I have been inundated this month with emails about the ongoing situation in Palestine and Israel. Regular readers will know that I have long been an advocate for the Palestinian people and am Vice-Chair of the Britain-Palestine All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG).
The escalation of tensions and loss of life in recent weeks has been horrifying and I welcomed the ceasefire. However, that cannot and will not be the end of the matter.
The reality is that this situation will only be resolved when Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory ends and the international community recognises a state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel. I want to be absolutely clear; I regard the failure of the international community to properly recognise and respond to the demands of the Palestinian people to be in large part responsible for the current situation. It has turned ordinary Palestinians to despair, sabotaged their democratic leadership and opened up a vacuum which Hamas is filling.
Last week I released a video statement of solidarity with the people of Palestine, which you can watch here. The Britain-Palestine APPG) also released a statement calling on the UK to ensure full accountability and compliance with international law in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. I also used my monthly Edinburgh Evening News column to outline some of my thoughts on the situation in the region which you can read here.
The House of Lords is an archaic disgrace that should have been swept into the dustbin of history long ago. My latest report – published in April – highlighted just how unrepresentative of Scotland the institution is. Read it here.
This week marked the 50th anniversary of the Misuse of Drugs Act. The All Party Parliamentary Group held a briefing with an impressive line-up of speakers. The evidence continues to mount behind the case for change – the Misuse of Drugs Act is not fit for purpose.
While the vaccination programme is going well across the UK (I was delighted to get my second dose this month), the reality is that none of us are safe from Covid-19 until we are all safe from it. A global pandemic needs a global response, yet the UK remains one of the loudest voices blocking an intellectual property waiver for Covid-19 vaccines – something I am campaigning for.
I also met with Unicef UK to mark World Immunisation Week and discuss UNICEF’s work to vaccinate the world against COVID-19 and protect children from other deadly diseases.
I was pleased to be among over 100 MPs and Peers who have signed the APPG For Medical Cannabis cross party letter. Boris Johnson must urgently intervene and grant access to compassionate funding for families who can’t afford to keep paying for prescriptions, such as those who are part of the End our Pain group.
This week I attended a briefing to hear from Thierry Henry about the abuse he suffered as a player and the need to kick racism out of football – the social media aspect will be a big debate as we get into the Online Harms Bill.