Boris Johnson attended his final Prime Minister's Questions this week and was met with a standing ovation from his MPs who only two weeks ago were calling for him to resign. Conservative MPs have also selected the two final candidates to be the Prime Minister's successor - Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister's former Chancellor, and Liz Truss, the Prime Minister's current Foreign Secretary, both continuity candidates. We need a general election and a fresh start.

 

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The farce of this Prime Minister and government continued this week. After the Labour Party applied for a vote of no confidence, the Government refused to allow this vote to take place. It then realised that it couldn’t refuse and so has now tabled a vote of confidence in itself for next week. It’s another mess of the Government’s own making. We need a government that is focused on the issues that matter to Hackney, including tackling the cost-of-living crisis.
 

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Boris Johnson has finally resigned as Prime Minister. But despite his resignation he remains in charge as a lame duck Prime Minister whilst the Conservative Party picks our new PM, again. I challenged Boris Johnson at a meeting of the Liaison Committee (the committee of select committee Chairs) this week before he resigned. During the meeting, the number of ministerial resignations and new backbench Conservative MP critics kept escalating.

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Seven per cent of deaths of people over 30 in Hackney can be attributed to particulate air pollution. The Public Accounts Committee held a hearing on this issue and pressed senior officials on what steps the Government will take to address this issue. But it's also a reminder of the urgent need to tackle the climate emergency. Whilst air pollution in general has decreased over decades, the level of nitrogen dioxide is breaching local limits in many areas.

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Between 2010-2020, the Government reduced funding to NHS dentists by a quarter. Labour called a debate in the House of Commons on access to NHS dentistry and I made the point that the Government is woefully underdelivering on this issue. Difficulties with accessing NHS dentistry has been an issue since before COVID-19 hit. The pandemic has only made things worse and the Government has been too slow to act. I’ll keep urging it to step up and fix this issue.
 

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After two years of lockdown and no travel, it was entirely predictable that there would be an increase in passport demand. There is now a serious backlog in processing passport applications. Labour called a debate in the House of Commons to highlight the issue and press the Government for action. I’ve also been helping constituents get their passports returned in time for funerals, weddings, and holidays but the Government has been asleep on the job. It is not good enough and the Government must urgently step up and fix this issue.
 

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This week, the Prime Minister faced a vote of confidence by his MPs. Although a majority of Conservative MPs voted in support of the Prime Minister, over 40 per cent confirmed that they do not have confidence in his leadership. This is a damning indictment of a government in shambles, with eyewatering backlogs in the immigration system, the NHS, and the courts.

 

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The Sue Gray report was published in full this week. It makes for damning reading as it outlines in detail the boozing and partying at multiple parties in the heart of government during lockdown. It concludes that both the political and official senior leadership must take responsibility for the partying and rule-breaking culture at the heart of government. Read the full report here.

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Figures released this week show inflation reaching nine per cent in April whilst for the poorest household this figure is closer to eleven per cent. This means the price of weekly essentials (like food, energy, and transport) is going up, hitting the poorest households the hardest. Already one-in-two Hackney children live in poverty when housing costs are taken into accounts – struggling Hackney families are being pushed to the brink. The Government’s response is to bury its head in the sand. It is refusing to see the urgency of the issue.
 

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Parliament returned this week and began with the Queen’s Speech, which sets out the Government’s legislative agenda for the next parliamentary session. It was delivered by Prince Charles this year who announced the Government’s plans for 38 new bills. Sadly many of them are just headlines with no detail – like levelling up. I spoke in the Queen’s Speech and highlighted the real poverty in Hackney, which levelling up does not address. Hackney is the seventh most deprived borough but is only in the ‘priority two’ group in the Government’s Levelling Up Fund.

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