In the constituency
Many constituents have written urging me to push the Government to implement a new housing regulator, in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy. Several constituents have written calling for an ambitious Environment Bill that can restore our countryside to its full glory and halt the current crisis. Others have written on the topic of beer duty, which they wish to see cut in the Autumn 2019 budget and several have contacted me to condone the use of torture; I agree that torture is inhumane and I will continue to press the Government to raise this at an international level. Many constituents have written to me on the subject of Brexit to express their desire for a second referendum, or ‘People’s Vote’.
Bedford Borough reflected the national picture at the local elections earlier this month, seeing gains for the both Liberal Democrats and Green Party, and in consequence we lost some excellent Labour Councillors. I extend my deep commiserations to my colleagues who lost their seats and offer my thanks on behalf of the constituents who they served so diligently. They have left both their mark within their wards, and large shoes to fill to the incoming incumbents. I also want to thank the candidates who campaigned tirelessly, yet who weren’t successful on this occasion.
I offer my congratulations to all Labour councillors who gained new or held their seats to serve the community for the next term. I am particularly delighted that constituents have voted in Bedford’s first two Muslim female councillors, Fouzia Zamir and Nesreen Akhtar, councillors for Cauldwell and Queen’s Park Wards respectively.
Thanks are also due to all the volunteers who knocked on countless doors, delivered literature, brought people out to vote on the day and more besides.
I was also very disappointed to see former MEP Alex Mayer lose her seat in last week’s European Elections: she worked tirelessly to represent this region in Brussels and to champion the needs of the many according to the Labour Party’s principles.
I have been busy of late within the constituency. It is currently Ramadan, and I have attended a number of community iftar events, where we end our daily fast for Ramadan at sunset. I helped at a litterpick with the Riverfield Residents Association and was honoured to speak at their recent meeting and I was also pleased to speak at the recent International Workers Day celebrations. It was great to catch up with Doris Sharp at her 105th Birthday celebrations at Salvete Care Home, and I was proud to support the young people of Bedford who went on strike last week to urge the Government to address the climate emergency.
I continue to hold busy surgeries around the constituency, usually in supermarkets where a great number of people come to discuss a range of issues with me. Follow this link for details of where and when these take place.
I have now joined the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee. Having seen the effect of Grenfell and the lack of affordable housing in Bedford and Kempston, I fully intend to hold the Government to account as part of my new role. It is important that the department is questioned thoroughly on its policies. Furthermore, I hope to be at an event in parliament to commemorate the 2nd anniversary of Grenfell, where survivors and relatives of those who lost their lives will be in attendance.
I have spoken a number of times in the House of Commons on other issues. Click on the following links to read in full:
18 March 2019: Far-Right Violence and Online Extremism
4 April 2019: Topical Questions on Brexit
4 April 2019: Loan Charge
9 April 2019: Rwandan Genocide Alleged Perpetrators
1 May 2019: Environment and Climate Change
14 May 2019: Prisons and Probation
20 May 2019: Medical Cannabis Under Prescription