Parliament returned on Tuesday and I was in the Chamber until after 2am as the Conservative’s Housing & Planning Bill went through the first day of its report stage. Overall it’s a mess of a Bill that seeks to end secure council tenancies and will do nothing to tackle the housing crisis we face. In areas like ours it is likely to lead to a huge loss of the genuinely affordable homes we so desperately need. Here are some of my thoughts on the Bill.
That same day, I was in Westminster Hall in my Shadow Foreign Office Minister role for an important debate on the relationship between the UK and Kazakhstan.
Shortly after I was first elected, I tried to visit Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre as I was concerned about reports of conditions there and wanted to see for myself. I was refused entry and despite raising this directly with the Home Secretary the decision has not been overturned. It begs the inevitable question, what are they trying to hide, and on Wednesday I was pleased to attend the excellent Westminster Hall debate that Kate Osamor MP had secured on healthcare there. In my intervention, I highlighted the impact of indefinite sentencing on detainees mental and physical health. The UK is the only country in Europe with no time limit on immigration detention, an appalling statistic that as a nation we should be ashamed by.
Back in the constituency, my first advice surgery of the year was an extremely busy one. I also held a positive meeting with Network Rail, local councillors and local residents of Dagmar Road to discuss the replacement of the fence.