World Ocean Day 

To mark World Ocean Day on June 8th I visited the World Wide Fund for Nature's (WWF) electric ice cream van outside Parliament to show my support for their campaign to ensure that oceans are not neglected in the fight against climate change.

Our oceans play a vital role in the fight against climate change and absorb around 30% of the carbon dioxide produced by humans. Ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow later this year, it is vital that world leaders ensure they incorporate the preservation of our oceans into climate policy. You can find out more about the importance of oceans to our planet's ecosystem here. Shadow Minister for Nature, Water and Flooding Olivia Blake MP's has written an article about this issue that you can read here.
Israel/Palestine Debate

The situation in Israel and Palestine led to thousands of my constituents to contact me concerned by the escalating violence and harm caused to civilians. Many emailed to request that I participate in a Westminster Hall Debate in Parliament on the issue.

Unfortunately, due to restrictions on the number of speakers I was not able to speak. However, I would like to reiterate my support for the Palestinian people and my opposition to the illegal annexation of their land. You can read my full statement on my website here.
Survey Corner

In my last survey, I asked about foreign holidays and travel restrictions. Here is what you told me:

- 70% of you said you were not planning to take a foreign holiday this year.

- 65% of you that you were concerned by the possibility of more Covid-19 variants entering the UK from abroad.

- 70% of you said you would be happy to present proof of vaccination in order to travel abroad.

- 59% of you felt that travel should not be allowed to countries that are not on the Government's 'Green List'.

In my next survey, I want to hear your thoughts on best to aid children's education recovery. You can take part here.
Reforming Football Governance

Earlier this week I spoke in a Westminster Hall debate in Parliament around reforming football governance. Football clubs are not just businesses like any other - they are wrapped up in the identity of their towns. Many were founded by workers at the heart of their communities, such as with Luton Town FC.

In recent years we have seen how billionaire owners have taken over some of the countries largest clubs and are only interested in profit. The influx of big money into football has left some fans feeling like an afterthought. However, the European Super League debacle showed the influence that fans can still have over their clubs. Fans should be further empowered to influence their clubs.

The Government is currently undergoing a review of football governance. This review must put football fans at its centre and improve fan representation, establish an independent regulator, and ensure the long-term sustainability of the football pyramid. You can watch my full speech here.
Scrutiny of Trade Deals

The Prime Minister said that one of the main benefits of Brexit would be that the UK could negotiate its own trade deals and for Parliament to be able to scrutinise them. Instead of doing this, the Government is simply rolling over problematic trade deals that were signed with the EU and attempting to implement them without a vote or debate in Parliament. As is the situation with trade deals with Ghana and Cameroon.

This isn't "taking back control" it's simply Ministers and the Government avoiding democratic accountability. You can see my intervention here.
Education Recovery Plan

The pandemic meant children lost months of valuable classroom time. We need a bold, ambitious strategy to help children catch up and thrive after months of lockdown. Instead, the Government announced a package that was woefully inadequate and their own advisor said risks "failing hundreds of thousands of children." The Government provided funding of just £1.5 billion, ten times less than the £15 billion recommended by the Government's advisor who then resigned as result.

Hardworking pupils, parents, staff and teachers have gone above and beyond over the past 15 months. Despite this, the Government have failed to back them with the investment needed to deliver an ambitious future for our children.

The Labour Party's Children's Recovery plan will give schools the resources needed to transform extracurricular activities and deliver support to those who need it most. It would tackle hunger by providing funding to deliver breakfast clubs and guarantee free school meals during the holidays for all those eligible. The plan will also ensure that all children have access to quality mental health support and deliver funding for arts and sports clubs for all students. The future of our children and young people cannot be bought on the cheap, failing to invest in them now will cost us more in the future.

If you want to have your say on the Government's education recovery plan and have an input on what you think is needed then take part in my survey

Find out more

Meeting With BLCF

I was pleased to have a catch-up with the CEO of Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation (BLCF), Karen Perkins, earlier this month. It was fantastic to hear about all of the amazing charity work that the BLCF helps to fund. The BLCF is a local charity that distributes grants to other local charities with aim of reducing poverty and disadvantage, improving health outcomes and encouraging stronger communities.

As the foundation celebrates its 20th anniversary it's good to see it going from strength to strength, distributing £8.2 million to good causes last year alone.  I look forward to hearing more about the Foundation's work and the outcomes they are delivering.
Euro 2020 and The Fight Against Racism

I hope that all of those who are interested have been enjoying the Euro 2020 tournament so far. Prior to the start of the tournament, I reiterated my support for England players in their anti-racist position of taking the knee before games.

Many of the players will have lived experiences of racism and are using their position as role models to spread the message that racism has no place in football or in society. You can see my full statement here.
St Vincent and Grenadine Briefing

I was pleased to attend a briefing with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association updating MPs on the situation in St Vincent and the Grenadines. St Vincent suffered from a devastating volcanic eruption in April.

Many of my constituents in Luton South will have deep connections to St Vincent and will be concerned by the situation. Whilst the initial emergency has now passed the cleanup operation is now underway and it is estimated that 15% of St Vincent's population remains in temporary accommodation. I will continue to ensure that the UK Government plays its part in the recovery. 
Armed Forces Day
On Saturday 26th June, we will celebrate Armed Forces Day, a day to thank those in our armed forces for their service. The British armed forces do more than just keep us safe. They helped the country through the dark days of the pandemic last year, they serve in peacekeeping operations across the globe and help to deliver international aid.

With the Armed Forces Bill coming back to Parliament next week the Government must back up their words with actions and ensure that the Armed Forces Covenant is legally enforceable. This would ensure those that who serve in our armed forces get the education, housing and healthcare they deserve.
Rachel Hopkins MP for Luton South