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Karin's Parliamentary Work

Speaking in Parliament

The UK public elects Members of Parliament to represent their interests and concerns in the House of Commons. MPs consider and can propose new laws, and take part in debates, as well as raising issues that matter to you in the House. This includes asking government ministers questions about current issues including those which affect local constituents. 

View Karin's spoken contributions in Parliament

Health Minister

Some MPs are given responsibility by their political party to serve as Ministers, Shadow Ministers or Spokespeople. Karin currently serves as Labour's Minister for Health. 

View Labour's plans to Build an NHS Fit for the Future

All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs)

APPGs are groups with cross-party membership of MPs and Peers, which meet to discuss, campaign on and promote a certain issue.  Karin has been Chair of the Choice at the End of Life APPG and the Trailer & Towing Safety APPG.

View the list of APPGs on which Karin served as an Officer

Read more about Karin's campaigning work

British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly

Karin sits on the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly (BIPA), currently serving as British Vice-Chair. The Assembly's aim is to promote co-operation between political representatives in Britain and Ireland for the benefit of the people we represent. We want to build on the close relationships established in recent years between politicians throughout Britain and Ireland. 

View more about the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly

Meeting People

To be able to undertake her role, Karin meets with a wide range of people. Constituents and organisations based in Bristol South (such as schools) can visit Parliament. Groups campaigning for particular interests come to Parliament to inform and persuade MPs to support their cause. You can see a gallery of photographs taken as such meetings below, and can read about Karin's latest meetings in the News section.

Karin Smyth MP speaking in Parliament
Karin with the team at the Well Pharmacy
Karin supporting the Trailer Safety APPG
Karin Smyth MP addressing the Stormont Assembly
Karin Smyth MP talikng to people in Filwood

Trailer Safety

The issue of trailer safety is one I have campaigned for throughout my time as MP for Bristol South. In 2014, a child was killed by a runaway trailer on Parson Street in Bedminster, after the trailer had come loose from a nearby car due to the tow hit not being secured properly.

The parents of the child involved in the tragic incident contacted me about the shocking lack of checks on the safety of trailers, and ever since I have campaigned alongside them to implement regulation on trailer and towing safety in England.

The potentially deadly consequence of unsecure trailers demonstrated the need for mandatory safety checks on trailers, and formal testing for those using them, with little existing regulation.

After raising parliamentary debates on the issue and holding a summit in Bristol with key organisations, I founded the All Party Parliamentary Group on Trailer and Towing Safety in 2019, chairing the group and lobbying the Government to address the issue.

The Department for Transport’s report into Trailer Safety in July 2019 was a huge milestone in the campaign. It found that many light trailers on public roads were being used in a defective state and supported my calls for better towing safety standards – recommending further trailer checks be carried out by the DVSA.

I have repeatedly pressured the Government as they have failed to implement some of the report’s recommendations, instead scrapping a key trailer and towing safety test in favour of an unregulated voluntary scheme. I will continue to raise this issue in Parliament to prevent further tragedies from unsafe trailers.

Air Weapons

In 2016, one of my constituents – an 18-month-old child – was shot in the head with an air weapon by their adult neighbour. The child thankfully survived this horrific incident, but he suffered a lifelong disability, living with partial blindness and experiencing daily seizures. 

It was this tragic event that alerted me to the shocking lack of regulation around air weapon possession in England, where people can own an air weapon without a license and under-18s are allowed unsupervised possession on private premises. Since 2016, I have campaigned in Parliament for tighter controls, to stop these weapons falling into the hands of those who do not need them for proper purposes.

After my proposed amendments to the Offensive Weapons Bill, the Government conducted an Air Weapons Review. While this review itself was a significant step, the outcome was unsatisfactory. The review took over three years and received 50,000 responses, yet the findings were summarised in a few short paragraphs with no detail or evidence to back up their decision not to consider licensing the ownership of air weapons. 

I have since submitted responses to multiple consultations on air weapons and proposed further amendments for greater regulation. While I continue to campaign on this issue, the recent regulation in July 2023 was a great achievement: legislating new precautions for the storage of air weapons and committing to law my ask for tighter restrictions around under-18s’ access to these weapons.

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