The abrupt end to Liz Truss's short, calamitous spell as Prime Minister saw Rishi Sunak enter 10 Downing Street last week. Setting political differences aside, it is important to note the historical significance of the UK having its first British Asian Prime Minister. This is a milestone for the country, and I hope more young people from ethnic minorities will feel inspired to get involved in politics. There is lots more for all political parties to do, but greater diversity in our public life is something we should all encourage.
Whilst many of us will feel relieved to see Liz Truss out of Number 10, Rishi Sunak's track record is just as problematic. As Chancellor, he failed to grow the economy, failed to get a grip on inflation, and failed to help families with the Tory cost of living crisis. It was Rishi Sunak who implemented a record number of tax hikes on working people whilst his own family avoided paying tax in the UK. It was Rishi Sunak who oversaw a culture of carelessness, incompetence and cronyism at the Treasury during the Covid pandemic; with billions of pounds of taxpayers' money lost to fraud and preventable waste. And it was Rishi Sunak who just this summer boasted on camera of having changed Treasury funding formulas to divert money away from deprived communities to well-off areas like Tunbridge Wells. You couldn't make it up.
The Tories have crowned Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister without him saying a single word about how he would run the country and without anyone having the chance to vote. Sunak, and the discredited government he leads, have no mandate.
We need a general election so the public get a say on the future of Britain – and the chance for a fresh start with Labour. You can read Keir Starmer's statement here and sign our petition calling for an election here.
Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill
I'm currently serving as one of Labour's representatives on the bill committee for the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill. This long overdue bill is an opportunity finally to end Britain’s role as a global hub for dirty money and set a new standard for transparency, while supporting honest businesses to trade and flourish.
For years the Tories turned a blind eye to corruption and dirty money, allowing Russian illicit finance to flood into Britain and letting Putin’s cronies enjoy a luxury London lifestyle. The first Economic Crime Bill was delayed for several years, whilst the government previously blocked Labour amendments which would have brought in reforms to Companies House and left Russian oligarchs with nowhere to hide. The new bill has many welcome provisions, but it has taken too long to arrive and in many instances does not go far enough - particularly on tackling the increased use of cryptocurrency in serious organised crime, reforms of Companies House, and fraud enforcement.
In Cabinet Office questions last week I questioned ministers on issues surrounding the Contaminated Blood inquiry, including on when an independent body will be in place to administer compensation payments to those affected; and if independent legal support will be made available to victims and families making claims. I also emphasised concerns that parents who lost children to the scandal have been left out of the compensation framework - this is completely unacceptable and a betrayal of families who have already suffered unimaginable loss and hardship. You can watch my question and the minister's response in the clip below.
Game. Set. Match.
Earlier this month, I had the huge honour of being invited to the Regional Learning Disability Competition 2022 at Newport Tennis Centre, where I took part in a game and presented medals. It was such an uplifting event, proving that sport is for everyone. I can't wait for next year's event!
Great to meet with Welsh internet company Ogi to talk about the plans they have to expand their fast fibre network across Newport East.
There’s so much amazing technology being developed in the constituency, and it was great to get a close up look at it.
Find out more about Ogi and when they’ll get to your area at ogi.wales
Googling it with local businesses
Earlier this month, I welcomed Google to Newport East for a day of networking and training with local businesses. It was a brilliant day. If you came along, I would love to hear what you thought. Watch this video to see more about the day's events.
Congratulations to all the nominees and winners at this year's GAVO Awards. It was such a pleasure to be able to celebrate with so many wonderful people who give so much to our communities.
Welcome Back Newport Food Festival
It was fabulous to see Newport Food Festival back in the city centre earlier this month! The whole place was bustling - it was just great! Well done and thank you to everyone involved.
Other October activities
Meetings with Gwent Police; Caldicot Town Council; Monmouthshire County Council; Newport City Council; Dragon Taxis; the All-Party Parliamentary Groups on Wetlands and Armenia; the Energy Intensive User Group; the Shadow Leader of the House, Wales, Climate Change and BEIS teams.
Meeting with Newport East Youth Parliament representative Fatmanur Aksoy
I held surgeries in Lliswerry and Redwick
Alway Branch Labour Party dinner at Marenghi's
Newport Male Choir concert
Music Venue Trust parliamentary event with Le Pub's Sam Dabb
Hosted stall at Coleg Gwent ESOL Fayre
Tabled written questions on issues including the Crouch Review on football governance; the effect of rising costs of Packaging Recovery Notes on businesses; changes to the eligibility criteria for the Warm Home Discount; fracking and more.
This Month's Casework
Over the last month my office has worked on hundreds of cases. The word-cloud above gives an indication of some of the themes emerging from the correspondence I've received over the last month, which included: calls of general election; cost of living; the triple lock on pensions; anti-social behaviour; protection of British wildlife; industrial fishing; beer duty; buffer zones at abortion clinics; the Public Order Bill; defibrilators; chemical pollution of seas; plastic reduction targets and more. As always if you have any issues you want to raise with me, please don't hesitate to get in touch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.