I hope you're well as we start the new year at the most serious stage of the pandemic, but with vaccines rolling out. The impact of Covid-19 and Brexit have dominated my month. Parliament is now operating largely online and my office is continuing to work remotely. If you know anyone who needs support ask them to get in touch and, as ever, I'd welcome your feedback. Paul
Johnson's Christmas Brexit
I helped prepare Labour's response to Johnson's Christmas Eve announcement, and the amendments to the Bill debated on 30 December, and then stepped down as Shadow Minister for Brexit and EU Negotiations. More here.
More recently I challenged the Foreign Secretary on following Trump's example in downgrading EU diplomatic status (more here) and the Chancellor on the regional impact of the deal, which you can watch here.
Student Rent and fees
I launched a cross-party inquiry into rent and fee refunds for university students as a result of Covid measures. We aim to make recommendations to Government this week. More here.
Backing Covid lockdown
I voted for the new lockdown measures, but in Parliament I argued for financial support for all affected, against the Universal Credit cut and pay freezes for key workers, and for vaccines to reach poorer countries. More here.
I have been in regular contact with local headteachers, taking their concerns to Ministers, and secured a statement from Gavin Williamson on scrapping SATs. Watch our exchange and read more here.
Cladding and building safety
Over 50 leaseholders joined a meeting I organised with the Council and Fire Service on high-rise cladding and building safety, on which I'm working with Sheffield Cladding Action Group. More here.
Thanks to everyone who's donated to my appeal for Yemeni families facing war and famine. We've raised almost £5000 (including gift aid). If you haven't yet, you can donate here before it closes on Friday.
Supporting dental services
Our constituency is in the top 10% where dental services have been impacted by the pandemic and I pressed Ministers to rethink targets which threaten services further. Watch and read my speech here.
I meet regularly with Ministers and locally with the Hospital Trust, the Clinical Commissioning Group, the Director of Public Health and the Council. Do get in touch on anything you'd like me to raise.
Apart from Covid-19, the main emails from constituents have been on the Government lifting the EU ban on neonicotinoid pesticides, the Environment Bill and Napier & Penally Barracks currently housing asylum seekers.
Support for victims of domestic abuse: 08088082241 is the Sheffield helpline (open Mondays to Fridays 8am-7pm & Saturdays 9am-5pm) and 08082000247 offers support nationally 24/7.) Nether Edge and Sharrow Foodbank: Supporting vulnerable people in the area, this recently established project is fundraising to continue their work providing food packs. Please donate here.