Welcome to this latest update, featuring highlights of my work in Parliament and around Brighton Pavilion over the past week.
Demanding answers on medical imports
I used Prime Minister’s Questions last week to challenge Theresa May on her irresponsible approach to Brexit. Under a disastrous No Deal scenario, ministers have decided vital medical imports would be handled by the company that was incapable of delivering chicken to KFC.
I asked the Prime Minister what guarantee she can give to patients that they’ll get their vital medicines no matter what happens after 29 March, and she had nothing new to say in reply. It’s clear the Government is gambling with people’s lives by keeping No Deal on the table. Parliament must prevent it.
Calling for a Green New Deal
Last week, the UK experienced a wave of unseasonably warm weather. While the media was happy to portray it as a joyous break from winter, Iwrote for the i and in the Independent explaining why this weather is no cause for jubilation. These record-breaking temperatures are part of a global pattern of extreme weather, and a striking reminder that we are already living through climate breakdown. Politicians and the media must acknowledge this and begin the public conversation we need about how we’re going to tackle it.
After I raised the issue with the Leader of the House last month, Parliament finally had its first climate change debate in two years on Thursday. Speaking in the Commons and writing for the Guardian, I called on Parliament to declare a climate emergency and to finally start taking serious action to protect our environment. I was also able to raise the same issues and concerns on BBC Sunday Politics South East. The Government’s current approach is not nearly ambitious enough, and what we truly need is a revolutionary Green New Deal.
Exposing the Government’s hypocrisy
Last Tuesday, the Environmental Audit Committee held the second session of its inquiry into UK Export Finance’s funding of fossil fuels in developing countries. As a member of the EAC, I am proud to be helping to expose the hypocrisy at the heart of the Government’s claim that it is showing ‘global climate leadership’.
In the period from 2010-2014, UKEF provided more than 99.4 per cent of its energy finance to fossil fuels and less than 1 per cent to renewable energy. This backwards approach is irresponsible. If the Government truly wishes to be a global leader, it must urgently reassess its current investments.
Advocating for Compulsory RSE
I spoke out in Parliament on Monday to stress the importance of Relationships and Sex Education (RSE). I am pleased that the Government is finally implementing its commitment to make this compulsory in secondary schools (and to make Relationships Education compulsory in primaries), but ministers also need to prevent parents from pulling secondary schoolchildren out of Sex Education.
Schools have an important responsibility to teach age-appropriate RSE to all children, in collaboration and partnership with parents. Only a tiny number of pupils are withdrawn from Sex Education, but a child opt-out could mean that vital information is not passed on where children don’t get this information at home. I will continue to urge the Government to ensure every child gets this vital education.
Protecting animals and our environment in the case of No Deal
By only allowing MPs to vote on extending Article 50 two weeks before we are due to leave the EU, the Prime Minister is pushing us dangerously close to the cliff edge. I’m working to ensure that animals and our environment are protected if we are forced into a disastrous No Deal Brexit.
I recently tabled an EDM urging the Government to pass a sentience bill to guarantee continued legal safeguards for animals. Ministers told me they’ll introduce a law to protect animals after Brexit ‘as soon as parliamentary time permits’ – but from September to December of last year MPs spent just 55.5 hours scrutinising legislation, so there should have been plenty of time to consider this vital bill. This stalling is unacceptable, and I will continue to demand a better deal for animals.
Last week I also tabled a cross-party amendment calling the Government out for playing reckless games with key environmental protections. Brexit is no excuse for watering down critical rules on nature, air quality and climate change, and ministers must maintain and enhance them.
Standing up for Education
In a debate on education funding, I urged the Government to reverse its hugely damaging cuts. Schools in Brighton are at breaking point, and I am continuing the fight to try to ensure they get the funding they urgently need.
Post-16 education is also at risk, with a London School of Economics report showing that ministers have cut its funding by 22 per cent. I’ll keep campaigning until every child receives they education they need and deserve.
Going Green at Sussex University
I was delighted to have been invited to speak to students at the University’s Go Green Week, and enjoyed the debate afterwards which covered everything from carbon offsetting to the climate impact of bitcoin.
If you are a local resident and need help with case work or to find out more about my activities locally please do contact me at the office of: Caroline Lucas MP, Brighton Media Centre 15-17 Middle Street, Brighton BN1 1AL. Tel: 01273 201 130. Email: [email protected]
I hold regular surgeries across the constituency. If you would like to book an appointment at a forthcoming surgery please call Liz Collis on 01273 201130. She coordinates my constituency office and is able to help with most local enquiries.
If you would like to know about my parliamentary work please get in touch at the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA. Tel: 020 7219 7025. Email: [email protected]
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My Website: www.carolinelucas.com