Once again this week the Conservatives are in chaos over Boris Johnson and his government’s lockdown law-breaking. As the Prime Minister fled to India on Wednesday, he left behind a party turning itself in knots over whether to refer him to the Parliamentary Privileges Committee. After a chaotic few days, the government decided to let Labour’s motion pass without a vote to save Conservative MPs from having to reveal their position on the matter. This means the committee will investigate whether the Prime Minister has deliberately lied to Parliament, and we can set the record straight once and for all. In the debate, Labour leader Keir Starmer summed up the mood of the nation towards this law-breaking Prime Minister by describing the situation as a ‘joke’. The contrast could not be clearer: a law-breaking Prime Minister who lies and evades accountability whenever he can versus a Labour leader who has dedicated his life to public service, delivering justice for victims of crime, and upholding the law.
As I write, more police fines are being issued for another party held in Downing Street during the first lockdown in May 2020, which the Prime Minister also attended.
As this Conservative government is mired in scandal and fails to face up to the biggest issues facing our country – the cost of living crisis, spiralling NHS waiting times, and rising crime – I have been getting on with campaigning for Birmingham residents on their behalf.
Campaigning for action on dangerous cladding
As MPs debated the Building Safety Bill on Wednesday, I was proud to join the ‘End Our Cladding Scandal’ protest outside Parliament.
Accompanied by BrumLag and HemLag, along with campaigners across the country, we sent a powerful message to the Government.
Nearly five years since the Grenfell tragedy, it is a scandal that thousands of families are still trapped in unsafe, unsellable homes that they bear no blame for, yet could be forced to pay thousands to repair.
I have campaigned to protect leaseholders from exorbitant cladding remediation costs at every stage of this Bill, and I voted on Wednesday again to do just that. Sadly, the Conservatives voted against Labour’s amendments that would have ensured all leaseholders, irrespective of circumstance, are protected from paying for a crisis they didn’t cause.
As I said to campaigners at the rally, MPs would not be able to do their work without brilliant activists like the leaseholders at Hemisphere Apartments in my constituency. We did not get what we wanted on Wednesday, but this campaign has made some great gains along the way. Labour will continue to demand justice for every blameless individual caught up in this scandal.
My five tests for the Foreign Secretary
Today I wrote a piece for the Times about the government's forthcoming (and long overdue) International Development Strategy.
While wars rage in Africa, the Middle East and now Europe, the world is still reeling from the pandemic and climate breakdown accelerates daily, an ambitious International Development Strategy is needed now more than ever. Britain’s world-leading development expertise is vital to help prevent future conflicts, pandemics and refugee crises. Yet at a time of multiple massive global challenges, £4.6 billion cuts to overseas aid has left Britain less safe, less secure and sidelined on the world stage.
If the International Development Strategy is to restore Britain's role in the world and deliver for the British people, it must rise to the occasion and pass five basic tests.
Two weeks to polling day!
Over the past few weeks I have been delivering leaflets and knocking on doors alongside our fantastic local Labour candidates for the council elections taking place on Thursday 5th May.
Across Harborne, Edgbaston, Quinton and Bartley Green, constituents are telling me they are sick of this government acting like it’s one rule for them, and another for everyone else. We need action on the cost of living, on record NHS waiting times, and to tackle antisocial behaviour that has been blighting our neighbourhoods.
In these elections, our local Labour candidates are standing on a plan to keep our streets cleaner, make our communities safer and give our children a better future.
This means keeping weekly waste collections and Mobile Household Recycling Centres to get rid of your bulky waste for free; bringing extra investment into Birmingham to create 100,000 new jobs; upgrading our council houses to make them greener and cheaper to heat; investing in youth services to tackle knife crime and get young people into work; and making sure every community in Birmingham benefits from the Commonwealth Games.
These elections are opportunity to send a clear message to the Conservatives and elect Labour councillors who are on your side and will work tirelessly on the issues that matter most.
If you are a constituent and would like to get involved, to lend some spare time you may have between now and May 5th, please get in touch.
Preet Kaur Gill MP
Birmingham Edgbaston covering Bartley Green, Edgbaston, Harborne and Quinton