CAROLINE ANSELL MP: Absolute pride in England football team

In the wake of Sunday’s show-stopping Euro Final, I know that the vast majority of Eastbourne and Willingdon and, indeed the whole country, have nothing but absolute pride in our England football team.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 1:16 pm

It makes me so angry to hear of the racist abuse they received but I know it is a tiny minority who feel like this. I am not someone who looks for division and being out and about in the town this week, I have been struck by the outpouring of support for Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka.

I did speak in Parliament about abuse on social media on Wednesday and it’s time the big social media companies did more to tackle online hate and not just for public figures, but also many ordinary members of the public who are trolled for how they look, or their religion or sexuality. Twitter, by its own report, responded to less than 50 per cent of the approaches made to it by legal enforcement agencies – this cannot be right.

Any legislation to force the likes of Twitter and Facebook to do more has my support and I would like to see this in the upcoming Online Safety Bill.

There was a vote about the temporary reduction in the foreign aid budget this week in Parliament and I spoke to the Chancellor at some length ahead of the debate.

I have had concerns about this cut, although I do understand the country is facing enormous financial difficulties coming out of the pandemic and we are presently borrowing money for day-to-day spending.

The crucial issue here for me is the government’s commitment to return to the 0.7 per cent of GDP figure as soon as possible. Without this assurance, I would not have supported it.

It’s also important to note how this government is still spending billions on foreign aid and spending on vaccines for the rest of the world is not part of this budget but extra to it. We remain quite rightly a major force in helping the developing world.

I also backed the government’s proposal that all care home staff must be vaccinated against Covid to protect some of the most vulnerable members of society.

Importantly, there is also a precedent here as nearly all hospital trusts stipulate doctors should have a Hep B vaccination, although I accept this is not the law.

I do understand there are concerns about homes losing staff who do not want to be vaccinated but their residents are some of the most vulnerable in society and Covid 19, as we know to our cost, is super-infectious, potentially deadly and care homes need every line of defence there is against it.

I held my first public surgery at the Beacon last Saturday in another return to normal. It was good to speak to people directly, be able to offer important casework support and hear thoughts on the recovery plans. The weeks ahead are important where self testing is more important than ever to help protect those around you. Take good care.