As part of my fundraiser campaign, I thought you would find it useful to know what I’ve done this week and the kind of things your donation will be spent on. The big campaign this week is to get animal sentience included as a principle in the EU Withdrawal Bill. Caroline Lucas MP narrowly lost her amendment by 18 votes, but there is little doubt in my mind that the Government will lose in the Lords if I put her amendment there. This can’t happen until next February, but the government must be aware that a petition to the Lords has already gained over 200,000 signatures and is rising rapidly. The result is that Gove is making nice sounding promises that there will be new legislation that improves animal welfare. That is great, but the new legislation has to be agreed before we leave the EU, it needs to cover all animals and it must be based upon the underlying principle of accepting animal sentience. So the key issue for peers and MPs will be why the government isn’t incorporating the existing sentience principle into the EU withdrawal bill?
Some MPs will try to argue that we should trust Michael Gove, hold fire and risk it. This is the same government that tried to pull a fast one in Parliament by telling MPs that sentience was already covered by existing law. They then have the cheek to complain about the deluge of social media calling out the lie. I have put down a question asking the government to officially explain themselves.
I spoke in the Lords debate about Data Protection and have put a series of amendments to the Bill which are sponsored by Liberty. This crucial legislation about the use of your data and the protection of your privacy is getting overlooked because of Brexit, but the key issue of the executive grabbing power is the same. One of my amendments is to remove the Henry 8th powers from the Bill and to stop Ministers by-passing Parliamentary scrutiny if they rewrite the rules on your privacy at a later date.
My work to improve the legislation coming through the Lords is only part of what I do, but it’s important because the Government has no natural majority in the second chamber. I do get some valuable outside help with drafting amendments and briefings for my speeches. In addition, I use my daily allowance to pay for a skeleton staff of part-timers, but it is not enough to cover all the issues. I need your support to help make up the shortfall.
Additional work this week:
* Joint hosting of a tea and presentation for anti-fracking campaigners from around the country.
* Spoke at a meeting on climate change in Dulwich with local MP.
* Guardian article on air pollution and male fertility.
* Spoke during the Lords debate on a bill to remove any 6″ or less step to a public place and replace with a ramp. It would benefit 800,000 wheelchair users.