I chaired an excellent Unison roundtable on the treatment of migrant health and social care workers. Overseas workers keep our NHS & care system going but too often they’re exploited. I fully support Unison in demanding the Government act.
I chaired an excellent Unison roundtable on the treatment of migrant health and social care workers. Overseas workers keep our NHS & care system going but too often they’re exploited. I fully support Unison in demanding the Government act.

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 June newsletter

We’re seeing the impact of backlog Tory Britain across every part of society, and people’s frustration is bursting through my mailbox and my advice surgeries. NHS waiting lists at record highs, people struggling to get GP appointments, see a dentist, renew their driving license or obtain a passport.  The homes we need aren’t being built and a summer of strikes looms as the Tories pick fights with workers instead of getting round the table.  

I took part in Labour’s opposition day debate about the struggles to get GP or dentist appointments and highlighted the workforce problems.  Instead of delivering the new GPs Johnson has repeatedly promised, thanks to Tory mismanagement we have 4,500 fewer GPs than a decade ago.

The sad truth is the longer we give the Tories, the longer people wait.

In Parliament:

Cost-of-living crisisAt Department for Work and Pensions Questions I raised the case of my constituent, a disabled man , who is having to rely on his mum topping up his benefits from her own small state pension because he can no longer afford to live.  This is the shameful reality in Britain in 2022.

Please tell me how the cost of living crisis is affecting you in confidence at www.catherinewest.org.uk/costoflivingcrisis, so I can keep holding the Tories to account on the real life impact of the decisions they are making. 

Partygate isn’t a distraction from the cost-of-living crisis, the two issues are linked because they go to the heart of Johnson’s character. A man who’s made a career out of lying to save his own skin, shown no concern for people’s sacrifices during the pandemic and who delayed helping struggling families for months in favour of sending ministers out to protect “Big Dog”.  Read my latest column for the Ham & High on why we need Johnson out and a full recovery plan and emergency budget put into action.

Refugees Welcome: Rwanda flight and Home Office incompetencyThank goodness the first planned flight ended up grounded with no-one on board, but what a disgrace that the UK Government has put people fleeing unimaginable horrors through this additional trauma.   Seeking asylum is a basic human right, not a crime. The Tory plan to send refugees to Rwanda is unethical, unworkable and a staggering waste of money.   The Tories have nothing left except shameless acts of desperate cruelty to distract from their record after 12 years in power.

In Parliament I yet again flagged the problem of young Ukrainians trapped in limbo for months because of Home Office incompetency.  These children should be here, rebuilding their lives and starting school, not waiting around at the mercy of the UK’s hostile and dysfunctional refugee scheme.

To mark #RefugeeWeek, I was a panellist at an Afghanistan & Central Asian Association Parliamentary event on Afghan refugees in the UK.  I recently met Afghan women still living in hotels 10 months on, and their experience was echoed at today’s event. It’s shameful that the Government hasn’t done more, and I’m grateful to Haringey Council and all the voluntary groups including our own Muswell Hill Welcomes who are doing so much to support & welcome new refugees.

Justice for GrenfellThis month marked five years since the Grenfell Tower fire.  It is shameful that people across the country are still living in buildings that aren’t fire safe. Honouring the 72 lives lost at Grenfell means bringing those responsible to justice, raising safety standards & putting power back into people’s hands so this can never happen again.   Here’s what I would have liked to say in Parliament.

Counselling for survivors of rape and sexual assaultI’m one of 101 Labour women who have written to Boris Johnson to urge him to block new rules which threaten the rights of rape survivors to seek counselling before their attackers go on trial.  No survivor should ever have to choose between counselling and justice.  Read the full letter here.

Carers Week: unpaid carers need a respite and recovery planI attended the annual Carers Week Reception to meet with my constituent Kim, who travels to Milton Keynes every single weekend to help care for her father with Lewy Body Dementia.   At PMQs the PM said we owe carers a “debt of gratitude” but those words mean nothing without action.  Carers support groups across the country have called for a Respite & Recovery plan for carers who’ve endured the most difficult times at the heart of the fight against COVID-19.  I’m appalled that in response to my Parliamentary Question the Minister has said there are no plans to do this.  I’ve written to the Secretary of State to demand he thinks again. 

Cost of childcareI made a speech during the Opposition Day debate on the cost of childcare.  The dismantling of Labour’s Sure Start Children’s Centres and the soaring cost of nurseries has a disproportionate impact on women, holding people back from working or exploring new job opportunities.  The answer isn’t to slash staff and increase child ratios – watch my full speech here. 

Speaking up for Hornsey & Wood GreenLast month I received over 1,000 emails from constituents on a range of policy issues.  Top of the pile was concerns over plastic pollution as by 2050 it is estimated that our oceans will contain more plastic than fish.  Constituents have asked me to help push the Government to set ambitious short and long-term targets that will help to tackle the plastic crisis and they have my full support.  Constituents also got in touch to back a Renters’ Reform Bill (something I’ve been pushing in Parliament), to flag concerns about the Home Office deportation flight to Jamaica and to demand action from the Government following the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by Israeli military forces.  Labour has led calls for an investigation to be opened and condemned the killing and the shocking scenes at the funeral.

Collapse of MissguidedI’ve asked a series of Parliamentary Questions on the collapse of the fast fashion UK business Missguided and the impact on garment workers in Pakistan.  This is the shameful dark side of fast fashion, which causes so much damage to workers and to our planet.  Garment workers producing clothes for UK companies deserve a lot better than being treated in this way.

Northern Ireland Protocolresponded for Labour to the Urgent Question on the Government riding roughshod over the Northern Ireland Protocol.  The PM knew full well that the Brexit deal he negotiated would create trade barriers in the Irish sea, which have stoked political tensions in Northern

Ireland and placed strain on the Good Friday agreement.  Rather than seeking workable solutions, Johnson’s Government is doing what they always do, acting like a toddler having a tantrum, treating the rule of law with disdain and showing no concern for what is best for the people of Northern Ireland or the rest of the UK.  Both sides need to get round the table and find a responsible solution.

AfghanistanThe report of the Foreign Affairs Committee on the UK’s botched evacuation from Afghanistan is one of the most damning reports that I have ever read. At a time when the UK can be proud of our support for the Ukrainian mission, this report drags us back to a dark period when we turned our back on our allies. It details a disastrous tragedy of errors that fundamentally undermines the 20 years of progress that Britain and its allies helped to bring to the Afghan people.  I responded to an Urgent Parliamentary Question on Labour’s behalf and called on the Government to ensure those responsible are held accountable for the clear failings in our handling of the situation.  I also asked the Government to get a grip and commit themselves to working with the international community to ensure that there is a coherent strategy to engage with Afghanistan in the medium to long term. In the light of impending famine in the country, we cannot afford to turn our back on the Afghan people.

In the community:

My next Parliamentary Tour and Q&A for young constituents interested in politics is taking place on Tuesday 12 July and I’ve still got a couple of places remaining. Get in touch if you’d like to join us.

Save our TreesYet again locally, we’ve seen insurance companies putting profits over trees by demanding a mature tree is felled because it’s cheaper than underpinning a property.  It’s an issue I first raised in Parliament back in 2020 when several trees in Queens Wood were due to be removed.   I also joined the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Woods and Trees and submitted a response to DEFRA’s England Tree Strategy.   Following this latest incident, I’ve met with Haringey Council’s Deputy Leader Cllr Mike Hakata to discuss what more can be done about this nationally and have raised some Parliamentary Questions which you can view here.

Defending our high streets and “dark kitchens”I presented my petition to Parliament this month following the latest bank closure of Barclays in Muswell Hill.   I also held a useful meeting with Deliveroo, Haringey’s Council Leader, Wood Green BID and Green Lanes traders at Deliveroo’s Cranford Way kitchens.   I raised concerns with Ministers about “dark kitchens” earlier this year, and during the meeting we discussed terms and conditions for riders & chefs and the importance of proper regulation.  I’m glad workers now have the power of a union behind them with the new Deliveroo & GMB agreement. It’s vital our high streets & food standards aren’t threatened.

Delays at the Passport OfficeLabour used our opposition day debate to hold Ministers to account once again on the shambles at the Passport Office.  In 2021, the Public and Commercial Services Union was promised that 1,700 new staff would be recruited to deal with the post-COVID rush that everyone knew was coming.  Instead there’s been barely half that and people are paying the price.  We’re also hearing appalling stories of staff in passport offices receiving unacceptable abuse. Visit www.catherinewest.org.uk/passports for regular updates on my actions – and please get your application in as soon as possible if you’re planning to travel.

Here are some of the events I’ve attended this month, locally and in Parliament:
  • Speaking at the Islamic Relief UK Parliamentary Eid Reception.
  • Meeting with the Wood Green Job Centre team.  We discussed the barriers disabled people experience, job coaching for young people, apprenticeship opportunities, and the need for re-training and support for all ages. Employment is changing and training shouldn’t end when you leave school.
  • Joining the Jubilee Celebrations at Lordship Lane Primary School and awarding the baking prizes at the Cecile Street Jubilee Party.
  • Meeting campaigners against the closure of Muswell Hill Barclays Bank.
  • Attending the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NGT) Reception as the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Malaria and NGTs.
  • Taking part as a panellist on an event organised by Big Brother Watch on ‘Who’s Watching You? The Dominance of Chinese State-Owned CCTV in the UK’.
  • Taking part in a Q&A with visiting students from Heartlands High.  It’s lovely to have school groups back in Parliament again after so long.
  • Attending Highgate’s fabulous Fair in the Square.
  • Meeting some of the pupils at Haringey Learning Partnership and listening to their thoughts on how to spend public money better and summer activities for children & young people.
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.

Last month, I received over 1,500 new casework emails and opened 250 new cases. 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

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