On Wednesday the State Opening of Parliament took place. The ceremony provides a platform for the Queen’s Speech which is given by Her Majesty to Members of both the House of Commons and the Lords. The speech outlines the Government’s agenda for the new Parliamentary session.
The speech set out an ambitious domestic agenda, focusing on the Government’s core priorities; implementing Brexit, investing in our NHS, tackling crime, and dealing with the cost of living.
I am confident that the programme set out in the Queen’s Speech will provide real benefits for my constituents and everyone that lives and works in our Royal Town.
With a rise in car thefts locally I welcome the Government’s commitment to tackle crime, strengthen the criminal justice system and ensure victims receive justice. A Sentencing Bill will change the automatic release point from halfway to two-thirds for adult offenders serving sentences of four years or more for serious violence or sexual offences. A Serious Violence Bill will place a duty on public bodies to work together and tackle factors that can lead to crime.
I also welcome plans for a landmark Environment Bill which will cement the UK’s position as a world leader on air quality, environmental biodiversity and plastics reduction. New measures and legally binding targets will foster a green transformation, helping to tackle climate change and ensuring that governments are accountable, both now and in the future.
Following the Queen’s Speech, Members of Parliament debate the content of the Government’s planned legislative programme.
In my speech I took the opportunity to outline a number of concerns that have been raised by my constituents over the last few months.
I am regularly contacted by Suttonians about their concerns for the future of our planet. In my speech I took the opportunity to ask the Government to do more to clean up our oceans. By 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in our seas. We must do more to combat the scourge of marine pollution.
I also raised the issue of fairness and protection for the most vulnerable members of society.
Throughout the West Midlands, good progress has been made to address homelessness. The Government has provided substantial funding and led by our West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, we have helped dozens of local rough sleepers and those in need of extra assistance.
The Government backed Housing First scheme has helped dozens of local homeless people into accommodation. Crucially it has also provided drug and alcohol support and mental health care to help break the cycles that can lead to vulnerable people sleeping rough in the first place.
Homelessness is a complex and difficult problem and it is not just about funding, but I am optimistic that the one-nation thread that runs through this Government will ensure that we protect the most vulnerable and start to tackle the deep divisions that run throughout our society.
While Brexit continues to dominate the headlines, I will continue to champion these important issues as part of my work representing our Royal Town in Parliament.