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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Helen questions the Local Government minister on local authority funding

Today, I challenged the Tory Minister for Local Government on his department’s shocking complacency regarding local council funding. The austerity begun under the Tory-Lib Dem coalition in 2010, has cut local councils to the bone. London Councils will have seen a 63% real terms cut to core funding from central government by 2020. These cuts have direct consequences for the services residents rely on.

Children’s services and adult social care look after the most vulnerable adults and young people in our communities. There is currently a £3.1 billion gap in the funding for children’s services and a £4.3 billion gap in the funding of adult social care. This means that thousands of people are living without the care and support they desperately need - it is nothing short of a scandal.  

To add to the uncertainty, the government has failed to set out the local government funding settlement for 2020-21, so just 8 months from the beginning of the new financial year our councils have no idea what budget they have available to plan the services they need to provide.

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Helen speaks in urgent question on Immigration Detention Centres

Today, I supported Diane Abbott’s urgent question condemning the shameful revelation that the Home Office has placed more than 500 people who were identified victims of modern slavery in immigration detention. It is completely unacceptable for anyone to be held in the appalling conditions found in detention centres, like Yarl’s Wood, but especially innocent women who have been victims of exploitation and trafficking. The Home Office should be focused upon prosecuting those who have exploited these vulnerable people and, rather than being forced to undergo lengthy immigration proceedings, these women should be offered protection and support by the state.

The immigration detention system is one of the most extreme manifestations of Theresa May’s hostile environment policy, separating parents from children, and incarcerating people who present no risk to the public indefinitely. Labour has promised to close Yarl’s Wood and use the money saved to invest in support for survivors of modern slavery, trafficking and domestic violence. 

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Helen questions the Immigration Minister on support for young asylum seekers

Today, I challenged the Immigration minister on the lack of funded support for young adult asylum seekers. These young people have faced unimaginable experiences to reach the UK, often making a treacherous journey as children, and facing separation from their parents, and they are often particularly vulnerable.

On arrival in the UK they are left with no designated person to support them.  I am proud to support Refugee Rights Europe’s calls for a youth welfare officer in every asylum accommodation to provide young asylum seekers with the emotional support to recover from their experiences, offer guidance on engaging with the Home Office and ensure they are protected from exploitation. 

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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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