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July 22 Newsletter

Dear Constituent,

If this is your first time receiving it, a huge thank you for signing up to receive my newsletter. I have written monthly to Labour Party members since my election in 2017 and I’m delighted to widen this communication to anyone who would like stay up to date with my work in the constituency and in Westminster.

Please feel free to share this with anyone who may be interested and encourage them to sign up for my monthly newsletter here on my brand new website: www.mohammadyasin.org

Mohammad Yasin MP

Constituents get in touch

In summary, campaigns and policy this month focused on: 

  • Transparency issues relating to the Royal Family

    ·        Banning conversion therapy for transgender people

    ·        The Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) as a major barrier to effective international action to tackle the climate crisis

    ·        Concerns about the impact from the Schools Bill on home education

    ·        The impact on the rights of humanists under the British Bill of Rights

    ·        NHS staff concerns about working conditions and pay

    ·        The blockade in Gaza preventing vaccinations and healthcare

    ·        Animal rights and the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) and Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bills

    ·        The need for an urgent end to the detention of Jagtar Singh Johal in India.

    ·        Continued outrage at the Government’s proposals for deportations to Rwanda.

    ·        The National Security Bill and the need to protect journalism.

I have been contacted by constituents concerned about issues of transparency relating to the Royal Family prompted by allegations Prince Charles received £2.6m in cash for his charities from a Qatari sheikh.

Many constituents wrote regarding conversion therapy and transgender people and I am committed to ensuring LGBT+ people can live in safety and dignity. I completely agree that exploitative and damaging LGBT+ conversion therapies must be banned as a matter of urgency.

Many constituents have signed a petition relating to Home Education and the Schools Bill and I will consider their views as the Bill progresses.

Constituents have written regarding Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). I share concerns about the IRGC’s destabilising activity, including its political, financial and military support to a number of militant and proscribed groups in Lebanon and Syria, including Hezbollah, militias in Iraq and the Houthis in Yemen.

Environmental issues as ever prompt large numbers of correspondence and constituents have written with concerns regarding the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT). It is increasingly clear that the ECT – in its current form – has become a major barrier to effective international action to tackle the climate crisis, with energy companies using the treaty’s investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions to challenge plans to move to net zero. I oppose any ISDS clauses in future trade deals that deter action to protect the environment.

Concerns have been shared regarding the rights of humanists under the British Bill of Rights. Section 3 of the Human Rights Act (HRA) makes provision for the courts to ‘read in’ human rights-compatible language into statutes but the Government’s draft Bill of Rights makes no such provision. I strongly oppose any attempts to replace the HRA.

I have been contacted by a number of constituents, NHS staff members, regarding the wide range of challenges being faced on the NHS frontline. Years of Conservative Government cuts to our public health service has resulted in staff who are exhausted. They are experiencing burn-out, forced to work long hours to cover short-staffing, missing breaks, and many offered real-terms pay cuts.

Along with those who wrote to me, I share their deep concern at the situation in Gaza and the terrible suffering that many Palestinian civilians are experiencing. Israel must stop the blockade so that health authorities could get access to give vaccinations and offer proper healthcare.

On the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, in Britain no animal should made to suffer unnecessary pain and degradation and where we continue to drive up standards and practice I will support efforts to improve the Bill as it goes through its parliamentary process. Concerns have also been shared about the Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill and I certainly want to see much stronger tests on animal welfare impacts.

Mr Jagtar Singh Johal’s continued detention in India has prompted many constituents to get in touch. I signed a cross Party letter by the APPG on UK Sikhs which calls on the UK Government to demand Mr. Johal’s release.

Many constituents have continued to write to share their outrage at the Government’s planned deportations to Rwanda, which to date has stalled thanks to legal action and will I hope never come to pass.

I’ve been contacted regarding the National Security Bill and the need to protect journalism. Whilst I welcome proposals that build on the recommendations of the Intelligence and Security Committee and the Law Commission and delivers long-overdue updates to our current legislation, I recognise the impact proposals in the Bill could have on whistleblowers and journalists. I hope the Government will reconsider these complex issues as the Bill undergoes further scrutiny.

In the constituency

This month has seen another incredible display of the diversity and richness of cultural events taking place around the constituency:

  • Live music and stalls at the Green Earth Vegan Fair in Harpur Square.
  • An exhibition to celebrate the first year anniversary of Frescoes Art Club exhibition, focusing on wellbeing.
  • Celebrations marking 30 years for the Bedford Daycare Hospice.
  • Watching the choir of Bedford’s U3A perform.
  • Visiting Tesco to witness the Trussell Trust and Fareshare’s food collection, a vital service helping to feed the most vulnerable during the cost of living crisis.
  • Attending the Kenyan Community in Bedford’s BBQ, where the food was great, as was the sense of community spirit.
  • The 7Beats Sangeetholsavam Event at the Addison Centre in Kempston, a music and dance charity show.
  • The Shaheedi Sports Tournament, their 25th annual festival with volleyball, football and cricket – people visited from all around the UK.
  • The 2022 Harpur Trust Children’s Art Competition and Exhibition, where I presented an award. The theme was “future Bedford” and there were incredible displays of talent on show.

 

I’ve also held meetings and visited a number of services, organisations and local businesses, including with Tom Abell, Chief Executive of the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) to discuss ongoing challenges. He fully acknowledged the scale of the problems the EEAST faces, and we discussed the actions that have been taken and improvements that have been made. Staff are working extremely hard but it’s clear that vacancies need to be filled. I will continue to press for the resources the Trust needs and the service standard that those waiting for an ambulance deserve.

I also visited UK Truck and Plant, a business in my constituency that repairs vehicles for the East of England Ambulance Service Trust and HGVs, carries out commercial vehicle MOT testing and builds a range of vehicles.

I attended the opening of Infarm’s newest facility here in Bedford, which is one of Europe’s largest urban vertical farming facilities. Infarm aims to grow food locally in a controlled environment, to help us improve our domestic food security and reduce the carbon footprint of food supply chains.

It was a pleasure to attend the official opening of the Citizens Advice Bedford (CAB) new office location in the Harpur Centre, where they will continue to provide free legal and financial advice on issues such as debt, benefits and housing.

For this year’s Armed Forces Day I paid tribute to our armed service personnel both past and present for their incredible bravery in their duty to keep us safe every day at a flag raising ceremony at Borough Hall and I attended the Bedford’s Armed Forces and Veterans Day parade, the first in-person event in a few years, with stalls, entertainment and military vehicles.

At Bedford Hospital, with David Carter, Bedfordshire Hospitals Chief Executive, we discussed the significant challenges that all hospitals are facing working with the continued threat from Covid-19, that has slowed down systems and means bed occupancy remains high even at times that were quieter pre-pandemic. David shared his concerns about the mental health crisis exacerbated by the pandemic.

I was pleased to see statistics showing that moving patients into Bedford Hospital out of ambulances is mostly happening within a short period of time, contrasting with some other hospitals in the region where patients are very often waiting over an hour.

Unfortunately, a large challenge for Bedford Hospital at present is bringing patients quickly through A&E, which is a particular challenge and area of concern. This has been brought to my attention through constituents, so I was pleased to see David recognised the issues as a priority. 

I was also taken on tour of the improvement works at the Cauldwell Centre, which once complete will provide new outpatient, e-consult and treatment rooms.  Works seemed to be progressing very well towards their scheduled completion date of September 2022.

I met with Bedfordshire Youth Offenders Service (BYOS) and children’s services at Bedford Borough Council. We discussed drug dealing and usage and how BYOS is working to support vulnerable young people.

I’m absolutely delighted to hear that Bedford Women’s Centre is now receiving funding from the Office of Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner. In my view, the centre provides search a vital service for women and families experiencing domestic violence, the funding should never have been in doubt but I’m pleased the PCC has listened and responded positively to our concerns.

In Westminster

Parliament has once again been thrust into chaos by another Tory psychodrama as the Prime Minister was ousted by his own MPs in one of the most astonishing weeks in British political history. The PM’s ignominious downfall was in the end quite fitting for the worst, most undignified PM our country has ever had.

The damage done and the legacy left by Johnson’s chaotic and corrupt premiership will endure for decades and our reputation around the world lies in tatters.

We now have the ugly spectacle of Tory MPs who after propping up the PM for years – defending the indefensible – are fighting like rats in a sack to get his job.

The by-election result in Wakefield was fantastic for Labour and the first indication that the ‘red wall’ are ready and willing to vote Labour again. Congratulations to Simon Lightwood! The loss in Tiverton – a true blue seat – to the Lib Dems shows the next GE will be a fascinating one.

In Parliament this month I welcomed a number of people from Bedford and Kempston who’d come down for a schools visit, a Parliamentary tour or to see PMQs. It’s so great that Parliament is fully open again to visitors. An advertisement on my social media pages reminded constituents of their democratic right to visit the seat of power, which does after all belong to all of us. 

Not a single Tory MP voted against the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill at Second reading last night. Plenty of them criticised it in the strongest terms, not least the former PM, Theresa May, but not one had the courage of their convictions to vote against a preposterous piece of legislation to unbind ourselves from a solemn international treaty we signed 18 months ago – in other words, to get Brexit undone.

I attended an event in Parliament about the need for a watchdog to tackle unfair and abusive buying practices in the fast fashion industry which drive exploitation and poverty.

I joined the picket line to support rail workers during the rail strike. The Government did nothing to prevent the strikes. Labour are not in favour of strikes, we are in favour of negotiation. That’s how we averted a rail strike in Wales, where Labour is in charge of transport. 

In my monthly columns for the Bedford Independent and Kempston Calling I paid tribute to our Armed Force in recognition of Armed Services week. In my column for Beds Life I wrote about Johnson’s legacy and the fact that so few of us have any say who are next PM will be. 

I signed letters in support of BEIS Secretary’s inaction on climate change; to support HGV drivers in their fight for better facilities; to support an Eastern region hospital for children and cancer; Human Rights issues and the use of travel bans in Egypt; better homes for older people; and a letter to the PM concerning the conviction of Mohammed Yasin Malik of the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front; better regulation of online marketplaces particularly in relation to the safety of electrical goods; and a letter to the Foreign Sec about what more we can do to help Jim Fitton, a British citizen who was  was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment in Iraq. 

I made the following representation recorded on the Hansard:

June 21: Access to GP Services and NHS Dentistry

June 23: Discharge of untreated Sewage

June 23: Food Insecurity & Infarm

June 27: LUHC Qs – lack of Affordable Housing

July 6: PMQs – Bedford explosion  – fair pay for firefighters

July 12: BEIS – Business Supply chain disruption

LUHC

In the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee we heard evidence in relation to our scrutiny of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill and wrote to the Government in relation to the exempt accommodation data.

More updates and information can be read on the LUHC Select Committee website.

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