Three minutes: so just three short points.
Welcome to my latest newsletter, with news of what I’ve been doing over the past two weeks.
We’ve learned so much about the work of carers during this coronavirus crisis – their commitment and dedication and the value of what they do.
But there are still millions of people in the UK whose care work goes on behind closed doors. They are the unpaid carers, looking after a family member of friend who has a disability, or a mental or physical illness, or who needs extra help as they grow older.
They are also essential workers, yet they often feel undervalued and unsupported. No wonder, when Carer’s Allowance is an insulting £67.50 a week.
The move by the Government to end the virtual Parliament has been a shambles: made without any thought to how parliamentary scrutiny might work in a time of social distancing, nor with any consideration for the health of MPs and the staff on the parliamentary estate. The long lines of MPs queuing to vote summed up the chaos.
Much of my time is spent addressing the issues and difficulties caused by coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown, taking part in virtual meetings with organisations on the frontline of the response to the virus, and with those who are suffering some of the worst impacts.
But as the lockdown is eased, the conversation is growing louder about how we rebuild as a fairer, more equal and more sustainable society.
Cultural & creative industries in Brighton
I have had many messages on the issue of the re-opening of schools. It’s been invaluable to hear directly from teachers and school staff working on the frontline, as well as from parents and carers. I very much share your concerns and I have been working closely with the National Education Union during this crisis.
The need for safety
Regrettably, I was not selected to speak in the debate on the Trade Bill. This was the speech I'd planned to give, setting out what's wrong with the Bill
Trade Bill speech
I would like to start by saying that this Bill could have been an opportunity to set out a democratic, environmentally and socially just framework for the UK’s new independent trade policy. But instead, the government has rehashed the same, controversial Bill from before. And surreptitiously removed the Lords’ amendments on scrutiny of trade agreements.
For the first time since the coronavirus crisis began, the Prime Minister made a statement in the Commons about the Government’s response. Sadly there was no humility over the catastrophic mistakes it’s made, and the new strategy of “Stay Alert” is muddled and confusing. I’m not surprised it’s been rejected by the devolved administrations. I wrote about the litany of failings in my column for Metro.
Prime Minister’s Questions
I’m grateful for the opportunity to put forward my amendments this afternoon and to support several others.