My week

Last week my office held the Catherine West Summer School, where 16-19 year-olds were able to attend Parliament and learn about how Westminster politics interacts with our democracy and society. It was wonderful to see young, determined people take such an interest in Parliament and how we can work together to stop a Tory Brexit shambles and make our country more fair.

On Monday I signed an Early Day Motion that condemned the action by Picturehouse, a subsidiary of Cineworld Cinemas, in sacking three representatives that were involved in organising a strike at the Ritzy and other cinemas. Since becoming an MP I have campaigned alongside Cineworld staff for a fairer wage, and called on Picturehouse staff to be paid the living wage.

I am delighted to announce that I have been appointed to the International Trade Select Committee for this Parliament, which will scrutinise and hold to account the government as the UK leaves the EU and looks to make trade deals internationally. I look forward to undertaking this vital Parliamentary role and adding to the debate on how to conduct and bolster the UK’s international trade in an ethical manner.

During a debate on the anticipated executions of 14 people in Saudi Arabia, I intervened to press the government what impact the 38 per cent cut to the Foreign Office budget will have on dealing effectively with human rights in Saudi Arabia, or elsewhere in the world.

On Tuesday I pressed the government on what can be done to clamp down on tax avoidance, and specifically what is being done to tackle those large multinational companies that are promoting and facilitating tax avoidance schemes. You can view my intervention in Parliament here.

I also attended the All Parliamentary Party Group for British Jews on Tuesday. We will continue to ensure that Jewish issues and concerns are represented in Parliament. Later on, I chaired a discussion on dealing with China with the Henry Jackson Society, as well as protecting the UK’s vital infrastructure.

With a new Parliament, there are a string of new all-party groups. I have now founded the all-party group for swimming, the first of its kind. Swimming is a fantastic sport to keep us healthy, but is becoming increasingly unaffordable. I will fight to restore the “Swim for a pound” scheme. You can read my letter in the Guardian here

Over the weekend I was out in High Barnet to campaign for a Labour Gain at the next General Election. Labour has an inspirational and innovative plan to take our country forward in the 21st Century, investing in infrastructure, skills and people.

Parliament is now in recess for the summer. I will continue to work across the constituency, but please note that the last advice surgery will be Friday 28 July.

My week in Parliament 17 - 23 July

Last week my office held the Catherine West Summer School, where 16-19 year-olds were able to attend Parliament and learn about how Westminster politics interacts with our democracy and society....

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I was in the House of Commons on Monday, where Theresa May gave a statement on the rights of EU nationals living in the UK, which was followed by statements around the Conservative deal with the DUP.

Along with my colleagues, I believe that the offer to EU nationals comes too little and too late. Their right to remain should have been secured immediately after the referendum, and still now there is too little detail about when the relevant cut off date would be.

I am also concerned about the £1 billion deal with the DUP to prop up Theresa May’s weak government. While the investment may be necessary in Northern Ireland, austerity is failing across the UK too. There is also no clarification on where the money is coming from for the DUP deal.

Later, Sajid Javid gave a statement on Grenfell Tower. More and more high-rise buildings are failing combustibility tests. Ministers must submit a more thorough review of fire safety and guarantee the funds to help with the costs immediately. Fire safety tests must also apply to public buildings such as schools and hospitals.

For anyone concerned about fire safety in Haringey, please refer to Haringey Council’s website: http://www.haringey.gov.uk/news/fire-safety-drop-sessions-high-rise-tower-blocks

On Tuesday morning I hosted London Higher in Parliament to celebrate and showcase the fantastic work of London universities and their international staff, students and alumni.

I attended Haringey Mind Golf Day on Thursday to meet with those affected by and helping treat mental illness. Last year I became a patron of the Labour Campaign for Mental Health and having been trying to push the issue up the agenda, so it was great to meet those who I hope to work with to de-stigmatise mental illness and tackle it for younger and older people.

In the evening I spoke at the University of Arts in Holborn on how to tackle hate crime and bigotry in the aftermath of the Brexit vote. Data found that hate crime spiked after Brexit, which is unacceptable in our open and tolerant society.

Before that on Thursday I voted for Labour’s amendment to the Queen’s Speech, calling on reversing austerity in public services and recognises “no deal is the very worst outcome” in Brexit negotiations. I backed Labour’s calls for an end to the public pay freeze as well as a minimum wage of £10 per hour. I also voted for Chuka Umunna’s Queen’s Speech amendment backing the Single Market and Customs Union membership. I pledged during the General Election campaign to fight a Hard Brexit and at this stage believe nothing should be off the table, including Single Market membership. 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.

Fortimsere Fair was on Saturday where a tea for two with me was up for prize in the Silent Auction. Each year the fair raises critical money for schools that are becoming increasingly cash strapped. On Sunday I attended the Murugan Temple on Archway Road to celebrate the Hindu chariot festival.

My week in Parliament 26 June - 2 July

I was in the House of Commons on Monday, where Theresa May gave a statement on the rights of EU nationals living in the UK, which was followed by statements...

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The tragic attack on those leaving prayer at a Mosque on Sunday night shocked us all. While the attack seems to be on a particular group of people, it has hit all Londoners. The Muslim Welfare House is a bastion of our communities in North London and any strike on them is felt by us all. I want to once again thank all of our brave servicemen and servicewomen who have dealt with the threat in a compassionate and effective manner, and without whom our city would not be nearly as safe as it is. On Monday I joined David Lammy, Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott and Emily Thornberry at lunchtime prayers at Finsbury Park mosque to put on record our support for the community during this difficult time.

As an MP and a Londoner, I continue to feel the pain of all those who have been affected by the Grenfell Tower tragedy. I am relieved to hear that there will be a full inquiry into the reason the fire was so devastating, and hope that if any wrongdoing is found that perpetrators will come under the full force of the law. Something went horrifically wrong and the victims deserve answers. More urgently, the response must focus on rehousing those affected.

I was in Parliament on Wednesday for the Queen’s speech, which set out the government’s priorities over the next year. The government’s agenda is wafer thin for this Parliament after Theresa May had to drop her more contentious policies. I welcome the fact the Conservatives have ditched the triple lock on pensions and that the Prime Minister appears to have backed down on taking away winter fuel allowances from pensioners. There was further good news when we found that the Dementia Tax had been swiftly dropped, along with scrapping free school meals for infants.

In this Parliament, Labour will use every opportunity to block continuing Tory austerity, cuts to vital public services and attacks on pensions’ incomes. Wherever possible, we will look to win support for the policies set out in the manifesto, including reversing police cuts and giving NHS workers a payrise. Poverty and inequality are not inevitable; we can change it.

In Parliament I attended a reception for Mencap and Learning Disability Week, where I was able to talk to campaigners about their experiences of finding employment.

Later I attended LICS Mosque in N8 for the Iftar dinner in solidarity and celebration with the Muslim community. Our society has benefitted from multi-culturalism and I will always stand up from our diverse and tolerant society.

On Friday I held the first of my regular advice surgeries of the new Parliament. During the last Parliament our office handled thousands of queries from constituents facing problems, something hugely important to my job. If you need to see me, please come along to one of my regular surgeries held in Wood Green Library.

Before that I participated in a roundtable with the Federation of Small Business, discussing what the priorities are for small businesses this Parliament. Before the election I fought alongside the FSB on increases to business rates which has put many small, independent and cherished businesses in our community at risk of closure.

Saturday was the MidSummer Muswell, a festival that helps raise money for WAVE and The London Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy. It was great to see such community spirit and enjoy so many performances by local artists.

My week in Parliament 19 - 25 June

The tragic attack on those leaving prayer at a Mosque on Sunday night shocked us all. While the attack seems to be on a particular group of people, it has...

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There was a fantastic turnout for an event in Parliament hosted by my office to discuss women’s rights in Burma for International Women’s Day. Wai Hnin Pwint Thon, from the Burma UK campaign, shared her thoughts on the past, present and future for Women's Rights in the country, and how pressure from the international community is contributing to progress toward gender equality. Please sign up to my newsletter to hear about future events.

Earlier in the day I was able to join my colleague Rupa Huq, where she spoke about Bangladesh’s independence during a celebration in Parliament. It was fantastic to see so many people turning up to commemorate the 46th anniversary.

It was great to meet with MPs from New Zealand on Tuesday to foster closer ties and discuss how to improve policy, as I believe that as an MP our country should engage with others to learn from their experiences and exchange ideas. I also learned that it took over nine years for New Zealand to negotiate its trade agreement with China, which made me consider how long it will take for similar deals between the UK and other nations.

On Tuesday I was on frontbench duty where I pressed the government on democracy in Hong Kong. I asked the Foreign Minister: "According to the Basic Law of Hong Kong, the ultimate aim is for the city to select a Chief Executive by universal suffrage, yet two days ago a new Chief Executive was chosen by a committee comprising 0.03% of Hong Kong’s registered voters. As we prepare to mark the 20th anniversary of the handover, how can the House be confident that the Chinese Government are committed to progress towards genuinely democratic elections in Hong Kong?". 

I was in attendance at a parliamentary debate on schools funding in London on Wednesday morning. Some 70 per cent of London schools stand to lose significantly, so it was good to again be present in the Commons to press the government on its decision to implement a National Funding Formula.

Wednesday was another sad day in the process of leaving the EU as Prime Minister Theresa May sent a letter to the European Council confirming the decision and triggering Article 50. We now embark on the most important negotiations of our generation and Labour will hold the government to account every step of the way, as I wrote for the New Statesman last week. Labour will oppose any deal in the Commons vote if it does not deliver the “exact same benefits” that the UK has from the single market and customs union as it does now - as Brexit Secretary David Davies confirmed in January.

I did not come in to Parliament to make lives for disabled people more difficult, so, after an extended debate on Personal Independence Payments I made an intervention on behalf of constituents who have been through the extremely difficult situation of going through a tribunal when they are in pain. It is difficult for people in these situations to stand up for themselves in order to have their PIP reinstated. I asked the secretary of state to stop slashing public spending and degrading the lives of the sick, poor and disabled, given over two thirds of PIP judgements are getting overturned by courts in favour of claimants.

I was able to meet local residents when I was door knocking on Saturday in Highgate Ward, where there was a lot of support for Haringey Labour's campaign to stop more cuts to our local schools. I enjoy meeting with constituents and representing their views in Westminster. I want to thank the thousands of people who have contacted me since I was elected as your MP, and look forward to continuing to fight for those issues that are important to our constituency.

My week in Parliament 27 March - 2 April

There was a fantastic turnout for an event in Parliament hosted by my office to discuss women’s rights in Burma for International Women’s Day. Wai Hnin Pwint Thon, from the...

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The tragic events that unfolded last week in Westminster and the loss of life that followed was devastating. Terror will not disrupt the lives of Londoners and it was with a sense of remorse and solidarity that MPs returned to Parliament on Thursday. Thanks to brave police officers and NHS workers, we can continue to do our work. I would also like to thank my staff for their measured and calm response during an extremely distressing day in Westminster.

I started the week by participating in a cross-party roundtable discussion on mental health and youth justice. We know that street gangs associated with violence are concentrated in urban areas and their mental health has too often been overlooked, so it was great to attend the meeting and discuss how policy can be designed to help these people. Later in the week I met with Haringey Communities Against Violence, where I was able to meet people who live and work in Haringey with concerns and experience around youth and group violence. I am committed to engaging the community to developing a way to offer support that helps reduce gang violence.

I was able to make it to this term’s End of Term performance for the Training Steel Band, Intermediate Steel Band, Westside Steel Band and Steel Orchestra at Hornsey School for Girls, as well as go over to Fortismere School for an International Women’s Day event that celebrates the achievements of women and girls. The event was made all the more incredible as it was organised by the students themselves.

On Thursday I held my regular advice surgery. I continue to prize this part of my role and look forward to hearing from my constituents on any issues they have and assist where I can.

Attending the Mother's Day celebration on Friday at Edwards Passmore House in the afternoon was fantastic and extremely therapeutic. On Saturday I joined MEP Seb Dance and David Lammy MP to stand up to the politics of hate with a march on Parliament to celebrate the European Union. Labour has a number for tests for Brexit, and if they are not met the party will not support any final deal. In particular, the deal must deliver the same benefits the UK currently enjoys within the EU.

My week in Parliament 20 - 26 March

The tragic events that unfolded last week in Westminster and the loss of life that followed was devastating. Terror will not disrupt the lives of Londoners and it was with...

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I was upset to witness MPs vote against securing rights for EU citizens living in the UK or to give parliament a meaningful vote on the outcome of negotiations on Monday. Despite loud calls from the Labour party, the House of Lords and the public, the government will now plough ahead with the negotiations. I will continue, with my colleagues, to hold the government to account on the issues.

On a brighter note, it was a pleasure to speak on the benefits of increasing women in engineering at the Thames Tideway Exhibition Launch. Fighting for gender equality is central to my job, and it was great to share my views at the launch of a project that is expected to bring environmental benefits and new public space along the Thames.

I was glad to be in the chamber to vote for my colleague Diana Johnson’s Ten Minute Rule Bill on the decriminalisation of abortion, which will now pass onto a second reading.

On Tuesday morning I met with Colombian Ambassador H.E. Nestor Osorio, where we were able to discuss the ongoing peace process in his country and what the UK can do to support supporting the vital work being done.

After the meeting, I met with David Mowat, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Community Health and Care, as part of a cross-party delegation that I organised to speak about a local Urinary Tract Infection Clinic, whose funding is at risk.

In the evening I spoke at the Labour Assembly Against Austerity meeting where I responded to Philip Hammond’s Spring Budget. This Budget conveyed a clear message: the government is not concerned about the daily struggles of people who are going to be made worse off as a direct consequence of their policies.

Over the weekend I took part in the March Against Racism to campaign against a toxic anti-immigration agenda. On Sunday I spoke at the Hornsey Parish Church on how I make judgements as an MP for their series examining how we make decisions.

My week in Parliament 13 - 19 March

I was upset to witness MPs vote against securing rights for EU citizens living in the UK or to give parliament a meaningful vote on the outcome of negotiations on...

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On Monday I flew out to the United States as part of a cross-party delegation to foster links with American Congressmen and Congresswomen. During the trip we were able to discuss important issues including trade links and shared security, as well as exchanging ideas about good domestic policy.

On Tuesday evening I gave a speech at the Women’s Information Network in Washington D.C., where I outlined my belief that the fight for gender equality must continue. I also took the opportunity to talk about Labour’s vision for a Budget that supports empowering women toward economic independence.

Wednesday saw Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond take to the dispatch box at the House of Commons. What he unveiled was a Budget that does not help the plight of a huge number of people, with the government still set on welfare freezes and intent on bringing back grammar school education. You can read my full response here.

On Saturday morning I attended Hornsey & Wood Green’s International Women’s Day event, where we discussed how society’s bias and expectation affect women’s ability to participate and lead in public life. I was also lucky enough to give out five awards to women at The Community Hub and was delighted to see such a great turnout and support from men and women across the constituency.

It continues to be a privilege to serve as your MP, and last week my office passed a milestone, having written 4,045 letters on behalf of our constituents on issues affecting their lives. I look forward to continuing to represent your interests in Parliament.

My week 6 - 12 March

On Monday I flew out to the United States as part of a cross-party delegation to foster links with American Congressmen and Congresswomen. During the trip we were able to...

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I started my week by attending an outreach session in Finsbury Park, where I discussed the role of an Member of Parliament for Hornsey & Wood Green as well as the work I do as part of my shadow foreign office brief. I was delighted to meet so many people actively engaged in politics and discuss the importance of diversity in Parliament.

Representing the voices of my constituents in Westminster, on Tuesday I asked an urgent question to Chancellor Philip Hammond, pressing him to reconsider increasing business rates across London. Fantastic and cherished companies such as Elsie Cafe, Dunn’s Bakery and Railway Tavern will struggle to absorb the increased tax if Hammond ploughs ahead with the policy in the Budget this week.

I also attended a Stand Up To Racism public rally in Haringey at the Kurdish Community Centre, arguing refugees are welcome in the UK and defending the rights of workers. Before that, I attended a parliamentary reception to mark Rare Disease Day 2017. I was able to meet those affected by rare diseases, as well as clinicians, health professionals and researchers. I was pleased to hear how access to effective treatments is helping to change people’s lives. Coupled with warnings that British medical research will suffer as a result of Brexit, it is vital that there is adequate funding for research as 3.5 million people in the UK will be affected by a rare disease at some point in their life, so whilst individually they may be “rare” their impact is huge.  

Meeting the new head of Stroud Green Primary school on Thursday was fantastic. I shared my concerns about the potential cuts to funding with the government’s National Funding Formula, and reiterated that I will lobby government to protect school funding for our children’s futures.

On Friday I heard about UK nationals about Prisoners Abroad from a constituent of Hornsey & Wood Green and what can be done to assist them with issues from separation from families to serious problems with physical survival and coping with deportation back to the UK after years abroad. I look forward to making these representations to my foreign office counterparts in government.

Finally, I was glad to meet so many constituents on Saturday for a Brexit Coffee Morning where we discussed in depth the issue around the rights of EU citizens to remain. The majority of British people support this right, and I hope that this will be reflected as the House of Commons now considers an amendment on the issue.

My week in Parliament 27 February - 5 March 2017

I started my week by attending an outreach session in Finsbury Park, where I discussed the role of an Member of Parliament for Hornsey & Wood Green as well as...

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Amidst the uproar caused by President Donald Trump’s visit to the UK, I led the parliamentary response on behalf of Labour, arguing that we are opposed to honouring President Trump with a state visit whilst he remains intent on keeping his discriminatory travel ban in place.

On Monday I also attended a meeting in Parliament with constituents of Hornsey & Wood Green to support the right to remain of three million European Nationals and British Nationals domiciled in the EU. Polls show the majority of the country support guaranteeing their rights, and I believe that we must not use them as negotiating capital, which I have made clear in parliament.

On Tuesday I sat alongside my shadow foreign office ministers to press the government on the desperate plight of the Rohingya in Burma and what representations have been made by the foreign office to the Burmese government. The Labour position is clear: as long there is no justice for the Rohingya, the promise of democratic rule in Burma will remain unfulfilled.

On Wednesday I met with Schools Minister Nick Gibb as part of a cross-party delegation to lobby him on the devastating National Funding Formula the government is set to implement. I made the case that he needs to go back to Chancellor Philip Hammond and demand more money for schools to ensure no school suffers from draconian cuts.

I visited Dunn’s Bakery to support their campaign against raising business rates on Friday. Increasing the rates will have devastating impacts on a number of businesses, which may have to shut down, across our constituency, London and the country. I will continue to campaign against the proposal.

I also spent time on Friday campaigning at St Aidan’s Primary School against the proposed cuts, while on Saturday I stood alongside parents, children and teachers, all of whom are concerned about the cuts that will hit schools across Hornsey & Wood Green.

I rushed back from my advice surgery to Parliament on Friday to make sure I was there to vote for the important third reading of the Bill calling on the Government to sign up to the international Istanbul Convention on preventing sexual violence and domestic abuse. Despite Tory MP Philip Davies yet again trying to call it out of time by making a speech for over an hour and a half, I’m delighted that we were able to force a vote – and see it passed by 138 to 1. The Government signed the convention back in 2011, but it still hasn’t been ratified so I hope Friday’s vote takes it one step closer.

My week in Parliament 20-26 February 2017

  Amidst the uproar caused by President Donald Trump’s visit to the UK, I led the parliamentary response on behalf of Labour, arguing that we are opposed to honouring President...

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In the midst of the discussion of the EU Withdrawal Paper (where I again voted against triggering Article 50 after none of Labour’s amendments were passed), the Home Secretary sneaked out the disgraceful news that the Government had ended our commitment to helping unaccompanied child refugees.

I was one of many MPs who supported the Dubs Amendment last year, calling on the UK to provide sanctuary to 3,000 lone refugee children, and I have been complaining for some time that progress has been all too slow. To then use the distraction of Brexit to abandon the scheme completely with a fraction of that number admitted to the country is shameful. I immediately wrote to the Home Secretary Amber Rudd urging her to reconsider this immoral change in policy and request that she attends the House of Commons to make an urgent oral statement on the matter.

On Thursday I was on the Frontbench alongside my colleagues Emily Thornberry, Shadow Foreign Secretary and Fabian Hamilton, Shadow Minister for the Middle East for the debate on Israeli settlements. Labour’s position is clear: settlement building in wrong and it creates a significant obstacle in the peace process. The Shadow FCO team will continue pressing ministers on what action they have taken to raise this issue with their Israeli counterparts, and indeed what discussions Prime Minister May has had with Mr Netanyahu on this matter.

I held a meeting with HSBC bank bosses where I let them know my strong opposition to their plans to close the Wood Green branch. You can support my campaign and sign the petition here. On Thursday night I chaired an excellent constituency meeting on the impact of Brexit on our climate change obligations and on Friday, I held my regular busy advice surgery at Wood Green Library.

In the photo I'm meeting some of the scientists who visited Parliament this week to discuss the potential impact of leaving the EU on life sciences. 

My week in Parliament 6-12 February 2017

In the midst of the discussion of the EU Withdrawal Paper (where I again voted against triggering Article 50 after none of Labour’s amendments were passed), the Home Secretary sneaked...

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Catherine West MP

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