That's it! The last hustings is now done and dusted (well done to Richard Taunton's 6th Form College for organising) and we've only got a week to go.
For anyone who hasn't managed to get along to a hustings, I just wanted to let you know about my stance on a few key issues that I've been working on over the last few years.
Over the last five years I’ve campaigned alongside and worked with my Labour colleagues to bring about change and taken part in some important debates on issues that have shaped our country. I have always used my time in Parliament to get the best for our city, and to make sure Southampton people benefit from the national decisions that are made. I’ve worked hard on socially progressive issues, and I wanted to give you a snapshot of some of the votes I’ve taken part in over the last parliament. These are the kind of issues I would hope to be focussing on again if re-elected on 7th May.
This year I was proud to have been given a Green Ribbon Award in recognition of my work in this area. As one of the co-authors of the Climate Change Act, I have worked tirelessly to hold the Government to account on its failed promise to be the “greenest government ever”. I have strengthened the Energy Bill (which encourages renewables), backed a moratorium on fracking, strongly opposed fossil fuel subsidies and worked with Labour colleagues to formulate our energy efficiency plan.
Over the last five years I have worked with my Labour colleagues to improve housing standards. I personally introduced a Private Members’ Bills to try and force landlords to make their homes warmer and safer for tenants and which sought to improve the quality of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). I have also campaigned with Southampton Labour councillors for mandatory licensing of HMO properties, which has now been introduced in areas of the city. Furthermore I've campaigned for greater protection for renters and for better quality across the city.
I am extremely proud to have voted for equal marriage. I am glad that in Southampton and throughout the country, many gay men and women are now able to celebrate and confirm their relationships with their friends and family by getting married and are treated equally by the law.
I believe passionately that everyone in Southampton should have access to further education, regardless of their postcode or background.The government don’t seem to agree with me though, which is why I’ve campaigned alongside the Southampton sixth form colleges and the Shadow education team for fairer further education funding.
I have also always strongly opposed and campaigned against tuition fees.
Right to recall
I backed Zac Goldsmith’s amendments to the Recall Bill which would give constituents the power to recall a misbehaving MP. Unfortunately the majority of MPs voted against the amendments, which I think is a real missed opportunity. I believe that MPs should be accountable to their constituents more than twice a decade.
Whilst I support transparency for campaigners and lobbyists, the terrible bill that the Government rushed through Parliament makes the situation worse and doesn’t hold lobbyists to account. I voted against this bill every step of the way but despite our best efforts we have been left with a badly drafted and ineffective Act.
Labour would scrap the Act. We will do what Cameron and Clegg didn’t and consult with charities and campaigners about how to ensure transparency in our elections while protecting freedom of speech.