October 2020: News from your local MP

September 29 2020

We need music and art more than ever

Right now, we need music, art and culture more than ever. In a time with so much uncertainty, Bristol’s natural creativity will be essential for imagining the future beyond the pandemic.
Unfortunately, Bristol’s creative and sociable side is threatened by current health restrictions – so I spent a lot of time over the summer working with many of Bristol’s arts venues, concert spaces, festival organisers and artists.
In a series of public events, we discussed how these people and organisations can be supported so Bristol’s cultural life can return to its energetic and creative former self, as soon as it is safe. But the venues and organisations need support. These companies and organisations have been built up over decades. They enrich us in so many ways. If they are lost, our city will lose a big part of its personality.
Through these meetings we discussed Bristol-wide problems and ideas which could help, which I put to the government. The Culture Secretary did eventually announce funding to help many arts organisations, but there were still many smaller organisations left out – so I will continue to make a case for more comprehensive support.
Everything may seem gloomy at the moment, but I have also received some positive news. By the time you read this, you may have heard that the Colston Hall is changing its name (although I cannot disclose this secret information at the time of writing!).
This sends an important signal – that everyone is welcome, no matter the colour of their skin, and our city will not continue to celebrate people who have become rich through oppression and exploitation.  

What is the government for, if not to uphold the law?

MANY of you have written to me about the latest episode in the government’s appalling handling of Brexit.
You are disappointed and shocked that a government would intentionally break international law and rip up the Withdrawal Agreement treaty, just a few months after signing it.
At a time when the UK is supposed to be earning the trust of other countries and making trade deals, this is particularly worrying.
The Prime Minister seems surprised about the problems with his deal, which was supposed to ‘Get Brexit done’. We tried to warn him last year – but he illegally shut down parliament to prevent us from debating it. He needs to take responsibility for his mess.
I know many business owners in Bishopston and the rest of Bristol are worrying about the end of the Transition Period at the end of the year.
 I am taking these concerns forward with my colleagues in the Shadow Cabinet. The last thing we need now is another, completely avoidable, disaster.