Concerning news about the new Omicron COVID variant.

I asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care whether there are any early indications about this variant’s impact on children.

See my full question and his response above.

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I called out the Government for essentially sacrificing Northern Ireland on the altar of Brexit. 

I’ll keep pressing the Government to reach a sustainable solution.

See here to watch a recording of the debate in full.

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Today's Budget is another smoke and mirrors budget. Promises of extra money unravel when you look into the details.For instance, the school settlement is not enough to make up for past cuts.

The Public Accounts Committee has also published a report pointing out that the Government's planned increase in school funding is lower for pupils in the most deprived areas and higher for the least deprived. See here to read that report. 

 

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We need to properly fund the NHS and reform the social care system, but a tax rise that hits Generation Rent and the lowest paid, whilst protecting the assets of the wealthiest, is not the way to do it. 

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The Government must act to tackle the barriers in the immigration system that are preventing those fleeing the Taliban from being reunited with their loved ones. 

The immigration and asylum system needs a greater degree of flexibility to keep up with the rapid deterioration of Afghanistan. Currently the Home Office is still expecting those seeking entry into the UK from Afghanistan to have passed an English Language Test. This inflexibility is potentially impacting the safety of those in need of asylum. 

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A number of constituents wrote to me regarding Israel's treatment of Palestinians. 

 

I wrote to the Government and have recently received a response from the Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, James Cleverly MP, on this issue.

 

Click the pdf link below to read the response in full.

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I pressed the Government over the large volume of plastic waste exported from the UK. See below for the response I received from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Click the link to read the response in full. 

 

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The Northern Ireland Protocol sets out Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit relationship with both the EU and Great Britain. Under the Protocol, Northern Ireland must follow the EU’s rules for bringing goods in and out of the EU while Great Britain sets its own customs and regulatory rules. 

 

As a result of these changes, new checks and controls are necessary for goods coming from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. 

 

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Thanks to Plastic Free Hackney for raising with me concerns about the poor recycling rates of disposable cups in Parliament. During the pandemic, I’ve become increasing concerned about the impact that many new behaviours are having on sustainability and our need to urgently transition to a net zero economy. On the parliamentary estate, for instance, you are no longer allowed to bring your own reusable cups when purchasing a drink. This is a small but important example of how we can slowly start going backwards on these important issues.

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