I spoke in an Opposition Day debate last month about the crisis facing British waterways. The government has continued to allow private water companies to dump raw sewage into our rivers and seas. United Utilities were responsible for 69,245 sewage overflows in 2022. There were 977 sewage dumps in the River Mersey alone.
It is not hard to trace the origins of Britain’s dirty water emergency. Environment Agency funding has been cut, with funding for environmental protection services falling by over 50% since 2010. And when given the opportunity to amend the Environment Bill to impose proper regulations on polluting private water companies, Conservative MPs instead voted to block the changes, effectively giving water companies the green light to continue dumping raw sewage.
I also spoke in the House of Commons about the risks from the proposed merger between Vodafone and Three mobile networks. This merger poses a risk to national security by giving a company with close connections to the Chinese state an even more influential role in our sensitive telecoms infrastructure. It also undermines competition by reducing the number of telecom providers, which may result in substantially higher prices for British consumers. I therefore support Unite the Union’s campaign against the merger, and in Parliament requested that the Leader of the House allocate time for a debate on this matter.
Local elections were held in Stockport on 4 May. I am thankful to all Stockport Council staff, political campaigners and local candidates in this election and am pleased to report that the Heatons North and Heatons South wards are represented by six Labour Councillors.