From Caroline Lucas MP <[email protected]>
Subject Latest news from Caroline Lucas
Date October 31, 2019 1:53 PM
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Green Party mailing

It's been an eventful couple of weeks over Brexit, beginning with a rare
Saturday sitting of Parliament, another huge turnout for the People's Vote
march, and a series of very narrow votes over Boris Johnson's extremely
hard Brexit deal which I believe will be disastrous for Brighton, and for
the country as a whole. It's culminated in MPs agreeing to an early general
election on December 12th, the first winter election in this country for
nearly 100 years.

I was one of just 20 MPs to oppose this because I don't believe a general
election will resolve Brexit. To get a specific answer about Brexit, the
government needs to ask a specific question - and the only way to do that
is via a confirmatory referendum or People's Vote.


I spoke at the People's Vote rally in Parliament Square on the day of the
first vote on the prime minister's deal. It was hugely encouraging to see
so many people there, undaunted by the intransigence of this government and
its refusal to listen. The sounds of the rally could be heard inside the
House of Commons - forging a real connection between politicians in the
Chamber and many of the people we represent. Here's part of my speech [1]
to the crowd.


I've spoken at a number of key debates on the environment, both in the
House of Commons and in Westminster Hall.

The Government claimed its Environment Bill was "the "huge star of its
legislative programme" - now abandoned, of course, because of the general
election. We do need a strong bill to protect our environment and stop the
catastrophic loss of our biodiversity, but this wasn't it as I wrote in a
piece for New Statesman [2]. In my speech in Parliament, I pointed out that
we'd had countless promises that leaving the EU wouldn't lead to
backsliding of environmental protections but there was no commitment in the
bill to non-regression of environmental standards. In many places, the Bill
was a step backwards, not forwards, compared with the protections we have
as members of the EU. You can read my speech here [3]

I also spoke in a debate in Westminster Hall about restoring nature and
climate change, where I was able to mention the work done by the wonderful
Sussex Wildlife Trust. I also talked [4] about the need to end the burning
of blanket bog, which releases huge amounts of emissions that could
otherwise be captured by peat. And the importance of natural climate
solutions [5].

I'd also tabled an Early Day Motion on the need to plant more trees and
massively increase forest cover in the UK.


Brexit and the calling of the general election has taken up most of the
airtime and column inches in newspapers over the past few days. I wrote a
piece for the Metro [6] about why I believe Brexit will not be resolved by
a general election. I've also done some live interviews for Sky News on the
same issue. You can see one of them here [7]. Now that an election has been
called, it is vital that the climate emergency is at the top of the
political agenda - a point I made in an article for the Independent [8].


I had a meeting with Superintendent Nick May of Sussex Police about
security issues in Brighton, particularly the worrying rise in knife crime.
Sussex Police are taking part in a pilot scheme called Reboot working with
health professionals, charities and youth offending teams to try to divert
young people away from crime, particularly knife crime, and it was useful
to hear how this scheme was progressing.


I met Ian McCauley, chief executive of Southern Water, to find out what the
company is doing to address its poor pollution record particularly the
release of raw sewage into the sea. You may remember earlier this year the
regulator Ofwat imposed a record £126 million penalty in fines and
payments to customers for serious failures in the company's sewage
treatment works and a shocking cover-up of what was happening. A dedicated
water pollution reduction taskforce has been set up, MOUs signed with
environmental organisations, and new systems established with UK Power. We
discussed the particular challenges posed by Brexit (in particular in terms
of access to chemicals for water treatment), the importance of reducing
water consumption to more sustainable levels, and measures to reduce the
risk of flooding in areas like Patcham.


I've received several complaints about the private parking company, One
Parking Solutions, as have other MPs in the city. I'm working with them to
support residents who are challenging the company over concerns about
unfair practices and questionable decision-making over parking penalties.


The Grenfell Tower report this week has re-focused attention on the safety
of high-rise housing blocks. There are very real concerns among people
living in these flats which the Government went some way to addressing by
announcing a new buildings safety regulator. But I don't believe the
proposed measures go far enough to tackle some of the safety risks in
existing developments, like Pankhurst Avenue. I've written to the housing
minister asking what support the Government is giving to housing providers
to carry out the work needed to address fire safety issues on both high-
and lower-rise buildings. I also urged the Government to fund the
retrofitting of sprinklers in social housing developments so that residents
could feel safe in their own home. It's not enough to introduce guidance
for new developments and just advice notes for existing homes without
ensuring there is the funding to put safety measures in place. I'm also
continuing to follow up individual casework with those made homeless or
displaced by the Pankhurst Avenue fire.


I've asked a number of questions of ministers, many of them in response to
issues which constituents have raised with me. The issues include arms
sales to Turkey, in light of its aggressive attack on Syria; the fate of UK
nationals being held in prison camps in northern Syria, particularly the
children of ISIS fighters; the quality of surface water; the state of our
SSSIs and whether the Environment Agency has the sufficient resources to do
its job; the disproportionate police response to the Extinction Rebellion
protests in London; the welfare of race horses; and the payment of Personal
Independence Payments to people over 65 on disability living allowance.


I strongly supported the campaign against period poverty in schools, so I
was pleased the Department for Education listened and is now providing free
period products in schools and for 16-19 year olds in college. The contract
was awarded in mid-October and has gone to a company which says it will
provide a range of products, including reusable pads. The scheme is being
rolled out to schools and colleges in January next year.

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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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