Since my last article, we have witnessed the deeply distressing events unfolding in the Middle East. Unsurprisingly, my inbox has been filled with correspondence from residents expressing concerns about the current situation.
There is an extensive history of conflict in the region, and the UK continues to hold the position that there should be a negotiated settlement leading to a safe and secure Israel living alongside a viable and Palestinian state.
However, no matter the historical rights and wrongs, the attacks perpetrated by Hamas on October 7 cannot possibly be justified. There is no moral equivalence between their deliberate targeting of innocent civilians, including children and babies, and Israel’s right to self-defence against the barbaric acts of a terrorist organisation.
Of course, it is crucial that Israel takes every possible precaution to protect the lives of innocent civilians, and the UK Government has been resolute in its position that efforts to go after Hamas and deter further incursions must be done in line with the highest standards of international humanitarian law.
Furthermore, ensuring that aid continues to flow to the population of Gaza is at the forefront of the UK’s response, and I welcome the Foreign Secretary’s extensive work with the Egyptians, Israelis and others to achieve this. We must now rightly focus on continuing to provide this humanitarian aid, protecting civilians, and securing the release of hostages.
Looking at events closer to home, Transport for London has now published the first set of figures concerning the ULEZ expansion. Based on data available in City Hall, it is estimated that the Mayor has taken over 44.3 million since the zone’s expansion. There are still thousands of non-compliant vehicles in the Capital, many of which are not being used out of fear of the Mayor’s blatant money-making scheme.
Two issues that I am now seeing in my inbox are the presence of mobile ULEZ vans in the constituency and wrongly issued fines. If residents see a ULEZ van illegal parked, I encourage them to report it. Further, if a fine is wrongly received, I am ready to help.
First published: My Local News, November 2023