Mercury Column - June 2019

You could say the last few months have been somewhat politically turbulent. Starting with MPs refusal to back the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal that would have meant we left the European Union on 29th March — and ending with Theresa May confirming her departure from 10 Downing Street, triggering the starter gun on the race to find her successor.

While out and about around the constituency residents showed their respect for the Prime Minister and how she served her country by so determinedly trying to get the deal agreed. There’s a real feeling of frustration at the Parliamentary log-jam (caused by a lack of majority for any Brexit option) and an oft-muttered grumble of “just get on with it!” I am sure MPs across the country have heard the same sentiment during recent elections; I hope that they will heed the instruction.

Despite the Brexit deadlock, important pieces of legislation have quietly passed through the various stages required to become law, and I want to mention three:

If you rent your home, you now benefit from greater protections for tenants, including a right to take legal action against rogue landlords that rent unfit or unsafe properties. Alongside this, we’ve banned letting fees that added another financial burden on those signing up to a new lease and capped the deposit amount a landlord can ask for at the beginning of a tenancy.

Hundreds die every year, waiting for an organ transplant. While organ donations have increased significantly over the last decade; there is still a shortage of donors. We’ve changed the organ donation system, from an opt-in donor card to an opt-out. Where someone hasn’t decided to donate their organs during their life, the default position now assumes consent. It’s a significant change that will save lives.

As an animal lover, a dog owner and a former Police Minister, I am particularly proud to see Finn’s Law make it to the statute book. It is named after the retired police dog Finn, who suffered horrific knife injuries as he stopped an armed robber. The new law introduces tougher sentences for anyone who harms a service animal while they are in the line of duty. It recognises the bravery and skill shown by police dogs and their dedicated handlers. It is right they receive the protection they deserve.