Busy week… Parliament is back in session, HS2 is being considered in the House of Lords, we have had a well-informed public meeting on the terrible problem of air pollution and – on a more cheerful note, Gospel Oak held a very pleasant fund-raising evening in at Ravel's Bistro, a local restaurant! More on all these subjects below. Continue reading
This week has felt very much like the ‘back to school on Monday’ week. I have been in Parliament working on constituency matters and issues for the end of recess next week, including Home Office Questions and an important private Members Bill on protecting workplace rights in light of the EU Referendum. Last week, Vic and I and our children visited Brendan Cox (Jo’s husband) and their children and spent the day with them canoeing and swimming in the Wye River. We were down in the Forest of Dean, which was calm and peaceful. The next few weeks, by contrast, will be very busy! Continue reading
The sun is up, the sky is blue and summer is really here! I hope you have been able to take a break, as I managed to do with my own family. But politics has certainly not come to a halt. There are worrying developments in the NHS, with warning signs of the stress the system is under. And the first indications of the impact of the European Union referendum suggest that the concerns about the implications of Brexit were far from exaggerated. Continue reading
Since the Referendum result, I have received over 1200 emails from constituents, the vast majority of whom – like me – voted to stay in the EU and are now concerned about the next steps forward. My own view, at present, is that Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, which starts the exit procedure, should not be invoked without a vote in the House of Commons. Before any such vote takes place, MPs and my constituents are entitled to know the basis upon which the government intends to proceed. The process should not therefore be rushed and it certainly should not start straight away. Leaving the EU will also require repealing the European Communities Act 1972, which again is a matter for Parliament. Before that happens, my constituents have the right to know the terms on which the government seeks to withdraw from the EU and the type of relationship the Government suggests we should have with the EU in future. Again, I believe there should be a full and open public debate about this before any vote in Parliament is taken. Given the huge public concern about this, I will be holding a public meeting along with Council leader, Sarah Hayward, at 7.30pm on Thursday 14th July in Camden Town Hall to discuss the way forward. I hope you and as many local residents as possible are able to join me.
Apologies for no update last week; I was leading for Labour on the Investigatory Powers Bill and with over 400 amendments to deal with I had my hands full. Happily the Bill finished in the commons on Tuesday night and is now with the Lords. I am glad to report that we got very significant concessions out of the government, including a review of the so called ‘bulk’ powers, an overarching privacy clauses and protection for trade unions. Continue reading