Thangam Debbonaire writes for the Voice

Calling on the government to scrap its Rwanda scheme 

I’m continuing to oppose the Tories’ cruel, unworkable, illegal Rwanda scheme at every opportunity. On 11th July, I voted 18 times to protect the common-sense amendments made in the House of Lords. 

This included measures to protect children and pregnant women from being detained indefinitely, which we pressured the government into accepting.

I also voted for a 10-year strategy for dealing with refugee crises and human trafficking, and more support for victims of modern slavery.

Holding Boris Johnson to account

Over the last month, I’ve been leading the debate for Labour holding Boris Johnson to account for lying to the House of Commons and to the people of this country about law-breaking parties in Downing Street during the pandemic. 

I’ve also been demanding he reverses his decision to approve Johnson’s dishonourable honours list and questioned his judgement in using taxpayers’ money to fund Johnson’s legal defence. Johnson should pay back every penny.

Fighting for Bristol’s Windrush generation

75 years ago, the first people from the Windrush generation arrived in the UK. Last month, I recognised the huge contribution they made to cities like Bristol. Shockingly, through a mix of the Home Office’s cruel ‘hostile environment’ and sheer Tory incompetence, many people were prevented from accessing healthcare, work and housing. 

Worse still, some were wrongly detained, denied legal rights, and threatened with deportation. I’ve been fighting the Home Office for years for the people in Bristol West caught up in this scandal.

In a speech to the House of Commons on 22nd June, I raised the cost and complexity of the process and the lack of access to affordable legal advice. I called on the government to clear that backlog and give these people the compensation they’re owed.

Rebuilding the UK’s relationship with Europe 

It has been deeply frustrating to see the damage done to the UK’s relationship with our close friends in the European Union. 

This month I had the pleasure of meeting with the German Ambassador, Miguel Berger and Madam President Annita Demetriou, the first woman to be elected President of the House of Representatives in Cyprus.

I highlighted the importance of Bristol’s musicians and artists accessing short-term visas to tour within the EU. I also spoke about the need to seek mutual recognition of professional qualifications to enable our service industries to do business in the EU.

Sharing lessons from Bristol Beacon’s refurbishment

As Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, I am part of the team responsible for Restoration and Renewal of the Palace of Westminster – not just our workplace but also a global beacon of democracy and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

It was a pleasure to welcome restoration experts from the team to Bristol to connect with suppliers and learn from the people working on restoring buildings such as the Bristol Beacon.

The Bristol Beacon is at the heart of our cultural landscape, and it’s been great to share the lessons from the refurbishment.