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Today Parliament voted in favour of an early General Election. I welcome the opportunity to highlight the gross failings of the Conservative government since 2015 and their Lib Dem partners in the coalition.

Our country has been let down repeatedly by an ideologically driven government which has made ruthless and reckless decisions. Our NHS is on its knees, our schools are at risk of financial collapse and our economy works for a privileged few.

Meanwhile, inflation is rising, wages barely growing and insecure jobs are on the up. This Tory government has made the economy worse with inequality and rising poverty the norm.

This is a Conservative government that is freezing in-work benefits, making trade deals with dictators and neglecting human rights. Theresa May has allowed the far-right of her party to highjack the Brexit negotiations and force the hardest possible exit from Europe. This will have devastating consequences on us all, despite 48 per cent of people voting to Remain and many MPs, including myself, not voting to trigger Article 50.

Yesterday Theresa May also showed that she has put her own political ambition above the people of our country. This is a Prime Minister who should be focussing on negotiating with the EU but is more preoccupied with her party than the country, who will use the snap General Election to move the UK to the right and impose ever more austerity.

It is simply a cynical move by Theresa May, who is concerned that her agenda will not pass.

Labour is clear: the Conservatives, and before them the Lib-Dem-Conversative coalition, have let people down. The bedroom tax still hurts a great number of people, astronomical student fees impoverish our graduates and social mobility is now in a downward spiral.

Yet while Theresa May is being opportunistic, Labour’s challenge to the Tory vision of Britain in this election begins today. Our campaign will be based on values of social justice, an economy for everyone and an NHS that is properly funded. A Labour government will make sure that everyone is given a chance in life with a fair and properly funded education system, building a society where everyone has a stake in a fairer, more prosperous Britain.

Catherine West's response to the early General Election

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As I said last summer, Anti-semitism has no place within the Labour Party. Indeed, the fundamental values on which our movement was founded - values of social justice, of solidarity, of dignity and of equality - run in direct opposition to anti-Semitism, racism and any other form of discrimination.

I am disappointed and angered by the decision of the National Constitutional Committee’s decision to suspend Ken Livingstone for a further period of just one year.

Mr Livingstone’s actions have caused genuine hurt within the Jewish community, and I am in no doubt that his actions have brought the party into disrepute. His actions have damaged the party, which has led to our key messages, such as opposing the harm being inflicted on our most vulnerable by this Tory Government’s cuts to public services, being undermined and weakened.

Following the suspension of Mr Livingstone last year I met with local leaders and representatives from the Jewish community in Hornsey and Wood Green to discuss their concerns and co-ordinate a formal submission for the official inquiry into anti-Semitism chaired by Baroness Chakrabarti.

Following yesterday’s decision by the disciplinary panel, I have now written to Iain McNichol, General Secretary of the Labour Party, to express my concerns and indeed allay the views of scores of constituents that have contacted me about Mr Livingstone’s comments, and once I receive a full reply I will publish the response on my website.

My response to the National Constitutional Committee's decision to suspend Ken Livingstone

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Catherine West MP

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