Richmond Park News: 21 May 2021
I was deeply concerned to hear about the stabbing that took place near Kings Road in Richmond on Monday afternoon. I know how much anxiety this crime is causing in the local neighbourhood. I spoke to Borough Commander CS Lis Chapple about it yesterday and was very sorry to hear that the victim died yesterday morning. The incident was believed to be a personal dispute and the police are pursuing a specific suspect in relation to it. I have a follow up meeting with CS Chapple next week and will ask what further steps are being taken to tackle crime in the local area.
GREAT BRITISH RAILWAY PLAN
Yesterday I spoke in the House of Commons in response to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps' statement on the future of Britain's railways. I welcomed news of the new flexible season ticket, especially for any constituents who continue working partly from home after the pandemic is over. I then asked the Secretary what protections he planned to put in place against increasing rail fares.
The secretary assured me that existing regimes for capping rail fares will remain in place and commuters will be protected from unreasonable fare hikes. You can see my question and the response here.
OPPOSING THE FREE TRADE AGREEMENT WITH AUSTRALIA
On Wednesday I wrote to Liz Truss, Secretary of State for International Trade, about serious concerns I have with the free trade agreement she is negotiating with Australia.
The agreement would allow tariff-free access to the UK market for Australian agricultural products, including animal products. Australia has lower animal welfare standards than the UK; British farmers wlll be unable to compete with cheap Australian meat. A tariff-free trade agreement will not allow us to support British farmers while simultaneously preserving our high animal welfare standards, both of which the Government promised to do.
I have similar concerns about protecting our environmental and food hygiene standards. I fear this agreeement will set a precedent for lowering our standards in order to make trade agreements with other countries, including the USA and Brazil.
You can see my letter to the Secretary of State for International Trade here.
STANDING UP FOR SINGERS
I know many of my constituents enjoy singing in choirs and have been looking forward to resuming this beneficial activity. A number of you have written to me about the Government mandate that non-professional group singing must be limited to six people. I have to confess I do not know why group exercise indoors without masks is allowed while group singing is not. I think the guidance on exercising in a group indoors in a Covid-safe manner could be applied to singing as well.