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  • Writer's pictureKarin Smyth

Weekly Update: 2nd February 2024

It’s been a distressing week in south Bristol since I last wrote this round up. The tragic death of two young boys in Knowle West has shocked us all, and my thoughts go out to the victims’ families, friends, and the whole community who are experiencing terrible grief.

 

It’s important that people come together in the wake of this tragedy, and it was uplifting to see how the community in Knowle has responded to these horrific events. In a meeting on Monday, which I joined along with representatives from Avon & Somerset Police and the Council, residents expressed their grief and frustrations, but also their resolve to support young people in the area.

 

After time in Bristol at the beginning of the week, I returned to Parliament to participate in debates on important issues.  

 

Developments in Northern Ireland

 

There has been significant progress in the political situation in Northern Ireland this week. The people of Northern Ireland have been without their government for two years, but that looks set to end this weekend as the DUP has accepted the Government’s deal and will return to Stormont. I was pleased to be in the chamber to hear the statement from Northern Ireland Secretary, Chris Heaton Harris, announcing the developments. This is good news, and I hope that this current agreement holds.

 

Improving transport links

 

Improving transport connections between Bristol and Wales would bring important benefits to south Bristol. I questioned the Secretary of State for Wales as to why the Wales Rail Board has consistently failed to initiate proposals that would create higher levels of connectivity. Better connectivity is better for business and better for constituents, especially when Bristol City fans travelling to away games.

 

Expanding the role of community pharmacy

 

The Government’s new pharmacy scheme was rolled out in England this week, and I joined colleagues from Labour’s health team on the front bench to respond to these plans. The plans will see local pharmacists be able to prescribe for a range of common conditions, something Labour has long been arguing for.


Expanding the role of community pharmacies in the NHS has already been happening in Bristol. Ade Williams has been trialling the scheme at Bedminster Pharmacy, and it’s fantastic to see this trailblazing work rolled out across the country.

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