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Articles about ‘News’

Raising Issue of Illegal Traveller Encampments in Parliament

This week I raised this issue with the Government. As many constituents will personally know, this has been a persistent problem across the constituency in recent months. You can see my question and the Government’s response here:

Traveller Encampments

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Many of you will have seen an increase in the number of travellers in areas of the constituency in recent months, often accompanied by anti-social behaviour and unauthorised encampments. These encampments can create huge amounts of mess and result in local residents being threatened with verbal and other abuse. This is not acceptable.

In the last week we have seen a new encampment on West Heath Park and today another in Kings Norton. I have been assured that the encampment on West Heath Park will be evicted tomorrow. Each time an encampment is brought to my attention I have got on to both the Council and, where crime and/or anti-social behaviour is reported, to the Police, to press for them to use the powers available to them to move the encampments on.

Too often the police and council undertake evictions, only for travellers to pop up 5 minutes down the road. That is why I am pressing the Council and Police to jointly review their responses over recent months and to consider whether a more strategic approach could secure better long term results.

In the meantime, however, remember that the Police can only act if incidents are reported to them. So if you see any violent, anti-social or threatening behaviour please do contact the police as quickly as possible on 101.

Great Get Together this Saturday, Remembering Jo Cox MP

This Friday marks one year since my friend Jo Cox MP was murdered. Across the country this weekend millions of people will be remembering Jo’s life and work in street parties and other community events. These will all be demonstrating in practice the integrity and words that will forever be associated with Jo, ‘we have more in common than that which divides us.’

Northfield Arts Forum are organising a local Great Get Together this Saturday 17th June on Weoley Castle Square between 10.00 and 14.00. See the advert below.

If you can come, it would be great to see you there.

You can see more information about the Great Get Together here.

Jo Cox Get Together

Election 2017: My Position on Animal Welfare Issues

Below is a round up of some of the animal welfare issues at this election. As you may already know, this is an issue I’ve done a lot of work on as an MP and you can see my record here. It is because of that record and my stances on animal welfare that I have just been endorsed and supported by Sir Ranulph Fiennes. I hope you feel able to support me too.

Fox Hunting
During the course of the campaign, Theresa May made clear she is no friend of foxes when she pledged to repeal the ban on fox hunting. To me, this pledge just shows how out of touch the Conservatives are with ordinary people. A recent poll showed 9 in 10 people support the ban. In my view, seeing a pack of animals rip a fox to pieces isn’t a sport and it isn’t a priority for our country.

I was a strong supporter of the Hunting Act when it was passed in 2004 by Labour in government. I will campaign and vote against any attempt to bring back this barbaric practice.

Ivory Ban
It’s not just Conservative plans to repeal fox hunting that have left local residents feeling irate, many people have been in touch about the Conservatives dropping their 2015 pledge to ban ivory trading. I share everyone’s disappointment, it seems the Tories under Theresa May are happy to go backwards on so many environmental issues just when it seemed we’d arrived at a clear consensus. Elephants are iconic animals vital for African and Asian eco-systems, but it seems the Conservatives would rather bow to the interests of ivory collectors.

Increasing Sentences for Animal Abusers
I am proud that Labour have made commitments for ever greater animal protections in our manifesto. This includes increasing the maximum sentence for those convicted of committing animal cruelty from sixth months to five years. Labour MPs led by Anna Turley previously tried to pass this into law back in February, only for Conservatives to block the attempt. It is now an official Labour pledge and one a future Labour Government would deliver to make the punishment fit the crime.

Labour: Sustainability and the Environment
Here is a link to the Leading Richer Lives chapter of Labour’s manifesto, which outlines our action plan for the environment, animal welfare, transport and local communities: http://www.labour.org.uk/index.php/manifesto2017/leading-richer-lives
As well as championing more sustainable fishing and farming practices, protecting bees and planting a million native tree species, a Labour Government are committed to:
–       Prohibit the third-party sale of puppies
–       Introduce and enforce a total ban on ivory trading
–       Delivering on the ban on wild animals in circuses which the Tories keep delaying
–       Maintaining bans on fox hunting, deer hunting and hare coursing
–       Passing a Clean Air Act to mitigate the illegal air quality crisis which the Conservatives have allowed to choke our towns and cities.

It is on this basis that I ask for your support as I seek re-election to be Birmingham Northfield’s local, independently-minded and trusted Member of Parliament. I hope you feel able to support me on June 8th.

 

Birmingham’s Labour MPs Fight Back Against Conservative Apprenticeship Cuts

Last month, all of Birmingham’s further education colleges and Birmingham City University were told by the Conservative Government that they could no longer offer apprenticeships to local people. This would set us and the people of our city back, stifling opportunity, preventing people from getting training and jobs, as well as hampering the hard work of our colleges and universities.

Along with other Labour Birmingham MPs, I have been working hard to get this changed and have been writing to and meeting with the Government to press them to reverse this decision. I’m glad to say that our pressure has paid off and the Government have announced that they are reconsidering. They have already assured us that South and City College will now able to offer apprenticeships again and that other colleges will be reviewed quickly.

Unfortunately, though, the Conservatives have past form on this and it is telling of their priorities that they were willing to let this happen to our region in the first place. Just last year they planned to cut some apprenticeship funding by up to 50%. But with the support of other Labour MPs, I helped force them to u-turn on that. I was relieved when we achieved that last year and am relieved that we have been successful again this time. It shows what Birmingham’s Labour MPs can achieve for our city when we work together.