It is encouraging when a local MP sets out a debate that has a significant impact on our communities and also across the whole of our Nation. There are several MPs that occasionally set out such activities and so it is very useful for us to endorse their actions. Last Wednesday Morning a debate took place that was organised by one of our local Sussex MPs and indeed it was participated by several MPs from a number of political groups and locations. Another event was also announced that the same MP will hold a second reading of a private members Bill on 24th February that follows a similar theme to the debate that took place. The private members Bill was also referred in a document that was published in early December. The MP who sourced these aspects is Caroline Lucas who is our MP for Brighton Pavilion. I recalled that the plan for last weeks debate was announced before the opening of Parliament this year and I had hoped that some of our other local MPs would participate within it. Sadly, no other Sussex MPs took part in the debate last week which is very disappointing and the people who have so far endorsed the document are also not from Sussex. Let us hope that in due course there will be some support from some of our local MPs in preparation for the second reading of the Bill which impacts many of us. The debate that took place last week was entitled “Fossil Fuels and Cost of Living Increases” and the Bill that is being read for the second formal session on 24th February is entitled “The Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill”. Some aspects of the Clean Air Bill was included in an Early Day Motion that was published by Caroline on the 7th December and its text is as follows.
That this House recognises the overwhelming importance of achieving clean air in order to protect life and health now and for future generations; notes that 5th-9th December marks the seventieth anniversary of the Great Smog of London in 1952; welcomes the Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill, known as Ella’s Law, in the House of Commons after passing third reading in the House of Lords and securing significant cross-party support; welcomes the Bill as a measure which would ensure the human right to breathe clean air and thus prevent the deaths of children and other vulnerable people whilst helping to protect the environment and mitigate climate change; further recognises the need for targets, deadlines and proportional enforcement, that the Bill would help fulfil the UK’s commitment to the landmark UN resolution which recognized the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a human right and that the current law does not adequately protect children such as Ella Roberta Adoo Kissi-Debrah who tragically died as a consequence of air pollution; expresses its deep sympathy to her mother Rosamund and other families of children whose health has been curtailed by air pollution; urges the Government to increase investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy to reduce harmful emissions and the cost of living for households; and calls on the Government to support the Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill as a measure to achieve clean air.
Two of the MPs who have already signed that document also took part in the debate last Wednesday. They are Wera Hobhouse and Wendy Chamberlain who are both members of the Liberal Democrat group. There were also several members of the SNP and two people from the Labour groups that took part in the debate last week and also a significant number of their colleagues that endorsed the document last year. There are several other members of groups that have signed the document but so far no Conservatives have done so, but it was encouraging that a few Conservatives took part in the debate last week and their comments certainly appeared to endorse the nature of the debate set out by Caroline. The first few words from her were “I beg to move, That this House has considered fossil fuels and increases in the cost of living.” And she went on with
As we start 2023, households up and down the country are facing extraordinarily difficult circumstances, as we all know from our constituency mailbags, thanks to the cost of living scandal that Government policy has too often exacerbated rather than alleviated. Hikes in energy bills mean that over 9 million people—18% of the population—spent Christmas in the cold and damp, unable to heat their homes, and facing a new year with little respite, with experts warning that high gas prices are here to stay.
There was a much longer debate but this theme is a vital for all local MPs to respond.
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