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June 23 Newsletter

Dear Constituent,

Wishing all Muslims of Bedford, Kempston and beyond Eid Mubarak! I have enjoyed celebrating with family, friends and staff.  

This month has been characterised by intense campaigning in Mid Bedfordshire, following Nadine Dorries stating that she would be resigning as a Member of Parliament. Although to date she has not formally done so, I have been delighted to see Bedford and Kempston Labour Party members spending hours knocking on doors, and in some heavy downpours too. It’s clear the Tory vote has collapsed and polling shows that it will be very tight between Labour and the Tories in Mid Bedfordshire. 

Raising the profile of Labour and our candidate Alistair Strathern at the earliest stages will give us the best chance of bringing people out to vote Labour and show their dissatisfaction at how their constituency has been overlooked and ignored for so long by the present incumbent. 

Yours sincerely,

Mohammad Yasin MP

Constituents get in touch

In summary:

  • Animal Welfare
  • Retained EU Law Bill
  • No New Oil and Gas
  • Privileges Committee Vote

This month, my office has opened a total of 509 cases, 161 of which are casework and the remaining 346 relating to campaign and policy.

A large proportion of campaign emails have related to animal welfare and environmental protections this month. Constituents have been raising awareness for a variety of issues, for example bans for live exports, dog ear cropping, caged farm animals, cosmetic testing and fur trade.

It is disappointing that the Kept Animals Bill has failed to progress through parliament. My Labour colleagues and I wish to see this reintroduced, to bring in tougher laws for protecting dogs and farm animals.

More widely, rural protections have also emerged as a key concern. Protections for wildlife, the “literary landscapes” scheme, and the People’s Plan for Nature have been of particular concern to constituents. Most notably, the impact of the ongoing Retained EU Law Bill on our environment has been consistently raised.

I am troubled by the risks the bill presents to environmental protections. The United Kingdom’s world-class standards for environment and food regulations should be strengthened, rather than weakened, as a result of Brexit. I will continue to oppose this bill.

Many of you have emailed in support of Labour’s pledge to halt new oil and gas developments in the North Sea. I strongly support this pledge, and the wider move to NetZero energy policies. The climate crisis is not a far-off possibility, but a current reality. Halting North Sea developments and investing in renewables makes environmental and economic sense.

Constituents have thanked me for voting in favour of the Privileges Committee report that former Prime Minister Boris Johnson misled parliament. This was for many reasons a symbolic vote; standing up for the integrity of parliament and opposing Tory sleaze. More widely, Labour wants to see radical parliamentary reform, abolishing the House of Lords and replacing it with a smaller, less expensive, democratically elected chamber.

In the constituency

I’ve enjoyed visits across the constituency this month, meeting congregations at Ramgarhia Gurdawa, Guru Gobind Singh Gurdawara in Kempston and Valmiki Mandir Temple.

It was a joy to be invited to Cauldwell Primary school to participate in an assembly about online safety. Google and Parent Zone’s Be Internet Legends programme is designed to help 7-11 year-old pupils become safer and more confident explorers of the online world. The programme includes a free curriculum pack, nationwide teacher training workshops, engaging family activities and a series of fun, interactive assemblies. The children were engaged and really well-informed of online dangers. They just need the Government to get on and deliver the Online Safety Bill to bring the regulation needed to make sure the big internet companies do their job to keep children safe.

Following the Big Garden Birdwatch – is the world’s largest wildlife survey, I was invited to the RSPB Lodge Nature Reserve in Sandy to see how they are supporting wildlife to thrive by protecting and managing natural spaces. As well as great places for a day out, for gentle exercise and for mental health, nature reserves are crucial spaces to help give our precious British wildlife a chance to thrive.

I enjoyed attending jumble trails in Kingsbrook and Black Tom. These events are organised by the community and are a fantastic way for residents to get to know their neighbours whilst browsing for bargains.

The Great Big Green Week Bedford 2023 presented a range of activities focusing on the environment and action on climate change. I visited The Higgins Bedford, where Queen’s Park Community Organisation presented the official Platinum Jubilee Queens Canopy project tree planting pot.  

I met with Dr. Vijay Nayar at King Street Surgery to discuss the challenges GPs and surgeries face – there are not enough GPs, growing patient lists, outdated infrastructure, and staff burnout. For too long these problems have been ignored. That’s why Labour has a plan to fix our NHS and tackle the challenges in primary care to improve services both for GPs and patients.  We discussed Labour’s plans and how both patients and staff need to be at the heart of reform.

It was a pleasure meet the new owner Mohammed Hassan of O M Pharmacy (on the Broadway at the corner of Foster Hill Road). To take over the running of the pharmacy at such a young age is an incredible achievement and the pharmacy will fulfil an important service in the local community.

Bedford Credit Union, a non-profit financial co-op, owned and controlled by its members invited me to celebrate their 25th anniversary. They provide the local community with affordable loans and savings accounts – I strongly wish them many more successful years.

It was an honour to attend the Armed Forces Week flag raising ceremony at Borough Hall and attend the Armed Forces Parade. Through these we show our gratitude to all armed forces personnel both past and present who have sacrificed so much to keep us safe. We owe a debt that can never be repaid, but we can and should ensure that we improve veteran support.  That is why Labour will appoint a ‘Squaddies Czar’ to represent the military and their families. They will have the power to investigate and highlight issues affecting Forces and their loved ones.

I had the pleasure of attending a special service at All Saints Church in Queen’s Park and an event in the town centre both to celebrate the contribution of the Windrush generation and their descendants and teach people about the legacy of Windrush in Britain today. We must continue to speak about the legacy of the Windrush arrival and I thank The Legacy Of Windrush Descendants and Friends (LOWD) for all your efforts in setting up this event.

It was a real pleasure to support Rua, a year 8 student at Bedford Free school performing in the Grand Finale of Poetry By Heart, the national poetry speaking competition at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre at the Southbank. Each student chooses a poem, learns it by heart and performs it in school, before a national panel of judges selects finalists to perform at the Grand Finale on Monday 26th June. The Globe is such a special theatre. How amazing it must have been to perform on a stage that has seen so many brilliant actors. Well done to Rua for having the talent and courage to follow her dreams.

Last but not least I met with UK Youth who run Link to Change in Bedford. We discussed their “Thriving Minds” programme which supports young people’s mental health, including those who have been victims of exploitation. This is really important work to support particularly vulnerable individuals during crucial development years.

In Westminster

Education Select Committee

6 June 2023 – Persistent absence and support for disadvantaged pupils

The Education Committee continued its inquiry into the growing problem of school absence by asking experts about specific interventions to encourage children back to the classroom.

Latest government data shows that absence levels have continued to increase since before the pandemic. We took evidence from stakeholders including the CEO at Family Action and CEO at the National Youth Agency

13 June 23 – Education Committee launched a new inquiry that will examine the way Ofsted inspects schools.

We will look at the current inspection framework introduced in 2019, and examine whether this has had an impact on school standards and the workload and wellbeing of teachers and school leaders.

I asked about Ofsted’s plans for the regulation of unregulated looked after children’s accommodation – an area I’ve pushed to be regulated in my parliamentary work.

In this evidence session we questioned Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman on the regulator’s role in supporting reforms to the children’s social care sector.

20 June 2023 – Teacher recruitment, training and retention

The Education Committee held the first session of its inquiry into issues around the recruitment and retention of teachers.

We took evidence from Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary at National Education Union, Professor Dame Alison Peacock, Chief Executive Officer at The Chartered College of Teaching and Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary at NASUWT.

27 June 2023 – Persistent absence and support for disadvantaged pupils

We questioned the Schools Minister Nick Gibb how the Government will tackle the growing problem of persistent absence from school.

LUHC Select Committee

8 June – The Levelling-Up Committee began its inquiry on the finances and sustainability of the social housing sector.

The inquiry will be examining the financial pressures facing social landlords and the resources needed to meet a variety of challenges, including the need to build thousands of new homes for social rent and the task of improving social housing stock. The Committee questioned representatives from the National Housing Federation and from housing associations and also a panel of academic experts.

The session also explored how social and affordable housing is financed through planning obligations and by cross-subsidy from the sale of private and shared-ownership homes and how well the shared-ownership housing model serves both housing associations and residents.

As part of its inquiry, the Committee will be examining the current range of grant funding available and the increasingly complex financial and corporate structures proliferating in the social housing sector.

The committee also published the Government’s response to the Committee’s report on the long-term funding of adult social care. You can read it here: https://publications.parliament.uk/…/1397/report.html

15 June – Funding for Adult Social Care – Levelling-Up Committee publishes Government response:

https://publications.parliament.uk/…/1397/report.html

Adult social care remains a key priority and it is of great concern that there continues to be a large funding gap which needs to be filled. Those in need of care, their loved ones, and care staff deserve better.

22 June – Voter ID – Levelling-Up Committee announces evidence hearing with Electoral Commission and election administrators.

Committee will question the Electoral Commission and election administrators on the introduction of voter ID, as part of the current Committee inquiry on electoral registration.

We will examine the Electoral Commission’s initial analysis of the implementation of voter ID at the local elections held on 4 May – the first-time voter ID was required.

Questions in this session focussed on the Electoral Commission’s information campaign, how effectively local councils have been able to implement the voter ID changes at polling stations, and explored concerns about the impact on voter turnout and data on those voters who had been turned away because they did not have the requisite ID

Charity sector/Parliamentary events

Well done to Bedfordshire’s Taj Rahman winner of the Parliamentary Taxi & Private Hire Awards 2023. I was delighted to nominate Taj who has been an active voice on various taxi and private hire-related issues, working in collaboration with the council and other stakeholders since 2007.

I was pleased to pledge my support for young carers for Carers Week. Millions of unpaid carers provide care worth £445 million each day to their family, friends and neighbours who are disabled, ill or older and need support. Despite their valuable contribution to society, many young and adult carers feel invisible and undervalued. I’m supporting their calls on the Government to ensure that carers get the practical and financial support they need to live a life beyond their caring responsibilities.

Key votes/policy matters

I supported Early Day Motions on Young Lives vs Cancer report and The Ministerial Code and parliamentary standards

I supported a cross-party letter on the biomass strategy calling on the Government to end subsidies for burning trees in our power stations beyond the current 2027 contracts. There has been a remarkable erosion of backbench support for burning wood in our power stations.

The Tories abandoned the new laws they promised to crack down on illegal puppy farms and animal smuggling, so Labour forced a vote to reverse this which the Tories did not support.

It was a great day for parliamentary democracy when the #PrivilegesCommittee report into Partygate which found that the former Prime Minister lied and deliberately misled Parliament passed with 354 for and just 7 against.

It is important Parliament shows the public that there is not one rule for them and another for us and to stand up for the constitutional principle that MPs as lawmakers, can’t lie to the public from the despatch box without consequence so I think it is shocking that No vote was recorded for 225 Conservative MPs, because they either abstained or did not turn up to vote.

Rishi Sunak’s cowardice on his decision not to vote demonstrates the politician he really is. For all his claims of commitment to “integrity, professionalism and accountability”, he failed last night to show any of those attributes. By showing no leadership qualities whatsoever, the Prime Minister’s absence makes him complicit in complicity in Johnson’s contempt because he is saying it doesn’t matter if ministers lie to Parliament.

This week, MPs will also get the opportunity to approve the Privileges Committee special report which found that senior Tory parliamentarians took it upon themselves to undermine the procedures of this House, when they attacked committee members who worked on the Privileges Committee repot which found Johnson misled Parliament. Shamefully that includes a serving Minister and a former Leader of the House. The report noted that the matter was made more difficult because two of the Members mounting the most vociferous attacks on the Committee did so from the platform of their own hosted TV shows. That undermines democracy and undermines the House. We owe it to the members of the Privileges Committee to give them our support.

The plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda has been ruled unlawful by the Court of Appeal. It shows Rishi Sunak has no plan to fix the Tories’ small boats chaos and his only idea is completely unravelling. The Rwanda plan is unworkable, unethical and extortionate; a distraction from serious action needed and that Labour called for. The now unlawful migration Bill is being pulled apart in Pariiament. The government suffered a series of defeats in the House of Lords this over its flagship bill to stop small boats crossing the English Channel.

Peers voted to amend the Illegal Migration Bill to prevent new deportation powers being backdated to March of this year. They also added safeguards aimed at protecting modern slavery victims, and unaccompanied child migrants.

The changes will be supported by Labour but could be reversed by the Government in Ping Pong.

75 years ago, HMT Empire Windrush arrived in the UK. The Windrush Generation built the NHS, enriched our culture, and changed Britain for the better. In return, hundreds were detained & deported. Survivors and descendants deserve more than gratitude. They deserve justice for the scandalous deportations of black British citizens.

Keir Starmer said creating more inclusive workplaces can “unlock growth” and would form part of Labour’s economic recovery plans as he spoke at an event to mark pride in LGBTQ month. He renewed a commitment to ensure employees are “free of harassment” and “able to be entirely themselves”. Sir Keir lamented what he described as the breakdown in recent years of a “cross-party consensus” that once existed on LGBT+ rights and promised Labour’s politics would be defined by “dignity, respect and inclusion.”

Labour has urged ministers to move ahead with plans to ban on no-fault evictions as part of a series of measures designed to protect renters.

Labour announced they would create 80,000 jobs in electrical vehicle manufacturing. Labour won’t stand by – we will act and help secure the jobs of the future.

Labour announced they would create GB energy, a publicly-owned clean energy company, headquartered in Scotland. Our mission is to create a cheaper, cleaner, home-grown, secure, future-proof energy supply which will create good jobs and lower energy bills across the UK.

Under the Tories, new mortgages will now cost a typical household in the UK thousands more than neighbouring countries. Labour’s plan to ease the Tory mortgage penalty would offer practical help now. The root cause of the current housing crisis is the failure to build enough homes.

A Labour government would: Back the builders, not the blockers, Reform planning laws to build more affordable homes ,Give first-time buyers first dibs on new developments.

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