Friday, 31 January 2014

Cambridge MP Newsletter: Holocaust Memorial Day, Tory Rebellions And Action Day Galore! 31-JAN-2014

Cambridge Commemorates Holocaust Memorial Day  

This past weekend, Cambridge commemorated Holocaust Memorial Day and marked the 69th anniversary of the Auschwitz-Birkenau liberation. I was proud to witness firsthand the tremendous efforts put forth by the City Council and the Cambridge University Jewish Society to honour the memory of all who perished. The community truly came together and reminded us all of the importance of preventing these atrocities from ever happening again.

It seemed appropriate that two days after Holocaust Memorial Day, which also marked 75 years since Britain rescued 10,000 children with the Kindertransport, we finally persuaded the Home Secretary to do the right thing and allow some of the most vulnerable Syrian Refugees to come to the UK.

Debating Immigration Back in the House  

Thursday saw the Immigration Bill back in the House of Commons. It is incredibly sad that the political rhetoric in this country has drifted so far to the UKIP anti-foreigner approach, with Labour and the Tories chasing the same space. It also revealed just how weak the Prime Minister is when tackling his own back benches.

Fortunately, we stopped many of the worst proposals from being added to the Bill, even though the Tories abstained on a proposal from their own rebels. Unfortunately, proposals to expand the deprivation of citizenship passed, partly because Labour decided to abstain on this issue; I coordinated the vote against it.

On a more positive note, I have persuaded the government to write into law the end of child detention for immigration purposes, reflecting the changes already made. Under the last government, thousands of children were locked up for no crime; this will never happen again.

Building a Better Support System for Adults with Autism   

The Adult Autism Strategy from 2010 was a notable step forward in improving the services available to people with autism, and my predecessor David Howarth was key to it. However, it’s not being implemented fast enough. On Wednesday, I and a few colleagues pressed Health Minister Norman Lamb on how the government plans to get the strategy put into practice. Adults with autism deserve to have the same opportunities as everyone else, but research from the National Autistic Society tells us that only 15% of adults with autism have full-time jobs. Autism is a formidable challenge for those suffering from the condition and it is necessary to make sure a sound support system in place to protect their quality of life.

Lib Dems’ National Day of Action

Tomorrow, I’ll be heading out along with members and activists from across the city as part of our National Day of Action. We’ll be knocking on doors in Newnham, supporting our excellent city councillor Rod Cantrill. It's a great chance to meet supporters from across the city. If you've never been before, we'll make sure you get all the training you need and have a good time.