On January 16th, Barry hosted and led an important meeting with over 70 leading biodeversity experts as well as legislators at Westminster to discuss the economic value of biodeversity and ecosystems.
Barry himself plays a leading role in highlighting the importance of protecting and conserving biodiversity to Government and Parliament.
On 11 January 2012, Barry spearheaded the debate against doorstep selling as part of the Opposition Day Debate on Energy Prices in the House of Commons. Barry has continually advocated for decreased energy prices and continues to campaign against the Big Six Energy Companies.
Since 2004, gas and electricity bills have increased more than six times faster than household incomes, meaning that a quarter of all households in England and Wales are now in fuel poverty. Increasing energy bills and stagnating incomes also mean that an additional 25% of people now face energy debts and more than 850,000 electricity consumers and more than 700,000 gas customers are now in debt to their energy supplier.
I would dearly love to give the hon. Member for Ipswich (Ben Gummer) a lesson in the history he so eloquently went into earlier, but I shall defer that to another occasion. I would point out, however, that although he accused the previous Government of not having tackled structural reform in the energy market, they did so on two occasions with the new electricity trading arrangements, or NETA, and the British electricity trading and transmission arrangements, or BETTA. We will save the rest of that debate for another day.
This year Barry joined hundreds of others in the community at Brent Town Hall to remember the Holocaust and victims of genocide everywhere. A young man from Rwanda gave a most moving tribute to his two friends who were killed during the ethnic violence in 1994 and Anthony Wolfson (the former cantor at Wembley synagogue) led the London Cantorial Singers in sacred Jewish songs of rememberance.
The theme of “Speak Up Speak Out” was joyfully completed by Kensal Rise Primary School’s orchestra playing and singing Viva la Libertad! Later in the week Barry signed the Holocaust Book of Commitment in Parliament. For more information on the Holocaust Educational Trust, please click here.
On Thursday 12 January 2012, Barry hosted a roundtable discussion on ways to improve service industries in India. Barry addressed an ample audience of business leaders and led the discussion on ways to boost trade between the EU and India to benefit both economies.
Barry joined George Sabaratnam and Mrs. Renu Kaul from the local Sudbury Residents’ Association to discuss the Association’s ‘Neighbourhood Plan’ and the ongoing problem of Paan spitting on the streets of Sudbury and Wembley.
Barry then met with local Councillor Mary Daly to work with Brent Trading Standards to address the problem. Barry wants to make sure that every shop in Brent that sells Paan is operating legally, as it often includes an element of tobacco.
Barry asks all shops to issue small spittle bags to customers to remind them that it is illegal to spit on the street. A number of shops have now purchased pouches to be supplied with every Paan sale. Officers from Brent and Harrow Trading Standards made a number of undercover test purchases, resulting in at least one supplier being prosecuted for selling to an underaged agent.
Barry would like to invite residents to email him the name and address of any shop in Brent not handing out spittle bags when they sell Paan to customers so that he can follow this up with them.
“200 days to drop Dow from the London Olympics”, that was the message Barry gave out in Trafalgar Square on January the 9th as he joined campaigners in Chennai, Bhopal, Nicaragua, Michigan and Vietnam to protest against Dow Chemical’s involvements in the London Games. Barry continues to fight for the integrity of the Olympic Games, which he fears will be damaged by Dow's inexcusable human rights violations in regards to the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster.
Barry and other campaigners gathered in front of the Olympic Countdown Clock in Trafalgar Square and challenged Lord Coe, Chair of the London Organising Committee, to share a glass of "B’eau Pal": contaminated water from the Bhopal site which local residents are still forced to drink every day. Labour Friends of India campaign to kick Dow out of the London Olympics gained huge momentum when Meredith Alexander, one of the 13 commissioners for the Games, resigned.
Mrs Alexander said she had resigned because she felt uneasy about the Commission's relationship with Dow. Following Mrs Alexander’s resignation, Chief Minister Chouhan, of the State of Madhya Pradesh, called for a boycott of the Games if Dow was not dropped.
The petition on change.org has over 17,000 signatures. There are only 200 days left to kick Dow out of the Olympics. Please help and click here to sign the petition.
Barry Gardiner MP has signed Age UK's winter pledge, showing his support for a campaign aimed at reducing the number of annual winter deaths.
With fuel bills rising and many older people suffering from Government cuts to essential services, Barry has fought the Big Six energy companies over their selling practices, and is now throwing his support behind Age UK's campaign.
This Christmas as many of our families are experiencing the effects of the recession it is perhaps more important than ever to reflect upon the story of the nativity.
God chose to become human not in the form of a prince or a wealthy man but as the son of a carpenter, born in a stable. His family became refugees and had to flee their own country.
This is the essence of the Christmas message, that god is at home with the poor and the dispossessed and that our salvation lies not in wealth and power but in the loving service of others.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family.
Barry Gardiner MP
Congratulations to Emma (age 10) from St. Robert's Southwell Prmary School for winning this year's competition!
On December 13th, Barry spoke at 'How Green Should We Go?', an event jointly hosted by the Institute of Public Policy Research and Centrica in the House of Commons. This is part of a series of proposals launced by Barry to ensure that members of Parliament understand that protecting the environment and moving to a greener economy should be a priority.
The event examined the demands of climate change and what needed to be done to reduce carbon emissions in a cost effective way.
Other speakers included: David Kennedy, Chief Executive, Committee on Climate Change; Gearoid Lane, Managing Director of British Gas New Energy; Nick Pearce, Director of the IPPR; and Matthew Sinclair, Director of the Tax Payers Alliance.