From Caroline Lucas <[email protected]>
Subject Latest Newsletter
Date March 29, 2021 1:36 PM
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Green Party mailing

This Government's authoritarianism is on full display in the Police, Crime,
Sentencing & Courts Bill, which is making its way through Parliament. Most
worrying is the proposal to restrict the right to peaceful protest, handing
huge powers to the Home Secretary and the police to ban protests which are
too 'noisy' or cause 'serious disruption' with the police or ministers able
to determine what that means. This is a dangerous assault on a fundamental
civil liberty - the sort of crackdown that we would condemn if it was
happening in another country - and I supported an amendment to throw it
out. My speech in the debate on the Bill is here [1].

I wrote about my concerns in my column in Metro [2], and I raised the right
to peacefully protest with the Prime Minister at Prime Minister's
Questions. Our exchange is here [3].


I wrote in my last newsletter about my concerns over the policing of vigils
for Sarah Everard. I raised these concerns with the Home Secretary in
Parliament, saying that handing over more powers to the police, as she
proposes in the Policing Bill, when they so badly misjudged the policing of
the vigils, would be both foolish and dangerous. You can see our exchange
here [4].

I joined more than 50 other MPs and peers in writing to the Prime Minister
on the specific steps he should take to end the scourge of male violence
against women. He is proposing more CCTV and streetlights, which go nothing
like far enough. We need deep-rooted economic and social change.

I'm also following up complaints about the disproportionate tactics used by
police at the local vigil in Brighton.


Another sign of the Government's increasing lurch to the right is the plan
to tear up the laws on asylum and turn its back on vulnerable people by
dumping them in third countries while their asylum claims are processed - a
proposal which is not only inhumane, it's impractical and will prove wildly

The proposals will also make it almost impossible for people who arrive in
boats across the Channel to successfully claim asylum, and have rightly
been condemned by the UN, the Red Cross and other organisations working
with refugees. People who come to the UK in small boats do so because there
are no other options for them. It should not disqualify them from being
granted refugee status. Instead, the Government should introduce safe and
legal routes.

I was a guest on the BBC's Politics Live programme where we discussed the
proposals - you can see my comments here [5].


The Government unveiled its Integrated Review, outlining its vision for the
UK in the world in the decades to come. Despite the Prime Minister saying
that the climate crisis is the Number 1 priority, there was nothing in the
review which addresses this - just billions of pounds on more nuclear
warheads which break the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and is likely to
fuel a new nuclear arms race. I asked the Prime Minister how this was
supposed to make us safer - needless to say I didn't get an answer. Our
exchange is here [6].


The Grenfell fire tragedy exposed the dangerous condition of many high-rise
blocks because they were covered in flammable cladding. This problem has
been created by decades of deregulation and the Government is rightly
meeting the costs of rectifying this for buildings over 18 metres. But that
doesn't help people living in less high-rise buildings, nor does it help
people facing fire safety issues which aren't linked to cladding - like
inadequate internal fire 'barriers' which is the case for many apartment
blocks in Brighton.

I voted for amendments to the Fire Safety Bill to try to close these
loopholes, but the amendments were defeated because the overwhelming
majority of Tory MPs voted with the Government. The Bill will now go back
to the House of Lords and the fight to get justice for leaseholders,
whatever their fire risk is, goes on.


Ministers have rightly spoken out about the appalling human rights abuses
taking place in Xinjiang, where Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are
subject to rape, mass incarceration and forced labour. Any appeasement of
this genocide shames our country - as I wrote in a piece with former
diplomat John Ashton for the Independent [7]. But the Government is
refusing to take action and amend the Trade Bill to stop trade deals with
countries committing genocide and it narrowly defeated an amendment to the
Bill. There was such a short time allocated to debate that I wasn't called
- but this is part [8] of what I'd planned to say.

If you also feel strongly that we should be signing trade deals with
countries involved in genocide, please sign this petition [9] and encourage
others to do so too.


Like many of you, I took part in the evening vigil on the anniversary of
the first lockdown, remembering the more than 126,000 lives lost to Covid.
The loss of so many lives - and the lives changed forever due to long Covid
- makes it essential that there's an urgent public inquiry into the
Government's handling of the pandemic. I also joined 50 other MPs and peers
in writing to the Prime Minister calling for March 23rd to be a Covid
Memorial Day, to serve as a reminder to future generations and leaders that
lessons must be learned from the terrible experience of this pandemic.


As many of you know, I have been part of a legal challenge against the
Government over its refusal to come clean about all the Covid-related
contracts it has signed with private companies, many of them with links to
the Tory party. We won our High Court case last month. When I raised this
case with the Prime Minister in Parliament, he said all contracts were on
the record - which is not the case. Together with Labour MP Debbie Abrahams
and the Lib Dems' Layla Moran, I have now written to the Cabinet Secretary
asking him to investigate the Prime Minister over a potential breach of the
ministerial code by misleading Parliament. The Conservatives have been very
outspoken about Scotland's first minister (who was cleared of any breach) -
but silent about their own leader misleading the House.


On Parliament's last day before the Easter recess, MPs were asked to vote
on extending the Coronavirus Act, the emergency legislation that was
introduced at the start of the pandemic. Its powers are draconian, giving
the Government powers to close our borders, suspend elections and ban
protests, with no scrutiny. Police and immigration officials have
wide-ranging powers under the Act too. At the beginning of the pandemic, I
voted for the Act because the evidence I had seen on the emerging public
health emergency warranted it.

But I am worried by the way the Government has used the powers in the Act
to go way beyond what is required and to avoid being held to account. I was
one of a very few MPs who voted against its renewal last September, and I
did so again last week because I don't think there continues to be a
justification for these powers. Instead I am supporting the Protect
Everyone Bill being championed by the NGO Liberty - more here [10].


Huge thanks to everyone who took part in the day of action to promote the
Climate & Ecological Emergency Bill, which I introduced in Parliament last
September. There were banner drops, videos posted on social media and so
many creative and imaginative ways of asking MPs to back the bill. It now
has the support of more than 100 cross-party MPs and I hope more will sign
up after Friday's day of action.


I met virtually with the Head of Dorothy Stringer school to discuss the
difficulties in accommodating more of the Misplaced 62 at the school, and I
continue to be in contact with councillors and officers. I fully understand
how angry and upset many families feel over this, particularly coming, as
it does, after such a difficult year for our young people. The clear
message from both the local authority and the school is that,
unfortunately, there's no extra space, and already far too much pressure on
toilets (there's only provision for 10 toilets for girls, for example), and
the canteen etc. I am pressing for funds to be released to enable more
toilets, and other improvements, to be built - as they should have been two
years ago - but sadly that won't help the current group of children who
haven't been allocated a place.

The council have told me that no child in the city is without a school
place, and whilst it is distressing for those who have not received the
choices they hoped for, all the schools in the city are rated as good. I
know that journey time is a particular concern for many, and I've contacted
the Council to urge them to do all they can to support ways of simplifying
and shortening travel times.

I've always done what I can to support parents and pupils affected by
allocation problems when bulge years have happened in the past. However,
with the schools indicating that they simply cannot increase their capacity
because of the pressures they face this year, it does complicate the
situation and further restricts alternative solutions.


I was delighted to see that more than 100 square miles of seabed off the
Sussex coast is being closed to damaging trawl fishing to help kelp forests
recover. Over the years, we've lost 95% of the kelp forests which are so
important for marine ecosystems, local sustainable fisheries and the fight
against climate change. Congratulations to the Help Our Kelp Partnership
for everything they've done to achieve this.


I'm delighted to have now joined the 30 million people in our country
who've had a Covid vaccine. The staff and volunteers at the Brighton Centre
were amazing - it was brilliantly efficient and very inspiring to see
people coming together to make this happen. Thank you to all of them.

I'm pleased to learn that unpaid carers in England who are the primary
carer of someone who is clinically vulnerable can now register for a
vaccine using the National Booking Service or by calling 119. There's more
information on the Carers UK website [11].

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Contacting Me

If you are a local resident and need help with case work or to find out more about my activities locally please do contact me at the office of: Caroline Lucas MP, Brighton Media Centre 15-17 Middle Street, Brighton BN1 1AL.
Tel: 01273 201 130. Email: [email protected]

I hold regular surgeries across the constituency. If you would like to book an appointment at a forthcoming surgery please call Liz Collis on 01273 201130.
She coordinates my constituency office and is able to help with most local enquiries.

If you would like to know about my parliamentary work please get in touch at the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.
Tel: 020 7219 7025. Email: [email protected]

You can also keep up to date with my news on:

Twitter: @carolinelucas

Facebook: /

My Website:

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