On Friday, the House of Commons had the chance to debate two significant Private Member’s Bills – the Organ Donation (Presumed Consent) and the Overseas Electors Bill. I was pleased to be able to attend to support them both.
The Organ Donation Bill has great potential to save lives, and tackle serious medical conditions affecting some of the most vulnerable in society. While organ donors have increased by 75% in the last decade, more still needs to be done. Today there are approximately 6,500 people awaiting an organ transplant. By presuming consent, more organs will be available for the extremely ill people who need them so urgently.
Of course, I recognise that this is a hugely sensitive issue – the right to opt-out must be absolutely preserved, and families must be consulted. I am very pleased that the Bill has now proceeded to Committee where these safeguards will be reviewed.
The Overseas Electors Bill seeks to remove the 15 year limit on British citizens living abroad being able to vote. In many cases, British expats remain very closely connected to the UK, and it is only right that they continue to be an important part of our democracy. It is important for our global reach and influence that expats remain connected to the UK – and I spoke in favour of the Bill. As I suggested, it is vital that our Embassies and Consulates play their part in allowing our expat community to enjoy their democratic rights by acting as polling stations during elections.
After a lovely weekend in the constituency – including meeting new residents of Charlton Hayes – I am returning to Westminster today for a busy week of Parliamentary sittings and meetings. I look forward, as ever, to being back home in the constituency next weekend.