Chilcot Report

Last week saw the long-awaited publication of the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war.  The report was rightly commissioned by Gordon Brown under the last Labour government in 2009 to investigate the events leading up to the war in Iraq, the military action itself and the aftermath of the war. It is very rare that such a detailed retrospective review is undertaken of a key decision made by Parliament and Sir John Chilcot must be commended for the rigour of the inquiry that he led.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Southern Railway Emergency Timetable

Southern Railway have this week announced that they will be implementing an emergency timetable from Monday 11th July, which will result in the cancellation of 341 services across their network. I have today written to the Rail Minister, Claire Perry MP, about the entirely unacceptable impacts that the emergency timetable will have on my constituents. Please see the full text of my letter below. 

Read more
Add your reaction Share

EU Referendum Result - Latest Update

I have received well over a thousand emails from local residents who have signed the petition for a second EU referendum, or who are requesting that Parliament votes to reject the referendum result.

I am therefore writing again to clarify that I would not vote to trigger Article 50 unless a second referendum had been held.

I have always been passionately pro-European, and I campaigned very hard for the Remain campaign both in my constituency and elsewhere in the months leading up to the referendum.  Whilst I don’t believe that the EU is perfect, I am absolutely certain that we are better off remaining within it and working from within to make it fit for purpose for the 21st century.  I am proud that this support is shared by so many local residents in Dulwich and West Norwood and that Lambeth and Southwark voted overwhelmingly in favour of remaining in the EU on 23rd June. I share the devastation that many residents feel about the referendum result.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Local Train Services - meeting with the Rail Minister and Chief Executive of Govia Thameslink Railway

Every week I am contacted by residents frustrated at the terrible rail services in my constituency. I regularly travel to Parliament by train and so I know exactly what the thousands of local commuters from our area have to put up with. 

The performance of Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), the franchise which also now includes Southern, is simply not good enough.  Too many passengers are made late for work, left stranded, forced to travel in unbearably crowded conditions or find themselves unable to board trains during peak times because they are full.

Today I met the Rail Minister, Claire Perry MP, and the Chief Executive of GTR, Charles Horton, to discuss the unacceptable levels of service that my constituents are experiencing.  I was absolutely clear with them that the current situation is unbearable and is causing untold misery for my constituents on a daily basis – whether it is parents struggling to get home in order to put their children to bed, or people consistently being made late for work through no fault of their own.

I strongly believe that Transport for London should have responsibility for running suburban rail services in south London, and I am pleased that consultation took place on this recently.  TfL has much higher levels of reliability and customer satisfaction than any other rail operator in London, and I hope that the government will listen to the strong support for this proposal expressed during the consultation and press ahead with this transfer.  But the current situation is intolerable and we need improvements immediately. 

Read more
Add your reaction Share

10 days to ensure that Britain Remains in Europe

In ten days’ time, we will take part in the most important vote in a generation to decide whether Britain should remain a member of the European Union.  I am campaigning hard with local Labour councillors and party members for the UK to remain in the EU because of the many positive benefits this brings in terms of our economy, security, environmental protection and workers’ rights; and because I believe profoundly that we are always better off working through challenges and differences together.  There are many opportunities to campaign in Dulwich and West Norwood over the next ten days.  Please join me and other members of our local Labour Party in speaking to voters in our constituency, where support for the EU is high and we need to make sure that as many people as possible vote on 23 June.  The dates and times of campaigning sessions are here:

 

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Help Needed for Isaac's Bone Marrow Transplant

Over recent weeks, I have been working on behalf of Isaac Aganozor, who was diagnosed last year with Leukaemia. Isaac’s prognosis is not good - he is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment at St Bartholomew’s Hospital but is in desperate need of a stem cell transplant. Despite a full search of the donor register in the UK, the only option for Isaac is a bone marrow donation from his brother Patrick, who lives in Nigeria.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Carnegie Library Update - April 2016

We have seen in Herne Hill over the past two weeks an extraordinary expression of support for a much loved and valued local facility, the Carnegie Library.  I have received almost a hundred emails and many tweets from constituents about Carnegie, and the strength of feeling has come as no surprise.  People have told me all of the things that they love and hold dear about Carnegie – a valued local library for both adults and children, the beautiful listed building, the wealth of activities that take place there, access to books and the flights of imagination, possibility and opportunity which flow from them, the quality of the light and the spaces inside, access to computers – particularly for young people who need space to study independently - and perhaps most of all, and capturing all of those things, the fact that Carnegie is a space which brings people together – young and old, from all backgrounds in a world in which such spaces and opportunities are increasingly limited.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Carnegie Library

Carnegie Library in Herne Hill will close temporarily today.  Many local residents have been in touch with me about Carnegie and I know that there is a great deal of anxiety locally about the temporary closure and plans for the future of Carnegie.

I am absolutely committed to seeing the Carnegie Library retained as a library at the heart of our community and put on a sustainable financial footing for the long term.  I have set out below my understanding of the current situation and the important next steps in securing the future of Carnegie.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Piecemeal and Regressive: my response to the 2016 Budget

Yesterday George Osborne revealed his hand as a cynical showman, a master of smoke and mirrors, and a failure on his own terms.  The statistics the Chancellor used in his speech to claim success on debt reduction disguise the central, critical facts – public sector debt as a proportion of GDP is not reducing at the target rate the government itself has set, and he has breached his own fiscal rule.

Look behind the headlines, and this is a budget that is fraught with hidden impacts.  Overall it will benefit the most affluent, at a time when so many on low and middle incomes are struggling. The British economy clearly looks weaker than it did in November, growth forecasts have been cut every year until 2020 and borrowing is now higher than predicted.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Supporting Brixton Arches Traders - Update

I have been consistent in my support for the Brixton Arches Traders since Network Rail began consulting last year on proposals to terminate their existing leases in order to undertake a major refurbishment programme.  There is no doubt that the arches are in a poor state of repair and that work needs to be done, but it is extremely disappointing that at every stage, Network Rail have failed to listen and respond to the concerns that the traders have expressed and are continuing to progress a scheme which has the potential to have a devastating impact on Brixton town centre.  Network Rail recently submitted a planning application for the works they wish to undertake.  I have written to the Council to object the planning application.  Please see the full text of my letter below:

Brixton Railway Arches, Planning Application Objection

I am writing to make a formal objection to the planning application reference 16/00868/FUL submitted by Network Rail for the railway arches on Brixton Station Road and Atlantic Road.  I have met with many of the businesses who occupy the arches, and with Network Rail on a number of occasions during the preparation of the planning application, and I am concerned that the issues that have been raised by the businesses have not been adequately addressed.

The Brixton railway arches are home to approximately 50 businesses in my constituency, and support approximately 150 full and part time jobs.  The majority of the businesses have been in the arches for a very long time, and the business owners and staff are drawn from a very diverse range of backgrounds.  The arches are integral to the identity of Brixton town centre, the businesses serve our local area extremely well, and they are a key part of the community in Brixton.

Read more
Add your reaction Share