This week started with a bang, with an announcement from the Culture Secretary about potential changes to the BBC’s funding structure. Like many of my colleagues, I believe the BBC is a national treasure, and it must be protected. I asked the Secretary of State whether her officials were considering allowing adverts to run on the BBC, and whether she had considered what impact that might have on the crucial impartiality of the service. You can read a transcript of my question in Hansard, or watch it on ParliamentTV.
The Elections Bill made its return to the Commons. I had tabled an amendment to the Bill, that would amend the Representation of the People Act 1983 by removing the current requirement for public notice of the address of election agents, including where candidates are acting as their own election agent. This is a vital security consideration in the wake of the tragedies we have seen in recent years, and I hope the Government will consider implementing similar measures in the legislation before it reaches Royal Assent. The Minister agreed to meet with me to discuss how this might work in practice. You can read a transcript of my speech in Hansard, or watch it on ParliamentTV.
Tuesday 18th was also busy, and I was pleased to be able to speak on two issues I am often contacted by constituents about.
First, I attended a Westminster Hall debate on the cost of gas and electricity, a key concern both for my community and the UK as a whole. In my speech I sought to highlight the kind of sacrifices the energy price cap increase would force my constituents to make, and I urged the Government to take swift, meaningful action. You can read a transcript of my speech in Hansard, or watch it on ParliamentTV.
Next, in the main Chamber, the Animal Sentience Bill returned from the Lords, and MPs considered their amendments. I made a short intervention highlighting the need for greater cross-Whitehall oversight of animal welfare issues. You can read a transcript of it here.
On Wednesday the Building Safety Bill also returned to the House, a hefty piece of legislation some years in the making. While much of the Bill’s measures sit in the devolved space, I spoke to some of the measures that will apply across the UK, such as testing of construction products, and urged the UK Government to enter constructive dialogue with the Scottish Government, so that buildings can be remediated free of charge here too. You can read a transcript of my speech in Hansard, or watch it on ParliamentTV.
On Thursday, at International Trade questions, I asked the Secretary of State what discussions she had had with the Chancellor about the impact of his new alcohol duty on wine makers and sellers, and the impact on UK consumers. You can read a transcript of my question in Hansard, or watch it on ParliamentTV.
This was followed by an Urgent Question on British Council staff in Afghanistan, after media reports highlighted that some teachers contracted to the organisation had been left behind and were now living in hiding. I pressed the Minister on the former UK embassy security guards in Kabul, still awaiting evacuation despite Government assurances for their safety months ago. You can read a transcript of my question in Hansard, or watch it on ParliamentTV.
We then had the usual weekly questions to the Leader of the House of Commons, where he joined me in celebrating the success of the BankHub Pilot in Cambuslang. You can read a transcript of my question in Hansard, or watch it on ParliamentTV.
Finally, I joined colleagues in a moving and crucial Backbench Business debate on the Uyghur Tribunal, and its judgement that the Uyghurs have been victims of a genocide from the Chinese state. In my speech, I spoke to the horrors suffered by those that were brave enough to provide evidence to the Tribunal and pressed the Government to acknowledge the genocide. The bravery of victims cannot be taken for granted. You can read a transcript of my speech in Hansard, or watch it on ParliamentTV.