July 2023: News from MP Thangam Debbonaire

Privileges committee reportThe Privileges Committee report on Boris Johnson  found the former PM intentionally misled Parliament. In my Business Questions speech and on the media on the day, I spoke about why this mattered to people like you, who sacrificed so much during the pandemic. 

Fighting for dental care

People have been telling me about difficulties in finding an NHS dentist for months.

It is shocking that there appear to be no dentists in Bristol West accepting new NHS patients. Some dentists such as the one in St Paul’s are closing altogether. As a result, many people no longer have access to an NHS dentist. I’ve taken this up with the local NHS and with government ministers. Locally the NHS is setting up some emergency provision but it’s nowhere near enough. The real problem lies with the government. Years of mismanagement led to dentists leaving the NHS in droves. Visit my website to read my letter to the Health Secretary. I will update the page as soon as I get a response.

Backing stronger animal welfare standards

Animal welfare is so important to so many of you. In my weekly Shadow Leader of the House speech in the Commons (Thursday mornings), I recently called out the government for failing to bring forward the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill. 

This Bill started in 2021 but has been allowed to grind to a halt. It includes important protections for dogs and cats and would clamp down on the cruel practice of puppy smuggling. 

I’ve raised this five times over the past eight months and pushed for a proper plan for stopping unscrupulous breeders cashing in by bringing puppies and kittens into this country with no care.

Visiting a battery storage plant

In June, I visited Thrive Renewable’s 20 MW Battery Storage plant on Feeder Road. The site stores electricity and exports it back to the grid during peak demand when carbon intensity is highest.

This site had been proposed for a diesel-fuelled plant. This would have been dangerous not just for the pupils of the neighbouring nursery but also the hundreds of people who work on Feeder Road. At the time, I supported groups who successfully fought against the plan resulting in developers proposing a battery storage project as an alternative.

It was wonderful to meet representatives again from groups such as RADE, and Bristol Energy Collective, who have done so much to engage with communities while helping Bristol make the transition to cleaner power.

Defending legacy EU environmental protections

Protecting biodiversity and restoring wildlife habitats is a priority and I want to see the UK’s environment and food regulations strengthened. 

However, the government’s Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill  weakens them.

I agreed with amendments made by the House of Lords. The Bill returned to the Commons on June 12 and I voted against the government’s motions to remove the above amendments. Unfortunately, the government used their majority to remove these measures.

I will continue to support efforts to ensure the government does not water down hard-won workers’ rights, undermine business confidence, or give ministers unaccountable powers.