Mum’s (name) is the word: My Week: 30th October to 6th November
This week I’ve had the most exciting week so far, as I introduced my first bill! I’ve introduced the Bill to make marriage certificates more equitable and include the name of the mother of the bride and groom as well as the father. This information is already included on civil partnership certificates and I hope to have cross-party support to pass this through. The debate and reading of my Bill will be introduced on the 4th December.
In other Chamber news, Monday was the first test of the Government’s English Votes for English Laws bill, so for the debate on the Housing Bill I was not present in the Chamber, as I wasn’t allowed to vote on the main parts of the Bill. I was permitted to vote on one amendment which would affect the funding for Government changes, which I voted against.
On Tuesday I was back in the Chamber as PPS to the Justice team during questions to Michael Gove. Jenny Chapman did a great job questioning the Secretary of State over the need of a new approach to address the danger of being in prison. What Jenny asked was spot on, ‘Is it not time that he took a fundamentally new approach?’
Prime Minister’s Questions was on Wednesday where David Cameron again still couldn’t give a certain answer to a straightforward question on tax credits. He also proved that he wants to do anything but talk about the NHS. He can’t answer whether NHS waiting lists or deficits are rising faster, but what is certainly rising faster than all that is anger against him!
On Thursday I was unfortunately not able to make the Backbench Business debate on the Dog Meat Trade. However, I completely agree with Nick Thomas-Symonds, the Labour MP for Torfaen when he said, ‘that there are two aspects to tackling this problem – first, persuading some countries to make the dog meat trade illegal; and secondly, putting pressure on countries where the trade is illegal to enforce the law.’
On Friday the 6th I stayed in London to take part in Nick Thomas-Symonds’ Private Members Bill about Off Patent Drugs. Due to the Government’s shameful tactics we as a party had to withdraw all our names from the list in an attempt to make sure the Bill came through to a vote. I intervened to point out that the off-patent drugs have, ‘no route to market. The Bill will fix this anomaly.’ Unfortunately, due to the shameful acts of the Health Minister Alistair Burt who openly admitted he was going to talk the bill out of time, we couldn’t vote on the Bill. It is a shameful act by the Government.
Out and about around the constituency
On Friday I visited the Welsh Area Fire Engine Restoration Society (Wafers) which has just received a £5000 grant from the Big Lottery fund to keep it open. I went to see the work that Wafers does and to present them with the cheque. The grant will help Wafers continue its excellent work protecting and restoring fire engine equipment from the past.
Friday evening we held our Neath CLP new members event. It was great to see the office full of people and mingling with each other. Many thanks to our fantastic chefs Cllr. Sheila Penry, Mayoress Jan Lockyer and new member Leanne Jones who kept us all well fed during the evening!
Saturday I spent out in a cloudy Pontardawe knocking doors in support of Jeremy Miles once again. We were joined by a dedicated group of campaigners and had some great responses to the early days of Jeremy’s campaign.
I spoke in Stephen Pound’s Wesminster Hall Tuesday morning during a debate on prosecuting corporate economic crime. There were great contributions by all, especially Stephen Pound who was right to raise the debate in the first place as economic crime is on the increase and fraud remains a hidden crime. I pressured the government that we, ‘need new methods to combat economic crime, but we also need new resources.’
Weekdays around Westminster
On Monday, before the House started sitting for the week, I attended the rally held by Unite to protest against the Trade Union Bill. This week the government is bringing forward the third reading of the Trade Union Bill their ideological attack on Trade Unions to stop the workers’ voices being heard. I will be in the Chamber for the bill to vote against it, the Tories will definitely hear my voice!