In a shocking development this week, the Metropolitan Police announced it is investigating the allegations at the heart of PartyGate. This is a damning reflection of the Prime Minister who has brought the country’s highest office into disrepute. But as shocking are the allegations of bullying and Islamophobia at the heart of government made by the former Conservative minister Nusrat Ghani MP. She was allegedly told she was “too Muslim” and that her “Muslim woman minister status was making colleagues feel uncomfortable”. There is no space in our politics for racism of any kind.

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The continued fallout from the Prime Minister’s unacceptable behaviour during lockdown means he’s taking his eye off the ball on the issues that matter to Hackney: an increase in the cost of living, wages not keeping up with prices, and rising energy bills. It is clear the Government has no plan for how to support people. I’ll keep pressing the Government to step up and address these issues. I’ve also called for the Prime Minister to take responsibility for his actions during lockdown and resign.
 

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The dominant issue this week in Parliament was the Prime Minister's behaviour. He denied there were any parties at Downing Street then admitted to attending one. His apology was not acceptable and his backbenchers should do the right thing and remove him.

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Happy New Year!

 

We returned to Westminster on Wednesday and I challenged the Prime Minister directly on the shortage of lateral flow tests in Hackney and nationally, but he was unable to provide a clear answer. With the rise in cases due to Omicron, we have seen huge demand for lateral flow tests but supplies have not kept up. See here for my question in full. 

 

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New measures came into effect this week to slow the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Face masks are once again mandatory in shops and on public transport, all international arrivals must take a PCR test, and any anyone in contact with a suspected Omicron case must self-isolate. The Government gave MPs a chance to vote on these measures, but this was only after they had been introduced.

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Concerning news today about the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant of concern. It's been named the Nu variant and it's first been identified in South Africa and other nearby countries. It has prompted the Government to reintroduce flight bans from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, and Namibia. See here for further details.

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It’s been a sleazy couple of weeks with the Government defending the indefensible – MPs using their position to lobby Parliament or the Government on behalf of paying clients. This is completely unacceptable and I joined my Labour colleagues in voting to rule this out completely. But the Government’s majority meant this initiative was defeated. The Government, instead, tabled a loosely-worded motion that will see this issue kicked further into the long grass. It means the next time this issue will be revisited is in February.

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