Foreign Affairs have been high on the agenda in Parliament this week, with Urgent Questions on the continued determination of Iran to imprison Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the deepening Covid-crisis in India and global anti corruption measures. I have diligently applied to speak in all three, but was only called in the Foreign Office statement on India. I am pleased the UK is sending assistance to India, and also that it is in direct response to what the Indian Government has indicated is needed, but the situation there is dire and I know constituents are worried about loved ones and families who are there.
The Women and Equalities Select Committee has been taking evidence this week as part of our inquiry into the cultures underpinning male violence against women. I have no doubt we will hear a great deal about ease of access to online pornography and I will be pushing the Government to bring forward an effective online harms bill which requires robust age assurance. My former boss at the Home Office Sajid Javid has done a great deal of work on child sexual abuse and exploitation and we are looking at ways we can work together on this crucial issue.
I am looking forward to a virtual discussion with Southampton University students about the experience of being a Member of Parliament during the pandemic, how working methods have changed over the last years and the benefits (and drawbacks) of the hybrid Parliament we are currently operating, The Select Committees have made very effective use of hybrid and virtual working, where I would inevitably argue it has been a success, but it is very obviously less successful in the Chamber. We do need to find a quick route back to debates in person, where you get a much better debate than the very sterile experience of three minute timed contributions with no interventions, it almost reminds me of another Parliament and another time.