Green Party mailing
This will be the last newsletter from me with Britain a member of the EU.
It feels very strange and slightly unreal to write that, and our departure
from an organisation where I served for ten years as an MEP is
heart-breaking. But there are many challenges ahead of us, in particular
the climate emergency, and the battle to stand up for the social and
environmental standards that have been fought for by so many.
CITIZENS ASSEMBLY ON CLIMATE
I was very pleased to be an observer at the opening session of the UK's
first Parliament-backed citizens' assembly on climate last weekend, able to
watch and listen but not permitted to talk to any of the assembly members.
I have advocated for an assembly like this for some time, so I was
intrigued to see how it had been organised (brilliantly) and how engaged
the 110 members were as they were taken through the scientific evidence and
the huge challenges we face dealing with the climate crisis. The assembly
has the backing of Parliament but, critically, not the Government and its
remit is only to consider government policy of net zero by 2050 which is
not soon enough. I wrote about my observations for iNews here .
I also spent a fascinating evening at the RSA, listening to Christiana
Figueres (a driving force behind the Paris Agreement) and political
strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac talk about their book _The Future We Choose. _
The UK will be hosting the next UN climate summit in November, and they
discussed what lies ahead on climate action in 2020, and the road to COP26
I had a meeting at Westminster with some of the UK school climate strikers
to discuss the possibility of introducing a Private Member's Bill in
Parliament to champion some of their demands. It's early days but I will be
following up on this, to bring their leadership on climate to Parliament.
PRIME MINISTER’S QUESTIONS
I had the chance to question Boris Johnson at Prime Minister's Questions
this week and challenged him on the use of UK export credits to support oil
and gas projects overseas. It makes a mockery of his claims of climate
leadership, especially in the run-up to COP26, when taxpayers' money is
being used to drive up emissions in other countries. You can see our
exchange here .
HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY
January 27th marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz
death camp and was also Holocaust Memorial Day. I signed the Book of
Commitment at Westminster, pledging to learn the lessons of the Holocaust
and stand up against racism and hate, in whatever form and from wherever it
You may have seen that the Theatres Trust has yet again named Brighton
Hippodrome as the theatre most at risk in Britain. This wonderful building
has been out of use since 2007 and is being left to rot. I've kept in close
touch over the years with campaigners who are trying to save it, and with
the council. I had another meeting last week with campaigners who are
working hard to raise the funds to restore the building and re-open it as a
commercial theatre. Brighton doesn't currently have a theatre big enough to
host larger shows and performances and this would fill that gap - and
breathe new life into the Middle Street area. Some theatres are run as
charitable trusts, with funding part-provided by the Public Works Loan
Board, so I'm going back to the Council to ask what support they might give
for this. I've also asked them to issue a Repair Order to stop the building
falling further into disrepair.
I went to the RSPCA's drop-in event at the House of Commons to hear about
its Generation Kind campaign to teach compassion for animals to new
generations. The RSPCA's research suggests nearly a quarter of secondary
school children have witnessed animal cruelty and neglect on social media,
so Generation Kind is clearly needed. The RSPCA do a brilliant job and I
was very glad to give them my support.
I also attended a reception organised by the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting
(CBTH) to support their calls for a ban on the import and export of
trophies from hunting. Trophy hunting is cruel and archaic and poses a real
threat to wildlife.
BRIGHTON UNIVERSITY STUDENTS VISIT
About 20 students from Brighton University came on a visit to the Palace of
Westminster where I met them to hear their concerns. Chief among them is
the cost of living in Brighton. Some were working as many as 24 hours a
week on top of their studies in order to afford a roof over their head. I
shall be following this up, pushing for Brighton students to have the right
to the same level of maintenance loans as London students because the cost
of living in the two cities is so similar. I had also tabled a
parliamentary question on whether ministers would consider introducing
non-repayable maintenance grants, in response to recommendations made in a
report in May last year. I was told that any decision would have to wait
until the next spending review.
The shortage of affordable housing, whether owned or rented from the
council or housing associations, causes misery for far too many people.
Conservative governments have persistently failed to address this and are
closing down the Community Housing Fund, whose aim was to increase the
number of homes from community-led providers. I asked ministers to reverse
this decision but received no commitment beyond the usual empty words about
"waiting for the next spending review".
OTHER PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS
I've raised a number of questions in Parliament on when the Government will
publish a national strategy for disabled people (ministers say it will
happen this year); when the Government will complete its export licences
for arms sales to Saudi Arabia (no timetable was given for this); and how
much Overseas Development Aid has been allocated to the oil and gas
industry. This has amounted to over £100,000 in the last five years and on
top of that, the CDC (the UK's development bank) has also made investments
in oil and gas. We will not persuade other countries to take the necessary
action on climate when our own record is so poor.
CONSTITUENCY SURGERY AT THE DYKE
Last week, we held a drop-in surgery at the Dyke pub (as opposed to the
usual appointment-based ones in our Middle Street office) and it was
packed, so clearly a popular decision. People raised a number of Issues
from the hugely damaging loss of the Erasmus programme which supported EU
educational opportunities to difficulties in securing mental health support
in the city.
If you are a local resident and need help with case work or to find out more about my activities locally please do contact me at the office of: Caroline Lucas MP, Brighton Media Centre 15-17 Middle Street, Brighton BN1 1AL.
Tel: 01273 201 130. Email: [email protected]
I hold regular surgeries across the constituency. If you would like to book an appointment at a forthcoming surgery please call Liz Collis on 01273 201130.
She coordinates my constituency office and is able to help with most local enquiries.
If you would like to know about my parliamentary work please get in touch at the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.
Tel: 020 7219 7025. Email: [email protected]
You can also keep up to date with my news on:
My Website: www.carolinelucas.com
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