I would first like to wish all my constituents a very happy new year.
2020 is going to be a crucial year in Parliament. Brexit, a new budget, and the UN Climate Action Conference in Glasgow are potential major turning points for our country but also our planet. We cannot afford to get these wrong.
On 31st January, Britain is expected to leave the European Union. But this is not the end. Brexit will not be ‘done’ on 31st January. We face a long negotiation process to secure what kind of future relationship we have with the EU. Because of the extreme and risky position of this Tory Government, our country is still facing the possibility of No Deal. This poses a particular threat to local manufacturing, especially given the lack of focus from the government on removing customs and rules of origins barriers. I am going to continue to advocate for the best interests of our city and argue for a close alignment with the European Union going forward, to protect our strong manufacturing tradition. We will continue to scrutinise the government’s plans, and I will continue to work to limit the damage an extreme Brexit will inflict on Oxford East manufacturing bases like BMW Oxford.
On 11th March, the government will set out their budget. This year, the government are likely to base it around the theme of the ‘decade of renewal’. Under the last decade of coalition and conservative governments, we have certainly faced a decade of decline. I have seen the devastating impact austerity and government cuts here in Oxford. Children’s centres have closed, class sizes have spiralled, and our hospitals are struggling. In light of this, we must question whether their new policies and pledges will actually signal renewal and undo the damage of the last decade.
In the autumn, we face the UN Climate Action conference. At this, representatives from countries around the world will join together to work out our next steps as a planet to tackle the climate crisis. We are running out of time to limit global warming in line with scientists’ recommendations, and we need to ensure we are taking real and urgent steps now. Currently, we are witnessing horrific wildfires rip through Australia, a country which has traditionally lagged in committing to tackling the climate crisis. Hopefully they will now be open to changing their position, and it is imperative that at the conference, the UK works with Australia, and countries like it, to bring them into this international coalition against the climate crisis. On a national level, I will continue to raise this in parliament, as I did in the last parliament, ensuring we are bringing it to the front of the agenda.
Throughout this busy year, I will also be working to represent my constituents on an individual basis. Last year, I took up 9,356 cases on behalf of the people of Oxford East. Please contact my office if there is anything I can do to help you, now or in the future.