On 7th May I was re-elected by my constituents in Southampton Test. Thank-you to everyone who voted for me. Since then I have been busy in Southampton and in parliament working on the issues you have raised with me so far. Here is an update on the main ones.
Taking the government to task on warm homes and energy efficiency
Last week I got the chance to take the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change to task on their government’s record on these issues. At PMQs I asked David Cameron whether he could guarantee his commitment to funding home energy efficiency programmes, ensuring the most vulnerable in our society have warm homes to live in. This is an issue that affects many of my constituents and I was keen to get an answer, unfortunately no commitment was forthcoming.
Luckily I had a second chance to raise the issue at the opposition day debate on Climate Change later that day. I worry that a reduction in funding for energy efficiency programmes not only leaves many without warm homes, but puts us at risk of ever meeting our carbon reduction targets. I also raised the need to push for stronger targets in Paris at the Climate Change Conference as we are running out of time to stop irreversible climate change.
Since the election of a Tory majority government, many constituents have been in contact raising concerns about the prospect of the Tories repealing the Hunting Act.
I am proud to say that I was on the committee that wrote the original Hunting Act nine years ago. I have a strong desire to avoid turning the clock back to a time when killing an animal for sport was deemed acceptable. There have also been over 400 successful prosecutions under the Hunting Act since it was introduced, so the argument that the ban does not prevent anyone from hunting is (thankfully) fictitious.
I am seriously concerned by the indications from the Conservative Government that opponents of the ban may have the opportunity to vote for its repeal in this Parliament. Please rest assured that I will always vote to uphold the ban and encourage my parliamentary colleagues to do likewise.
One of the biggest issues currently being debated in the House of Commons currently is the EU Referendum Bill. With the prospect of a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU before 2017 it is essential that people are able to make an informed choice. That is why myself and my Labour colleagues have pushed for the following amendments:
A) Extend the vote to 16 and 17 year olds
B) Prevent the Government from holding the referendum on a date which coincides with other elections
C) Require independent assessments of the consequences of leaving the European Union to be undertaken
D) Require the Secretary of State to set out what materials he intends or expects to publish in the “purdah” period
It appears that the Government have listened to some of the concerns raised by the Labour Party and the Government appear to have dropped plans to hold the referendum on the same day as the local elections next year.
If you have any other issues you would like to raise with me please email me on email@example.com