A busy two weeks: I was away during recess/half-term in Bangladesh. Since returning at the weekend, this week has been dominated by Europe and HS2.
In case you missed it in the Camden New Journal, here is my dispatch from the capital, Dhaka.
Our delegation, which included fellow Labour MPs, Stephen Timms and Steve Reed, Camden councillors Abdul Hai and Nasim Ali and executive member of Labour Friends of Bangladesh, Robert Latham, met the President, the Prime Minister and the Speaker of House, along with various Ministers.
We also met the leaders of the official opposition and the leaders of the BNP.
From Dhaka we went on to Sylhet, the area in north east Bangladesh where most of our Camden British Bangladeshi community hail from. It was a fascinating opportunity to gain another perspective on Bangladesh – one that is viewed from the village.
In or out?
At the weekend I got back and since I have focussed on Europe and HS2.
On Monday the Prime Minister fired the starting gun for the EU referendum, triggering mass fall outs in the Tory party. Along with many colleagues in the Labour Party and the trade union movement, I will be campaigning strongly for an ‘In’ vote because I believe that our membership of the EU has brought jobs, growth, investment, security and influence, as well as rights and protections for workers and for the environment.
And here is a piece I wrote for LabourList on Ian Ducan Smith’s misguided comments on the security risks of staying in the EU.
HS2: hard to stomach
Monday also saw the publication of the HS2 Select Committee Report, which will come as a bitter disappointment to many Camden residents, especially since the Committee had come to see the impact for themselves.
Although the Committee had no power to amend the principle of the Bill, it did have power to suggest modifications and to seek assurances and undertakings.
Yet, despite the devastating and long term damage that HS2 will cause to our communities, the Select Committee rejected an Old Oak Common terminus either permanently or temporarily; and, in relation to mitigation, the Committee has largely delegated responsibility to others rather than seeking modifications, assurances and undertakings itself.
This is a leap of trust that many local people will find very hard to stomach. The inescapable conclusion is that the desires of rail users have been prioritised over the needs of residents.
Finally, and more positively, we had two highly successful fundraising dinners this week. First for Andrew Dismore on Monday, where I introduced Hilary Benn MP and Sadiq; and Thursday where we hosted Sadiq here in Holborn and St Pancras.
Sadiq gave a really inspiring speech at the Thurday dinner at Antalya Restaurant, which was attended by close to 100 members.
The energy behind the campaign is great and in just ten weeks, I hope we have a much needed Labour victory.