From Caroline Lucas <[email protected]>
Subject End of year Newsletter
Date December 20, 2019 4:17 PM
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Green Party mailing
There has been a break in my newsletter during the election period, and
this is the last one of the year. So I'm taking a look back at what has
been a tumultuous year in politics, beginning with a series of
unprecedented Government defeats in Parliament and ending with the first
winter general election for nearly 100 years. In between, we've seen the
fall of a prime minister, the illegal suspension of Parliament and a
deepening polarisation of our politics.

It can be hard to remain optimistic, but there are reasons for hope and I
will focus on some of them for this end-of-year newsletter.

But I want to start by thanking the people of Brighton Pavilion for the
honour of being re-elected your MP and putting your trust in me and the
Green Party's policies.

I wish you all the very best for Christmas and the new year.


One of the highlights of my year was welcoming Greta Thunberg to Parliament
in April. MPs from across the political spectrum packed out a room in
Westminster to listen to her speak truth to power - it was a sharp reminder
of how much difference one person has the potential to make.

Greta has sparked a global movement and it's been a privilege to watch the
way the school climate strikers are now driving the climate emergency up
the political agenda. I've spoken at a number of their rallies in Brighton
and London and each time I'm struck by the passion and commitment they



It's partly thanks to the pressure from the climate strikers that I had so
much support from MPs for my Early Day Motion [1] on declaring a Climate
Emergency. This was followed up in May with MPs approving a motion to
declare an environment and climate emergency.

I'm delighted too at the success of the campaign calling for the
Parliamentary Pension Fund to divest from fossil fuels. I have championed
this campaign in Parliament and to date 300 MPs (or former MPs) have signed
the pledge [2].


Given all of this, it was unbelievable that the Queen's Speech this week
made no mention of the climate emergency and had almost nothing to offer on
how to tackle it. I wrote about this for iNews [3], and will be doing
everything I can to hold the Government's feet to the fire on all its
environmental policies. I was joined by four of the school climate strikers
in Central Lobby ahead of the debate on the Queen's Speech, handing out
climate induction packs to MPs to remind them of the urgency of tackling
the climate crisis.


A parliamentary highlight this year has been my launch of the Green New
Deal Bill, the first attempt in Britain to put legislation in place to make
the Green New Deal a reality. It sets out a transformative programme to
move our economy away from its harmful dependence on carbon at the scale
and speed demanded by science, with principles of justice and equity at its
core. You can read my piece in the Guardian here [4].


I worked on a cross-party basis to ensure that legislation was passed to
avoid a dangerous no deal Brexit, voting for the Benn-Burt Act [5] which
required the Prime Minister to request an extension of Article 50 -
avoiding a devastating crash out Brexit in October.

I was one of the petitioners in the court case which successfully
challenged the Government's illegal prorogation of Parliament [6].

I was one of the founders of the People's Vote movement to try to give
people the chance to decide on the future of our relationship with the EU,
equipped with a full picture of the trade-offs that leaving would entail -
not the lies and half-truths of the 2016 referendum.

I joined the most recent People's Vote rally [7] alongside one million
others who were calling for a confirmatory referendum. I also supported an
amendment to the Government's Brexit deal which would have provided for a
People's Vote.

During the election campaign I continued to defend the "precious right to
be able to freely work and study, and live and love, in 27 other
countries". The EU remains the greatest international venture for peace,
prosperity and freedom in history and I continue to believe that leaving it
will damage the UK's international standing, economic prosperity and
threaten peace in Northern Ireland.


The housing crisis remains a top priority for me, and it is deeply
frustrating that we have a government which shows very little commitment to
addressing it. A Housing and Planning Bill was introduced in June, which
would actually make the current situation even worse and put another nail
in the coffin of social housing. The few good measures (on rogue landlords
and letting agents) were no compensation for the failure to protect private
renters or encourage the building of truly affordable homes.

In Brighton, I have pushed hard for a year-round shelter so that vulnerable
people are not forced to sleep on the streets. I'm glad to say a shelter
has just opened, run by YMCA Downslink and the Churches Night Shelter
project and funded by BHCC, but it has limited capacity so I will be going
back to the council on the situation, as well as raising the issue with

The terrible fire at Pankhurst Avenue earlier this year highlighted the
issue of fire safety. I have repeatedly raised this issue with BHCC with
regard to the high-rise buildings they own in the city, though it also
concerns low-rise buildings. There are flaws in the legislation which
urgently need to be addressed.


It was a huge honour to be invited to guest edit The Big Issue [8] in
October. The theme for the magazine was the state of our democracy and
included amongst other articles a conversation between me and Yanis
Varoufakis. I have also worked with The Big Issue's founder, John Bird, to
introduce a FUTURE GENERATIONS BILL in Parliament, to ensure that the needs
of future generations are at the core of government decision-making (my
piece for iNews is here [9]).


The under-funding of our NHS, and the risks to it from a future trade deal
with Trump's America, were a key issue of the election campaign. I voted
for an amendment to the Queen's Speech last month against creeping
privatisation in the NHS. Staffing levels, particularly among nurses, are
in crisis - and I've supported the local RCN's #safestaffingsaveslives

I am also concerned about the future of land at the Brighton General
Hospital site and have pressed both the NHS Trust and Brighton and Hove
City Council on the need to ensure that at least some of it is used for
social and keyworker housing.

I've continued to support the campaign for improved care for Motor Neurone
Disease (MND) in Sussex. At present, patients have to travel to London for
respiratory assessments and ongoing care and the 140-mile round trip is
simply not feasible for many with the condition. I'm supporting the call
for a local non-invasive ventilation service [10] and I'm glad to say that
plans are now underway for this to happen at the Royal Sussex soon.


Young people's mental health is a dangerously under-funded area of our NHS.
I have raised the issue a number of times in Parliament, working with
YoungMinds to ask two parliamentary questions and adding my name to a major
parliamentary motion calling for investment in new mental health provision
for children. I am also campaigning for reform of the Mental Health Act,
which is no longer fit for purpose, and signed Early Day Motion 1242 [11]
to put this call on the Parliamentary record.


Education has taken a huge hit from nine years of austerity and I've worked
hard to get ministers to recognise the impact of savage funding cuts.
Headteachers have told me of having to cut counselling services, special
needs support and nurseries. I arranged for headteachers from three local
schools to join me in meeting the then schools minister, Nick Gibb, so he
could hear how lack of funding was impacting young people with special
educational needs.

I wrote to the Chancellor ahead of the Spending Review in September urging
him to fix the funding crisis in our schools - the £3.5 billion announced
by Boris Johnson doesn't reverse the cuts of the last decade and most
schools won't see a penny.

I've also supported the Raise the Rate campaign to persuade the Government
to increase national funding for 16-18 year olds: cuts in this age group
have had a major impact on 6th form colleges like BHASVIC.


At the beginning of the year, I commissioned a report from five leading
nature writers and environmentalists on the crisis in nature and what
should be done to address it. I launched their report, A New Deal for
Nature, this month in the hope that the nature crisis would start to get
the same attention and sense of urgency as the climate crisis - and wrote
about it in the Guardian [12]. The report came up with 80 recommendations,
including some that I have championed for a while, like a GCSE in Natural
History. You can read the full report on my website here [13].


Following the lobby of Parliament in June about supporting women in the
criminal justice system, I joined Lisa Dando from Brighton Women's Centre
in a meeting with the then minister with responsibility for female
offenders, Edward Argar, to discuss the expansion of women's centres across
the UK.

In June I raised [14] the issue in Parliament of Hong Kong residents being
extradited to China - the proposal which sparked the demonstrations which
have been going on in the territory since then.


Many contacted me about the UK's arms sales to Saudi Arabia and I wrote to
the Government demanding an urgent inquiry into the arms trade, and how it
is facilitating the Saudi bombing of civilians in Yemen. I also tabled a
parliamentary question [15] about the Government's response to a UN report
finding bomb parts in Yemen that were manufactured in Brighton.


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 afterwards, 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 know that community policing is under
considerable strain and I will be going back to ministers to push for
guaranteed levels of funding to tackle the problems faced in Brighton and


I worked closely with the Preston Park Train Campaign to get the Gatwick
Express service restored for Preston Park commuters. It had been cut in May
2018, causing huge problems for train travellers and I'm delighted GTR
finally recognised its mistake, listened to passengers and reinstated the


In April, I was proud to back a Bill which would require public bodies to
recognise animals as sentient beings. This is not only important for animal
protection, it's also needed to ensure that animal welfare will not be
sacrificed in the search for new trade deals after Brexit. I've also
supported the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill, designed to increase the
penalties for animal cruelty.

I lent my support to calls for a public inquiry into badger culls, a policy
which is cruel, costly and ineffective. You can see the video I posted on
my Facebook page [16] calling for an end to the cull.

I was also delighted to be asked to cut the ribbon for the brilliant mural
painted by local artist Amy Kelly-Miller outside Middle Street primary
school. Amy was commissioned by International Animal Rescue to highlight
the plight of orangutans, which are seriously endangered because of habitat


A lot of the issues I raise in Westminster stem from the conversations and
correspondence I have with constituents about concerns they face. The
casework that I receive makes up a large part of my workload, and in
addition to highlighting the flaws in some of our national legislation and
unfair policies, such as the cruel and counterproductive welfare reforms,
I'm regularly in contact with many organisations to support residents
resolving specific problems that they have.

It's an incredibly rewarding part of the work that I do, and this year
there have been some positive outcomes, like; helping a local resident to
access disabled parking near their home; resolving British passport issues;
challenging unfair visa decisions; supporting a young asylum seeker to
achieve refugee status; helping a vulnerable victim of fraud be reimbursed
for more than £6,000; and helping constituents to tackle issues accessing
NHS treatment - including cancelled operations.

Casework forms a daily part of the work that I do, and whether it's
lobbying Brighton and Hove City Council about the waste and recycling
services in the city, or supporting residents experiencing financial
hardship - I'm committed to doing everything I can to support constituents
where I can.


As well as appearing regularly on BBC, Sky and C4 news programmes, this
past year I have also written regularly for the Guardian, Independent,
iNews, Huffpost, New Statesman and others, and have a regular column in the
Metro. [17] Thank you to all those who follow me on Twitter, Instagram or

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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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