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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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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