My Latest news
Catherine West MP has joined 140 MPs from all parties to demand an urgent resolution to the growing scandal of deportations of the Windrush Generation.
The letter was written by David Lammy, the chair of the all-party parliamentary group on race and community, and has been signed by Jeremy Corbyn, the shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, as well as the Conservative MPs Sarah Wollaston, Bob Blackman and Peter Bottomley. It urges the government to find an “effective, humane route” to resolve an immigration anomaly that has caused “undue stress, anxiety and suffering” to many.
Catherine said: "This gross injustice is not an accident– it is a direct result of the 'hostile environment' policy that successive Tory Home Secretaries and Governments have pursued, most infamously when Theresa May, the then Home Secretary literally rolled out ‘Go Home’ vans to stoke fear into our communities." You can read her full article for the Times Red Box here.
Catherine West MP has joined 140 MPs from all parties to demand an urgent resolution to the growing scandal of deportations of the Windrush Generation. The letter was written... Read more »Go to the post
"The images of death and intense suffering that have emerged from Douma following what is highly likely to have been a chemical attack last week are utterly appalling. Over 500 civilians, many of whom were children, have been chronically burned and disfigured, and at least 40 people have been killed.
The use of chemical weapons is a war crime. The emerging body of evidence points towards the Assad regime. Those responsible for these atrocities should be tried at The Hague.
But I firmly believe Parliament should have been recalled last week so that Members of Parliament could be consulted before air strikes were launched and the Government’s strategy could be scrutinised and held to account. Indeed, one of the main recommendations from the Chilcot Inquiry’s report highlighted the need for Government decision-making to be improved through increased consultation with Parliament. Further to this, in 2011, the then Conservative Foreign Secretary, William Hague said: “We will also enshrine in law for the future the necessity of consulting Parliament on military action”. I strongly support Jeremy Corbyn’s call for a ‘War Powers Act’ to ensure that the Prime Minister must consult Parliament before deploying our military in major interventions.
Seven years into a brutal conflict that has already killed hundreds of thousands of Syrians and displaced millions, there is a pressing need to restart genuine negotiations towards peace.
What is not needed is a knee-jerk military response working to the timetable of Donald Trump. In launching air strikes over the weekend, the UK acted in advance of any independent report by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) or any renewed UN investigation.
I believe OPCW Inspectors must have full access to the attack site, and I support the call by the UN Secretary General for a wider independent investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Syria by any party to the conflict. Its findings should then be considered by an urgent meeting of the United Nations' Security Council.
Donald Trump’s erratic and unpredictable approach to policy decisions combined with Putin’s political agenda of aggression is creating a tinderbox in the region. We must counter this volatile approach to foreign policy. I urge the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary to emphasise to their American counterparts the importance of the OPCW investigation and work to prevent any further escalation that could cause more civilian deaths.
Since this war began in 2011, over a dozen regional and international powers, including Britain, have become involved supporting different sides. Securing a peaceful end to the conflict; protecting the Syrian civilians who have already endured too much suffering and bringing those responsible for these attacks to account must be the priority of the international community.
As my voting record shows, I have consistently voted against military action in Syria, including the launch of airstrikes. Bombing Douma with our Typhoon and Tornado jets will not bring a swift end to this war, indeed it may well prolong it. It is not clear to me that further air strikes will help protect the innocent civilians who managed to avoid the horrific chemical attack.
I support the calls from key figures from the Labour front bench including Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and Emily Thornberry, Shadow Foreign Secretary, for a political settlement of the conflict in Syria, which includes the gradual withdrawal of foreign forces and the right of the Syrian people to determine their own future. There will of course be an important role for both the UK and the entire international community to play through emergency aid, humanitarian relief, and supporting the Syrian people to rebuild their communities.
I have already tabled a number of parliamentary questions to the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and the Secretary of State for Defence on this matter, and will be in the Chamber for the Prime Minister’s statement later today."
Catherine West MP
Member of Parliament for Hornsey & Wood Green
"The images of death and intense suffering that have emerged from Douma following what is highly likely to have been a chemical attack last week are utterly appalling. Over 500...Go to the post
The streets of London are being plagued by gangs and knives, but the rise in gun crime takes this epidemic of violent crime to a whole new level.
This rising of tide of violence accelerated nationally in 2014, when Theresa May was the Home Secretary, the actual Minister in charge of policing and tackling crime. This worrying trend has continued to prevail across the country but has become particularly apparent in London.
Under her Tory Government we have seen our public services cut to the bone. These crippling cuts, whether they be to policing budgets, youth services, school exclusion services or border forces, have allowed gangs to prosper in our communities.
I opposed these cuts to our services, and frankly I am outraged by this Government's apparent lack of support and protection for our community here in Haringey.
David Lammy, MP for Tottenham and I have written a letter to outline what actions we have taken already and please be assured we will continue to fight not just more funding for police in Haringey but for the implementation of a comprehensive strategy that deals with both the causes and the consequences of this violent crime epidemic that is sweeping our streets.
The streets of London are being plagued by gangs and knives, but the rise in gun crime takes this epidemic of violent crime to a whole new level. This rising... Read more »Go to the post
30 March 2018
Message to the Jewish Community March 2018
Today marks the start of the Jewish Festival of Pesach. It commemorates the narrative of the Jews’ exodus from slavery in Egypt. The community will eat unleavened bread, shared at this time of the year as a symbol of Moses’ rush to flee Egypt. This is a time for family and a period reflection.
That period of reflection should extend to us all, including in the Labour Party. I appreciate the deep sense of anger and hurt amongst many in the Jewish community, at the failure by our party to effectively deal with antisemitism within the party. I stand with our Jewish members and others, to call for all complaints to be dealt with speedily and fairly. I appreciate that some may not have felt confident at making complaints about anti-Semitism with the Hornsey & Wood Green Labour Party, but I would urge you to do so in order that they can be investigated and dealt with.
Yesterday the Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, in a letter to all labour party members, said:
“Prejudice against, and harassment of, Jewish people have no place whatsoever in our party.“
The next step is for the new General Secretary and the Party’s ruling body, to make tackling Anti-Semitism its top priority. Our approach and practice of equality for all must be above reproach.
The Jewish community in Haringey has always been a part of the ‘rainbow coalition’, well before the concept of diversity was an accepted norm in wider British society. I hope that you will join with me to ensure that our Labour community can go forward in a spirit of unity and solidarity, and where all racism is dealt with.
With sincere best wishes for the Passover season,
Catherine West MP
Member of Parliament for Hornsey & Wood Green
30 March 2018 Message to the Jewish Community March 2018 Today marks the start of the Jewish Festival of Pesach. It commemorates the narrative of the Jews’ exodus from slavery...Go to the post
There is no place for anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, in our Parliament or in civil society. Indeed, the fundamental values on which our movement was founded - values of social justice, of solidarity, of dignity, of diversity and of equality - run in direct opposition to anti-Semitism, racism and any other form of discrimination.
I am proud to be a member of Labour Friends of Israel, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) against Anti-Semitism, the APPG on British Jews and a supporter of the Jewish Labour Movement.
Following the launch of the inquiry into Anti-Semitism, I organised a meeting with representatives from the local party and Jewish community leaders to draft an official submission to the inquiry.
I was proud to sign Jewish Labour Movement’s pledge and open letter condemning anti-Semitism and supporting robust reviews of current disciplinary procedures. I supported the rule change sponsored by the Jewish Labour Movement at Labour Party Conference in September 2017, which not only emboldened the party’s commitment to oppose all forms of discrimination, it made the process for suspensions and expulsions more effective.
Strengthening relations with the Jewish community continues to be one of my priorities locally, and it must also be a national priority for the national party. I was very proud to speak at the Jewish Labour Movement’s conference in September 2017 on how we as a party and as a community can tackle Anti-Semitism. It is right that Jeremy Corbyn is seeking a urgent meeting with both the Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies to discuss this persisting issue, and work together to eliminate the scourge of anti-Semitism from not just our party, but from our society.
In parliament, I continue to press the Government on how we tackle hate crimes whether they are anti-Semitic, racist, homophobic, islamophobic or misogynistic via both written parliamentary questions and directly with Ministers.
There is no place for anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, in our Parliament or in civil society. Indeed, the fundamental values on which our movement was founded - values of...Go to the post
I have scheduled a pop-up surgery on Friday 27 April at the Hub (formerly known as the Asian Centre) between 1pm-2pm.
No appointment necessary, but please arrive by 1.30pm.
I have scheduled a pop-up surgery on Friday 27 April at the Hub (formerly known as the Asian Centre) between 1pm-2pm. No appointment necessary, but please arrive by 1.30pm. ...Go to the post
Following the tragic shooting of a teenager in Wood Green last week, David Lammy (MP for Tottenham) and I met with the Borough Commander of Haringey Police at the Gold Group to discuss steps forward in tackling gang-related violent crime in the borough.
I have also tabled a number of parliamentary questions to the Home Secretary on what steps the Government will be taking to address the recent surge in violent crime in London.
In October 2017, I secured a debate in Parliament to press the Minister at the Home Office on cuts to police funding and urge him to review these measures, and invest in protecting our communities.
You can watch my speech here.
Following the tragic shooting of a teenager in Wood Green last week, David Lammy (MP for Tottenham) and I met with the Borough Commander of Haringey Police at the...Go to the post
Catherine West MP will host an event for International Women's Day in Parliament on Tuesday 13 March 2018, looking back on 100 years of women's suffrage before discussing contemporary issues.
Please RSVP here.
Speakers include Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society. Before Fawcett, Sam was Chief Executive of Grandparents Plus and has worked for both the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.
Catherine West MP will host an event for International Women's Day in Parliament on Tuesday 13 March 2018, looking back on 100 years of women's suffrage before discussing contemporary issues....Go to the post
There was a great deal we had in common with the Canadian MPs we met, not least that the Parliament building is basically a replica of Westminster.
Canadian Trade Officials and members of the Trade Committee seem first and foremost concerned about their current relationship with President Trump’s administration.
New proposals to change NAFTA, which could, if they go ahead, mean an overall net loss of Canadian jobs and loss in demand for Canadian products, in particular agriculture and wood products. An analysis of this showed that due to the integrated nature of NAFTA and arrangements between processing plants in the US, the new proposals could also affect jobs and communities in certain US states, which are in the supply chain.
The uncertainty created by President Trump’s talk of ‘America First’ has a dangerous element to it, with firms on both sides of the Canadian border putting of investment decisions (sounds familiar).
A very warm welcome from many in Washington, though to be honest, Brexit was not the first thing on the tip of the tongue of Congressmen.
Once again, NAFTA and the death of the TTP were uppermost in the minds of members on the Ways and Means Committee, which deals with Trade issues. Key areas of concern from Democrat Congressional Representatives were how to enshrine workers’ rights in trade agreements, an issue of joint concern with Labour members in the delegation.
Republican Members of the Ways and Means Committee seemed very eager on selling agricultural products to the UK, including chlorinated chicken, hormone boosted beef and GM crops. In addition the question of different animal welfare standards (EU is gold standard) is difficult to answer.
In addition some states in the US have specific standards that UK exporters would have to meet, adding an extra layer of complexity, especially for SMEs.
Of the key issues in manufacturing are the questions of component parts and the openness of markets.
UK car manufacturers could be at a severe disadvantage if Brexiteers get their way as US vehicles could ‘flood’ the market with cheaper models.
Once again greater concern exists around NAFTA and potential changes to components which may originate outside the US and therefore fall foul of President Trump’s ‘made in the US’ imperative. If car components come from the UK, for example, Ford or other car manufacturers may have to stop purchasing them.
Feedback from companies in Detroit included concerns that Brexit is difficult to understand and could lead to difficulties for businesses that are based in UK but wish to move staff around a number of EU countries, and how that might work in a post-Brexit world. Brexit could also create an incentive for companies to move headquarters to other European cities – which, indeed, we are already seeing, for example in pharmaceuticals.
Our trip to the US border was a reminder for members of the delegation of the cost and bureaucracy of all borders.
Armed guards told members why new border check points - should there be a new ‘hard’ border with Northern Ireland - could contravene the Good Friday Agreement. Protecting this agreement and peace in Northern Ireland, as well as the island of Ireland, is the strongest of many arguments to remain in the EU Customs Union that I can see.
The UK is the David and the US is Goliath.
A bilateral trade deal would take years to negotiate and it’s difficult to see why or how British consumers would want a downgrading from decent EU standards on food production and animal welfare so that in return the UK could trade on its services (80% of our trade outflow).
Simply put, it’s hard to see how what we have now with the EU could be replaced without unacceptable compromises.
Secondly, the trade in goods (20% of UK outbound trade), follows a ‘gravity’ principle where a country tends to trade in goods with its neighbours. It is for this reason that US and Canadian elected members are currently obsessed with NAFTA and why it is logical that UK has a good trading relationship with its nearest neighbours in Europe.
Meanwhile, US and Canada trade officials are first and foremost interested in what the UK comes away with in relation to the EU before wanting to get into any detail of bilateral talks with our country.
I support new trade deals that open up markets and competition, which spread prosperity, push prices down and allow citizens access to new goods and services. Yet, given the hypothetical, uncertain and far-off benefits of post-Brexit UK trade deals, I believe this is best conducted as a member of the Customs Union.
Ottawa There was a great deal we had in common with the Canadian MPs we met, not least that the Parliament building is basically a replica of Westminster. Canadian Trade...Go to the post
Catherine West MP today wrote to Claire Kober to thank her for her hard and dedicated work as Haringey Council Leader.
Despite harsh cuts from successive Conservative Governments, Claire worked tirelessly in the interests of Haringey and its community.
Catherine West MP today wrote to Claire Kober to thank her for her hard and dedicated work as Haringey Council Leader. Despite harsh cuts from successive Conservative Governments, Claire worked...Go to the post
During questions over Democracy in Hong Kong, Catherine West MP asked the Minister for Asia what progress has been made in tackling the fundamental issue of universal suffrage.
You can read the full debate here.
The Minister, Mark Field, has now responded.
During questions over Democracy in Hong Kong, Catherine West MP asked the Minister for Asia what progress has been made in tackling the fundamental issue of universal suffrage. You can...Go to the post
Over 200 MPs have signed my cross-party letter with calling on all UK supermarkets to eliminate plastic packaging from their products.
A copy of one of the letters can be found below.
If you support my campaign please like and share this post!
Over 200 MPs have signed my cross-party letter with calling on all UK supermarkets to eliminate plastic packaging from their products. Signatories include Caroline Lucas, Diane Abbott MP, Tim Farron Tulip Siddiq Mhairi Black MP and David...Go to the post
The past 12 months have been some of the most volatile I can remember.
We had a snap General Election; elections in France, Germany and the inauguration of President Donald Trump; Human rights have continued to come under attack, while democracy is being threatened in European nations such as Poland and Hungary. At the same time the UK is shambolically negotiating its exit from the European Union.
In the snap poll on June 8 2017, I and was deeply humbled by the trust our community placed in me again, increasing the Labour majority to over 30,000 votes. I stood on a platform of social justice, fairness and opportunity. I pledged to back legislation to reverse crippling austerity, to have a more humane domestic and foreign policy and to campaign against Brexit.
Because our community knows the benefits of the EU all too well. We know that our society, our economy, our culture are linked and gain from our close links to our neighbours. We acknowledge the peace dividend that has paid off by the creation and membership of the EU. Businesses, trade unions and workers alike share our view and want to see the negotiations go well.
Unfortunately, this year the Conservative Government has not lived up to any of its promises. Negotiations were interrupted by a General Election that was meant to strengthen Prime Minister Theresa May, but instead weakened her hand and deepened the divide between Brexiteers and moderates of her own party.
And as the Cabinet continued to battle with itself, the negotiations stumbled from one embarrassment to another. Phase One of the negotiations has only just been completed, and on each of Prime Minister Theresa May’s red lines - the Irish Border, Citizens’ Rights and the Divorce Bill - the UK backed down and accepted what Labour and the EU had been saying all along.
Parliament bravely voted against the Government to give MPs a vote on the final Brexit Bill, but the negotiations largely remain up to a Government filled with individuals more interested in their own careers than the progress of our country. Labour is a Government in waiting to take over the negotiations and I will continue to oppose a Brexit, which will cost people their jobs and security, environment and culture, freedom and rights.
In my new role on the International Trade Select Committee, I have been pushing these points, scrutinising the Department for International Trade and will continue to hold the Government to account to make sure future trade deals do not compromise our ethics, environment or social protection and labour rights such as the EU’s Working Time Directive
Yet while this process continues, domestic policy is all but being forgotten by the Government. The Queen’s Speech was lacking in ambition and absent of fresh ideas, with very few solutions to the problems we are facing.
Local Government budgets will have been slashed by 63% since 2010. Schools in our constituency are facing real terms cuts they cannot cope with. The police continue to come under financial strain, hampering resources and morale.Huge numbers of NHS hospitals are in deficit while facing recruitment and retention crises that mean that patient care is falling - which is compounded by the Brexit vote, putting EU citizens, much needed in construction and NHS jobs, off coming to the UK. The Government needs to invest in our country to make sure we can face down the challenges of the 21st century and prosper together.
Further afield the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson appears ineffective. In Hong Kong democracy is being curtailed, in Colombia the peace process remains fragile and in Burma hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslim have fled ethnic cleansing. Meanwhile, the Conservatives have reneged on their commitment to help child refugees in Europe, who are at the risk of being trafficked and exploited. This is not good enough. Our Government must do more, putting human rights and humanitarian action at the heart of our foreign policy and providing sanctuary to those fleeing persecution.
Locally, my office has now helped in over 4,000 cases, helping thousands of constituents with their grievances across housing, immigration, benefit payments and more. I was elected to stand up for Hornsey & Wood Green in Westminster and in our community, and I will continue to do so.
As we enter 2018 I will continue to work across these issues, and the many more, that our constituents have contacted me about. I look forward to the challenge of representing our views in Parliament and being your voice in Westminster.
My best wishes to you, your family and your friends for a happy new year.
Member of Parliament for Hornsey & Wood Green
The past 12 months have been some of the most volatile I can remember. We had a snap General Election; elections in France, Germany and the inauguration of President Donald...Go to the post
I have now received a response from the Government to my letter to the Prime Minister urging her to drop international students from the net migration target.
If we want our Higher Education sector to remain world leaders, the Government must drop the illogical decision to include international students in the net migration target. The numerical and anecdotal evidence all points in one direction: the huge benefit brought to our country by international students.
Unfortunately, the Government does not appear to agree. I will continue to push for this reform and seek a Parliamentary debate on the issue as a matter of priority.
The Government's response is in full below:
I have now received a response from the Government to my letter to the Prime Minister urging her to drop international students from the net migration target. If we want...Go to the post
You can watch the full video here.
This week has been budget week and what a depressing week it’s been.
What we thought was going to be 2015 - as Mr Osborne originally promised us – it’s now going to be 2030 before the public finances are in better shape; the disappointing news that the NHS will only get a small amount of money while Brexit is set to get £5 billion.
And what an act of self mutilation Brexit is. We have got a mess up of the negotiations, we are seeing £700 million already being spent, £1.5 billion this year, £1.5 billion the next and so on, let alone all the costs to jobs. The European Medicines Agency left us this week, meaning another 900 jobs are gone.
And this is just the beginning. We are in a real mess. Apart from even starting on universal credit, the number of people going to foodbanks has shot right up and we have also had so many people coming to our advice surgery, saying ‘I’m worried, I’m worried about the future, I’m worried about my kids.’ This is what we are looking at. Schools having to send letters home to ask parents for donations, just so that books and pencils and pens can be purchased.
This is just not on. We have to put a stop to it. Please join us, come and campaign for a socially just and peaceful future for our children and for us.
Come and be a part of it. We can have a better future. Poverty and inequality are not inevitable. Please come on board. Thank you.
You can watch the full video here. This week has been budget week and what a depressing week it’s been. What we thought was going to be 2015 - as...Go to the post
Responding to the Budget in the House of Commons, Catherine West MP said:
The outlook for the economy is bleak, with the worst five-year forecast of GDP since the Office for Budget Responsibility was set up, against the backdrop of the drop in sterling and the increase in inflation. As the Chancellor stood up to speak, the cost of Brexit was clear—in excess of £3 billion. Let’s put that on the side of a bus!
Hornsey and Wood Green has been starved of funding over the past seven years. The capacity of our community to educate, house and care for our citizens, as well as keep them safe, has deteriorated and is set to decline further. While London remains, seemingly, a vibrant economy, there is a yawning gap between the haves and have-nots. My hon. Friend the Member for Wrexham (Ian C. Lucas) spoke of his concerns about his region, but there can be inequality within a region as well: in London, we often walk the same streets but inhabit different worlds. Wages are flat, household debt is up, and transport and infrastructure continue to stall, with negative effects on industry and workers alike.
People in three particular housing tenures—those who hope to buy, private sector renters and those who are languishing on social housing lists—are in desperate housing need. Disappointingly, the rough sleeping initiative in the Chancellor’s speech did not include tackling rough sleeping in the capital. I think we all noticed this morning, as we charged in for our meetings and the Budget debate, that there were two homeless men asleep outside the door of the House of Commons. That is what Labour Members want to tackle, but I fear that when we come to the Budget debate next year, there may even be more homeless people lying in sleeping bags outside the doors of the House of Commons.
While London remains one of the top destinations for business and international talent, transport and infrastructure continue to stall, and it is time we all woke up to that. The Borough of Haringey has seen a 40% real-terms reduction in funding since 2010, resulting in £160 million of savings, which have affected disabled people, basic municipal services and children with special educational needs, and have generally had a depressing effect on the local economy. That worrying trend is set to continue, with another £20 million of savings to be found in the finances of one London borough.
A dangerous cocktail of growing demand, cost and inflation combined with funding cuts is putting unsustainable pressure on local government finances. Core funding from central Government is set to have fallen 63% in real terms over the decade to 2019-20. I tell children when I go into schools, “It’s like your mum gives you £1 one day, but only 30p the next. That’s how it is to manage a council these days.” People in Hornsey and Wood Green know the situation well. We have a desperate shortage of housing, but we are also concerned about health.
Instead of wasting all these billions on the whole Brexit shambles, I would rather we had more than £1 billion for the NHS. I am afraid that £1 billion is less than what Simon Stevens says we need.
In my constituency, 37 out of 37 schools will have experienced a 6% fall in funding per pupil between 2015-16 and 2019-20. Headteachers, classroom teachers and teaching assistants are all calling for desperately needed change. Police funding cuts barely got a mention, but it looks as though the Home Office will have to swallow a £400 million cut to the police. I was out in the affluent suburb of Highgate on Monday morning, speaking to terrified mothers who had had things stolen from them by youngsters who had ridden up on mopeds and used hammers to smash the windows of the café in which they were sitting; that has happened four times since the café moved into the high street. We are facing a crime wave in London, and it needs to be addressed.
I want briefly to mention the cut of £797 million, or £510 per person, in health funding in the north central London area. Many Members will be aware that there are huge pressures, particularly in mental health, and cuts on that scale will have a huge effect on very vulnerable people with serious mental health problems.
Finally, I welcome elements of the change in approach to small business taxation, but we must go further. As our population continues to grow and people work in different ways, including in small business, we need to be ever mindful of supporting them.
You can watch the full video here.
Responding to the Budget in the House of Commons, Catherine West MP said: The outlook for the economy is bleak, with the worst five-year forecast of GDP since the Office...Go to the post
Our community has been starved of funding for the last seven years and the worrying trend is set to continue. With Budget day tomorrow, I have written to the Chancellor to urge him to release more funds and help support vital public services and businesses.
It is time that the Government woke up: The Government’s decision to cut funding in London, including in Hornsey & Wood Green, is having a direct impact on living standards and will have negative knock-on effects long into the future.
Across a range of policy areas there are impending funding crises, and the Chancellor must use his Budget to reset the trajectory our country is on.
A full copy of this letter can be found below.
Our community has been starved of funding for the last seven years and the worrying trend is set to continue. With Budget day tomorrow, I have written to the Chancellor... Read more »Go to the post
Over 100 MPs signed a letter I wrote to Prime Minister Theresa May, urging her to drop international students from the net migration target.
On International Students Day, I warned the Prime Minister of the risks to the Higher Education sector if her Government does not remove international students from the migration target.
If we want our Higher Education sector to remain world leaders, the Government must drop the illogical decision to include international students in the net migration target. The numerical and anecdotal evidence all points in one direction: the huge benefit brought to our country by international students.
Students and academics remain dismayed at the Government’s insistence on keeping international students in the net migration target - and rightly so. Prime Minister Theresa May could easily change this rule with the stroke of a pen, but chooses not to in order to save face, risking the status of British universities and a valuable part of our economy.
A full copy of the letter can be read below.
Over 100 MPs signed a letter I wrote to Prime Minister Theresa May, urging her to drop international students from the net migration target. On International Students Day, I warned... Read more »Go to the post
Improving our local community, economy and social housing stock are vital aims set against a backdrop of increasing austerity. However, local residents must be consulted and concerns linger about the affordability of homes, bidding process and financial risks to the council. I urge the Cabinet to pause to gain greater buy-in from residents on a number of important issues around the decision, including the lack of genuinely affordable housing as well as the potential impact on small businesses that may occur from having a private company own 50 per cent of their freehold.
Improving our local community, economy and social housing stock are vital aims set against a backdrop of increasing austerity. However, local residents must be consulted and concerns linger about the... Read more »Go to the post
Police stations are closing and neighbourhood policing is under attack across the capital. Half of London’s remaining 73 police station counters are set to close, including a number in Hornsey and Wood Green. There are fewer police officers on the street. The UK has 20,000 fewer police officers than at the peak in 2010, and 924 fewer than last year. The Police Federation has branded those startling statistics “deeply worrying and disappointing”.
With this in mind, I secured a debate in Parliament on police funding in London to pressure the Government to commit more support to our fantastic Metropolitan Police Force and its officers.
The government argues that the police are able to do more with less, but crime is increasingly reported and violent - including gun, knife and moped crime - people need to feel that the Government is investing in their safety. It has been a difficult year in keeping London and Londoners safe, with rising crime and escalating terrorist incidents. Throughout these events, our Metropolitan Police has risen to the challenges. It is time for our Government to do the same.
Police stations are closing and neighbourhood policing is under attack across the capital. Half of London’s remaining 73 police station counters are set to close, including a number in Hornsey...Go to the post
I am proud to be sponsoring the Pro-EU Lobby of Parliament on Tuesday 24 October running alongside the EU Conference in Westminster hosted by Britain For Europe , European Movement UK, Scientists for EU or Healthier In The EU
I will be meeting constituents between 2pm-3pm in Room W2 off Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament.
If you are my constituent and plan on attending please confirm your attendance by emailing email@example.com.
If you are not my constituent but would like to attend, you can contact your own MP by entering your postcode using the following link: http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/
If you are interested in attending the actual conference, ticket information can be found here:
I am proud to be sponsoring the Pro-EU Lobby of Parliament on Tuesday 24 October running alongside the EU Conference in Westminster hosted by Britain For Europe , European Movement UK, Scientists for EU or Healthier...Go to the post
Reflections on Labour Party Conference 2017
This year was an exceptionally busy and vibrant conference, at which I spoke at a number of fringe events to discuss a range of issues including:
10th Anniversary of the Financial Crash: Have we done enough to fix the financial system in the past decade Fran Boait and Shadow Treasury Minister Anneliese Dodds supported by Positive Money
Human Rights After Brexit with Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty; Diane Abbott, Shadow Home Secretary and Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan
Is Westminster Fit to Fix our Cities? Civic Philanthropy's Role in Local Renewal with People’s Peer Lord Adebowale, Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham in association with the Barrow Cadbury Trust, the Charities Aid Foundation and New Philanthropy Capital.
Labour Against Brexit Rally with Seb Dance MEP, Mary Honeyball MEP and Alison McGovern MP.
It was fantastic see more young people and more members from diverse backgrounds attending conference than ever before to discuss Labour’s ambitious progressive programme for change to build a Britain for the many not the few.
The last seven years of Tory rule have allowed average wages to stagnate while inflation rises, energy bills sky-rocket and rents soar. Workers’ real wages are still lower than where they were in 2010, and this Government continues to stand idly by while this deepening crisis escalates.
In contrast, Labour stands ready to Govern and has officially put Theresa May’s weakening Government on notice. I welcome the announcements from the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell that a Labour Government introduce a Real Living Wage of £10 an hour; protect workers by guaranteeing no tax rises for 95 per cent of earners; bring wasteful PFI contracts back in house; help those trapped by credit card debt by introducing a cap on interest and invest in new homes to rent and buy by building over a million new homes in five years, with at least 100,000 genuinely affordable homes a year by the end of Labour's first term.
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn opened his speech by re-affirming our message that only a Labour Government will protect and invest in our public services and build an economy that works for the many not the few.
I support Jeremy’s policy to scrap tuition fees, lift the public sector pay cap, bring utilise back into public ownership and introduce rent controls to tackling a housing market that has spiralled out of control.
In particular I was delighted that Jeremy announced that peace and social justice would be placed at the heart of UK foreign policy and knee-jerk bombing campaigns are not the answer in tackling terrorism and creating a lasting peace.
Finally, I welcome a commitment to forging positive and progressive relationship with the EU, which is focussed around jobs, trade and industry as well as retaining environmental protections and the raft of workers and human rights which the EU has guaranteed to all its citizens. As a staunch Remainer, I have continued to hold this Government to account over their chaotic approach to Brexit, asking more parliamentary questions to the Secretary of State for Brexit than any other MP in the last parliament and founding the All-Party Parliamentary group on UK-EU Relations.
As I left conference, the mood was one of optimism, energy and hope, with a renewed commitment to tackling hate, anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia, sexism, transphobia and other forms of racism and prejudice, enshrined in a new rule proposed by the Jewish Labour Movement. There is no place for hate and discrimination in the party, in parliament or indeed in civil society.
The task for us now is to take this message of hope to the streets up and down the UK to ensure that a Labour Government is elected to implement this fantastic agenda for change.
Reflections on Labour Party Conference 2017 This year was an exceptionally busy and vibrant conference, at which I spoke at a number of fringe events to discuss a range of...Go to the post
Why I voted against the Government's EU Withdrawal Bill:
As a staunch Remainer, I believe the UK is stronger, more prosperous and more peaceful as a member of the European Union, and since the result of the EU Referendum, I have continued to make the case for a positive and progressive relationship with the EU.
The Government’s current approach to Brexit is reckless and irresponsible. It risks damaging our economy, isolating us from our European neighbours and creating a bonfire of workers’ rights and environmental protections. Most worryingly, the Government is using this bill to downgrade and subvert the role of Parliament by passing sweeping powers to Government Ministers to make decisions on Brexit.
For these reasons, I voted against the Government’s EU Withdrawal Bill.
Brexit must not lead to any dilution of rights and protections – including workplace rights, consumer rights, human rights, environmental standards and residency rights for EU nationals.
I oppose any attempts to put vast and unaccountable power into the hands of Government Ministers – including the power to decide the key terms of our exit from the EU – it would side-line Parliament on major decisions and put crucial rights and protections at risk. Far from bringing back control to Parliament, it would result in a power-grab for the Government.
The Bill would also undermine and introduce restrictions on the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, rather than leading to the wider devolution of power we need to see to communities across the UK.
I will continue to passionately oppose this Government’s reckless approach to Brexit.
Why I voted against the Government's EU Withdrawal Bill: As a staunch Remainer, I believe the UK is stronger, more prosperous and more peaceful as a member of the European...Go to the post
I have now received a response to my written letter to the Minister responsible for the Post Office, Margot James, in the light of news that Crown Post Office in Crouch End may be taken over by Universal Office Equipment.
Both letters are posted in full below
I have now received a response to my written letter to the Minister responsible for the Post Office, Margot James, in the light of news that Crown Post Office in... Read more »Go to the post
I have received a further response from Haringey Council Chief Executive Zina Etheridge regarding the discussion of whether to re-locate Highgate Library into Jacksons Lane Arts Centre. The full letters are below.
I have received a further response from Haringey Council Chief Executive Zina Etheridge regarding the discussion of whether to re-locate Highgate Library into Jacksons Lane Arts Centre. The full letters... Read more »Go to the post
I have now received a response from Haringey Council Chief Executive Zina Etheridge regarding the discussion of whether to re-locate highgate Library into Jacksons Lane Arts Centre. The full letters are below.
I have now received a response from Haringey Council Chief Executive Zina Etheridge regarding the discussion of whether to re-locate highgate Library into Jacksons Lane Arts Centre. The full letters... Read more »Go to the post
I have today written to the leader of Haringey Council and Cabinet members regarding the Haringey Development Vehicle together with Tottenham MP David Lammy.
The full letter is below.
I have today written to the leader of Haringey Council and Cabinet members regarding the Haringey Development Vehicle together with Tottenham MP David Lammy. The full letter is below. Read more »Go to the post
Yesterday I voted for both Jeremy Corbyn’s Amendment and Chuka Umunna’s Amendment to the Queen Speech. Both amendments were good amendments. They were pro-European amendments. They sought to secure a positive and progressive relationship between the UK and the EU with a focus on securing the rights of EU migrants in the UK; securing reciprocal rights for UK citizens living in EU member states and ensuring that jobs and workers’ rights are prioritised in the negotiations.
My decision not to abstain but vote for Mr Umunna’s amendment was because I believe all options, including remaining within the Single Market and the Customs Union, should be on the table at this point in the negotiations.
As a staunch Remainer, I am proud to represent Hornsey and Wood Green, the constituency with the highest Remain vote in the UK. The decision to vote for both these amendments was driven by desire to represent the views, values and interests of our community here in Hornsey and Wood Green.
I have thoroughly enjoyed serving in the Shadow Foreign Office Team since September 2015 and I will continue to pursue my interest in foreign affairs and human rights in parliament.
Yesterday I voted for both Jeremy Corbyn’s Amendment and Chuka Umunna’s Amendment to the Queen Speech. Both amendments were good amendments. They were pro-European amendments. They sought to secure a...Go to the post
I am deeply humbled by the trust that our community has placed in me again.
Across the country Labour’s vote share increased by 9.6 percentage points, the largest increase at a single election since 1945, gaining 30 new seats. In our own community we increased our majority to over 30,000 votes. We are the biggest political party by membership and growing as new members join to help bring about the change outlined in our party’s manifesto.
We witnessed people go to vote against a party that wants to impose further cuts on vital public services and choose to vote to create a fairer society. We witnessed a shift towards people voting for workers’ rights and shared economic prosperity, the environment and human rights. I will personally continue to stand up against a Tory Hard Brexit, will pressure the government to invest in our schools and NHS and find solutions to alleviate poverty and homelessness.
Today I was sworn in as your voice in Parliament- attending the emergency debate on the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower and supporting calls for a public inquiry to be established. The State opening of Parliament has finally been set for Wednesday 21 June, and I will be supporting Labour’s alternative programme for Government.
I am deeply humbled by the trust that our community has placed in me again. Across the country Labour’s vote share increased by 9.6 percentage points, the largest increase at...Go to the post
In advance of the Far East Consortium Ltd submitting a new planning application for Hornsey Town Hall in the summer, Catherine West has written to Haringey Council to reiterate her concerns about the scheme. You can read her full letter here:
In advance of the Far East Consortium Ltd submitting a new planning application for Hornsey Town Hall in the summer, Catherine West has written to Haringey Council to reiterate her... Read more »Go to the post
The Foreign Office has responded to my letter raising the abuse of members of the LGBT+ community in Chechnya. A copy is below.
The Foreign Office has responded to my letter raising the abuse of members of the LGBT+ community in Chechnya. A copy is below. Read more »Go to the post
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.
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...Go to the post
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.
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,...Go to the post
I continue to stand against the harsh cuts the government intends to impose on schools. Labour analysis just this week showed that proposed funding cuts in the government's new spending formula for schools in England will disproportionately affect more deprived areas.
I am pleased to continue to support and campaign alongside the Fair Funding for All Schools campaign, which is hoping to get the government to listen to concerns.
Below is a video filmed by two fathers from St Aidan's Primary School for the campaign. Please share it and join the campaign.
I continue to stand against the harsh cuts the government intends to impose on schools. Labour analysis just this week showed that proposed funding cuts in the government's new spending...Go to the post
In recognition of International Women's Day, I am hosting an event in Parliament on 'Women's Rights in Burma: An Evening of Discussion" on Monday 27 March 2017 at 7pm in the Attlee Suite.
We will be welcoming Wai Hnin Pwint Thon from the Burma UK campaign, who will be sharing her thoughts on the past, present and future for Women's Rights in Burma. Following this there will be the opportunity to ask questions.
Please do let us know if you are able to make by confirming your attendance here; or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0207 219 6141. Finally please share within your networks.
In recognition of International Women's Day, I am hosting an event in Parliament on 'Women's Rights in Burma: An Evening of Discussion" on Monday 27 March 2017 at 7pm in...Go to the post
Since being elected as a Member of Parliament, many young people have approached my office to find out about my role as their elected representative. As such, it is my great pleasure to announce that I will be hosting an Inaugural Summer School for my constituents aged between 16 and 19.
The objective of the school will be for students to learn about the role of politics within the context of civil society. Pupils will also learn how to develop key skills for future involvement in community based work. The School will be run in conjunction with colleagues at Haringey Council and the Greater London Assembly. There will an exciting programme of events in Parliament and the other governmental institutions throughout London.
The school will be taking place on the week commencing Monday 17th July.
If you would like to be considered for a place, please send my office an email with an answer to the following questions.
1. Why do you want to take part?
2. What issue locally do you care about?
Deadline for applications midday Monday 24th April 2017.
Please send your answers to email@example.com along with your date of birth, address, school and contact details.
I welcome applications from candidates regardless of sex, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, religion or belief.
For further information, please feel free to call my office on 0207 219 6141
Since being elected as a Member of Parliament, many young people have approached my office to find out about my role as their elected representative. As such, it is my...Go to the post
Many constituents have written to me in previous months with concerns over the direction of government cuts and spending.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond yesterday delivered a budget that is cutting vital services and living standards.
Constituents have been overwhelmingly worried about the government’s position on business rates, as well as funding for social care and education.
The government has been completely clear: it wants to increase choice and competition between schools, and therefore for places in schools. Yesterday we heard the news that funding would be made available for 110 new free schools, paving the way for selection at the age of 11. I have repeatedly stood against the stance, especially as the government is spending cash on this reckless policy at the same time that schools across the country face a huge funding crisis.
Evidence from all corners shows that grammar schools hold back social mobility; that life chances for those who attend are improved, but diminished for those that did not get the opportunity; even that your chances of attending are far more likely if you are affluent.
The £2bn for adult social care over the next three years is welcome, but not enough. Parliament’s Communities and Local Government Committee has estimated that there could be a funding shortfall of up to £2.6bn in 2019-20, and is set up against years of austerity. As the King’s Fund says, we need at least a £2bn injection now to stabilise social care not £2bn spread over three years.
I am pleased that the Chancellor has given in to pressure from all sides of the House of Commons on the proposed changes to business rates. Following a concerted effort, Hammond has stated small firms set to lose their rate relief will see increases capped at £50 a month and a £300m fund for local councils to offer discretionary relief to the worst-hit firms was also announced. Taken together, this is a £435m relief package.
Some of this £300m must be used to help Inner London. Meanwhile, the package remains a sticking plaster of a system that needs to be overhauled as a matter of priority. Labour’s package of reform would ease the burden of business rates by £1.5bn and reform business taxation to stop giveaways to big corporations at the expense of SMEs.
On top of this, the government broke its manifesto pledge as it is set to raise £2bn from self-employed low and middle earners by raising their national insurance contributions, but with nothing to improve their conditions.
It is also worth acknowledging what was missing from the Budget. The four-year freeze of working-age benefits continues. As inflation bites, this means those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, income support, housing benefit, Universal Credit, child tax credits, working tax credits and child benefit will be worse off.
Those deemed too unhealthy to work but healthy enough for certain working activities will now get £73 per week, not £102 in Employment and Support Allowance. Families with children currently receiving tax credits get an extra payment of £10 per week, which will now no longer be paid when the eldest child was born after this April. Lastly, families on tax credits usually receive additional amounts per child, but from April, there will be no support paid for the third child onwards.
Planned cuts to working-age benefits increase inequality and planned tax and benefit changes are going to lead to a higher rate of absolute and relative poverty, including rising child poverty.
This was a budget that does not deal with falling living standards, with average real wages still below their pre-crisis peak. Yesterday was an opportunity to fix this and offer real concessions to struggling families. The Chancellor fell wildly short.
Many constituents have written to me in previous months with concerns over the direction of government cuts and spending. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond yesterday delivered a budget that...Go to the post
Catherine West MP was in Parliament this week to challenge the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the proposed changes to business rates that would hit companies across London.
While huge retailers such as Amazon, Sports Direct and Asos face reductions in their rates, many small, local and cherished businesses will have to find a lot more money just to stay afloat under government plans.
In Hornsey & Wood Green successful companies may be forced to close or decide enough is enough.
As Raul Mancera, North East London Chair, Federation of Small Businesses tells us, “Haringey is in serious danger of losing its vital support system of micro and small businesses.”
You can watch her intervention here:
Catherine West MP said: “Excellent businesses such as Dunn’s Bakery, the Railway Tavern and Elsie Café in high-value areas such as Crouch End and Muswell Hill have made representations."
"Will the Chancellor please confirm that he will look again at the business rates revaluation?"
Labour wants to help businesses with a fund worth £150m a year for the next three years, and eventually aims to reform the system.
Catherine West MP was in Parliament this week to challenge the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the proposed changes to business rates that would hit companies across London. While huge...Go to the post
Catherine West MP said: "Last December, I invited Lord Alf Dubs to Hornsey & Wood Green to talk about his “Dubs amendment” to the Immigration Act 2016, under which the government agreed to take in around 3,000 young refugees. You can now view a short video of that meeting ‘Young Refugees: who’s looking out for them?’, which also includes excerpts from other speakers.
I strongly supported the Dubs amendment in Parliament – and I’m appalled that last week the Home Secretary sneaked out the disgraceful news that it plans to abandon the scheme with just a fraction of that number admitted. I will continue doing everything I can in Parliament to urge the Government to reconsider this immoral change in policy.
Lastly, a message from one group who are taking some practical steps to help a Syrian refugee family: do you rent out property in Haringey, or do you know anyone who does? If so, please consider renting to a Syrian refugee family. Muswell Hill Methodist Church is working to bring a Syrian refugee family to the UK under the government’s new Community Sponsorship scheme, and are urgently looking for a suitable home in the borough to rent. The lease would be at the Local Housing Allowance rate (£1,365 a month for a 2-bedroom property) but would be guaranteed for two years. This is a wonderful way to rescue at least one family from the misery of Syria’s war, while still making financial sense. If you might be interested, please contact Paul Eedle firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.”
Catherine West MP said: "Last December, I invited Lord Alf Dubs to Hornsey & Wood Green to talk about his “Dubs amendment” to the Immigration Act 2016, under which the... Read more »Go to the post
In tonight's historic Parliamentary vote, Catherine West MP voted against triggering Article 50.
Speaking during the debate yesterday, she expressed her sadness that we had reached this point and set out her reasons for voting against the Government's Bill. You can read Catherine's previous statements here and here as well as her full speech to Parliament:
"How did we get to this point, with a nation so divided? The weekend after 23 June, I held an advice surgery, because a lot of European nationals live in Hornsey and Wood Green. Five hundred people came to see me to express their distress, and that was not just European nationals but everybody, from across the community. That said so much about how many of our communities feel about this question.
I am delighted to have my right hon. Friend the Member for Tottenham (Mr Lammy) on the Bench next to me, because he has taken such a brave stance over the last eight months on this question. Anyone who reads his Twitter feed will see that he has received the most enormous abuse, which has been uncomfortable for those of us who care deeply about race relations, particularly in London and around.
I would also like to talk about the way in which we have come to this decision-making process. Many of us came into the House through local government. As a council leader, if I had tried to bring forward a decision in my council on the basis of a speech and a couple of letters to the local newspaper, my councillors would have hounded me out of the council room, and they would have been quite right. Indeed, the chair of my Labour group and secretary would have been hammering me, so I feel that we have not questioned enough, including internally, within the governing majority party. Despite our best efforts from the Front Benches of other parties, I feel that we have simply not had the numbers to hold the Government to account on crucial votes. That is a cause of great regret.
I want briefly to talk about the economy. We know that the statistics are not quite there yet, but household debt is up 13% in the last 12 months. We also know that our currency is dropping. The dropping of the currency is an external assessment of our economy, which is a cause for concern as well. We know that when the economy declines, it is not the well-off communities that are affected, but the poorer ones.
Mr Farage famously said: “I think the social side of this matters more than pure market economics,” admitting that being poorer could be the result of leaving the European Union. Somehow, I suspect that poverty will not apply to Mr Farage, who does not look as though he is getting any poorer.
I want briefly to return to a point that the right hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr Duncan Smith) made earlier in the debate about Mr Spinelli, who wrote about the rise of nationalism. I believe this is a cause for concern. One hundred years ago, my great-uncle died at Passchendaele. When I take my children to see his grave and try to explain why he died and what he died for, I talk about values such as liberty and trying to work with people whom we do not get on with, and I think back to the years of peace and prosperity that we have had. We are in a really dangerous place internationally, and I worry about our realignment with the US, a country that is perhaps not as open to free trade right now as we would like it to be, or to different ideas or the different people who make up this incredible globe.
I want to express my fear and concern that leaving the European Union may also lead to a poorer future, not just for jobs and the economy, and not just because sterling is going down, but because we are making this decision for young people. Many of us here voted twice on whether 16 to 18-year-olds should have had the right to participate in the referendum. Sadly, we were defeated twice, despite the advice from the other place. I think that is a terrible pity, because I feel that they think we are slamming the door on their future. I am also a strong Unionist, and I feel sad because I think this will have a detrimental effect on Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. There are a great many questions there that have not been answered. We have not been given any information, and we have not been brought in on this wonderful secret negotiation that is happening. I do not feel ready to trust.
The best power that I can use is my vote. When tomorrow comes, I shall not vote to support Second Reading, because I think this is the only way to make the Government listen to the concerns that many of us hold, and hold very dearly. It is not just about jobs and the economy; it is about our children and our grandchildren, and about peace and prosperity."
In tonight's historic Parliamentary vote, Catherine West MP voted against triggering Article 50. Speaking during the debate yesterday, she expressed her sadness that we had reached this point and set...Go to the post
Catherine West MP has responded angrily to news that HSBC plan to close their Wood Green branch on Friday 5 May 2017 and relocate existing customers to the Palmers Green branch, two miles away. The news was announced as part of a programme of 62 HSBC branch closures across the country.
Catherine said: "The closure of HSBC in Wood Green would be a real blow to the local high street, the many residents and businesses who rely on its services and the dedicated branch staff. With a multi-billion pound investment plan to transform Wood Green over the coming years it's also incredibly shortsighted. I have called for an urgent meeting with HSBC bosses to discuss these proposals and will be urging them to rethink their misguided plan."
Catherine West MP has responded angrily to news that HSBC plan to close their Wood Green branch on Friday 5 May 2017 and relocate existing customers to the Palmers Green...Go to the post
I warmly welcome today's Supreme Court ruling on Article 50, handed down by Lord Neuberger, that states that Parliament must have a vote on invoking Article 50.
Parliament must be sovereign, and therefore have the right to scrutinize and vote on the proposals brought forward by the Government. The Government should now publish a white paper outlining the Government’s priorities for Brexit.
In Theresa May’s speech in early January, she has made it clear that she was seeking a ‘hard Brexit’, indicating that the UK is likely to leave the Customs Union and that the UK will certainly leave the Single Market, breaking her own party’s 2015 manifesto pledge:
Theresa May has stated that her plan for Brexit will deliver a “better deal for ordinary working people”. Yet we have seen the pound fall to its lowest level in over thirty years against the dollar; major companies including JP Morgan, HSBC and UBS have already announced thousands of jobs will be relocated to Paris and Frankfurt; the Chancellor himself has admitted that Government finances will be at least £122 billion worse off in the next three years and inflation is set to rise.
Hard Brexit is a huge threat to both workers’ rights and the national economy, as well as an abandonment of all the progress we have made around issues such as tackling international crime, terrorism and climate change.
Theresa May has allowed the hard line Brexiteers within her own party and the right wing media to dictate the form of Brexit, discounting the views of the 48% who voted to remain and more importantly disregarding the national interest.
In Hornsey and Wood Green we secured the highest remain vote in the UK with 81.5%. The best way I can represent my constituents and indeed protect our national interest is to vote against invoking Article 50.
Finally, over the past year we have seen hate crimes soar to their highest levels in recent times alongside an increasing wave of xenophobic nationalism. It is critical that MPs from across the house and indeed civil society in general counter such poisonous rhetoric and continue to make the case for a progressive relationship between the UK and our European partners.
I warmly welcome today's Supreme Court ruling on Article 50, handed down by Lord Neuberger, that states that Parliament must have a vote on invoking Article 50. Parliament must be...Go to the post
"Yesterday the Prime Minister confirmed the “Hard Brexit” she’d been hinting at for months.
No membership of the Single Market, no clarity on the Customs Union, no guarantee of the rights of the thousands of EU nationals who have made Hornsey & Wood Green their home and the chilling threat of Britain becoming a tax haven if negotiations don’t go our way.
I fear a scenario where slashing corporate tax rates, ripping up workers’ rights, human rights and environmental protections would see Britain enter a devastating race to the bottom. It goes against everything I believe and have fought against all my political life.
It says it all that Nigel Farage excitedly tweeted about “real progress” and said the PM is using “words and phrases I’ve been mocked for using for years”.
I don’t want our Prime Minister aping the language of UKIP and scapegoating immigrants for pressure on public services that has in reality been caused by seven years of damaging Tory cuts. Since this whole debate began we’ve seen a disturbing increase in race hate crime. Unsurprisingly the leave campaign’s promise of an extra £350 million per week for the NHS has long since been abandoned.
The Prime Minister seemed very confident about the great future she sees for our country, but this is in stark contrast to statements she and her chief Brexiteers Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and David Davis have made previously about the importance of the single market and the risks we face if we leave. I worry about her optimism because there are always two sides to every negotiation.
Instead, I fear the road ahead will be very hard and communities like ours that have already borne the brunt of seven years of austerity will see yet more threats to jobs, services and workers’ rights.
One of the few positives in the Prime Minister’s speech was her assurance that Parliament will have a vote on the final Brexit deal, something Labour has been fighting hard for since the referendum result.
Hornsey & Wood Green secured the highest “Remain” vote in the country, with people here overwhelmingly believing it isn’t in our national interest to leave the EU.
I share that view and In December I voted against triggering Article 50. Over the coming months I will continue to meet with constituents regularly and hold events so I can continue to represent your views in Parliament on this defining issue."
Catherine West MP
"Yesterday the Prime Minister confirmed the “Hard Brexit” she’d been hinting at for months. No membership of the Single Market, no clarity on the Customs Union, no guarantee of the...Go to the post
Catherine West MP was in Parliament this week to personally challenge the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP over the growing crisis in the National Health Service.
The current crisis our NHS faces is unprecedented. Our health service is on its knees with one third of hospitals having declared they need urgent help to deal with the number of patients coming through their doors.
A&E departments have turned patients away more than 143 times between 1 December 2016 and 1 January 2017. In one day last month 15 hospitals ran out of beds with elderly patients languishing on trolleys in corridors, sometimes for over 24 hours.
Instead of dealing with the crisis, on Monday Jeremy Hunt suggested that the four hour A&E target may be downgraded and no longer apply to minor injuries.
Responding to Jeremy Hunt’s statement on NHS performance, Catherine West raised the case of a local doctor who had contacted her in despair at the situation. You can watch her intervention here:
Catherine West MP said: “The crisis that we have seen unfold in our NHS over recent times is absolutely appalling. The Tories have consistently missed their own targets on A&E waiting times and instead of improving the service Jeremy Hunt is simply moving the goal posts.
“Labour is calling on the Government to bring forward the £700m of social care funding planned for 2019/20 now and to pledge a new funding settlement for health and social care in the Budget in March.
“Once again Jeremy Hunt is proving that you can’t trust the Tories with the NHS”
Catherine West MP was in Parliament this week to personally challenge the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP over the growing crisis in the National Health Service. The current crisis our...Go to the post
"2016 has certainly been an eventful year.
Against the wishes of the overwhelming majority of people here in Hornsey & Wood Green, Britain has voted to leave the European Union. We have a new Prime Minister, London has a new Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan and Donald Trump has been elected as the 45th President of the United States of America.
People will hold different opinions on all these events, but what seems indisputable is that we are living in an age of uncertainty.
Whether you’re an EU citizen who’s made your home here, a business owner nervously viewing the economic forecasts or a parent wondering what sort of world your child will grow up in, I’ve been personally struck by how many thousands of local residents have contacted me in the months since the referendum to share their thoughts and fears. It’s been by far the biggest issue in my mailbag and as the Government continues to talk the talk of “hard Brexit” whilst refusing to set out what leaving the EU will mean for our country, our economy and our communities, I expect it to remain so next year.
As I have said on many occasions, I don’t believe leaving the EU is in our national interest and, as your MP, I will continue to oppose the Tories’ rush towards an exit that puts jobs at risk and abandons the cultural and economic ties our EU partnership has brought.
But Brexit isn’t the only challenge Hornsey & Wood Green faces over the coming year and it’s important it doesn’t push every other issue out of the picture.
The Tories proposed cuts to Hornsey & Wood Green’s school funding put at risk the fantastic progress we have seen in London’s schools. With these proposals under consultation in 2017 with a view to the changes being implemented in the academic year 2018-19, I will be working together with our local community over the next twelve months to do everything in my power to oppose them.
Our social care system is teetering on the brink of collapse and far too many elderly and vulnerable people aren’t receiving the support they need to live independent fulfilling lives. Under first the Conservative – Liberal Democrat coalition and now a Conservative Government, social care funding has been cut by £4.6 billion since 2010 despite rising demand. If a society can be judged by the way it treats its most vulnerable citizens, then the care crisis is a damning indictment of this Government’s approach. It’s essential that 2017 sees a genuine injection of new money and concrete proposals for these vital services to be properly funded in the future.
Finally, earlier this month I invited Lord Alf Dubs to Hornsey & Wood Green to discuss what more can be done to help child refugees and to share his own experiences as a young boy saved from the Nazis under the Kindertransport project. Christmas is traditionally a time for togetherness and for holding our loved ones close, and my thoughts this year as last are with the lone refugee children who will not have that luxury. The haunting photograph of Aylan Kurdi’s tiny body washed up on a Turkish beach became the defining image of 2015, and I’d hoped this year would see the UK take leadership in the deepening refugee crisis. Sadly this has not been the case.
I voted for and strongly support the call for the UK to provide sanctuary to 3,000 lone refugee children, but months on from the “Dubs amendment”, there are still children from the demolished Calais camps – many with family links in the UK – stranded in France with little Home Office assistance. It is an issue many hundreds of local residents have contacted me about and I know there is a strong desire by the people of Hornsey & Wood Green to see the Government do much more to help these vulnerable young people. As your MP, I will keep up the pressure.
So, there is much to be done over the year ahead and I look forward to the challenge. It is an absolute privilege to be your Member of Parliament and your voice in Westminster.
My best wishes to you and your family for a peaceful and happy new year."
Member of Parliament for Hornsey & Wood Green
"2016 has certainly been an eventful year. Against the wishes of the overwhelming majority of people here in Hornsey & Wood Green, Britain has voted to leave the European Union....Go to the post
Catherine West MP said: "Today, MPs were given our first opportunity to vote on whether the Government should invoke Article 50 by the end of March. Doing so would formally start the process of the UK leaving the European Union.
Since the referendum, I have said publicly that I will vote against Brexit in Parliament. As a result, I wanted you to be the first to know that today I voted against triggering Article 50.
I did this because five months ago, the people of Hornsey & Wood Green voted overwhelmingly to stay in the European Union. In the months since I am even clearer in my own view that leaving Europe isn’t in our national interest.
Not only the risk to jobs and livelihoods, which I could never vote for, but the protections the EU provides against discrimination in the workplace, the environmental advances and the cross border European measures to keep us safe from terrorism and people trafficking. We’ve kept peace with our neighbours since 1945 due in a large part to the cultural and economic ties the EU partnership has brought.
I’m not prepared to vote away all that progress.
Further, we still have no idea of the Tories plan for Brexit and what it will mean for our country, our economy and our communities.
Theresa May saying Brexit will be “red, white and blue” doesn’t answer how it will affect worker’s rights and social freedoms or what it will mean for the thousands of EU citizens who have made Hornsey & Wood Green their home. It doesn’t answer how the people who have already borne the brunt of six years of Tory austerity will be affected by the impact on the economy. The independent Office for Budget Responsibility has said Brexit will cost £58.7 billion over the next five years.
As your MP, I will continue to stand with my constituents and oppose Brexit in Parliament."
Catherine West MP said: "Today, MPs were given our first opportunity to vote on whether the Government should invoke Article 50 by the end of March. Doing so would formally...Go to the post
It has been announced that Catherine West MP will be giving the Quakers Annual Swarthmore Lecture in 2017. The Swarthmore Lecture has a history going back 100 years.
Catherine's lecture will focus on addressing inequality, tackling poverty and promoting social justice. It will examine how we can effect change through politics – both participatory and representative – whilst living out our faith in the world.
Catherine West MP says “For me, actively advancing the cause of equality is both a political imperative and a spiritual vocation."
Catherine West became a Quaker in the 1990s and is a member of North West London Area Meeting. Catherine is currently Member of Parliament for Hornsey and Wood Green, having been elected to that role in May 2015. She was an elected member of Islington Council from 2002 to 2014 and Leader there from 2010 to 2013. While leader, she set up the country's first Fairness Commission, chaired by Professor Richard Wilkinson, co-author of The Spirit Level, the bestselling book which argues that inequality is bad for everyone. The commission was a year-long listening exercise, held in one of Britain's most unequal communities.
After hearing testimony from hundreds of local residents, including from 'hard to reach' groups, the commission made 19 recommendations to make the borough a fairer place by tackling poverty and reducing inequality in the areas that matter most. These recommendations led to groundbreaking work, including the council becoming the first accredited Living Wage local authority for paying all of its staff and 98 per cent of its contractors a real Living Wage. In an area blighted by child poverty, the commission proposed universal free school meals for all primary school children, since partially adopted by government as national policy. Housing is also major driver of inequality in Britain's cities, and so the commission recommended increasing the provision of genuinely affordable homes. These recommendations were turned into detailed delivery plans which have since been implemented.
The work done in Islington has led to over 20 similar initiatives in other areas around the UK. It shows that a local approach, informed by a commitment to equality, can benefit the whole community.
Catherine's lecture will resonate with the theme of Yearly Meeting Gathering, the annual decision-making meeting for Quakers in Britain, which will be looking at movement-building and how individuals can live out their faith in the world.
Sandra Berry, Director of Woodbrooke, says, “Catherine's name was chosen by the lecture committee after a careful process of discernment which began nearly two years ago. We wanted to offer a lecture from someone who would be able to share their personal experience of working on the inside of politics at various levels. We hope the lecture will help us explore how we as Quakers can be involved in the world of politics and how those who are involved can be supported. How can we overcome any sense of powerlessness and suspicion of those in power? How can we speak truth with love?"
Catherine West MP says “Books like The Spirit Level, and films it has inspired like The Divide by Katherine Round, chimed with my experience that it is not just how low the bottom is that matters, but how big the gap between the bottom and top is. Alleviating absolute poverty is certainly important, but reducing relative poverty matters as well."
It has been announced that Catherine West MP will be giving the Quakers Annual Swarthmore Lecture in 2017. The Swarthmore Lecture has a history going back 100 years. Catherine's lecture...Go to the post
"For six years, under a Tory Government, those who did nothing to cause the global economic crash have paid the price of the pain that followed.
Five million disabled people are living in poverty. Hard working families have seen their jobs become more insecure and their pay packets frozen, young people have seen their dreams of home ownership shattered and cuts to social care have left one million people without the support they need to get by.
When Theresa May stood on the steps of Downing Street in July, she said her Government would be different. It would help the ‘just about managing’ and crack down instead on the companies who don’t treat their workers fairly.
I saw very little in today’s Autumn Statement to suggest that the Government has a grip of the task ahead to secure an economy which works for everyone.
The Tories have already rolled back this week on their promise to put workers on boards. Today they offered crumbs to those hard working families set to lose out through cuts to Universal Credit. A two per cent change in the taper rate will still leave 2.5 million families around £2,000 a year worse off – money they can ill afford to lose.
Wages will continue to be squeezed. Those barely managing on the minimum wage will receive £7.50 an hour from April 2017. That’s 10p an hour less than the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) predicted it would be just eight months ago.
Significantly, that’s in part because today’s statement also revealed the stark price our economy is already paying for the damaging decision to leave the EU. Borrowing £122 billion higher than expected, slower growth, higher inflation leading to higher prices. The OBR says Brexit will cost us £58.7 billion over the next five years – a slogan I don’t remember seeing on the side of any bus. They diplomatically referred to it as “a subdued outlook”, but with these predictions the economy won’t get back to pre-referendum levels until 2021. As the Chancellor himself has said “people didn’t vote to make themselves poorer or less secure”. The impact leaving the EU would have on people’s jobs and living standards is one of the many reasons I have already made clear I will vote against Brexit in Parliament.
There were some positives. Victories for what was a Labour manifesto pledge to ban letting agents’ fees and scrapping the punitive ‘pay to stay’ that would have hiked social rents and forced people out of their homes. This is a great result for thousands of people in Hornsey & Wood Green and I welcome the u-turn.
But it’s not enough.
We need more support for those in work on low and middle incomes, who will struggle even more as prices rise. The Chancellor could start by introducing a real living wage and reversing those cuts to low and middle earners like Universal Credit and ESA.
We need secure and properly funded public services. The Chancellor failed to even mention social care today, yet it’s in crisis and our NHS is at breaking point with a £2.5 billion deficit. Local authorities have been stripped to the bone and vulnerable people are paying the price. This cannot be allowed to continue.
We need significant capital investment in council house building and the infrastructure that will help get our economy moving and tackle the desperate housing crisis that is worsening year on year. There was some, belated, recognition that Labour has been right all along in pushing for investment - the announcement of a deal with the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan for 90,000 new affordable homes is a welcome start. But the Tories have presided over the lowest level of home-building since the 1920s so the devil will be in the detail. Their fiscal plans still don’t allow the level of investment we really need.
It may not have been George Osborne and David Cameron on the front bench today, but I fear what we saw was the same old Tories."
Catherine West MP
"For six years, under a Tory Government, those who did nothing to cause the global economic crash have paid the price of the pain that followed. Five million disabled people...Go to the post
Catherine West MP will be speaking alongside Lord Alf Dubs at a meeting on "Who's looking out for child refugees?" at 8pm on Thursday 8 December at Fortismere School, N10.
Click here for more information and to register your place.
Catherine West MP said: "Many hundreds of people have written to me over recent months about the Government's feeble response to the refugee crisis. I wholeheartedly supported the "Dubs amendment" calling for the UK to act decisively and quickly to give sanctuary to 3,000 lone refugees. Yet progress has been far too slow. I look forward to discussing what more can be done with Lord Alf Dubs and local organisations working to help refugees".
You can read Catherine's article on the refugee crisis in the most recent issue of the Muswell Hill Flyer.
Catherine West MP will be speaking alongside Lord Alf Dubs at a meeting on "Who's looking out for child refugees?" at 8pm on Thursday 8 December at Fortismere School, N10. ... Read more »Go to the post
Catherine West MP has argued in this week's Ham & High that the funding for London's schools must be protected. In her letter, she says:
"Thank you to the Ham & High for highlighting the potentially devastating impact of government funding cuts on our schools (“Unions issue rallying cry amidst warning of school funding crisis” 10/11/16).
Here in Haringey, the Tories new national funding formula (due to be introduced in April 2018) coupled with the rising cost of higher employer NI and pension contributions, have left our schools facing average budget cuts of 15 per cent by 2020.
This would be devastating because London’s schools are a real success story. London’s children consistently outperform their peers at Key Stage 2 and GCSE and London has the highest percentage of schools in the country that are good or outstanding. Children growing up here from poorer backgrounds are much more likely to achieve good results than anywhere else.
It is absolutely essential that the funding that has made this possible is protected and that London’s children don’t pay the price of this Government’s failed promises. Yet the Minister has so far refused to provide any guarantee that Haringey won’t lose out. It’s obvious that shifting funding shortages around the schools system won’t help anyone – and won’t change the face that in this Parliament schools face the highest real-term cuts since the 1970s. The only solution to the crisis is to increase the real-terms funding for all schools.
As MP for Hornsey & Wood Green and Secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for London, I will continue to fight for London’s school funding to be protected.
Member of Parliament for Hornsey & Wood Green
Catherine West MP has argued in this week's Ham & High that the funding for London's schools must be protected. In her letter, she says: "Thank you to the Ham...Go to the post
Catherine West and David Lammy, the Member of Parliament for Tottenham have written a joint letter to Sophie Linden, the Deputy Mayor for Policing to request an urgent meeting to discuss the deeply concerning array of incidents involving guns and knives in Haringey.
Catherine West MP & David Lammy MP request an urgent meeting with Deputy Mayor to discuss knife & gun crime in Haringey
Catherine West and David Lammy, the Member of Parliament for Tottenham have written a joint letter to Sophie Linden, the Deputy Mayor for Policing to request an urgent meeting to... Read more »Go to the post
Catherine West MP has arranged a post-Brexit open public meeting on Thursday 24 November at 7.30pm at Hornsey Town Hall.
Catherine said: "Five months on from the EU referendum, the Government has done very little to set out what Brexit will actually mean for our country, our businesses and our community. It’s not good enough. The electorate did not give the Tories a blank cheque to negotiate a deal that puts jobs, workers' rights and our economy at risk.
Voters in Hornsey & Wood Green overwhelmingly voted to stay in the EU and we have a right to know how the Government who called this divisive referendum will bring our country back together, stand up for the rights of EU citizens currently living here, protect our economy through difficult times ahead and reassure the international businesses that employ hundreds of thousands of UK workers.
On Thursday 24 November, I will be holding a post-Brexit open public meeting at Hornsey Town Hall, chaired by Ivana Bartoletti, to discuss the EU referendum result and update on the work I've been doing to represent my constituents' views in Parliament. Speakers include Andrea Biondi, Director of the Centre for European Law and European Employment Relations expert Professor Steve Jefferys. It will be a chance for you to ask any questions you might have about the impact of Brexit and discuss where we go from here. I hope to see you there."
Brexit: what happens now?
Chair: Ivana Bartoletti, Chair of Fabian Women’s Network
Introductory words – Ivana Bartoletti
Brexit and the “four freedoms” : goods, movement, services & capital - Professor Andrea Biondi, Director of the Centre for European Law, King’s College London
Can equalities be protected in Brexit Britain? – Professor Steve Jefferys, European Employment Relations, London Metropolitan University
What is happening in Europe? – Seb Dance MEP
What is happening in Parliament? – Catherine West MP
Questions and Discussion – chaired by Ivana Bartoletti
Closing Remarks – Catherine West MP
Catherine West MP has arranged a post-Brexit open public meeting on Thursday 24 November at 7.30pm at Hornsey Town Hall. Please register here to let her know you're coming. Catherine...Go to the post
Catherine West MP has today sent a letter to Haringey Council's Cabinet Members about the future of Hornsey Town Hall in advance of their Cabinet Meeting tomorrow night (Tuesday 18 October).
Following the announcement of Haringey Council's preferred bidder, Catherine has been contacted by lots of local residents with their views and last week held an open discussion in the café at Hornsey Town Hall. Some of Catherine's previous correspondence on the issue is available here.
You can read Catherine's full letter to Haringey Council Cabinet Members here:
Here's the response I received from Haringey Council:
Catherine West MP has today sent a letter to Haringey Council's Cabinet Members about the future of Hornsey Town Hall in advance of their Cabinet Meeting tomorrow night (Tuesday 18 October). ...Go to the post
My Reflections on Labour Party Conference
This may have been a glorious summer for the UK, with warm sunny days and incredible achievements at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, but the last few months have been a bitter winter for the Labour Party. Failing to secure a remain vote for the EU referendum; a vote of no confidence in the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn (followed his re-sounding re-election 6 weeks later); the tragic murder of our dear colleague and friend Jo Cox and the coronation of a new Tory Prime Minister who has made it clear she intends to intensify the policies of her predecessor by imposing unjust junior doctors’ contracts, committing to repeal the Human Rights Act and expanding an education system that is built upon the principle of segregation.
Over the past few days I have attended dozens of events and I have met hundreds of people and listened to the views of our party members, my parliamentary colleagues and of course the welcoming people of the wonderful city of Liverpool. Whilst we did not always agree on some of the finer points of policy, we did agree on one thing: that Labour must now step up to the challenge of being not only a robust and credible opposition, but a Government-in-waiting, energised and united by the principles which underpin our movement.
We do not need to turn back the clock to see what Labour can accomplish when in power; we need only to look to City Hall, where Sadiq Khan, the first Muslim Mayor in any major western city has secured the largest personal mandate in the history of our nation. Sadiq is already delivering policies that are tackling the key problems that Londoners face: the introduction of ‘Hopper’ bus tickets; launching a review into the closure of TfL ticket offices; reaffirming his commitment that fifty percent of new housing developments should be genuinely affordable and launching the Night Tube, a project that was consistently mismanaged by the former Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
I warmly welcome the policies announced at this year’s conference, in particular Labour's commitment to allow local councils to borrow against their assets to build more council homes; the introduction of a pupil premium for the arts in schools and of course re-affirming our opposition to a expanding the grammar schools- which in my view is an education system built on the principle of segregation.
We are now the largest party in Western Europe and indeed we have a membership that is now higher than all other major UK parties combined. Our task therefore is to harness the dynamism and energy of our membership to take the fight to the Tories, to ensure we elect a Labour Government again to stand up for Britain and what we believe in: building a strong economy; creating the good homes and good jobs we need; defending our NHS and our public services; and fighting for fairness, equality and social justice. In the coming weeks, I will continue to work hard to hold this Tory Government to account for their appalling lack of a comprehensive plan for Brexit, and more importantly, I will continue to lobby the Government to secure the most positive and progressive relationship with the EU as possible.
My Reflections on Labour Party Conference This may have been a glorious summer for the UK, with warm sunny days and incredible achievements at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, but...Go to the post
Catherine West MP said: "Lots of people have been in touch with me since Friday when Haringey Council announced their preferred bidder for Hornsey Town Hall. I will be in the café at Hornsey Town Hall next Thursday 13 October at 4pm to speak to anyone who’d like to discuss this with me or you can drop me a line. I will be formally responding to the Cabinet Report once it’s available and am very keen to hear local residents’ views on the council’s plans for this iconic site."
"Since plans to put the redevelopment of Hornsey Town Hall & Square out for tender were first announced, I have been pushing hard for a not-for-profit organisation, such as a housing association, to take on this much-loved site and I’ve repeatedly argued that any housing should be a minimum of 50 per cent affordable."
You can read some of Catherine West's previous correspondence on the issue here:
Catherine West MP said: "Lots of people have been in touch with me since Friday when Haringey Council announced their preferred bidder for Hornsey Town Hall. I will be in...Go to the post
On Friday 7 October from 12pm-1.30pm at Portcullis House, Catherine West MP will be in conversation with acclaimed author Thomas Frank.
Thomas Frank is the author of Pity the Billionaire, The Wrecking Crew, and What's the Matter with Kansas? A former columnist for The Wall Street Journal and Harper's, Frank.
Catherine West is Shadow Foreign and Commonwealth Minister and Member of Parliament for Hornsey and Wood Green.
Thomas and Catherine will be discussing the findings of Thomas' recent book 'Listen Liberal' a scathing look at the standard-bearers of liberal politics — a book that asks: what's the matter with Democrats?
Catherine and Thomas will also be reviewing whether there are lessons to be learnt in terms of the left of UK politics and the Labour Party in particular.
On Friday 7 October from 12pm-1.30pm at Portcullis House, Catherine West MP will be in conversation with acclaimed author Thomas Frank. Click here for more details or to register...Go to the post
Catherine West MP has offered her full support to the campaign by Alexandra Ward Labour Councillors to reopen the footbridge at Alexandra Palace Station.
Cllr James Patterson and Cllr Liz McShane said "We are dismayed that Great Northern Rail and Network Rail have once again closed the gate on the footbridge at Alexandra Palace Station. We had hoped lessons had been learned from last year. As is so often the case, there will need to be a campaign to persuade them to listen to the local community. We will be launching a petition and will be seeking a meeting. In the meantime, we would strongly encourage local people to make their feelings known by e-mail and by social media."
Sign the petition here to demand the immediate reopening of the gate.
Catherine West MP has offered her full support to the campaign by Alexandra Ward Labour Councillors to reopen the footbridge at Alexandra Palace Station. Cllr James Patterson and Cllr...Go to the post
Catherine West MP is the Secretary and Co-Founder of a new All-Party Parliamentary Group on UK-EU Relations, launched in the wake of Brexit. The aim of the group will be to scrutinise Brexit negotiations and push for a positive relationship with our European neighbours.
The constituency of Hornsey & Wood Green had one of the UK's highest remain votes, and more people signed the petition calling for a second referendum than from anywhere else in the country.
To mark the launch of the new APPG, Catherine West MP wrote a blog for Labour List, setting out the need for a "progressive and positive relationship with the EU". In it, she said "Brexit must not become an excuse for the Tories to dismantle years of achievements and start a race to the bottom on environmental legislation, protections for workers and consumers. I will fight to protect the rights that guarantee minimum standards for workers in the EU, including paid leave, maternity rights and equal rights for part-time and full-time employees and stand up for the benefits and investment that the EU currently provides."
You can read Catherine's full blog for Labour List here.
Catherine West MP is the Secretary and Co-Founder of a new All-Party Parliamentary Group on UK-EU Relations, launched in the wake of Brexit. The aim of the group will be...Go to the post
Here's my letter in today's The Guardian calling on the Conservative Government to look at what's worked in London's schools, rather than focus on structures whether that's Grammar Schools, Free Schools or Academies.
You can read the full letter here:
Here's my letter in today's The Guardian calling on the Conservative Government to look at what's worked in London's schools, rather than focus on structures whether that's Grammar Schools, Free Schools or... Read more »Go to the post
As Shadow Foreign Office Minister with responsibility for Asia-Pacific, I have been closely following the territorial disputes in the South China Sea and it was a subject I raised directly with the Chinese when I attended The 5th China-Europe High-level Political Parties Forum in Beijing in May 2016.
I specifically highlighted that island-building and the deployment of military forces on the Islands of the South China Sea was of great concern to the UK and our European neighbours, as well as those parties affected within the South China Sea Region.
I have raised this issue in the House of Commons, tabling a number of Parliamentary Questions in the Chamber, one in February 2016, in advance of my visit to China where I asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he had received of deployment by China of surface-to-air missiles on the Paracels Islands in the South China Sea.
I also wrote directly to the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, requesting his assessment of the situation and urging him to outline what steps his department was taking to prevent the militarisation of the South China Sea region.
On 12 July the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague ruled against Chinese claims to territorial rights and that same morning I questioned the Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond on whether the UK Government agreed this ruling must be respected. I said: "Earlier today, the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague ruled against Chinese claims to territorial rights in the South China sea, backing a case brought by the Philippines. Does the Secretary of State agree that the PCA’s ruling must be respected, and that any non-compliance by the Chinese Government would not only cause severe reputational damage to China but constitute a serious breach of international law?"
In his response the Secretary of State said: "The UK’s position has always been, and will remain, that we urge respect for international law and the rules-based international system, and decisions arising from international tribunals. As the hon. Lady will know, the ruling is 501 pages long. It flopped on to my desk just before coming over here to answer questions." He went on to say "We will study the decision carefully"
I will continue to follow the issue closely and raise more questions when Parliament returns in September.
As Shadow Foreign Office Minister with responsibility for Asia-Pacific, I have been closely following the territorial disputes in the South China Sea and it was a subject I raised directly...Go to the post
At the end of my first year as Member of Parliament for Hornsey & Wood Green, here's my Annual Report with an update on just some of the things I've been doing.
It is a privilege to be your Member of Parliament and your voice in Westminster. If you have any questions about anything I've been doing, please use the contact details in the newsletter or come along to one of my regular advice surgeries.
At the end of my first year as Member of Parliament for Hornsey & Wood Green, here's my Annual Report with an update on just some of the things I've... Read more »Go to the post
The review of North Middlesex Hospital by the Care Quality Commission details the issues that as local MPs we have been raising for many months.
In Prime Minister's Questions last month I called on David Cameron to take swift action and commit to protecting and improving the emergency care at North Middlesex that many of my constituents rely on. Together with Kate Osamar MP, Joan Ryan MP and David Lammy MP, I met the Health Minister to demand the Government intervene to resolve this crisis now and I attended the hospital's AGM to show my support to staff.
I will be speaking at a public meeting on North Middlesex Hospital at 7pm on Monday 25 July at the Green Towers Community Centre, Plevna Road, London N9 0BT organised by Kate Osamor MP. You can find the full details here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mps-public-meeting-north-middlesex-hospital-ae-crisis-tickets-26353023603
The review of North Middlesex Hospital by the Care Quality Commission details the issues that as local MPs we have been raising for many months. In Prime Minister's Questions last...Go to the post
I am deeply saddened and bitterly disappointed by the result of this referendum. There’s a real feeling of loss in the air across Hornsey & Wood Green and people have been coming up to me all weekend to say how devastated they are at the outcome.
I campaigned to remain because I firmly believe we can achieve so much more together than we do alone and that the UK is stronger, more prosperous and more peaceful as a member of the European Union.
In Hornsey & Wood Green, we ran a positive campaign and I am grateful to everyone who helped. The fact that Haringey secured the 5th highest remain vote in the UK, with just under 80,000 votes, is testament to the hard-work of these volunteers, and crucially to the overwhelming desire of people here to stay in the EU.
I can assure you I will be representing these views in Parliament. Hundreds of people have already contacted me about the call for a second referendum and over 3 million people have signed a national petition, which means it will be considered for a Parliamentary debate. I look forward to this debate and the opportunity to highlight the implications of this referendum for the country and for our communities. I hope its conclusions can be worked into Labour’s next manifesto.
I will also be holding an open conversation with anyone who wants to talk to me about how we fight back post referendum on Saturday 2 July from 9.45am at Hornsey Town Hall. Please come along.
However, whatever happens over the longer term it is painfully clear that there are uncertain times ahead. Already the Prime Minister has resigned, the economy has been badly shaken and the Vote Leave campaign’s “promises” are falling apart.
Our job in the midst of this turmoil isn’t to have an internal Labour Party squabble, but to come together to address the challenges facing the country, support our communities and seek to minimise the damage inflicted on our economy.
As your MP I will be doing everything in my power to ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society, who have already been battered by six years of this Tory Government’s austerity, are not the hardest hit.
This has been a deeply unpleasant campaign and I am glad it is over. We must now do everything in our power to defeat the racist and far right sentiments that seek to divide us. People from every corner of the globe have made Hornsey & Wood Green their home and contribute so much to our community. I welcome London Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan’s clear message to the nearly one million EU citizens living in London that they are very welcome here.
As your MP, I will continue standing up to defend the diversity that makes our community so special.
Member of Parliament for Hornsey & Wood Green
I am deeply saddened and bitterly disappointed by the result of this referendum. There’s a real feeling of loss in the air across Hornsey & Wood Green and people have...Go to the post
I was one of almost 1,500 Parliamentarians from 40 countries around the world who signed a pledge this week organised by Crisis Action to uphold Jo's legacy. The pledge read:
Last week, the life of UK MP Jo Cox was brutally and senselessly snatched away. As many have been, we are shocked to the core at a violent attack on democracy and our values.
As human beings, we are devastated at the loss of an indefatigable and compassionate campaigner, mother and colleague. And as parliamentarians, we commit to ensuring her legacy is upheld.
In her first speech to parliament, just one year ago, Jo said: “While we celebrate our diversity … we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.”
Every elected representative should reflect on those words this week. Let this be a turning point for us all.
Beyond politics and parties, we must as societies stand together to stem the poisonous rising tide of fear and hate that breeds division and extremism. We must follow Jo’s example to open our arms with love to our communities, our neighbours and those less fortunate than ourselves, and to celebrate our tolerance and diversity.
Jo was a lifelong campaigner against injustice. She entered parliament because she wanted to be in the engine room of change, to steer a course toward a better future. Today we say: we will keep our hands on the wheel. We will do whatever it takes to renew our bonds and fight for those at the margins of our society, our continent and the world.
Together with the other Labour MPs who were elected alongside Jo last year, we have also produced this short video:
I was one of almost 1,500 Parliamentarians from 40 countries around the world who signed a pledge this week organised by Crisis Action to uphold Jo's legacy. The pledge read:Last...Go to the post
In Prime Ministers Questions, I've just called on the PM to recognise that North Middlesex Hospital A&E is in meltdown.
This A&E unit has been threatened with closure on safety grounds for the first time in the NHS’s history, amid fears that its 500 patients a day are at what the medical regulator calls “serious risk” of suffering harm.
I have urged the David Cameron to take swift action to tackle this crisis to protect and improve A&E services at North Middlesex Hospital.
You can watch me challenge the Prime Minister on this issue here:
In Prime Ministers Questions, I've just called on the PM to recognise that North Middlesex Hospital A&E is in meltdown. This A&E unit has been threatened with closure on safety...Go to the post
Haringey Council are currently consulting on the future of Muswell Hill Library.
I have formally responded to say that I strongly oppose any attempts to sell off the existing site and I've urged the council to further explore the "option 3" suggested by the Friends of Muswell Hill Library to make accessibility improvements to the existing building.
You can read a full copy of my response here:
Haringey Council's formal consultation is open from now until 25 August so please do submit a response as it's vital the council knows the strength of feeling on this important issue http://www.haringey.gov.uk/libraries-sport-and-leisure/libraries/find-library/muswell-hill-library/muswell-hill-library-public-engagement
Haringey Council are currently consulting on the future of Muswell Hill Library. I have formally responded to say that I strongly oppose any attempts to sell off the existing site...Go to the post
I am very disappointed by Sajid Javid's refusal to meet me to discuss the privatisation of Muswell Hill and Crouch End Crown Post Offices.
The campaign to save these post offices goes beyond an emotional attachment to traditional ‘crown post offices’. It is about ensuring that that our post offices have a secure, long-term future and indeed that the people who worked have worked there for decades share in that security.
Secretary of State refuses to meet Catherine West to discuss Privatisation of Muswell Hill & Crouch End Post Offices
I am very disappointed by Sajid Javid's refusal to meet me to discuss the privatisation of Muswell Hill and Crouch End Crown Post Offices. The campaign to save these post... Read more »Go to the post
Many local residents have contacted me over the past few days concerned about the potential closure of JS Medical Practice in Westbury Avenue.
I share these concerns and have already written to the Chief Executive of NHS England to ask that he look into this as a matter of urgency. Thousands of people rely on the services provided at the practice and it’s absolutely essential that patients have their say before any changes are made.
I will be holding a public meeting to discuss this issue on Friday 10 June at 4pm in the Junior Hall at Lordship Lane Primary School, Ellenborough Road, Wood Green N22 5PS.
I have asked NHS England to attend to explain their plans in person and I hope they will accept the invitation.
Please join me on Friday 10 June to discuss this important local issue. If you can’t make the meeting but have any concerns about the plans then please contact me.
Over 100 people attended the public meeting, a clear sign of the strength of feeling on this important issue. Thank you to everyone who came or who contacted me with their concerns. Here is my latest letter to NHS England:
Many local residents have contacted me over the past few days concerned about the potential closure of JS Medical Practice in Westbury Avenue. I share these concerns and have already...Go to the post
Earlier this year I wrote to Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, to urge him to reconsider plans to cut funding for pharmacies. I know many pharmacists and patients are concerned by the Government's plans. Indeed, a related online petition has attracted over 51,000 signatures.
Pharmacies play a crucial role in our community. They have a significant impact on patient care and provide an essential service in dispensing both medication and the essential information and advice than can prevent people from having to visit their GP for common health problems.
Introducing cuts on this scale to community pharmacy services will not improve primary care outcomes. I am concerned that pharmacies will find it harder to provide the safe, good-quality services we all want to see.
The Government are consulting on their plans for community pharmacies and I hope they carefully consider the responses they receive.
The health service across the country is under enormous pressure. The only way the Government will achieve its planned £22 billion worth of efficiency savings will be by cutting staff, cutting pay and closing essential services.
A different, co-ordinated approach to planning and investment is needed across primary care to ensure that patients get the most out of the NHS and pharmacies.
Earlier this year I wrote to Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, to urge him to reconsider plans to cut funding for pharmacies. I know many pharmacists and patients...Go to the post
Catherine West MP recently attended a parliamentary reception organised by Cancer52, a coalition of more than 80 charities representing rare and less common cancers. The reception was hosted and addressed by Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer (APPGC), John Baron MP.
The purpose of the reception was to raise awareness of these cancers and highlight the need for earlier diagnosis.
Rare and less common cancers together account for more than half of all UK cancer deaths – more than the ‘big four’ (breast, prostate, lung and bowel cancer) – and on average have poorer earlier diagnosis rates.
MPs were invited to meet a constituent that had been affected by cancer and were briefed by Jonathan Pearce, Chair of Cancer52, on the number of people diagnosed with rare and less common cancers in their constituencies.
Catherine West MP said “It was a pleasure to join Cancer52 at their reception and discuss such an important issue. As a country we need to be doing far better at diagnosing and treating cancers earlier, particularly rare and less common cancers. It is staggering that these cancers make up 54% of cancer deaths and this number is rising. It is essential that we do more to raise awareness of the symptoms both in and out of the medical profession.”
Jane Lyons, CEO of Cancer52, said: “It was fantastic to see so many MPs at the reception and to hear how passionate they are about improving care for rare and less common cancers. These cancers are more likely to be diagnosed late, often in A&E. This has an impact on survival rates, with rare and less common cancers diagnosed in A&E having one-year survival rates far lower than more common cancers. A key driver for improving this situation is improving the earlier diagnosis rate for rare and less common cancers, and we will be working to deliver more specialist diagnostic centres, encouraging earlier onward referral by GPs and asking the DH to continue with its cancer symptoms awareness raising campaign, 'Be Clear on Cancer'.
Catherine West MP recently attended a parliamentary reception organised by Cancer52, a coalition of more than 80 charities representing rare and less common cancers. The reception was hosted and addressed...Go to the post
The Crown Post Offices in Crouch End and Muswell Hill are under threat of being downgraded to a franchise model, which would see them moved into shops with smaller space and fewer counters, leading to longer queues and a loss of experienced staff.
Local residents are fighting to keep their Crown Post Offices and the next event being organised is a protest outside both post offices on Saturday 7 May. It promises to be an enjoyable occasion with singing, balloons and even the promise of some specially designed muffins baked by Dunns.
Crouch Enders will be queueing from 10.30 and Muswell Hillers at 11.30. Please come and join us, the longer the queue, the better.
Catherine West MP said: "I’m extremely concerned about what these plans will means for the customers who rely on these branches, for service standards, accessibility and for employees in the branches – as well as the wider effects on the local high street if these well-used buildings are lost. Hundreds of local people have already contacted me in support of the campaign to save our Post Offices and I look forward to seeing lots of you on Saturday. I will continue to oppose these unpopular plans"
If you would like to know more and/or get involved in the campaign please contact email@example.com
The Crown Post Offices in Crouch End and Muswell Hill are under threat of being downgraded to a franchise model, which would see them moved into shops with smaller space...Go to the post
Catherine West MP said "I’m deeply concerned by the Government’s plans to cut over £170 million from community pharmacies. I met with local pharmacists recently to discuss these worrying proposals that threaten their livelihoods and increase the pressure on our already overburdened primary care services.
Introducing cuts on this scale could result in each pharmacy losing up to £15,000 a year. This will do nothing to improve primary care outcomes and I am concerned that it will make it harder for pharmacies to provide the safe, good-quality services we all want to see and put added pressure on GP services.
I’ve also made urgent representations to the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to reconsider these misguided plans."
The Support Your Local Pharmacy national campaign could become the largest petition circulating in the UK after reaching the landmark figure of one million signatures.
Catherine West MP said "I’m deeply concerned by the Government’s plans to cut over £170 million from community pharmacies. I met with local pharmacists recently to discuss these worrying proposals...Go to the post
Catherine West MP said: "The Labour Party has been at the forefront of tackling racism and standing up against discrimination for many years. There is, and must never be, any place for anti-semitism.
I welcome the decision to ask Shami Chakrabarti to chair an independent inquiry into anti-semitism supported by Professor David Feldman, director of the Pears Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism.
I hope this will once and for all decisively address the issue and provide importance guidance for activists, candidates and elected members. I look forward to reading its findings when it reports in two months time and using it to inform my work in Parliament through my membership of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on anti-semitism."
Catherine West MP said: "The Labour Party has been at the forefront of tackling racism and standing up against discrimination for many years. There is, and must never be, any...Go to the post
I’m concerned that the Government’s proposed new national funding formula could take £245 million from London’s schools. Haringey schools are amongst the most improved in the country, particularly at GCSE, and it’s essential nothing is done to jeopardise this success. Here’s my letter, printed in yesterday's Guardian calling on the Chancellor to provide an urgent guarantee that there'll be no funding reduction.
"If the proposed national funding formula for schools isn’t accompanied by extra funding, it risks having a devastating effect on the capital. London Councils’ analysis suggests £245m could be lost from London’s schools, equivalent to 5,873 full-time teachers or 11,598 full-time teaching assistants. This would be a scandal.
London’s schools are a real success story. Despite high levels of deprivation, higher staff and housing costs, and an ever-growing demand for places, we have the greatest number of good or outstanding schools in the country, and children growing up here consistently outperform their peers at key stage 2 and GCSE.
Surely the aim should be for every school in the country to match London’s achievements? This won’t happen by taking funding away from the capital and putting at risk the progress that has been made.
The chancellor must take into account the higher costs in London and provide an urgent guarantee that no local area will see a reduction in funding as a result of these proposals."
Catherine West MP
Labour, Hornsey & Wood Green
Secretary, All-Party Parliamentary Group for London
I’m concerned that the Government’s proposed new national funding formula could take £245 million from London’s schools. Haringey schools are amongst the most improved in the country, particularly at GCSE,...Go to the post
Today I wrote an article for The Times on the Panama Papers, and how the lack of transparency in the Overseas Territories is fuelling the housing crisis here in London.
Panama is the tip of the Iceberg: How the London Property Market is crippled by Shrouded Foreign Buyers in the British Overseas Territories
As an MP elected just under a year ago, I have been astonished at the numbers of constituents contacting me about the astronomical cost of housing in London. Whether it's a first time buyer, a tenant struggling to find a costly deposit for a privately rented flat or a homeless family stuck in temporary housing for years, housing affordability in London is holding back our economy and causing genuine hardship for many too. Companies are now choosing to base their business in Birmingham or Manchester because the workforce can afford to live in those cities. When a deposit for a London home now averages £91k and the Government’s so-called ‘starter homes’ can come in at £450k, it is virtually impossible for doctors, teachers or accountants to own a home unless they have a 'leg up' from family.
The Panama Papers have uncovered the extent to which overseas investors are pushing up the cost of housing in London, often with homes in high value areas sitting empty. Indeed over the past 6 years, foreign buyers have snapped London properties with a collective worth of over £100 billion. It is not just a question of foreign buyers pushing up the cost of housing relative to the domestic market. It is also the influx of money, made from the proceeds of the drug trade or with links to international terrorism, which has been laundered in offshore accounts in the UK Overseas Territories. The campaign group, Transparency International, has found that of the 214,000 companies revealed in the Panama Papers, over half were based in the British Virgin Islands. What the Panama Papers expose is the widening gap between an ultra-elite and everyone, a situation that clearly reflected in the dysfunctional housing market of London.
For years now, the FCO had been stalling on its own deadlines to have financial centres in the Overseas Territories set up registers of beneficial ownership. This has prevented law enforcement agencies from tracing laundered money, funds which are proceeds of drug crime and the trade in weapons. What is less well known, is that, according to Transparency International, 36 000 properties in the UK have owners who are unknown, as they are based in offshore jurisdictions. It is plain wrong that corrupt individuals use British Overseas Territories to hide their activities and their identities while simultaneously pushing the prices of London property so high that Londoners can no longer afford to live in the city they grew up in.
Next month the Prime Minister will hold a summit on Tackling Corruption. He will say that Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies must allow access to law enforcement agencies to a register of beneficial ownership. In my view this does not go far enough. We need a system that has the confidence of the parliament and indeed of the public. Mr Cameron should be calling for the introduction open registers of beneficial ownership so that not only law enforcement agencies but the public can be sure that taxation is being paid and that we know who owns these so called shell companies.
Catherine West MP
Shadow Foreign Minister
Member of Parliament for Hornsey and Wood Green
Today I wrote an article for The Times on the Panama Papers, and how the lack of transparency in the Overseas Territories is fuelling the housing crisis here in London....Go to the post
Today I challenged the Prime Minister on his Government's policy to force all schools to become academies, and specifically to remove the duty for schools to have parent governors. I questioned him as to whether he was aware of the anger and sadness he had caused to the teaching sector, and urged him to abandon this attack on parents and teachers. You can watch my full intervention here.
Today I challenged the Prime Minister on his Government's policy to force all schools to become academies, and specifically to remove the duty for schools to have parent governors. I questioned...Go to the post
I have consistently called for the roll out of this drug, particularly within high-risk group to help us beat this virus.
Following the announcement on PrEP, on Tuesday 22 March 2016, I called on the Health Minister Jane Ellison to recognise the short-sightedness of this decision and asked her whether she agreed with me that to abandon the roll-out of this game changing drug will totally fail those at risk from contracting HIV. You can watch the video of my intervention in the House of Commons here.
You may also be interested to read an article I wrote for HIV testing Week & World AIDS Day back in December 2015 on the need to introduce PrEP and do more to tackle social stigma surrounding this condition. My article can be found here.
35 million people are living with HIV across the world. 110,000 are living with HIV here in the UK, and at least 26,000 of those do not even know they have it. Of this total, over 30% are from Sub-Saharan Africa, despite this group only accounting for just over 1.8% of the total UK population. The picture gets worse in London, where 1 in 8 sexually active gay and bisexual men have now contracted the virus. As an active member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on HIV & AIDS I will continue to raise this important issue in parliament.
I have consistently called for the roll out of this drug, particularly within high-risk group to help us beat this virus. Following the announcement on PrEP, on Tuesday 22 March...Go to the post
Catherine West MP has responded to Haringey Council's consultation on the future of Wood Green by urging the council to make a "clear commitment" to a minimum of 50 per cent genuinely-affordable housing.
The council's vision for Wood Green's future sets out the possibility for high quality residential development, providing a minimum of 4,600 new homes. In her formal response, Catherine West MP notes that "sadly Haringey can no longer be considered a borough with affordable rents or house prices for the vast majority of residents. Land values have soared and in areas like Wood Green families that have lived there for generations are being priced out. There is a desperate shortage of genuinely-affordable homes. Such a large scale development brings the opportunity to provide much-needed homes that residents can afford to live in".
The housing crisis is the biggest challenge facing London, but developers are trying to tell the council that only 18 per cent of Wood Green's proposed new homes can be affordable.
In response, Catherine said: "In my advice surgeries, I speak to so many families struggling in overcrowded flats, people who've been on the council waiting list for years and have lost all hope of getting anywhere and young people who can't save for a mortgage because rents are so high. The Wood Green (West) regeneration scheme will see thousands of new homes built over the coming decades. Developers are trying to tell the council that only 18% can be affordable, but we know that Labour policy is 50%."
Catherine's consultation response also notes the importance of defending Wood Green's community and cultural legacy and the need to improve the green connection between Alexandra Palace & Park and Wood Green.
Read a full copy of her letter here:
Catherine West MP has responded to Haringey Council's consultation on the future of Wood Green by urging the council to make a "clear commitment" to a minimum of 50 per cent...Go to the post
Catherine West MP said "These Tory plans to force all schools to become academies rip decision making away from parents and teachers and place it in the hands of Whitehall bureaucrats. It makes absolutely no sense to force schools down that road when evidence shows that many academies perform no better than maintained schools. The Chief Inspector of Schools has publicly highlighted severe weaknesses in the performance of some multi-academy trusts.
In forcing through these changes, the Tories are putting ideology ahead of tackling the real problems our schools face, such as a desperate shortage of primary school places across London and a growing teacher recruitment crisis.
I will continue to fight for schools that are accountable to parents, teachers and the local community."
Catherine West MP said "These Tory plans to force all schools to become academies rip decision making away from parents and teachers and place it in the hands of Whitehall...Go to the post
Happy International Women’s Day!
On this day of celebration of the achievements of women everywhere, I had the privilege of spending the morning at Hornsey School for Girls, speaking to the next generation of young women. Lots had strong opinions on the EU referendum and told me how they wanted to stay in the EU because of the opportunities it offers for travelling and working overseas. It was wonderful to see so many smart, engaging young women excited about the possibilities of what lay ahead for their futures, and it’s a reminder of how far we have come since the days when women’s horizons were limited purely because of their gender.
To some people, the fact there’s been progress means there isn’t need for an International Women’s Day at all. I was on The Daily Politics this lunchtime alongside Laura Perrin from The Conservative Woman, who thought the whole notion was patronising. I disagree.
Whilst today is about recognising how far we have travelled, it is also about recognising how much further we still have to go.
Women are still more likely to work for less pay than men and in lower paid sectors. Over the last ten years, levels of maternity discrimination have almost doubled and too many talented women tell me how difficult it is to find good quality part-time work after having children. The UK gender pay gap stands at 19.2% - well above the EU average of 16.4%.
Labour has a proud record in this area. We have more women MPs than all the other parties put together and almost every major piece of legislation that has improved the lives of working women, from extending maternity leave and introducing paternity leave to the minimum wage and Sure Start children’s centres, has come under a Labour Government.
Yet sadly, under the Tories we’re seeing the clock turned back.
Of the £82 billion in tax increases and cuts in social security spending since 2010, 81% will be taken from the pockets of women. Essential specialist services providing support for women who are victims of domestic violence are bearing the brunt of massive government cuts and 32 specialist refuges across the country closed their doors between 2010 and 2014. Women’s Aid have estimated that 155 women and 103 children are turned away from refuges every day. That’s despite the fact that two women a week are still being murdered as a result of domestic violence.
So whilst I will be joining in the celebrations today, and hosting my own event on Thursday, the fight continues to consign gender inequality to the history books for good.
Finally I appeared on BBC Daily Politics this afternoon to argue the case for celebrating and supporting International Women's Day. If you would like to watch, please click here.
Happy International Women’s Day! On this day of celebration of the achievements of women everywhere, I had the privilege of spending the morning at Hornsey School for Girls, speaking...Go to the post
On Wednesday 10th February Catherine West MP joined the launch of the #PrePayRipOff campaign in the House of Commons to clamp down on the cost of prepayment meters as a means of paying energy bills.
The latest research by the Citizens Advice Bureau has revealed that pre-payment meter customers on average pay £226 a year extra for the cost of their energy compared to the cheapest direct debit tariff. And with 1 in 5 prepayment meter users already in fuel poverty this amounts to an extra £1,322,100 a year being taken out of the pockets of the 5850 households in Hornsey & Wood Green who can least afford it.
Catherine West MP joined Dawn Butler MP at the launch of her campaign along with Sadiq Khan MP, Labour’s candidate for Mayor of London, calling to take action on the Big 6 energy companies.
Catherine said: “It is unacceptable that the poorest in our society are forced to pay the most for their energy bills when the cost of energy is falling but bills continue to rise. Almost 6,000 households in Hornsey & Wood Green have these meters and they're paying the price. I will continue to call for real action in the energy market to pass on the savings which thousands of families in my constituency deserve. This Prepay Rip Off must end now.”
Dawn Butler MP said: “It is about time someone stood up to the Big 6 energy companies on behalf of the most vulnerable energy consumers who are being left out of pocket. The cost of energy is at an all-time low yet prices keep going up. The Government need to take action to force energy companies to pass on these savings to consumers. If you support my campaign add your voice by signing the petition!”
Sadiq Khan MP highlighted at the launch the enormous cost to Londoners: “1 in 5 households in London have no choice but to use prepayment meters to pay their bills. This could be costing the most disadvantaged families in the capital an additional £140 million a year. This is money taken out of the pockets of those who can least afford it, and money that would otherwise be spent in the local economy on goods and services. I am calling on the energy companies to automatically give Londoners the best possible deal on their energy tariffs and ensure the most disadvantaged in our communities are given reduced standing rates.”
You can sign the petition online by going to http://chn.ge/1P83QSC.
On Wednesday 10th February Catherine West MP joined the launch of the #PrePayRipOff campaign in the House of Commons to clamp down on the cost of prepayment meters as...Go to the post
I believe that the Government's current approach is completely the wrong way forward and that they should work with the BMA and junior doctors to find a fair agreement that avoids the threat of industrial action.
Junior doctors are vital to the future of the NHS and it is clear that if we want to move toward a seven-day NHS and improve patient care we need to ensure that the staff we rely on are supported and valued.
So it is deeply concerning that the BMA have described the proposed contract as 'unsafe and unfair' and that the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health have stated that this could be 'gravely damaging to the health and wellbeing of children' and 'adversely affect recruitment, retention and the morale' of junior doctors.
I also fear that, rather than addressing the real strains our NHS is currently facing, the Government are punishing staff for their own financial mismanagement of the NHS.
I have now written to Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health urging him to withdraw the threat of imposing these new contracts and re-engage in a meaningful dialogue with the BMA and NHS staff. The Government also need to accept that compromise is necessary to reach a fair settlement and come forward with a better deal that ensures patient safety is not put at risk.
I was proud to stand in solidarity with our fantastic junior doctors this morning at the Whittington Hospital in protest of Jeremy Hunt's appalling handling of contract negotiations. I believe that the...Go to the post
Catherine West MP has called for an urgent meeting with Govia Thameslink following the announcement that they plan to close ticket offices at Alexandra Palace & Hornsey Train Stations.
Catherine said: "I’m very concerned that Govia Thameslink have announced plans to close the ticket offices at Alexandra Palace and Hornsey train stations and will be holding an urgent meeting with train company bosses.
These plans are worrying because ticket offices are important, not just for selling tickets, but for helping customers and offering the safety and security of knowing a station is staffed – and where to find staff in the event of an emergency. They’re particularly important for elderly and disabled customers, who often rely more on ticket office staff for assistance. We all know just how inconvenient the Tory Mayor's removal of ticket offices has been on the underground.
I want to know what these plans mean for the service provided and for valued ticket office staff. Travelling customers are already paying a small fortune to use our trains. It’s essential they don’t suffer a worse service so that train companies can seek ever bigger profits."
Catherine West MP has called for an urgent meeting with Govia Thameslink following the announcement that they plan to close ticket offices at Alexandra Palace & Hornsey Train Stations. Catherine...Go to the post
Catherine West MP has demanded an urgent meeting with Post Office bosses over proposals, announced today, to privatise Crouch End and Muswell Hill Post Offices.
The plans form part of a programme to transfer almost 40 Post Offices nationwide into private hands and close three more. The Post Office announced today that as part of this process they have identified Crouch End and Muswell Hill and will be "advertising the opportunity for a potential franchise partner to apply to take on the branches".
In an email to the Chief Executive of the Post Office, Paula Vennells, Catherine West MP said "I am concerned that you have identified Crouch End and Muswell Hill Crown Post Offices for potential franchising as both these Post Offices provide an important service to the community and local businesses and are particularly valued by older and less mobile residents".
"When we meet, I would be particularly keen to hear why these branches have been identified for potential franchising, how these proposals will impact on the quality and range of service provided and what the impact will be for the staff at both these Crown Post Offices".
Catherine West MP has demanded an urgent meeting with Post Office bosses over proposals, announced today, to privatise Crouch End and Muswell Hill Post Offices. The plans form part of...Go to the post
Thank you to all the constituents who have contacted me regarding the terrible car crash that occurred on Monday 25 January at approximately 10.20am.
I have been in regular contact with Haringey's Borough Commander, who is providing my office with regular updates on the police investigation. I am also in contact with local businesses affected by this horrendous event.
Thank you to all the constituents who have contacted me regarding the terrible car crash that occurred on Monday 25 January at approximately 10.20am. I have been in regular contact...Go to the post
I have made an formal representation to the Theresa May, the Home Secretary urging her to reconsider taking the Psychoactive Substances Bill forward without Labour’s amendment proposed by Lyn Brown MP for West Ham, which sought to exempt Alkyl Nitrates (poppers) from the bill.
In my letter encouraged Ms May to consider the strong body of evidence presented by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and the Home Affairs Select Committee. Both of which concur in their view that poppers do not pose sufficient risk to be banned under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
I have been contacted by scores of constituents deeply concerned by this Government’s proposals. Many of them, like me, agree with the view of the leading charity, the National Aids Trust, which argue that the successful passage of this bill without exemption for Alkyl Nitrates poses a serious health risk to the LGBT community. It will in effect criminalise large sections of the LGBT community and risk encouraging users to begin obtaining these compounds illegally, leading to increased likelihood of Class A and Class B drug use.
Above is a copy of the the letter I sent to Theresa May.
I have made an formal representation to the Theresa May, the Home Secretary urging her to reconsider taking the Psychoactive Substances Bill forward without Labour’s amendment proposed by Lyn Brown...Go to the post
Yesterday I exposed a scandal in parliament affecting many waiting staff throughout Parliament's restaurants who are being denied cash tips left for them by customers. I have approached John Bercow MP, the Speaker of the House of Commons to look into this issue and he has confirmed he will be making an urgent investigation into the catering department procedures.
Full story here:
Yesterday I exposed a scandal in parliament affecting many waiting staff throughout Parliament's restaurants who are being denied cash tips left for them by customers. I have approached John Bercow...Go to the post
I met some brilliant junior doctors today at the Whittington Hospital who have been forced to strike due to this Tory Government's disastrous handling of Junior Doctors' contracts.
I met some brilliant junior doctors today at the Whittington Hospital who have been forced to strike due to this Tory Government's disastrous handling of Junior Doctors' contracts. Read more »Go to the post
Thanks to all the local residents who contacted me about the findings of the BBC public consultation last year. I made an urgent representation to John Whittingdale, the Secretary of State for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, urging him to confirm that these results will be published and requesting that his department outlines a timeframe for the release of this information. I have now received a reply from him which you can read here:
Thanks to all the local residents who contacted me about the findings of the BBC public consultation last year. I made an urgent representation to John Whittingdale, the Secretary...Go to the post
Hard working commuters are now paying 26 per cent more for their train fares under the Tories, because of yet another year of rail fare hikes that came into force on Saturday 2 January.
Figures released by Labour show that the annual cost of an annual season ticket from Hornsey - London City Thameslink has risen by £192 or 26 per cent since 2010.
Catherine West, MP for Hornsey & Wood Green, has slammed the Tory government for hammering passengers and commuters. She said: "Passengers have been hit again and again by eye-watering rail fare rises, far outstripping any increase in most people's pay packets. Commuting for Londoners is now more expensive than any other city in the world."
"Travelling to work shouldn't be a luxury and I welcome Sadiq Khan's pledge to freeze fares for four years if he is elected London Mayor in May."
"Nationally, Labour's policy is to bring the railways into public ownership so they can be run for passengers not profit. That means fairer fares, investment in a 21st century railway and giving passengers a stronger voice".
Hard working commuters are now paying 26 per cent more for their train fares under the Tories, because of yet another year of rail fare hikes that came into force...Go to the post
"One week ago today, 28 year old Jermaine Baker from Tottenham was shot dead by armed police in my constituency of Wood Green.
These kinds of events are thankfully rare on the streets of London, but for the victim's family and friends they are devastating. The priority must be to determine how and why it happened. I have been in close contact with the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) since the day of the shooting and have offered my full support as they carry out their investigation.
Our local community has understandably been left shocked by this terrible event on their doorstep and last night I held a special drop-in advice surgery at Winkfield Resource Centre for residents who wanted to talk to me about crime and safety concerns. I also attended a packed public meeting at Tottenham Town Hall to hear the IPCC Commissioner Cindy Butts provide an update on their ongoing criminal investigation. You can read the IPCC's full statement here.
I've spoken on BBC Radio London news since the shooting occurred but have limited my public statements as over the coming days and weeks it is absolutely essential the investigation isn't prejudiced by media reports in newspapers or on social media. The kinds of rumours and speculation we've seen in some newspapers are of no help to the family, the local community or the investigation.
I will continue to work closely with David Lammy as the Member of Parliament for Tottenham, where Jermaine Baker lived, and I fully support his call for a debate in Parliament on the use of body cameras for all firearms officers. The IPCC said at last night's meeting that they are aware of the concerns and frustrations the community have on this issue and support the widest possible use of body worn video.
If any Hornsey & Wood Green residents would like to contact me about this or any other issue, please do not hesitate to get in touch."
Member of Parliament for Hornsey & Wood Green
"One week ago today, 28 year old Jermaine Baker from Tottenham was shot dead by armed police in my constituency of Wood Green. These kinds of events are thankfully rare...Go to the post
The housing crisis is the biggest challenge facing London. In my advice surgeries, I speak to so many families struggling in overcrowded flats, people who've been on the council waiting list for years and have lost all hope of getting anywhere and young people who can't save for a mortgage because rents are so high.
The Wood Green (West) regeneration scheme will see thousands of new homes built over the coming decades. Developers are trying to tell the council that only 18% can be affordable, but we know that Labour policy is 50%.
The housing crisis is the biggest challenge facing London. In my advice surgeries, I speak to so many families struggling in overcrowded flats, people who've been on the council waiting... Read more »Go to the post
Catherine West MP is urging constituents to write a welcome message for lone child refugees arriving in the UK. Almost 2,000 unaccompanied children have arrived in the UK this year, many of whom have fled wars and persecution.
Catherine West MP is urging constituents to write a welcome message for lone child refugees arriving in the UK. Almost 2,000 unaccompanied children have arrived in the UK this year,... Read more »Go to the post
As 2015 draws to a close, here's my winter newsletter with an update on some of the things I've been doing in my first six months as your Member of Parliament.
The Tories might have a majority, but I've been fighting for the things that matter to our community. If you have any questions or concerns, please use the contact details on my newsletter to get in touch or come along to one of my regular advice surgeries.
As 2015 draws to a close, here's my winter newsletter with an update on some of the things I've been doing in my first six months as your Member of Parliament. The... Read more »Go to the post
I am proud to be supporting HIV Testing Week and World AIDS Day. Here is my article in the Gay Times on beating HIV & tackling stigma.
Scientists are beating HIV, but they need your help
I remember the day that the then Member of Parliament for Islington South & Finsbury, Chris Smith, became the first MP to publicly disclose he was HIV positive. Having wrestled with this fact for years, his decision to reveal it was largely driven by a speech Nelson Mandela gave on HIV awareness following the tragic death of his own son to AIDS in 2005. Both declarations were highly personal, but also very public ways to increase visibility and ultimately reduce stigma. While our scientists are taking leaps forward when it comes to research, it is essential we as a society move with them, and that means getting tested regularly and learning more about this virus.
I am proud to be supporting HIV Testing Week and World AIDS Day. Here is my article in the Gay Times on beating HIV & tackling stigma. Scientists are... Read more »Go to the post
"This week the Prime Minister is likely to call a vote on whether the UK should pursue a bombing campaign against ISIL/Daesh in Syria.
I am grateful to the thousands of local residents who have already contacted me with your thoughts. The depth and strength of the feeling this issue has generated locally only reinforces how important this decision is. Overwhelmingly you have told me you’re against air strikes.
"This week the Prime Minister is likely to call a vote on whether the UK should pursue a bombing campaign against ISIL/Daesh in Syria. I am grateful to the thousands... Read more »Go to the post
Following a recent event held at Westminster by leading charity Bowel Cancer UK, Catherine West MP for Hornsey & Wood Green pledged to take action in Parliament and locally to stop bowel cancer.
Following a recent event held at Westminster by leading charity Bowel Cancer UK, Catherine West MP for Hornsey & Wood Green pledged to take action in Parliament and locally to... Read more »Go to the post
Catherine West MP has shown her support for the United Nations campaign for the Elimination of Violence against women and girls. Shocking statistics show that women are eight times more likely than men to experience sexual assault.
Catherine West MP has shown her support for the United Nations campaign for the Elimination of Violence against women and girls. Shocking statistics show that women are eight times more... Read more »Go to the post
The international community is now facing not only a deteriorating context of insecurity in the region but one of the greatest humanitarian crises since the Second World War.
The international community is now facing not only a deteriorating context of insecurity in the region but one of the greatest humanitarian crises since the Second World War. Read more »Go to the post
Catherine West MP met on Wednesday 11 November with people living with dementia at a weekly dementia-friendly café provided by Hornsey Housing Trust and run by Alzheimer’s Society. It provides people with dementia, their families and carers an opportunity to talk openly about living with dementia within a relaxed and informal environment.
The group meets every Wednesday in Hornsey Housing Trust’s sheltered housing scheme at Abyssinia Court. Occasional guest speakers include health and social care professionals and local community representatives. Recent guest entertainment included a show from the Albert’s Band group of travelling Albert Hall musicians.
Catherine West MP met on Wednesday 11 November with people living with dementia at a weekly dementia-friendly café provided by Hornsey Housing Trust and run by Alzheimer’s Society. It provides... Read more »Go to the post