The attacks that shook Paris last Friday were a reminder of the threat of extremism to us all. Our thoughts are with all those who were killed and injured, and their loved ones.
Bristol is rich in diversity, welcoming as a City of Sanctuary, and this is one of the things that makes Bristol such a great place. It’s vital that we don’t allow these attacks to sow division in our city and our society, or undermine our fundamental values. To do so would be a victory for ISIS, and all other groups that oppose democracy. Now more than ever, we need communities across Bristol to come together to defeat radicalisation and terrorism.
Like with previous terrorist attacks, Bristol’s Muslim community has been quick to condemn what happened in Paris last Friday. The extremism of ISIS bears little resemblance to the faith followed by the vast majority of Muslims in Bristol and throughout the UK. Despite this, there’s much progress still to be made in tackling radicalisation, and we need to ensure that authorities are properly engaging with members of the Muslim community to do so.
As well as looking at our domestic policies towards terrorism, this must also be a time to reflect on our approach to foreign policy. Clearly, we must ensure that Britain’s response to the attacks in Paris is considered. One that both assures the safety of our citizens and is mindful of our international responsibilities.
This vigil is a perfect demonstration of unity in the face of extremist aggression, and a chance to show solidarity with the French people. Working together, we will overcome the hateful ideology that led to these attacks.
MP for Bristol West
MP for Bristol East
MP for Bristol South
I’ve received a large number of emails from residents concerned about proposals for gas and diesel-powered standby electricity generation plants in Bristol. There are three planning proposals for sites in or near Bristol West: in St Werburghs, St Philip’s Marsh and Lockleaze.
I am very concerned about the effect on air quality, which is already worryingly poor in this part of the city, should these proposals be accepted. Several schools are near the proposed sites, where substations will be emitting damaging particulates such as nitrogen dioxide. There are also concerns about traffic, noise pollution, local wildlife and visual impact. I have submitted objections to the St Werburghs and St Philip’s Marsh proposals, which are within Bristol West.
The government has engaged in a cull of programmes – mostly introduced by the last Labour government – to support the renewable energy sector. There have been many similar applications for gas and diesel substations all over the country – financially incentivised by a government scheme to encourage generation of backup energy capacity. I am so concerned at the shift away from renewables and back to fossil fuels under this government, with the go-ahead given to fracking just another example. This is both terrible for our environment and also ignores the potential of renewable energy production to support jobs and growth.
Local councillors have called in these applications to Development Control Committee (B), where a group of councillors will hear evidence and take into account the views of residents before deciding to accept or reject the applications. This will happen on 9 December, at 2pm in Colston Hall, Colston Street, BS1 5AR, and the meeting is open to the public. Although the deadline for submitting objections to the planning proposal has officially passed, comments may still be considered if submitted before the date of the meeting.
A new community group has been set up in response to these proposals. RADE (Residents Against Dirty Energy) have already held public meetings and protested outside Bristol City Council’s full council meeting. You can find out more about this issue on their website, www.radebristol.com. Labour councillors and council candidates are working with RADE on campaigning against these proposals.
Throughout my time as MP I will be making the case for a renewable future for energy in Britain, and standing up against a government energy policy that represents a poor deal for the environment, for communities and for taxpayers.
Links for planning proposals and comments:
St Philip’s Marsh
I’ve received a large number of emails from residents concerned about proposals for gas and diesel-powered standby electricity generation plants in Bristol. There are three planning proposals for sites in...
This weekend is Labour’s national campaign weekend for voter registration, to support our ‘Missing Million’ campaign. This campaign is headed by Gloria De Piero, Labour’s new Shadow Minister for Young People and Voter Registration. I’m really pleased that we are prioritising this issue for our campaigning, as it is an issue not just of democracy, but equality too.
According to Hope Not Hate, there are already eight million people missing from the electoral register. With the Government’s rushed transition to the new Individual Electoral Registration system, another two million could vanish on top of that. That would mean one in five eligible voters would not have a vote: a terrible blow to our democracy.
This is not just an issue of numbers, though. I know the impact that under-registration can have from my own constituency – those who are better-off tend to have more representation per capita than those who are disadvantaged, and this trend will only be exacerbated by the Government’s changes. Based on the number of people registered under the new system, the Government are planning to redraw parliamentary constituency boundaries to reduce the number from 650 to 600.
We could be left with a situation where huge swathes of the population are left without a voice. If not enough people are registered before the cut-off point on 1 December, the voting system will be heavily stacked in favour of those who are well-off, and against young people, students, BAME people, and those in private rented accommodation.
It is a sad reality that those who would gain most from engaging in politics are the least empowered to do so. This Government want to make the situation even worse. That is why it’s so crucial for voter registration to be top of our agenda in the months ahead. In Bristol West the Labour team will be pounding the streets this weekend to register people. Please join us in our fight to protect our democracy.
And remember, registering to vote takes only three minutes and can be done online using this link http://gov.uk/register-to-vote