over PPE, testing and social care, as well as the Government help programs. I know that many constituents feel entirely excluded from them, particularly the recently self employed.

UNITE protest against BA redundancies in Newcastle Business Park

As a constituency team, we continue to work on  new ways of reaching and responding to constituents. Online surgeries are becoming more popular. Casework remains at overwhelmingly high levels and the office response time for non-urgent enquiries has risen to two weeks and occasionally even longer. IPSA has made further funding available and I have now been able to increase the resources  with more caseworker hours.  We are aiming to get response times down to one week over the summer

But we are also now seeing the increasing impact of Covid 19 in economic and mental health terms, and we are afraid things will only get worse with significant job losses likely, particularly in our region, as the Government refuses to implement a more targeted approach. Hospitality and culture sectors are particularly threatened.

Huawei and China have been an important issue. I have spoken up against human rights abuses against the Uigher and in China and Hong Kong, and supported making our national networks secure whilst also condemning general anti-China sentiment.

Many constituents have written to me frustrated by the Premier League’s delay in deciding on the proposed takeover of Newcastle United. Colleagues and I have raised this with the Premier League but without a response, and will now be writing to them.  I was more successful in raising Newcastle season ticket c refunds with the club! I have also been active in supporting the Black Lives Matter movement in Newcastle and more globally.

Challenging Racism and Islamaphobia in the NorthEast online meeting

Backbench and Constituency Role

  • All staff are working from home, whilst I am in Parliament when it is sitting. We continue to work effectively online whilst improving working practices to make it easier. Further suggestions welcome.
  • Online surgery attendance is growing, with up to eight constituents attending.  Casework has increased significantly, with a greater variety of cases and of constituents, meaning each case takes more time.
  • On the Newcastle season ticket correspondence, we were successful in getting NUFC to agree to refunds!
  • Marion is now full time until the end of December, Victoria will be joining us two days a week to work on Casework until the end of December and Charlotte two days a week until the end of September.
  • I continue to engage with Ministers or Government Agencies on Mobile Phone Pricing, Safe working practices and Covid 19, Access to the Internet during Lockdown for School Age children, Transgender Rights, Litter, UNISON regarding support for workers at Northumbria and Newcastle Universities, Disproportionate Policing, JAN Trust, Refunds for Newcastle United ticket-holders, Harvey Weinstein, support for Digital Products and Algorithms in the Home Office, with Ipsa on Relocation, with Mobile UK on Data Caps on the Internet and with the Council on Homelessness.
  • I spoke to Northumbria Police regarding BAME representation and treatment in the light of statistics showing disproportionate stop and search. They gave a number of reassurances which we must follow up.

Visit to Starship to see delivery robots in action

I spoke from the backbench sixteen times No Recourse to public funds (8th June), Racism in society (8th June),  Black Lives Matter (9th June), EU/UK negotiations (16th June), Coronavirus (17th June), DFiD/FCO merger (18th June), Covid-19 BAME communities (18th June), Trade negotiations: North East rural farming (25th June), Universal Credit: Court of appeal judgement (25th June), Uyghur genocide (29th June), NSA appointment (30th June) Probation Services (14th July) China (20 July) Coronavirus response (20 July) Windrush Report (21 July)

I asked  227  Written Questions [details at end of report]

Shadow Ministerial and PES Role

  • As Shadow Minister for Post Offices I have been highlighting the plight of subpostmasters wrongly accused and prosecuted by the Post Office and pressing for a Judge led review, including through an urgent question.
  • Government has made a number of announcements on funding for science which seem to have the effect of centralising spending.
  • We are continuing to meet with key stakeholders for the different briefs.
  • I am working on our approach to equitable access to Covid 19 vaccine with the Shadow DFID team
  • I spoke from the frontbench four times Draft enterprise Act 2002 (Amendment) (13th July) UK Telecoms (14th July) Dispute resolution for consumer disputes (20th July) Horizon Post Office (21 July)

Organisation

  • 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.

Statement as Chair of the APPG on Diversity & Inclusion in STEM

Media

Quoted and interviewed  frequently in local and national media including the Evening Chronicle and Journal, and BBC, ITV and Sky.  I wrote a number of blogs including on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and on Armstrong’s Statue

Meetings and visits

BAME business owners APPG, The House magazine -Black representation, Chris Day, ESL esports, Winston Keenan Northumbria Police Chief constable, Unite demo BA (three times), MP meeting Newcastle City Council, Foundation for Science & Technology, TUC Northern MPs, Huawei, PES Presidency, Paul Scully – Horizon, National Farmers Union briefing, Allyson Pollock Newcastle University, Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group MP briefing, Northumbria  Police BAME organisation & learning, Northumbria Police Zoe Hingston BAME pre-recruitment, Ubisoft Giselle Stewart, David Nabarro WHO, Institute for government, Life Sciences APPG brief on vaccines, Chris Day -Newcastle University. Urban Green Newcastle parks & allotments, Excluded UK APPG, Newcastle Central CLP scientists for labour, Jo Stevens & Jamie Susskind, Jo Stevens & Tom Gray, African Chatham house webinar, Rolls Royce, Panelist for APPG for special education needs and disabilities, Bridget Phillipson, PLP Northern group, Adam Collerton & Louise Henry, BAME MP Briefing with Mayor of London, Excluded UK APPG Leaseholders, Helen Milner Good Thing Foundation, Digital consultation, NHS MP Briefing, Gavin Starks Icebreaker, Unite BA protests, APPG Manufacturing, Foundation for science & technology, Tyne Theatre, Stephen Kinsella, The Plug.

Statement used by the Life Centre in Newcastle

Speaking

CogX Ethics in action, Teens talk tech, Industry forum Economic Recovery panel event, Google digital garage, WES Tees & Tyneside women in Engineering, APPG STEM In Diversity launch, Policy  Forum Local economic development & green jobs with Cumbria,  Westminster Higher Education forum Priorities for International research partnerships, Chair Africa APPG BAME & Covid panel, National Policy forum Business Engagement, APPG diversity in STEM roundtable, Durham energy institute -Women in Engineering, Tech UK Role of digital in North East, Chair APPG Adult education, Video for world Intellectual Property Day, Alan Turing Institute -Online Harms, The Time is Now lobby, Spectator-Lloyds fintech podcast, Intellectual Property Issues roundtable on British IP Day.  Nominet virtual event, Diversity in theatre & state of the arts discussion, Labour SME BAME business roundtable, Black livelihoods in the City Labour in the City, Why BAME voices matter – Jessie Jacobs,  Parliamentary Links day, Tech for the future roundtable, Foundation event: Potential politicisation of science, Council of faiths panel, Chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster and minister for the cabinet office questions, BAME online forum, BENTV Africa-Britain relations, Delegated legislation Alternative dispute resolution for consumer disputes, Newcastle Unites, Edelmen interview, Black Lives Matter Podcast,  Women in trade unions and politics Facebook livestream.

Town Moor

Links to written questions Business: Research (8th June), Universities: Loans(8th June),  Business: Research(8th June),   Universities: Research(8th June),   Universities: Research(8th June),   Disinformation: Coronavirus(8th June),   Care Homes: Newcastle upon Tyne(8th June),   Amazon Web Services(8th June),   Coronavirus: Disease Control (8th June),  George Floyd (8th June),  Intellectual Property: UK Relations with EU(8th June),   Intellectual Property: UK Relations with EU(8th June),   Coronavirus: Research (8th June),  Research Councils: Finance Science: Finance (8th June),  Coronavirus: Disease Control (9th June), Coronavirus: Public Transport (9th June), Research: Coronavirus (9th June), Research: Coronavirus(9th June),  Data Protection: Children (9th June), Coronavirus: Disease Control (10th June), Coronavirus: Disease Control (10th June), Special Educational Needs: Coronavirus (11th June), Energy: Billing (11th June), Small Businesses: Government Assistance (11th June), Broadband: Voucher Schemes (12th June), Vaccination: Manufacturing Industries (15th June), Engineering: Coronavirus (15th June), European Union Intellectual Property Office: Brexit (15th June), 5G (16th June), Contact Tracing: Computer Software (16th June), Contact Tracing: Computer Software Contact Tracing: Computer Software (16th June), Patents: Data Protection(16th June),  Contact Tracing: Computer Software(16th June),  Further Education: Coronavirus(16th June),  Museums and Galleries: Coronavirus (16th June), Broadband (16th June), Demonstrations: Alcoholic Drinks(16th June), Ministerial University Research and Knowledge Exchange Sustainability Taskforce (17th June), Ministerial University Research and Knowledge Exchange Sustainability Taskforce (17th June), Theatre Royal Newcastle upon Tyne: Coronavirus (17th June), Local Broadcasting: Radio (17th June), Contact Tracing: Computer Software (18th June), Broadband (18th June), Railways: Coronavirus (19th June), Vaccination: Research (22nd June), Social Services (22nd June), Future Fund (22nd June), Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme(22nd June),  Public Expenditure(22nd June),  NHS: Procurement (22nd June), Hospitals: Coronavirus (23rd June), Economic Situation: North East (23rd June), NHS: Drugs (24th June), Future Fund (24th June), Police: Mobile Phones (24th June), Coronavirus: Disease Control (25th June), Coronavirus: Disease Control (29th June), UK Trade with EU (29th June), Postgraduate Education: Equality (29th June), NHS: Secondment (29th June), Fire and Rescue Services: Training (29th June), British Council: Coronavirus (30th June), British Council: Coronavirus (30th June), British Council: Coronavirus (30th June), Public Lavatories: Coronavirus (30th June), UK satellite research and manufacturing (30th June), EU Trade (30th June), Covid data sharing (1st July), Horizon compensation (1st July), International students and research (1st July), Copernicus contracts (1st July), Satellites (2nd July), Satellites (2nd July), Satellites (6th July), Post Office: ICT(6th July), Universities: Research (6th July),

A present from Greening Wingrove – plants to grow at home

Space Technology: Contracts (6th July),  Radio Frequencies: Licensing (6th July), Coronavirus: Medical Equipment (7th July), UK Trade with EU (7th July), NHS: Secondment (8th July), Police: Mobile Phones (8th July), Public Lavatories: Coronavirus (8th July), UK Research and Innovation (8th July), UK Research and Innovation (8th July), Universities: Finance (9th July), Coronavirus: Laboratories(9th July), Research: Finance (9th July), ICT (9th July),  Coronavirus Act 2020 (9th July),  Fines: Protective Clothing (9th July), Broadband: Standards (9th July),  Radio Frequencies: Licensing (9th July), UK Research and Innovation (13th July), Universities: Research (13th July),  Place Advisory Group (13th July),  Research: Finance (13th July), Research: Finance (13th July),  Research: Finance (13th July),  Research: Finance (13th July),  National Careers Service: Finance (13th July),  Job Creation (13th July),  Employment(13th July), Digital Technology: Infrastructure(13th July), Broadband (13th July), Digital Technology: Training (14th July), Social Services: Families (14th July), OneWeb (14th July), OneWeb (14th July), Postgraduate Education: Finance (14th July), British Airways: Staff (14th July), Intellectual Property: UK Relations with EU (14th July), Intellectual Property: UK Relations with EU (14th July), Hydrogen (14th July),Police: Data Protection (14th July), Police: Data Protection (14th July), Public Health: Public Bodies (14th July), Contact Tracing: Newcastle Upon Tyne (14th July), Protective Clothing: Contracts for Services (14th July), Telecommunications (14th July),

Tyne Theatre & Opera House visit

Telecommunications(14th July),Telecommunications(14th July),Huawei: USA (14th July), Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access (14th July), Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access (14th July), Telecommunications: Huawei (14th July), Telecommunications (15th July), Telecommunications (15th July), Telecommunications(15th July), 5G: Huawei (15th July),  Internet: Safety(15th July), Telecommunications (15th July), Mobile Phones (15th July),  OneWeb (15th July), Broadband: Standards (16th July), Armed Forces: Coronavirus (16th July),  Electronic Commerce: EU Law (16th July),  Broadband: Voucher Schemes (16th July), Social Security Benefits (16th July),  Broadband: Rural Areas(16th July), Social Security Benefits (16th July), Twitter: Hacking (16th July), Disclosure of Information: USA (16th July),  Radio Frequencies: Licensing (16th July),  Radio Frequencies: Licensing (16th July),  Companies: Misrepresentation(16th July), Internet: Safety(16th July), Fuel Cells: Research (16th July), Trade Marks: Legal Opinion (16th July),  Newton Fund (16th July),  Medicine: Research (16th July),  Business: Misrepresentation (16th July), Coronavirus: Disease Control (16th July),  Coronavirus: Protective Clothing (16th July), Coronavirus: Disease Control (16th July), Railways: Coronavirus (16th July), Coronavirus: Screening (17th July), Bioengineering(17th July), Pupils: Internet (17th July),  Coronavirus: Research (17th July),  Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport: Cybercrime and Digital Technology (17th July),  Research: Finance (17th July),  Future Fund: Newcastle upon Tyne (17th July), Postgraduate Education: Equality (17th July),  Electronic Commerce: EU Law (17th July),  Broadband: Small Businesses (17th July),  Remote Working: Video Conferencing , Telecommunications , Digital Economy Council , Digital Technology , Digital Technology: Coronavirus (17th July),  Contact Tracing: North East (17th July), Digital Technology: Taxation (17th July),  Developing Countries: Overseas Aid (17th July),  Food: Labelling(17th July), National Infrastructure Commission(17th July), Manufacturing Industries: Satellites (17th July),  Research (17th July), Broadband: Costs (20th July), ICT (20th July),  Digital Markets Taskforce (20th July), Nottingham University: Coronavirus (20th July),  Vaccination: Research (20th July),  Cabinet Office: Cybercrime and Digital Technology(20th July), Telecommunications: Russia (20th July),  ICT: Huawei(20th July),

Thanking and not forgetting all NHS and Care staff

House Of Commons Tabled Parliamentary Question 2019-21 76690 (20th July),  House Of Commons Tabled Parliamentary Question 2019-21 76691 (20th July), House Of Commons Tabled Parliamentary Question 2019-21 76692 (20th July),  Radio Frequencies: Licensing (20th July),  5G: Safety(20th July), House Of Commons Tabled Parliamentary Question 2019-21 76695 (20th July),  House Of Commons Tabled Parliamentary Question 2019-21 76696 (20th July), Probation: Finance (20th July),

House Of Commons Tabled Parliamentary Question 2019-21 76698 (20th July), Public Health: Finance (21 July), Broadband: Rural Areas (21 July), Broadband: Rural Areas (21 July),  Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Cybercrime and Digital Technology (21 July),  Department for Education: Cybercrime and Digital Technology (21 July),  Telecommunications (21 July),  Broadband: Standards (21 July),  Telecommunications (21 July),  Telecommunications(21 July), Mobile Phones: Standards (21 July),  Telecommunications (21 July), Charities: Research (21 July),  Life Sciences: Research (21 July),  Digital Technology: Taxation (21 July),  Amazon Web Services: Contracts (21 July), House Of Commons Tabled Parliamentary Question 2019-21 77603 (21 July),  House Of Commons Tabled Parliamentary Question 2019-21 77604 (21 July),  House Of Commons Tabled Parliamentary Question 2019-21 77605 (21 July),  House Of Commons Tabled Parliamentary Question 2019-21 77606(21 July), House Of Commons Tabled Parliamentary Question 2019-21 77607 (21 July), House Of Commons Tabled Parliamentary Question 2019-21 77608 (21 July),  House Of Commons Tabled Parliamentary Question 2019-21 77609 (21 July),  House Of Commons Tabled Parliamentary Question 2019-21 77610 (21 July),  House Of Commons Tabled Parliamentary Question 2019-21 77611 (21 July), House Of Commons Tabled Parliamentary Question 2019-21 77612 (21 July),  House Of Commons Tabled Parliamentary Question 2019-21 77613 (21 July),  House Of Commons Tabled Parliamentary Question 2019-21 77614 (21 July), House Of Commons Tabled Parliamentary Question 2019-21 77615 (21 July), 5G: Constituencies (21 July),  Coronavirus Job   (22nd July) Retention Scheme (22nd July)

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