Weekly Round-Up :: 05 May 2023

On Tuesday, MPs and members of the House of Lords gathered in Westminster Hall for a reception with Their Majesties the King and the Queen Consort ahead of the Coronation. While the Royal Family stays above the party-political challenges, they both have significant interests in our areas of work. The King is particularly interested in the environment and agriculture and through his charitable organisations, community and youth events. The Queen Consort has supported the work of domestic abuse organisations and charities supporting literacy. We also had a chance to view the Speaker’s State Coach, on display in Westminster Hall, which was historically used in past Coronations and of course, the Hall itself has a long history of being used for State banquets and Coronation celebrations.
On Wednesday it was a pleasure to meet with students of the South Bristol Skills Academy who visited Parliament for a tour. It is always great to welcome young people to Parliament. I think it is easier for them to connect with the work that we MPs do when they can see where we work and can learn something about the way that Parliament functions. Please do get in contact if you are interested in tours, as community groups or schools.

I was able to attend the Tearfund drop-in this week for the Rubbish Campaign to find out about the impact of plastic pollution on the poorest people in the world. I encourage everyone to join with the communities, churches, and individuals and pledge to cut their use of single-use plastics for a month. Some of the statistics are truly shocking; 2 billion people have no safe way to dispose of rubbish and are forced to live and work among piles of waste, releasing toxic fumes, flooding communities, and causing up to 1 million deaths a year. 1 million people die because they are exposed to rubbish. It’s sometimes hard to imagine how we here in the UK can help people living in poverty on the other side of the world, but this is a change we can make. Single-use plastics are poisoning our earth and those living in poverty around the world are the ones paying for it. Let’s pledge our support and reduce to soon eliminate our use of single-use plastics.

I was pleased to speak in a Westminster Hall debate on branded medicines and the Government’s “Life Sciences Vision” that looks to invest further in research into and innovative treatments for neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, and respiratory diseases as well as obesity, ageing and mental health. It is important that we work to improve patient access to medicines and to support research into innovative medical treatments. We have some fantastic researchers coming through our universities, but we are not converting that base into the high-skill, high-wage, high-productivity economy that will lead in the field of life sciences research and will ensure that the NHS and the taxpayer are given transparency and accountability.

This Thursday we had the local elections across large parts of England and canvassed in Swindon and South Gloucestershire to support our Labour colleagues there. I was delighted to see such good results for Labour candidates which will only benefit their local residents. The cost-of-living crisis and the challenges facing the NHS were key issues raised on the doorstep. A Labour Government will work to help alleviate the pressures on working people that inflation and stagnating wages have brought to ensure that families are not left wondering how to feed and clothe their children and children are not put under the enormous strain of going to school hungry. We want to see an NHS that people are confident will be there for them in their most difficult times and they will not be stuck waiting for an ambulance.

If there are issues you want to raise with me as your local MP, please get in touch by emailing Karin.smyth.mp@parliament.uk or by calling 0117 953 3575.