Welcome to my April Newsletter. Over the past month in Parliament, I have been representing the people of Lewisham East on important issues ranging from the Budget to small boats legislation to the Baroness Casey Review on the Metropolitan Police.
As always if you need me, please do not hesitate to contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 02084 614733
On Wednesday 15th March Jeremy Hunt unveiled his Spring Budget. This was the Government’s first budget since Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s disastrous Fiscal Statement in September last year. As you know that Fiscal Statement sent shock waves across the economy where the value of pound fell sharply and interest rates were forced up.
This Budget should have been used by the Government to unlock Britain’s promise and potential, but they decided to continue papering over the cracks of 13 years of economic failure. The only surprise was a handout for the richest 1% and their pension pots. It stood in stark contrast to Labour’s nation mission to achieve the highest sustained growth in the G7, by creating good jobs and aiming for productivity growth.
You can read the speech I delivered in reaction to the Budget here.
Illegal Immigration Bill
I was appalled to see the Government introduce and rush through a Bill that would allow the Home Secretary to detain and deport virtually anyone who arrives here “illegally.” It is shameful that the Government continue to play dog whistle politics and categorise refugees, who are vulnerable people, as criminals.
This Bill shows the Conservatives have yet to fully understand what is driving this crisis. They must listen to Labour who has set out a comprehensive plan to:
- Crack down on the gangs with a new Cross Border Police Unit
- Overhaul the asylum system to fast-track decisions and returns and end the use of hotels
- Secure a new agreement with France, Belgium and other European countries
- Reform resettlement and family reunion schemes so they properly work
- Tackle humanitarian crises at source
You can read the speech I made on the Bill here.
Last month saw several concerning announcements relating to the conduct of the Police.
When Dame Louise Casey’s Review on the behaviour and culture of the Metropolitan Police Service was published, it found the organisation to be institutionally racist, misogynistic and homophobic. The Met team must understand the scale of the problem and take urgent action. Following the Review’s publication, I raised child protection and safeguarding issues to the Home Secretary which you can see here.
A week later, the Children’s Commissioner released a report showing the shocking numbers of children being strip-searched by police officers. It also highlighted how black children are disproportionately more likely to be subjected to strip searches than white children. You can see me tell the Minister for Safeguarding that she must take this damning report seriously here.
Later that week the Independent Office for Police Conduct referred the shooting of Chris Kaba to the Crown Prosecution Service. As you may know he was shot by a Met Police officer through the windscreen of a car in Streatham Hill in September last year. This is an important development, and I will continue to monitor this situation very closely. Justice must be served for Chris Kaba, his family and for the black community across London.
Racism is Education
In February there was a disturbing incident which took place outside of Thomas Knyvett College in Surrey where a young black child was physically assaulted by three young white children. This was followed up by another racial attack at a school in Kent. I was then contacted by people across the country sharing their experiences of racist attacks. This demonstrates racial attacks are possibly more common than previously thought.
I therefore led a parliamentary debate last month on racial discrimination in schools. During the debate I called on the Government to:
- Collect data on racist incidents in schools
- Update guidance on measured intervention for school staff
- Diversify the school curriculum
You can read this debate here.
David Lammy’s Foreign Policy Speech & Pamphlet
As the next General Election approaches it is vital that Labour puts on record how it will address many of the global challenges facing Britain today. As Parliamentary Private Secretary to David Lammy the Shadow Foreign Secretary I was delighted to help him publicise his recent speech to Fabian Society and his accompanying pamphlet.
In his speech and pamphlet David set out three principles that would guide the next Labour Government’s approach to foreign policy which consist of:
- Putting pragmatism over ideology
- Making foreign policy choices with working people at the forefront of our minds
- Reconnecting Britain with its allies and partners to take back control for the British people.
On Tuesday 4th April I attended the Lewisham Rail Users Group public meeting to discuss the standard of our rail service. In the meeting we heard from Southeastern, Network Rail and Transport for London on what they were doing to address the delays to the service as well as the dangerous overcrowding at London Bridge.
During the meeting, I put on record my disappointment that Southeastern refused to consult on their December timetable and that Network Rail needed to improve the tracks that Southeastern use. If there are fewer problems with the track then that means fewer delays. I was also informed that work to open new lifts at Catford Station would finish by summer. This is a further delay that should have been finished by October last year.
Both Southeastern’s poor service and improving facilities at our local stations remain high on my agenda.
Thank you for reading this newsletter.