War in Ukraine
As a country and a region we have faced many challenges since I entered Parliament in 2010 – cruel austerity cuts, a global pandemic, a cost of living crisis. But in the last month we have seen the threat of war in Europe become a terrible reality in Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked and unjustifiable invasion that will have tragic consequences for Ukraine and its people. It is a terrob;e violation of international law that breaks multiple treaties and commitments, including the fundamental principles of the UN Charter. The Labour Party stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian people as they bravely resist this assault on their – and our – freedom. It was a privilege to be in Parliament for the Ukrainian President Zelensky’s historic address, and I have made clear in my contributions in Parliament that the people of Newcastle Central are horrified by the suffering they see daily and wish to help those fleeing what often appear to be war crimes.
But I have been shamed by the limited response of the British Home Office. Families fleeing bombs in Ukraine need urgent help right now to reach safety and get support. People need a simple and safe route to sanctuary right now but the Home Office’s deliberate ‘hostile environment’ approach to refugees and asylum seekers is preventing the UK rising to the challenge. I repeatedly clashed with the Home Secretary and other Ministers over the lack of support for refugees.
Labour has called for emergency protection visas for those fleeing Ukraine who want to reach the UK. This would provide a quick, simple and safe route to sanctuary for all who need it.
The Ukrainian people are showing great courage and strength in the face of an appalling Russian onslaught and we need to support them – including through giving sanctuary to those fleeing war in Europe as we have done in generations past
The conflict has also emphasised our dependence on oil and gas, often from unattractive regimes. Labour believes that we must protect ordinary people from the huge rises in energy prices through a windfall tax on oil companies profits! Labour also announced our five point plan for energy security to cut imports and energy bills.
Supporting United with Pride
Backbench and Constituency Role
- Ukraine provided a significant amount of casework, mainly from constituents with relatives in the Ukraine desperate to get out. I also received many expressions of support for Ukraine, and concerns at the lack of welcome from the Home Office for refugees.
- I met with United with Pride at their St James Park AGM to discuss the challenges LGBT+ fans still face in supporting Newcastle United.
- I received the written response of the Minister to the Westminster Hall debate which launched my All the Hadrian’s Wall campaign. The Minister praised the campaign but also confirmed there is no money specifically for restoring urban heritage. I met with Historic England and we are working together to raise awareness, and hopefully funding.
- I opened the Labour North conference at the Helix in Newcastle, introducing our Shadow Deputy Prime Minister Angela Raynor and emphasising the importance of science and technology investment to secure good jobs now and in the future.
- I marked International Woman’s Day with events in Newcastle and in Parliament. I also highlighted the first anniversary of the murder of Sarah Everad, and the continuing failure of Government and others to properly address violence against women.
- I continue to engage with the Prime Minister, Ministers, Government Agencies and others regarding families of constituents in Afghanistan, the availability of tests for businesses, the Eldon Square memorial, community car clubs and the Cooperage building on the Quayside.
West End Refugee Service visit
Shadow Ministerial and PES Role
- Analysis of the Government much anticipated Levelling Up report by my office and the Campaign for Science and Engineering has shown up its myriad failings – the much celebrated increase in the amount of science spend outside the ‘Golden Triangle’ of London, Cambridge and Oxford, just amounts to a continuation of current funding levels, given the overall increase in science spend.
- There is increasing concern in the science community over the delay in joining the Horizon European Funding scheme which Ministers continue to blame on European bureaucracy rather than their own bungled engagement.
- I wrote to George Freeman to express serious concern that the Conservative manifesto pledge to double Dementia research spending had been being dropped
- I continue to meet with science, research and innovation stakeholders and have organised a number of round tables.
- Assia is leaving us to take up a full time position elsewhere and so I am advertising for a trainee Admin Assistant.
Quoted regularly in national and local media including BBC Radio 4: The Life Scientific, ITV – Culture funding, BBC TV North interview regarding Government Shipbuilding Strategy announcement
From the Front Bench: 1
Science and Innovation: Levelling Up (22nd February)
From the Back Bench: 11 times
Living with Covid-19 (21st February); Business of the House (24th February); Higher Education Reform (24th February); Ukraine (24th February); Ukraine (1st March); Support for Ukraine and Countering Threats from Russia (2nd March); Regional Inequalities: Child Poverty (2nd March); Ukraine: Urgent Refugee Applications (8th March); Rape and Sexual Violence (8th March); Ukraine Update (9th March); DEFRA Topical Questions (10th March)
Mine clearance equipment being built at Pearson Engineering in Scotswood
Written Questions: 74
Research: Finance (7th March); Investment: Regional Planning and Development (7th March); VMIC (7th March); Dementia: Research (7th March) ; Transport: Freight (1st March); Facebook: Safety (28th February) ; Power Failures: Emergency Calls (28th February) ; T Levels: Small Businesses (28th February); Innovation: Research (28th February); Horizon: Europe (28th February); Nuclear Fusion (28th February); Carbon Emissions (28th February); Schools: Air Conditioning (2nd March);Research Expenditure (24th February); Horizon Europe (2nd March); OneWeb Satellites (2nd March); Disinformation: Russia (1st March); Social Security Benefits: Uprating (2nd March); Social Security Benefits: Uprating (2nd March); Coronavirus: Quarantine (2nd March); Carbon Emissions Research (2nd March); Social media: disclosure of information (24th February); Small Businesses: Contracts (28th February); Horizon Europe (28th February) ; Renewable Energy Research (28th February); Research Investment (28th February); Geothermal Power: Heating (21st February); Telecoms: Digital Tech (28th February); VMIC (22nd February); Dementia (22nd February); Research Finance (22nd February); Research Finance (22nd February); LGV: Electric Vehicles (22nd February); LGV: Electric Vehicles (22nd February); Innovate UK (22nd February); Energy: Prepayment (21st February); Geothermal Power (21st February); Science: Regional Planning and Development (24th February); Railways: North of England (22nd February); Railways: North of England (22nd February); AI (22nd February); AI (22nd February); AI (22nd February); Facebook Regulation (24th February); Railways: Passengers (22nd February); Research: Expenditure (22nd February); Research: Finance (22nd February); Dstl (22nd February); East Coast Main Line: North of England (22nd February); Dogs: Animal Experiments (22nd February) ; Dogs: Animal Experiments (22nd February); Question for HMT (9th March) ; Future Combat Air System (8th March); Question for MOD (8th March); Refugees: Ukraine (8th March); Question for HO (8th March); Question for HO (8th March); Training: Regional Planning and Development (8th March); Question for DfE (8th March); Training: Regional Planning and Development (8th March); Question for HO (8th March); Visas: Ukraine (7th March); Belarus: Development Aid (7th March); VMIC (7th March); VMIC (7th March); VMIC (7th March); VMIC (7th March); VMIC (7th March); Afghanistan: Emigration (2nd March); Medicines and Diagnostics Manufacturing Transformation Fund (2nd March); Global Britain Investment Fund: Life Sciences (2nd March); Life Sciences Manufacturing (2nd March); Global Britain Investment Fund: Life Sciences (2nd March); OneWeb Satellites (2nd March)
Revolution Bar discussing Hospitality Industry
University & Sintons Solicitors apprentices for Apprenticeship Week, Revolution bar, COBR Ukraine briefing, FCDO briefing Russia-Ukraine, Pearson Engineering, Mott Macdonald, Alex Illes walking Hadrian’s Wall, WERS, Workplace foundation, United with Pride, Memorial service for Lindiwe Mabuza & Desmond Tutu, London Irish Construction Network, Fabians’ Defence & Security, Health Heroes, Cancer Research UK, Nick Binedell Songezo Zibi, The ONE Campaign, APPG Digital Regulation, Scotland in Union, Jeremy Silver, BAPG, Francis Bacon Royal Academy, PLP Ukraine briefing, US Representatives Jeffries & Plaskett, Pam Smith Chief Executive Newcastle Council, Prof Moghimi DMDG, Labour Friends Israel (LFI),APPG Jazz Appreciation, Fairtrade Fortnight 2022, Michelle Percy Newcastle City Council, CatchUpWithCancer, APPG Russia Russian Ambassador to UK, PLP Northern Group, Ukraine breifing Ambassador Vadym Prystaiko, Tribune meeting, APPG France, Be a Teal Hero for Ovarian Cancer, Marie Curie Great Daffodil Appeal, AGM of the APP Engineering, Eating Disorder Awareness, RTFA’s parliamentary SAF Showcase, Health Security Agency, National Audit Office, Jet 2, Clayton St Resident’s, Alphabetti Theatre No 9,Historic England Hadrian’s Wall, APPG Armed Forces, Women in Westminster, International Women’s Day reception for entrepreneurs, FCDO & Defence Team Ukraine briefing, Mondelez, Kellogg’s/RNIB, Lord St John Bletso & Deputy President Kenya, Health and Safety Executive, Urology Trade Assoc, Women’s Lobby, Wayve, GG2 Leadership & Diversity Awards , CitizenMe, HE Commission,A Decade of UK Tech, Catholic Education Service, COLLECT-18th Edition, 25 YEARS OF WORLD BOOK DAY, Kebab awards, FCDO daily brief Russia/Ukraine, Openreach Westminster, UK Parliamentary Coronavirus memorial Quilt, New Diplomacy Project & Labour Friends Ukraine, Health Security Agency, The British Heart Foundation, STEM for BRITAIN 2022, PLP Economic Crime, HMA to Zimbabwe, EPIPE network, Freedom to Believe 4 everyone everywhere, BAPG US/UK bilateral for women, IWD climate action, Women in Parliament APPG, Health Tech Roundtable, LFI Briefing, Women in Business, Future Talent Programme
International Women’s Day – encouraging women and girls into STEM careers
Stand up to Racism NE, Interview Nigerian objects at Hancock, Hadrian’s Wall research interview, Royal Academy Engineering, UCL Centre for US Politics Transatlantic Roundtable, Photo Best for Britain, APPG Angola, Northern Labour Conference, Ethnic diversity within Environmental sector, Warwick University Think Tank Global Britain, International Women’s Day celebration Newcastle University, APPG Africa, Stephenson College Durham IWD,