An historic week for Northern Ireland, abortion has been decriminalised and equal marriage legalised with the first LGBT weddings to take place in the week of Valentines Day. There should never have been a border when it comes to basic human rights and I am delighted that change is coming and grateful for all the work of so many people including my Labour colleagues Stella Creasy and Conor McGinn who’ve helped make it happen.
It was a positive moment in a dark week with the tragic news of 39 deaths in a lorry in Essex. We have to create safe and legal routes available for those seeking asylum in this country, so people do not feel they have to take such dangerous journeys.
On a knife edge we stopped Boris Johnson steamrollering his botched Brexit deal through Parliament on Tuesday – now the fight goes on to put this deal to the test of public opinion in a final say referendum. What we won’t do is go along with his bullying games, trying to push through his plans without adequate scrutiny and then when it’s too late to stop this mess holding a General Election. The public needs the chance to say no – in any referendum I will always campaign and vote to remain.
I used my question at PMQs to challenge the PM on the racist abuse that Haringey Borough FC players were subjected to and ask him why he feels bigotry has been emboldened under this current Government. Watch the video here.
I was very disappointed to see the Liberal Democrats abstain on Labour’s motion to safeguard our NHS against being sold off to US corporations in a Johnson-Trump trade deal. Although as the party that voted through the Lansley reforms whilst part of the coalition Government, I perhaps shouldn’t have been surprised. Labour built the NHS and we will always defend it. I’ve signed We Own It’s pledge to protect our NHS from trade deals with new legislation which ends privatisation.
As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Rare, Genetic & Undiagnosed Conditions, I chaired and hosted the launch of a new report on action to treatments for people with rare conditions. It reveals a system that isn’t working for people with rare diseases and sets out some of the changes Genetic Alliance want to see implemented to benefit the lives of those with rare diseases, their families and carers. At the launch we heard some incredibly moving stories from families affected by rare conditions. We need change – and I was delighted at the news also announced this week that Orkambi will now be made available for people with cystic fibrosis thanks to Jeremy Corbyn’s interventions and efforts.
I also hosted a breakfast roundtable to launch Positive Money’s report looking at measures to improve the Bank of England’s accountability to parliament and the public and considering ways the Bank could help shift finance in line with moves towards a net-zero economy.