Last week in Parliament several Sussex MPs spoke in the same discussions and all of them voted on a theme that impacts all of our communities. However the most unexpected contribution came from Boris Johnson who referred to Sussex in a comment that he made on Wednesday. On Monday there were very few discussions along with a few votes on the theme of the Election Bill which took its third reading that day. One of the Labour MPs, Alex Norris explained
This is a bad Bill brought forward by a bad Government in the pursuit of bad intentions. They have pushed it through without pre-legislative scrutiny, avoided the Committee of the whole House and changed the electoral system for duly elected posts in this country between Second Reading and Committee and during Committee stage. The Bill has been rushed. It has been debated today on tiny margins—Third Reading will last for seven minutes. The Government could have sought to build consensus, if they had really wanted to tackle the problems that they said they did, but they have not.
It is very sad that while all Sussex MPs participated in the voting, that their responses ignored our communities. All of the 13 Conservative MPs approved the Bill and the other three opposed it. The only Sussex MP who spoke during the discussions was Lloyd Russell-Moyle who raised several concerns before he opposed the Bill. Sadly, along with the inadequate Bill being approved, the same Conservative voters also opposed a call for 16 year old residents being allowed to vote in General Elections. It is very sad that following the positive involvement of younger people in Scotland and Wales into Politics that across the United Kingdom the Conservatives do not want to introduce the same ages into our Nation. Perhaps our Sussex based Conservative MPs can explain why they are not willing to invite young people to vote for them in the future?
On the same day of those votes, three of the Sussex MPs spoke during a debate on the funding of BBC. Peter Bottomley stated
I am not impressed by the process or the proposal
at the beginning of his words. His comment was supported by Lloyd Russell-Moyle in the debate who had a similar reflection as to the problems with the way the Government is changing this approach. The other MP was Huw Merriman and he was less direct in his response but he did add a useful comment. Then on Wednesday there was the contribution from Boris Johnson was running a debate on COVID-19 and he stated
Testing has been a fantastic example of Union collaboration. I have seen for myself tests from people in Sussex being assessed in Glasgow.
I am not sure that our tests should have to travel as far away as Glasgow but the only Sussex MP in the debate was Caroline Lucas and she instead focused on the terrible impact on people with long Covid. She asked Johnson if
long covid as an occupational disease and launch a compensation scheme for frontline workers who are left unable to work after catching covid while on the frontline of our pandemic response?
Sadly, his response was
We are looking at it, but there is a deal of work still to be done.
Let us hope that in the near future that other local MPs will add to the call which Caroline made last week. On the same day there was also a debate on the theme of COP26 which involved Caroline Lucas and Caroline Ansell. The first contribution came from Lucas who explained how the Glasgow event called to limit global heating to 1.5° and
if we are to meet that target there can be no new oil, gas or coal projects. So will he make the case that the 40 new fossil fuel projects in the pipeline for approval in the UK are plainly incompatible.
Sadly, Alok Sharma who was the Minister involved responded with
I wish that sometimes the hon. Lady would praise the work that the Government are doing”
and he ends with
she should write in and set out her views.
Later in the same debate Ansell asked
Will COP26’s declaration for green shipping corridors set the course for more zero emission shipping routes? That is particularly significant for air quality for my constituents who live alongside the busiest shipping lane in the world.
Clearly that call relates to many people across the whole of the Sussex and beyond who live close to the English Channel. The response from Sharma was
It certainly will
We definitely want to see more such green corridors in operation
We clearly need more Sussex MPs to raise both of these issues if our lives and indeed our communities are to significantly improve.