Note from the Editor: We have been asked why the PT is publishing Fiona Onasanya’s columns following her conviction at the Old Bailey.
The PT offers columns to the two sitting MPs covering Peterborough if they choose to submit one. While she is still the MP - and therefore the elected representative - we believe it would be wrong to deny our readers the chance to read what she has submitted.
To censor the column would, in my view, be wrong, and in my experience our readers are quite capable of making their own minds up about the columns submitted by local politicians. The column will of course remain subject to our normal legal and Editor’s Code of Conduct boundaries.
Editor - Mark Edwards
Anybody who has been following the news (and even those who try and escape it) will know that it’s been an incredibly busy, and sometimes fractious year in the House of Commons, with many issues arising that directly impact the people of Peterborough. It’s an honour to be your voice for change over an incredibly consequential period of British politics.
This year, I have been consistently intervening in debates on Brexit in Parliament. There have been many opportunities to do so as this government has continued to falter during negotiations. I’ve always made it explicitly clear that I respect the referendum result, and that it is a question of how we leave the European Union, not if.
This is why I have continued to scrutinise this botched Brexit deal: a deal that does not take back control, nor provide industry, business, and left behind communities with confidence. I will continue to do so as we approach March 29, 2019, because Peterborough deserves much better than what is currently on offer.
The shambolic Universal Credit roll-out has also been a pressing topic this year. While the government stick their heads in the sand and continue down this troublesome path, I have been demanding that we pause the roll-out due to the shameful impact it is having on my constituents.
We should have a functional, compassionate welfare system that treats those in need with respect and dignity, and this is a battle that I will take into next year knowing that public opinion is firmly on our side.
Locally, there has been concern raised over the working conditions at the local Amazon fulfilment centre. 600 emergency service calls have been made to Amazon warehouses in the UK over the last three years, and I have made it clear that as one of the largest employers in our city, they must provide an acceptable standard of safety and security that protects their workforce. I have written to the Prime Minister on this issue, urging her to take a stand and enforce tougher regulations to ensure that these standards are met.
Meanwhile, plans have been released this year to close the local HMRC tax office in our city in favour of a new ‘regional hub’ in East London.
I have been working with other Members of Parliament whose towns and cities are also affected to fight back against the job cuts and centralisation the government is proposing – and will be visiting the local office in the New Year to discuss this with the workforce.
This all goes without mentioning the drastic cuts we’re seeing to our local fire services, police forces and hospitals – and the concerning budget of austerity Peterborough City Council have proposed.
While it has been a successful year fighting back against these injustices, there is still much more to be done, and you can rest assured that I will continue to do so as your representative in the corridors of power.