Boris Johnson’s record in any position of responsibility is dismal. Yet thanks to the votes of less than 0.2% of the population he is our new Prime Minister and his promise to leave the EU by 31 October “do or die” brings the threat of no deal ever closer.
I will do everything in my power to stop that, including working to amend the Brexit Bill when Parliament returns so that revoke rather than no deal becomes the default. I’ve also this week added my name to a cross-party Early Day Motion formally opposing the idea that Parliament may be prorogued at short notice. It’s more symbolic than anything else, but I hope it will serve to remind the new PM and his Cabinet that there is overwhelming opposition in Parliament to any attempt to undemocratically push “no deal” through.
On Boris Johnson’s first day as PM I got him to agree that all Government departments should pay the living wage. Everybody deserves a fair wage for a hard day’s work, yet too many Government Departments still think it’s acceptable not to pay their cleaners a living wage and it’s something I’ve been seeking to change since I was first elected. The Government should be leading the way not dragging their feet. Johnson’s response was positive but unfortunately experience shows that his word doesn’t count for much, so I’ll keep pushing to make that pledge a reality.
Hundreds of Hornsey & Wood Green residents signed my open letter to the new PM urging him to prioritise action on the violent crime that has brought fear to our streets. On Thursday I was joined by Cllr Joseph Ejiofor, Leader of Haringey Council, Joanne McCartney AM, Cllr Mark Blake, Cabinet Member for Community safety and Cllr Dana Carlin to personally deliver our plea to Downing Street. Boris Johnson’s pledge to employ 20,000 more Police Officers wouldn’t even put us back to where we were before nine years of Tory austerity – every single cut of which Johnson voted for. I’ll continue to campaign in Parliament for more funding for early intervention help for young people at risk of school exclusion.
I was pleased on Monday to have my Urgent Question granted by the Speaker of the House on the escalating violence in Hong Kong following seven successive weekends of protests. Last weekend saw reports of the police firing tear gas at protestors and unidentified masked men attacking commuters returning from the demonstration – the first time since the protests began that there has been this level and type of violence. Questions have been raised about the identity of the masked men together with concerning reports suggested the police were slow to respond. I used the opportunity to also challenge the Minister about the human rights implications of reports revealing that the UK Government approved an export license for £1.9 million of spying equipment to Hong Kong. Read my speech here.
I also took part in a Westminster Hall debate on future trade deals and our NHS. I’m extremely concerned that the US Ambassador has said the US would want business access to the NHS in any post-Brexit trade deal. Also, in its negotiating objectives for a deal with the UK, the US has made clear it will seek measures that could affect our ability to control the prices paid for medicines by the NHS and would push for UK commitments to open our services to foreign suppliers. This last point is particularly worrying, since the Government has yet to exclude the possibility of using a “negative list” approach to services liberalisation and Government procurement. This would mean that any service sector not specifically excluded from liberalisation in the trade agreement, including new sectors that come into existence, would automatically be liberalised, no matter what the public policy consequences. I believe this would be extremely dangerous. The Government should rule out agreeing to a single clause of a single trade deal that could threaten our NHS.
In my role as Chair of the APPG on Rare, Genetic & Undiagnosed Conditions, I was pleased to launch Genetic Alliance’s new report on the UK’s newborn baby screening programme this week. The UK lags far behind our European partners in the checks that are carried out at birth for rare but serious health conditions, yet we know that identifying them early can lead to better treatment and outcomes. There are affordable ways to do this and I hope the UK National Screening Committee will consider the report recommendations carefully. Download the full report at http://www.geneticalliance.org.uk/…/FIXING-THE-PRESENT-BUIL…
Over the weekend I had a lovely time visiting the third Hornsey Park play street and seeing so many children and families out enjoying some car-free fun. Well done to the residents of Parkside Malvern for making it a regular monthly event.
Parliament has broken now for recess so expect to see me out and about in the constituency even more than usual! I’ll be holding pop up surgeries in different locations – drop my office a line if you want to know where I’ll be – and I’ve also arranged an advice surgery at the Cypriot Centre. Full details here.
Enjoy the sunshine!