Helen questions the Minister on the Government's plans for early years education and childcare

The government’s plans for early years education and childcare are in chaos.  With just weeks to go before the start of the expanded offer for two year olds, nurseries and childminders still do not know the rates they will be paid and parents do not know whether their children will have a place.   

The Government rushed into an announcement without any plan to guarantee the childcare places or the staff needed to support the expansion. Labour’s expert led review will deliver the plan parents and providers need to build a modern early years education and childcare system that can deliver for children and their parents from the end of parental leave until the end of primary school.  My question to the Minister today >>

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Helen questions the Minister on the ICJ rulings on Israel and Gaza

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Helen introduces Bill to ban Zombie-style knives, machetes and swords

Knife crime is rising across the country. This is not only an issue in London, it is happening in Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Kent and many other places too.  It is absolutely devastating for the family and friends of the victims and the entire community. There is fantastic work happening across Dulwich and West Norwood and elsewhere to support young people and prevent serious violence, but this work is being held back by the availability of horrific weapons on our streets.

No-one needs a hunting knife or zombie-style knife in London – these are dangerous weapons and the appalling injuries they can inflict mean their victims often have little chance of survival and suffer horrific injuries if they do survive. Despite their increasing use in serious violence across the country, and despite many opportunities to do so, the Government has failed to take the action needed to take these weapons off our streets.

There are growing calls for action including from Idris Elba and London Mayor Sadiq Khan but the Conservatives have consistently failed to prioritise this issue. Today I introduced a new Bill to Parliament to end the delay and introduce the desperately needed ban on Zombie Knives, machetes and swords for good. If the Conservatives won’t act to keep our communities safe, Labour will.

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Petitions Committee debate on the conflict in Israel and Palestine

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Israel-Gaza urgent question

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Helen speaks in King's Speech debate on the conflict in Israel and Gaza

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Helen responds to the crisis in Israel and Gaza

Helen responds to the crisis in Israel and Gaza

In recent weeks we have been watching with horror the scenes of unimaginable human pain and suffering from the Middle East. My thoughts are with everyone affected by this terrible conflict.

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Helen leads debate on the treatment of LGBT+ people in social care

This week, I’ve highlighted in Parliament the concerning issue of homophobic abuse in adult social care.  I spoke about the experience of my constituents Ted Brown and his partner of 49 years Noel Glynn.

Noel was placed in a care home in Croydon after developing dementia in older age. He then suffered abhorrent homophobic abuse from staff, who also refused to recognise Ted as his civil partner.  

No-one should have to fear that their sexuality or gender identity might result in such abuse if they need social care, but this is the reality many LGBTQ+ people continue to face. The government and the CQC must take action to ensure LGBTQ+ people are protected in care and that care providers are held accountable when abuse occurs. You can see part of my speech here>>

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Helen introduces Bill to end the marketing of vapes to children

Last week I introduced a new Bill in Parliament to end the marketing of vapes to children. We are seeing a staggering rise in the number of children and young people who are vaping. Recent research suggests the number of children trying e-cigarettes has risen by 50% in the last three years.

It is already illegal to sell vaping products to under eighteens, but the marketing strategy of nicotine firms is clear. Vapes are being designed specifically to appeal to children and young people, with bright colours, cartoon mascots and flavours like gummy bears and cherry cola.  

Smoking remains a grave risk to health and e-cigarettes have an important role to play in supporting smoking cessation – but they aren’t harmless. Last year 40 children were admitted to hospital for vaping-related disorders, whilst teachers across the country are increasingly having to manage the impact of nicotine addiction in the classroom.

The government has promised action on the marketing of vapes to children, but they have been reluctant to deliver the legislative change that is needed, perhaps unsurprising when we see that they are accepting donations from a company which makes vaping products designed to appeal to children.  If this government won’t act, a Labour government will.  You can see part of my speech here>>

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Helen questions the Minister on the quality of childcare

I've met with nurseries and childminders from across the country who are desperately worried about how the early years sector will scale up to meet the government’s planned expansion of childcare. The government’s only suggestions so far have been to relax the number of staff caring for children and the qualifications of staff – plans which experts believe could undermine the quality of care.

High quality early years education is essential in improving life outcomes and breaking down the barriers which hold children back as they grow up. Early years staff already work hard to provide the best quality of care but they need a government which puts quality at the heart of the system. You can see my question from yesterday here>>

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