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This year is shaping up to be a big one, with a General Election here, as well as elections in the US.   Here's hoping we end up in a better place by the end of it!

Here are a few of the things which I’ve been working on so far this year. 


Flooding and winter storms

My constituency didn’t escape the flooding which has affected so many parts of the country over New Year. Flood warnings were issued for Patcham, though thankfully it escaped the widespread damage of 2016. On the wider issue, there was a statement in Parliament on the impact of Storm Henk where I challenged the minister over the failure to protect existing properties but, more importantly, asked why the Government was actively planning to pursue policies that will make extreme weather events worse.  You can see our exchange here.


Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill

The policy I had principally in mind was the Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill which would create yet more licences for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea.  There’s no chance of any gas which is found affecting either the UK’s energy security or families’ energy bills as it will all be sold on global markets to the highest bidder.  It also trashes what little remains of the UK’s international climate reputation.  I spoke against the Bill at its second reading this week and wrote for the Metro on why it’s so wrong.


Net zero targets

Ministers waste no time in trotting out empty boasts about the UK’s record on climate, while they go about destroying it. The Government’s official advisors, the Climate Change Committee, have been without a chair for 18 months. I asked the Minister when a new chair would be appointed - his response was typically patronising and empty.  


Rwanda Bill

This government’s approach to asylum seekers is utterly shameful. Its Rwanda Bill takes a wrecking ball to international law and vilifies some of the world’s most vulnerable people. I’ve spoken against the Bill several times in Parliament, most recently during its committee stage last week. I also put forward what’s known as a Reasoned Amendment to try to get the whole Bill stopped.


The Middle East

Many constituents continue to contact me with their concerns about the terrible suffering in Gaza and in particular about UK military support for Israel. I have tabled a number of questions on this for ministers.  You can see the questions and ministers’ responses here. I also challenged the Prime Minister at Prime Minister’s Questions over what it would take for the Government to back a permanent bilateral ceasefire – failing again to get a satisfactory response. 


The conflict is already spreading, with the UK joining the US in strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen in response to Houthi attacks on shipping in the Red Sea. The Prime Minister said it was to “send a message” but the message that is sent is not necessarily the one that’s received, as I told him during his statement to the Commons.


A Brighton-based arms contractor, L3Harris, has been supplying military components used by the IDF in the bombing of Gaza and is now seeking retrospective planning consent for an extension at its plant.  I do not believe a company supplying weaponry used in an indiscriminate bombing campaign that violates international law should be given the green light to grow even larger.


Ella’s Law

Ella’s Law is named after Ella Roberta Adoo Kissi-Debrah, who died aged 9 from air pollution and was the first person to have air pollution listed on her death certificate. It would require the Government to make breathing clean air a basic right.  Green Party peer Jenny Jones has already successfully steered what’s formally called the Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill through the House of Lords and I introduced it in the Commons, with Ella’s mum watching from the public gallery.


Royal Sussex Country Hospital

I’ve written before about the very troubling reports coming out of the Royal Sussex about a lack of transparency from the top, despite heroic efforts from NHS staff on the frontline. I’ve met with the hospital’s leaders to challenge what appears to be a culture of covering up mistakes and discouraging staff from speaking out.  It is vital that people can trust their local hospital and I fear that trust is being seriously eroded.  BBC Newsnight have run a number of reports about the Royal Sussex and interviewed me for one of their reports.


BBC Radio Any Questions

I was on the panel for Any Questions in Uckfield last week, talking about the closure of the blast furnaces at Port Talbot steelworks, the Rwanda Bill and how to meet housing need without concreting over the countryside.  You can listen to the programme here.