Green Party mailing
REPORT INTO DOWNING STREET PARTIES DURING LOCKDOWNS
The atmosphere at Westminster has been febrile over the past two weeks,
waiting for the report by the senior civil servant Sue Gray into the
parties that went on at Downing Street during Covid lockdowns. My most
recent column in Metro  set out why I think he should resign over the
The extraordinary eleventh hour intervention by the Met police, saying they
would investigate the parties after ignoring them for months, meant that
her report was hollowed out and contained no detail of the parties
themselves. But what she found was utterly damning. Behaviour that "is
difficult to justify", "failures of leadership and judgement" or to observe
the standards expected. We also learned that of the 12 parties under police
investigation, the Prime Minister is known to have been to at least three
This should have led to an abject apology from the Prime Minister to the
Commons. Any other prime minister, who found himself under police
investigation, would have resigned. But not Boris Johnson who gave MPs an
utterly shameful "sorry, not sorry" response, seeking to spread
responsibility as widely as possible. What makes it worse is the failure of
Tory MPs to put what's right above their own political self-interest.
Cabinet ministers and some backbenchers have defended the indefensible, and
helped debase our politics even further. My response to the Prime
Minister's statement focused not just on his behaviour but the rotten
system he represents, where power trumps integrity. You can read it here.
THE LIFTING OF MOST COVID RESTRICTIONS
The Government took the decision last month to lift nearly all restrictions
put in place to protect us all from Omicron. The Prime Minister's statement
to MPs was full of the usual boasts about how he has handled the pandemic.
But he did not once mention Long Covid, which affects more than a million
people. I urged him  to formally recognise Long Covid as an occupational
disease and launch a compensation scheme for frontline workers who have
been left unable to work after catching Long Covid, often while working to
protect and care for others. The response was "We're looking at it" so I
will keep pressing ministers on this issue.
COVID PRESSURES ON THE NHS IN BRIGHTON & HOVE
Some of you may have seen the announcement from University Hospitals Sussex
NHS Trust (UHSussex last month about the pressure on services due to Covid.
These have been rising across the Trust and so the Trust is introducing a
range of measures to try to protect services for patients.
I have had several meetings with NHS leaders to discuss how I can support
them in Parliament and to identify local solutions in areas under the most
strain - such as A+E departments. These conversations have once again
reinforced just how inter-related the NHS and social care are, with some
hospitals wards currently acting as care homes in all but name.
The build-up of Russian forces on Ukraine's border is deeply worrying and a
real threat to Ukraine's independence. The Government's announcement of new
sanctions against Moscow rings very hollow when the Tory party accepts
large donations from oligarchs, the Prime Minister has turned a blind eye
to Kremlin meddling in our democracy and governments, including this one,
have held the door open for London to be a laundromat for Putin's cronies
money - points I made in my intervention  in the Commons debate.
THE GAS CRISIS
Tomorrow we will learn what the new energy price cap will be, an
announcement which will affect millions of families who are already
struggling to pay their energy bills. One of the reasons we are facing this
gas crisis is because of the failure to take firm action on the climate
emergency in the past, leaving us too exposed to soaring prices. I signed a
cross-party letter  to the Prime Minister and Chancellor saying those
who most need it must be targeted for help, which must not come at the
expense of climate action.
On that subject, I also urged  the COP26 president to make the case to
his Cabinet colleagues that the 40 new fossil fuel projects in the pipeline
in the UK are incompatible with the Glasgow climate pact which he
negotiated. Yet again, a non-answer.
This bill is one of a series of draconian pieces of legislation which will
suppress people's democratic rights. Of particular concern is the move to
introduce mandatory voter ID which will make it much harder for anyone who
doesn't have a passport or driving licence to vote. The bill also reduces
the independence of the Electoral Commission and abolish the only major
elections which are held under the fairer proportional voting system -
those for mayors. Depressingly, efforts by opposition MPs to remove these
clauses from the bill failed and it now goes to the House of Lords.
I wrote in my last newsletter how my Green Party colleagues in the House of
Lords, Jenny Jones and Natalie Bennett, had been leading the opposition to
clauses in the Policing Bill which are a real attack on civil liberties,
particularly the right to protest. Their amazing campaigning helped bring
about 14 government defeats in the Lords on some of the worst aspects of
the bill. It now goes back to the Commons where the fight to protect civil
liberties will continue.
In the wake of Grenfell, building safety has been focused on dangerous
cladding. But leaseholders who live in homes which fail fire safety
standards for other reasons should have the same level of protection that
the Government is now giving those affected by cladding. The debate on the
Building Safety Bill failed to provide those guarantees. So leaseholders,
including many in Brighton, face the prospect of being dumped with costs to
rectify problems they did not create. The Minister's answer, when I
challenged him  on this, was an insult - offering no reassurance at all.
I set out the problem facing many leaseholders in Brighton in a comment
piece  for politics.co.uk.
ANIMAL SENTIENCE BILL
Back in 2017, the Government refused to support my amendment to the Brexit
Withdrawal Bill that would have ensured continued adherence to rules on
animal sentience. Ministers now recognise they were wrong and have
introduced a new bill, writing animal sentience into UK law. It's not quite
a full victory as the bill misses the opportunity to not only prevent harm
to animals but also to promote positive welfare, as I pointed out  to
the Minister during the debate.
THE THREAT TO BEES
It is deeply worrying that the Government is ignoring advice from its own
scientists and pressing ahead with its shameful decision to authorise the
use of a neonicintinoid, a pesticide that is lethal to bees. This decision
is plainly incompatible with the Government's own target of halting the
dangerous decline in bee populations by 2030, as I pointed out  to the
Minister in the Commons. His answer just brushed off these concerns -
deeply complacent and dangerous. I also spoke in a Westminster Hall debate
about the threat neonics pose to bees.
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
To unsubscribe from this mailing list click here: [link removed]