New petition supports calls for hunting legislation to be strengthened

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This week I signed a petition calling for hunting legislation to be strengthened, as British wildlife is still being targeted due to loopholes in the law.

Animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports were in Parliament this week to discuss how ‘trail’ hunting is being used as a cover for illegal hunting and how exemptions and loopholes in the law are resulting in wildlife being chased and killed in the name of ‘sport’.

The Hunting Act 2004 prohibits packs of hounds from chasing and killing foxes, deer, hares and mink, but most hunts converted to ‘trail’ hunting after the ban and use this, as well as exemptions within the law, as an excuse to continue targeting animals.

Strengthening of existing hunting legislation is urgently needed to prevent trail hunting and other false alibis being used to circumvent the law.

Official opening of Henry Colbeck’s new recycling centre


I love visiting local businesses.

On Friday I visited Henry Colbeck on the Team Valley to officially open their new used cooking oil recycling centre. I was amazed at just how clean and hygienic the whole process is. The family-run company, established in 1983, are leaders in recycling edible oils and fats to be reused for cooking or for biofuels. They are also harnessing new technology, working with PODfather, to make collections and deliveries more efficient, reducing their carbon footprint.

Bill Colbeck, the Chair of the company, was particularly inspirational, taking new risks to make our region’s food industry cleaner and greener.

Retail Sector debate

I recently had the opportunity to speak in a debate on the Retail Sector. In my speech I outlined the need to have an improved strategy to help the Retail Sector both locally and nationally.

Nearly a quarter of jobs in the Blaydon constituency are in the Retail Sector, so it is vitally important that this sector thrives. From the high street traders -in the towns of Ryton, Birtley, Whickham, Winlaton, Dunston Hill, Crawcrook, Chopwell, Rowlands Gill, Blaydon- to the major retailers, like the intu Metrocentre, our consituency is made up of important retailers. It is these that have made our towns such great and vibrant places to live in.

It is therefore necessary that the Government implement new measures that can help the Retail Sector with the issues it faces; issues such as internet shopping and empty high streets. I’m currently doing what I can locally, working with retailers and Gateshead Council, but we need to have a more enhanced plan to support the Retail Sector across the UK.

MPs sign Early Day Motion (EDM) to improve access to treatment for Phenylketonuria (PKU) patients

MPs today signed an EDM supporting the need for improved access to treatment, support and innovative new medicines for PKU patients.

The six MPs, noted below, hope many more MPs will now follow. The six MPs, including  the MP for Blaydon, Liz Twist, also hope the EDM will raise awareness of PKU, a rare metabolic disease which inhibits the ability to metabolise phenylalanine within protein. There is a concern among MPs that the only treatment currently provided by the NHS is a severely restricted diet which places a great burden on patients or carers.


PKU Early day motion

The fight against Puppy Smuggling

Earlier this week, Liz visited a House of Commons reception hosted by Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity. The charity coined the famous slogan – ‘A dog is for Life, not just for Christmas’ and Liz gave her full support in the fight against Puppy Smuggling.

Dogs Trust has been investigating the problem since 2014, and through three undercover investigations has found that unscrupulous breeders take advantage of, and profit from issues with the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). As a result, underage puppies are being illegally imported into Great Britain from Central and Eastern Europe, and sold to unsuspecting members of the public.

Liz Twist MP said “I’m very pleased to support Dogs Trust in raising awareness of the plight of illegally imported puppies, who suffer the most harrowing of journeys at the hands of these unscrupulous dealers. It’s imperative that the Government takes immediate action by enforcing proper checks at the ports and on-the-spot fines to deter these breeders and dealers, as well as introducing revised legislation as a priority when the UK leaves the EU. We hope this will help to effectively regulate pet travel.

Due to the amount of correspondence my office receives, I understand that the animal welfare is a major concern for many constituents across Blaydon constituency.”