Read here about Keir's week, commencing 20th September.
It’s been a very busy week. You may have seen I was asked by Jeremy Corbyn to tackle the question of Immigration and Refugees. I was keen to agree: a pressing issue, which many of you have written to me about. So I am now a shadow minister, working with Andy Burnham at the Home Office.
The fight against HS2:
My focus remains firmly on key issues in Holborn & St Pancras.
None is more pressing than HS2.
Responding to questions at the HS2 Euston Area Action Group with Sarah Hayward, Leader Camden Council and my predecessor, Frank Dobson.
On Thursday I met the HS2 Euston Action Group at Netley Primary School.
This scheme has the potential to blight our entire area for twenty years and more. People at the meeting spoke passionately about the impact on their lives of living with what could be one of Europe’s biggest engineering projects.
Imagine having a home just 10 metres from the noise, dust, vibration and disruption of demolition and construction – year after year? Outside the M25 residents are offered compensation if they are within 300 metres: our residents are being told to keep quiet and make the best of it.
We cannot allow this.
I am adopting a three-fold strategy:
1. To work as closely as possible with local communities, like the Action Group and support their objections and those of Camden Council.
I would encourage anyone who is affected to take the opportunity to petition parliament. Help is available to prepare these:
Camden’s petitioning workshops will be held on:
Monday, 12 October 2015, 4-8pm at the Surma Centre, 1 Robert Street, London, NW1 3JU.
Tuesday, 13 October 2015, 12noon-4pm at the Surma Centre, 1 Robert Street, London, NW1 3JU.
Find out more here:
2. Taking the fight to Parliament, where the HS2 Committee will consider the impact on the Euston area in November or December this year. I have – with Frank Dobson – been arguing that Old Oak Common is an excellent alternative to Euston. It allows fast, easy access to central London, without the devastation on our community of the Euston option
3. Demanding that if this scheme comes to Euston those individuals and businesses that are blighted by it receive adequate compensation, alternative housing and accommodation. We cannot leave individuals to police the final agreement on their own!
An evening with Archbishop Welby:
On Sunday I attended a special service at St. George’s Church in Queen Square to hear Archbishop Justin Welby and his wife being interviewed by their daughter!
Meeting Inkerman residents:
On Tuesday I was at the beautifully restored French School on Holmes road (many thanks to them for the room!) to hear from residents of the Inkerman area.
It was a lively discussion – everything from pest control to the possible disintegration of the UK!
I spoke about the pressing issues I am dealing with in my surgery every week. Top of the list (by far!) is housing. Overcrowding is chronic. Homes are almost unaffordable for many residents – to rent or to buy.
Tory plans to force Housing Associations to sell off their most expensive homes could mean Camden losing a shocking 37% of all its housing. This is nothing short of a scandal and I will oppose it at every turn.
Other issues residents raised? Mental health provision, HS2 and the question of rent control. Plenty for any MP to get his teeth into!
• I saw the switch-on of solar panels at Camden School for Girls. It’s a fantastic project, with £27,000 raised from donors and imaginative fund raising. The result? Panels generating about 15,000 kilowatt hours of electricity every year, savings on energy and bringing the school an income of about £2000 pa rising with inflation for 20 years. Plus the environmental benefit of reducing the school's emissions by 9 tonnes carbon dioxide a year/ A win all round.
• I also had a good meeting with representatives of ‘Steeles Village’ in The Legal Cafe on Haverstock Hill: HS2 trucks is a big issue.
• Finally, I nipped up to St. Albans to address members, including new members, of the Labour Party there with Kerry Pollard, who won the 1997 and 2001 elections there against all the odds! A great evening.
Next week I will be attending Labour’s Annual Conference – promises to be fascinating.
Get in touch:
Need help? Here’s how to reach me;
0207 219 6234