Constituency Newsletter for June 2021
Welcome to my newsletter for June. We have finally had some warm weather, which was so well timed for the Bank Holiday Weekend. I hope many of you were able to enjoy our wonderful parks in Lewisham, as well as stop by some of our local businesses that have been able to re-open.
Please find below a range of things I’ve been involved in over the past month, in and out of Parliament. If you need any assistance from me, please don’t hesitate to contact me and my office.
Over the past month people aged 30 (and some under) have been invited to have their first vaccine against Covid-19. Approximately 7 million vaccinations have now been given out in London.
We expect to hear plans for extending the vaccination programme to 18-29 year olds in the next week or so. Don’t forget that the vaccine is a two-step process, so you must attend a second appointment 6-8 weeks later. With every jab taken, we are that much closer to returning to full normality!
Please continue to get tested regularly to ensure any case of the virus is caught quickly before it spreads. There are various sites around Lewisham where you can have a test carried out, including at the Civic Suite in Catford, or you pick up a kit to use yourself at home. Find out more here.
Stage 4 of National Lockdown Ending – 21st June
Many restrictions ended on 17th May, including the ban on indoor dining and limitations to outdoor gatherings. The next stage of lifting lockdown is due on 21st June, when all regulations will supposedly lift. However this is in doubt due to new variants causing an increase in Covid-19 cases in some areas. Please do keep checking the official Government website for updates.
Borough of Sanctuary Award
There was cause for celebration at the end of May when Lewisham was officially declared the UK’s first Borough of Sanctuary. After a commitment in 2018 by the Council to make Lewisham a world-leading local area for welcoming migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, I am delighted that we have received this recognition from the national charity City of Sanctuary.
Queen’s Speech: Cladding and Leasehold
This year’s Queen’s Speech – when the Government lays out its priorities for the forthcoming Parliamentary year – gave no further support to leaseholders and residents struggling with fire safety issues. I raised this in the debate on housing; it’s simply unacceptable that the Government continues to ignore its duty of care on this issue.
Diplomatic Protection for Anoosheh Ashoori
I continue to press the Government to bring Anoosheh Ashoori home from Evin Prison in Iran. Last month, 60 MPs joined me in my call for Anoosheh to be granted Diplomatic Protection by our Government. You can read my letter here.
Women in Prisons and Shadow Justice Team
I was honoured last month to be asked to join the Shadow Justice Team, led by David Lammy MP. After serving on the Justice Committee, as well as working separately on issues relating to the justice system for many years, I am excited to contribute to Labour’s work in this area. I recently raised the issue of the Government’s failure to support alternative ways for women, particularly mothers, to serve their sentences. Watch my question here.
Ending Food Poverty
Last month I visited Evelyn Community Store, which is doing amazing work to help those in need in Lewisham. Bringing an end to food poverty is one of my main priorities as your local MP – from children needing free school meals to the increasing numbers of working adults at foodbanks. I spoke in a debate in Parliament to call for the Government to address the root causes of poverty – which means providing more and better paid jobs, fixing Universal Credit, and restoring local authority funding. Watch my full contribution here. I have visited the Panas Gurkha Restaurant, which has donated over 1000 meals to NHS keyworkers and people in need across the constituency.
Conflict in the Middle East
Last month we saw horrendous violence once again between the Israeli authorities and Palestinian militants. Homes were destroyed, places of worship burned, and over 70 children tragically died. I continue to call for peace to be restored in the region, and support a two-state solution that gives freedom and safety for Israelis and Palestinians alike. I raised the violence in an Urgent Question – and am relieved that a ceasefire was called on 21st May.
Women’s Health Consultation
The Department for Health and Social Care are calling for evidence to inform the development of the first Women’s Health Strategy for England, with the ambition of improving the health and wellbeing of women across the country. They are asking for women of all backgrounds to contribute to this survey by 13th June.