This week in Parliament will be the final full week before Parliament breaks up for Easter on the following Thursday and so this Friday is the last opportunity for private MP Bills to be debated until late in April. Sadly, when these Bills are listed on the system, it appears that only a few of them get debated and approved so it will be interesting if any of the Sussex private Bills will get approved this week. Last Friday there was a Bill submitted by Henry Smith from Crawley called “Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill: Remaining Stages” and it was very good that his Bill was promoted last week. This Friday is currently proposing a total of four Sussex based private Bills to be debated. There is one by Tim Loughton of East Worthing and Shoreham called “Recognition of Armenian Genocide Bill: Second Reading”. Then there are three others being proposed by Caroline Lucas from Brighton Pavilion which are “Countryside and Rights of Way Act(Amendment) Bill: Adjourned debate on Second Reading [28 October]” followed by “Decarbonisation and Economic Strategy Bill: Second Reading” and the third listed is “Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill [Lords]: Second Reading”. It will be very positive if some or indeed all of these are debated and potentially approved on Friday and they can then provide a significant element from Parliament following the presentations this Friday. Along with the prospect of these Bills which are due to be raised by two of our local MPs there is also a debate due to take place this Wednesday morning in the Westminster Hall which is being organised by Caroline Lucas entitled “Solar rooftop installations”. It will be very interesting to observe the debate and it will also be interesting to observe which of the other MPs will participate in that debate. It would be fantastic if other Sussex MPs will take part.
Last week in Parliament along with the prospect of the Bill by Henry Smith on Friday there were several other discussions that involved Sussex MPs. One that was very interesting was a debate that took place on Tuesday which was managed by Huw Merriman who is the MP for Bexhill and Battle and a government minister related to the Department for Transport. The debate was regarding the railway HS2 project that many people are opposed to. Interestingly when a Wales MP spoke up in the debate Huw responded to their objective with
I represent the good people of east Sussex, where not a single mile of track is being laid either. HS2 investment will be spread across the UK.
A bit later another Welsh MP spoke up and Huw then stated
I hear the same point from my constituents in East Sussex: they ask, “What’s the benefit for me? I don’t have any part of the line.” I continue to extol the virtues of a UK-wide project that will connect the whole UK, grow the UK’s economy and provide jobs and houses for the whole UK.
It is very interesting to read these comments given that many of us in Sussex would be like to obtain a stronger rail system for some of our community settings. Perhaps Huw can listen to people across Sussex and reflect on their views.
On the following day there was the Prime Minister Engagements and the only Sussex MP who took part in that debate was Caroline Ansell who is the Eastbourne MP. She asked him
At the height of the pandemic, centre-assessed grades allowed our young people to move forward with their lives. Lara, my very brave young constituent, is now battling cancer and will not sit the GCSE exams that she has worked so hard for, and could be left with only a certificate of recognition. In exceptional circumstances such as these, why can the same principle not apply? Would my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister look compassionately at this situation?
The response from the Prime Minister was
May I start by sending my best wishes to Lara and thanking my hon. Friend for raising her case in Parliament? Of course, it is incredibly upsetting and challenging for children and young people to be diagnosed with a serious illness, especially so close to their exams. There are allowances that are made, and in the first instance students will speak to their school or college to make those reasonable adjustments, but I will be happy to ensure that we work with my hon. Friend to find a resolution in Lara’s case.
It would be very encouraging if the Prime Minister can find resolutions for all of the families in the whole of the UK which would include each community across the whole of Sussex region.