At the Rebuild Our Schools debate, I spoke up for Highgate Wood School, desperately in need of new sports facilities and urged the Minister to fund the improvements our children deserve.
At the Rebuild Our Schools debate, I spoke up for Highgate Wood School, desperately in need of new sports facilities and urged the Minister to fund the improvements our children deserve.

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 March e-newsletter£11.8 BILLION.  That’s how much this Government has lost in COVID fraud.  Yet today, in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, the Chancellor, is set to stand up in Parliament and raise taxes for struggling families. It’s the worst possible time to hit household incomes and will hurt families already making impossible choices between eating or heating their homes.  Local grassroots charity, Food Bank Aid, tell me they’re now supporting over 10,000 people, including 3,500 children each week, who simply can’t afford food.  The need is only growing.  This Government has its priorities all wrong – refusing to support Labour’s plan for a one-off windfall tax on oil and gas producers whilst CUTTING the Discretionary Housing Payments that help Haringey Council support those in most need.  It’s cruel, wrong and David Lammy MP & I have written to the Secretary of State to urge a rethink Today we need to see the Chancellor change course.  We need him to scrap the National Insurance rise and slash energy bills through a tax on the energy giants whose profits have soared as households have struggled.  Instead of making you pay for his fraud failures, he needs to help people through these tough times and grow our economy, with massive investment in green energy, insulating 19 million homes and creating tens of thousands of high-quality jobs.  Families in Hornsey & Wood Green are being pushed to the edge and I’m very worried about what the next few months will bring if the Chancellor fails to act.  If you are affected, please visit Haringey Council’s Here to Help for advice and support and get in touch if I can assist in any way.   Here are some of the things I’ve been doing in Parliament and our community this month.  If you know anyone who would like to receive these monthly updates, please share this link.

In Parliament:

The situation in Ukraine & how you can helpAs we enter the second month of Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine we are seeing mounting civilian casualties and increasing levels of destruction as Russian forces react in desperation to the resistance and tenacity of the Ukrainian people. I was honoured to be in Parliament to listen to President Zelensky’s impassioned speech to all MPs, detailing the attack against his country and the support that they need to defend their independence and territorial integrity. Throughout this crisis my Labour colleagues and I have supported the Government in taking the action necessary to support Ukraine, but we have been clear that their shameful inaction on refugees is a stain on our otherwise commendable response, a point I made to the House on behalf of the Party. The lessons from Afghanistan have not been learnt and while our European neighbours open their borders to those in need the Home Office still lags behind.  It was a joy to meet Marta, who I’d been helping, when she finally made it to Crouch End to be with her family.  But there are many other Marta’s still jumping through cruel, bureaucratic Home Office hoops and I will keep pushing the Government to step up.My website has updates on the action I’ve been taking in Parliament, and details of some of the other ways you can help. You can also find out more about the Government’s newly launched Homes for Ukraine scheme here Nationality & Borders BillThe Nationality & Borders Bill was back in Parliament yesterday.  It’s a shameless anti-refugee Bill that criminalises vulnerable refugees risking their lives to reach the UK and makes it harder, not easier, to punish traffickers.  I backed amendments that would provide safe, legal routes for family reunions and finally lift the cruel ban on asylum seekers working.  It’s a campaign I’ve long supported, and scrapping the ban would have been life changing for the 62,000 people who’ve been waiting over six months for a Home Office decision on their case.  It is bitterly disappointing that the Government instead rejected all Labour’s amendments and pushed their cruel, disastrous Bill through.Since I was first elected in 2015, I have steadfastly stood behind the rights of refugees, and this was reflected in my voting record during the process of this Bill. We urgently need to ensure refugees have the support and advice which they deserve – we do not need further vilification or measures which cut the support they currently receive.  I will always stand up for refugee rights in Parliament.   P&O FerriesFor too long, workers have been at the mercy of exploitative employers and the P&O scandal highlights how poor existing protections are.  Labour has long called for a ban on “fire and rehire” and in Parliament this week we pushed another vote to end this exploitation for good.  The Conservatives didn’t even turn up and now we learn that they knew what P&O bosses were planning but failed to act.  Workers deserve better.  Allowing bosses to get away to get away with such behaviour gives a green light to other exploitative employers.  Such shameful treatment of loyal workers should be illegal, and under a Labour Government it would be.

My latest Climate Change & Environment Update ReportMy latest update report is available on my website.  This month I’ve written to the Transport Secretary to raise my concerns about “ghost flights” that take off with little or no passengers just to maintain airlines’ airport slots.  It’s terrible for the environment and must be stopped.  Read my letter here.    I’ve also written to the Business Secretary to raise my concerns about the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report and the UK’s lack of progress with tackling climate change.  Read my letter here Welcome Home NazaninI am absolutely overjoyed that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anousheh Ashouri are home. I’ve met Richard on many occasions over the six years of Nazanin’s captivity and the family have endured so much whilst fighting and hoping for her safe return.  I fully support Tulip Siddiq MP’s call for a full review into what took so long.  Those years can never be given back to Nazanin and her family and we need to get to the bottom of what happened.Every month I ask Government Ministers to answer questions on a whole range of different issues.  You can see my latest questions, and the responses I have received, here.  

AfghanistanWhile it has disappeared from the world’s headlines the situation in Afghanistan continues to be of serious concern, with an ongoing humanitarian disaster, news of Taliban splits and infighting, and the continued denial of education for most of Afghanistan’s women and girls. I recently took part in a sobering roundtable, hosted by Amnesty International for International Women’s Day, with a group of Afghan leaders who have fled the Taliban’s rule and who spoke at length about the challenges facing both those who have fled and those who remain. We all have a duty to stand by these women – and the people of Afghanistan as a whole – and I will continue engaging with them with my colleagues Preet Kaur Gill, the shadow Development Secretary, and David Lammy, the shadow Foreign Secretary, in the weeks and months ahead. Child QI was appalled to hear that a 15-year-old schoolgirl from Hackney was strip searched by the Metropolitan Police, without the presence of teachers, safeguarding officers or her parents. My constituents are rightly questioning how on earth this incident was allowed to happen, something I have asked myself. Last week, I attended LBC’s Iain Dale’s Cross Question radio show where I discussed the incident and voiced my support for a full investigation.  I’ve also raised Parliamentary Questions.  This shocking incident raises wider questions yet again of the culture within the Metropolitan Police and I look forward to meeting with Sophie Linden, London’s Deputy Mayor for Policing in the coming days. Windrush ScandalI attended an excellent Windrush event organised by Kate Osamor MP and Windrush Lives to draw attention to the continued injustice being experienced by victims of the Windrush scandal four years on.  I’ve helped a number of constituents who waited years for decisions on their claims and it’s clear that too many other victims are still being failed by the Windrush Compensation Scheme.  They have my full, ongoing support in their fight for justice.

In the community:Royal Mail – meeting with Chief ExecutiveNext week, David Lammy and I are hoping to meet the Chief Executive of Royal Mail to discuss the serious postal problems locally this winter.  I’m pleased things have been improving in recent weeks, but it’s not good enough that for the second year running our area was affected so badly.  I want to know what action is being taken to prevent any reoccurrence.  I’ll also make the case yet again for bringing back a Hornsey Sorting Office.  Do get in touch with my office if there are any issues you’d particularly like me to raise.  Boundary Commission: take part in the second consultationThe second consultation has now opened on the Boundary Commission’s proposals for new constituency boundaries.  You have until midnight 4 April to submit your views and you can find out more and get involved here.  This second stage of consultation allows people to comment on the suggestions people made during the first consultation last summer.  I have submitted a formal response opposing the Tory proposal that suggested moving Wood Green into a separate Enfield constituency.  I believe this would be a serious mistake as Wood Green is the civic capital of Haringey and it would make no sense from a community point of view to uproot it and put it into an Enfield seat.  Please do check out the plans and have your say before the consultation closes. 

Advice & Support:
Remember, these e-newsletters are only a snapshot 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 wishes,CatherineCatherine West MPLabour MP for Hornsey & Wood GreenShadow Foreign Minister – Asia and the Pacific

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