- This month the Government announced its legislative agenda for the next two years. It was the chance to address the climate and nature emergency, end the cost of living crisis, and extend the rights of workers and the human rights of everyone in our society. Instead, the nature bill has been scrapped and nothing has been announced on insulating homes to make them more energy efficient; there were no new plans to help those who are struggling (although, as I write, there are suggestions that the Government is about to U–turn and finally implement a windfall tax on the profits of oil and gas companies – as Labour has long argued for); the Government has scrapped their long awaited Employment Bill; they’re scaling up attacks on peaceful protesters; rather than making all conversion therapy illegal, they are excluding trans people from the ban; and on top of all this, they’re also trying to scrap the Human Rights Act. You can read my full reaction to the Queen’s speech here.
- Last month the Government launched their energy security strategy – yet another failed opportunity to lower household bills, cut gas imports, and tackle the climate crisis. Onshore wind and solar are cheap, clean and quick sources of power but continue to be cast aside by this reckless Tory Government. As Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Net Zero I am campaigning for a Windfall tax on the profits of oil and gas companies, and a renewable energy sprint to meet the scale of the crisis we are facing.
- Instead the Government is looking to dangerous fossil fuels, like coal and fracking. 85% of coal from the Cumbria coal mine will be exported on the global market. Whatever Ministers say, opening new coal mines won’t address the energy crisis. It will only accelerate the climate emergency. Similarly, bringing back fracking won’t tackle the cost-of-living crisis or lower energy bills. What it will do is escalate the climate crisis and devastate communities. By pursuing fracking, the Government has made it clear they can’t be trusted to heat our homes. I wrote this piece for the Yorkshire Post and spoke to Labour List.
- For all the rhetoric of a Green Industrial Revolution, the Government has failed to create green jobs or boost industry. Only a Labour Government will ensure a Just Transition and Green New Deal – creating secure, green, unionised jobs in every region. I wrote this piece for the Yorkshire Post.
- Last month the cruel Anti Refugee Bill passed into law. Over the past months the government lost over thirty times on different amendments to try and improve the worst parts of the Bill – all thanks to the work of tireless activists and campaigners. Yet in the end, Ministers conceded nothing. This Bill will now make it even harder for people to reach safety in the UK, criminalise some of the most vulnerable fleeing persecution, and break our international obligations under the refugee convention. It also flies in the face of the huge outpouring of support we have seen for Ukrainian refugees. Throughout this process I have worked with activists and NGOs to highlight the impact of this Bill on communities , and I will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those facing border violence, including LGBTQ+ communities.
The Government has announced new plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda to have their applications processed. The scheme is an inhumane way of treating some of the most vulnerable people who come to the UK. I’m especially concerned about the impact on LGBTQ+ people. According to the Government’s own equality impact assessment it is unsafe to send LGBTQ+ people to Rwanda but they’re doing it anyway. The assessment admits there are “concerns” over the treatment of LGBTQ+ people in Rwanda and that their “ill treatment” is “more than a one-off”. This means that LGBTQ+ people from Rwanda are currently seeking asylum in the UK based on their sexual orientation. We must shine an urgent light on this dangerous attack on the global LGBT+ community – and organise to prevent it.
I was proud to show my support for the campaign for Votes At 16 and meet young campaigners leading the charge. Young people have led the way calling for action on the climate emergency, they deserve to have their voices heard at the ballot box.