From Preet Kaur Gill MP <[email protected]>
Subject Here's your weekly update John
Date November 11, 2021 4:12 PM
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Dear John,

The appalling saga concerning standards in Parliament has continued this
week with the situation becoming much worse and much more apparent among
Conservative MPs.

The Prime Minister is still refusing to apologise for the handling of the
Owen Patterson access for cash scandal debacle proves that he doesn't care
about tackling the corruption that has engulfed Downing Street. But this
goes much further as we have now found out that Geoffrey Cox MP, the former
Attorney General, has been voting in Parliament remotely from the Caribbean
as he advises the Government of the British Virgin Islands, rather than
properly representing his constituents more than 4,000 miles away.

What is particularly shocking is how we’ve learnt that 50 Conservative
MPs have also raked in over £1.7m in consultancy fees this year alone. At
a time when so many people are struggling financially – mostly due to the
actions and high taxes of this Government – it is unforgiveable.

The debate in the Commons has raised a number of serious questions about
how we maintain standards in public life, and indeed the basics of good
governance in this country, when we have a government that treats such
standards with contempt. They seem determined to keep things as one rule
for them and another rule for everyone else.

For me, I think it’s a question of particular importance to all of us who
believe in and seek to uphold the tenets of our democracy, of accepted
standards and equality. This is why Labour has called on the Parliamentary
Commissioner for Standards, Kathryn Stone, to investigate these questions.


Today, on Armistice Day, people across Edgbaston constituency, including
myself, joined together to pay their respects to those who have made the
ultimate sacrifice to keep us safe both at home and abroad.

This year our armed forces have stepped up to protect us at home and
abroad. From supporting the frontline response to the Covid crisis, to
evacuating 15,000 people from Afghanistan in just two weeks, the UK’s
servicemen and servicewomen continue to play a central role to support and
protect British interests and values.

Remembrance provides an opportunity to reflect on the enduring contribution
of our Armed Forces, in years past and today. Last year the pandemic meant
celebrations had to be scaled back or cancelled. This year, against the
backdrop of the Royal British Legion’s centenary, we can once again come
together to mark the service and sacrifice of our service personnel,
veterans and their families.

On Sunday, I will be joining those from around Birmingham, including the
Lord Mayor, to lay a wreath and pay my respects at the Annual Remembrance
Day Service on Colmore Row in Birmingham city centre.

I was also very proud as Chair of the APPG for British Sikhs, to have
planted a Khanda in the Garden of Remembrance on behalf of the 11th Sikh
Regiment who fought in many battles as part of the British Indian Army
including, the First and Second World War. It was an honour to see their
contribution commemorated and recognised in Parliament.


I spent the beginning of the week in Glasgow attending the COP26 climate
summit. It was fantastic to be able to meet so many people, so dedicated in
making a difference to our planet.

One of the most interesting and important conversations I had was with fair
trade farmers from the Global South. This included Bismark Kpabitey from
Ghana, Rachel Banda from Malawi and Muniraju Shivanna from India. We had
the opportunity to discuss their firsthand experiences of climate impacting
their way of life and the real challenges being faced by producers around
the world. What came through from this was the importance of sticking to
the Paris climate promises from Governments, including the $100bn per year
in climate finance.

During the time I spent in Glasgow, I was also able to meet with former
Prime Minister Gordon Brown. He has always been a strong advocate for
development and global co-operation. One of the big issued we spoke about
was the importance for world leaders to address the deeply disturbing
inequity of vaccine sharing with developing countries.

Finally, I heard from former US President Barrack Obama who was speaking at
the United Nations event. He was right when he says that the world needs to
do more in order to tackle climate change and that the impact of climate
change should transcend politics as we can’t afford to stay where we are.
Much more work still needs to be done to stop global heating.



This week I wrote to Nadine Dorries MP, the Secretary of State for Digital,
Culture, Media and Sport about the proposed sale and privatisation of
Channel 4.

In my view, Channel 4 is a Great British success story and a unique
institution that should be protected. Financially, it is well managed with
advertising revenues and investment from independent production companies
meaning not a single penny of funding comes from the public purse. In fact,
last year Channel 4 recorded an annual surplus of £943 million which is
then reinvested in the UK’s production sector, creating jobs across the
UK and supporting regional production.

Channel 4 is renowned for its efforts to increase diversity and has done
incredible work in this area. If the channel is privatised, we risk losing
a vital champion for diversity in the sector, instead of building on the
progress made so far.

In my letter to the Secretary of State I outlined these concerns,
expressing how the proposed sale could have deep ramifications which would
fundamentally damage the sector and why, following the pandemic, the
Government isn’t doing all it can to try and support this industry?



During the pandemic, we’ve seen unemployment sore across Birmingham and
Edgbaston. But, it’s also made it harder for some people to access
training and support as the Department for Work and Pensions moved some
services online, making it even harder for those without an internet

People looking for work can now apply for six months of free broadband to
help them search for jobs thanks to a new voucher scheme by telecomms
company, TalkTalk, which will give jobseekers across the UK free access to
“high-quality” broadband.

With no contract and no obligation to continue after the six months is up
jobseekers are being offered a voucher for TalkTalk’s Fibre 35 broadband,
which normally costs £23 a month. Usage is uncapped and users will get
wifi connectivity via a home router.

If you're out of work, speak to your Jobcentre Plus work coach if you can
apply as it will be up to them to determine eligibility on a case-by-case
basis. But if you're out of work – particularly if you don't currently
have home broadband – you could be eligible, and this could help you find
your next job.

© 2020 Printed from an email sent by Preet Kaur Gill. Promoted by A.J Webb
on behalf of Preet Kaur Gill, both at 56 Wentworth Road, B17 9TA.
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