My latest monthly e-newsletter has just gone out to thousands of homes across Hornsey & Wood Green. You can read a copy below. If you’d like to receive my e-newsletters, and you don’t already, you can sign up here.
Welcome to my June e-newsletter
A damp squib of a G7 ended with no ambitious commitments to tackle the climate emergency or plan to vaccinate the world by the end of 2022. Instead Brexit loomed large as we saw the impact of the decisions Boris Johnson and his Government have repeatedly made in the strained relationships with fellow world leaders at a time when Britain should be looking forward to future challenges.
Johnson’s repeated denials there would be a border in the Irish sea whilst signing an agreement that required border checks follows a consistent pattern of dishonestly evading responsibility for his Brexit. It isn’t good enough to try and cynically renege on the treaty he negotiated, signed and sold to Parliament. The Prime Minister often talks about “Global Britain”, but his government is going out of its way to tarnish any chance of global leadership for our country with continued spats with our European partners and a growing distrust of our word, threats to the Good Friday Agreement and an ongoing attempt to undermine international law.
I was particularly disappointed in the run up to COP26 that the final statement on climate action amounted to little more than a reaffirmation of previous commitments. That’s nowhere near sufficient to tackle the scale of the challenge we face. Shadow Environment Minister Ruth Jones MP has kindly agreed to chair my climate consultation for constituents on Wednesday 30 June at 11am where we’ll be discussing this and more. Please do register to join us.
Justice for Victims of Rape
I took part in the Opposition Day debate led by Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary David Lammy MP on the state of our justice system in the face of an unprecedented backlog of over 57,000 Crown Court cases. I asked the Lord Chancellor what he was going to do for the 44% of victims of rape who end up walking away before the trial even takes place because of the length of delays and the lack of support. What justice is there when there’s a three-month waiting list to even see an independent sexual violence adviser and they aren’t allowed into the courtroom with you? Women and girls are being failed every day by this Government, yet the Government benches were empty for this important debate.
Access to GP appointments
I attended a drop-in session organised by Labour’s Shadow Health Team about challenges facing GP services. I’ve been contacted by a number of constituents recently who are frustrated about lack of access to face-to-face GP appointments as Covid restrictions ease. I share their concerns, and it’s high on my agenda for my next meeting with Haringey Clinical Commissioning Group. Waiting lists are soaring and the Tories have to do more to support primary care as initial, prompt diagnosis and treatment is vital. Do drop me a line to share your experiences
NHS Patient Data
I also spoke to Radio 5 Live about the worrying Tory plans to sell off our medical data. Huge opposition stopped this last time they tried. Now, they’re trying to sneak it through by stealth in the middle of a pandemic. I was clear that, whilst pseudonomised data used properly can be a useful tool, any plans must first be debated and voted on in Parliament, so they can be properly scrutinised.
I took part in the Parliamentary debate on the Government’s Environment Bill to highlight the important work of Surfers Against Sewage and express concern that the Bill doesn’t go far enough in protecting our forests and oceans. I also drew attention to the concerns that so many constituents have raised with me over recent months about urban trees and the need to ensure they are also protected. I’m pleased that the Woodland Trust will be accompanying me on a constituency visit to look at some of Haringey’s urban trees in the coming weeks.
International Aid Budget Cuts
As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Malaria and Other Neglected Tropical Diseases, I co-ordinated a letter to the Secretary of State urging a rethink on cuts to the overseas development budget. These cuts harm some of the poorest people in the world and weaken already fragile health systems. In particular, we highlighted the impact of cutting life changing programmes in Nigeria including those concerned with preventing malaria. Nigeria still has the largest malaria burden in the world, accounting for 27% of all global cases and 23% of global deaths. You can also read my speech in Parliament here.
During the Covid-19 lockdowns, so many constituents got in touch to let me know the problems they were having with their mail. It’s something I repeatedly raised with Royal Mail at the time and last week I took part in a Westminster Hall debate on Royal Mail’s performance. You can read my speech here. I well understand the difficulties staff were operating under, with high absence rates and a huge increase in parcel deliveries. But I remain concerned that decisions Royal Mail have made, such as the closure of Hornsey Delivery Office which I campaigned strongly against, have exacerbated the problems we’ve seen in N8 and N4. Their profits are soaring and that money needs to go back into local jobs and investment in a local delivery office.
Israel & Palestine
I am relieved that the ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel has held for some weeks, bringing much needed relief to civilians on both sides of the border. However, this is not the end of this situation and has to mark the start of a urgent and concerted effort to reach a lasting peace settlement based on an independent Palestine and a secure Israel. Read Lisa Nandy’s letter to the Foreign Secretary here.
The approval of a new coalition government offers an opportunity for change in Israel and a chance to kickstart meaningful process towards a peaceful two state solution. Labour has been clear that the international community must reach out to the new Israeli government and the new US President to urge a renewal of negotiations, the protection of human rights, adherence to international law, and the importance of a two-state solution.
LGBT+ rights in Europe
As many of us celebrate Pride month there are yet more concerns developing in Europe about LGBT+ rights, with the Hungarian Parliament voting on legislation to ban
the “promotion” of LGBT+ issues in a dark reminder of our own Section 28. With Lord Collins, Labour’s spokesperson in the House of Lords on Foreign Affairs, I discussed this in depth with local Labour Party members recently and I was clear that a Labour government will stand up for LGBT+ rights worldwide. I’ve directly challenged the Hungarian Ambassador in London on his government’s record and I’ll continue demanding more robust action from the UK government.
You can view the Parliamentary Questions I’ve submitted this month here
I’ve attended a number of virtual events and meetings including:
- Holding a useful meeting with the Community Security Trust and Director of the London Jewish Forum. I’m pleased that the education and training programme identified in the Action Plan for Driving out Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party is now being rolled out across the Party. I found the session for elected members very effective and would encourage members to attend a session when you have the opportunity.
- Meeting with the HALO Trust to discuss their work in Latin America. I have sent my personal condolences to the Trust following the appalling attack and murder of 10 members of their team in Afghanistan recently.
- Attending the All-Party Parliamentary Group Meeting for the Gaps in Support / Excluded UK who have fallen outside of all the Government’s support schemes during the pandemic. I’ll keep fighting for them to get the support they deserve.
- Meeting with constituents attending the virtual lobby for Palestine.
- Meeting with Tell Mama to discuss a concerning rise in Islamophobia.
- Holding my first regular meeting with Haringey’s new Council Leader Cllr Peray Ahmet.
- Attending and speaking at the St Barnabas Cyprus Day event. The remarks made at the event by the High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus Mr Andreas S. Kakouris are on my website.
- Welcoming new Patrons of Friends of Highgate Roman Kiln Claire Skinner and Hugh Dennis on a tour of the site. Find out more about the project at www.highgateromankiln.org.uk
My regular telephone advice surgeries for new cases continue on the second and fourth Friday of each month. Contact me with details of the problem you’re experiencing and your full address in the constituency if you would like an appointment.
Finally, this month I’ve been supporting Haringey Giving’s Champions for Children Appeal to help some of the local kids who’ve been affected by Covid-19. Find out more and back the campaign here.