What a momentous and joyful Saturday. First the news that the people of Ireland have resoundingly rejected the eighth amendment and women will at long last have the right to choose. Second, the wonderful news that Andy Tsege has finally been pardoned and will be returning home to his family in London after four long years in jail in Ethiopia. I’ve been calling for his immediate release for so long now, first as a Shadow Foreign Minister and more recently as a back bencher, and this day is long overdue.
With the news all too often bleak these days, these two fantastic results show what can be achieved by the power of campaigning. Reading the hashtag #hometovote on Friday was incredibly emotional. So many women and men travelling across the world back to their home of Ireland to cast their vote so that no more women would ever be forced to travel the other way for an abortion. The fight now must be for the law to be amended so that the one million women of Northern Ireland receive the same reproductive freedom as the rest of the UK. I strongly support changing the UK law to allow this.
On Tuesday, I took part in the debate on the Serious Violence Strategy where I highlighted the rise in school exclusions and the correlation between this and youth crime. Every school in Haringey is good or outstanding, but like the rest of the country we’re seeing exclusions rise, which means too many young people don’t have the opportunity to benefit from the excellent provision. I’d like to see more done to tackle this. I also expressed my concerns over cuts to youth services and ongoing cuts to our vital Police. I’m still pushing for a date for my meeting with the new Home Secretary Sajid Javid and I’ve launched a petition calling on him to cancel the further £325 million in cuts the Metropolitan Police is expected to make by 2021. Please sign and share it here
On Wednesday I hosted a meeting in Parliament of the Reclaiming Education Alliance, to look at Labour’s ground breaking pledge in our 2017 manifesto to create a National Education Service. With a wide range of speakers, the meeting looked at what would need to happen to bring that about as well as the benefits of both early years education and investment in later life learning. It’s an incredibly important topic that has my full backing
North Middlesex Hospital have launched an important new “Bluebell” support service for bereaved parents aiming to offer a safe, supportive, multi-lingual space for parents dealing with the most tragic of losses. The All Party Parliamentary Group on Baby Loss has shown through their work that too many parents are left to struggle, so I was very pleased to attend the launch at North Mid and hope their service proves to be a successful model that can be rolled out elsewhere.
I chaired a local meeting at Hornsey Parish Hall on Thursday about the NHS and its future with speakers including Roy Lilley, Professor Sue Richards and Dr Yannis Gourtsoyannis. We discussed the challenges it is facing under years of sustained under funding by this Conservative Government and how we can protect Labour’s finest legacy for future generations. I also attended Haringey’s Annual Council to wish the new Council Leader Cllr Joe Ejiofor and his new Cabinet well. Now in year eight of Tory cuts, it is a tough time for Councils, but I hope the new team will redouble efforts to demonstrate Labour is on the side of all people in the Borough and communicate that clearly.