Probably the best Christmas present any of us could have asked for was for a licensed vaccine. Well we now have one and it is fantastic news. I am sure we all want to extend our heartfelt thanks to the world-leading scientists and those who have taken part in trials.
There’s a big challenge ahead of us now, though. This Government has completely failed to deliver an adequate test and trace system. We need to hope that they can successfully work through the logistics of delivering a vaccine fairly, quickly and safely.
We also need to ensure the highest levels of public confidence in the vaccine. Labour is calling on the Government to work with us to bring forward emergency legislation to counter vaccine dis-information, and to introduce financial penalties for companies that fail to act.
There is hope and light at the end of this tunnel but I know from the emails I am receiving from local businesses, self-employed people and those who have recently lost their jobs that things are really tough right now. The Government has not got the support schemes right; a point I made quite vociferously on Politics Live this week (see below). You can be assured that I will continue to constructively challenge, push and cajole the Government on behalf of residents here.
Cladding scandal continues
This week I wrote again to the Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government about the cladding scandal affecting many residents in our constituency. I wrote after the Spending Review, in which the Chancellor of the Exchequer failed to make any reference to this ongoing crisis. Residents of 344 apartments in Hemisphere Apartments, near the cricket ground, are still living in a building covered in unsafe non-ACM cladding. Constituents are paying an eye watering amount – nearly £5000 a week – for waking watches. Efforts being made to help residents like those in the Hemisphere apartments are simply too slow. You can read my letter here.
Patchwork MP of the Year!
I was completely delighted to have won the MP of the Year award from the Patchwork Foundation who do remarkable work in providing opportunities to those from disadvantaged and minority backgrounds. Since first being elected in 2017, I have sought to use every opportunity to speak up for our young people and empower them to take action on the issues that matter most to them.
I believe it is vital that MPs use their positions to amplify the voices of the underrepresented communities they serve in parliament, and it’s that ethos that guides the work I do.
Preet speaks up for overseas aid
Last week I challenged the Government on its decision to row back from its commitment to spend 0.7% of Government GNI on overseas aid. I reminded the Government that this decision removed any credibility the UK has as a force for good in the world, and made it harder for us to pursue our national interest and create a safer, healthier, fairer and better world for us all. You can see my speech here.
Don’t forget to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
I just want to remind EU residents living here to get their applications in to the EU Settlement Scheme. I have been in contact with a charity called Settled – they provide free and useful information to EU citizens in the UK and they also offer help to people trying to get settled status. They offer their support in many European languages. You can contact them by email email@example.com or visit settled.org.uk for more information and contact options.
Preet on Politics Live
There was a wide ranging debate on Politics Live – the economy, Christmas, vaccinations and more. You can watch my contributions here.