Today’s Announcements – 10th March 2021

MP calls on Govt to address maternal mental health

Sarah Olney, Liberal Democrat MP for Richmond Park, has today held a Westminster Hall debate on the mental health of mothers during the perinatal period, with a specific focus on the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated systemic problems for vulnerable women.  

Sarah Olney MP commented:

“The sheer volume of responses we’ve had in just a matter of days signals just how significant an issue this is, and how critical it is we act quickly.

“Even before the pandemic took hold of public resources, this was a service that was chronically underfunded and understaffed. It’s clear we need better mental health support for all ages and at all stages. We also need better training throughout our health service to identify and support those who are struggling. This must be a priority.”

Within the survey, it was revealed that over 60 per cent of respondents said that online appointments they had had with their health visitor had not been effective.

Sarah Olney added: “The pandemic has forced us to make use of digital tools in a number of new areas. We should not, however, allow digital and telephone perinatal check-ups to become the norm. I believe both the survey and today’s debate also highlighted the importance of preserving home visits.

“The Government must provide whatever funds necessary to ensure that the system is capable of protecting new and expectant mothers’ mental health.”

Ends

Hong Kong: Govt must act to prevent end of democracy

 Today, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Layla Moran, has challenged the Government to set out a clear plan to protect Hong Kong’s democracy & Basic Law.

Layla has called on new Magnitsky sanctions and bringing the case to the International Court of Justice.

Layla Moran secured an Urgent Question in Parliament about the proposed reforms to Hong Kong’s electoral system by the Chinese Government. Under the plans, people wishing to stand for election in Hong Kong will have to be approved as ‘patriots’ by a panel of Communist Party officials.

Layla said the Government had a “legal obligation” to act and that “bullies” like China “only understand words when they are followed by action.

Speaking after her Urgent Question to the Minister for Asia, Layla Moran said:

“I urge the Government to take immediate action to protect Hong Kong, its democracy and human rights, as it is obliged to do under international law. Enough is enough.

“With almost every prominent member of the democratic movement in jail, the BBC banned in China and our Ambassador rebuked just yesterday for standing up for a free press, the Foreign Secretary and the Government must take a stand.

“Liberal Democrats will stand, as we always have, with the people of Hong Kong, whose democracy is under threat, and stand up to China’s attempts to erase free and fair elections. The Government can make no more excuses – it is time for the UK to step up on the world stage, lead and take action. That must include Magnitsky sanctions and taking China to the International Court of Justice. Any red line has surely been crossed.”

Ends

* Cllr. Tahir Maher is a member of the LDV editorial team

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