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 November e-newsletter
Broken promises, bad jokes and corruption.That’s what we’ve seen from Boris Johnson’s Government this month. You can’t laugh off handing billions of pounds in contracts to Tory donors without competition or tender, or shrug away serious allegations that tax-payers money may have been influenced by paid lobbying. Whilst it’s hardly surprising that a man who has been investigated in every single office he’s ever been elected to wants to avoid scrutiny, the country deserves better. That’s why Labour will keep pushing for a full and transparent investigation to root out corruption and an end to paid directorships and commercial consultancies. Never again should there be a situation where Ministers lobby for their mates and party donors get rich on public money. A Labour Government would make it very clear where your money’s going with a new Office of Value for Money. My only job is standing up for the people of Hornsey & Wood Green. Here are some of the things I’ve been doing this month in Parliament and out in the community.
COP26: what next?I’ve written to the Prime Minister to urge his Government to continue the momentum from COP26, including abandoning plans for the Cambo Oil Field and the new coal mine in Cumbria. COP26 itself only delivered modest progress, with analysis suggesting the pledges made put us on track for a catastrophic 2.4C temperature rise, far above the 1.5C ambition of the Paris agreement. We need a transformational leap that ends fossil fuel use, steps up to support the world’s poorest countries on the front line of climate breakdown and a Chancellor who stops blocking the investment necessary to protect us from the threat of climate change and delivers the benefits that tackling it promises. MPs should also lead by example and our pensions should not be used to fund climate disaster. I’m calling for MPs to Divest Parliament from the fossil fuel industry.Glasgow may be over, but the UK remains COP President for the coming year, and our credibility rests on demonstrable climate action at home.
Health & Social Care BillWatch as in Parliament I urged the Government to act – I’m pleased the Leader of the House recognised the importance of the issue. Free Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe I am glad Richard Ratcliffe has ended his hunger strike and is safely home with his daughter. But Nazanin should be there too. This family has been through so much and it is vital that the attention Richard’s dignified protest has gained becomes a wake-up call for the Government to act. I visited Richard during his hunger strike and took part in the Westminster Hall debate secured by Tulip Siddiq MP. Nazanin’s ordeal has gone on for far too long and it’s vital that the Prime Minister finally lives up to his promise and secures the release and return of Nazanin. Women’s Safety Lots of constituents have got in touch following the murder of Sarah Everard and the Home Secretary’s announcement of an inquiry. I share their concerns that the announcements don’t go far enough. You can read my letter to the Home Secretary here as well as my letter about the concerning issue of drink spiking in bars and night clubs which appears to be growing in prevalence.I voted against the Health & Social Care Bill, which returned to Parliament this week. It’s a bad bill that erodes local accountability and leaves the door open for more of the rampant contract cronyism and privatisation we’ve seen under the Tories. Labour pushed for amendments that would try and end US corporations buying up GP contracts and stop private companies having a say in how our NHS is run. Sadly, we were unsuccessful. Patients don’t need another structural re-organisation, they need to know how waiting lists are going to be brought down, desperate staffing shortages tackled and our broken social care system is going to be fixed. This Bill offers nothing to fix the crisis in the NHS. Access to GP Appointments Demand for GP appointments is soaring and lots of you have told me how difficult it can be to even get through on the telephone. Part of the problem is how outdated the telephone systems are. In Haringey, 50% of practices still don’t have modern telephony, creating a real inequality in the service people receive.
Budget was a missed opportunity from an out of touch ChancellorHere’s my speech from the Budget Debate.With inflation soaring to 4.2%, people in Hornsey & Wood Green face an ever tougher winter. The Budget was a missed opportunity to help families get by, taking £6 billion from the pockets of some of the poorest people in this country and offering just £2 billion to compensate. That’s billions that now won’t be spent in our local economy or on soaring energy and food bills.
Royal Mail Services in Hornsey & Wood Greenhas details of the response I received and I’ve now requested a meeting. Get in touch if you have any specific concerns you’d like me to raise.Hornsey & Wood Green was one of the areas worst affected by postal problems during the height of the pandemic, and I raised this repeatedly at the time both with Royal Mail and in Parliament. With Royal Mail reporting record profits, I don’t want to see these problems reoccur as Christmas approaches. This month I wrote to Royal Mail bosses to ask what pro-active steps they were taking to avoid disruption as mail volumes increase. I also wanted to know what support they’re providing their staff, who’ve been on the frontline throughout the pandemic, including temporary additional resources to cover sick leave and absences. My website
Success: faster broadbandcheck out the useful information on my websiteOver recent months, I’ve had constituents get in touch to say their area seems to have been forgotten in the fibre-optic broadband roll out. There are pockets of Hornsey & Wood Green where internet speeds are extremely slow and I wrote to Ministers earlier this year and have been pursuing with OpenReach. I am delighted that the campaign for Miles Road, Newland Road and Moselle Close has been successful, with residents now able to order upgrades to their existing internet packages. It’s one of the first mixed/social housing estates in Haringey to receive fibre to the premise broadband and it’s a great step forward. I’ll keep pushing for all forgotten homes to be connected. Don’t forget to renew your Passport in good time Lots of you have experienced lengthy delays with the Passport Office and I’m concerned the situation’s going to get worse as they expect a huge surge in applications next year. If you’re applying for a passport in the coming months,
My cross-party Parliamentary visit to CyprusRead about my visit here.During the short November Parliamentary recess at the invitation of the House of Representatives in Cyprus, I was one of several UK Members of Parliament from Labour, Conservatives and the Scottish National Party to travel to Nicosia to meet the Presidential Commissioner, the Foreign Minister, cross party Members of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and Turkish speaking Representatives to discuss the Cyprus Problem.
Eastern Europe border crisisOver recent weeks there has been a mounting humanitarian crisis on the border between Belarus and Poland, with images of desperate refugees attempting to cross border fortifications to enter the EU. Our first thought has to be tho se fleeing violence and the breakdown of society, and it’s vital that the UK works with our European partners to prevent a human catastrophe. I am also particularly concerned about the political and security crisis building with clear signs that both Belarus and Russia are using the refugees as pawns in a political game. At the same time there has been credible and alarming reports of a build-up of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine. The British Government should be doing far more to work with our European partners to deescalate the crisis and prevent any military action from Russia. Brazil I was delighted to speak at the launch of the TUC report into Brazil, “The Challenge to Democracy in Brazil”, where I made clear that Labour firmly believes in a pro-worker, pro-environment trade deal and we will never support any trade deal which doesn’t enshrine the vital protections that workers deserve. I have subsequently met with the Brazilian Ambassador to the UK, where I raised the serious increase in deforestation of the Amazon and the protection of indigenous rights, while emphasising our ongoing friendship with the Brazilian people. Bosnia Many of us remember the horrific scenes of the 1990s, with the appalling loss of human life and unspeakable violence. While far from perfect, the current framework in Bosnia and the wider Balkans has maintained a level of peace and economic development which is now under grave threat. My Labour colleagues and I have been clear that there needs to be an urgent international response to prevent a return to the violence and fragmentation from the 1990s and the UN High Representative must be supported and bolstered to do the critically important job he has. It is deeply disappointing that some international actors are seeking to destabilise the situation and it further underlines the need for the UK to be proactive and work with Europe to find a solution.
If you’d like to speak to me at one of my regular advice surgeries, held by telephone and in-person, find out here how to book an appointment.
You can also keep up-to-date on my work in Parliament and in the community on Twitter , Facebook or through my website at www.catherinewest.org.uk . Best wishes, Catherine West MP Labour MP for Hornsey & Wood Green Shadow Foreign Minister – Europe & Americas