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

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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Helen leads debate in Parliament on Dulwich Hamlet FC

I recently led a debate in Parliament on Dulwich Hamlet Football Club. The club was locked out of its Champion Hill ground last month by its landlord Meadow Residential LLP.

I have received countless emails, letters and messages from my constituents who are deeply concerned about the Dulwich Hamlet FC’s future. DHFC has deep roots in our community and it is loved for its charitable and community work as much as for the inclusive approach to football, family atmosphere at its home games and its recent strong performance in the Bostik League. I was delighted to join around a thousand fans at the protest and rally the day after the debate support of the club.

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Helen delivers letter to Royal Mail opposing delivery office closures

I have been fighting Royal Mail’s proposed closure of the SE27 delivery office in West Norwood and SE22 delivery office in East Dulwich since these plans first came to light.  The plans would see residents in SE27 having to travel to Penge to collect parcels and registered post on a journey which can take up to an hour in each direction, and residents in SE22 having to travel to Peckham to an area with no on-street parking.

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Helen tables Early Day Motion on mental health

I’ve tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament to highlight the pressures faced by mental health services in my constituency and across South London. Despite the Government’s tough talk on mental health, the reality is that under the Tories half of all Clinical Commission Groups say they plan to reduce the proportion of their budget spent on mental health.

My Early Day Motion calls on the Government to review current NHS spending standards for mental health and to ensure future funding for mental health is properly ring-fenced.

It’s great to have support for the EDM from MPs across South London. I will continue to press for mental health services to be properly resourced and to receive the priority that they deserve.  You can read my EDM here: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2017-19/895

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Helen leads debate in Parliament on the pressures at King’s

Yesterday I led a debate in Parliament on the financial pressures at King’s College Hospital.

I gave birth to my two children at King’s and my mum worked there for ten years until she retired. The situation at King’s is as personal and as important to me and my family as it is to tens of thousands of my constituents, and it is very concerning to see the current financial difficulties the Trust is facing.

King’s has been on a journey over the past twenty years. Back in 1998, when I was an in-patient, it was a struggling, failing hospital. Years of investment under the last Labour government transformed King’s so that by 2010 it was meeting all of its main clinical targets and consistently achieving a small annual financial surplus.

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Helen's response to Boundary Commission proposals

The Boundary Commission for England has recently published its latest set of proposals for new constituency boundaries, for consultation.  The proposals are based the requirement to reduce the number of Parliamentary constituencies from 650 to 600, an initiative of the Coalition government, in order to reduce the costs of our democracy.  

At a time when the UK population is increasing, I believe that this reduction is profoundly undemocratic, and that cost savings should be achieved by reforming the House of Lords into a modern, democratically elected Chamber, with fewer than the current 800 Peers.  The current Boundary Commission proposals would split Dulwich and West Norwood constituency into four different new constituencies, and I believe that this would be very damaging for our communities.  I have set out the reasons for this in my response to the Boundary Commission consultation, the full text of which is pasted below.

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More money to pay for Brexit than to fund our NHS

The Chancellor delivered a Budget last week which exposed the extent to which Theresa May’s Tory government is mired in its own divisions, unable to articulate a vision for the country, negotiate Brexit effectively, deliver a strong economy or invest in our public services.

Before delivering his announcements, the Chancellor set out an extraordinarily weak context – our economy is flat lining, and wages stagnating, underpinned by poor productivity.  Theresa May fought the general election in June based on the promise of a strong economy.  She has abjectly failed to deliver it.

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EU (Withdrawal) Bill update from Helen

The detailed debate on the EU Withdrawal Bill has now started – over eight full days of debate, MPs will discuss every aspect of the Bill during its ‘committee stage’.

This Bill is deeply flawed, damaging and not fit for purpose. It gives carte blanche to a small number of government ministers to water down regulations, rights and protections which come from the EU without Parliamentary scrutiny; it fails to make any provision for our laws to keep pace with future changes in EU law on important issues like the regulation of toxic chemicals; and it denies Parliament a meaningful vote on the proposed Brexit deal.

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