President Trump’s confirmation that the NHS would be on the table in trade talks with the US shows the real agenda of those pushing a hard Brexit. Our precious NHS is not for sale and Labour will fight with everything we have to prevent big US private healthcare corporations getting rich on the back of NHS contracts and potentially undermining the free-at-the-point-of-use ethos which is so central to our healthcare system. Jeremy Corbyn was right to call this out and I joined thousands at the Together against Trump demo on Tuesday to send the message that his hatred, misogyny and racism is not welcome here.
I attended Tuesday’s urgent question on the scandal of EU citizens being denied a vote in the recent European elections. The Tories can’t say they weren’t warned. I was granted an urgent question on the issue in Parliament back in April, when there was still ample time for action to be taken. Yet the Government refused to listen. In Parliament this week I again called on the Minister to set out exactly what action will be taken to prevent this scandal ever happening again.
I also attended Tuesday’s urgent question on the suspension of the National Minimum Wage Naming Scheme and raised the issue of pay discrepancy between cleaners in Whitehall departments. This is an issue I have been raising in Parliament for years now. Some Government departments already pay their cleaning staff the London Living Wage, but other departments including the Ministry of Justice don’t. Poverty pay is a scourge on our society, leaving workers unable to pay their bills, support their families or forced to work two or more jobs to make ends meet. Cleaners and other low paid staff at the Ministry of Justice have spoken out about the impact a decent, living wage would make to their lives. The Minister couldn’t answer my question and asked me to write to her formally. I have, and I hope that action will finally be taken.
It was an absolute joy on Friday to attend some notable birthday celebrations. First the 100th birthday celebrations of a local resident at Roden Court and secondly the 150th anniversary celebrations of our fabulous Finsbury Park.
Over the weekend, huge numbers of local activists joined Emily Thornberry and me for a campaign day in Wood Green, I attended the St Barnabas Day service and celebrations and opened the Crouch End festival, going from strength to strength as the UKs largest community arts festival. There is a packed programme of activities from now until 16 June, do go along and show your support: https://www.crouchendfestival.org