This week's MP column comes from Bradford South MP Judith Cummins 


THE many Christmas events taking place across Bradford bring people together and spread festive joy to thousands.

Christmas is both a wonderful time of optimism for what the next year might bring, and a time of reflection and consideration for the year gone by.

I imagine for this Conservative Government there is precious little optimism ahead – and their report card for the past year makes for grim reading.

They end the year with the cost-of-living still crippling family budgets, an insecure economy that has caused the loss of hundreds of jobs in Bradford and put rent and mortgages through the roof, and an NHS that is strained to breaking point.

Instead of bold policies that address the challenges people are facing, we have had a year of recycled pledges and promises – more of the same from over thirteen years of tired leadership.

While the Government has all but given up on governing, I have continued to work on issues that matter to my constituents here in Bradford.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bradford South MP Judith Cummins pictured in City Park, Bradford

Join me in taking action on anti-social fireworks

Spectacular fireworks are an important and enjoyable part of our annual celebrations, and I am sure many of us will be welcoming in the New Year with friends and family, perhaps watching some of these breath-taking displays.

Yet, while most of us use fireworks safely and responsibly, their anti-social and illegal use is a year-round blight for people in Bradford.

Residents are having to tolerate their misuse almost every day, seemingly without rhyme or reason.

We are not talking about the odd ‘bang’ or one-off display, but constant and disruptive noise pollution that robs residents of sleep, peace, and causes unnecessary stress and anxiety to people and their pets.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The anti-social use of fireworks is a big concern

I have proposed lowering the legal limit on the volume of fireworks from 120 decibels (as loud as a pneumatic drill you’d find on a construction site) to just 90 decibels (about as loud as a ringing telephone).

This would significantly reduce the disruptive impact and noise footprint of fireworks used anti-socially without affecting their legitimate use. ‘Low noise’ fireworks are readily available and are still as spectacular to watch – just without the excessive and nuisance noise.

Warm words from the Home Secretary that my proposal would get ‘due consideration’ are not enough – the Government needs to act to end the misery that loud fireworks cause. That is why I have launched a parliamentary petition calling for the reduction in the legal limit of volume for fireworks from 120 to 90 decibels.

I encourage residents to sign and share with as many friends and family as possible so that the government acts to end this menace.

You can sign my petition to ban noisy, anti-social fireworks -]

Government needs to step up to tackle the scourge of spiking

At a time of year where we are making lasting and precious memories with friends and family, it is only right that everyone deserves to always be safe when enjoying company on a night out.

The unseen epidemic of the disgusting and cowardly crime of spiking is putting people, especially women and girls, at risk. Spiking is not new, or rare, in this country.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The MP has raised concerns over spiking

Research shows 11 per cent of women and six per cent say they have been spiked.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council said that ‘the true figure of spiking occurrences are likely to be much higher’ with estimates showing that 97 per cent of spiking victims never report the incident to police.

However, the laws that are meant to protect people from this heinous crime are outdated. Spiking can be prosecuted and recorded under seven separate offences – five of which are from the 1800s.

The absence of a single, specific offence for spiking is causing untold damage to innocent people across the country – in particular women and girls.

Freedom of information requests show that reports of drug spiking have gone up five-fold in the last five years – but the proportion of investigations leading to criminal charges has fallen. Last year, just 1 in 400 cases of reported spiking resulted in a criminal charge.

I led a Parliamentary debate on spiking last week to highlight this unacceptable gap and make spiking a specific offence under law.

By failing to create a standalone law, the Government have been left blind in the face of an issue widespread as spiking. They are now eight months overdue on a legally required report into the prevalence and scale of spiking. There can be no more dither and delay.

Meanwhile, Labour leader Keir Starmer has already committed to make spiking a specific offence. The National Police Chiefs’ Council have said doing so would help police to better ‘understand the scale’ of the problem and lead to ‘better support for victims’.

Now is the time to act to defend the innocent victims of spiking, and to ensure that these vile perpetrators face the consequences of their serious crimes and feel the full force of the law.

As we move into 2024, I will continue to champion the issues that matter to my constituents. As this will be my last column of the year in the Telegraph and Argus, I wish you and your families a safe and merry Christmas, and a happy and peaceful New Year.