Monday saw the introduction of same sex marriage and allowing safe, legal access to abortion without the threat of criminal prosecution and a life sentence brought into law in Northern Ireland. I championed both of these law changes, co-sponsoring the proposals, and was proud to have been able to use my vote to improve the lives of fellow British citizens in Northern Ireland. Thank you to everyone who campaigned for and supported these law changes. They have been a long time coming.
On Saturday we had the first sitting of Parliament for decades and on Monday we were once again voting on Brexit – this time for the second reading and timetable for legislation to implement Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement.
The Government was attempting to ram the just published Bill through without proper scrutiny. Scrutinising legislation is one of, if not our primary role as MPs and legislation of this level will change our country indefinitely. The many new problems that the proposals create, need to be scrutinised and possible alternatives discussed and voted on.
I voted against the second reading of the Bill because it is a terrible proposal, will disadvantage everyone in Cardiff Central and across the country and keeps a no deal Brexit on the table. Thankfully, the rushed timetable was voted down and we offered the Prime Minister, talks to agree a sensible timetable.
Instead of taking up the offer, the Prime Minister refused to progress his Bill and refused to agree a sensible timetable for its scrutiny and votes. He’s behaving like a spoilt child, not like a leader.
The EU are considering our request for an extension to the 31st January 2020 and we expect to have their response early next week.
DCMS Committee – Administration of football clubs
Away from Brexit, on Monday our DCMS Select Committee held an evidence session into the administration of football clubs, following the sad demise of Bury FC.
The aim of the evidence session was to consider the effectiveness of current regulation, the owners’ and directors’ test, and what needs to be done to strengthen football governance in light of what happened to Bury.
Football is currently awash with ‘bad owners’ and there’s more disquiet from fans than ever – it’s time we considered what we can do to make football work for fans once more.
DCMS Committee – The Future of English Cricket
On Wednesday at DCMS Committee our attention turned to cricket, as we held an evidence session on the future of English cricket.
Following an incredibly successful summer, the focus of the fay was to assess how we can get more people playing and watching cricket building on the incredible successes of both the men’s and women’s teams.
Questions included the need for free to air TV coverage, the ECB’s new competition ‘the Hundred’, participation and huge gap between pay for women and men professional players.
My questioning focused on the new Hundred ball competition. More specifically the cost of the competition, whether counties and supporters had a direct input into the creation of the concept, the big disparity in pay between the men’s and women’s players, the future of T20 cricket and the effect of the competition for grassroots funding and participation. You can view my questions by clicking here.
Divest Parliament Pledge
Elsewhere, this week I became one of the 300+ cross-party MPs who’ve pledged to divest Parliament. As MPs we have a duty to lead from the front in the fight against the climate emergency – for Parliament to draw its pension fund from carbon intensive industries is not only countering efforts but sends out all the wrong signals. It’s time to review pension funds of this type and instead opt for responsible investment, with the goal of phasing out fossil fuel investments.
Queens Speech and General Election
On Thursday, the Government’s Queen’s Speech just sneaked through in the House of Commons. After this vote, we had news that on Monday next week, the Government will again call a vote to have an early General Election.
The Prime Minister is effectively trying to blackmail Parliament by tying the return of his Withdrawal Agreement Bill for debate and votes, to agreeing to a General Election which he wants to take place on 12th December.
The budget announced for 6th November has been pulled and Johnson has threatened that the Government is ‘going on strike’ (as if anyone would notice anyway) if his childish demands are not met.
His Bill still includes a default no deal position and until that has been removed, Labour will not support a General Election vote.
I got back home last night and today have been catching up with my team, doing casework, preparing for Select Committee work next week and doing my regular weekly advice surgery for constituents.
I’ll be speaking at the Cardiff International Film Festival later on this evening welcoming creative teams from all over the world to Cardiff Central, before getting ready for a tense weekend of rugby with Wales in the semi finals of the Rugby World Cup and the South Wales derby with Cardiff City at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday.
Have a safe and fun weekend.