Bristol's people give me hope for the future

February 03 2020
Bristol's people give me hope for the future

Bristol West MP Thangam Debbonaire writes for the St George and Redfield Voice

IT is the time of year for new beginnings. This year, we also have a new government. Disappointingly, it is not the Labour government I campaigned for, and it will be with us now probably for more than four years.

I am grateful to you for showing faith in me as MP for Bristol West. With your support I will challenge this government on what they do and put forward alternatives. I welcome your views at every stage.

When Parliament returned in December, I laid out my priorities for Bristol West in the Queen’s Speech debate. I want a reverse to ten years of cuts to schools and public services, Windrush victims to get the compensation they are still waiting for and a close future relationship with the EU. Above all, I want the government to treat action on climate emergency as top priority. I will be proactive in campaigning in Westminster and beyond on your behalf on these things and more.

The UK’s role as an outward-facing country is more important than ever. This was highlighted by events the first three days of 2020, with raging wildfires in Australia, tragic deaths in the Middle East and an escalating security situation. I will continue my work in opposition and do everything I can to urge the Government to act in the right way on both the climate emergency and foreign policy.

I am now part of the Official Opposition front bench Brexit team for the last few weeks before we leave the EU on January 31. As part of that team, I’ll hold the government to account and to challenge them on the consequences. As I write, the Withdrawal Agreement Bill is going through Parliament and I have a leading role in this, putting forward many of our amendments and speaking from the Dispatch Box as a front bench Shadow Minister for the first time.

After the election, the government cruelly removed protections to help unaccompanied child refugees join family members in the UK. I believe most in this country agree we should help some of the most vulnerable children in the world. This is who we are as a country. Sadly, the government has so far voted down Labour’s amendments.

I also challenged the Brexit Secretary on the government’s treatment of EU citizens. Labour’s amendment would grant automatic status to the millions of EU citizens who have made their life in the UK. Although the government ultimately voted that down, we will keep pushing them. If you are an EU citizen and are having any problems with the application process, please get in touch.

Campaigning for positive change in 2020 looks tough, but the fantastic people of Bristol, particularly the children I meet in my regular school visits, give me hope for the future. As always, do get in touch if there is something you want me to know, or take up in Parliament, or if you need my help. Thanks for your support.