From Caroline Lucas MP <[email protected]>
Subject Caroline Lucas MP newsletter
Date September 9, 2019 12:59 PM
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Green Party mailing
This is my first newsletter since the summer break and what has turned out
to be a tumultuous period in politics. I've spent the summer juggling
parliamentary and constituency work, and trying to stop Boris Johnson
manipulating Parliament so that we crash out of the European Union.


We are living through a dangerous time in terms of the threat to our
democracy and the risks to the people of this country that a No Deal Brexit
would entail. I spent much of the past weeks campaigning against the
suspension of Parliament, including meeting regularly with the other
opposition party leaders, who are all agreed on a legislative route to stop
Boris Johnson's disastrous No Deal Brexit plans. Even though I want to be
rid of this Tory government, I have joined other opposition parties in
defeating Johnson's call for an immediate General Election [1], because he
is trying to use it to bring about a No Deal Brexit (working on the basis
that we will crash out of the EU by default while MPs are absent from
parliament), ignoring all the damage this would cause to the people of our
country and even suggesting that he would ignore the law to pursue his
reckless plans.

The contempt which this Government is showing for Parliament and MPs was
exemplified by the leader of the house, Jacob Rees Mogg, who spent part of
the debate about stopping no deal slouched across the government front
benches. I called him out [2] for his total disrespect for Parliament. The
story was widely picked up by the media in Brighton [3] and nationally [4].
It would be hard to think of an image which better illustrates the sense of
entitlement and arrogance of the current government. I believe Rees Mogg's
behaviour will come back to haunt them [5].

Outside the House of Commons, I signed the Church House Declaration along
with some 200 other MPs pledging to protect and fight for the sovereignty
of Parliament;

When Johnson announced the prorogation, or suspension of Parliament,
thousands of people came on to the streets to protest and I spoke at a
rally at The Level in Brighton. It was fantastic to see so many people

I've also written widely and spoken about the threat Boris Johnson poses to
our democracy. You may have seen my comment pieces on his constitutional
coup in Huffington Post [6] and in Open Democracy [7]. I also appeared on
BBC Newsnight and on Radio 4's Any Questions [8].

The fight to preserve our democracy against the abuse of power by Downing
Street continues and I will be there to do what I can to protect
parliamentary sovereignty.


The spending review on Wednesday was trumpeted by the Government as an end
to austerity - which, of course, the same people were responsible for
imposing. It was a blatant attempt to buy votes ahead of a general
election, which makes it even more disgraceful that there was almost
nothing to address the climate emergency, even though two thirds of people
think it is even more urgent [9] than Brexit.

I had written to the Chancellor, Sajid Javid, beforehand making clear what
the priorities should be for public spending and saying there should be at
least a doubling of spending on CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION.
Instead there was almost nothing - another £30m for decarbonisation
schemes. If the Government was serious about tackling the crisis, there
would have been an announcement of a Green New Deal which would have
addressed the climate emergency, inequality and our failed economic system.

On HOUSING, I said a mass programme of zero-carbon council housing should
be at the heart of the spending review. The lack of affordable housing is a
nationwide issue, but it is a particular concern in Brighton where
homelessness has reached shocking levels in the last 10 years and where
renting in the private sector is perilous and too many families are pushed
into temporary accommodation. There are more than 1,500 households in
temporary accommodation in Brighton alone.

On EDUCATION, to restore school budgets and meet the extra costs schools
are facing and to manage increases in pupil numbers, spending needs to rise
sharply. Spending on 16-18 year olds has seen the biggest squeeze on
budgets. Sixth form and FE colleges told me they needed an extra £760 per
student. The Spending Round gave them an extra £200 - less than a third of
what colleges need to provide quality education and training. The increase
will do little to repair the deep damage the Conservatives have caused to
education budgets with the years of austerity.


Many of you contacted me about the fire at Hollingdean depot. There were
several concerns, not least the lack of information for local residents.
Many were relying on The Argus website. I've been in touch with the
relevant agencies - Brighton and Hove City Council and Veolia - and the
information they sent me, including advice from Public Health England and
the fire service, was posted on my website [10]. I'm continuing to press
for answers on what was actually burned in the fire, and how such incidents
should be communicated to local residents.


The shortage of nurses in the NHS places huge strain on staff and I learned
more when I met a local group of RCN members to support their
#safestaffingsaveslives campaign. It is always very powerful to listen to
the testimonies and experiences of the nurses I meet and the stress and
strain they are put under, and the worries they have for their patients,
because of underfunding of our NHS. A key problem is the withdrawal of the
student nurses' bursary which the Government said would increase the
numbers of student nurses. Instead they've fallen sharply. The bursary must
be restored.



The Government has slashed funding to schools over the past nine years and
Boris Johnson's promise to make education a funding priority won't repair
the damage which has been done. I've supported local headteachers who
continue to fight for adequate funding and I met up with the head of
Tanbridge House School, Jules White, to see how I could help their campaign
for better funding for schools.


I've written to the new chair of the Environment, Transport and
Sustainability Committee on Brighton Council about the flood prevention
work in Patcham. The Council secured some funding from the EU and has
undertaken a project to tackle some of the flooding problems in Carden
Avenue, and Norton Road in Hove. I welcome what the Council is doing, but I
am concerned about the limitations of the work the Council can carry out.
I've written to Councillor Pissaridou for further details about the funding
constraints that the Council has regarding extending the work of the SCAPE
project with a view to raising this matter further with Ministers. I've
also written to Southern Water about their work to protect properties at
risk of flooding in the city.


There were reports over the summer about incidents in Newhaven and
Eastbourne, where Southern Water experienced power failures and released
raw sewage into the sea. I've written to their Chief Executive about the
alarming situation and the ongoing issues they are being dogged with.
Following the £126 million fine handed out to Southern Water following
previous serious failures and sewage spillages in 2016, and also claims of
staff obstructing the subsequent investigations that took place, the
company needs to urgently provide an explanation for the continued problems
to restore public confidence in their ability as a provider of such a vital
resource. I continue to believe that water privatisation has been a failure
and water companies should be in public ownership. Irrespective of whether
this view is shared, I think that there are serious questions about
Southern Water's ability to fulfil its contract.


In April, along with the other MPs in the city, Peter Kyle and Lloyd
Russell-Moyle, I wrote to the Home Secretary about the rise in violent
crime in Brighton and Hove. Shortly after writing it was announced that the
Government has agreed to give Sussex Police a further £1.34 million to
tackle the problem in the region. I've since been in contact with Katy
Bourne, the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) about community
policing pressures - most recently about the announcement promising more
police officers.

The correspondence I receive from my constituents, in addition to feedback
from Local Action Teams and Residents' Associations, is that community
policing is under considerable strain, and that this is being felt
throughout the city, in particular central areas like London Road, Western
Road, and the North Laine/The Lanes. Whilst new money and recruitment
announcements are welcome, we need guaranteed levels of funding to
effectively invest in initiatives to tackle the problems the city faces -
both the immediate problems linked to violent crime, and longer-term
strategy of a preventative nature. Therefore I will be going back to
Ministers, the PCC, and police officers to keep the issue of policing
pressures on the agenda.


It's been a long slog, but after three years of repeatedly writing to Hyde
Housing about the non-functioning external lift in the New England Quarter
at the rear of Brighton station, it's now in working order. A variety of
reasons have been given along the way for the lift not working, and whilst
I don't doubt that finding some of the issues may have been complex, I
maintain that the situation should have received greater attention early on
and has not been handled with the urgency needed.

Some local residents moved to the development because they were led to
believe that there would be reasonable disability access to the station,
and the initial planning consent stipulated that the lift should be
operational before residents moved into phase one of the development. So
I've asked Hyde whether they will provide compensation to those affected.
Their most recent response said: "We will engage with the residents that
have made complaints directly to Hyde on this matter to review on a case by
case basis for compensation." While I welcome this, I have gone back to
them to ask for greater clarity about what this looks like, as I'd like to
be more confident that what's offered adequately reflects the disruption
and difficulty that has been caused by the situation.


I am a huge supporter of the campaign to recognise and commemorate the work
of suffragettes and suffragists in Brighton, so I was delighted to join the
TUC leader, Frances O'Grady and Brighton Council leader Nancy Platts in
unveiling a plaque for suffragist Clementina Black, a proud trade unionist,
author and campaigner for a legal minimum wage. You can see it in Ship

I'm also supporting the campaign to raise a statue to Mary Clarke, a local
heroine in the fight for women's suffrage. She was the first suffragette to
lose her life campaigning for women to have the vote and was the Women's
Social and Political Union organiser for Brighton from 1909-10. Jean Calder
is leading the campaign to have Mary commemorated with a statue and it was
good to catch up with her to find out how the campaign was going. If you'd
like to lend your support, there's a link to the fundraising site here [11]


Tourism is a huge part of the global economy and can do so much
environmental damage. So it's good to see companies like Responsible Travel
working to ensure people can go away on a fantastic holiday while
minimising the impact on the environment. I met the team who told me how
they not only refuse to sell holidays which are hugely damaging, but also
campaign to create a more caring tourism industry, linking up with
activists, local communities and NGOs around the world.


I attended the launch event for the 2020 Brighton half-marathon. The Sussex
Beacon do incredible work, and the marathon is a brilliant opportunity to
recognise all that they do, and raise some important funding. For those
interested in signing up, details are online here:
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I'm hugely honoured to have been invited to curate an exhibition at the
Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne. They have a wonderful collection and I've
tried to select paintings which reflect my love of the natural environment
from artists like Eric Ravilious, Tirzah Garwood, Jonathon Monk and Clare
Richardson. I hope some of you might go along to the gallery when the
exhibition opens in November.


I continue to work with colleagues from other parties to try to avert the
Government's disastrous charge towards a no deal Brexit, which will do such
damage to people and businesses in Brighton, as elsewhere. I have also
continued to press the Government for answers on what they are doing to
prepare for the impact of crashing out without a deal, particularly on the
availability of food, medicines and fuel. The Government is spending more
than £100 million on a public awareness campaign, which will do nothing to
put food in people's mouths or give them assurances about their ability to
get the medicines they need.

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Contacting Me

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:

Twitter: @carolinelucas

Facebook: /

My Website:

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