Rushcliffe MP Ruth Edwards writes her monthly update.
February marked a year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In Parliament, we were honoured by a visit from President Zelenskyy, who spoke to MPs, Peers and staff.
The President described the close partnership between the UK and Ukraine.
In the last year, the UK has stood alongside them, leading international efforts to supply weapons and train with its armed forces.
We have also led efforts to sanction Russia, with £275 billion of sanctions now in place on the Russian state and private assets.
The callous way in which Russia has targeted civilians, destroying homes, hospitals and energy infrastructure, is sickening.
The reports of massacres and war crimes are chilling, and the UK is leading the international response to efforts to refer these barbaric atrocities to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Amongst the most harrowing of the reported crimes involve incidents of sexual violence being used as a weapon, and the UK Government has co-launched the Murad Code of conduct that will help the international community gather proof of conflict-related sexual violence which should lead to more convictions.
It is vital that the perpetrators of these crimes are punished and the UK, along with the US and the EU have created the Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group which will support the Prosecutor General of Ukraine in bringing these war criminals to justice.
I’m also aware that we have the amazing expertise of the medical and research team at the Defence National Rehabilitation Centre, here in Stanford Hall in Rushcliffe.
I hope we can find a way to share this expertise with Ukraine and I have asked defence ministers if there is a way we can make this happen.
Here in Rushcliffe, we have had a campaign win as Nottinghamshire’s Fire Authority has shelved its plans to cut the nighttime fire cover at West Bridgford Fire Station. I have worked with local firefighters and colleagues on Nottinghamshire County Council to oppose the plans and I’m delighted that they have been dropped. I want to thank all the residents who responded to the Fire Authority’s consultation, 78% of whom opposed the plans.
I was delighted to hear the Prime Minister reaffirm his commitment to Tomorrow’s NUH at Prime Minister’s Questions this week.
Tomorrow’s NUH is the transformation of QMC and City hospitals that will be one of the most ambitious hospital rebuilds in the country. In other health-related news, I’m delighted that the Government has cut the cost of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Around a quarter of women experience severe menopause symptoms, so it is really important that we take steps to mitigate the impact of this difficult period. We have introduced prescription pre-payment certificates for HRT, which will reduce the cost to less than £20 a year and save hundreds of pounds each year for the 400,000 women affected.
It was wonderful to round February off with a celebration of environmental heroes across the UK. I hosted the Climate Coalition’s Green Heart Heroes awards in Parliament, which recognises individuals, businesses and political leaders who have gone above and beyond to protect our environment. It was a doubly special night as one of Rushcliffe’s most dedicated young campaigners on climate issues, Aleesha Gadhia, was presented with the Future Leaders Award. Having worked with her before, I am so proud to see what she has achieved and am sure there’s so much more that she will go on to do.
On a personal note, I was asked to join the Whips’ Office this month as an Assistant Government Whip. The job of a whip is to help manage the Government’s business in Parliament, keeping in contact with backbench MPs and passing their feedback to the Chief Whip and the Prime Minister. Assistant Whips also help a specific department move their bills through Parliament and I was assigned to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
This means that you will hear less of me on TV in the chamber as whips are not allowed to speak in Parliament but I will be continuing to raise the issues that are important to us in Rushcliffe with ministers. We have made some great progress locally, addressing issues such as flooding, and supporting survivors of domestic abuse, but there is always more work to do, and I look forward to continuing this.