AS WE enter the period of Lent, a time of reflection, many of us will take the opportunity to sacrifice something in our lives we want to cut back on because it is harmful or unnecessary.

For many this could mean sacrificing something like junk food – the prime minister is once again this year giving up crisps – or perhaps more radical lifestyle changes such as giving up meat or smoking.

Personally, I have decided this year to give up single-use plastic bottles and cups.

There has been a lot of coverage recently of the importance of reducing our reliance on single-use plastics, helped by shows such as the BBC’s Blue Planet 2, after which online searches around plastic recycling increased by 55 per cent.

The problem really is huge – whilst signing my support for Sky’s Ocean Rescue campaign last week, I was shocked to hear that by 2050 there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish!

We must all take action to address this issue, and I am glad that I am joined in my Lent challenge by 40 other Conservative MPs.

After the 40-day challenge, we will be inviting plastics manufacturers and businesses to a round table in Parliament to discuss what more can be done to reduce our reliance on plastic.

Whilst Parliament has been on recess, I have been working hard drafting our imminent Energy Price Cap Bill.

The new proposals will help vulnerable people benefit from cheap energy by allowing energy suppliers to automatically move vulnerable people onto a special safeguard tariff set by Ofgem that would protect them from unfair prices.

As a Conservative, I am not usually in favour of too much market interference, however, in this instance, the broken energy market means that the effects of energy price rises are more often felt by those on the lowest incomes.

That is why we are delivering this important Bill to help consumers as the market transitions.

However, Labour’s plans to interfere in other markets by renationalising utilities would lead to more debt, higher costs and worse services.

They are unable to explain how much their renationalisation plans would cost, despite research from the independent Centre for Policy Studies showing their plans would cost £176 billion, meaning more money wasted on debt interest and less money to fund our public services.

Furthermore, Labour’s plans would put politicians in charge of running everything from water to electricity, meaning people have nowhere to turn when things go wrong.

We know from last time that the country would end up footing the bill for Labour’s mistakes.

Claire Perry MP for Devizes