My week in Parliament 11-17 April

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Parliament returned this week so we finally had the opportunity to question the Prime Minister on the Panama Papers and his Government’s inaction on tackling tax avoidance. I spoke out during the opposition day debate to highlight the particularly damaging impact this is having on the property market in London. Overseas investors, using money held in offshore accounts in the UK overseas territories are pushing up the cost of housing here and often leaving much-needed homes sitting empty. I wrote an article for The Times this week on the issue which you can read here.

I was drawn in the ballot for Prime Ministers Questions for the first time and used the opportunity to challenge David Cameron 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.

Together with Keir Starmer MP, I hosted a reception at Parliament for the fantastic Lauderdale House. It’s undergoing a huge refurbishment project at the moment and the evening was a great opportunity to bring its many supporters together to find out about the works and the exciting transformation of this magnificent building.

I invited Refugees Welcome in Haringey and Citizens UK to Parliament to talk to them about their Refugees Welcome campaign and offer my support.

I ended the week with a visit to TreeHouse Primary School for children with autism and related communication disorders to meet some of the students and teachers and find out about the Employ Autism scheme. It was a lovely afternoon and I was particularly touched by Percy, one of the pupils at TreeHouse, presenting me with one of his paintings to thank me for my visit.

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Catherine West

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