Last Friday we heard the tragic news that our friend and colleague, Jack Dromey, passed away. This came as a huge shock to so many, including myself.
After being elected in 2017, Jack was the person who took me under his wing providing support and regularly checking in on how I was doing. If ever I felt the imposter syndrome Jack had the ability to put me at ease and always pushing me to be my absolute best.
Jack had a remarkable ability to bring people together. Following the tragic death of my constituent Dea-John Reid, Jack and I went to visit his mother where he was a tower of strength. At the vigil mourners approached Jack and the care he displayed was a symbol of his kindness.
I was shocked to hear of his sudden death. I had seen him days before. He was a fantastic constituency MP, of the people for the people. Jack's passing is a devastating loss to the labour movement, Birmingham as the city he endlessly served, and to all who knew him.
Taken far too soon. I, like so many, will miss him dearly.
The party is over. Boris Johnson must resign.
This week Boris Johnson has admitted that he attended an illegal party at the height of the first Covid lockdown. This is nothing short of an insult to all the people that diligently followed the rules.
Boris Johnson saw 50 people with wine and snacks and did nothing about it. It is utterly ridiculous to claim that he had no idea he was at a Party. Bereaved families, our key workers and all those that diligently followed the rules have been insulted enough by the Prime Minister’s lack of truthfulness and the constant stream of revelations about his conduct.
Now, Boris Johnson has had to apologise for his actions to Buckingham Palace. This shows just how seriously Boris Johnson has degraded the office of Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister broke his own COVID laws. He must do the right thing and resign. If you agree, add your name to our petition to tell Boris Johnson that he must go.
For me, global vaccine access is an issue that will define 2022 and the way this pandemic is remembered in history. That’s why it was an honour to debate this vital topic in Parliament yesterday.
From the very start of the pandemic, Labour and I have been clear that achieving global vaccine equity is a moral and economic imperative.
Yet the government has failed time and again to answer the calls from our partners abroad, and the result is a catastrophic disparity between the countries that have, and the countries that have not.
The facts speak for themselves. While in the West 70% of adults have received a vaccination, many people in the world’s poorest areas are yet to receive a single dose.
Nowhere is the ‘Covid divide’ clearer to see than in Africa, where in many countries immunisation rates are below even 1% and three in four healthcare workers across the continent are yet to receive a single dose.
The EU, UK and US received more doses in the last six weeks of 2021 than African countries received all year.
We know how desperately important it is to get jabs into arms from our own struggles with the pandemic, and we of course encourage everyone to get their jabs as soon as they can, where they have not already. It is the way we beat this virus.
Yet why is it that when it comes to the rest of the world, we lagged behind the US, France, Germany, Italy, Canada for doses donated to low- and middle-income countries last year?
We know from painful experience that viruses evolve and mutate; our country’s heroic efforts in the fight against Covid have been seriously set back not once, but twice now, with the emergence of the more transmissible Delta and Omicron variants.
Neither of those variants originated in the UK, yet once they arrived here, they quickly swept the country. It is why it is so important that our fight against Covid is a global one.
We know, with great sadness, that another strain of this deadly virus will emerge if we continue down our current path.
And as Gordon Brown so rightly pointed out: ‘the grim truth remains that until no one anywhere lives in fear, then everyone everywhere lives in fear”.
This evening, Radio 4’s ‘Any Questions’ will be live from St Mary’s Parish Church in Handsworth. I will be joining tonight’s panel alongside Nadra Ahmed, Chair of the National Care Association, Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, founder of The Black Farmer range of food products and Chris Philp MP for Croydon South.
You can listen live from 8pm where I will be answering questions from the audience.