Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has started but it’s more of the same as we saw with his recent predecessors. Only three weeks into the job and already the count of Cabinet Ministers embroiled in Ministerial Code breaches is also three.
New leadership was never going to be the solution to turn the tide on the rule-breaking and scandal that has become the hallmark of successive Tory PM’s Governments: we need a new party at the helm.
Labour has a plan to reboot our economy, revitalise our public services and re-energise our communities and my team have prepared this useful summary, follow this link to read it here.
Mohammad Yasin MP
Constituents get in touch
Unison’s public sector pay campaign
Calls for a General Election
Abortion Buffer Zones
Support for pubs
This month, my office has 512 new cases, 171 case-work, 341 policy & campaign.
In the constituency
I have attended several meetings in the constituency since my last newsletter.
I met with Stagecoach to raise several of my constituents’ concerns regarding the new bus timetable. With passenger numbers in Bedford only reaching 78% of pre-Covid 19 figures (around 200,000 fewer passengers a year) this has led to changes in the timetable with some routes such as journeys to Kempston seeing improvements and other routes such as the 72/73 being cancelled. We discussed a range of issues, including the needs of students traveling to places of education on the 72/73 route, the decision to reduce the number 9 service and consequent overcrowding, accessibility issues and the lack of printed timetables for those who are not online and the changes to 905 service, again impacting on students as well as others.
I do recognise the financial issues bus companies face, and indeed accept that some services whilst vital do not make a profit. But that is exactly why bus services need to be run in the national interest with the Government ensuring that funding is available to support vital, often rural or long-distance routes that people rely on. I will continue to lobby the Government to provide the investment our bus services need.
I met with Acting Chief Constable Trevor Rodenhurst to discuss the physical and verbal abuse taxi and private hire drivers have been facing recently. Of particular concern were reports from drivers that their emergency calls were not being acted upon or taken as seriously as calls from the wider public.
I am pleased that Chief Constable Rodenhurst has agreed to investigate this matter urgently. I will be looking to book a meeting between the police and representatives of the taxi and private hire trade to discuss this matter further.
I met with Kevin Bolt, CEO of BPHA, and raised the concerns of some of my constituents as well as discussed BPHA’s recent change to an in-house maintenance team. They are now also collecting feedback in online surveys from residents, and I am hopeful that this will make a real difference to their tenants.
Meeting recently with the BMA Junior Doctors Representative at Bedford Hospital, we discussed the impact of Covid-19 on Junior Doctors, their real-terms pay cut, and the challenges that they face post-pandemic.
At the end of October, Labour held a street stall in Bedford town centre as part of the national campaign day: as always it was a pleasure to see so many volunteers on the day to drive home the message that whilst the Tories crash the economy, Labour have a plan for Government.
As always, I’m keen to visit as any schools and education providers in my constituency. I visited University of Bedfordshire Student Union to meet with students, answered questions put to me by pupils at Greys Education Centre, Mark Rutherford School and Balliol Primary School. I toured the building, saw the new facilities and spoke with some of the lower sixth students at Bedford Sixth Form.
I was pleased to be invited by Bedford Hospital Charity & Friends to attend their celebration to mark the conclusion of the ‘£1m for Bedford A&E’ appeal, such a fantastic achievement.
It was inspiring listening to Dr Rory Harvey from Bedford Hospital delivering a presentation about the two robots that the charity are purchasing to carry out efficient and reliable keyhole surgery. One will be located at our Bedford Hospital site, the other at Luton and Dunstable and although they will be initially used for minor procedures, these are anticipated to eventually be used to perform complex surgery.
It was a privilege to attend the Dom Polski’s 60th Anniversary celebratory event, alongside members of Bedford’s long-standing Polish Community and Her Excellency The High Commissioner of Poland.
With November comes the opportunity to pause, reflect and remember. It was an honour to attend the Highland Division Service of Remembrance at Foster Hill Road Cemetery, organised by Bedford Pipe Band. It was moving to hear the pipes whilst remembering the young men of the Highland Division, many of whom are buried in the cemetery.
The Armistice Day Parade in Bedford town centre was a poignant occasion and on Remembrance Sunday I laid a wreath at the embankment war memorial, followed by the Kempston service and parade. I was proud to stand alongside veterans and remember the sacrifices made by all of those who have served and continue to do so.
I became the Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Dentistry and Oral Health.
Trying to get an NHS dental appointment is becoming increasingly difficult – even impossible for some. If you are lucky enough to get one, it can takes months or even years. The system is broken.
I’ve been working in Parliament to try to change that and I hope being part of the APPG will help to improve outcomes for patients and all those who work in the profession.
I also joined the APPG on Hazaras, the APPG on Anti-Social Behaviour and continue on other APPGs including the APPG on Adult Social Care, the APPG for Pakistan.
My Labour eastern region colleagues and I supported the TUC National Lobby on 3 November. It was great to see Paul Moffat, Communication Workers Union Eastern Regional Secretary, who wanted to speak to MPs on behalf of his members on industrial action and the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on workers.
This year’s UK Parliament Week an annual series of events in that aim to inspire interest in parliament, politics and democracy and encourage young people and the public to engage with the UK’s democratic system and institutions went well. A good handful of local schools and educational settings signed up. This week I visited Balliol Primary school as part of the engagement to meet the pupils to tell them a bit about my job as an MP in an accessible way and why politics is so important to their lives.
I attended numerous drop-ins including, The Child Brain Injury Trust (CBIT) to support their GloWeek campaign for Children to Be Seen and not Hurt as the dark nights present a very real danger for children crossing roads, the Anthony Nolan’s annual Communities vs Blood Cancer parliamentary drop-in; the World Stroke Day reception; the Frozen Pensions reception; So Energy reception supporting constituents with energy bills and others.
Yesterday the Chancellor announced the Government’s budget, you can read my full response, follow the link here.
LUHC & My Representations
On 27 October, the Committee published its report into Exempt Accommodation.
The current system of exempt accommodation, a type of supported housing that is used to house a range of people with support needs, is a ‘complete mess’ that is failing too many residents and local communities at the expense of the taxpayer.
On Monday 7 – LUHC continued the public evidence sessions for its inquiry into Reforming the Private Rented Sector, examining the Government’s proposals set out in its recent White Paper, A Fairer Private Rented Sector
On 9 November – Clive Betts, Chair of the LUHC) Committee and Dame Diana Johnson MP Chair, Home Affairs Committee, wrote to the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, with a series of information requests relating to asylum seekers, migrants, and other UK arrivals.
The correspondence asks for quarterly data relating to asylum seekers from official schemes for Afghanistan and Ukraine refugees, and also data on migrants detected in small boats arriving from all countries, and other arrivals.
The letter also requests information relating to Government-support and accommodation for initial arrivals, including in hotels and hostels, and the resources directed to local councils, schools and GPs to accommodate asylum seekers.
On 10 November, the LUHC held the opening evidence session for its inquiry into Funding for Levelling-Up, examining the funds available for levelling-up and how effectively resources are directed to those areas most in need.
On 14 November, the LUHC undertook pre-legislative scrutiny of a Private Members’ Bill, the Supported Housing (Regulatory Oversight) Bill,
The bill gives local authorities new powers to drive out poor practice in supported exempt housing. It also creates new strategic duties for national and local government to improve wider oversight of supported housing provision.
Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, will be questioned on the Government’s Levelling-Up plans and the state of local government finances, in an evidence session at 4.15pm on Monday 21 November.