The news in Brighton last week was dominated by the coronavirus outbreak in
the city. I know that it created a lot of anxiety and confusion for many
people, not least because of the lack of clear, timely and relevant
information from the different authorities involved. I was contacted by a
number of constituents who were unsure about what they should do if, for
example, someone at their child's school was self-isolating because they'd
been in contact with someone who was later discovered to have the virus.
Others wanted to know what self-isolation actually involved.
An outbreak like this needs a coherent, consistent public health campaign
and unfortunately, I don't believe there has been one.
I raised these issues in the House of Commons and called on the health
secretary to launch a more high-profile health campaign which included
other affected departments, for example schools. You can see our exchange
I have also been critical of some of the local media coverage of the
outbreak which I think has occasionally been sensationalist or used
language that stigmatises those who have done nothing wrong - language
about "super spreaders" is particularly offensive and unhelpful. Fear about
the coronavirus has led to some racist incidents against those of East
Asian origin, and some of the coverage of the man who was the focus of the
Brighton outbreak was shameful.
I will continue to post regular updates on my website about what I have
been doing to improve the availability of information for people. And I
spoke about my concerns in an interview on Channel 4 News on Wednesday
evening. You can watch what I said here .
BRIGHTON-LONDON TRAIN SERVICES
On a happier note, I was delighted that off-peak train travellers who were
facing a fare hike during the Gatwick station upgrade, are now going to be
able to travel on the Gatwick Express for the same off-peak price as they
currently pay on Southern. Following a strong local campaign, I took this
up with the government minister responsible for setting fares, and he
agreed that people should be able to travel for the same price as now. You
can read the full story in the Brighton and Hove News here. 
I had a meeting with the CEO of Govia Thameslink to see if it could be
arranged for the Gatwick Express to make an extra stop at Clapham Junction
during off-peak hours, as I know that is the preferred stop for many
passengers. Unfortunately, this isn't possible for complex timetabling
We heard the widely expected announcement last week that HS2 was being
given the go-ahead by the Government. I am totally opposed to this project
for several reasons, particularly the environmental cost. For the
Government to say one month that it is committed to protecting the
environment for future generations and then greenlight a project which will
imperil more than 100 ancient woodlands, 39 nature reserves and 33 sites
which are supposed to enjoy legal protection, shows how untrustworthy those
commitments are. I wrote about why I'm opposed to HS2 in my column in Metro
in January - you can read it here .
I'm delighted that the school strikes continue to have an impact and last
week I went to a #ShowTheLove drop-in at Westminster to show my support for
the leadership that climate strikers are showing - they are putting
politicians to shame. ShowTheLove is an annual celebration for the people,
places and life that we love and want to protect from the worst impacts of
I watched the government reshuffle last Thursday, not only to get a sense
of the shape of Boris Johnson's government but also to learn who would be
steering key bills like the Environment Bill and Agriculture Bill through
Parliament. I will be watching the new Environment Secretary, George
Eustice, carefully to fight any further attempt to water down our
We also discovered who would be president of the critical UN climate
summit, due to be held in Glasgow in November. The role has gone to Alok
Sharma, whose own voting record on climate change is disappointing, to say
the least. I wrote him an open letter, published in the iPaper here , on
what he needs to do to make the summit a success.
FUTURE GENERATIONS BILL
I spoke at a launch in Parliament of the Future Generations Bill, which has
been introduced in the House of Lords by John Bird, founder of the Big
Issue, and which I hope to present in the Commons. The Future Generations
Bill would require government and all non-devolved public bodies to balance
the needs of today with the interests of future generations. It was a
packed meeting at Westminster attended by MPs, peers and others, and gave
me a chance to catch up with the inspiring Future Generations Commissioner
for Wales, Sophie Howe.
The spate of distressing cat killings in Brighton last year highlighted the
limited sentencing options for the courts. That case has yet to come to
trial. In my parliamentary work, I've been calling for a change in the law
so that sentience is recognised in animal welfare laws, and those guilty of
animal cruelty face tougher sentences. The Government has indicated that it
will support a Bill to increase the maximum sentence from six months to
five years. My Early Day Motion, which you can see here , says the
maximum sentence should not only apply to owners or keepers of animals but
can be used against anyone guilty of animal cruelty.
During the week, I also gave my support to Battersea's campaign to increase
the maximum sentence for animal cruelty.
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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