Back to business!
The Christmas break seems like a distant memory, but it was, in truth, a real rest for me and my family. We shut down for a week or so and had a bit of time together. I hope it was equally restful for you.
Since then, of course, Parliament has been back with a bang: a non-reshuffle, the NHS crisis and the terrible case of Carillion (which, surely, has to be a turning point in our approach to the operation of public services).
I have been busy in Parliament and beyond. In the second week back, we had the Report and Third Reading on the EU Withdrawal Bill. You can read my speech here. My team and I will now work with our team in the House of Lords, led by Dianne Hayter (Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town!) who is already doing a fantastic job co-ordinating the attack.
Four weeks ago on Saturday, I launched the Wandsworth Labour Election campaign along with Sadiq Khan, Rosena Allin-Khan MP and Marsha de Cordova MP. Despite the rain and cold, hundreds of members and activists turned up to get the campaign off to a great start.
Three weeks ago we spent the week chasing the government about the leaked Brexit impact statements. First, David Davis told us they existed in ‘excruciating detail’, then they did not exist, next they were leaked. Thanks to our efforts and another ‘humble address’ motion, all MPs can now see the papers.
And last week I spent two very productive days in Paris holding a series of political meetings about Brexit. In the coming weeks I head back to Brussels, and then to Switzerland.
Back nearer home, I have continued to hold my advice surgeries at different venues across the constituency: last week the Living Space at the back of the Crick Institute in Somers Town. Next week a later evening session at the Town Hall. So many people need so much help and advice with issues which in the twenty-first century, quite frankly, should not be issues: housing, of course, always top of the list.
I also had a great visit to Action Space - a brilliant team of artists with learning disabilities showed me their fabulous work…
… and held a meeting with local residents, estate managers, the police, local councillors and me talking about crime and anti-social behaviour. The initiative came after canvassing there with our team and we promised to do something about it. The meeting at Queen’s Crescent Community Centre was packed and lots of ideas were shared and taken away.
Finally a busy constituency day last Friday. It started with an intense early meeting with local businesses gathered in the Phoenix Arts Club to talk about rates, HS2, the plight of small businesses in central London and, of course, Brexit. Then a busy session on Brexit before an equally busy surgery; and, finally, a meeting with the Chief Coroner to discuss a number of local difficulties (more on that another time).
That's all for now. Parliament is in Recess this week, but I’m writing to you from the train to Wales for a busy couple of days discussing Brexit impact with local businesses and unions. I look forward to being back next week, and as usual, if you want to get in touch, please do drop me a line at email@example.com