Welcome to my June Newsletter. As bills continue to surge, families will be worried about food prices and the cost of other essentials. Times are tough. So many people are finding it harder to make ends meet with the biggest hit to living standards on record. Yet the Government continues to do very little to address this crisis.
Over recent weeks I have participated in numerous debates to represent the views and feelings of Lewisham East. This has ranged from speeches on the new Prisoners and Victims Bill to the Government Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill to Eye Health. I have also attended local community events with members and constituents.
Please read below for a detailed monthly round-up of my work as the MP for Lewisham East.
If you need any assistance from me, please do not hesitate to contact me via email@example.com or call me on 02084 614733
Labour’s Health Mission
On Monday 22nd May Labour set out its national mission to build an NHS fit for the future. This will mean that the NHS will be there for when people need it, making sure that fewer lives are lost to the biggest killers and create a fairer Britain where everyone lives well for longer.
After 13 years this Conservative Government the NHS has been run into the ground. This crisis is leading to a two-tier system, with care being provided by a struggling NHS to those who can’t afford to pay, and timely care provided only for those with the money to go private.
A Labour Government will enact a number of measures to:
- Shift services out of hospitals that could go into the community
- Tackling long-running workforce challenges and harnessing new technology
- Move the focus of government departments, the NHS, and wider public services to prevention and tackling the social inequalities
For more detail you can watch Keir Starmer’s speech on the Health Mission here.
Conservative & SNP Sleaze
Whilst Labour has been setting out bold and transformative policies, the Conservative Party have gone from one scandal to another. On Friday, the bombshell news broke that Boris Johnson was standing down as an MP with immediate effect. This happened shortly after Nadine Dorries said she was already resigning as she had been blocked from receiving a peerage. Nigel Adams was then the third Conservative MP to register his resignation. Soon the Privileges Committee will also meet to finalise their report on Johnson’s conduct and it is expected that they will find he knowingly misled Parliament over the COVID-19 lockdown breaches.
We will now be having three by-elections in three different parts of the country. If the Tories are to lose all three by-elections then it is clear that the public have had enough of the Conservatives and that a Labour Government is now needed. For instance, Boris Johnson’s honours list was an insult that to families who lost loved ones during the pandemic and to everyone who sacrificed so much. It is unacceptable that those in Number 10 who planned Covid parties during the pandemic are now set to be rewarded by this Government.
The Government has also been asked to hand over to the COVID inquiry unredacted messages and notes sent between Johnson and 40 of the most senior people in government. Additionally, Boris Johnson has been referred to police by the Cabinet Office over claims that he broke lockdown rules by hosting family and friends at Chequers during Covid.
It now seems a long time ago, but it is also worth remembering that Dominic Raab was forced to resign as the UK’s Deputy Prime Minister and as Justice Secretary after being found to have intimidated civil servants. Later he confirmed that he would stand down as an MP at the next election.
Furthermore, the Home Secretary allegedly asked civil servants to arrange a private one-to-one speed awareness course after being caught speeding last year. This could have potentially broken the Ministerial Code. The Prime Minister has so far refused to launch an investigation, highlighting his lack of power to address sleaze at the heart of Government.
This endless list of scandals demonstrates how unfit the Tories are for public office.
Whilst the Tories are clearly in crisis, the arrest of Nicola Sturgeon must not be forgotten. I am sure there is a huge sense of shock across Scotland that a figure who dominated politics for so long was put under arrest. This development makes it impossible for SNP to move on. It is now down to Labour to show that we are the party ready to govern Scotland with integrity and competency.
Victims and Prisoners Bill
The Government recently introduced a new Victims and Prisoners Bill. In the House of Commons Chamber, I raised how it fails to properly protect & support victims. There are still no defined rights for victims and the Government has done little to address non-compliance with the Victims’ Code.
The police and the relevant authorities must be given adequate resources to implement this code. There should also be a properly Independent Public Advocate to stop the aftermath of public disasters, such as Hillsborough, going so badly wrong for victims.
I am also concerned that this Bill will arbitrarily keep offenders in prison for longer than necessary with changes to parole boards. Therefore, I will be working with colleagues to improve this Bill, so it delivers for victims of crime and ensures the problems in the prison system do not get any worse. You can read my speech here.
Appearance on BBC Politics London
It was my pleasure to appear on BBC Politics on Sunday 28th May. During the show I was asked questions on next year’s London Mayor election, access to banking for older and vulnerable people, loneliness rates in London as well as the anniversary of the Elizabeth Line.
I was joined throughout the show by Conservative Peer Lord Moylan. You can watch the show here.
Anti Strike Legislation
The Government is still trying to force through their Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill. It has widely been acknowledged that this Bill is unworkable and impractical. The Bill is intended to serve as a distraction from the Conservative’s economic and NHS crises. It is shameful that the Government have gone from clapping key workers to trying to sack them.
I know many of you have closely followed conflicts that have unfortunately taken place over recent years. Wars cause so much harm to societies, families and to the well-being of the individuals involved. It has been heart breaking to see violence break out in Sudan, whilst war continues in Ukraine, Syria and Yemen.
I am glad that with Keir Starmer as our leader and David Lammy as our Shadow Foreign Secretary a Labour Government will help promote the UK’s security by reducing conflict, poverty and suffering around the world. Labour would also re-establish the UK as a trusted, reliable and influential partner that keeps its word, and stands up for human rights.
You can read more about Labour’s foreign policy here.
Consultation on change to South Curricular Road
Transport for London has recently closed their consultation on changes to South Circular Road. One of the main changes would see Catford Road moved to a new position south of Laurence House on the site of the Canadian Avenue car park. The one-way system around Plassy Island would be moved, making it a two-way road.
I look forward to what TfL’s response is to their consultation and I will follow updates very closely.
Southeastern’s new timetable came into place on Sunday 21st May. Since the December timetable was implemented, there have been very high-profile delays and health and safety issues at London Bridge Station.
It is encouraging that there will now be a direct off-peak service to Charing Cross on the Bexleyheath Line, alongside additional peak services on weekdays on the Sidcup line. Yet these changes show that the timetable that was imposed upon users was flawed.
I am committed to my campaign to reverse these deeply damaging timetable changes. I will also be putting up pressure on the Government to properly fund Southeastern so they can upgrade their stock of trains which will improve reliability and make travelling a more pleasant experience.
Tamil Remembrance Day
Thursday 18th May marked Mullivaikkal Remembrance Day. To pay my respects to the tens of thousands of Tamils killed in the Sri Lanka civil war 14 years ago, I signed a memorial book organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils. When signing the memorial book, I thought about the human rights injustices that took place against the Tamil people. It is vital the Labour Party continues to commit to hold those who took part in human rights violations against the Tamil people to account.
Thank you for reading this newsletter.