Helen speaks in debate on the Domestic Abuse bill

One of the reasons I am pleased to be back in Parliament following the Supreme Court decision last week, is that it allows the Domestic Abuse Bill to be progressed.  This important legislation, which has cross-party support, will ensure that the legal framework of protection for victims and survivors of domestic abuse is strengthened.  But we need to ensure that the new Bill is right in every detail. 

There is clear evidence of the link between domestic abuse and homelessness. Last year an estimated 23,430 families who were at risk of homelessness had experienced some form of domestic abuse, whilst one in five of Crisis’ women clients report that domestic abuse was the direct cause of their homelessness. In my work, I regularly support people attempting to flee or recover from domestic abuse but who are held back due to difficulties accessing secure housing. Under current UK law, being a survivor of domestic abuse does not automatically qualify someone for priority status for housing. Today, I called on the Government to ensure the Domestic Abuse Bill reforms this ongoing injustice and provides sustainable funding for local councils to provide secure housing for survivors of domestic abuse.

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Helen challenges the Chancellor on hedge funds betting on a no-deal Brexit

Today I questioned the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the scandal of speculators shorting the pound in anticipation of a no-deal Brexit. Recent evidence has suggested that several hedge funds and wealthy individuals have increasingly bet against the pound and British businesses, since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister. Many of these funds have made significant donations to the Conservative Party and to the Prime Minister’s leadership campaign. Shockingly, instead of responding to scrutiny with transparency, the Chancellor simply refused outright to answer my question. It is unacceptable for the Government’s wealthy donors to be cashing in whilst small businesses across the country face the economic calamity of no deal.  

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Helen responds to the Government's NHS funding announcement

Today in Parliament, I responded to the Government’s announcement of a woefully inadequate funding package for our NHS. Since 2010, the Tory Government have cut over £4bn from NHS investment budgets. This is money which would have been used to replace outdated hospital equipment and provide new facilities.  Analysis suggests that there is a backlog of more than £6bn worth of repairs, much of which poses risks to patients’ safety, whilst upgrade programmes have been consistently delayed.

King’s College Hospital is facing particularly financial difficulties due to the Lib Dem-Tory coalition Government’s disastrous decision to force King’s to take on two additional hospitals. Staff at King’s do an amazing job day in day out providing life saving and life enhancing treatment and care, but the hospital urgently needs capital investment to enable it to meet local needs and overcome the current financial challenges. Today’s announcement does not include a single penny for King’s. Instead the Government once again targeted investment in the marginal seats Boris Johnson will target in a General Election, continuing to ignore our local hospital. 

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Helen speaks in debate in Parliament on the Principles of Democracy

This week we have witnessed harrowing events in Parliament with the Prime Minister blithely dismissing the concerns of female MPs about safety; we witnessed the Prime Minister shamefully invoke the name of Jo Cox in support of his pursuit of a hard-Brexit; and we witnessed the Government attempting to block debate through intimidation and bullying. Free debate is at the heart of democracy, but the use of the language of war for political purposes damages our society and our Parliament. Branding MPs as ‘traitors’ and describing legitimate Acts of Parliament as the ‘surrender’ bill is a crass attempt to shut down democratic debate and representation. We must urgently restore civility and respect in our public discourse.   

Democracy should not demand that opposition voices are silenced or that concerns of Remain voter about evidence of the damage Brexit will do should not be heard. Since the beginning of the Brexit debate, I have been clear that I will not be bullied into silence and will continue to represent the pro-Remain views of my constituents. My speech in yesterday’s debate >>

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Helen responds to the Supreme Court judgement on prorogation

I am delighted that the Supreme Court has ruled in favour of legal action to challenge the prorogation of Parliament. The Court is clear in its judgement that due to the illegal advice provided to the Queen, the prorogation is void. I am proud to have sponsored this historic legal action, though it is shocking that it was necessary.

Parliament must now sit again at the earliest opportunity to debate Brexit and hold this failing Government to account.

I will continue to oppose a damaging Brexit and give the final say on Brexit to the British people in a People’s Vote. In any referendum campaign, as I did in 2016, I will campaign tirelessly for the UK to remain in the European Union. 

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Helen joins the Climate Strike

Today, I joined young people in Brixton to call for urgent action to save our planet, as part of the global climate strike. Millions of people in 139 countries are striking from school and work to demand that their governments act to prevent catastrophic climate change. We are already seeing the effects of global heating with extreme weather events, dramatic losses in biodiversity, and rising sea levels.

Scientists agree that to stop warming beyond 1.5C we must reach net-zero emissions by 2050. However, even this small temperature increase would be devastating for our environment. We need to be bolder and urgently transition away from the use of fossil fuels and lead the rest of the world in fighting climate change.

At Labour Party Conference this coming week, I will be supporting proposals to introduce a Green New Deal for our economy. I will also be speaking on panels throughout the week to discuss how we can tackle both the climate crisis and the housing crisis through zero carbon homes and sustainable development and the urgent action we need to improve air quality.

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Helen speaks against the prorogation of Parliament

Today, I spoke on behalf of my constituents who will be denied representation if Boris Johnson shuts down Parliament tonight in an attempt to force through a no-deal Brexit by closing down debate. This is an outrage to democracy. I am pleased that the Benn Bill has today received Royal Assent placing a legal duty on the Prime Minister to extend Article 50 if no deal is agreed before 17 October.

Tonight, I will be voting for motions in the name of Dominic Grieve and Jeremy Corbyn calling for the release of government communications relation to prorogation, and demanding the Prime Minister upholds the rule of law and fulfils his obligations under the Benn Act. I will continue to represent my constituents and our pro-European values in the face of Boris Johnson's recklessness.

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Helen joins the Stop the Coup protests

This has been an extraordinary week in our politics.  On Saturday, I joined the protest outside Downing Street against Boris Johnson’s undemocratic decision to prorogue Parliament, stopping MPs from representing our constituents and holding him to account during a time of national crisis and risking a catastrophic no deal Brexit unleashing across the country with job-losses, shortages of food and medicine and peace in Northern Ireland at risk.

In Parliament, I voted for the Bill to stop Boris Johnson from allowing the UK to crash out of the EU with no deal, requiring him to seek a further extension to Article 50 until the end of January 2020.  I am pleased that this Bill is set to complete all its stages in Parliament by the end of this week.  While a majority of MPs have been working to stop no deal, Boris Johnson has shown himself to be a liar and a charlatan at the despatch box – casually referring to Scotch Whiskey – a product already exported to the US with zero tariff as a product which would benefit from a trade deal with the US, petulantly sacking the longest serving MP and twenty other colleagues out of his party, and using inflammatory language to stoke further division in our country.

I look forward to a general election and to campaigning for a Labour government, and since Boris Johnson now has no majority in the House of Commons, an election must take place very soon, but we must first make sure that every possibility of the UK crashing out of the EU with no deal has been removed.  I will continue to do everything possible to stop no deal, oppose Boris Johnson and represent the strongly held pro-Remain views of my constituents.

Photo credit - Jacqui Hawking

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Helen signs the Church House Declaration

Earlier today, I signed the Church House Declaration along with over 160 MPs including John McDonnell and Keir Starmer. This makes clear to Boris Johnson that MPs will not allow his Government to shut down Parliament to force through a no deal Brexit. We have pledged to work together across parties to do whatever is necessary to prevent a disastrous no-deal Brexit. I welcome the statement between opposition party leaders following today’s meeting led by Jeremy Corbyn. The attendees agreed on the urgency to work together to find ways to prevent a no-deal Brexit, including passing legislation or a vote of no confidence in this right wing Tory Government.

A no-deal Brexit will be a disaster for our country and our communities. It will lead to job-losses, food and medicine shortages, and the return of a hard border in Northern Ireland putting peace at risk. I am currently supporting legal action to prevent the prorogation of Parliament and calling for MPs to be recalled early from recess. I will continue to work tirelessly to prevent this disastrous outcome and to call for the public to be given a final say on Brexit through a People’s Vote with the option to Remain.

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Helen works to stop a no-deal Brexit.

I have today written to the Prime Minister to demand the urgent recall of Parliament.

A no-deal Brexit poses significant risks to our country’s economy and security threatening immediate disruption to food and medical supplies, wide-spread job losses and the return of a hard-border in Northern Ireland. It would be outrageous and wholly undemocratic for the Government to deny Parliament the opportunity to hold Ministers to account at this time of national emergency. You can read my letter below>>

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