The sight of Notre Dame on fire a few weeks ago was appalling. It is remarkable that firefighters were able to save so much of the building.
The episode drew attention to the state of our own Houses of Parliament, which like Notre Dame is an iconic building of national and global significance that is in need to serious repair.
It was a relief therefore when on Wednesday the Government published legislation that will oversee its restoration. A law will set up a body to oversee the work with the aim of protecting taxpayer’s money at the forefront of its remit. Parliament needs work and should be preserved but a close eye needs to be kept on the cost of the operation.
As this major project gets closer, opportunities to see Parliament will become fewer and more of the incredible building will be hidden under scaffolding. That’s why I’m keen for as many people as possible to visit it now. If you are interested in a tour, do get in touch as I am always willing to try and help set visits up.
Other developments have seen good progress in the Wild Animals in Circuses Bill, which has received backing from MPs and will go to committee stage. This change in the law is long-awaited and will have my full support. Alongside steps such as increasing tenfold the maximum prison sentence for animal cruelty and introducing mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses, much good work is being done to clamp down on animal cruelty in our country.
Finally, the UK had just gone a whole week without using coal to generate energy, smashing the previous record. This is an important milestone as we move away from the types of fuel that cause global warming and meet the target of phasing out coal completely by 2025.
It comes shortly after the Committee on Climate Change published its recommendations on what more we all need to do to protect the planet, including a new target to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. Achieving this is possible but will involve big changes to the way we all live, from how we power our economy to what we drive and eat, something politicians and campaigners need to be honest about.