This week concluded the Queen’s Speech debates following the State Opening of Parliament. Working people and pensioners across the country are feeling the crunch of the cost-of-living crisis, yet the Tories shamefully voted down Labour’s proposals to help ease the financial strain many are experiencing. Bills, food and petrol prices are all up whilst real wages are down. We are currently experiencing the highest levels of inflation in forty years. Three in five people have admitted to turning off the heating to keep warm. Others are burning scraps of wood to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a display of how truly out of touch they are, the Tories’ suggestions range from incentivising granny annexes to ‘get a better job’. Not only are these policies ineffective, but they’re also insulting to people suffering intense financial anxiety.

What’s more, on Tuesday, the Tories voted against Labour’s plan for a Windfall Tax on oil and gas companies who have already stated that they have more money than they know what to do with. Labour’s plan would help families with their household bills by up to £600, easing the burden of the crisis.

Despite fifteen Tory tax rises, the Prime Minister said they’re against raising taxes the very morning after the vote. He then said they would look at ‘all sensible measures’ to combat the crisis, whilst the Chancellor told the CBI that he had ‘a plan’. I asked the Leader of the House where this plan was. Every day this Government continues to dance their hokey-cokey with Labour’s popular Windfall tax, working families and pensioners suffer.

The Government will inevitably U turn and accept Labour’s plan. How long will they leave people to struggle before the Chancellor finally brings forward the emergency budget Labour have been pushing for almost six months now?

We also saw stories this week that the Minister for Government Efficiency wants to cut up to 90,000 Civil Service jobs. We are seeing unacceptable Home Office delays. Our constituents cannot get a driving licence or passports. When I visited our local jobcentre last week, I was told people couldn’t take up jobs because they can’t get ID. Civil Servants are doing a great job, but this is not a sustainable system.  I asked the Leader of the House how people will get passports and driving licences with fewer Civil Servants.

It is clear that this Government need to get a grip and they need to do it now.

This week is Dementia Action week. I attended a Parliamentary drop in to learn about the campaign and what we can do to raise awareness. The Alzheimer’s Society are focusing on diagnosis as this year’s theme. This year their focus is on helping those who might be living with, or close to someone who might be living with, with undiagnosed dementia to:

  • Be able to understand and recognise potential dementia symptoms
  • Contact Alzheimer’s UK for guidance and support
  • Feel empowered to take the next step
  • Improve the diagnosis process for both them and healthcare professionals.

I met with people who have been diagnosed with dementia. Their bravery and openness in explaining their condition was eye opening, and I thank them all very much for sharing their stories.

You can find out more about Dementia Action Week here.


My colleague Kerry McCarthy MP hosted an event for Mental Health Awareness Week focussed on suicide prevention. Kerry, Mr Soeaker, members of the band New Order and others spoke of the suicides of people in their lives. Keir Starmer spoke about Labour’s mental health pledges and commitment to true parity of esteem between mental and physical health care and an emphasis on prevention. It was an incredibly moving event and I’m grateful to Kerry for organising it.

I have also been participating in the Big Plastic Count over the past week. This is an initiative to gather new evidence about how much plastic is thrown away weekly and what happens to it. You can find out more about the Big Plastic Count here and read my blog on Plastic Pollution here.

Over the past few years, I have missed hearing Big Ben chiming in the Elizabeth Tower throughout my days in Parliament. Although still in the testing phase, this week we were comforted by the bells ringing out across Whitehall once again. I can’t help but think this symbolises the long-awaited return to the proper use of Parliament, and the democratic system that we all know and love. Big Ben has been fixed. Now it’s time to fix our Government. The Tories’ time is up.

You can read more about the restoration of the Elizabeth Tower and Big Ben here.

You can view this week’s Business Questions here and my Twitter Thread here.

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