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My colleague, Louise Haigh MP, secured a much needed debate in Parliament on the fall in life expectancy across the UK. I was able to use this debate to once again tell some hard truths to the Government minister in attendance.

Child poverty in some wards in Delyn is now reaching 50%. Child mortality is also rising across the UK. Action is needed now to stem the tide of growing poverty. If not this Government will have created a lost generation.

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A number of constituents have been impacted by a scandal of the new housing market where new homes are sold with leaseholds – which results in ground rents that in some cases double every ten years and will cost over £7,000 to buy the leasehold. 

In many cases, the people being hurt by this are first time buyers who have saved for years to buy a home. Only to find that housing developers have used leasehold schemes to undermine their dream of owning their first home. 

Many people who purchased a new home with these leaseholds were not given legal advice and if they approached a sales team they would be sold a leasehold under pressing sales tactics. 

We are now in the absurd situation where developers are profiting from this legal loophole and giving bonuses to their Chief Executives of over £100m. This is wrong and needs to be put to an end. 

The Government happened to make a statement today setting out their approach for this, which I welcome. But I am still concerned that by the time the legislation comes into being developers will have sold on their leaseholds to third parties to negate their liability. 

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As you will know, I have long campaigned for the hereditary principle to be abolished in our democracy.

Last week in the by-election following the death of Lord Lyell, 346 valid votes were cast. All current members of the House who have taken the oath, 803 in total, were edible to vote.

On the first count, of the 27 candidates, 26 received one or more first-preference votes. After 25 transfers of votes, the votes for final two candidates were:

Lord Bethell 108
Lord Colgrain 143

Lord Colgrain now gets a seat in our Parliament for life on a turnout of just 43%, bearing in mind the electorate are supposed to be political people so you would think would bother to vote. That means that he won the vote with only 17% of the potential electorate. That is a ridiculous situation.

This is now the 5th by-election to be held in the House of Lords since the 2015 General Election.

I have always voted to reform or abolish the House of Lords as I see it as a hangover of a time and place that no longer exists within the UK. But I feel the removal of hereditary peers is a step we could all agree with and then continue with further reform as the next course of action. Read more “House of Lords Reform: Westminster Hall Debate”

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Today, I held a Westminster Hall debate on the airgun safety. This debate was called following the death of George Atkinson, 13, who died when a pellet hit his head after an airgun went off accidentally.

In today’s debate I called for two changes to the current law to ensure that this tragic death would not be repeated. These were small but important changes, the first of which was to tighten the wording of the current legislation on airguns. Currently the law states that:

It is an offence for a person in possession of an air weapon to fail to take reasonable precautions to prevent someone under the age of 18 from gaining unauthorised access to it. A defence is provided where a person can show that they had reasonable grounds for believing the other person to be aged 18 or over. The maximum penalty for someone convicted of this new offence is £1,000. Read more “Airgun Safety Debate”