From Caroline Lucas <[email protected]>
Subject Latest Newsletter
Date October 17, 2021 3:35 PM
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Green Party mailing

I know many of you will be very worried at the prospect of sharp rises in
energy bills because of the gas crisis. The Government's pledge to protect
consumers from higher prices would be more credible if the Tories hadn't
spent the last 10 years doing nothing to address energy demand by, for
example, supporting better home insulation, and it was astonishing that the
Energy Minister made no mention of energy efficiency in his statement to
Parliament. I raised this with the Minister in the Commons, asking why so
little had been done to make people's homes more energy efficient. Our
exchange is here [1].

I had another chance to question Kwasi Kwarteng [2] the following day over
why the Government is refusing to rule out development of the Cambo oil
field, which flies in the face of scientific evidence and warnings from the
International Energy Agency that there must be no new oil and gas if we're
to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C. The Government's refusal to "walk
the talk" on fossil fuels sends a terrible message to other countries on
the eve of the COP26 climate summit.


On the subject of COP26, I'm delighted to have helped secure a backbench
debate in Parliament on limiting global heating to 1.5C and pushing for the
transformative change we need. It takes place on Thursday.

If COP26 is to be a success, it must focus on climate justice - justice for
the global south, for communities on the frontline of climate impacts,
indigenous communities at daily risk trying to protect their environment,
and for women and girls who face a disproportionate impact from climate
breakdown. I joined Helen Pankhurst in front of the statue of suffragist
Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square, to highlight the need for gender
justice in climate negotiations.


The best response to the climate crisis would be a Green New Deal. I was
excited to join law makers from around the world for the first (virtual)
meeting of the Global Alliance for a Green New Deal, discussing strategies
to transform our societies and economies to address the climate, nature and
inequality crises.


I also took the lead in writing a letter, signed by 85 MPs and peers from
all main political parties, to the Governor of the Bank of England urging
him to align UK finance with the Government's own climate goals. The Bank
of England is tasked with overseeing Britain's financial system and needs
to use its new green mandate to help steer billions of pounds of finance
away from fossil fuel investments and towards green, job-creating
alternatives. You can read my comment piece about the issue here [3].


I wasn't surprised at the findings of the parliamentary select committees'
utterly damning report into the Government's handling of Covid. As Vice
Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus, I've been trying
to hold ministers to account for their failings for the past 18 months.
What is deeply worrying is not only their attempt to shift the blame on to
scientists, but their evasiveness over the utter lack of preparedness for a
pandemic. I've been asking ministers [4] about Exercise Alice, a
preparedness exercise held in 2016, and why the report on it has not been
published. I'm being fobbed off with answers saying publication would
"prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs". Rubbish - it would
more likely expose the shambles at the heart of government.


I've written before about the Elections Bill, which deliberately suppresses
the vote in a dangerous assault on our democracy. The original bill was bad
enough, but it has now been amended so that the only elections in England
which aren't run on the deeply unfair first-past-the-post system (for
mayors and police commissioners) are being brought into line. I spoke out
against this change in Parliament - you can read my speech here. [5]


The Government's disastrous proposals to sweep aside planning laws have
been opposed by communities across the country. It's right that Ministers
have been forced to reconsider them because of the threat they pose to
nature and wildlife. I have tabled an Early Day Motion [6] raising the
threat posed to a planned Sussex Nature Recovery Area from a proposed
development allocation. If we are to tackle the climate crisis and protect
30% land for nature by 2030, as the Government has pledged, planning policy
has to be aligned with climate and nature goals.


The Government's response to the Afghanistan crisis has been one of
back-pedalling, chaos and failure to grasp its scale and severity. Afghan
nationals who'd been awarded Chevening scholarships to study in the UK were
finally brought to safety, but many were not able to bring close family
members with them and they are now at extreme risk, as the Guardian
reported [7]. When I try to raise this with the Government, I'm met with
deafening silence. The Home Office needs to move much faster and widen the
definition of "close family" so that these scholars' family members can
reach safety. I also spoke about this on Radio 4's Today programme.


I was delighted to take part in an assembly organised by Brighton and Hove
Citizens, focusing on the issue of mental health. The pandemic has exposed
the impact of years of under-funding under the coalition government and,
since then, by the Tories - funding for children's services has fallen by a
third since 2010, while referrals have gone up. I know from my constituency
correspondence and surgeries how distressing this is for families. I was
pleased to agree to work with others in the city to lobby for more national
funding for mental health services, as well as to help build a national
campaign to ensure that every child in full time education has access to an
appropriately qualified mental health counsellor.


I was very honoured to be invited to cut the ribbon at the opening of the
GB MET' [8]s redeveloped Central Brighton campus. GB MET and other colleges
like them in Brighton do brilliant work, offering a range of opportunities
to help students fulfil their ambitions.

Some of the courses offered by GB MET and other sixth form colleges are
BTECs, a valuable qualification which the Government wants to scrap so
students have to choose between A levels and T levels. I joined 117 other
MPs and peers writing to the new Education Secretary to urge him to think
again - scrapping BTECs would reduce choice and do nothing to close the
skills gap or improve social mobility. You can read the letter here. [9]


It's been very distressing to see the impact the bin strike has had on our
city. MPs don't have any formal role in decisions that fall within the
control of Brighton and Hove City Council but, along with the city's other
MPs, I'm in regular touch with the Council's Chief Executive and have
echoed the calls being made by Green councillors for him to redouble
efforts to find solutions to the issue that led to the strike action being

I know just how vital bin collections are, and how serious the impacts of
service disruptions are on residents, and I'm continuing to speak with
representatives at the local authority to do what I can to encourage
ongoing dialogue to attempt to break the current deadlock. I'm pleased that
it now appears that the Council has a possible way forward after Greens and
Labour worked together on solutions at a recent Policy and Resources
committee. I've written a blog about the strike and its impact on my
website [10].


I was deeply shocked to hear of the fatal stabbing of David Amess MP during
a constituency surgery, the second violent death of an MP in little more
than five years. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

It's rightly raised questions about MPs' security, particularly during
constituency events. I will follow the advice I'm given by the police but
remain committed to holding face-to-face surgeries whenever possible.
Meeting constituents and discussing their problems is a vital part of an
MP's role and one that none of us would want to give up.

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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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