The Government’s abandonment of the UK’s commitments to reunite refugee children with their families and rejection of an amendment requiring renegotiation of continued Erasmus+ membership gave a disappointing insight into Boris Johnson’s approach as Prime Minister.
Lord Alf Dubs’ amendment to the withdrawal bill in the last Parliament received cross-party support in both the Commons and the Lords, and would have forced the Government to ensure the terms of the Dublin regulation would continue after we left the EU. I hope Lord Dubs is successful in reinstating this amendment in the Lords and I will continue to back it when it returns to the Commons.
I used the first week back in Parliament to speak out about further education, where brutal cuts over the past ten years has strangled productivity and denied people a chance to progress in life. I raised my concerns with the Chancellor and asked what plans are in place in the budget to invest in this vital sector.
I also asked the Government for assurances over EU Nationals, who are incredibly concerned about the impact of Brexit and what it means for their long-term future. I asked what plans are in place over both the 12-month implementation period and the longer term, frustratingly I didn’t get a firm answer but I’ll continue to push on behalf of Haringey’s 42,000 EU citizens who deserve so much better than how they’ve been treated for the past three years.
The situation in Iran following the US assassination of Qassem Suleimani is extremely worrying and in Parliament I highlighted my ongoing concerns over the detention of British nationals and workers including my own constituent Aras Amiri.
The horrific scenes in Australia over the Christmas period, the horrendous flooding in Indonesia and famine in Zambia highlight the extreme weather conditions that are set to be increasingly common if we fail to act on climate change. I worked with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Australia to approach the Speakers of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords to send their heartfelt solidarity to our colleagues in the Australian Parliament and to the Australian people.
You can watch my Parliamentary interventions on my facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CatherineWestMP/
I’ve had lots of people get in touch to ask who I’m backing in Labour’s leadership election. I made the decision to nominate Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry for Leader as giving Labour members a choice of a women leader means having a good pool of women to choose from. She’s also proved herself to be excellent challenging Boris Johnson in the Chamber. For Deputy Leader I nominated Dawn Butler to ensure that there was strong BAME representation on the ballot, and to maximise the chance that there will be a woman in the leadership team. I did so in the knowledge that all other candidates for Deputy Leadership had reached the number of nominations required to progress.