Keir Starmer

Week Update 13th May 2016

The Dubs amendment on child refugees finally succeeds, Sadiq’s first week, a non answer from the PM on housing, showing racism the red card at Arsenal, the Kentish Town Neighbourhood Plan, Food Banks and more.

The Dubs amendment. 

Two weeks after rejecting the original Alf Dubs amendment on unaccompanied child refugees in Europe and one week after voting against the revised amendment in the Lords, the government finally accepted the inevitable and conceded to the revised amendment. I was proud to be leading for Labour on this issue. 

Thanks to all supporters in and outside Parliament, at least some refugee children will now have some hope. But we have to keep the pressure up now on numbers and timetable.

 

Sadiq 

Starting with Sadiq, it is such a pleasure to have Sadiq Khan as Mayor of London. With his support a whole range of issues can now be tackled: from housing to fares.

 

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We all worked so very hard to make this possible. Now on to winning the EU referendum!

 

Tackling David Cameron on housing 

The issue of housing is such a pressing one for so many families in Camden I chose to tackle the Prime Minister on the subject at Question Time this week.

 

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My name came up in the draw for questions at PMQs last week. So I tackled the PM on the no.1 issue in Holborn and St Pancras – and the Prime Minister completely failed to provide any answer to this key question for so many people.  He simply does not understand – or does not want to understand – the devastating effect that the Housing Bill will have on our communities. 

Read the Q&A and judge for yourself!

 

Question: Keir Starmer: 

“In my first year as an MP, every other person coming to my constituency advice service surgery has been an anxious council tenant, usually mum, dad and two or three children living in a one-bedroom flat, and they are often in tears. They cannot afford to rent in the private market, they cannot afford to buy their council flat, and they absolutely cannot afford a starter home. Can the Prime Minister explain in practical and meaningful terms that I can read to them from Hansard when I go to my surgery on Friday why, in his view, the Housing and Planning Bill will not make their intolerable situation worse?”

 

Answer: David Cameron 

“I would say to the hon. and learned Gentleman’s constituents that there is a series of things that I believe will help them. First, making sure that the right to buy is there for housing association tenants as well as council tenants, with the full discounts, makes a difference. Added to that, Help to Buy means that people need a smaller amount of equity to buy their house, and that helps too. Further to that, starter homes will make a difference because they will be more affordable. Added to that, shared accommodation homes means that where you previously needed a deposit of £30,000 to buy a house, you may be able to buy a house now for a just a few thousand pounds’ deposit. All of those things make a difference. And for those in estates that need regeneration, we are backing that regeneration, which never happened under a Labour Government.”

 

Hmmm ... the premise of the question, Dave, was that the people who come to my surgery cannot afford to buy.

 

Kicking our racism at Arsenal 

On Tuesday, I was at the Emirates (my favourite ground!) working with Show Racism the Red Card and local schools. Really good stuff from the children. As you can see, I was flanked by ex-Arsenal legend (who I Have watched play many times) Perry Groves and star of Hollyoaks Charlie Wernham!

 

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HS2 

Later on Tuesday, I was at an emergency HS2 meeting at Netley School to discuss the challenges that HS2 have made objecting to local petitioners’ right to appear before the House of Lords Select Committee. If this affects you, contact me, Dorothea Hackman or Robert Latham.

 

Kentish Town Neighbourhood Plan 

Last Saturday I was at the Kentish Town library, launching the neighbourhood plan. It is an excellent initiative, which embeds local values in the planning process.

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Developed by local people over a number of years it offers:

 

  • More social, affordable homes
  • Supports local businesses and shops,
  • Offers step-free access to all Kentish Town Stations,
  • Protects local green and open spaces and
  • Provides for a new Town Square

 

You can see the full details here: http://ktnf.org/ 

Everyone in the area will have a chance to vote on the plan on 9th June. 

You should receive your polling cards soon, and I would urge to give it your backing

 

Supporting our Food Banks 

It is a sad reality that so many people Camden have difficulty in making ends meet. Some have to go without, or choose between heating and eating. 

The Camden Foodbank does what it can to bridge the gap. 

I was pleased to join Dorothea Hackman and Councillor Roger Robinson at Waitrose in the Brunswick Centre to do my bit with my family to persuade shoppers to support the food bank.

 

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Dover – migration and refugee tour 

On Friday I was in Dover and Deal talking about immigration at two open meetings and then hosting a fundraising dinner hosted by ex-Camden Labour Councillor Maggie Cosin and Ben who moved to Deal 7 years ago! They send their best to all ..

 

More next week.