I was delighted to welcome some sixty Holborn & St. Pancras residents to the House of Commons last Thursday. We held it just off the historic Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the the Palace of Westminster, dating back to 1097. There was plenty of lively discussion, with contributions from two of our Camden councillors, Pat Callaghan and Georgia Gould. Continue reading
Jeremy Hunt has been attempting to force a new contact on junior doctors. It would cut their pay by between 15% and 40% and force longer hours on them. Women who decide to have children and anyone doing research would be particularly severely effected. Not surprisingly, they are furious – and quite rightly. The plan is not only a scandal, it would put patients at risk. Many are now so fed up they have began planning to leave Britain altogether! A poll of more than 6,000 trainees found 42 per cent of junior doctors said they would go abroad in search of work if the government went ahead with its plans. At the heart of the dispute was an attempt to cut their pay by between 15% and 40% and force longer hours on them. What is really disturbing is that the Conservative government are prepared to go this far with an institution we all love and rely on: the NHS. Continue reading
You may have seen the news yesterday that Jeremy Hunt has finally caved in and attempted to head off a damaging strike by junior doctors. I wrote a blog post about it yesterday – you can read it here. That this protest has gone as far as it did is an indication of how out of touch the Conservatives are with the health service. To extract these concessions the junior doctors had to threaten to take industrial action, something few of them wanted to see. The government must now act with more respect for the NHS and those who work for it With this in mind, I have called an emergency open meeting about this issue for Wednesday 14th October at 8pm in the Paget Room at BMA House, Tavistock Square, WC1H 9JP. Two BMA junior doctors have confirmed they will speak – Dr Yannis Gourtsoyannis, a local junior doctor, and Dr. Johann Malawana, Chair of the Junior Doctors Committee. We’d love to have people come along and join the discussion with us, particularly those with a background in, or keen interest in, healthcare. We need to provide a list of attendees so please RSVP to Ashley at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘BMA open meeting’.
It was standing room only for anyone who arrived late at last Friday’s housing seminar. There was a real buzz of energy and engagement as around 100 people packed into a hall at the British Library. We had to ferry chairs in – and still some were left in the corridor! From all the work I do – in my surgeries and from my correspondence – this is a key issue. I introduced the expert speakers, then listened to what they and the remarkably well informed audience had to say. Continue reading
Letter to Prime Minister David Cameron from Keir Starmer MP, Tulip Siddiq MP and Catherine West MP on the current refugee crisis The Prime Minister Must Offer More than Words on the Refugee Crisis. Here is the Practical Action that is Necessary. Continue reading
In recent months, there has been a growing consensus that the role of Old Oak Common as the London Terminus for HS2 should be reconsidered. This is partly driven by cost; the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee pointedly asked the Government to estimate the overall reduction of cost to HS2 of terminating the line at Old Oak Common in its March 2015 report. It is also driven by the realisation of the devastating impact on our local communities and the environment if HS2 terminates at Euston: a point repeatedly emphasised by Frank Dobson and myself when we gave evidence to the HS2 Select Committee earlier this month. And it is partly driven by politics; each of the mayoral candidates has seen the potential for Old Oak Common as a far more effective interchange than Euston and compared that to the potential damage if Euston remains the terminus. Interesting then, that upon his elevation to the HS2 Board recently, Lord Adonis spoke in a piece he authored in City AM of the “huge opportunities” HS2 provides in west London, “where a new Stratford is waiting to be created at Old Oak Common”; later he cites Old Oak Common as the “biggest” opportunity for HS2. Nowhere in the article is Euston mentioned. Continue reading