Parliament is a particularly frustrating place at the moment but, although the media would have you believe otherwise, there has been some particularly good news coming out of Westminster recently.
One of my largest postbags (for which of course read email box) is usually around animal welfare issues, and chief amongst them has been the safety of bees.
Last week the Environment Secretary announced that the Government will back new restrictions on neonicotinoid pesticides that have been shown to be harmful to bees and other pollinators.
Indeed he announced a vision of the UK becoming a global leader in animal welfare and environmental best practice, and as some would say ‘despite Brexit’.
This follows hard on the heels of policy announcements that CCTV cameras are to be mandatory in all slaughterhouses and a consultation which runs until the end of the year on how we ban the trade in ivory products in the UK.
In addition the Government is planning to clamp down on live animal exports, ‘because of Brexit’, as it is the EU which has prevented us taking such action before now. This has been particularly welcomed in Shoreham where of course Shoreham Harbour was the focus of mass demonstrations against the practice back in the 1990s. ‘On the hook rather than on the hoof’ must be the way to go and this change is long overdue. All these measures were mentioned in the Conservative election manifesto earlier in the year but inexplicably attracted little attention at the time!
It is also very good news that ASLEF train drivers have voted overwhelmingly to end their strike action. Hopefully things can now begin to get back to normal, whatever ‘normal’ amounts to for Southern Rail. There really is no reason for the RMT union to continue their industrial action given that the on-board supervisors have been operating successfully since the beginning of the year without feeling the need to operate the doors on most routes, and without any safety issues. There is, however, still an ongoing problem to make sure that all people with disabilities are able to access trains when they need them, and there have been some very alarming cases of people in wheelchairs being left stranded.
I was delighted to meet up with disability expert and constituent Ann Bates again last week and we will be convening a ‘roundtable’ with the operators, unions and others to see how we can get his sorted properly at last. I will keep constituents posted.
Just a reminder that after the street surgery in Lancing Queensway this Saturday, from 10am to midday, I will be back at Sainsbury’s Lyons Farm from 12.15pm with local councillors, so pop by when you do your shopping if there is anything you would like to talk about.
• If you would like to get in touch with me, please write to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org