This week had a heavy focus on the deteriorating situation in Ukraine, which had continued to dominate headlines and parliamentary business as the Government moved to align themselves with their international allies. We heard President Zelensky give an emotional and inspiring address to the House, which was a great privilege to listen to in person.
The Secretary of State for Defence gave a statement updating the House further on the latest, and I asked what steps the Government were taking to tackle the dissemination of ‘fake news’ from Russia effectively. You can read a transcript of my exchange with the Secretary of State in Hansard, or watch it on ParliamentTV.
There was also a statement from the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, outlining the Government’s plans to ban Russian oil. Here I noted the increased cost this will have for the average consumer, and asked what discussions he had had with the Chancellor about speeding up green, low cost energy provision across the UK. You can read a transcript of my exchange with the Secretary of State in Hansard, or watch it on ParliamentTV.
The Home Secretary also returned to the House to answer an Urgent Question about the provision of visas for Ukrainian refugees. I used this opportunity to press her again on how many refugees Scotland can accommodate, and her engagement with the Scottish Government – you can read a transcript in Hansard, or watch it on ParliamentTV.
During Thursday’s Business Questions, I raised an issue that constituents have been contacting me about frequently – the benefits cap, which disproportionately disadvantages single parent families, and families from minority ethnic backgrounds. I asked the Leader to schedule a debate on this issue – you can read a transcript of my exchange with him in Hansard, or watch it on ParliamentTV.
This was followed by a Backbench Business Debate marking International Women’s Day, where I was able to make two interventions – the first to highlight the need to recognise the additional barriers women in certain walks of life, like the armed forces, may face to reporting harassment and domestic violence, and then to highlight the important part men can play in using their voice to encourage women to stand for election. You can watch the debate on ParliamentTV.