It is vital children have access to regular, nutritious, healthy food. In Hackney, too many children are forced to skip breakfast and turn up to school hungry. This is unacceptable and has a significant detrimental impact on children’s concentration and learning. I support the excellent work of the charity Magic Breakfast which works with schools in Hackney to provide healthy breakfast food and expert support. Find out more about their work here.
The UK’s transition period with the European Union came to an end on 31 December.
Four and a half years after the Brexit referendum, and after three years of detailed negotiations, the UK Government finally agreed a deal on Christmas Eve.
Parliament was recalled on 30 December to vote on a hastily drafted bill which would give force to the deal in UK law. We had a total of five hours to debate and vote on this bill before it went to the House of Lords and then finally was given Royal Assent, in the early hours of 31 December.
As I write, we still have no idea whether the UK will secure a trading deal with the EU after the 31 December or if we are crashing out with no deal. This past year was supposed to be the transition period in the Brexit process - the period of time in which businesses, consumers, and regulatory agencies had to adapt to the new UK-EU trading relationship. Instead there will be, at best, a few days’ notice. This is completely unacceptable and will mean disruption as businesses adapt to new arrangements.
In July a number of constituents wrote to me to raise their concerns about keeping our high food standards in any trade deal with the US.
I recently received this response from the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Victoria Prentis MP.
I’ve been clear that I oppose this Government’s decision to cut the UK aid budget from 0.7 to 0.5 per cent of GDP. This only saves approximately £4 billion but will have a significant impact in supporting people in need across the world, especially during a global pandemic.
I wrote to the Chancellor and urged him to reconsider this decision.
On 2 December the Home Office scheduled a departure flight to Jamaica.
Before the flight’s departure, I wrote to the Home Secretary on this issue and have now received the below response. Please open the pdf attachment at the bottom of this post to see the response in full.
After a decade of austerity, it’s easy for the Chancellor to say local authorities are receiving more cash than last year.
Councils are often at the frontline of providing vital services – the Government needs to step up and support hard-pressed councils.
Many constituents have contacted me to raise their concerns about the danger posed to hen harriers and other birds of prey as a result of wildlife crime.
I wrote to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and received this response. Please open the pdf attachment at the bottom of this post to click on the links and see the response in full.
I will continue pressing the Government to take this issue seriously.
During the summer, I received hundreds of emails from constituents who raised their concerns about the lack of diversity in our national curriculum. I share these concerns and wrote to the Secretary of State for Education. You can see his response above.
I am clear that it is vital our curriculum reflects the rich diversity and history of our country. The contribution of people from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities must be celebrated in schools. I am also clear that we have a responsibility to teach the truth about our colonial past.