Over the last week, we have seen Conservative leadership candidates who, are hoping to replace Boris Johnson as PM, promise more than £330 billion in giveaways. That’s roughly double the annual budget of the NHS. Sadly, they haven’t yet found time to explain how they’re paying for it.
These are candidates who have backed and have been a part of the last 12 years of Conservative Governments’ policies which have damaged Britain’s economy, leading to current low wages and to a huge drop in living standards. It’s time for a fresh start and a Labour Government.
Working with National Express to improve women’s safety
Women’s safety on public transport is crucial yet if you speak to any woman, they will likely have a story about when they have felt unsafe, vulnerable or worse on public transport. In fact, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner’s Women’s safety survey, conducted in 2021, found that 67% of respondents had felt unsafe on a bus, and 43% had felt unsafe in a taxi. 80% of respondents had expressed feeling unsafe following incidents such as cat calling, wolf whistling, up skirting or inappropriate behaviour, 93% did not report this to the police. These are some shocking statistics. It shouldn't be the case that only 2% of victims go on to report sexual harassment on public transport.
With this in mind, I was delighted to catch up with Daljit Kalirai from National Express to discuss the work that is taking place to improve things on our bus network and hear about some of the measures being put in place. I was also able to ask about how we can work together with schools to change perceptions of careers in transport and seek to inspire young girls into the broad and varied careers available in transport.
Home Secretary forced into embarrassing climbdown
It took 19 weeks, but finally I have had a response from Government on the Home Secretary’s inflammatory remarks comparing Sikh groups to far-right terrorists. Priti Patel didn’t have the decency to respond herself though and her minister as much as admits she had no evidence to back her claims.
Nearly three months ago I wrote to the Home Secretary to ask her to account for her remarks in a speech to a US think-tank. I took this up after over 150 Sikh organisations had written with their concerns to Government and been stonewall ignored.
The Home Secretary’s insinuation that there are British Sikh groups that pose a threat tantamount to antisemitic terrorist orgs was very serious. As I pointed out, a report on Sikh extremism commissioned and cited by her own dept suggests otherwise.
The minister’s response puts the record straight and represents an embarrassing climbdown from the Home Secretary’s rhetoric. He offers no defence or evidence for her claims, and even admits that the Home Office doesn’t collect data on Prevent referrals by ethnicity or religion.
Priti Patel should not be waging these divisive political attacks on the Sikh community with no evidence to back them up. We have already seen what this can lead to with the West Midlands 3. The Home Secretary should apologise for her divisive, unevidenced remarks.
The Commonwealth Games in our Constituency
In just two weeks’ time, our constituency will be playing its part in hosting the Commonwealth Games. This is an exciting opportunity for Birmingham and will see the creation of 20,000 jobs, huge investment and will put the eyes of 1.5 billion people firmly on our city. I am excited to witness the future legacy of these Games.
Consequently, there will be a temporary impact on residents. With the University of Birmingham, Edgbaston Cricket Ground and many other excellent venues in the constituency acting as hosts to sporting events and athletes, there will be some disruption. I will be writing to residents directly who will see the greatest impact with specific information – if you want to see in advance how you may be affected, including whether you need to apply for a Local Access Parking Permit, please follow this link which will provide you with some of the necessary information https://www.birmingham2022.com/getset/birmingham/.
You can also check out the marathon route that has been designed to allow as many residents as possible to see a Commonwealth Games event for free. You can view the route here: https://www.birmingham2022.com/getset/birmingham/marathon
Preet Kaur Gill MP
Birmingham Edgbaston covering Bartley Green, Edgbaston, Harborne and Quinton