As soon as I get to Westminster today I’ll be joining other members of the Parliamentary Labour Party to welcome Simon Lightwood as the new MP for Wakefield, following his win in last Thursday’s by-election in which I was campaigning alongside lots of other volunteers from my local Labour Party. The results from there and from Tiverton have added to the chaos in the Conservative Party, with Boris Johnson talking about leading the Tories into the next two elections as pressure grows to ditch him.
Later I’ll be speaking in the debate on the second reading of the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill which is a product of the turmoil at the top of Government; deliberately created as a ‘wedge issue’ to protect the ambition of Johnson and seized on by those who want to succeed him (as I told Liz Truss when she introduced it last month) – rather than addressing the real issues created by the Tories’ flawed Brexit deal.
On Tuesday I will be attending a meeting of trustees of the University of Sheffield’s African Scholarship fund, in which I have been involved since 1978, joining a Labour Friends of Yemen briefing on the ongoing conflict there, catching up with Sheffield Young Carers, and I’ve an interview with the Daily Express on assisted dying and my personal experience (on which I’ve spoken in Parliament).
On Wednesday I’ll be in the Commons for Carol Monaghan’s Ten Minute Rule Motion on the right to work for asylum seekers, which I’ve long backed, and am hoping to support my colleague Kate Osamor’s Westminster Hall debate on the progress of the Windrush Lessons Learned Review.
On Thursday I’ve another meeting with the UK Trade and Business Commission on agriculture, food and the cost of living, and am meeting with Council Officers and my colleague Louise Haigh about the ongoing campaign and support for the Leadmill – and in the evening I’ve the AGM of my Constituency Labour Party.
On Friday I’m speaking at an Action Mesothelioma Day event, lending my support to the Cape Campaign and those suffering from this and other asbestos related illnesses, before going to see pupils’ artwork from local schools on display at the Circle Art Exhibition. I finish my week with a visit to Food Works with newly elected Councillor Tom Hunt to discuss action on food poverty.