The level of concern for the future of our planet has been acutely amplified since the IPCC’s reported last October that we have 12 years to reverse a climate catastrophe.
I have responded to the urgency of the situation as follows: I was successfully elected to the Environment Audit Select Committee, which is the influential Parliamentary committee scrutinising the Government’s role in reaching net zero carbon emissions, amongst other things. I fully supported Parliament’s call to declare a climate emergency and Government legislation to commit to law the need to reach net zero emissions. I am a member of the Conservative Environment Network, which recently launched its manifesto outlining policy ideas to decarbonise while protecting our precious landscapes and wildlife and secured a debate in April on the environment which pressed the Government to bring forward our first ever Environment Bill, (included in the Queen’s Speech last Monday).
Locally I work closely with many campaigners who demand that the Government accelerates its work to cut carbon emissions. I work with Cornwall Council officers to ensure we are coherent in our efforts and demands of Government support to reach our 2030 net zero commitment. Even before the IPCC launched their report in 2018 I have a track record of calling on Government to improve the efficiency of homes and the built environment, improve the natural environment, improve public transport and improve air quality. I say this because my predecessor and others in the left-wing national press are seeking to exploit the strength of feeling about the climate crisis for political gain. This includes references to votes in Parliament without any explanation or context. You can find a full explanation and context at derekthomas.org.
As chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Vascular and Venous Disease, I have been pleased to help produce a report, ‘Venous Leg Ulcers: A Silent Crisis’, which reveals how patients are not getting the treatment they deserve. Every year patients are being failed by poor treatment pathways and I have heard some harrowing stories from patients of mis-diagnosis, pain and social isolation which has taken a heavy toll on the physical and mental wellbeing of vulnerable people. What is worse is that doctors and vascular experts agree on what needs to change and how to do it but currently the availability of treatment varies across the NHS. We want to raise awareness of the issues and point out that cost-effective medical solutions are available. You can read it here.
Once again the Government has been frustrated in its effort to secure a Withdrawal Agreement and move onto the work of fashioning a fresh relationship of trade and co-operation with the EU. Should the revised Withdrawal Agreement complete its passage through Parliament this week we will then have 14 months to agree our future relationship which is possible quite simply because we are already closely aligned on standards, employment law, animal welfare and financial services. This is of course if Parliament can ever agree!