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Richmond Park News: 15 July 2022


With the weather heating up in the next few days the NHS has shared some top tips for coping in hot weather, which include:

1. Look out for others - especially older people, young children and babies, and those with underlying health issues such as heart problems, breathing and respiratory issues.

2. Drink plenty of fluids - to stay hydrated and reduce alcohol consumption.

3. Close curtains or blinds - to keep rooms cooler and remember that it may be cooler outside.

4. Stay safe outdoors - apply sunscreen regularly, stay in the shade where possible and avoid exercising at the hottest parts of the day.

For more health information, advice and support, visit


I have received a great deal of correspondence from constituents on the Online Safety Bill which is currently making its way through Parliament. This Bill is designed to regulate certain internet services to reduce the spread of illegal and harmful content online. However, I know that many constituents have concerns around various aspects of the Bill, specifically regarding the potential of the Bill to impede freedom of expression. Other constituents have also raised concerns that the Bill does not go far enough to target the spread of misinformation, and doesn't introduce strong enough safeguards for children.

Although I support the overall thrust of the Bill to crackdown on harmful activity on social media, I acknowledge and share concerns around some aspects. Therefore, I tabled four amendments to the Bill alongside my Liberal Democrat colleagues which I believe address the concerns that constituents have raised to me. These amendments would have: protected user privacy through safeguarding end-to-end encryption, imposed a stronger media literacy duty on Ofcom, ensured that all internet services are safe by design, and required the Government to commission an independent evaluation on whether all providers of internet services likely to be accessed by children should be subject to child safety duties.

Unfortunately these amendments were not selected for a vote, and the Bill has now been put on hold until a new Prime Minister is in place in the Autumn. I will continue to follow the Bill as it progresses through Parliament and update constituents who have raised concerns about the Bill.


There is a vibrant Tamil community in Kingston, and I have held multiple meetings with Tamil representatives since becoming an MP, to discuss how I can support the community and raise their concerns with the Government.

Last week, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigned following months of demonstrations over widespread corruption and economic mismanagement. There are also multiple allegations of human rights abuses and atrocities levelled against Rajapaksa, which have been targeted at minority groups across the country, and in particular the Tamil community.

On Wednesday, I spoke in Parliament to raise the issue of heavy handed policing of the protests in Sri Lanka, and the unacceptable treatment of the Tamil community at the hands of the police and security forces. I asked the Minister to confirm whether Sri Lankan forces are still receiving funding from the UK Government, and I am pleased that she was able to confirm that the UK’s funding has been directed at supporting the role of women in the police force and that Police Scotland will not participate in any future programmes in Sri Lanka. You can see a clip of my contribution here.


Over the last three years, instances of pet theft have risen dramatically. This national trend was brought tragically close to home in late June, when Sura, a green tipped Macaw and beloved feature of the local community was stolen. Sura was later returned to the site of his abduction, but was too weak to return home, dying later that evening.

A new bill in Parliament will tighten the laws around stealing dogs but makes no provision for other animals. For this reason, I wrote to George Eustice, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to urge him to extend the protections that will be afforded to dogs to all animals commonly kept as pets. You can read the full story behind Sura’s case here.


Last week, I wrote to Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps to demand that his department disavow the rumours that they would relax restrictions on night flights over the summer. I am pleased to say the Department for Transport (DfT) has stated that they are not planning to change the overall night flight quota in response to the chaos this summer.

Delayed flights arriving in the small hours of the morning are however still an issue. I have tabled a number of Parliamentary Questions asking for more data on this subject and I will keep residents informed once I receive further information. You can read more about my challenge to the DfT and Heathrow here.


Engineers will be working around the clock to keep Hammersmith Bridge open during the extreme temperatures expected next week. The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF) has reassured me that the engineering teams have been provided with all available resources to keep the bridge open to foot traffic.

While I am glad that LBHF is doing everything they can to protect the bridge, the fact that these measures are necessary drives home how urgently repairs are needed. It's time the government commits the funds needed to fix the bridge and does more than offer empty words of support. You can read more about the effect of extreme heat on the bridge here.


On Wednesday 27th of July, workers from South Western Railway (SWR), Network Rail, and a number of other train operators across the country, will be participating in 24 hours of planned strikes. The disruption caused by these strikes will have knock-on consequences for those travelling Thursday 28th and customers should expect severe delays on both days. It is vital that the government does not stand on the sidelines during negotiations. All parties must return to the table and create a long-term solution that gets the country moving again. You can read more about the planned strikes here.


Yesterday I met with Transport Minister Trudy Harrison to discuss the regulation of rickshaws, sometimes called pedicabs, which is expected to be included in an upcoming Transport Bill. Rickshaws are most commonly used in London on the West End, and are currently not subject any regulation due to a legal anomaly. This causes many issues in central London and raises concerns around safety of passengers, noise pollution and overpriced fares.

With regulation, I believe that rickshaws could offer a great form of alternative public transport across Richmond Park, especially for those who may otherwise be unable to participate in active travel. I had a positive meeting with the Minister about the issue, and I look forward to working with the Department to support their efforts to introduce a regulatory framework for rickshaws - one that addresses current concerns and also acknowledges their potential as a carbon-free form of public transport.


The Mitre on St. Mary's Grove in Richmond has won notoriety as a landmark green enterprise in Richmond over the last few months. By using an electric pizza oven and delivery bike, switching to renewable electricity, and using only recycled glassware and takeaway packaging, the Mitre is on its way to becoming fully carbon neutral.

I am impressed by the Mitre’s entrepreneurial spirit in leading the green revolution in Richmond. They are a great example of the change we really need to see right across the hospitality industry. In May I nominated the Mitre for the 2022 APCRG National Responsible Business Champion award, and it was my pleasure to meet Chris French, owner of the pub, in Parliament this week. Learn more about the APCRG and the work they do here.


On Wednesday, I had a very productive meeting with representatives from Network Rail, Richmond Council, and Thomson House School regarding the Mortlake level crossing.

We discussed a number of ideas at length, including moving bollards to create a wider space for pedestrians, new signage, and clearer demarcation of pedestrian crossings. I was pleased to see that Network Rail and Richmond Council are coordinating with each other to make the sure the crossing becomes safer for all road users. I look forward to seeing improvements implemented.