The lasy week took in an extremely well attended public meeting on Brexit, discussion at the Fabian Society ‘Future of Britain’ event, ongoing work with Voice4Victims, a visit to Getty Images, and more.
Camden Town Hall was packed to the rafters on Thursday night – so full we had to reluctantly turn people away. Every seat in the hall was taken, with many standing for two hours of passionate, informed discussion.
On the platform with me were Sarah Hayward, Camden Council leader and Andrew Dismore, our member for London.
Leaving the EU is among the most important issues we have faced since the Second World War, and I have received thousands of emails about it. Many have described how hurt and diminished they feel by the referendum outcome.
Before the government triggers Article 50 and begins our formal exit, it is important that it engages with the public. There needs to be discussions with all concerned – so that we can establish our red lines. What is to be negotiated and what is not? And these should be enshrined in law.
I then laid out the arguments surrounding the process: why it should not be rushed and how the opposition must ensure that hard won rights gained during our EU membership are retained. Rights for workers and the environment must become part of UK law.
The 1972 legislation by which we joined the EU will have to be repealed, if we are to leave. The public have the right to know what the exit package will be. The referendum asked us to choose between a ‘known’ – our EU membership – and an ‘unknown’ – our future after the EU.
Once the negotiations have been completed it will be necessary to consult the public again: either in another referendum or in a general election. Only in that way will the British people be able to make a fair judgement between our current EU membership and the future once we have left.
Both Sarah Hayward and Andrew Dismore laid out the roles Camden and London are playing in this process. It is vital that local government and Sadiq Khan, as Mayor of London, are allowed to participate fully in the negotiations. The voices of our whole community must be heard as we move into new, uncharted territory.
After we all spoke there followed more than an hour of intelligent questioning and debate.
I am really sorry that we could not accommodate everyone at the meeting.
As I said on Thursday, this is the beginning of this process and I hope to hold further meetings to take it forward later in the year.
Fabians Society ‘Future of Britain’ event
On Tuesday I also spoke at a packed Fabians Society event in Parliament debating the future of the Britain and the Labour Party.
It has been a turbulent and traumatic few weeks for the Party and the country. I spoke about the need to now bring Labour members and voters together, and to set out a bold and ambitious project following the Referendum.
A Voice for Victims
On Monday I participated in a meeting organised by Claire Waxman, of Voice4Victims, who has been campaigning against stalking for the past 13 years.
We have been working together to bring in a new law, which I introduced in January.
Claire explained how devious and persistent harassment can be. Some victims have been forced to take no fewer that 20 forms of legal action to try to halt civil injunctions, child protection orders and a whole range of other measures that are used by the abusers.
Claire described how in civil cases victims frequently have to confront their abusers in court and even be cross-examined by them – something that has long since been prevented in criminal cases.
When I spoke I described the four steps that are most immediately required.
- Finding a safe way for a victim of abuse to lodge a report, including developing alternatives to police stations
- Accepting the credibility of victims, and understanding why they may not report abuse immediately and may have no option but to return to live with the abuser
- Providing proper counselling and support
- Preventing the cross-examination by perpetrators and introducing the use of screens in civil cases.
This is on-going work and I will be co-operating with Claire and her colleagues as it goes ahead.
Getty images, Camden
I had the chance of seeing the work of Getty images. Just around the corner from Camden tube, it is a major employer in the area.
This is its UK and EU headquarters, and from here it licenses and provides royalties to more than 100 of its own photographers, and many more freelancers operating around the world. Some work in the creative environment, others in news.
When I visited they were receiving images from the tragic events in Nice, where so many had been killed.
Getty are worried about their rights, and the royalties of the photographers they represent, being eroded by free image-sharing. The company and the freelancers rely on the income.
Momenul Haque campaign
Friday’s Evening Standard carried a story about Camden resident Momenul Haque, who is raising money to help fund treatment for advanced cancer.
I have met with Mo, and his story is incredibly moving. He is just 33 and has been fighting colon cancer since 2014. He has now exhausted all standard treatment options and cannot get funding on the NHS for a drug – pembrolizumab – that has been recommended for his treatment by clinicians at UCLH.
Mo is now having to raise funding himself to cover the cost of treatment, which could be as much as £200,000.
I have written to the Health Secretary about this and urged him to see what more can be done to help prevent people having to raise money to cover treatment. I will also be holding an event in Parliament to raise awareness of this.
You can find out more about Mo’s case on his just giving page: https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/keepinghope
Next week is the last week before Parliament breaks up for summer recess.
On Thursday 21st July at 2pm I will be holding a public meeting in the Bronte Room of the British Library to discuss the housing crisis in Camden. This event is open to everyone and is a chance to discuss how we can improve housing supply, quality and affordability across our constituency. I hope as many people as possible will be able to come along. Further details can be found by contacting my office (020 7219 6234).
I will also be holding a constituency surgery at 10am on Friday 22nd. This will be at the Roy Shaw Centre, 3-5 Cressy Road, London, NW3 2RD.