I am honoured to have been asked to serve the country as shadow secretary of state for housing and I look forward to campaigning for strong housing policies that will improve lives across the country.
In this national crisis and the effort to limit the spread of Covid-19, our homes are becoming more important than ever. Social distancing in a cramped, unsafe flat is very different from spending time at home in a large house with a garden.
At the same time, the crisis is pushing people out of work and driving them to the brink of homelessness. I am keen to draw attention to these inequalities and scrutinise every proposal the government makes and offer constructive suggestions.
The model our new leader Keir Starmer is showing is one of constructive engagement – we all need the government to succeed and this is not a time for political point scoring. The government has asked us to offer challenge and suggestions and that’s what I’ll be doing.
Even before the current crisis, there were huge problems to solve. We have a chronic shortage of housing, including social housing and affordable homes.
Homelessness has spiralled upwards in the last decade of Tory governments. And we urgently need to make homes more energy efficient and incorporate renewable energy technologies as we tackle climate change as well as Covid-19.
Bristol has shown that we can do a lot on a local level, but Labour can achieve so much more in national government.
I will be relentlessly focused on acting in the national interest to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and on working with my colleagues to rebuild Labour so that it can win the next election.
Thangam Debbonaire is the MP for Bristol West and shadow housing secretary
Main photo: official Parliamentary portrait of Thangam Debbonaire