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May 23 Newsletter

Dear Constituent,

The local authority elections in Bedford were a great result for Labour both nationally and locally.

Nationally we gained 536 new Councillors, sending a strong message to this Government that people are ready for real change.

Labour set out with the goal to become the largest party on Bedford Borough Council and we did just that with three excellent gains in Cauldwell, Queen’s Park and a new foothold in Kingsbrook alongside retaining all of our current seats. I’m so grateful to all our candidates for their tireless work.

Conservative Tom Wootton is now Mayor and I will continue to work constructively with all local representatives for the betterment of our towns.

Thank you to all the volunteers, members and candidates that made this positive result for Labour happen.

Yours sincerely,

Mohammad Yasin MP

Constituents get in touch

In summary:

  • Retained EU law
  • Deep sea mining
  • Dog ear cropping
  • Dementia Diagnosis

This month, my office has opened a total of 921 cases, 313 of which are casework and the remaining 608 relating to campaign and policy.

This month constituents have been in touch about a range of subjects with the most policy correspondence being related to the Retained EU Law Bill.

Most of my constituents who have contacted me on the subject have been deeply concerned by the ability to legislation gives to Ministers to amend or scrap legislation carried over from our membership of the European Union with no Parliamentary scrutiny. We do need to establish the future status of laws carried over from our time in the EU, but I fundamentally disagree with the Government’s approach to doing this.

I am concerned that this Bill would put at risk hard-fought rights and protections for British workers, consumers and the environment while diminishing democratic scrutiny and accountability in key areas of British law. If the vote for Brexit was partly about “taking control of our own laws” then it needs to be Parliament that reviews, amends and replaces the legislation not Ministers. I will continue to support efforts to ensure this legislation does not water down hard-won workers’ rights, undermine business confidence, or give Ministers unaccountable powers they cannot be trusted with.

I have had numerous constituents contact me regarding deep see mining and calling on the UK to join calls for a ban or precautionary pause. Countries including France, New Zealand, Germany, Costa Rica, Chile, Spain, Panama and Ecuador have already backed a pause. It’s important that the Government sets out its position in full before applications are reviewed later this year.

I share the concerns of my constituents who have contacted me about the rise in the cropping of dogs’ ears. The 621% increase in reports to the RSPCA of ear cropping since 2015 is shocking and horrifying. The Government introduced the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill in June 2021, which would allow for regulations to restrict the import of dogs on welfare grounds, including the possibility of banning the import of dogs with cropped ears or docked tails. These practices are already illegal in the United Kingdom under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. However, the Kept Animals Bill has not been returned by the Government to Parliament for scrutiny since November 2021.

I am very disappointed this Bill has been missing since then. I believe in honouring animal welfare promises and it is not right, in my view, to make promises for tougher laws and not follow them through. I will always push for the strongest animal welfare policies.

Dementia is one of the biggest health and care challenges of our time. I agree with residents who have contacted me to say that the needs of people with dementia must move to the top of the agenda. As researchers work to find a cure, improving early diagnosis must be a priority, to ensure everyone affected receives timely and appropriate care and support. The Government announced a dedicated dementia strategy last year.

Yet after repeated delays and promises of updates “in due course”, the 10-year plan for dementia has been dropped. The Health Secretary has instead announced further consultation on a separate strategy, with dementia featuring as one of six major conditions. This is not good enough.

In the constituency

Since my last newsletter, I’ve met with many people and organisations, not to mention countless residents whilst knocking on doors in the run up to and following the local authority elections.

It is such a pleasure to celebrate the achievements of Bedford and Kempston residents and workers, and in recent weeks I’ve attended both the Bedfordshire Police community cohesion awards event and the Bedford Everyday Hero Awards, the latter a great celebration of the unsung work of volunteers, carers, educators and helpers in our town.

With Labour Councillors and candidates I attended a public meeting with doctors in our NHS. Listening to their concerns and discussing how we can work together to protect and improve our local health services.

I attended bpha’s partnership event where over 50 organisations were invited to discuss how we can work together to deliver results for residents.

It was a pleasure to speak with residents in Hanover Court and Aspley Court in Harpur. I also met with both the charity Friends For Life at Southway Residential Home to discuss their important work to tackle loneliness and social isolation and attended the 3rd anniversary of the Linking Lives Befriending Service in Bedford.

Islam Bedford, Eid in Bedford and Islamic Relief hosted an incredible community Iftar without around 1,500 people attending and it was an honour to speak about the importance of Ramadan to our Muslim community in Bedford and Kempston.

I’ve been pleased to visit education providers, with delightful visits to Biddenham School and Bedford Road Primary where I spoke with students about politics and my role as an MP. I was really impressed by some of the questions being asked and thank the staff, pupils and parents for making me feel so welcome. I enjoyed the Early Childhood Partnership celebration at Daisy Hill Children’s’ Centre with many families in attendance.

I also visited Bedford College’s Learning Centre on Bedford High Street, which provides an adult learning environment helping to brush up skills and deliver new courses. It’s crucial that we invest in adult education particularly as industries change and our workforce needs to adapt.

HMP Bedford has a new Governor Ali Barker, I met her to welcome her to her new role and we discussed challenges in the prison alongside the work going on to both ensure security and improve rehabilitation.

I was honoured to attend a flag raising ceremony of the Bangladeshi flag at Borough Hall, celebrating Independence Day in Bangladesh.

I attended the International Day of Remembrance, honouring enslaved victims of the Atlantic Slave Trade, which was a fantastic, thought-provoking event organised by SpectaculArts with support from the Harpur Trust and Bedfordshire Police.

It was great to attend an interfaith Sufi Qawwali evening at the Nirankari Bhawan on London Road where we enjoyed the poetry of the great Sufi poet Bulleh Shah.

At a productive meeting with Stagecoach East Managing Director Darren Roe, we discussed progress on bus driver recruitment alongside other service challenges. They are addressing their driver shortfall but with passenger numbers at around 70% of pre-covid levels there are still challenges facing our services. We also discussed how we can work together to look at making more routes financially viable and further discussions will take place on this subject.

I met with the Bedfordshire Police Federation to discuss how working conditions in the Police Force and the years of poor pay-offers from the Government have contributed to challenges in retention.

I attended an equality and inclusion in the work place conference arranged by BAPIO British association of physicians of Indian origin) and Bedfordshire hospitals NHS Trust.

In Westminster

Support for charities/campaigns

I signed a letter calling for the Treasury Select Committee to  open an inquiry into SME Finance.

I supported a letter calling for the Home Office and FCDO to issue guidance and press UK based pension providers (like HSBC) to give Hong Kongers who have moved to the UK access to their pension savings and to undertake an audit of the number of BNOs impacted.

I signed a letter to the PM of India with Voices for Asian Elephants to highlight the plight of Asian elephants in India.

I supported an open letter to the Home Office calling for psilocybin to be rescheduled so that much improved mental health treatments for depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, anorexia nervosa and post-traumatic stress disorder can be researched urgently.

I supported a letter to Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, about the case of imprisoned British national Alaa Abd el-Fattah.

During Allergy Awareness Month I supported  calls from #AllergyUK for the Government to ensure that each Integrated Care System (ICS) has a fully funded specialist allergy service with a specialist nurse and dietician.

I attended the launch of the second survey report by Sikh Women’s Aid

Raised awareness for skin cancer @focusonmelanoma during #MelanomaAwarenessMonth

Supported Christian Aid Week’s parliamentary reception t find out more about the incredible work of Christian Aid partners in Malawi and their climate justice work.

Supported #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.
Supported KNUS, the UK’s first free mental health non-profit organisation providing peer support throughout the UK has been in touch to ask me to share information about their free, confidential, peer support and coaching chat services.

This Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, Bowel Cancer UK launched their Be Bowel Smart Campaign to #KnowTheHigh5 key symptoms of the disease.

Select Committees

In March I joined the Education Select Committee.

This month we probed further on the non-inquiry session looking at Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and SEND Reviews.

The Education Select Committee’s conducted its second session into its inquiry into persistent absence and support for disadvantaged pupils.

The Education Committee says Government must pause post-16 education shake-up or risk making skills shortages worse.

The Education Committee launched its new inquiry into teacher recruitment, training, and retention.
In March The HCLG Committee opened its inquiry into The finances and sustainability of the social housing sector.

In May the Levelling-Up Committee began its local audit inquiry.

On 3 May the LUHC published DFT response on Car parking charges and use of parking apps – Government responds to Levelling Up Committee questions.

On 2 May the LUHC Chair pressed Electoral Commission on voter turnout data concerns.

On 28 May the Levelling Up Committee launched its inquiry into social housing finances & sustainability.

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