General Election 2019: Helen's Brexit pledge

During the 2016 EU Referendum I led the campaign for remain in Dulwich and West Norwood, working as hard as I have in any election in which my name was on the ballot paper. Since the EU referendum, I have been the strongest possible voice for the pro-remain views in our area.

I have always supported a People’s Vote with the option to remain as the only democratic and responsible way through the Brexit crisis. I voted for a People's Vote in December 2017 when only 23 MPs voted for it and have consistently supported amendments to hold a referendum before any general election.

In this election the Labour Party is clear: Labour will give the people the final say on Brexit with the option to remain. Labour will hold a confirmatory ballot with remain on the ballot paper within six months of taking office. No matter what form of Brexit is on the ballot paper, I will again lead the campaign to remain in the European Union in our area.

I am the strongest Remain candidate standing in Dulwich and West Norwood and am pleased that all five main Remain campaigns are recommending that Remain voters support me in the General Election, including the People's Vote campaign, Best for Britain, Remain United and #TacticalVote.

A vote for me in the General Election is a vote to stop Boris Johnson and for a People’s Vote in which I will campaign for remain.

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General Election 2019: Labour's National Education Service

We have brilliant schools in Dulwich and West Norwood, but they have suffered the worst cuts under the Tories and Lib Dems anywhere in the country. Our schools have on average lost £771 per pupil since 2010, and after nearly a decade of austerity our local schools face a shortfall of £10.9M next year.

As both a parent of school age children and in my work as a MP for the past four years, I have seen the amazing work our teachers and support staff do on a daily basis in our area despite overwhelming challenges and limited resources.

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General Election 2019: Labour's NHS Promise

Statistics published this week reveal the damage the Tories and Lib Dems have done to our NHS with the worst ever performance for A&E waiting and waiting lists for routine surgery now at 4.4million.

Our local NHS staff at King’s College Hospital and across Dulwich and West Norwood work incredibly hard every day to provide the vital care we all rely on, but they have been consistently let down by this Government, cutting budgets and increasing privatisation. King's now faces the worst financial crisis of any NHS hospital trust in the country, with more than half a billion pounds of debt. The Prime Minister’s recent announcement of paltry additional funding for the NHS is simply not enough to reverse the impact of a decade of austerity. Our NHS and its staff deserve better.

The Labour Party has announced a rescue package to protect our NHS for future generations. Labour would invest £40 billion to recruit 5,000 more GPs and 28,000 extra nurses, midwives and health visitors to end the long delays to appointments and treatments. We would rebuild crumbling hospitals and ensure that everyone has access to modern equipment to improve cancer care. Labour would invest in mental health care and put this on a parity of esteem with physical health services.

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General Election 2019: Helen launches her campaign

It is the greatest honour to have served as Member of Parliament for Dulwich and West Norwood in Parliament since 2015, during one of the most turbulent periods in recent memory. I am proud to represent our diverse, internationalist and outward-looking communities and I hope once again that you will lend me your support on 12 December to continue representing you in Parliament.

Ten years of Tory and Lib Dem austerity have devastated so many in our communities. In the coming weeks, I look forward to sharing Labour's radical vision for transformative change in our country. It’s time for real change which only a Labour government can deliver.

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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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