This week, I voted to crack down on smuggler gangs, make it easier to stop trafficking, and safeguard vulnerable children.
Tory Ministers, however, voted against all of those measures, proving something that we have known for a long time: the Illegal Migration Bill is a con. It won’t tackle criminal gangs or deter small boats – instead, it will make it harder to get international return agreements, harder to prosecute trafficking and smuggler gangs, and it will lock up children, pregnant women and torture victims.
There is nothing in the Bill to tackle the smuggling gangs that threaten our border security and put lives at risk. That’s why Labour put forward an amendment to strengthen the capacity of the NCA to tackle organised immigration crime, and to establish a specific Cross-Border People Smuggling Unit to disrupt the gangs and prevent more dangerous crossings.
Labour believes in strong border security and a properly managed and controlled asylum system so the UK does our bit alongside other countries to help those fleeing persecution and conflict.
Labour has a five-point plan to reform the asylum system. We will:
1. Crack down on criminal smuggler gangs, through a new Cross-Border Police Unit
2. Clear the backlog and end hotel use
3. Reform resettlement routes to stop people being exploited by gangs
4. Sign a new agreement with France and other countries on returns and family reunion
5. Tackle humanitarian crises at source and help refugees in their region
This week, I shared my thoughts on being a woman MP with Centenary Action.
I'm so proud to be the first female Sikh MP, the fourth woman to represent Edgbaston, and the 480th woman MP ever elected.
The most important thing that women MPs bring to politics is our whole selves; our lived experience, our diverse voices and our diverse journeys. It’s also, of course, that we represent half of the population.
Read the rest of my piece here:
This week, I chaired a Cross Party Reference Group meeting about the latest patient safety review of University Hospitals Birmingham.
The meeting was arranged after a follow-up to the initial Bewick review was published. It was positive to hear that progress has been made, although it’s also clear that there’s a lot of work still to do. The culture review is still ongoing, and the next test will be to see if its recommendations are successfully implemented and embedded.
There were three findings in the latest Bewick report that have been particularly worrying:
Concerns over GMC referrals and the overall processes around this in place at the Trust;
Concerns over the integrity of data entry in cardiac surgery;
Concerns over allegations of misogynistic behaviour and sexual harassment.
I will make sure that these issues are addressed.
As chair of the Cross Party Reference Group, I will continue to support these reviews into patient safety. We will carry on raising concerns, asking questions, bringing together local voices, and collaborating with the Trust to ensure a successful transition to a reformed UHB.
Meeting with NEU members
It was great to meet with local NEU members this week. The work that teachers do is invaluable, and I am always impressed by the standard of schools in the constituency.
I know that teachers are striking right now. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Labour will strengthen the teaching profession and re-establish it as a career that is respected and valued.
We will also:
End the recruitment and retention crisis that is doing so much damage to standards in schools
Recruit over 6,500 more teachers to ensure every child has an excellent specialist teacher in their classroom
Teach a broader curriculum to set children up for work and for life.
There is an ongoing sham consultation between the Government and rail companies over plans to close down ticket offices in train stations. So, this week, I have been fighting to keep our ticket offices open in Five Ways and University Station.
This week, I wrote to the Government and West Midlands Trains on behalf of my constituents. I am deeply worried about the impact that this will have on my elderly and disabled constituents, the staff employed in my constituency, and all those who rely on the support and advice provided by staff in ticket offices.
It’s vital that all passengers can use our rail network with assurance and confidence.
The Government must scrap its plans to cut staff and close our ticket offices.
This week, I met with Transport for West Midlands to discuss investment into improving connectivity along the Hagley Road corridor. I know that currently journey times are too long. I will always push for better transport links between the constituency and the city centre.
Next Wednesday, 19th July, residents are invited to the next Edgbaston Ward Forum Meeting from 7pm – 9pm at Edgbaston Community Centre, Woodview Drive, B15 2HR. Matters to be discussed include the Ward Action Plan, local funding opportunities that community and voluntary groups can apply for, highways, local updates and residents’ news.
Next Week, the Mobile Household Recycling Centre will be visiting The Holloway, Bartley Green, B31 1TR, on Tuesday 18th July, and Richmond Hill Road, Edgbaston, B15 3RJ, on Wednesday 19th July. Please come along if you're local and have bulky household waste to dispose of.
Preet Kaur Gill MP
Birmingham Edgbaston covering Bartley Green, Edgbaston, Harborne and Quinton