Is it right that in the 21st century 92 people, of which 91 are men, still sit in Parliament to speak, vote and act simply on the basis of who their ancestors were?
Is it right that elections, when held for vacancies to those 92 positions, can involve as few as three voters choosing a member of parliament?
For the situation today is just that – 92 hereditary peers are still left in the House of Lords.
Should we allow that situation to continue or is it time for change? Quite simply it’s not sustainable.
House of Lords reform may not be at the forefront of public discord, but it continues to be an issue that generates a huge amount of debate in Parliament and for good reason. Every politician has an opinion, if not several, on what we should do with this aspect of our uncodified constitution. But it is seemingly impossible to secure agreement.
Nelson Mandela said: “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”
But after many years of progress, health outcomes for babies and young children in the UK are stalling. We are lagging behind most other high-income countries on mortality, breastfeeding and obesity rates.
And there is a direct correlation between children’s relative poorer health outcomes and the material circumstances in which they grow up.
The housing market is broken, and, after eight long years it is clear that current Conservative housing policy is failing to fix it. Ministers talk big about housebuilding targets to be reached some time in the next decade. But what new homes we build, and who they’re for, matter just as much as how many we build.
To make housing more affordable, we need to build more affordable homes, and to hardwire housing affordability through the system, from planning to funding to delivery. The public know this: eight in 10 people think ministers should be doing more to get affordable housing built.
Spiralling inequality around the world is disrupting politics everywhere. Across the West voters who’ve missed out on a pay rise for over decade are hunting for new answers, fuelling the surge tide in votes for Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, Germany’s far right AfD and indeed Brexit. So how do we rebuild a new centre ground in politics? By proposing new answers for more inclusive economic growth.
This Easter, the APPG on Inclusive Growth hosts parliamentarians from 33 countries across the OECD for the first ever Global Parliamentary Conference on Inclusive Growth here in the Houses of Parliament.
After eight years of austerity from the Tories it’s clear that the Government has abandoned local communities to fend for themselves.
House building has crashed to its lowest levels since the 1920s and more and more people are becoming homeless or going into temporary accommodation. The safety of our communities has been put at risk after cuts of over 20,000 police officers, and older people are not living with the dignity and comfort they deserve because of cuts to social care.
The homelessness minister revealed in an interview with The Guardian that she doesn’t know why homelessness has risen. Yes, that’s the person charged with tackling homelessness and rough sleeping. Might I offer the minister a few suggestions and solutions?
Firstly, let’s be clear – it is a problem that has got a lot worse since Labour left government. That’s a fact, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that it might have something to do with the policies enacted since then.
Since 2010, rough sleeping has increased by 169 per cent. Shelter estimates that there are now more than 250,000 – a quarter of a million – people in England alone who are homeless or don’t have a permanent place to live.
I am writing today to Jeremy Hunt demanding the Government blocks the creation of wholly-owned subsidiary companies by NHS trusts, and undertakes a full review of the guidance on the relevant tax requirements of NHS trusts and foundation trusts.
At least eight NHS trusts have set up private companies in recent years and transferred over thousands of facilities staff away from NHS contracts. A recent investigation by Health Service Journal has said that as many as 8,000 posts could be affected in the 16 trusts where plans are being drawn up, on top of 3,000 who have already been moved at eight other employers.
I first saw the ‘Punish a Muslim’ letter when a colleague sent me a picture of one over the weekend. Although I see similar racist and hateful abuse on a regular basis, I literally felt sick. I can barely imagine how horrified people must have been to receive those letters, how victimised, dehumanised and terrified.
Of course, that was exactly the intention. These despicable letters were designed to strike fear into the heart of our diverse communities and to sow division.
Whenever anything of this nature occurs, whether a hate crime or a large-scale terrorist attack, politicians line up to assure that we will not allow attacks to divide us, because in doing so they win. After every terror attack on our country, Britons go back to work the next day with their heads held high, in defiance of those who seek to hurt us.
Anna was a woman in trouble. She had been living on the streets for 12 years, was a heroin user on a methadone script, and would binge-drink alcohol. She lived with and cared for her partner in a hostel, often putting his needs above her own. Her children had been taken from her because of her drug abuse and neglect.
When Anna began the Enrich Programme at Alana House, a women’s centre in Berkshire, she said she felt hopeless. She was sure that she would fail, not because she wanted to, but because she was worried she’d miss appointments, just as she had in the past with her doctor.
It doesn’t’ seem too long ago that we had the commons debate in Parliament, 3rd November to be exact. But despite our frustrations on the day it is clear that a fire has been well and truly lit under the votes at 16 issue. It can’t and won’t be ignored. And now it seems there are whispers of support all across the Tory camp.
While the debate on the Private Members Bill was curtailed by a small number of filibustering Tory MPs, it was evident that there was a body of support with over 160 MPs in parliament to back the Bill. It was a bill which was signed by every party sitting in the commons bar just one, the DUP. Importantly, on that day I know that those few were not representative of many other Tory MPs who support progression. There were some brave but lonely Conservative voices in the Chamber that day, and I salute their courage in standing up to the shrinking old guard in their ranks.