"SIR PETER BOTTOMLEY HELPS THE VULNERABLE,
HE PROTECTS MINORITIES"
- CLLR TERENCE CHAPMAN
The below link takes you to my official UK Parliament profile.
This will allow you to observe my most recent written questions to Ministers as well to view my voting record.
It also displays the most recent Early Day Motions that I have signed. EDMs draw attention to particular subjects of interest.
The below link allows you to search for the televised speeches from within the Houses of Parliament.
If you follow the link and click search, it will show you my most recent speeches.
If you would like to find a speech from a specific date, you can enter the date parameters in the 'start' and 'end' date options.
Hansard is the official written report of all Parliamentary business. This includes debates from the House of Commons Chamber, Select Committees and written correspondence.
If you follow the link it will show you the written reports concerning myself. You can filter and search for specific items using the options present on the page.
Launching Blossom Watch - April 2023
Spring blossom is one of nature’s greatest spectacles. I am pleased to be supporting the National Trust's #BlossomWatch campaign.
As part of their campaign to bring blossom back to landscapes, the National Trust has committed to planting over 4 million blossoming trees and traditional orchards.
Two years ago, I was pleased to secure beautiful flowering cherry blossom trees for Worthing and Arun as part of the Sakura Cherry Tree Project, marking 150 years of Japan-UK friendship. I encourage all to get out and enjoy the beautiful spring blossom.
Celebrating Women in Parliament - March 2023
As part of International Women's Day, I attended the event in Parliament recognising and celebrating leading women colleagues from both chambers. Harriet Harman has been one such woman.
In her honorary role as Mother of the House, the female equivalent to me, Harriet has done well to champion issues that are too often ignored. Representation in Parliament is only one part of progress.
We want to see parity across all professional spheres and at every level of our society, worldwide. Pay gaps have lasted too long. We must take action to embrace equity.
Honouring the Jewish Burial Societies - March 2023
The Board of Deputies of British Jews hosted an event in Parliament to honour Chevra Kadisha (Jewish Burial Society) organisations from around the country and to present awards for their service to the community.
We thank these organisations for their remarkable, dedicated service to ensuring that British Jews who pass away are buried with dignity and respect. We also thank the Board of Deputies for their guidance, support and leadership for the Jewish community.
There are strong Jewish, Muslim and Hindu communities in West Sussex. We give them respect, understanding and compassion.
British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly - March 2023
It was a privilege to attend the plenary conference of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly in Belfast. The first meeting was in London in February 1990.
My particular area of interest is in economic and trade issues as a former Minister for Agriculture and Environment in Northern Ireland. Ahead of the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Agreement, the Assembly unanimously adopted a motion on the benefits of the Good Friday Agreement.
It comes with the recognition that more needs to be done to address the impact of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
Discussing Support for ADHS and Autism - February 2023
Parliament realises that neurodiversity including autism and ADHD are conditions, not illnesses.
Earlier diagnosis makes possible appropriate adjustments and provision of help. During a Petitions Committee debate on long waits for diagnosis for conditions like autism and ADHD, I echoed the need to recognise neurodiversity as a condition, not as an illness.
Before the debate, I spoke briefly with Sonya - who had travelled from Worthing West for the debate. Her work as a lead petitioner in bringing together a broad range of supporters and signatories should be recognised.
Environmental Roundtable with the PM - February 2023
The Prime Minister welcomed members of the Conservative Environment Network to Downing Street to discuss the importance of protecting the environment, halting the decline of nature and achieving net zero.
Preserving life and nature on our planet is one of the greatest challenges; it affects each of us and we are recognising that all of us can make changes to reduce the threat of climate change.
The Government is on the right track to do what is necessary - the discussions around the table with colleagues and me showed how seriously the Prime Minister takes this.
A New Deal for Northern Ireland - February 2023
The Prime Minister and the European Union have reached a historic agreement regarding the future of Northern Ireland with the announcement of the ‘Windsor Framework’, resolving some of the foreseen and subsequent issues with the Protocol.
The agreement delivers smooth-flowing trade within the whole United Kingdom, protects Northern Ireland’s place in our union and safeguards sovereignty for the people of Northern Ireland.
What the majority of Northern Ireland and the rest of the nation wants is certainty, stability and unity. The Prime Minister's deal achieves this.
Worthing College Visit to Parliament - January 2023
I welcomed students from Worthing College to Westminster. We had an enjoyable Q&A session with many challenging and intriguing questions posed.
In time I expect one or more of the Worthing College students to be elected to the House of Commons or to work here as a leading journalist or to join the public service supporting Parliament.
A number of alumni from Worthing College have worked in my office over the years.
Constituents have benefitted from their interest in public service and the political life of the country gained from their time at the college.
Muslim Civil Society Report Launch - January 2023
I was pleased to give welcoming remarks at the launch event for the British Muslim Civil Society Report, led by Mercy Mission UK.
The sensible motive for the report is to understand and recognise the Muslim Community's contributions to British Society and to empower the community to contribute to a more compassionate and united Britain.
In Worthing, residents recognise the valuable contribution of our Islamic Society to our community through charity and comradeship.
Let us remain a strong and united Kingdom with strength through diversity and understanding.
Pledge to End Leasehold Injustice - January 2023
The Secretary of State, Michael Gove, has pledged to bring forward laws to act on “feudal” leaseholds in England this year. Those responsible for cladding and fire safety disasters are to be held accountable.
Murky business on commissions for building insurance paid for by leaseholders will be ended, instead, there will be transparent fees.
The Government have agreed to my demand for legislation to help end future leasehold abuses and to help existing leaseholders to take control of their most significant asset. My campaign has lasted for at least 15 years. It should not have taken this long.
Contaminated Blood Debate - December 2022
For several years, we have been vocal in calling for the Government to grant an inquiry into the scandal and to bring justice to the sufferers and the families and loved ones of those who sadly passed away.
During the debate I sponsored in Westminster Hall, I was discussed my personal connection with the contaminated blood scandal. It has been over 32 years since I first started working with the Haemophilia Society to try to get proper recognition of the effect of the contaminated blood scandal.
The Government is beginning to respond in the right way, more must be done and fast.
Chancellor's Autumn Statement - November 2022
I have confidence that the Chancellor is taking the national interest approach: doing the right thing to help the country and not necessarily for the party's gain.
The Chancellor has presented a realistic response to tough global economic challenges, with a compassionate conservative approach.
Key announcements include increased funding for our schools and the NHS by an extra £11 billion over the next two years and uprating benefits in line with inflation and keeping the pensions triple lock. We know that there is more to do and further work for the Chancellor at this time of need.
Parliamentary Garden of Remembrance - November 2022
As Father of the House, I was honoured to be amongst the first to plant a memorial cross in the garden on behalf of our communities here in Worthing and Arun, and to recognise 'The Day that Sussex Died' at the Battle of the Boar's Head, in the Parliament Garden of Remembrance.
This annual event, led by the Speaker of the House of Commons, marks the start of the week of remembrance in Parliament, including the laying of wreaths at the Cenotaph, which culminated on Remembrance Sunday with images of falling poppies being projected onto Big Ben.
We will remember them.
Supporting Our Mental Health Workers - November 2022
From the time I served on the Council of Mind, the National Association of Mental Health, I have tried to emphasise the importance of recruiting good people to work in the various categories of social work professions, assisting across the mental health field.
I pay tribute to those who day in, day out, and all hours of the day, cope with some of the challenging situations in trying to help people, some who feel desperate.
urged the Minister to give them much-needed support and to increase recruitment. The shortfall in mental health professionals impacts all areas in our communities.
Noise Abatement Awards - October 2022
St Oscar Romero Catholic School students were crowned national champions in the Institute of Acoustics Secondary School Competition 2022 at the John Connell Awards 2022 for the second time in a row.
I was pleased to be there, with them, at the ceremony I sponsored on the Terrace of the Houses of Parliament.
This year's team carried out an investigation of sound levels in the school, focusing on the bells. The awards are held by The Noise Abatement Society, a UK charity that aims to share a better understanding the physical and mental distress caused by excessive noise.
Worthing Ukrainians in Westminster - October 2022
I was pleased to welcome a group of Ukrainian women from Worthing to tour the Palace of Westminster. The scenes we have seen in recent weeks in their homeland, matched by those of the past seven months, are harrowing to all.
Seeing the Palace of Westminster, they will have been reminded that democracy and freedom prevail.
I could not easily find the words to ask them to say to their fighting family members back in Ukraine how we respect them and their dedication and their selflessness in confronting the bloody aggression by Russia's Vladimir Putin.
Tributes to Her Majesty, The Queen - September 2022
Constituents may have seen me briefly and succinctly record their love, respect and gratitude to her late Majesty, The Queen, as senior members of the house paid their respects.
In every constituency, just as here in Worthing and Arun, MPs will know how much she has been appreciated, respected and loved. Let us do our best to follow her lead and continue to bring people together in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth she devotedly served for seventy years.
We can proudly give continuing life to her values and virtues of kindness, aspiration and perseverance.
Continued Campaign Against Sewage - September 2022
In recent weeks I have been in close contact with Southern Water and the Environment Agency highlighting constituents' deep concerns about local water quality.
Following a recent Urgent Question by Caroline Lucas, I asked for an explanation as to whether the companies, the regulator and the Environment Agency actually know the full scale of the problem.
Though the weather is colder and fewer will be swimming, I will continue to press all responsible for urgent action in a timeline that works for and provides reassurance to our coastal communities.
Remembering the Munich Massacre - September 2022
On the 50th anniversary of the Munich Massacre, we remember the 11 Israeli athletes who were brutally murdered by Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Olympics.
At the beginning of September, the Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, held an emotional ceremony outside Parliament to commemorate the twelve victims.
I laid a wreath on behalf of constituents and the broader Jewish community of Worthing, Arun and West Sussex. It was accompanied by words in Hebrew, in German and in English. May their memory be a blessing.
Defending Council Planning Powers - September 2022
At the first PMQs for Liz Truss, I asked for her commitment to look at why the planning inspectorate are able to overturn councils' planned protection of green spaces. Local councils have no role if they can't protect what matters to them.
She needs only to look at what is happening around Goring Gap and in the South Downs area to see the battle between our local councils and the bureaucrats based elsewhere.
Worthing Borough Council's successful fight in the High Court is one step in the right direction. This Government must do what is needed and place trust in our councils.
Energy Support for Park-Home Residents - August 2022
Residents in park-homes owners have, apparently, been overlooked in much of the Government's response to the rising price of energy.
It is good to have received reassurance from the Government following months of prolonged campaigning that, as part of a renewed package of support this winter, further funding will be available to provide equivalent support of £400 for energy bills for the households who are not reached through the initial package.
This includes those who do not have a domestic electricity meter or a direct relationship with an energy supplier, such as park home residents.
"Boulder" Action to Tackle Trawlers - August 2022
It is my pleasure to support Greenpeace in taking real action to protect our seas from destructive trawlers. The South West Deeps (East), like the Marine Conservation Zone in Sussex Bay off the coast of Worthing and Arun, is a designated Marine Conservation Zone, protecting rare species and habitats from excessive human activities like fishing.
There is industrial fishing frenzy in UK waters, harming and destroying valuable marine environments.
The boulders, some named, dropped by Greenpeace will deter destructive bottom trawling. Wrecking these environments must stop.
Seeing the Future of NHS Dentistry - July 2022
Recruitment and training matters for NHS dentistry across Worthing, Arun and England. Most parts of the country have fewer dentists than they had in 2017, including Worthing and Arun.
We recognise that it will be increasingly impossible to tackle these challenges if young dentists cannot see their futures in the NHS. Improved training and equipment, as I saw on a recent visit to King's College London's Dental Institute, are necessary steps to solve the crisis with dentistry.
I want constituents to have easy, fast access to NHS dentistry. Recruiting and retaining high-class dentists must be a priority for the NHS.
Supporting Neonatal Leave and Pay - July 2022
I was pleased to pledge my support for the Neonatal (Leave and Pay) Bill. I have long championed helping families during tough time periods.
This bill aims to delay parents from having to return to their workplace while their newborn babies are still too young or unable to leave the hospital. Tens of thousands of parents and families will benefit from extra maternity leave and pay, including many families spread across Worthing and Arun.
Although every family is different, parents are collectively hoping for the same outcome: to bring their children home from hospital, healthy and happy.
Remembering Srebrenica - July 2022
I signed the Book of Remembrance, recognising 27 years since the tragedy of the Srebrenica Massacre.
Tens of thousands of Muslim Bosniak women and children were displaced and abused; six to seven thousand men and boys were massacred. We remember them.
We must continue to work together to reduce the risks of hatred leading to inhuman actions by bad leaders and compliant followers.
Remembering and commemorating these horrific events reminds us that such atrocities have no place in our society. Instead, we must endeavour to learn, live, and love. Together we remember Srebrenica.
Cruelty Free Research - June 2022
It was a pleasure to join with Dame Joanna Lumley as she calls on the government to overhaul UK’s outdated medical research.
Using animals unnecessarily in medical research is not only unethical, costly and unjustifiable, it is being increasingly accepted among the scientific community that this practice fails patients. 92 per cent of new medicines tested on animals fail to reach the market and provide the crucially needed benefits to humans.
We join in calling for an action plan to be implemented to support this very important mission being championed by Animal Free Research UK.
Tackling Delays in Passport Applications - June 2022
I have continued pressuring the Government to solve the dire situation with severely delayed applications at the Passport Office and DVLA.
Most recently, I submitted an Early Day Motion calling on Parliament to condemn the severe delays with Her Majesty's Passport Office processing passports applications.
In recent weeks, my team and I have listened to tears and complete utter panic from many families who reasonably booked trips ahead of time, often for 10/12 weeks after applying for a passport, having read the website estimating wait of 6 weeks. This situation is beneath contempt. It must be rectified urgently.
Worthing Mencap in Westminster - June 2022
It was a pleasure to welcome Alex Harman and members from Worthing Mencap to Westminster as part of wider events to recognise #LearningDisabilityWeek2022.
The event was the launch of Mencap's report looking into the impact of Covid-19 on the mental health and loneliness of people with a learning disability.
The report shares the distressing stories of people with a learning disability who described their lives as a “prison,” with limited social contact during the pandemic causing some to feel suicidal.
I celebrate the dedicated work of Mencap and Alex Harman.
Recognising War Graves Week - May 2022
During War Graves Week in May, communities are encouraged to come together and discover the World War heritage on their doorstep.
Alongside the armed forces, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) celebrates the value of those who served in key sectors including healthcare, logistics, infrastructure and communications.
The CWGC honours and cares for the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in both World Wars.
In Worthing, CWGC care for over 20 war graves or memorials. There are eight commemorations in Heene at the St Botolph’s Churchyard extension.
Advocacy for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm - May 2022
I attended the launch of AAA UK, an advocacy group for patients of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAA).
Every year, 80,000 men are diagnosed with AAA in the UK, and it accounts for 2% of all deaths in men over 65. Women are less likely to develop AAA - for every woman that has an AAA, there are many more men.
Screening for AAA suffers from consistent and growing regional disparities. Those most at risk of AAA are also most at risk of missing screening.
The launch of this group is an important first step in the development of rapidly improving support for those with AAAs and their families.
Opposing Channel 4 Privatisation - April 2022
Channel 4 and its viewers have my support. Sell-off is bad for the diversity of television, bad for viewers and bad for independent producers.
Channel 4 was launched in 1982, in my early years as an MP. It was designed and committed to being different from the first three. Its approved remit has been to include programmes for minority interests and groups.
My underlying question: why change the successful arrangements unless something substantially better is guaranteed?
We recognise that there is a necessary discussion. Know that the Government will find opposition from all sides of the House.
Access to NHS Dentistry, Locally - April 2022
I joined the Minister in thanking dentists and their teams for helping to bring back dentistry services that have been severely depleted since the pandemic. Problems with access to NHS dentist services were growing prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The crux of the problem is mainly to do with the current NHS dentist contracts which need changes to attract more dentists to take on NHS work.
Constituents continue to voice concerns, as do dentists who share in wanting to see access restored for all.
I want Government and the NHS to get this right and will continue to press for this to be prioritised at every level.
Equal and Safe Access to Family Planning - March 2022
In March 2020, due to Covid-19, the government granted permission to allow early medical abortion to be carried out in the privacy and comfort of their own home instead of at an abortion clinic.
The government held a consultation on whether to make home access permanent.
The evidence shows that virtually every group concerned with violence against women and girls supports this, as do Dame Clare Gerada and Dame Lesley Regan, who are leading doctors, gynaecologists and obstetricians.
The House voted to uphold the Lords amendment making the at-home service for safe, early medical abortions permanent.
One Year of National Covid Memorial Wall - March 2022
I joined bereaved families at the UK Covid Memorial, honouring the 186,094 people who have died of Covid-19.
Many will share in the view that this moving monument of remembrance to victims of the pandemic should remain permanently.
Alongside campaigners, we delivered a petition of over 100,000 signatures to Downing Street calling for the monument to be made permanent. I also met with Donna Broderick, a Worthing resident, who was in Westminster to remember her husband who tragically lost his life to Covid-19.
We celebrate his life and recognise that he lives on through her.
Raising the Bar, Supporting Pubs - February 2022
I joined with colleagues in the All-Party Group on Pubs and the Campaign for Real Ale to launch the group’s ground-breaking ‘Raising the Bar’ report.
The aim of the report is to evaluate and quantify the effect the pandemic has had on our local pubs and identify opportunities to support our thriving pub sector.
In turn, I have written to every pub in the constituency to share the report’s findings, to gather information on their concerns and to celebrate their importance within our communities.
We share in a message that the Chancellor must address the roadblocks to recovery identified in the report.
HIV Testing Week - February 2022
In February was #HIVTestingWeek. I gave HIV the finger - just one to test, it's that easy!
With an estimated 4,660 people living with HIV in England still undiagnosed, ending the stigma and fear that is stubbornly still often associated with testing for HIV is crucial.
HIV is more well known within certain communities but it can affect anyone and should be taken seriously by all. This past year, it is suggested that more heterosexual men were diagnosed with HIV than homosexuals. We now have the opportunity to end new cases and wipe out the transmission of HIV by 2030. Testing needs to become commonplace.
Campaigning to Improve Road Safety - February 2022
Alongside five other former transport ministers from across the political spectrum, I have written to the Transport Secretary calling on him to deliver a new package of life-saving vehicle safety measures that has been adopted this week across the EU.
My focus as a transport minister in the 1980s was casualty reduction. The reduction from 5,600 to 1,700 road deaths annually that we have seen in the thirty years since is welcome though not enough. Progress has stagnated over the past decade. More needs to be done.
I encourage the Government to go a step further in aspiring for higher vehicle safety standards.
Holocaust Memorial Day - January 2022
I was pleased to join the Speaker of the House at the Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony in Parliament following speeches in the House of Commons.
When we first recognised Holocaust Memorial Day, I only believed my family had a loose Jewish link. Five years ago we knew the names of 61 of my grandfather’s Dutch cousins who died in the Holocaust and in the war. We now know 122, twice as many.
The pain of remembering may help to bring hope for the future. The speeches on the day were important and moving. I sat and listened without contributing. The words of others meant so much to so many.
BBC Funding - January 2022
I have expressed my disappointment with the Government proposals regarding BBC funding.
Funding of such a fundamentally important institution should not be frozen and halted as abruptly as the Secretary of State has leaked over the weekend. There needs to be a discussion regarding the future of funding.
I want the BBC to make progress. If that means that the cost will be 50p a household rather than 45p in five years time, it is a price worth paying.
If the choice is between the United States and the State, public broadcasting such as the BBC and Channel 4 is better in my view than having everything go to the big media companies who would not maintain the standards we have had from the BBC over the last 100 years.
My Christmas Message - December 2021
I thank each of you involved in our essential public and political service during a difficult year, together with everyone in private enterprise.
So many have been doing essential work to keep our society functioning, from teachers to lab technicians, nurses to nursery workers, radiographers to refuse workers.
This message comes with heartfelt gratitude to everyone involved in essential work and services through the past two difficult years.
When times are hard or things do not go our way, remember how we support each other and how we are supported by each other.
Championing Standards in Parliament - December 2021
I voted against the Government's proposed amendment to parliamentary standards and the formation of a new panel to consider reforming the disciplinary process.
We chose the system we are now using. This was not an appropriate or proper way of changing this important system. There are occasionally issues where providing the lead to the Government can be helpful. It happened last month on sewage and has happened this week on parliamentary standards.
I am not always right in what I say nor what I do. This time, in reflection, I am confident that I was.
Tackling Racism in Sport - November 2021
What is the minimum test of credibility for a sports club dealing with racist concerns? It is clear that the Yorkshire County Cricket Club has failed at whatever that might be.
We should be asking whether discrimination, inequality and barriers to access exist in other parts of life. I urged the Minister to ensure that the Equality and Human Rights Commission receive the funding needed to take on the role in greater depth of examining racism in sport, particularly cricket.
Racism has no place in our sports. Racism has no place in our politics. Racism has no place in our communities nor our country.
COP26 and the Zero Hour Campaign - October 2021
I signed Zero Hour's letter delivered to the Prime Minister calling for a joint emergency strategy for climate and nature at COP26.
We can tackle climate change individually and we can target it nationally, but we have to target it internationally to make the difference necessary to save our planet. It is clear that we, as a human race, are running out of time to take the necessary action to prevent a climate catastrophe.
As the Prime Minister said, "it's time to listen to the warnings of the scientists". The cost of inaction far outweighs the cost of legislation; standing by is not an option we can consider.
Celebrating Lorry Week - October 2021
National Lorry Week, held every year in October, highlights the vital and often-overlooked role that the logistics industry plays in our lives every day.
Before embarking on my political career I worked as a lorry driver including an interesting summer unloading trucks in Melbourne's docks.
I am pleased to continue as President of the British International Freight Association - BIFA and an active supporter of The Road Haulage Association, championing the work of our freight industry on the international stage.
Virtually everything we buy or use has been handled by countless skilled individuals and teams.
Chancellor's Budget - October 2021
The Chancellor's Budget made several important announcements. Many announcements will be welcome. Some are overdue, some come at the right time, and some are preparing for the future.
As a lifelong member of CAMRA - the Campaign for Real Ale, I thanked the Chancellor for what he has done for the draught ale industry and for the wider hospitality sector. The change to alcohol pricing, cuts to business rates and change to the timing of rate evaluations are all welcome.
I urged the Prime Minister and Chancellor to have a top-level forum to solve the urgent leasehold cladding crisis, linked.
Leaseholders Together Rally - September 2021
We welcomed those affected by the leasehold and cladding scandal across the country to Parliament Square to deliver a clear message to the Government: set leaseholders free, bring forward the solutions, do the right things and do it now. I was pleased to speak to those present.
Step by step, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, we have the chance to transform the lives of so many.
We thank the organisers: National Leasehold Campaign and Leasehold Knowledge Partnership and, most importantly, all the cladding groups who came today and helped make this possible. To those who can: do the right thing now and set leaseholders free.
Greenpeace Against Bottom Trawlers - August 2021
Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely and I joined Greenpeace UK to discuss and view the threats facing the seas off the south coast of England and the importance of strengthening marine protection to protect nature and boost local coastal communities.
It was a pleasure to meet the working fisherman from Newhaven who took us out on Greenpeace’s newest boat, Sea Beaver, sailing around the waters to the east of the Isle of Wight and south of Rustington and Worthing.
I join Greenpeace in calling for bottom trawlers, supertrawlers and fly shooters all to be banned from the UK’s marine protected areas.
Emergency Debate on Afghanistan - August 2021
Over the past two months, my team and I have been working hard to assist constituents and their families and loved ones who are affected by the dire situation in Afghanistan.
We continue to do what we can, working closely with the Foreign Office and their emergency repatriation team. During the emergency debate, I drew on experience from the Falklands, Iraq, Syria and the break-up of Yugoslavia.
We have been wrong in the past. The most important thing is to learn from our mistakes, not to repeat them and to make better decisions.
Testing for Health Workers - July 2021
I put to the Government what has been put to me by a community nurse who has been testing every day voluntarily before going into her patients' homes. She had been receiving three months supplies of tests but is now having to apply for seven days of tests to be delivered at a time.
This is wasteful and much more work for each member of staff.
I urged the Minister to get together and see whether it is possible for those who work for the NHS and other care providers to receive bulk amounts of tests to increase efficiency and improve the ease by which carers and health workers can test regularly.
Windrush Day Debate - July 2021
When will the colour of my skin be as important but no more than the colour of my eyes or the colour of my hair?
In this year's Windrush Day Debate, I spoke out on my experiences of standing up against injustice in the past.
When we spot unfairness, we should not leave it to the victims to sort it out, we should decide to sort it out ourselves. That is our responsibility as a society. Do not ignore racism or racist views, challenge them.
The question I put to myself is whether I will live long enough to see racism become a thing of the past. We are a fair and welcoming nation, let us work hard to make sure of that.
DofE Youth Manifesto Launch - June 2021
I was pleased to speak to three Duke of Edinburgh's Award Youth Ambassadors; Lola, Shehbaaz and James, alongside Mother of the House Harriet Harman MP.
We listened to what young people have to say and see the changes they want to see happen as part of #DofE’s Youth Manifesto. From votes at 16 to greater political and social education, I take pride in being a vocal and active supporter of youth engagement in our political establishment.
As an effective voice to the Government, I say to them: give young people a chance. Given the right support, young people are ready for anything.
Planning Issues Nationally and Locally - June 2021
The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee Select Committee released their statement on the First Report of the Future of the Planning System in England. I spoke first in response.
The Government needs to realise the importance of our local councils and councillors in best understanding the need and appropriate potential for housing and developments on a local level. I invited the Minister and Chairman of the Select Committee to come to Highdown, looking across the south coast and seeing the natural divides between communities.
It should not be necessary to build across each strategic gap between communities.
Responding to Leasehold Plans - May 2021
Too many residential leaseholders have been living with the consequences of the fire safety mistakes of others, compounded by official responses that failed to deal promptly and fully with the costs of making homes safe.
As laid out in the Queen's Speech, the proposals to modernise the planning system, to end the practice of ground rents for new leasehold properties and to establish a new building safety regulator are welcome and overdue. I also welcome the newly appointed Commonhold Council and the Law Commission’s work on leasehold reform.
It is the role and the responsibility of each MP to redress injustice for leaseholders and to find a solution to the stagnating residential leasehold market.
Defending our International Aid Commitment - April 2021
We can share in the desire that poorer countries have the opportunity to work and to trade their way out of poverty; that our country leads the way in providing support internationally; and that we not renege on the commitment we made in our previous two General Elections.
I made the views of many clear to the Government. The point of a percentage rather than a fixed sum is that it ebs and flows in size dependent on our GDP. Flexibility is already present in legislation to ensure our aid budget is not beyond our capabilities.
I have committed to working with colleagues across the house to challenge this ill-advised decision.
World Earth Day - April 2021
Some will know my dedication to championing positive policy change to protect our world, challenging the impact of our way of life and the continuing increase in the Earth’s population. This is especially crucial on a cross-party, transnational basis.
On World Earth Day, we must recognise that the climate crisis does not care for political parties nor international borders. Our West Sussex County Council has achieved a 46% reduction of carbon emissions over the past year.
This phenomenal result, like many other important steps forward, has been achieved by positive and constructive collaboration.
International Women's Day - March 2021
I was honoured to speak during the International Women's Day Debate as Father of the House and as the first male speaker.
This year’s message, as part of International Women’s Day, is to choose to challenge. That is not a message men can ignore - it is each of our responsibilities to choose to challenge when there is injustice.
It is not a question of most men behaving well most of the time, nor why are most women in a worse position. The fact is that change must be made. Everyone deserves to feel safe.
We must listen to all the stories shared. Rather than say 'not all men' why not ask 'why most women?'’
My full speech can be seen here.
Gaps in Support - February 2021
I have joined colleagues from across the house in signing a letter to the Chancellor calling for an update to the Targeted Income Grant Scheme.
The APPG Gaps in Support's update gives overdue attention to the livelihoods and wellbeing of these people, their staff, and their families.
The government’s financial support schemes have been amongst the most generous in the world and set up at speed, lending a hand to the vast majority of people throughout this awful crisis. But eleven months on, it is now clear that the coverage of these schemes leaves millions unjustly excluded from any kind of support.
If we continue to ignore them and not be there when they need us, they will not be there when we need them.
Holocaust Memorial Day - January 2021
Since 2015 through the work of a relative and friend, we know the names of over 100 of our grandfather’s extended cousins and their families who were killed or died in death camps and concentration camps.
We remember those who were murdered for who they were. We stand against prejudice, hostility and division in the world today.
We learn from the tragedies and horrors of the past and we work towards a better future.
I join in lighting a candle in our window for #HolocaustMemorialDay.
NHS Parliamentary Awards - December 2020
This year, our NHS and local health teams have faced unforeseen and unprecedented adversities. They have gone above and beyond in keeping our communities healthy and our most vulnerable protected.
I was pleased to nominate a full selection of local teams and individuals for this year's NHS Parliamentary Awards.
The full selection of nominees can be seen on my facebook.
Each of them is representative of all of our local NHS heroes.
We give thanks to each and every one of them.
Vienna Terrorist Attack - November 2020
My message as Chair of the Anglo-Austria All-Party Parliamentary Group in response to the atrocious terrorist attack in Vienna is one of deep sympathy to all those who are affected.
Let us meet this scourge of religious extremism and terrorism with consideration and those affected with sympathy.
We did not judge Christians for what they did in Bosnia and Herzegovina nor the actions of the IRA during the Troubles. We should not judge Muslims for what one or two evil individuals do in their name.
Supporting the Excluded - September 2020
Public support is clearly needed for the people whose livelihood has vanished because the events they are employed on are not happening.
I have constituents completely reliant on a none existent leisure industry.
From actors to stage builders, videographers to lighting designers; there is a wide portion of our economy left excluded from ongoing Government support throughout the time that they are prevented from returning to work.
For some, a recent change in profession prior to the COVID-19 lock down has led to their exclusion from public support. Many have been continually excluded from crucial public support. The Government has a moral duty and legislative responsibility to resolve these issues.
Education Reflecting our Society - September 2020
I have been consistent in my support for a reinvigorated curriculum in schools to better reflect our history, both the positives and the negatives, to enable our society to be at the forefront of development and social progress. Each of us can understand the value of education as a tool to empower young people to make change happen.
I have already signed a cross-party letter to the Education Secretary calling for a review of the curriculum with the aim of diversification of the syllabus to include the history of people of colour in the UK.
It is often that, even when desired, MPs are unable to speak during a debate due to restrictions on time and attendees. This is exacerbated by the current necessary restrictions to maintain health and safety during this pandemic.
Human Rights in Bahrain - July 2020
I asked an urgent question to the Foreign Secretary whether he will use the UK's constructive dialogue with the Government of Bahrain to raise the case of two prisoners who have been sentenced to death following torture and who faced a hearing earlier today. Bahrain is important to us: politically, diplomatically and militarily. We know there have been times when the Bahraini have given consideration to our constructive prompting. We must stand as a protector and promoter of human rights internationally.
I have made contact with the ambassador to express my grave disappointment and requested that the highest authorities of Bahrain accept a gracious request not to carry out the executions. The general belief that confessions were extracted under extreme duress must cast doubt on the justice of executing these individuals who are better known for their democratic activism.
Raising Black Lives Matter at PMQs - June 2020
As the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, lays down his crosier after 14 years of service we can share in his great words: we can share in the glories, the struggles, the joys and the pains of this country. He has led a distinguished career and life; tortured in his birth country, Uganda; served in Tulles Hill, Stepney, Birmingham and York; and was a critical he advisor to the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry.
If, in a period of 8 years there are 8 interrogations of a bishop by the police - each time John Sentamu on occasions of being stopped whilst driving (safely and well within the law, might I add from personal recollection), we have got more to learn about making the colour of one's skin as important as the colour of one's hair or eyes: something you may notice but doesn't tell you anything more about them.
Enshrining our Democracy - June 2020
I was grateful to be one of the first backbenchers to speak since we returned to normal proceedings in Parliament. During a debate on the long-overdue proposed constituency boundary changes, I shared the concern that in many communities, the disadvantaged and vulnerable find it harder to ensure they are always on the Electoral Register.
Much more effort must go in to ensuring that the register is complete. Communities should be invited actively, rather than expected passively to join, to ensure they are represented as best as possible in Parliament. We are a proud democratic country and should take pride in widening democratic participation from every community in our country.
Parliament Continuing to Serve - May 2020
Parliament has adapted to difficult situations, past and present. Our democracy and its institutions have endured and weathered storms. Members of Parliament have returned to the Palace of Westminster.
It is important that we lead by example when it is safe to do so. I try to reduce social contact, maintain social distancing as appropriate and reduce risk to others.
I have confidence in the work of many to reduce risks, ensure a safe working environment and to protect those who are vulnerable. Our work is to help the right decisions be made. Each day my caring team and I work for constituents.
Parliament Adapting to Serve - April 2020
After 700 years, Parliament has gone online. With 50 MPs in the chamber while observing the social distancing rules, 120 MPs at one time can now take part in proceedings virtually.
Parliament has shown its resolve and ability to adapt to new circumstances to best continue to serve the public. I was pleased to be one of the first MPs to participate virtually from the safety of my dining room.
The hybrid solution treats MPs the same. We are able to stay close to the communities we serve, continuing our work scrutinising the Government and helping the right decisions be made.
Hosting WASPI Women in Parliament - March 2020
I helped the WASPI Campaign (Women Against State Pension Inequality) in Parliament.
They made a strong case against state pension inequality to colleagues new and old. Many are suffering, some will lose up to £50,000 because of a series of changes.
We need the opportunity to reassess how citizens are supported at each stage in life. We should learn from past mistakes. We can support those we may have wronged.
It is important that their voices are heard and taken into consideration.
Ending the Cladding Crisis Nationwide - February 2020
I was pleased to join with owners and leaseholders of high-rise apartments wrapped in combustible cladding demonstrating outside of Parliament alongside campaign leaders from across the country.
The message was clear: for the Prime Minister and Government to release billions of pounds to end a national fire safety crisis that continues nearly 1,000 days after the Grenfell Tower disaster.
I will go on doing what I can to make sure that effective action is taken and that the financial burden does not fall on the people least able to pay. No longer should be people live with constant fear for the lives of themselves and their families.
Digital Connectivity APPG - February 2020
Access to good internet services is an ongoing issue across Worthing and Arun particularly for communities located further from the town centre.
I have joined as a member of the All-Party Group on Broadband and Digital Communication alongside friends and colleagues, new and old to work to continuously improve connectivity.
So far, through government support and private investment, we have secured superfast broadband for 95% of households.
I will continue to support our local councils in making the case for best connections in and around West Sussex.
Holocaust Memorial Day - January 2020
The theme for this year's Holocaust Memorial Day was Standing Together.
I am proud to represent a multitude of multicultural and inclusive communities across Worthing West. Every day may we take a moment to remember the six million Jewish victims of the Shoah, and the millions of others killed in the pursuit of an intolerant agenda.
We remember the lost and pay tribute to the survivors.
I signed the Holocaust Educational Trust (UK)'s book of commitment to pay my respects to the victims and reflect on the darkest times of European history.
Welcome Worthing College to Parliament - January 2020
It was a pleasure to welcome students from Worthing College to the Palace of Westminster for a tour followed by discussions of Parliament. The students were inquisitive, well-mannered and a credit to their families, teachers and college.
I have personally witnessed many of these students as they have grown into highly capable young adults.
One current Worthing College student is working in my office and my team and I are very grateful for her help. Her parents and teachers have good reason to be very proud. Let us continue to support the next generation.
Celebrating Mitzvah Day - November 2019
The 17th of November is Mitzvah Day, the UK's largest faith-based day of social action. This year over there will be 25,000 volunteers doing #MD19 in the UK this week - rising to 40,000 globally.
I was pleased to meet with Mitzvah Day's Chief Exec Georgina Bye, along with Chair Laura Marks and Project Coordinator Lara Bloch at their launch in Westminster. We packed environmentally friendly bags of necessities for those in need.
Together we can continue to build on progress for the vulnerable and ending injustice faced by those in the minority. We can celebrate what makes us individual and share what brings us together.
Enhancing Environmental Protection - November 2019
In protecting our environment, we should not ignore the importance and value of roadside nature reserves which are often dismissed or forgotten about.
During a debate earlier this week, I recalled actions we undertook almost forty years ago in planting millions of trees every year alongside roads and motorways across Britain.
We cannot protect nature unless we address climate change, and we cannot properly address climate change unless we restore nature. There is always room for improvement and I will continue to unite experience with innovation to strive for a better future.
Cash Machine Access - October 2019
I joined 124 cross-party MPs in writing to the Barclays' CEO urging them to reverse the bank's decision to end free cash withdrawal services from the Post Office. Many constituents rely on the Post Office for crucial activities, one of which is access to cash withdrawal. Companies must take seriously their responsibility for those who rely on them.
In response, Barclays has announced its intention to reverse this policy and continue its service of free cash withdrawals from Post Office across the nation.
We can welcome this u-turn in prompt response to the concerns raised by MPs and leading charities.
Battling Blood Cancer - October 2019
I am pleased to support Bloodwise and their campaign to reduce the number of blood cancer patients who experience potentially life-threatening delays to diagnosis.
A significant number of people in Worthing West are affected by blood cancers like leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Delays to diagnosis can have a huge impact on mental health, treatment options and chances of survival, so it’s vital that urgent action is taken to help save lives.
What is needed is a focus from the Government on reducing unnecessary appointments and emergency diagnoses.
Fighting to free Krishna ‘Kris’ Maharaj - October 2019
Krishna ‘Kris’ Maharaj was sentenced to death in 1987 for two murders he didn’t commit. He was living in Florida when father and son Derrick and Duane Moo Young were gunned down in a Miami hotel in October 1986. Despite multiple alibi witnesses, he was still wrongfully convicted. After years of investigation, it has been found that the murders were actually carried out by Pablo Escobar's cartels after Derrick and Duane lost money they were enlisted to launder.
Kris is 78 years old, in poor health and will die in prison separated from his loving wife unless this injustice is challenged. During Monday's Queen's Speech Debate, I raised the issue of Kris's unjust incarceration to the Government.
Battle of the Atlantic EDM - September 2019
I am pleased to have submitted an Early Day Motion to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic.
The Battle of the Atlantic began on the first day of the war with the sinking of the SS Athenia, a transatlantic liner torpedoed by a U-Boat off the coast of Ireland on 3 September. More than 100 of the 1400 souls on board were killed.
It involved thousands of ships in more than 100 convoy battles and perhaps 1,000 single-ship encounters, in a theatre covering millions of square miles of ocean. It lasted until the end of WW2 in Europe, May 1945.
We should recognise the great people of the Royal Navy, Merchant Navy, Royal Marines and the RAF Coastal Command.
Stem Cell and Anthony Nolan - July 2019
Earlier this month I was pleased to meet Rik Basra, who received a stem cell transplant via Anthony Nolan in 2011.
Rik, and his wife Kas, founded the Rik Basra Leukaemia Campaign to increase the understanding of the many types of blood cancer and encourage people to join the UK stem cell register.
His work, alongside the invaluable work of Anthony Nolan, helps blood cancer patients up and down the country in finding the treatments that can save their lives. It was concerning to hear about the need for potential stem cell donors from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.
Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill - July 2019
Today I abstained in person on the numerous amendments to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill.
This was to make the point that we should leave; that we should leave with an agreement and that we should not crash out unless Parliament confirms that.
As a former Minister for Northern Ireland, I recognise the importance of the Bill in its primary form in progressing and supporting the formation of an Executive in Northern Ireland. The amendments were additional: not incredulous, but not critical to the Bill itself.
We should all share a desire to see democracy upheld and not twisted to suit an injudicious agenda (on either side of the aisle).
William Hill Closures and FOBTs - July 2019
Bookmaker William Hill has said it plans to close about 700 betting shops following the government's decision in April to reduce the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals to £2. Everyone agrees that it was sensible to bring the stake down on fixed odds betting terminals from £100 every twenty seconds to £2. If that means that bookmakers like William Hill stop ripping off the vulnerable individuals who have become addicted to such terrible machines, then the sooner the better and it should have happened years ago.
These stores were well aware that it would be brought to an end eventually. They should have been preparing their staff long before the campaign to reduce the stake came into being. I am proud to have been a supporter of the campaign to cut the stake from £100 to £2, and will continue to make the case for fairer and more considerate legislation.
Climate Change Meeting - June 2019
I was pleased to meet with local constituents, members of The WI (National Federation of Women's Institutes) and representatives from the Sussex Wildlife Trust to discuss how we can better work together. We are all united against climate change and to make our world a better place.
This Government has taken pivotal steps in addressing our carbon emissions. This includes this week’s commitment to (at least) zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Government has also helped secure the Paris Agreement: a key deal to limit global temperature rises. The UK has also been one of the first countries to commit to ending unabated coal power generation by 2025.
We should be proud of what we have achieved. Our success does not detract from the upmost necessity to continue our fight against climate change.
BBC Licence Fee- June 2019
The BBC were required to make a proposal on the future of the over 75s free TV License. They are doing that. It is not a still photograph, it is a moving picture.
I am an officer on the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the BBC and have been vocal on this issue for several years since it was first raised in 2010.
Earlier this month, I suggested to the Government that the BBC should be raising the 75 threshold by one year every two years because of longevity. We ought to also be adding the value of the concession, together with the free bus pass, to the tax allowance of the over 75s. This way those of us who are earning well and have a good pension are contributing without it being taken away.
I hope that a solution will be found that protects BBC services whilst ensuring access to all of those that desire and need it.
School Funding - May 2019
I was pleased to meet with Elizabeth Truss, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, to discuss the Government’s plans for fairer funding for schools.
Special needs matter and we need an increase in baseline funding which may help to address the imbalance between our schools and many inner-city areas. Deprivation matters but it shouldn’t dominate funding.
The level of funding has overall improved for West Sussex schools over the past two years with an additional £28m being allocated to the county. However, increased funding is coming at a time of rising costs. Crucially, ‘High Needs’ funding was excluded from the formula which fails to address historic concerns with the scale and application of resources for High Needs across West Sussex.
Supporting Radiotherapy - April 2019
Advances in technology, the skills of clinicians and good research are leading to safer and less troubling treatments.
Breast cancers and early stage lung cancer can now be treated more successfully by advanced radiotherapy. More than 14 million new cases of cancer are diagnosed globally each year; radiation therapy (RT) has the potential to improve the rates of cure of 3.5 million people and provide palliative relief for an additional 3.5 million people.
Doctors and nurses across the constituency understand the importance of these advances, so do patients. I do what is possible to help, locally and nationally.
Protecting Community Banking - April 2019
Cash Machines certainly aren't a glamorous subject, nor one many people would consider necessary to campaign in favour of. However, Cash Machines play a vital role in our communities and, often, are relied upon by those of us who may have less alternative options to rely on when dealing with personal finances.
Those who rely on cash machines are often those who cannot drive, are unable to use online banking, and those who rely on cash for business and personal finances. Cash Machines are also crucial in many places where the banks have gone.
If we stand by and allow the rates to go up on them, many of them will turn to withdrawal-fees or, even worse, we will start to see them dissapear altogether. I hope that the Treasury will look into how it can better support our local communities to keep vital services readily available.
National Employment Statistics - March 2019
Figures published by the Office for National Statistics today show that record high employment continues to grow.
There are 32.7 million people in work now, a new record high and the highest it has been since comparable records began in 1971. Behind every employment statistic is a person and a family whose self-esteem, mental wellbeing, economic freedom and life chances are all vastly improved by being in the workplace.
The current number of unemployed claimants in Worthing West stands at 2.5%, compared to the national rate of 3.3%. It is fantastic to see so many people in work across our communities, helping to contribute to a prosperous and growing economy.
Strengthening British/Austrian Relations - March 2019
It was a pleasure to welcome a delegation from the Österreichisches Parlament (Austrian Parliament) to the Houses of Parliament earlier this week.
We engaged in a valuable exchange of views regarding our intrinsic cultural and economic partnership, our parliamentary affinity and links, and the future of our relations after Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.
As Chair of the British-Austrian All Party Parliamentary Group, I have witnessed a great amount of effort to foster and advance relations between the nations and regions of the United Kingdom and Austrian Republic.
Great Daffodil Appeal - March 2019
Everyone should have the best quality of care and the best quality of life possible when they are dying, and Marie Curie UK supports families when it matters most. Every five minutes, someone in the UK dies without the care and support they deserve and need at the end of their life. Marie Curie provides much-needed expert care to people with terminal illnesses, as well as supporting their families.
Every year throughout March, Marie Curie holds our Great Daffodil Appeal in order to raise the funds needed to provide care for people affected by terminal illness. I am proud to wear their distinctive daffodil on my lapel. Whatever our story, wearing the daffodil unites us with millions across the country who share the belief that those who are dying should receive the dignified care and support they deserve.
Give Blood, Save a Life - February 2019
At the beginning of a very busy week of Parliamentary business and votes, I was pleased to be able to give my regular unit of blood.
One celebrity explained that the minor feeling of a needle being inserted reminded her of plucking an eyebrow.
Another said that it is like offering a gift of love to someone you will never meet, truly a gift relationship of the purest nature.
You can be someone's anonymous hero with one simple and selfless act.
There is a special need for BAME, black and minority ethic, people to volunteer. Please consider it. Visit www.blood.co.uk to find out more.
Holocaust Memorial Day - January 2019
As the Holocaust moves from living history, to just history, it becomes ever more important that we take the time to remember the victims and also pay tribute to the survivors. I represented the constituency and my own family at the New Cemetery in Bushey for the burial of the remains of six victims from Auschwitz. Each one stands for one million souls who perished.
The Holocaust did not start in the gas chambers but with hate filled words. We should continue to look at how we reflect and remember the atrocities of the past. We cannot simply erect memorials, we should also focus on education and awareness, and how we respect and learn from the past.
As we come to Holocaust Memorial Day on this Sunday, I want people to reflect and remember those who helped to save many, those who failed to save more, and most importantly, the mistakes of our past.
This week is a time of considerate reflection and contemplation. May we always remember and learn from the atrocities of the past.
Supporting Mental Health Care and Support
I was grateful to meet with people living with mental health problems from Worthing and Arun, representatives from Coastal West Sussex Mind and other parliamentarians to discuss mental health and housing.
Around one in four people will experience a mental health problem in any given year, and previous research by Mind found more than two in five people with mental health problems living in social housing have seen their mental health deteriorate as a result of where they live.
The event saw the launch of a short film ‘Beyond Bricks’ by Mind in which three people with mental health problems - Nadia, Gabbi and Sarah – describe the serious impact poor housing can have on our mental health.
I’m committed to doing all I can to transform this so that everyone gets the information, advice and access to the housing that they need and deserve, to help people recover and stay well.
Taking Leasehold Concerns to Downing Street
I was pleased to be joined by Martin Boyd, Chair of Trustees at Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, in taking the issues faced by leaseholders across the country directly to the Prime Minister and her team.
Those behind the campaign share many concerns with the Government's most recent progress, namely the Tenants’ Associations Regulations.
Over recent months, the campaign to end the Leasehold Scandal has seen many positive steps forwards. The concerns and evidence has been heard by the Communities, Housing and Local Government Select Committee.
Multiple meetings have been had with the Secretary of State. Government legislation has been brought forwards to address many of these issues. However, problems persist and current proposals are not good enough.
Bringing West Sussex to Parliament - November 2018
West Sussex has many jewels in its crown. Food and drink are, by far, the most attractive.
Many of our producers have been picked up globally, with chocolates selling in China, gin in Germany and biscuits in Brazil. Our food and drink are not just an export, they’re an import too. Tourists flock from across the world to see our vineyards and our kitchens – they are an asset to each and every constituent and something we should be proud of.
Over 300 Members of Parliament, staff, and visitors attended the Taste of West Sussex event I hosted in Parliament along with my West Sussex colleagues and West Sussex County Council.
We were very pleased that Kenny Tutt and Louise Goldsmith joined us, as well as many Members of Parliament.
Celebrating Diversity and Collaboration - October 2018
Hundreds of women were invited to Westminster by MPs as part of #AskHerToStandDay, celebrating 100 years since some women first got the right to vote and stand in General Elections. I was pleased to welcome Alison Cooper, a community leader and local inspiration, to participate in the day's events.
In the 100 years since the Qualification of Women Act, 4,503 men have been elected to Parliament and only 491 women. There haven't been enough women to fill every seat of the House of Commons chamber, yet there have been enough men to fill it 10.5 times over. Men continue to outnumber women 2:1 in Parliament
We need a Parliament that is truly representative of our population, its interests and its values. We should do what we can to encourage and support those who are working to promote this.
Protecting the Future of our Local Newspapers
Our local newspapers are at the heart of our communities. They have long been the first means by which we share in tragedy, cover celebration and gain the details of ordinary community life which matters a great deal to many of us.
There is no doubt that they have been struggling as we all become increasingly reliant on digital rather than physical print.
In response to the recent declaration of administration by Johnston Press, I asked the Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport whether he shared my concern for the future of local journalism.
For the daily national newspapers we expect speed in reporting - for our local newspapers, we expect quality reporting and community news. Let us hope that the Government can support local newspapers like the Worthing Herald and Littlehampton Gazette to flourish.
Celebrating Diversity and Collaboration
When religions coexist peacefully, we can all prosper.
I was greatly pleased to join 28 of my Parliamentary Colleagues from across the political spectrum to celebrate the 10th annual Mitzvah Day.
On Mitzvah Day 2018, more than 40,000 volunteers across the globe united to take part in projects to help the homeless, elderly, refugees and some of the poorest and most vulnerable in society. Events brought different communities together to make positive impacts.
Jews celebrated alongside Muslims and Christians, sending a message of positivity and collaboration during a time of division and anxiety. My contribution was to pack pencil cases for School Aid, a charity that provides educational equipment for children in Africa.
Leaseholder Rights - Select Committee Hearing
I was pleased to speak alongside several other campaigners for leaseholders' rights in front of the Select Committee on Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Something is intrinsically wrong when people are being denied the right to own their own home.
Something is systemically wrong when this problem only persists in England and Wales and not Scotland, Australia or the rest of the World.
Something is morally wrong when profits are placed ahead of individuals and lives are ignored ahead of company interests.
Those who brought the case to Parliament are to be commended. Their tireless continued work progresses this campaign, and I am proud to continue to support them.
Signing Parliament's Book of Remembrance
I was very pleased to sign Parliament's Book of Remembrance as part of this year's Remembrance and Armistice Commemorations.
Events and actions across the country recognise the sacrifice of those before us. This year is even more poignant falling 100 years on from the end of World War One.
Alongside British Forces, many came from across the Commonwealth. The poppy I am proud to wear is made of Khadi, a handwoven cotton made famous by Mahatma Ghandi, in subtle recognition of the 1.3 million soldiers from undivided India that fought alongside us.
Lest we forget.
Worthing Rangers Visit to Parliament - October 2018
I was pleased to welcome local 'Rangers' (the new Senior division of the Girlguiding family) from the Worthing Cissbury Division Senior Section Unit to Parliament as part of their project exploring Women’s Voice.
2018 marks 100 years since Parliament passed a law which allowed some women, and all men, to vote for the first time: the 1918 Representation of the People Act. As well as allowing us to celebrate the successes achieved in the past century for women’s democracy, the centenary celebrations can help us to look at what still needs to be done to engage young girls and women in politics.
Guiding runs a ‘Girl Lead’ programme which engages young women in deciding and organising their trip to London. It is positive that the Rangers chose to visit Parliament.
West Sussex County Council Funding Concerns
Continuing and increasing pressures in adults and children’s social care and special educational needs means that the County Council has reached a point where incremental efficiencies are insufficient to cover the £147.5 million gap – and front line services will need to be cut significantly or eliminated.
Yesterday, my colleagues from across West Sussex and I met with the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Local Government, Rishi Sunak, to discuss ways the Government can assist in easing the pressure on County Councils and address these issues before they get worse.
There should be no question of a negative rate support grant - council tax is not there to raise money for the central government, what we want is a fair share of central government funding to come to local governments to support our social care and educational needs.
BOOM! Credit Union meeting with Minister
I was pleased to join representatives of Boom Credit Union in meeting with the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen MP to discuss measures to better support Credit Unions in our communities.
We discussed how the community based work that Credit Unions are engaging in across the country is providing millions of pounds in loans to help build local enterprise and prevent the worsening of individual’s financial situations, with BOOM loans themselves helping to keep over £21 million in the pockets of local people to the benefit of the wider economy, whilst also helping to enable vulnerable people to move away from the often-exploitative payday loans industry.
However, like many Credit Unions, the demand for the financial support that BOOM offers is far greater than the value they can disburse, an endemic issue across the country with the number of active Credit Unions falling by 46% since 2014.
Long Live the Local - Saving Britain's Pubs
I pledged my support for the Long Live The Local Campaign to help pubs in Worthing West keep their doors open. Brewing and pubs in Worthing West supports 1013 jobs and contributes £23m to the local economy, with many further unquantifiable values and benefits to our communities.
Current tax levels on beer stand effectively at 50% on every pint bought in a local pub across the country. British drinkers now pay 40% of all beer tax across the EU, but drink only 12% of the beer. Three pubs close their doors for good every day.
I am proud to join more than 100,000 people who have signed the petition so far, including 194 in Worthing West.
Further information about the Long Live the Local campaign and how you can sign the petition can be found online at: www.longlivethelocal.pub
Recognising and Responding to Hate Crime
In my role as an Officer for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hate Crime, today I made a pledge to stand up for those who suffer abuse because of factors like the colour of their skin, their sexuality, or their religion.
I was delighted to respond to the findings presented, reflecting on my work and experience as a Member of Parliament.
The key points of discussion revolved around the need to better record and raise awareness of what constitutes a hate crime as well as how to promote community cohesion.
Since first becoming a Member of Parliament in 1975, the proliferation of hate crime has shown little sign of wavering without the intervention of groups like Citizens UK.
Universal HPV Vaccination Success - July 2018
Earlier today, the Government announced that it would extend the HPV Vaccine to boys as well as girls as it currently stands. This is very welcome news and something I have long campaigned for alongside fellow colleagues and HPV Action (http://www.hpvaction.org/).
In April I urged the Government to implement this - highlighting that it is a matter of pure and simple mathematics. The prospect of 100% of any age cohort - male and female - getting the vaccination means that herd immunity will develop much faster.
The key point is to get herd immunity for everyone far faster, and as such ensure that our next generation is protected from this devastating disease.
Signing the Srebrenica Memorial Book
Srebrenica Memorial Week takes place from 8th – 15th July, with about 2000 memorial events activities taking place across the country arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations.
Today, to mark the Memorial Day, I signed the Remembering Srebrenica Book of Pledges, promising to stand up to hatred and intolerance and promote a fair, equal and cohesive society for everyone.
Srebrenica Memorial Day reminds us all that a shocking genocide took place in our lifetime when over 8,000 men and boys were murdered just because of their faith.
May we work together to ensure that these kinds of atrocities never happen again.
GTR Rail Delays and Rescheduling Concerns
I met with Alex Foulds, Director of Services for Southern Railway, to discuss the ongoing issues and future development of services across Worthing and the South East.
To summarise the meeting, Southern Railway is well aware of the issues that countless commuters and rail users have encountered, having already emphasised the issues many of my constituents have faced, and hope to address these issues whilst further improving rail services for all of Worthing's residents. I urged Southern Railway to address these issues with the upmost haste, and ensure that all of my residents concerns are taken into account.
I requested that those responsible for the issues must give a frank assessment of what caused these problems, how they plan to address them, and what outcome we should expect.
Campaigning for Abortion Rights in Northern Ireland
The government has a national obligation and a moral obligation to take action to address women's access to abortions in Northern Ireland. The OAPA was enacted over 150 years ago which effectively recognised abortion as a criminal matter within Northern Ireland, and our society, our population, and our medical capability has understandably progressed remarkably since 1861.
It is clear there is a majority in the House who would support decriminalising abortion by repealing sections of 'Offence Against the Persons Act' (OAPA) as proposed by Stella Creasy, and I was proud to speak in support of this during last week's emergency debate in the UK House of Commons. This is an opportunity for the United Kingdom and devolved Governments to bring forwards the legislation that is most appropriate for our modern society in each specific administrative region.
Turban Awareness Day
I was pleased to participate in Turban Awareness Day in Parliament, hosted by Sikh Channel.
The Turban Awareness Day was organised following the racist hate attack outside the House of Parliament on 21st February 2018, when somebody attempted to tear off the turban from Ravneet Singh of EcoSikhs, whilst shouting ‘Muslim go back’. Recognising the obvious ignorance and incoherency behind such racist attacks, it is important that we all appreciate and celebrate the huge contribution Sikhs give to the UK, not just historically such as during the World Wars but also in the present day.
I sincerely hope that such events as this demonstrate to members of the Sikh community, as well as all other communities and minorities in the UK, that they are welcome and are respected members of our society.
Dragging the Speaker to the Chair - 2017
I was pleased to take part in the tradition of 'dragging' the newly elected speaker to the chair upon Parliament's return after the 2017 General Election.
The custom originates from the speaker’s role in communicating the House of Commons' opinions to the monarch. Historically, monarchs have responded to unwelcome news with the swift death of the messenger. Therefore - understandably - speakers required some gentle persuasion to accept the post...
It is the second time I have 'dragged' John Bercow, having previously done so in 2015. I offer my congratulations to John Bercow on his re-election to the Chair.
Westminster Terror Attack
Many constituents kindly written to my office following the appalling act of terror in Westminster on 22nd March. My team and I thank all of those who sent messages of care, comfort and concern.
The day following the attack, I shared these words in the House of Commons: Some of us were present 38 years ago nearby when Airey Neave was martyred. The lesson we learned then was not to damn a community because of the actions of a single person.
The message I got from my Imam, from the Worthing house of prayer and peace, was: “we will always be with those who work for peace.” Can I suggest we try to disappoint those who try to calculate so the publicity and public reaction will work in their favour, by making sure that we work together and disappoint them.
Park Homes Justice Campaign
I joined with members of the Park Homes Justice Campaign, led By Sonia McColl OBE, to deliver a petition to 10 Downing Street.
A larger demonstration took place outside Downing Street's gates.
As the law presently stands, a person who sells their mobile or park home is required to pay up to 10% commission to the site owner. Hundreds of park home owners rallied across Westminster, Wales and Scotland to challenge the commission charge; either to have it reduced, or abolished entirely.
For more information on the petition against the commission, you can visit www.parkhomeownersjusticecampaign.co.uk