One of the many frustrating things about Parliament being prorogued for the second time in less than a month is that instead of answers to all the Parliamentary Questions I’ve raised with Ministers I’ve had a string of “It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation“ none responses. I’ve been asking questions on really important topics from maternal mental health to the low take-up of the MMR vaccine in London. I’ll submit them again when we return but it’s another way this Tory Government’s game playing shows contempt for the important work of Parliamentarians on behalf of our constituents.
Before the House was prorogued on Tuesday, I took part in an Urgent Question on the Turkish invasion of Northern Syria following the US withdrawal. I raised the specific case of Kurdish women, who have already suffered so much during the conflict, including being subjected to sexual violence, and are at great risk of harm should further conflict break out. Together with MPs from across Parliament, I’ve also written to the Foreign Secretary calling on the UK Government to use its international influence to end these appalling attacks. I would like to see the UK’s arms sales to Turkey reviewed.
I also took part in Justice Questions to raise the horrific case of a baby dying after his mother was left to give birth in prison alone. I asked whether the review into the case would consider how many Prison Officers were on duty that night and urged the Minister to ensure that every pregnant prisoner receives a suitable healthcare plan for every day of her pregnancy that she is in prison.
Back in the constituency I attended the Friends of Finsbury Park meeting to discuss safety in the park and the management of the concert season and met with Stroud Green traders to discuss drug taking on Stroud Green Road and the campaign to introduce a Business Improvement District (BID). I held a busy advice surgery at Wood Green Library and was back there the following day for the Black History Month Community Fair.
But Brexit as always has been the shadow over everything. I held another Brexit drop-in on Saturday morning and spent Saturday afternoon speaking at the Rally 4 Our Rights in defence of the 3 million EU citizens who have made the UK their home and have been treated so shoddily by this Tory Government. With 31 October looming and Boris Johnson still being deliberately ambiguous about seeking the extension he’s legally obliged to, Parliament’s sitting next Saturday 19 October is going to be an important day. Johnson’s proposals would lead to a race to the bottom on hard-fought workers’ and environmental rights and Labour will stand firm in opposing this bad deal, preventing no deal and giving the final say back to you. If, and it’s a big if, Johnson is able to agree a deal with the EU then I believe it has to be subject to a confirmatory referendum. I will always campaign and vote to remain.