Helen's statement on amendments to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill

Many of my constituents have got in touch in relation to several amendments to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill. I will be in touch with everyone who has contacted me soon to explain my thoughts on each of the amendments in much more detail, but I wanted to set out right away a brief explanation of how I voted.

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London Pride 2019

This weekend is London Pride, when the LGBT+ community from across the country comes together to celebrate the conclusion of Pride Month. This year march marks 50 years since member of the LGBT+ community at the Stonewall Inn rose up against the continued oppression of New York police and wider society. Since then we have seen tremendous strides in achieving rights and representation for LGBT+ people: the first Pride march in 1972, Civil Partnerships, the abolition of the Tory’s Section 28 and the introduction of equal marriage. 

The Labour Party has led on most of these reforms, ever since a Labour government decriminalised homosexuality in 1967. However, recent hate crimes against LGBT+ people remind us about the need to continue fighting for equal rights and challenging prejudice. The past year has seen a shocking rise in LGBT+ hate crime across the country, protests outside schools teaching children about LGBT+ relationships and widespread hateful speech about transgender+ people in the media. 

I stand in solidarity with all of my constituents against these acts of discrimination and wish all my constituents a very happy Pride.
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Fighting Climate Change


Yesterday was the launch of London Climate Action Week. This week will bring together people from across London together to focus on taking local, national and international action to tackle climate change. I was delighted to speak at the launch event yesterday to share some of the great work that is happening in Dulwich and West Norwood and the work that I am doing in Parliament to push the government to do much more to ensure urgent action on climate change.

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Helen speaks in Parliament on migration in the History curriculum

Last week in Parliament, I led a debate focused on "the teaching of migration in the History curriculum". I represent one of the most diverse constituencies in the country.  But research by the Runnymede Trust demonstrates that the history curriculum often focuses only on a narrow selection of key moments in history rather than a broader inclusive approach.  

This has not only led to a low uptake of History among BAME students, but deprives all students of learning about the important impacts of migration on our country and the influence of communities from across the globe who have come to make their home on these islands. From the Viking and Roman invaders, to Irish migrants fleeing starvation during the potato famine, to French Protestant Huguenots fleeing persecution, to the Windrush Generation coming to help rebuild the UK after the Second World War, the history of the UK is a history of migration. Understanding our history in this way can help to build cohesion and overcome division.

In the debate, I called on the government to take seriously research by the Runnymede Trust, adapt the curriculum and provide more training and support to teachers, so that every child can find their story in the history taught in our schools.

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World Refugee Day

Today is World Refugee Day when globally we recognise the dire situations facing refugees and asylum seekers worldwide. In the last year, I have visited the charity Help Refugees in Calais and seen the shocking conditions in which many refugees are forced to live just a three hour drive from our community. The UK and the international community must help refugees, who have fled unimaginable experiences, to rebuild their lives. You can read about what I have been doing in Parliament this week here >>

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Helen speaks about the closure of Barclay's Bank in West Norwood

This week the Barclay's branch in West Norwood will close its doors for the final time - leaving residents in West Norwood with no bank branch in the town centre. I have been working with the local Labour councillors to oppose this closure and I'm grateful to everyone who has responded to our survey and signed the petition.

We have met with Barclays, provided evidence of the heavy reliance of local businesses, elderly and vulnerable customers on a physical branch, and urged them to think again. It is very disappointing that they have not done so.

This latest closure is the fourth bank branch closure in my constituency in as many years, and this is happening across the country. It highlights the urgent need for banking reform. Labour will make banking more ethical, requiring the banks to retain at least one branch in every town centre so no community is stranded and making it harder to invest in harmful industries like fossil fuels. Watch my short film here>>


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Helen speaks in Parliament about the Revoke Article 50 Debate

Yesterday Parliament debated the petition calling for Article 50 to be revoked, signed by more than 6 million people - more signatories than any other petition to Parliament has received. I spoke on behalf of the 26,000+ residents in Dulwich and West Norwood who signed the petition, and all who are opposed to Brexit, worried about the impacts it will have and would like the opportunity to vote on any proposed Brexit deal, with an option to remain on the ballot.

You can watch my speech here >>

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Helen's Statement on Recent Resignations from the Labour Party

I am very sorry to see a number of MPs leave the Labour Party this week. At a time when our country is riven with division and anxiety over Brexit, and the damage the Tories have caused to our public services is visible across the whole country, we should not be seeing the resignation of Labour MPs.

The Labour Party, our Trade Unions and the wider Labour movement are a part of my DNA, just as they have been for generations of my family. There is no question of me leaving the Labour Party.


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Helen Hayes MP's Brexit Update

Update - 27th March 2019

Events have continued to move at a rapid and tumultuous pace with regards to Brexit recently. Since my last update Parliament has twice rejected Theresa May’s Brexit deal by large majorities.

I was proud to march alongside more than one million members of the public last weekend, including hundreds from Dulwich and West Norwood, to call for a People’s Vote.  It was heartening to see the strength of support and widespread passion for a People’s Vote. Please rest assured that I will continue to work to this end.

Despite these momentous events, my position remains the same. I still believe that Theresa May’s deal will be damaging to the country and that there is no alternative Brexit deal that will be better than our current membership of the European Union. I will continue to represent the overwhelming majority of my constituents who are opposed to Brexit by voting against the Prime Minister’s damaging Brexit deal and campaigning for a People’s Vote. 

I recently voted against the possibility of a no-deal Brexit and in favour of extending Article 50. The Prime Minister continues to run down the clock and use the threat of a no-deal Brexit to exert pressure on MPs to vote for her deal. Parliament voted overwhelmingly to remove this threat and to extend Article 50. The EU has been clear that the UK must offer a clear and credible plan for moving forward to receive a longer extension.

Last night, I voted for the Letwin amendment seeking to allow Parliament to take control of the Brexit process and stage indicative votes. I am pleased that this has passed. Later this week, Parliament will vote on a series of Brexit proposals with the aim of identifying a way forward that can command a majority. At this stage, any form of Brexit including the Prime Minister’s deal is very far removed from the promises of the Leave campaign, and I firmly believe that any form of Brexit must therefore be returned to the British public for a final say on whether to leave the EU or remain. I will vote to secure a guarantee that the current Brexit deal or any potential renegotiation of it will be ratified through a public vote.

I am pleased that Labour Party policy is now to support a public vote on the Brexit deal. Keir Starmer and Tom Watson have both very recently reaffirmed the Party’s position that there must be a public vote on any deal, with the option to remain.


The Short Read:  a summary of my position on Theresa May’s Brexit deal

I am a pro-European who campaigned very strongly to Remain in the EU during the 2016 referendum. I believe that the EU has contributed hugely to peace and prosperity in Europe and that cooperating with our neighbours is the only way to tackle the big challenges facing us in the 21st century.

The leave campaign lied during the EU referendum campaign and broke the expenses limits that were designed to ensure that the campaign was run fairly. There are many things which are now clear, which were either not known or not discussed and debated at the time of the referendum, including the UK government’s own analysis that there is no Brexit scenario in which the UK will not be poorer.

Residents of Dulwich and West Norwood voted overwhelmingly to Remain in the EU in 2016, and I made a firm commitment to continue to represent their views, and to place our values of tolerance, diversity and internationalism at the heart of my work on Brexit.

I have received many thousands of emails and letters since June 2016 from constituents asking me to oppose Brexit, and if that doesn’t prove possible, to work for the softest possible Brexit.  In Parliament I have voted repeatedly against leaving the EU and in favour of a People’s Vote, representing the very strong pro-Remain views of the vast majority of my constituents in Dulwich and West Norwood.

It is completely reckless and unacceptable that the Prime Minister has delayed the meaningful vote on the Brexit deal until mid-January.  I have added my name to the motion of no confidence in Theresa May as Prime Minister.  The Prime Minister’s Brexit deal will be harmful to the UK.  I will vote against it on 15th January and continue to campaign for a People’s Vote and for the UK to stay in the EU.

The Long Read: my views on the European Union, Brexit and what happens next.

At this critical moment in the UK’s history, I wanted to set out in full my position on the UK’s relationship with the European Union, explain how I have represented the residents of Dulwich and West Norwood’s views on the EU over the past three and a half years, the approach I am taking to Theresa May’s Brexit deal, and what comes next.  Bear with me, it’s a bit of a long read.


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Helen visits Auschwitz-Birkenau with local schools

On 21 March I travelled to the former Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland with the Holocaust Education Trust and a group of young people from Dulwich and West Norwood and South London.

I learned about the Holocaust as a teenager at school in the North-West of England, every year in January I commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day, and I have met and spoken to a number of Holocaust survivors. Yet nothing quite prepared me for visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau. The museum which has been created at the sites of the two camps which formed Auschwitz-Birkenau communicates very powerfully the horrific scale of the mass persecution and killing which took place there, but the displays of personal belongings stolen from the prisoners – a handmade child’s dress, a decorated cup and bowl, thousands of pairs of shoes – also remind us that each and every person who was murdered by the Nazis was an individual with their own story, their loved ones, their talents, their struggles and their hopes.

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