At a time of war in Europe and a cost of living crisis at home, we need leaders we can trust and who have the authority to take difficult decisions. Unfortunately, the ongoing partygate scandal has seen this trust undermined.
With the Metropolitan Police having issued fines to the Prime Minister and the Chancellor for attending illegal gatherings during lockdown, there can no longer be any doubt: Boris Johnson broke the law and misled Parliament. As the UK’s first serving prime minister to be sanctioned by the police, and referred to the Privileges Committee of Parliament as to whether he deliberately misled Parliament, this is unprecedented.
The British public made tremendous sacrifices to follow the letter of the law during the pandemic – often in the most difficult and painful of circumstances, and at great personal cost. Having the leader of our government break the law, and subsequently deny doing so to both Parliament and the public, undermines confidence in our democracy.
We must restore honesty and integrity to the office, which is why I’ll continue to call on Boris Johnson to resign. Only then can we move forward and focus on the issues that matter, such as the war in Ukraine, the cost of living crisis, the NHS backlog and ambulance waiting times, and the climate emergency, among so many others.
One of the issues I know people are concerned about, and which I’ve received an overwhelming number of messages from constituents about, is the Government’s plan to offshore refugees to Rwanda. The appalling plans to ship men seeking asylum in the UK to Rwanda are an affront to our collective humanity. Instead of shutting the door to refugees, we should be offering help and sanctuary through safe and legal routes. I challenged the Home Secretary on this in Parliament; you can watch my clip below.
In this edition:
- In the media
- My comments on partygate and the crumbling of the ‘Blue Wall’
- Local meetings, events and news
- Training with Community First Responders from St John Ambulance
- Out on patrol with Richmond Police
- Visit to Sophie Steller’s design studio
- Battle of the Bands at The Exchange
- Celebrating young people’s creativity with Anstee Bridge
- Register for my next Business Forum on 20 May
- Standing up for you in Parliament
- Challenged the Home Secretary on appalling plan to send refugees to Rwanda
- Questioned the delay in implementing the SEND Review
- Held the Government to account on astronomical childcare costs
- Asked the Business Secretary to help small businesses with energy costs
- Grilled the Business Secretary on plans for Britain’s energy independence
- Called on the Chancellor to provide more support for low-income households
- Questioned the Prime Minister’s priorities in securing a peerage for wealthy friend
In the media
In the Express, I shared my comments on voters in the ‘Blue Wall’ turning away from the Government.
In a recent interview with ITV London, I called for the Prime Minister to resign. Boris Johnson and the Chancellor broke the laws they themselves made, while millions of people made heart-breaking sacrifices to follow the rules.
Local meetings, events and news
Training with Community First Responders from St John Ambulance
I am totally in awe of the life-saving work that Community First Responders from St John Ambulance do every day. These inspiring volunteers from our community are often the first on the scene when someone needs help, providing critical first aid while patients wait for an ambulance. With ambulance services in the UK at breaking point and vulnerable patients facing record waiting times, their services are more crucial than ever.
I had the honour of joining a training session, where I brushed up on CPR techniques and saw an incredible chair that can lift someone off the floor who’s had a fall, which means they are more likely to stay out of hospital than someone who has been on the floor for hours. A big thank you and tremendous gratitude to Twickenham’s Community First Responders!
Out on patrol with Richmond Police
Thanks to Matt and Vicky from Richmond Police for taking me out on patrol on a Friday evening. They are just two of the committed officers protecting our community with good humour and dedication. So much of their job involves helping people suffering a mental health crisis, who pose a threat to themselves or others. The lack of available mental health support and services for people to access has had a massive knock-on impact on the police.
I’m very grateful to Matt and Vicky for the insights they gave on the realities and challenges of policing in suburban London!
Visit to Sophie Steller’s design studio
Twickenham is home to a lot of fantastic creative businesses. It was a real pleasure to visit Sophie Steller’s studio in Crane Mews, where I learned about the knitwear design process, as well as some of the challenges the industry is facing. Founded in 1996, the studio bridges the gap between design and manufacturing in knitwear. Its in-house team of designers helps other designers realise their ideas and grow their business using the latest knitwear technology. Thanks to Sophie, James and the team for showing me around!
Battle of the Bands at The Exchange
I had so much fun watching Battle of the Bands at The Exchange in Twickenham, featuring performances from 12 to 19-year-olds from the borough. The event was hosted by Basement Door, a music venue that provides training, experience and certification for young people in Richmond borough.
It was amazing to see so many young people dancing and enjoying themselves again after a very tough two years. Bands including The Ariston and Claw Wilson all got the crowd going. Congratulations to the winners (Molotovs in the junior category and Sonic Daze in the senior category) and all of the bands!
Celebrating young people’s creativity with Anstee Bridge
I had a wonderful evening at Teddington School recently, celebrating the creativity of young people that Anstee Bridge has helped nurture. Anstee Bridge, based in Kingston, promotes and delivers confidence through creativity for young people whose lives have led them to disengage from traditional education. I saw some of their fabulous art, as well as a very moving performance on the theme of loneliness. Thanks to Katherine, Laura and all of the amazing volunteers who give these young people confidence and a voice.
Register for my next Business Forum on 20 May
Are you a local small business owner? I’d like to learn more about your business and any challenges you’re facing in the current climate. Please sign up here if you’d like to attend my next Business Forum on 20 May from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Standing up for you in Parliament
Challenged the Home Secretary on appalling plan to send refugees to Rwanda
The Government’s plan to ship refugees to Rwanda is utterly shameful. Apart from being unworkable, where is the humanity? We should be offering help and safe haven to refugees, not adding to their suffering.
Like me, the Home Secretary Priti Patel is the daughter of East African Indian immigrants whose family sought sanctuary and a better life in this country. In Parliament, I asked the Home Secretary if she feels, like I do, a personal and moral responsibility to extend the generosity shown to our communities in the 60s and 70s by providing further safe and legal routes to the UK for refugees, rather than shipping them off to Rwanda.
Questioned the delay in implementing the SEND Review
With more and more children and young people requiring additional Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) support, parents and schools have been anxiously awaiting the Government’s SEND Review. It was therefore hugely disappointing that it was published as a Green Paper with another 13-week consultation period, which only delays much-needed action to ensure children with special needs get the support they need as quickly as possible. I asked the Education Secretary when parents in Twickenham and across the country will see the impact of these changes.
Held the Government to account on astronomical childcare costs
Shockingly, two thirds of parents surveyed by Pregnant Then Screwed and Mumsnet say their childcare costs are as much as, or more than, their rent or mortgage. For families already feeling the squeeze on their wallets from rising food and energy prices, spiralling childcare costs can be the final straw.
With soaring childcare costs forcing many women to give up their jobs or be pushed into lower-paid, part-time work, it’s time for urgent action from the Government. Watch my question in Parliament below.
Asked the Business Secretary to help small businesses with energy costs
I know from speaking to small businesses in our constituency that spiralling energy costs are a huge concern. A survey from the British Chambers of Commerce found that three out of four businesses will have to pass on these costs to customers, adding to the cost of living crisis. I asked the Business Secretary why Government isn’t doing more to support small businesses, and what he will do to alleviate these pressures.
Grilled the Business Secretary on plans for Britain’s energy independence
Ensuring that Britain doesn’t rely on nations such as Russia for energy and gas is not just an energy issue, but a security issue. I asked the Business Secretary why the Chancellor had been blocking the Government’s plans to improve Britain’s energy independence.
Called on the Chancellor to provide more support for low-income households
Together with Sarah Olney, MP for Richmond Park, and Ed Davey, MP for Kingston and Surbiton, I wrote to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, asking the Government to provided additional financial support to social housing tenants and low-income families. The cost of living crisis has made this even more urgent. You can read our letter here.
Questioned the Prime Minister’s priorities in securing peerage for wealthy friend
Whilst coronavirus was raging and we were all about to be locked down, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was allegedly working to ensure that his wealthy friend secured a peerage – despite advice from the security services. In Parliament, I asked whether this was the right priority for a Prime Minster dealing with a country in crisis.