This week started with Oral Questions to the Secretary of State for Defence, where I had come out of the ballot with a question about the treatment of women in the armed forces, prompted by a lengthy article in the Sunday Times. In my question I pressed the Secretary of State on how domestic violence in the forces could be addressed to ensure that armed forces protocols do not put victims in any further distress. You can read a transcript of my exchange with the Secretary of State in Hansard, or watch it on ParliamentTV.
Following this, the Secretary of State delivered a statement, updating the House on the situation in Ukraine. I asked him what assessment the Government had made of the vulnerability of minorities in the region in the face of invasion, such as ethnic, religious or LGBTQ+ minorities who may face additional danger – you can read the transcript in Hansard, or watch it on ParliamentTV.
On Tuesday, the Member for Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock (Allan Dorans MP) had secured an adjournment debate on the 1984 murder of Metropolitan Police officer Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan Embassy in London. I intervened in this debate, noting how shameful it is that so many years on, the onus remains on her colleagues rather than the Government to hold those responsible to account, and paying tribute to PC Fletcher. You can read the transcript of my intervention in Hansard, or watch the debate on ParliamentTV.
Thursday kicked off with Oral Questions to the Cabinet Office ministerial team, where I highlighted the recent tribunal case of a civil servant who had been found to have faced a years long campaign of racism in his workplace, an agency of the Cabinet Office. I asked whether this could be seen as indicative of a culture within the department, and what was being done as a result. You can read a transcript of my exchange with the Minister in Hansard, or watch it on ParliamentTV.
At Business Questions I took the opportunity to highlight the poor response times coming out of the Home Office for cases I am pursuing on behalf of my constituents, and I asked the Leader of the House to remind his colleagues of the need to stick by their response time commitments. You can read a transcript of my comments in Hansard, or watch on ParliamentTV.
We also heard an Urgent Question on the Post Office Horizon scandal, where I spoke about a constituent, I met some years ago whose father had been one of the impacted postmasters. He had since passed away without the opportunity to see his name cleared or regain his reputation. You can read the transcript in Hansard, or watch it on ParliamentTV.
The Backbench Business Committee had secured a debate on the recognition of the State of Palestine, where I gave a short speech speaking to my experience in the region, on a visit a few years back. You can read a transcript of my speech in Hansard, or watch it on ParliamentTV.
On Friday there was another Urgent Question on Ukraine, where I asked the Minister what he thought the risks to UK interests would be if Putin attempted to retaliate against sanctions. The Minister provided a very considered and helpful answer, sharing his thoughts on the changing political landscape and threat level. You can read my exchange with the Minister in Hansard, or watch on ParliamentTV.
Finally, my Private Members Bill, the Pension Schemes (Conversion of Guaranteed Minimum Pensions) Bill had its Third Reading and Remaining Stages, where it passed with support from all sides of the House, ready for its passage through the House of Lords. I am incredibly proud of this Bill, which should it be enacted, will see those with eligible pensions ensure their payments are equal and fundamentally fair. You can read the transcript of proceedings in Hansard, or watch it on ParliamentTV.