My first ever ‘Ask Me Anything’ session will be held on my Facebook & Twitter pages at 5.30 – 6.30 pm on Tuesday 5th June 2013 . I will be online, waiting to give live answers to questions from anyone who posts on my Facebook or Twitter pages during the hour.
The intention is to give all the people of Birmingham Northfield the opportunity to ask a Member of Parliament any question about what I do, think, enjoy, hate, and am interested in, that they would like to know the answer to. From my favourite bands, sports, movies, or books, to what it is like working in the Houses of Parliament, to what is the strangest or most surreal thing I’ve seen, to what I love most about being your MP, this is everyone’s chance to ask. Please get in touch, and I look forward to starting the conversation!
Fertility problems affect one in seven couples in the UK. NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (known previously as Primary Care Trusts) decide who is eligible to receive funding for fertility treatment. In South Birmingham, the present CCG guidelines dictate that couples are not eligible for funding for fertility treatment where one partner has a child from a previous relationship.
The Department of Health has commissioned the leading fertility patient support organisation, Infertility Network UK, to produce advice for NHS commissioners in England about standardising eligibility for fertility treatment. The aim is to ensure CCGs provide fertility services which are transparent, fair and consistent across the country. Infertility Network UK have made the following recommendation:
“PCTs should move towards a position where funding is available for those who do not have a living child, including couples where one partner is childless. As investment in fertility services increases, funding may be available for IVF where both partners have a child/children from a previous relationship, but not from the current relationship.”
At the State opening of Parliament last week, Her Majesty presented the Government’s priorities for the year ahead. Outlined in just eight minutes, the Coalition’s programme of work included bills on issues from immigration to local audits. But something rather big was missing. The economy.
On Wednesday, we saw that there are precisely 200 more young people in our community long term unemployed than was the case in 2011.The economy has grown by just over 1% since 2010. I’m tired of hearing that there is no alternative to austerity. We can rebuild the economy – we need to fix jobs and youth unemployment, tackle the broken financial system, and create local growth and innovation. What did I hear last week in Westminster? A Government eerily quiet on the problem.
For the last two years I have been raising concerns about Formula 1′s decision to go ahead with the Bahrain Grand Prix at a time when there are such profound issues with the country’s human rights record, and when the race has been a focus for discontent. I was therefore surprised to read two articles on the UK Embassy in Bahrain’s website giving a very one sided and – I thought – questionable picture of freedom of expression in Bahrain. Knowing I receive a lot of representations about the situation in Bahrain, I wanted to share the questions I asked, and the responses I received from the Minister at Foreign and Commonwealth Office, on my website.
On Monday and Tuesday next week (20th & 21st May) the House of Commons will debate and vote on the Report Stage and Third Reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.
I have received many letters and emails – both for and against the Bill – urging me to vote one way or another.
Marriage is an important means through which couples can publicly make a long term commitment to each other and have that commitment recognised by the state. I believe that gay and lesbian couples should be able to make that commitment and have it recognised, just as heterosexual couples do now. It therefore follows, that I support the right of gay and lesbian people to marry.