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April 22 Newsletter

Dear Constituent,

A Prime Minister who breaks his own laws, lies repeatedly and refuses to take responsibility for his own actions is not fit to lead the UK. It is an insult to us all that Boris Johnson has not resigned. In a morally defunct attempt to deflect attention from ‘partygate’, the announced deal to send asylum seekers to Rwanda marks a new low for this Government.

I utterly condemn this appalling policy and believe a safe, legal route to the UK is the cost-effective, humane and obvious solution. Ramadan Kareem Mubarak to all those observing the holy month of Ramadan.

Yours sincerely,

Mohammad Yasin MP

Constituents get in touch

In summary, campaigns and policy this month focused on:

  • Boris Johnson’s failures as Prime Minister, and the ‘Partygate’ scandal

  • New offshore processing plans and the continued scrutiny of the Nationality and Borders Bill

  • The ending of free lateral flow testing, and the impact that this may have on constituents and their loved ones.

  • Continuing opposition to The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill as it progresses through parliament

This has been a very busy month for policy and campaign correspondence, on a huge breadth of issues – from banning the sale and importation of fur and foie gras, to fixing rented housing, to the cost of living crisis as well as Channel 4 privatization.

Many of my constituents in Bedford and Kempston have been appalled by the Prime Minister’s behaviour in recent months. The law-breaking, lies, cover-ups, and utter disregard for their own rules has meant that several are calling for his and the Chancellor’s resignation, as well as others voicing their concerns on the Chancellor’s wife’s non-dom status.

The proposals for offshore processing to Rwanda, as well as the Nationality and Borders Bill undergoing Parliamentary ping-pong, has meant that nearly 80 people have got in touch to oppose the Government’s continued cruel and inhuman immigration policies. Some are disheartened by these new asylum processing plans, others are calling for asylum seekers to have the right to work, and several are requesting the removal of specific clauses, such as on citizenship, from the Bill.

My inbox has seen almost 30 emails from constituents worried for their welfare now that the Government have announced the end of free lateral flow testing. I am deeply concerned by this decision and the impact that it will have on vulnerable people. More widely, also in the category of Health Services and Medicine, I have received campaigns on access to abortion, investment in dementia care and diagnosis, and water fluoridation, as well as a further 30 emails requesting my support for the NHS Workforce Plan in the Health and Care Bill. Furthermore, the Government’s recent decision to not ban conversion therapy for transgender people has been raised in 50 emails to my office. A constant theme in my inbox is on the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

Constituents are continuing to contact me with their opposition to authoritarian measures presented in the Bill, and as it enters Parliamentary ping-pong, for my support on Lords’ Amendments protecting freedom of speech and protest.

In the constituency

This Spring has seen an enormously welcome return of higher numbers of inperson community events.

Since my last newsletter I attended the Safer Streets event to offer residents in Chandos Road advice and support, attended by community police officers, partner organisations and Harpur Ward Councillor Colleen Atkins. I was honoured to attend the 645th birth anniversary celebrations of Sat Guru Ravidass Maharaj Ji at the Sri Guru Ravidass Sabha, an important cultural occasion. On the same day I attended the iLearn Bedford International Women’s Day event at the John Bunyan sports and fitness centre, about empowering women and breaking social stereotypes.

It was a pleasure to be a guest at a University of Bedfordshire’s graduation ceremony and to attend the Rotary Club, where I paid tribute to their incredible charity work, most recently in regard to humanitarian support for the Ukraine.

I met with representatives from the charity BOLD – Bedfordshire Opportunities for Learning Disabilities, to discuss shared concerns around access to cash for vulnerable adults. I was delighted to plant a sapling at Shackleton Primary School. They have planted 400 trees, aiming to grow a forest on site to allow children to immerse themselves in nature and experiential learning.

It was a huge honour to attend the Bangladesh Independence Day flag raising ceremony this morning – the Bangladeshi community in Bedford and Kempston have contributed greatly to our economy and society.

I was pleased to cut the ribbon at the official opening of Pistachio Cafe – it is great to see local businesses opening up in Bedford – and to attend the Castle Easter Charity Event at Harris & Son Family Butchers, which raised vital funds for Bedford Hospital A&E, Headway Brain Injury and Ukraine Appeal. I met with the Bedfordshire Police Federation to discuss the years of below inflation pay rises many public sector workers have received. I fully support a public sector pay rise to recognise the challenges our Police Officers, Nurses, Teachers, and many others have all faced over recent years.

I had a very productive meeting with the East London Foundation Trust (ELFT) regarding drug treatment ‘Path 2 Recovery’ services in Bedford and Kempston. I was honoured last week to facilitate and help plant a commemorative tree kindly donated by the High Commissioner of the Maldives Dr. Farah Faizal to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. This week I attended the Nishan Sahib seva ceremony, and visited the St Alphonso Syro Malabar Kerala community at Christ the King Church.

In Westminster

The Chancellor’s Spring Budget went down like a lead balloon. What the Chancellor gave us was a high tax, low growth spring statement that leaves the British people with the highest tax burden in 70 years and living standards falling at the fastest rate since records began. He offered nothing to shield those on the lowest incomes from the cost-of-living crisis.

Labour sought to stop the 1.25 percentagepoint rise in employee National Insurance contribution and is continuing to call for a windfall tax on energy companies, the reversal of the £20-per-week cut to Universal Credit, to uprate benefits this year in line with actual inflation rates and for the Government to put in place urgent support for insulation costs for the poorest households as part of a comprehensive programme for housing retrofit. This week in Parliament I questioned the Prime Minister on ‘Partygate’. If he gets away with misleading Parliament and lying to the nation, I genuinely fear for our democracy. Decency and probity in public office matters.

I’m really pleased that in a deft move by Keir Starmer, Labour secured a Motion and a vote in Parliament on Thursday on whether the PM’s behaviour should be referred to Parliament’s Privileges Committee. As I write the vote hasn’t taken place but it looks like Parliament is about to agree to a motion (unopposed by the Tories) that Boris Johnson’s remarks about the alleged lockdown-busting parties “appear to amount to misleading the House””.

I signed a joint letter calling on the Culture Secretary to abandon her plans to sell off Channel 4. C4 belongs to us yet costs the taxpayer nothing. We can’t let the Government privatise it. I signed letters in support of Access to Cash and in support of calls for an end to the blocks on onshore wind for clean, affordable energy that can be produced here in the UK and supported EDMs on the Federation of Small Businesses’ 10-Point Plan for Disability Employment and Entrepreneurship, the future of Channel 4, Young Carer’s Action Day, War on Want’s report on McDonald’s tax affairs, Right to Roam, support for Endometriosis and support for a green transition from Russian oil and gas.

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