IN this week’s column, Labour Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols highlights her efforts to ban so-called conversion therapy.

Politicians across the spectrum talking about the need to ‘build back better’ has almost become a cliche. But as we continue on the path of re-opening our society, it is time to add substance to the slogan. For me, as your MP for Warrington North and Shadow Women and Equalities for Minister, that better future must include continuing to work to eradicate prejudice and discrimination in our society.

That’s why I have been continuing the fight to ban so-called conversion therapy. It is a truly abhorrent practice that has already damaged the lives of too many LGBT people in our society. The Government have paid lip service to ending it, but, with no details on what these plans will involve nor any proposed timetable for their implementation, this is not nearly good enough.

In addition, in my role as Shadow Women and Equalities Minister I have spoken up against the Government’s appalling treatment of disabled people during the pandemic. The Women and Equalities Select Committee’s excellent report on Coronavirus, disability and access to services provided the focus and consideration that the Government has failed to give. In particular, the report revealed that the Government’s definition of who was vulnerable left out many people who were not eligible for targeted help; 60% of disabled people struggled to access essential food and supplies at the beginning of the pandemic.

The Government’s failure to get to grips with tackling inequalities was also evident in their response to the Sewell Report. This report sought to divide us, and the response of government ministers was to try and stoke a culture war rather than actually tackling the systematic issues of racism in our country. I heard this disappointment directly from Sikh representatives when I met with them last week.

I have also recently met with Hourglass, a national charity based in Warrington that protects elderly people from fraud and abuse. It is sickening that scammers have used the tragedy of the pandemic to target vulnerable people, and I will continue to press for action to protect them.

This time last year there was a tremendous outpouring of unity and community spirit, as people went out of their way to help one another, we saw our neighbours when clapping for carers and new WhatsApp groups for streets. If that spirit of unity can be channelled it can be extremely powerful for our whole society. But instead of doing so, the Government have chosen to pit communities against one another and engineered divisive and damaging culture wars.

As your Member of Parliament I will do all I can to harness our community spirit, fighting for unity and against inequalities. This promises to be an incredibly exciting spring and summer, we need our representatives to focus on unity, rather than division.