In May, I was appointed to a new role as Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, after a year as Shadow Secretary of State for Housing.
As Shadow Leader, I am Labour’s spokesperson for all Parliamentary matters, including the project to restore the Parliamentary Estate. My most important job is to hold the Government to account on their use of Parliamentary time for legislation and debates. In practice, this means challenging the Leader of the House (currently Jacob Rees-Mogg) in Business Questions. This takes place every Thursday morning, unless it is recess.
This weekly appearance means I am the only other member of the Shadow Cabinet, apart from Keir Starmer, to speak weekly in the House of Commons.
While most members of the Shadow Cabinet have specific policy portfolios, I cover all policy areas, allowing me to pick up pressing issues of the week. This is a vital part of making sure the Government are acting responsibly and in the best interests of the public.
For example, in recent weeks I have questioned the Government on their Covid-19 strategies (or lack thereof), support available for struggling industries such as hospitality, failures to protect the environment, racism in football and their appalling record on resettling refugees.
I have also used Business Questions to push the Government to bring forward long overdue legislation. This includes the Social Care Bill, first promised by the Prime Minister in July 2019. Many constituents cannot get the care they need, and have asked me to chase this up. The Government must publish it immediately.
I have also pushed for the Covid inquiry to be brought forward, so that government can learn from the mistakes it has made throughout the pandemic. Though this is little consolation to countless bereaved families, a full public inquiry is the least the Government owes to those still suffering the effects of the past 18 months.
It is an honour to hold this role, and I will continue to hold this failing, floundering Tory Government to account.
Business Questions takes place every Thursday morning in the Chamber of the House of Commons. You can watch my most recent speech here.