After a busy weekend in the constituency, I took the morning train down to London on Monday with my little boy. I dropped Clifford off and dashed over the chamber for Defence Questions to ask the minister a question about the cadet force. I think the Army Cadets are amazing, they give children positive role models and they help to promote social mobility. I was very pleased to hear that across the country, 500 new cadet units have been established this year.
Later that afternoon I sat on a committee that pushed through legislation to protect people who live in House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and help to give them a better standard of living. I was pleased to see that the Government legislation received cross-party support on this important issue.
That evening I participated in a debate on Higher Education where I took the opportunity to remind my Labour colleagues that they introduced tuition fees.
I hate all forms of cruelty to animals, especially dogs, so on Tuesday I was in the chamber for Justice Questions and I asked the minister what her department was doing to increase the minimum sentence for people who attack services animals. Our brave service animals, including police dogs and horses, need to be properly protected under the law. It is simply wrong that a charge of ‘criminal damage’ is the highest punishment that can be given to someone who attacks a service animal. Finn’s law is about correcting this fault in the law and it is about time that when someone attacks a service animal they get a much more severe sentence than just criminal damage. I am happy, however, that DEFRA has identified this as an issue and is looking to increase the sentence to five years. I will keep you updated on this important matter.
Later, I had the pleasure of attending a St George’s Day Reception in the Speaker’s Apartment. I look forward to St George’s Day every year because there are always such happy and joyful celebrations taking place. The reception was lovely but was nothing compared to this year’s St George's Parade in Morley.
Later that afternoon, I then had a meeting with a representative from the British Specialist Nutrition Association. It is shocking that malnutrition costs England a staggering £19.6 billion every year. I am the chair of the Patient Safety APPG and we did an enquiry into this area, but I will again be working closely with the British Specialist Nutrition Association on this issue in the next few months.
That evening I was delighted to be at the launch of the All-Party Group for Professional Sales where I will be serving as a Vice-Chairman. Having begun my retail sales career at 16 and working my way up I understand the value of a career in sales and I really enjoyed my time in this field.
Wednesday morning was spent in a session of the Brexit committee. This week it was David Davis being questioned as a witness to the committee. As one of only 6 Brexiteers on the committee out of a total of 21 members, I feel it is important to make sure that both sides of the argument are clearly heard. I will stick up for the 17 million people voted to leave the EU and who want Brexit.
Later that afternoon I was delighted to get selected to ask a question at Prime Minister’s Questions. I decided to congratulate the amazing work of your local schools. Morley Newlands Academy recently scored “outstanding” during a recent Ofsted inspection, and Bruntcliffe Academy in Morley scored “good” for the very first time in its history. The Prime Minister was kind enough to congratulate the principals, teachers, staff and students of the two schools on their hard work to attain this admirable achievement.
An additional 1.9 million children since 2010 are now taught in “good” and “outstanding” schools, under this Conservative government. As a mum, I know how important our children’s futures are to parents and this is brilliant news.
Continuing with the Brexit theme, I then had the pleasure of meeting the Ambassador of Iceland. We both agreed the Brexit is an opportunity to develop stronger, bilateral relations between our two countries. We also agreed that it is in both of our countries interests to form a comprehensive free trade deal as soon as we can after we leave the EU.
After a few more meetings, it was then time to collect Clifford and we were back on the train home to Yorkshire.
I hope you enjoyed reading this and as always if there are any issues I can assist with please don’t hesitate to contact my office on 0113 345 0380.