Keir Starmer

weekly update 12 november 2015

Find out more about my week with my latest weekly update.

Monday was HS2 day: an all-day tour of the constituency by the Select Committee of the House of Commons, which is investigating the entire project. I was with them, showing the MPs the scale and extent of the destruction that HS2 will cause in Holborn and St Pancras. 


Here Louise Fletcher from the Ampthill Estate explaining the impact of the plans to two committee members, the MPs Robert Syms and Sir Peter Bottomley. 

Although there was a lot to pack into one day, as we moved around the area talking to local residents and traders, I got the impression that the Committee members began to appreciate just how devastating HS2 will be for many local communities. 

Standing on an already busy junction and contemplating hundreds of daily spoil lorry runs; peering into Camden cuttings and imagining the extensive, intrusive and prolonged 24/7 works there; looking out from the roof of the Ampthill Square flats and surveying the likely carnage all around; sitting in a Cartmel flat appreciating that the new railway line will be built over many years literally just yards away; huddling in Drummond Street just as it was getting busy and imagining a very different and poorer future; standing on the fault line in Euston station where the HS2 platforms will end and contemplating a station half developed and half not; and walking through Somers Town and feeling the anxiety of local people, were all important experiences for the Select Committee. 


In the end, I think local residents and traders did a very good job in helping the Committee members understand the wholly unacceptable impact on our local communities over a very long period. 


Trade Union Bill voted through 

I am sorry to have to say that despite the opposition of the entire Labour Party, the Scottish Nationalists and many Liberal Democrats the bill was voted through. I met union members from Camden last week, but despite the strength of our arguments the Tories were determined to force it through.   


Even suggestions that electronic voting should be allowed was voted down. 

The legislation so curtails the rights of working people to defend themselves that almost any form of strike action will be extremely difficult. 

This bill is not just, and our hopes of preventing it becoming law will now rest on the House of Lords. 


Firefighters remember their dead 

On Thursday I joined the fire-fighters at Euston Road to remember three members of the Auxiliary Fire Service who died from this station during the blitz.  

It was on the night of 16th and 17th of September 1940 that they were killed during a raid.   

This plaque will commemorate the sacrifice of Senior Fireman Thomas William Curson, Auxiliary Fireman Albert Evens and District Officer Joseph Leonard Tobias. 


The Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS) formed in January 1938 and fire stations were set up in buildings such as schools, garages and factories. 

A recruitment drive was launched with as many as 28,000 firefighters required to support London Fire Brigade's 2,500 officers and firefighters. 

By the time the war was over, London’s fire service had attended over 50,000 calls; 327 of London's firefighters had been killed. The plaque to these three brave men will commemorate their sacrifice. 

It was also a chance to meet the men and women currently serving at the Euston station – and to hear just how the cuts are effecting the service they can offer to the public today.



Camden Labour take on the Camden New Journal 

It was a grudge match – make no mistake. 

Last time Labour whipped the CNJ. 

This time the journalists proved to be in better form. 


 Here I am trying to steer the ball away from the talented star of the Camden Town Ladies Team, Ella Jessel of the CNJ, as her colleague from the Islington Tribune watches on! 

The CNJ also had the formidable Tom Foot, not to mention Richard Osley in goal. 

At one point we were one goal, then two goals down….the outlook seemed grim…I could just see the headlines! 

But we rallied to the cause. 

Our secret weapon was Abdul Hai, Councillor for King's Cross Ward, who scored brilliant goals. 


 So in the end we came good. 

It was a four all draw. 

Honour was satisfied all round…until next time!