I’m proud of the last Labour Government’s legacy on international development. We established a Department for International Development, trebled international aid and set the UK on track to be the first major ecenomy to reach the target to give 0.7 per cent of gross national income to development. I have challenged the current Tory Government on its decision to scrap DfID and on its promise on to maintain aid spending at the 0.7% of GNI. I will continue to challenge these decisions and work hard to make sure we help the world’s poorest people.
In 2016, I campaigned relentlessly for the UK to stay in the European Union. I was pleased that my constituency voted by around 70:30 to remain in the EU, but was deeply disappointed by the result across Sheffield and the country. I accepted the outcome, but argued that the close vote was not a mandate for the deep rupture wanted by the Brexit extremists. In October 2016 I was appointed as a Shadow Minister in Labour’s Brexit team, led by Keir Starmer, and led on Brexit in the Cabinet Office and International Trade shadow teams after Keir became Labour Leader.
Throughout this period I challenged the Government on their catastrophic handling of the Brexit process, helped form Labour’s policy and pressed the concerns of constituents. I stepped down from this role at the end of the transition period but have continued to press the Government on the consequences of its deal individually and as a member of the UK Trade and Business Commission.
You can read more about my work on Brexit here.
I am a member of Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East, have worked with local members to set up a group in Sheffield, and in 2017 I led a Sheffield delegation to the West Bank. I have challenged the Government many times on their inaction on Israeli policies of illegal occupation, child detention and demolitions. I repeatedly called on the Government to increase efforts to stop the demolition of the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, which I visited, and I am supporting moves to build links between Sheffield and Nablus. I voted in favour of recognising the state of Palestine and challenged Ministers to reject Trump’s so-called ‘peace plan’, which will undermine the chance of negotiations to secure peace based on mutual recognition of the two states of Israel and Palestine.
Along with 126 cross party MPs and Peers, I wrote to the Prime Minister pressing for action to prevent the Israeli Government annexation of the West Bank and joined more than 1,000 Parliamentarians from across Europe in a similar letter co-ordinated by the former speaker of the Israeli Parliament, Avraham Burg.
Many Sheffielders have roots in Kashmir, which has been at the centre of conflict between India and Pakistan since partition. I am a Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir and have regularly spoken in Parliament to urge the Government to support the right of the people of Kashmir to a plebiscite on self-determination. I have also pressed the UK Government to raise the issue with the Indian Government, the United Nations and the Commonwealth.
When India revoked Kashmir’s special constitutional status in August 2019, I wrote to the Foreign Secretary arguing for stronger action in response, raised it with him in Parliament when we returned in September, and joined protestors outside Sheffield Town Hall in calling for international action against human rights abuses, as well as co-ordinating a call for action from local MPs.
I have worked with the local Yemeni-origin community over the six-year conflict in the country which has created one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters. As a result of the ongoing conflict in Yemen, over 20 million people are in desperate need of aid. I have long opposed the arms sales to Saudi Arabia, including as a signatory to the Joint Select Committee recommendation in 2016 that arms sales which could be used in Yemen were suspended until the independent, UN-led investigation was concluded. I have pressed the Government to secure UN Security Council action towards peace, to address the humanitarian crisis and secure aid. As a result of the ongoing conflict in Yemen, over 24 million people depend on aid and I also raised more than £6,000 for the children of Yemen in an appeal I launched in 2018 and over £5,000 in 2020.
I have highlighted the continued appalling human rights abuses against the Uyghur people in China, and challenged the Foreign Secretary to take action against the use of Uyghur forced labour in UK supply chains.
I joined Hong Kong students at a protest in Sheffield to support their right to demonstrate safely and have been following the situation closely. I condemned violence used against protestors in Hong Kong and wrote to the Foreign Secretary to ask what further steps the Government will take to press China to uphold the provisions of the Sino-British Joint Declaration. I’ve also met with those who have come from Hong Kong to settle in Sheffield under the special BNO visa.
These are just some of the issues I’ve taken up. Please get in touch if you want to know about my work on an issue that isn’t mentioned here.