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March 24 Newsletter

Dear Constituent,

You may have seen last week I asked a question at Prime Minister’s Questions relating to the concerning forced closure of Bedford’s Renal Unit due to issues with water quality. Please be assured that I am continuing to press for updates so we can get to the bottom of this issue.

Those affected are having to negotiate short notice appointments, travel far afield and fit this around working lives and I appreciate the inconvenience this is causing.

This time of year is significant for many people of faith and none. Nowruz, Holi, Easter and Ramadan for those who observe, along with a long weekend with two bank holidays.

I hope the long weekend brings you an opportunity for some rest and relaxation and I thank all those who will continue to work over the bank holidays.

I wish everyone a Happy Easter weekend.

Yours sincerely,

Mohammad Yasin MP

Constituents get in touch

In summary:

  • Gaza
  • Spring Budget
  • Animal welfare

Since my last newsletter my office has opened 585 cases, 196 of which are casework and the remaining 389 relating to campaign and policy.

Throughout the last month constituents have been contacting me about the humanitarian situation in Gaza, with continued overwhelming support for an immediate and permanent ceasefire. I have written back to constituents on a multitude of specific issues, including Gazan hospitals and health care infrastructure, protections for civilians in Rafah, the recent ICJ interim ruling, and the urgent need for sanitation and food in the region.

As we approach 6 months since this horrific conflict began, nearly 30,000 Palestinians have died. Diplomatic efforts must yield results before thousands more die. I made clear in a recent question to the Foreign Office that time is of the essence in securing an immediate and permanent ceasefire. I will continue to hold out hope for peace in the region.

Turning to the Spring Budget, this was an important moment for my constituents for a huge variety of reasons. People wrote to me wanting to see increased financial support for social care, the NHS, and local services. Disappointingly, in this budget there is no public services spending planned for the next five years. Departmental expenditure limits have been left largely unchanged. This means that, under the current Government, constituents will not see built the new in-patient mental health facility that is so desperately needed in Bedford. This is bitterly disappointing; in the face of this damp squib of a budget it is crystal clear that the economic management of our country is in dire need of change.

On a more positive note, Bedford and Kempston continues to be a home of animal lovers. I am pleased to see two important private members bills are currently progressing through Parliament, seeking a ban on trophy hunting imports, and the dubious trade of importing domestic pets. I felt the same disappointment as many of my constituents when the Government dropped the Animal Welfare Bill last May, so I know that my colleagues and I will seek to make these bills stronger as they progress through Parliament.

In the constituency

This month, I visited a number of schools, including:

  • Mark Rutherford School where I spoke to a group of Year 12s about my political journey and to talk about some of the issues they are concerned about today.
  • I attended a #LetGirlsPlay football session hosted by Biddenham School, bringing together girls from across the constituency.
  • Bedford Modern School, where I met with staff and students.

I’ve also had a number of local meetings including with:

  • Food Etc, a charity helping families across Bedford and Kempston make healthier food choices.
  • HMP Bedford, meeting new Governor Sarah Bott, seeing prison conditions and speaking to staff and prisoners to hear their views.
  • Bedford Hospital UNISON representatives, who I stand by in their efforts to seek fair pay for the Band 2 staff who are carrying out duties above their pay scale.

Events around the constituency I’ve had the pleasure of attending, include:

  • Handing out leaflets with the Samaritans at Bedford station to promote their ‘Small talk saves lives’ campaign.
  • A business networking event hosted by the Mercure Hotel in Bedford, where we discussed the challenges businesses have faced during this cost of living crisis and the need for a strong economy nationally to support business growth locally.
  • A really positive and inspiring International Women’s Day celebration hosted by ACCM UK.
    Watching excellent performance at the Beds Festival of Music, Speech and Drama Gala Reception and Concert.
  • I attended a wonderful community Iftar at the Corn Exchange where funds were raised for humanitarian support in Gaza.
  • A Family Open Day hosted by Bedford Borough Parent Carer Forum, at Bedford Athletic Stadium, offering a host of activities on for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
  • I attended and spoke at Sri Guru Ravidass Gurdwara Bedford celebrating the 647th Birth Anniversary of Sri Guru Ravidass.

In Westminster

Turning to Parliament – I had a PMQ this week on the temporary closure of Bedford Renal Unit.

Family members who have kidney dialysis treatment were sent a letter at the start of the month (from the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust) which runs renal services across 5 centres in the eastern region that the Bedford Renal Unit was being temporarily closed because of issues with the haemodialysis water.

I raised the question to ensure both North Hertfordshire renal services & Bedfordshire Hospitals are given all the necessary resources to urgently fix this problem.

Nearly 100 patients receiving regular dialysis at Bedford now have to attend one of the other 5 renal unit sites across the region – spanning Milton Keynes, Northampton, Stevenage, Lister – excess of 50 miles.

The question got good coverage in the local press and I gave an interview early this morning on Andy Collins show on BBC Three Counties.

I was told by the Trust that they had not identified abnormalities with the water but have identified some issues with the treatment unit that would make it more likely that impurities from the mains water may have passed through to patients receiving dialysis.

Obviously, there was no choice but to temporarily close the unit patient safety comes first.

But we really need to know why this has happened – this is a major incident for all the patients who now need to travel miles to access life-saving care.

Earlier this week -David Lammy MP asked an Urgent Question on the situation in Gaza and Israel. Labour is continuing to call an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and is increasingly concerned about Israel not allowing aid into Gaza – which of course would constitute a war crime.

I have backed a cross-party application for a Backbench business debate on UK arms sales to Israel.

I have long been a supporter of the #WASPI campaign. It was obvious from the many stories I’ve heard that so many women born in the 1950’s were unfairly treated and robbed of the pension they paid into and thought they were getting.

I was pleased that a highly critical report from the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman now agrees that they were not adequately informed of changes to their pension age and should be compensated.

It is now for the Government to respond to the report. But it is also a commitment WASPI women want to see in Labour’s manifesto. All the Labour front bench has said for now is that it will look at what steps we can take to make this an iron cast commitment for any future Labour government.

The Rwanda Bill is still in Ping Pong. After a further 7 defeats in the Lords, it looks like it will be back to the Commons after Easter recess now. The legislation is a disgrace. Above everything else it states something is true when it isn’t – Rwanda is not a safe place as ruled by the UK Supreme Court. Even if the Gov ram this through, which they probably will do in the end this gimmick will deport less than 1% of the asylum backlog. For nearly £600m, there are only 300 places, and four times that number have arrived by small boat already this month.

The LUHC Committee continued its work into the finances and sustainability of the housing sector, disabled people in the housing sector, shared ownership and children, young people and the built environment.

The Education Select Committee continued its Inquiries into The impact of Industrial Action on University students, Screen Time: Impacts on Education and Wellbeing and Financial Education where I enjoyed questioning, financial expert Martin Lewis.


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