Update on my work in Parliament and the constituency
Update on my work in Parliament and the constituency
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Thank you for reading my September newsletter.
During August my team and I held nine advice surgeries including specialist immigration clinics. Details of my October advice surgeries are at the bottom of this email. You don't need an appointment for any of my surgeries, please just drop in.
This section of my newsletter is longer than usual sorry, but this past month has been tumultuous.
At the start at the month, we took control of parliamentary business, all opposition parties and some Tory MPs got the “Benn Bill” through Parliament. This Act requires the Prime Minister to request an extension to Article 50 before the 31^st October unless a Brexit deal has been passed by the House of Commons, or the Commons has agreed to exit with no deal. Since then, Boris Johnson has twice tried to force a General Election by calling a vote and been defeated. We cannot trust the Prime Minister and it is imperative that the extension is secured and we get past the date of 31^st October before any other steps are taken. We will undoubtedly have an early election, but not at a time of Boris Johnson’s choosing.
Boris Johnson then suspended Parliament for 5 weeks. Cases were brought in Scotland and in England and Wales to declare the suspension unlawful. I was one of the parties bringing the litigation with MPs from other parties and the democracy campaigner Gina Miller. The Supreme Court heard the cases over three days and then delivered a comprehensive demolition of Boris Johnson’s actions in a unanimous judgment last week. His reasons for the suspension and his advice to the Queen were unlawful and the suspension was null and void. I headed straight back to Westminster to get on with critical work on important legislation that we thought had been lost, like the Domestic Violence Bill. I have been able to question Ministers, vote and scrutinise what the Government have (and haven’t) been doing since the unlawful suspension of Parliament.
There has been at times, as I’m sure you’ve likely picked up from the news, divisive language from the Prime Minister in the Commons. This is a deliberate strategy by No. 10 to deflect attention from the Prime Minister’s failures. He has lost every single vote since becoming PM and the “good progress” he boasts of in negotiations with the EU is clearly untrue. He is dividing not leading the country in a deliberate pre-election strategy to pit you against your Parliament.
There’s no doubt that Government’s plan is to drag the UK out of the EU on the 31^st October by any means necessary. There’s already talk of further suspension and the PM confirming in the Commons that he will not request the extension that the law requires him to. That is why it is so important for opposition parties and those Tory MPs kicked out of the Tory Parliamentary Party to continue to put the national interest first and stop this undemocratic and unlawful PM damaging our country.
** DCMS Committee
Our planned work on the DCMS Select Committee has been badly affected by the unlawful suspension of Parliament this month but we have published our report on addictive and immersive technologies and at the start of the month held evidence sessions on our reality TV inquiry.
Our report into addictive and immersive technologies concluded months of Committee hearings involving video games giants like EA Games along with social media giants like Snapchat and Instagram.
The wide-ranging report makes recommendations to government and calls on games companies to accept responsibility for addictive gaming disorders, protect their players from potential harms due to excessive play-time and spending, and along with social media companies introduce more effective age verification tools for users. We also recommend reform of the Gambling Act. You can read more about the report by clicking here. ([link removed])
I also went on the Victoria Derbyshire show with two parents who shared their harrowing stories about how their children, addicted to video games, had racked up huge debts with in-game purchases. You can watch my segment of the show by clicking here. ([link removed])
We had a very interesting evidence session for our reality TV inquiry with Marcel and Yewande from ITV’s ‘Love Island’ along with former contributors from the Jeremy Kyle show, speaking about their experiences of the reality TV business and the level of pre and post broadcast support that they received from TV companies, which is the real focus of our inquiry. You can read more about this session by clicking here. ([link removed])
Wales for Europe National March and Rally
Last Saturday I joined a huge Wales for Europe national demonstration in Cardiff Central. It was yet another colourful, positive and proud demonstration of our opposition to the Government’s reckless pursuit of a no-deal Brexit and a strong demand for a final say on what now happens, nearly 1200 days after that narrow advisory referendum result. I spoke at the start of the rally to reiterate my view that we are safer, stronger and better in the European Union. We must not fall into the trap set by Number 10 Downing Street of just focussing on whichever outrageous thing Boris Johnson says to deflect attention and scrutiny from his failures and his unlawful actions.
Chairing the International Parliamentary Media Freedom Conference
I was pleased to chair the International Parliamentary Media Freedom Conference in the UK Parliament this month. MPs from all over the world came together to discuss the threats to media freedom from restrictive laws, punitive legal sanctions and physical violence. Every year journalists are murdered, imprisoned and threatened. You can tell the health of a democratic country by the way it treats its journalists.
We had a fascinating discussion about using domestic legislation to protect journalists. The speakers were a television journalist, media law professor, director of a global human rights advocacy organisation and the former President of the UK Supreme Court.
As well as international parliamentarians, it was good to see friends from the National Union of Journalists there too.
Brexit and Women's Rights - Our Letter
Brexit will have a profound effect on the rights and wellbeing of women. The principle of equality between men and women is enshrined in EU law and many employment rights, maternity rights, trafficking laws and measures to combat violence against women and girls are derived from EU treaties and directives.
I signed an open letter in The Guardian calling on the Government to lay out its plans to keep these vital laws and regulations in place - you can read the letter by clicking here. ([link removed])
Youth Strike for Climate in Cardiff
There was a really fantastic and friendly atmosphere at #YouthStrike4Climate demo in the City Centre earlier in the month. I marched with children and young people, with pensioners and organisations and heard inspiring speeches from so many young people, passionate about their futures and ours. It is everyone’s responsibility to make changes that protect our planet for the generations that follow us. I was also pleased to see that a motion backing a Green New Deal and slashing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2030 passed at Labour Party conference – policies that I fully support as the kind of drastic action we need to take to tackle the climate emergency
Occupation of Palestinian Territories
Earlier this month I wrote to the Prime Minister with over a hundred colleagues demanding that the U.K. Government reinforces the requirements of international law and condemns the Israeli Prime Minister’s illegal efforts to annex Occupied Palestinian territory. You can read the letter below.
Macmillan Coffee Morning 2019
Our 2019 Macmillan Coffee Morning was a great success. Thank you to everyone who came and supported our coffee morning and helped to fundraise. A special thank you to our fantastic hosts Waterloo Tea in Lakeside, who once again donated all their profits for the duration of the morning to Macmillan Cancer Care. They are brilliant.
Wearing it Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness
I added a dash of pink to my usual attire to support Breast Cancer Now’s wear it pink fundraiser, which takes place on Friday 18 October!
Every year in the UK, around 55,000 women and around 350 men are given the devastating news that they have breast cancer. That’s why I’m encouraging my constituents to take part in Breast Cancer Now’s wear it pink day on Friday 18 October.
Since launching in 2002, wear it pink has raised over £33 million to date.
You can join me too by signing up for wear it pink and helping to make possible life-saving breast cancer research and life changing support for those affected by the disease.
Kashmir Solidarity Demo
The humanitarian situation in Kashmir is extremely worrying. On behalf of constituents who have come to see me who have family and friends in Kashmir and in response to widespread concerns from the international community, I joined Welsh Kashmiris at a demonstration on the steps of the Senedd to show solidarity. We need peaceful dialogue, respect for human rights and international law and a political solution that reflects the wishes of the Kashmiri people. As a member of the United Nations Security Council, the UK has a leading role to play in ensuring compliance with international law. Humanitarian and medical aid must be allowed to reach people in need.
My 2018-19 Annual Report
You should have received a copy of my annual report through your letterbox but you can also read it online here. ([link removed])
Please do let me know if you have any questions or feedback on the report at [email protected]
Naga Muchetty Letter and EDM
I signed a letter with Labour MP colleagues to the BBC Director General expressing our deep concern at the decision that Naga Munchetty breached BBC editorial guidelines during a discussion with her co-presenter about Trump’s racist comments on female Democrat members of Congress (his “go home” comments).
You can read coverage of the letter in the Guardian by clicking here and view the EDM we tabled above. ([link removed])
I'm glad to see that in the last few days the BBC have seen sense and reversed their decision.
** Upcoming Advice Surgeries
I hold regular surgeries around the constituency. All surgeries are drop-in, no appointment is needed.
Friday 4th October 2pm - 3pm Cyncoed
Rhydypennau Library, Llandennis Road, Cyncoed CF23 6EG
Friday 11th October 4pm - 5pm Llanedeyrn
Churches Together Shop, The Maelfa, Llanedeyrn, CF23 9PF
Friday 18th October 11am -12 noon Adamsdown
St German’s Church Hall, Star Street, CF24 1LA
Friday 25th October 4pm - 6pm Roath
Constituency Office, 116 Albany Road, CF24 3RU
Friday 1st November 3pm - 4pm Cyncoed
Rhydypennau Library, Llandennis Road, Cyncoed CF23 6EG
Full details of upcoming surgeries are listed on my website ([link removed]) .
My staff team are available in the Albany Road office every weekday from 9am-5pm (except Thursdays when the office closes at 12 noon). You can contact us any time using 02921 329736 or by emailing jo[email protected]
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