This week has once again been dominated by the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. This week revealed the true depths of Putin’s depravity in the bombing of a maternity hospital and the confirmed use of thermobaric weapons.
On Tuesday 8th March, I was lucky enough to be in the Chamber for President Zelenskiy’s historic address to the Commons. It was moving and emotional to hear first-hand what our counterparts in Ukraine are going through right now.
Intentional targeting of innocent women and children highlights in the most heart-breaking way possible how vital it is that we continue to reinforce our NATO alliance. We must urgently provide Ukraine with the assistance they need. The Government must impose the hardest possible sanctions against all those linked to Putin, and on the dirty Russian money that has infiltrated our country.
At Business Questions, I asked the Government to accept Labour’s amendments to close loopholes in the Economic Crime Bill. One of Labour’s amendments would reduce the transitional period from 6 months to 28 days. The other would prevent foreign entities from hiding ownership of property – something that has made Britain’s property market very attractive to oligarchs in the past.
I also asked the Leader of the House to confirm when part two of the Economic Crime Bill, including reforms to Companies House, will be brought forward.
Despite the war in Eastern Europe, we must not forget the ongoing cost of living crisis here in the UK. It’s time for the Government to look again at Labour’s proposal for a one-off windfall tax on oil and gas producers. This would cut household energy bills by up to £600 and expand the Warm Homes Discount scheme. This would help those who need it most. Nearly 18,000 homes in Bristol would benefit from this discount. With more price rises expected, the Tories must take action to alleviate the pressure on working people.
There were also some positive moments in Parliament this week. On Monday, I enjoyed seeing the impressive work submitted for the STEM for Britain final. I was particularly excited as there were two finalists from the University of Bristol in my constituency. It is always fantastic to meet the University’s world-leading researchers.
On Wednesday, I met campaigners calling for a guaranteed right to maintain contact with family members in care homes. I heard harrowing testimonies from those who have been separated from their loved ones during the pandemic. Labour’s Shadow Care Minister Karin Smyth MP committed to standing by care home residents and their families. I was pleased to see support from all political parties for this important cause.
Throughout the week, I attended several events celebrating International Women’s Day. These events championed women’s achievements in a multitude of industries, and I am proud of my Labour colleagues, who recognise the importance of women in successful businesses, in leadership roles and at all levels. The Labour Party lead by example, with the most women of any political party in Parliament and 50% of the Shadow Cabinet female.
This week was a reminder of the importance of women’s rights not just on International Women’s Day, but every day. My colleague Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves MP posted an excellent piece about Labour’s pledge to push for progress for women. You can read this article here.
You can view this week’s Business Questions here.