I’ve signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment, marking 77 years since the liberation of the concentration camps of Europe and the end of the Second World War. This Holocaust Memorial Day we remember all those murdered by the Nazis, pay tribute to the survivors and stand against antisemitism and hate.
I’ve signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment, marking 77 years since the liberation of the concentration camps of Europe and the end of the Second World War. This Holocaust Memorial Day we remember all those murdered by the Nazis, pay tribute to the survivors and stand against antisemitism and hate.

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 January newsletter

All month my inbox has been bursting with fury that the Prime Minister and his Downing Street team partied as the British people made such painful sacrifices.  Rachel, who went nine months without being able to see her beloved mother in a care home, another resident who had to go through cancer treatment on their own, another whose mum suffered a brain tumour and was found collapsed at home alone.  The list goes on and on.  In Parliament, I spoke about Alison, an intensive care nurse at the Whittington who had to watch her own Grandma’s funeral on zoom Now, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner says there is evidence of “serious and flagrant” lockdown-breaking at the heart of Government. It is unthinkable that Boris Johnson could continue in post.  He has lied repeatedly and shown utter contempt for the laws he himself set.  His continued presence is a national distraction at a time when the cost of living is soaring and families are struggling this winter deciding whether to eat or heat their homes.  He must go. In some parts of Haringey, up to 30% of residents are facing fuel poverty.   Please sign and share our petition calling on the Government to intervene and protect families against rising gas and electricity bills this winter. 

In Parliament:

Insecurity in the private rental marketI was granted an adjournment debate on housing insecurity in the private rented sector, a massive issue for over 17,000 households privately renting in Hornsey & Wood Green.  It came out of an appalling case locally where I’ve been helping residents who faced eviction notices or huge 40% rent rises after their block was sold to a new landlord.  The Tories promised to ban “no fault” evictions in their 2019 manifesto, but two years on we’re still waiting.  I’ll keep pushing the Government to bring forward the Renters Reform Bill and give tenants the security and standards they deserve.  Watch my full speech and the Minister’s response on my website.   Building Safety BillDespite repeated promises by the Government to make buildings safe and protect leaseholders from the costs of remediation, four years have now passed since the tragic fire at Grenfell tower and hundreds of thousands of people are still living in unsafe homes.  Labour repeatedly tabled amendments to the earlier Fire Safety Bill to try to force the Government to honour its promise that costs will not be passed onto leaseholders. Disappointingly, these were rejected. I am very glad that we’re finally now seeing some progress, but they don’t go far enough. Any plan must also cover non-cladding issues, for my constituents, such as those in Eclipse House, who are facing huge bills to rectify defects including gaps around fire doors and inadequate external wall insulation. No leaseholders should be facing costs for rectifying essential safety measures that weren’t their responsibility and no tenant should be left anxious that the home they live in isn’t safe.  I raised my concerns to Mr Gove in Parliament – you can watch my question here. Elections BillI voted against the Elections Bill and am so disappointed that this backward, Trumpian Bill that weakens our democracy has been pushed through by the Tories.  It will make it harder for millions of people, especially working class, disabled, older and Black, Asian and ethnic minority people, to vote and it will reverse decades of democratic progress in the UK. It’s a “solution” for a problem that doesn’t exist and it is a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise ordinary voters.  It says everything about this Government that they have pushed it through.

Covid-19A Chancellor that can take £20 off the poorest families, hike taxes for low-paid workers and exclude millions of self-employed people from COVID support schemes, appears to just shrug his shoulders at £4.3 billion lost to fraud.  The Government’s own Minister for Counter Fraud, Lord Agnew, resigned over the shambolic way this has been handled and Labour forced an Urgent Question to challenge the Treasury on their criminal waste of taxpayers’ money. I’ve been pushing for more support for businesses affected by the move to Plan B during the busy Christmas period, improved sick pay and a much speedier roll out of improved ventilation in public buildings like schools.  I also urged the Health Minister to do more to support clinically vulnerable people who have been left feeling forgotten by this Government. I highlighted the example of my constituent Lara, who has been waiting for over two years for a double organ transplant.  She’s had one transplant offer sadly refused by her hospital because they couldn’t find an ICU bed, and in the meantime her life is incredibly restricted due to her clinical vulnerability.  NHS waiting lists are the highest since records began and rather than concentrate on bringing them down the Tories are squabbling amongst themselves about a leader who isn’t fit for office.  Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts BillMy inbox has continued to burst with emails from constituents concerned about the Crime & Sentencing Bill, currently in the Lords.  I’ve voted against it at every possible opportunity because the right to peaceful protest is a fundamental right that should never be taken away because those in power don’t like it.  Labour will continue to press the Government to scrap these poorly thought-out proposals when the Bill returns to the Commons.

Climate Change & Environment UpdateMy latest Climate Change update is available on my website.  I was pleased to attend the Woodland Trust’s Parliamentary Reception shortly before Christmas.  As Vice-Chair of the APPG for Woods & Trees, I’ll always defend the role trees play in tackling the impact of climate change. I’ve responded formally to the consultation to Ban Plastic in West Wipes and you can too.  We use 11 billion wet wipes a year in the UK but 90% of them contain plastic. The impact on our planet and our wildlife is devastating.  Click the link and fill out the online survey before 12 Feb.

In the community:

Royal Mail Services in Hornsey & Wood GreenWith too many residents still experiencing severe postal delays, I visited the N19 sorting office to see for myself the situation on the ground.  I’ve now written to Ofcom to urge them to use their regulatory powers to act and called for the Business Select Committee to investigate.  Together with David Lammy MP, we have requested a meeting with the Chief Executive of Royal Mail.  I want to see concrete plans for tackling this backlog and preventing this situation ever happening again.  Click here to see all the actions I’ve been taking New Beacon BooksNew Beacon Books in Finsbury Park is such a special place, the UK’s oldest Black bookshop and the only remaining independent Black publishers and booksellers.  I am delighted that the recent crowdfunder has helped save it from closure and that Haringey & Islington Councils will be working to help find a new venue.  I have offered any support I can bring to keep this vital resource in our community.  Housing for children with life limiting conditionsLast year I raised in Parliament the issue of housing adaptations for children with life limiting conditions.  I urged the Housing Minister to consider establishing a special fund to ensure that local authorities can respond adequately and quickly to these very specific housing needs.  It’s an issue I’ve seen through casework but Contact, the charity for families with disabled children’s research has estimated that one in four disabled children live in a home that makes their condition worse or puts them at risk of injury.  I am pleased that the Housing Minister has offered a direct meeting in early February and look forward to making the case.
Shadow Ministerial Update:UkraineThe mounting tensions on the border between Ukraine and Russia, with the deployment of Russian troops have brought increasingly stark warnings from European and NATO leaders – and the Ukrainian’s themselves – that Russia is preparing a significant military incursion. Labour has always been clear in our support for Ukraine’s right to choose its own path as a sovereign nation, and we welcome the Government’s work with international partners to underline that Ukraine’s territorial integrity and national sovereignty, and the NATO alliance, are non-negotiable. It is vital that Russia de-escalates and moves away from its current path towards conflict.  The shadow Foreign Office team and I will be working tirelessly to pressure the Government to do what is necessary to avoid conflict and protect Ukraine and our other European allies.   AfghanistanThe situation in Afghanistan is catastrophic. More than half of the population, including many millions of children, are facing the immediate threat of starvation. The government can, and must, act now and I have met regularly with NGOs and charities attempting to head off a humanitarian catastrophe. Please sign the petition, and Save Afghan Lives. TongaThe news and images from Tonga have been extremely worrying and I have written to the High Commissioner in London to express my condolences and those of the Labour Party.  This week, I responded for the Labour Party to an Urgent Question in Parliament and asked the Government what assistance they are offering to the authorities in Tonga. It is only right that the UK, with our international partners, stands with the people of Tonga and offers any assistance which their Government require. China & Hong KongI led for Labour in an important debate in the Commons following the publication of the tribunal report on the treatment of the Uyghurs. It’s vital that the Chinese Government is not able to use the Olympics to claim credibility and it is right that the UK Government, following Labour’s consistent urging, has confirmed that there will be no diplomatic representation given the significant concerns that we have about their human rights record. Similarly, the situation in Hong Kong continues to be deeply alarming, with worrying signs that the freedoms offered to the people of Hong Kong are being further eroded with the arrest of further journalists. I have held a series of meetings with groups and organisations concerned about Hong Kong specifically and the behaviour of the Chinese Government more generally.  The UK Government has a legal and moral obligation to act with our international partners to make it clear to the Chinese Government that this disregard for human rights cannot continue.   Nuclear weaponsMy Labour colleagues and I have welcomed the joint statement issued by the five nuclear powers earlier this month, pledging to avoid nuclear war, but there is much more to do to take it from rhetoric to reality. They were correct in saying that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”.  But, with increases in the UK’s stockpile, renewed tensions between the West and Russia, and China increasing and modernising its nuclear arsenal at an unprecedented rate, the world needs concrete action. Britain should be looking again at “No First Use” – obtaining a universal agreement that nobody will fire a nuclear weapon first, either deliberately or accidentally. It’s also vital that verification through the UN and transparency as we enjoyed under the Open Skies Treaty are renewed and expanded to cover every nuclear power.

Advice & Support:
Remember, these e-newsletters are only a snapshot of some of the things I’m doing each month.  If there’s an issue that concerns you which I haven’t covered here, please drop me a line.

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 TwitterFacebook or through my website at www.catherinewest.org.ukBest wishes,CatherineCatherine West MPLabour MP for Hornsey & Wood GreenShadow Foreign Minister – Asia and the Pacific

Link to Instagram Link to Twitter Link to YouTube Link to Facebook Link to LinkedIn Link to Snapchat Close Fax Website Location Phone Email Calendar Building Search