My latest monthly e-newsletter has just gone out to thousands of homes across Hornsey & Wood Green. You can read a copy below or online, with all the pictures, here. If you’d like to receive my e-newsletters, and you don’t already, you can sign up here.
Welcome to my September e-newsletter
NHS workers desperately queueing for petrol, gaps on supermarket shelves, hospital waiting lists at record levels and families hit with a triple whammy of tax rises, soaring food & energy prices and Universal Credit cuts.
It’s a world away from the “sunlit uplands” that Boris Johnson and his Vote Leave chums promised when they led us out of the EU. Of course a global pandemic and this Conservative Government’s repeated incompetence have their part to play in the crisis we face. But to deny Brexit is a contributory factor is to fly in the face of reality.
I only wish our repeated warnings weren’t coming true because those with the least are paying the price for Boris Johnson’s failures. Watch my speech in Parliament during the second reading of the Health & Social Care Bill where I spoke out against the Universal Credit cuts and tax rises that will cause such hardship for thousands of families in Hornsey & Wood Green.
As we go into a difficult winter, the Government needs to get a grip and fix this mess because our community and our country deserve better.
Keir Starmer set out a powerful alternative at Labour Party Conference this week. A vision for a fairer, greener, more secure future for our country. One that tackles the mental health crisis we face and gives all children, wherever they grow up, the opportunity and skills they need to succeed. Covid has shone the brightest light on the unequal, unfair economy the Conservatives built. Change is desperately needed.
Here are some of the other things I’ve been doing this month. If you know anyone who would like to receive these updates, please share this link.
Violence against women and girls
I attended and spoke at the moving vigil outside Wood Green Library following the tragic death of school teacher Sabina Nessa. Enough is enough. As the sentencing of Sarah Everard’s killer takes place, too many women are still suffering and dying because there is an epidemic of gender-based violence and misogyny and with record low convictions rates for perpetrators of sexual violence this Government is failing in its core duty to keep women safe. I want to see the Government cast party politics aside on this life and death issue and work with us to implement Labour’s Green Paper on ending violence against women and girls. We must remove the legal barriers and tackle the delays that are denying victims justice and provide decent, well-funded women’s services.
Haringey’s schools some of the worst hit by pupil premium change
After two years of disrupted education, our children need a funded recovery plan that includes not just academic support for those who’ve fallen behind but access to extra-curricular activities, social development and crucial mental health support. Instead the Government’s own adviser has branded the Tory recovery plans “feeble” and now we learn that their changes to the way pupil premium is calculated will see Haringey’s schools lose £691,110. Schools in the poorest areas are being hardest hit as yet again this Government levels down. I put a question to the Education Minister in Parliament on these shocking figures. Sadly, his response was to parrot the same old lines we’ve heard before. Our schools, and our children, deserve better. A Labour Government would tax private schools to help all children get the opportunities they deserve.
A cleaner, greener future
I’m delighted that at Labour’s annual conference Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves recognised the scale and the urgency of the climate emergency and set out a £28 billion a year investment in climate measures that would quadruple the Government’s current spending. Every year we avoid action we move closer to disaster, and we increase the costs for future generations. In the run up to COP26, we also have to recognise that the climate crisis doesn’t have borders and we must work with international partners. In Parliament this month I highlighted the impact the recent cuts to the international aid budget have had by undermining the UK’s leadership in advance of hosting COP26 in Glasgow.
Inequality rises whilst low income workers hammered
Whilst The Sunday Times’ rich list reports 23 new billionaires and Jeff Bezos heads off into space, low income workers and our small businesses are being hammered. The Tory national insurance rise, which I voted against in Parliament this month, doesn’t just make care workers and nurses pay more, it clobbers struggling small businesses who’re trying to get back on their feet after the pandemic. Labour would scrap the current unfair business rates system and shift the tax burden away from our high streets and onto the internet giants that have seen their profits soar.
End stockpiling: vaccinate the world
The gulf between the successful vaccination programmes in rich countries and the situation across Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean is only growing. It’s unconscionable that we’re now in the situation where 100 million vaccines are due to expire, yet with proper co-ordination, 70% of the world’s population could be vaccinated by May 2022 just through the vaccines already on shelves or in production. Here’s my latest column for the Ham & High on the urgent need to end stockpiling and vaccinate the world.
Free Nazanin Zaghari-Radcliffe
Last week marked 2000 days of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe being held in Iran on false charges. It’s a heartbreaking milestone we all hoped she’d never meet. I stand in solidarity with Nazanin, her husband Richard & daughter Gabriella, and joined over 175 Parliamentarians in calling on Boris Johnson to end this cruel game.
In the community:
Over the summer. I’ve updated my website with some of the excellent talks from my 2021 Politics Summer School. The Ham & High, who have been strong supporters of the event since year 1, kindly offered one of the students an opportunity to write about their experience of the summer school. You can read their column online here.Last chance: sign my petition against the closure of NatWest Crouch End
Parliament returns from conference recess on Tuesday 19 October and I’ll be presenting my petition that day opposing the closure of Crouch End’s NatWest and calling on the Government to do more to defend access to cash and banking facilities. Hundreds of local residents have already signed – please add your name and share to show the strength of feeling against these plans.
Shooting in Green Lanes
I was saddened that a murder investigation has been launched after the tragic death of a young man in Green Lanes, close to the junction of West Green Road, following a shooting on the evening of Tuesday 21 September 2021. My thoughts are with the victim’s family and friends, and with our community who are understandably anxious following this violent and shocking incident. I have repeatedly raised constituents’ safety concerns and have been in contact with Haringey Police since the shooting. I am pleased that patrols have been increased in the area, but it is clear that more must be done to ensure all residents can feel safe. I welcome the Shadow Home Secretary’s pledge that a Labour Government would bring back the neighbourhood policing teams that have such an important role to play in keeping our communities safe.
This month saw yet another bus crash at the Tottenham Lane/Ferme Park Road roundabout. Long-term residents have witnessed too many similar, worrying incidents at this location over the years and more has to be done to stop it ever happening again. I’m meeting local residents to chat about their concerns and, together with Haringey’s Cabinet Member for Transformation and Public Realm Investment Cllr Seema Chandwani, we have written to London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport to propose some sensible changes that we feel are desperately needed. You can read the full letter on my website here.Access to assistive technology
I had a really helpful meeting with local resident Kate, who runs the Unspoken Project, about the essential role assistive technologies can play for people with communication needs, either from birth or that develop later in life. It’s crucial that disabled people who can benefit from these technologies are able to access them and that qualified speech therapists are provided with the training they need to identify appropriate devices and support people in using them. These devices can transform people’s lives, but they cost money so the NHS must have a budget to increase their use. I’ve been putting questions to the House of Commons Library and in Parliament to highlight this issue.
Shadow Ministerial Update:
Illicit Finance Taskforce
Since my appointment as Labour’s shadow Europe Minister holding the Tory government to account for its failure to implement the findings of the Russia Report has been a central priority. Despite repeated demands by me and Lisa Nandy, our shadow Foreign Secretary, they have steadfastly failed to act. While they have refused to act, we have outlined a plan to tackle the stain on our democracy and on our financial sector and I am delighted that Lisa announced our plans for an Illicit Finance Taskforce when we enter Government to clean up the “London Laundromat” once and for all.
Under this government our relations with our European friends and allies have been under extreme strain, with the needless rows started by Boris Johnson and the immature attitude to the Office of the EU Embassy. We’ve always been clear that Labour is and will remain an internationalist Party, focused on working with our Partners to tackle our shared challenges. During the Party Conference in Brighton I met with many Ambassadors from Europe to underline our commitment, and Lisa Nandy made it clear to all that we will prioritise building bridges with Europe, and fix the damage done by Boris Johnson.
Last Sunday our sister Party, the SPD, proved many wrong by overturning many years of poor polling to become the largest party in the German Parliament for the first time since 2002. With a focus on the real needs of the German people Olaf Scholz is now in poll position to replace Angel Merkel as German Chancellor and form a progressive Government, coming so soon after the win for the centre-left in Norway. It’s clear that there is momentum behind the centre left now, and I was delighted to discuss what this means for the Labour Party at a fringe event hosted by the Fabian Society. The SPD can act as a blueprint for the Labour Party, and if we stay united and committed in our goals of appealing to the British people I know we can work with our SPD colleagues when we enter government at the next election.
My regular advice surgeries will be taking place on the second Friday in October (by telephone) and the fourth Friday in October (in person). Find out here how to book an appointment.