With COP26 having drawn to a close, delegates may have gone home and the media circus moved on, but we absolutely must not lose our focus on tackling both the climate and the biodiversity crises. Like many, I was very disappointed to see the final wording on the use of coal watered down by the Chinese and Indian delegations, but we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that for the first time, phasing out coal is now firmly on the agenda and nations need to be held to account for their actions. I hope the UK Government will set an example and finally cancel plans for a new coal mine in Cumbria and the Cambo oil field in Scotland, as well as oil wells in Surrey.

I am heartened as I visit local schools and colleges by the immense passion for the environment among children and young people. This is why I have been pressing for better climate education in our schools and I was pleased to see the Government accept an amendment on “green skills” in the new Skills and Post-16 Education Bill which is currently making its way through Parliament.

Lib Dem Leader, Ed Davey MP, has called for an end to fossil fuel funding by the City and as a party, we continue to campaign for greater investment in home insulation, public transport, active travel and renewable energy. I will keep pressing Government for firmer and faster action on climate change.

Local meetings, events and news

Remembrance 2021 Events

I had the privilege of attending local events to commemorate Remembrance Day. I dedicated a poppy to service personnel who had previously been based at Kneller Hall Military School of Music and other members of the military who made the ultimate sacrifice. I am grateful to the Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, and the Royal British Legion for establishing a Constituency Garden of Remembrance.

On RemembranceSunday, I had the honour of participating in services at St Stephen’s Church, Radnor Gardens and in Hampton to remember all those who lost their lives fighting for our freedom and the loved ones they left behind. We also remember those who bravely returned and continue to suffer mentally and physically.

Sign up for My Local Business Forums

It has been an incredibly difficult couple of years for businesses, large and small. Over the past two years, they have had to navigate the hugely challenging impacts of Brexit, Covid restrictions, lockdowns and rapidly changing consumer behaviour.

Following last month’s Budget, I will be hosting a series of local business forums to hear from local businesses of all sizes about the difficulties they face and their plans for the future.

If you are a business owner or manager in the local area, this is your opportunity to discuss these challenges with your local MP and fellow senior business professionals. If you would like to attend any of my local business forums, they will be held online over the coming months. Please sign up here:

Visit to Twickenham School with Harlequins

It was fantastic to visit Twickenham School last week with the Harlequins double champions. The pupils were given a positive and inspiring presentation, and had the unique opportunity to meet the players and take photos with the Men’s Premiership trophy and the Women’s Premier 15s trophy.

You can find photos here and here.

Visit to Archdeacon Cambridge’s School

I enjoyed visiting Archdeacon Cambridge’s School on Twickenham Green last week. As always, I was very impressed with the calibre of questions from Year 5 and 6 on a variety of local and national matters. I was shown carbon dioxide monitors working well in classrooms which is an important measure to ensure sufficient ventilation to reduce Covid transmission. It was great to meet the staff and pupils. Thank you to Ms Lambe for the warm welcome.

Photos of my visit can be seen here:

Visit to Anstee Bridge

Last week, I also visited Anstee Bridge, an alternative education programme based in Kingston but serving young people from Richmond and Kingston. Anstee Bridge provides emotional support and coaching, as well as creative activities and life skills workshops for young people who have become disengaged from traditional education. It was great to hear how Katherine and Laura have transformed so many young people’s lives by giving them the support and confidence they need to achieve their dreams and ambitions.

To find out more about the work the charity does, click here.

Visit to 1st Teddington Scouts

For UK Parliament Week I was invited to speak with the 1st Teddington Scouts. It was great to meet the Scouts. I was grilled by the Scouts before they dived into a quiz about the UK’s Parliament, some good debates and voting to help them understand how democracy works in this country. Thank you for inviting me.

BRITE Box and The Good Food Co-op

BRITE Box operates across four boroughs, including Richmond, delivering food to over 400 families a week. It was created to address food hunger. To continue carrying out their vital work, BRITE Box are actively looking at future avenues of funding and support. If you or your organisation would be interested in supporting the project by volunteering, funding or partnering with BRITE Box, please get in touch here.

The Good Food Co-op is a not-for-profit fruit and veg box scheme that makes healthy, fresh fruit and vegetables affordable and widely accessible to all. Customers who pay for their small mixed fruit and veg boxes at competitive market rates then allow for the same boxes to be offered to local customers in need for a subsidised price. Please see the website for more information.

2022 Richmond Voluntary Fund

Local voluntary and community organisations providing support for children and young people’s mental health are now invited to apply to be the chosen recipients of the 2022 Charity Appeal for the Richmond Voluntary Fund.  

Set up in 2019, The Richmond Voluntary Fund is a charitable trust that receives donations from local residents to then fund initiatives that make a positive difference to local people living in Richmond upon Thames.  

Find out more about the Richmond Voluntary Fund here.

Standing up for you

Improving mental health support in schools

In Parliament, I raised the growing mental health crisis among children and young people. Headteachers across the constituency have been raising their concerns with me on recent school visits. The mental health of staff is also being negatively impacted by the challenges they face daily in supporting and managing young people who are struggling with their mental health.

Teachers are being asked to deal with children’s often severe mental health and behavioural needs without the training and skills to do so. Schools do not have the budgets to adequately support their students or members of staff. Mental health support teams are required in schools urgently and the catch-up funding from the Government must address this, as well as academic improvements.

Watch me speak on this here.

No third runway at Heathrow

Last week I joined HACAN and others who are part of the No 3rd Runway coalition in Westminster to make the point that sustainable aviation is still a pipe dream The impact of a third runway at Heathrow would not only delay our net zero emission goals, but would also have a severe impact on the local environment and local residents’ wellbeing. I will continue to fight any plans to expand Heathrow Airport.

Visit to meet Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband

Last week I met Richard Ratcliffe, husband to Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was at that point on day 17 of his hunger strike outside the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. His determination and bravery, despite being let down by Ministers, was remarkable. Richard was feeling hopeful about a meeting the UK Government was due to have later in the week with Iranian officials. Sadly, it proved to be another fruitless meeting.

It is vital that we do all we can to force this Government to fight for and secure Nazanin’s safe return home.

Visit freenazanin.com for updates.

Covid Information 

Latest Covid Numbers

In the week November 7th to November 13th, there were 814 cases of coronavirus in Richmond upon Thames. The incidence rate in Richmond is 438.6/100,000, compared to a London-wide incidence of 265.3/100,000 and England-wide rate of 365.6/100,000. These figures show the case numbers in our borough are high but stable compared to the previous two weeks.

Data source: https://www.datarich.info/covid-19/

Covid testing available to all

To book your free rapid lateral flow COVID-19 test or find your nearest take-home testing kits collection point, visit: https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/

These tests are for people NOT experiencing symptoms. If you have any of the main Covid-19 symptoms you should arrange a PCR test here.

Walk-in and pop-up vaccination clinics 

The nearest walk-in clinic for vaccinations is at Harlequins Rugby Ground Twickenham from the 15th to 17th November. Details of which vaccines are being offered and eligibility criteria are available here.

Anyone 16 or over is eligible for a vaccine can also book their jab either online or by calling 119.