Parliament will be focusing on a number of themes

Today many of us are celebrating the crown of the King that took place on Saturday and our nation has been provided a bank holiday following the Coronation of King Charles III which is why Parliament is not opening today. Also, our MPs were not in Parliament on Thursday or Friday last week because of the local Council elections. It was fascinating that the most recent comment from any MPs to King Charles took place 10 days ago on Friday 28th April. It was Dawn Butler, the Labour MP for Brent Central who commented “who will take the portrait of King Charles III; and whether a contract has been awarded to produce and frame the copies which will be available for public authorities.” Now of course some people do not support the King but it does seem strange that no MPs spoke about it last week.

No doubt some may speak this week to comment on the crowning of the King and also the results of the Councils. There are a number of events that are planned this week although only one item is currently listed for a Sussex MP to manage it. That is Caroline Ansell, the Eastbourne MP who is organising a session on Wednesday afternoon which is taking place in Westminster Hall entitled “Centre Assessed Grades”. It will be very interesting to find out what that will contribute and indeed it would be very encouraging if some of the other Sussex MPs will take part in that debate. Last week several events took place on Tuesday and Wednesday, some of which involved our Sussex representations. It was interesting that two comments referred to Sussex from other members. They both took place in the House of Lords on Wednesday. The first was a session entitled Migrants: Housing which was opened by Lord Blunkett who is a Labour member who stated “To ask His Majesty’s Government whether they will list all facilities they plan to build to house” and he asked some specific options. The government minister who responded to his question was Lord Murray of Blidworth who stated

I can advise the noble Lord that the Home Office is planning initial asylum accommodation at surplus military sites at Scampton and Wethersfield to accommodate asylum seekers entering the United Kingdom illegally on small boats. We are exploring proposals to use a non-military site in East Sussex and a further military site at Catterick garrison for asylum accommodation, alongside an accommodation barge in Portland Port in Dorset.

A few minutes later a debate called Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill Amendment 290 set out by the Crossbench Lord Russell of Liverpool. He commented

There are some areas that have done well. In East Sussex, over £900,000 has been spent on expanding two nurseries. On the Isle of Wight, £200,000 has been spent on extending a family centre.

Later that day one of our local House of Lords representatives, Steve Bassam for Labour took part in a debate Gambling Act Review White Paper and he initially spoke with the words

My Lords, colleagues will know that I hail from Brighton—for film noir buffs, the home of “Brighton Rock”, with its famous racecourse scenes. My city has excellent amusement arcades, two casinos, a Premier League football team—rather good this year—, a horserace track, a dog track and a variety of other activities and sports that have strong links to the gambling sector.

It was the third comment for our area that was spoken in the House of Lords last week. There were also a number of comments from our local MPs on both days last week. One of the significant events in Parliament is the questions focused on the Prime Minister that occur most weeks. Last week the only Sussex MP was the Brighton Pavilion, Caroline Lucas who asked a question that was not limited to Sussex, but is focused on our Nation.

This Government’s vile and immoral refugee ban Bill and the toxic language coming from the Home Office are not even dog-whistle politics; they are a giant hard-right foghorn, blasting out a poisonous “them and us” narrative. The Government plumbed new depths last week when the Minister for Immigration claimed that people trying to come to the UK “tend to have completely different…values to those in the UK”. Can the Prime Minister explain what he thinks is so different about the values held by the people of war-torn Sudan, and what values are preventing him from creating a Sudanese family visa scheme, like he did for the people of Ukraine?

Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister responded with these word

This country has a proud history of welcoming almost half a million refugees over the past several years, and we will always continue to do so, but our ability to do that is absolutely hampered when we have tens of thousands of people illegally crossing the channel every year. It is precisely because we want to help the most vulnerable people, whether they be in Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan or elsewhere, that we must get a grip of the problem, break the cycle of the criminal gangs, and target our resources and compassion on those who most need them.

This was a significant question and we could ask our local MPs to respond to the theme of the question and also respond to the answer which came from the Prime Minister.

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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