We live in an increasingly interconnected world. Effective international cooperation is key to many of the issues facing the UK today: climate change, economic growth, migration and security.
European Union (EU)
I campaigned relentlessly for the UK to stay in the European Union. I made the case to hundreds of people at dozens of meetings and, with a great team of volunteers, spoke to over 8,000 people on their doorsteps – as well as delivering around 50,000 leaflets to people’s homes. 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. As the Government’s handling of the negotiations has gone from bad to worse, I have pressed the concerns of constituents and I took on the role of Shadow Minister for Brexit to allow me to better hold the Government to account. You can read more about my latest activities on Brexit here.
Opposing the injustice of apartheid in South Africa first got me into politics and I remain passionate about human rights. I believe Britain should stay a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and in 2015 I launched a campaign to defend our human rights. In Parliament I have challenged the Government to come clean about its plans to replace the Human Rights Act and threaten our international commitments (read more here and here).
I am a member of Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East and worked with local members to set up a group in Sheffield. I have signed Parliamentary motions related to Israeli Military Strikes on the Gaza Strip (EDM 250) and the humanitarian situation in Gaza (EDM 827). I have questioned the Prime Minister over the UK Government’s inaction on the Israeli policy of illegal occupation and I voted in favour of recognising the state of Palestine. I visited the West Bank in November 2017 and will use the experience to build support for the Palestinian people – and have repeatedly called on the Government to redouble efforts to stop the demolition of the Bedouin village Khan al-Ahmar that I visited.
Many Sheffielders have their roots in Kashmir, which has been at the centre of conflicts between India and Pakistan since partition. I support the right of the people of Kashmir for a plebiscite on self-determination. I am a member of the APPG on Kashmir, I signed an open letter to The Guardian urging the media to give greater coverage to the humanitarian crisis in Kashmir and I have also pressed the UK Government to raise the issue with the Indian Government, the United Nations and the Commonwealth Secretary General.
As a result of the ongoing conflict in Yemen, 21 million people are in desperate need of aid. I questioned the Secretary of State for International Development about what the Government is doing to secure constructive action by the UN.
I am very concerned about human rights abuses in Myanmar. I co-signed a letter to the then Foreign Secretary calling on the UK Government to take further steps to halt violence against the Rohingya people and have pressed Ministers on the issue of statelessness of the Rohingya population and humanitarian access. But the repression in Myanmar is more widespread and I have also asked Ministers on the militarisation in Kayin State and the provision of aid to the Karen people.
I am a member of the APPG on Somalia and Somaliland. I have backed calls to recognise Somaliland as an independent state and have supported Sheffield City Council’s lead in recognising the country.
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 economy to reach the target to give 0.7 per cent of gross national income to development. I have questioned International Development Ministers on issues from climate change, to Bangladesh. I have also pressed DfID to ensure that tackling HIV is high up their agenda and to involve HIV groups in the planning of a summit on family planning.
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.