June 24 2022

High standards matter for democracy

Truth in politics matters


It was great seeing so many of you at the two festivals of ideas I spoke at recently, about the importance of truth and transparency in politics. The first was at ‘How The Light Gets In’ on the banks of the Wye. A lot has been made in the past few months on whether calling for the resignation of a politician for misleading Parliament is a commensurate response. I believe it is very much so. At the Big Tent Ideas Festival in Bristol, I was joined by a leading anti-corruption watchdog and other politicians. We discussed whether vested interests may be unfairly influencing policy decisions in government and how to address this imbalance.

I strongly believe that politicians should be leading by example with the highest aspirations to the highest standards of behaviour and honourable conduct. Democracy needs politicians who value truth and an effective corrective system when standards slip. That’s essential and I’m proud to have the MP code of conduct in my portfolio as Shadow Leader of the House of Commons so I can keep pushing for the highest standards in politics.


Deportation of refugees halted – for now


Many of you wrote to me about the deportation of refugees to Rwanda with concerns I completely share. The first deportation flight did not take off because of legal intervention but the Home Secretary has said she will try again. The policy is not workable. It isn’t tackling criminal gangs and is costing millions. The government were quick to blame Labour, lawyers, protestors for the cancelled flight, blaming anyone but themselves. They are criticising the European Court of Human Rights –an institution created by the UK and one we should be proud of. 


This is yet another failure in a long list of failures by the Home Office. As I write this, I have learnt that more than 150 Afghan men who worked at the British Embassy in Kabul have been left behind. Many applied to come here but haven’t heard back for months. Many have been tortured. This is shocking. Whenever confronted about refugees, the government’s standard response has been about ‘safe and legal routes’ and using the Afghan scheme as a shining example. I will continue to push the government to stick to their word.


Waiting in Backlog Britain


We are all living in Backlog Britain now. People continue to wait for passports. There are queues at petrol stations and ‘Staff Wanted’ posters cover shop windows. Travellers are delayed for hours at airports and 1 in 9 people in England are on an NHS waiting list. Waiting lists in government departments are crippling our economy, costing the taxpayer billions, preventing people from getting on with their lives. We badly need a long-term plan for growing and protecting our economy. I promise to keep campaigning for investment in renewable energy and other climate action and help for our small businesses.


• Contact me at thangam.debbonaire.mp@parliament.uk. Alternatively, call 0117 3790980 10am - 4pm Monday-Friday.