Not one English river is in a healthy condition, with none meeting good chemical standards and only 14 per cent meeting good ecological standards. It is a shameful record that England has the worst river quality in Europe.
It is vital our curricula in schools 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 wrote to the Secretary of State for Education after receiving a letter from a year 7 student in Hackney, who raised concerns about the lack of diversity on the GCSE English literature curriculum. Click the pdf link below to read the response in full.
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.
The important UN conference on climate change held in Glasgow last year (COP26) was a modest success. But modest progress is insufficient in tackling a crisis where time and transformational change is of the essence.
Ahead of the conference, I wrote to the COP President, Alok Sharma MP, and urged him to address concerns regarding the importance of this conference for tackling the climate emergency. Click the pdf link below to read the response in full.
I pressed the most senior civil servant at the Department for Education on the long-delayed SEND review.
It's vital this review is published soon so that the Government can detail its full strategy on supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
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.
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care recently informed NHS England about the use of private health providers in the event of a COVID surge. The deal reached with private health providers is hugely expensive. It will see private hospitals receive a guaranteed minimum income of between £75 million to £90 million a month. This is an up-front payment without anything being delivered. In the event that surge arrangements are necessary, this cost could increase up to £175 million a month.
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.
Increases in the global price of gas have seen energy bills rising. Next month, Ofgem will announce the new Energy Price Cap for April 2022 onwards. According to some estimates, bills could rise by 46 per cent.
The Government opened its long-awaited Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme last week. However, there are currently over 12,000 Afghan refugees already in the UK in temporary hotel accommodation waiting to be resettled. The Government needs to step up.
I also pressed the Minister for Afghan Resettlement on family reunion rules, particularly the challenges around the English language test.