Its been a very busy time - as ever - with much work on Brexit, including on behalf of EU citizens in Britain, International Women's Day and joining our Holborn & St Pancras members on the Our NHS march.
Weeks beginning 20th and 27th February 2017
Monday 20th February
A week ago Monday I launched the EU citizen Right to Stay lobby with Unite the Union, The 3 Million and the New Europeans. I was delighted to be the first to sign UNISON’s pledge today calling on Theresa May guarantee unilaterally the rights of EU citizens living in the UK.
I also spoke in the HS2 debate in the Commons. I pointed out that the impact of HS2 construction on my Camden constituents will be no less than 17 years. I believe that Camden residents face unprecedented disruption in terms of intensity and longevity. It is shameful that the HS2 Lords Committee came up with recommendations for extra compensation in Camden and the Government has not responded to this.
Tuesday 21st February
On Tuesday I joined the Brexit team to do some phone canvassing for the by-elections in Stoke and Copeland.
I was delighted that we held Stoke-on-Trent Central and that we have a new Labour MP in Gareth Snell. I was in Stoke for the launch of the campaign and I know how hard local members worked in recent weeks to keep UKIP at bay and see of the threat from Paul Nuttall.
The result in Copeland though was deeply concerning and, as I have said since, it is important we are honest as a Party about how bad this result was. The team in Copeland campaigned tirelessly and rightly highlighted the dangers posed by the Tories to local NHS services, which is why the result was so disappointing.
Labour can only change people’s lives if we win elections – and we must never get into the habit of normalising defeats. After these results we all need to come together and work even harder to make sure our message gets across to voters.
Wednesday 22nd February
On Wednesday the same week, I spoke at a CalAid event in South London. CalAid is a fantastic organisation that works in refugee camps in France and Greece bringing help, hope and dignity to refugees and displaced people.
I spoke about how political space has been squeezed by discussion which focuses on issues such as Brexit and Trump and that we need to reclaim it. Our values of compassion for refugees are being challenged in a fundamental way: we need to reclaim the debate now.
Friday 24th February
On Friday I was pleased to be part of a discussion at the Party of European Socialists’ ‘Road to Brexit 2017’ conference. The conference brought together social democrats, trade unionists, businesses and members from across Europe to discuss their priorities for Brexit, and how Labour can help to shape the best possible deal. I took part in a panel discussion with some excellent speakers, including Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC.
On Friday afternoon the Commons also voted to require the Government to ratify the Istanbul Convention – the gold standard on gender-based and domestic violence. I discussed it in this facebook video-
I was delighted that the vote was carried by 138 to 1, as this is a real step in the right direction for combating violence against women and girls.
Saturday 25th February
On Saturday I spoke at the Party of European Socialists and Labour Movement for Europe Conference in Borough.
It was a fantastic opportunity to outline how we must meet the challenges that arise from the Brexit process. Brexit will not solve the problems the referendum exposed and that these problems are not confined to the UK and can be seen across the EU. Sitting between Trump and Putin- and with right wing politics affecting Europe- social democrats have a shared interest in reasserting our values as we face up to the challenge of the UK’s changed- but not broken- relationship with the EU.
Sunday 26th February
On Sunday we had an excellent family event in the constituency in The Living Centre in the Francis Crick Institute.
It was a brilliant opportunity to discuss the important issues with local people in a comfortable setting where people felt able to bring their children along. We also spent some time discussing Brexit and it was great to hear varied opinions from all sections of the debate.
Tuesday 28th February
On Tuesday we had an excellent General Committee meeting and I was proud to support International Women’s day with Grace, our fantastic CLP Women’s Officer.
Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd March
On Wednesday and Thursday I travelled to Brussels to speak to the Brussels Labour Party. It was a brilliant opportunity to discuss the important issues and to assert that the values underpinning our remain campaign must guide us going forward.
Friday 3rd March
I followed up my trip to Brussels with an article in The New European on Brexit. I believe that we need a values-based continuing relationship with our EU partners, not severance.
You can read it here.
Saturday 4th March
On Saturday I was proud to join Camden Labour on the NHS march which started in Holborn and St Pancras.
I am proud to be marching with members of the local community against these Tory cuts to our NHS.
This week …
has been dominated by the success of Labour in the House of Lords, winning two crucial amendments to the Article 50 Bill. The first protects the position of EU nationals in the UK and the second gives parliament a vote on the final terms of the Article 50 deal before it is voted on by the European Parliament. I have been pursuing these outcomes for months now and will do all that I can to defend the amendments when they come back the House of Commons – but we will only win of some Tory MPs cross the floor and vote with us!
More next week.
If there is anything you would like more information on or wish to discuss further then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org