A quick run through some of what I've been doing over the last week.
Netley pupils lobby HS2
This week children from the Netley School Council came to lobby the HS2 Committee.
They had thought carefully about the issue and had strong points to make about the impact this development will have on their lives.
Here are a sample:
- ‘Give us and our families at least one day of rest a week. One day in seven when we can rest and sleep and get our homework done.’
- ‘They will dig million tons of clay to make the tracks lower below ground level. This should be taken out by rail, not by hundreds of HGV lorries on residential streets.’
- ‘Bad air quality affects our breathing and gives us asthma, reduces the development of our lungs by 10%, slows cognitive development and attention span, and shortens our life expectancy.’
The pupils certainly made their mark, with one member of the Committee telling me how impressed he was by their self-confidence.
I also had the chance to address the Committee myself, on the question of compensation. I explained why the approach which gives rural families more than people in Camden just because they live in an urban environment unacceptable. I also argued for compensation to go beyond property values and take into account wider consideration.
The Committee listened attentively, as they have done for a year.
But I wonder who made a greater impact: the pupils or me? Hopefully, all of us.
Refugees and immigration
These issues are part of my brief and I have begun work on developing Labour policy on in this area. To this end I have been meeting experts – including Steve Symonds, of Amnesty International, who I met this week.
I have also begun to hold informal discussions with MPs to hear their concerns. In the new year I will begin a tour of British regions, so that I can listen to views from across the country.
These are complex questions and I am keen to hear the views of as wide a section of the public as possible.
Mentoring students from the School of Oriental and African Studies
On Monday I had the opportunity to meet five students who are looking to be mentored by an MP with Chloe, from my office. It was a chance to describe the work I had done prior to being elected first as a lawyer and then as the Director of Public Prosecution, as well as explaining my current role.
Ramie, Raphael, Nazgol, Emmanuel and Mounir – studying law and economics – wanted to explore a wide range of issues as they shape their own careers.
They are clearly leadership material and I look forward to working with them during 2016 to help hone their skills and interests.