You can find out what I have been up to in Parliament and my work in Lewisham, or read my latest blog posts below.
In Prime Minister's Questions today I asked the Prime Minister to immediately legislate to ensure knives are never on display in shops.
In Prime Minister's Questions today I asked the Prime Minister to immediately legislate to ensure knives are never on display in shops. Read more
Despite strong local opposition, the NHS walk-in clinic at the Waldron Heath Centre will close on Saturday 31st March. All other services at the centre will remain open.
Lewisham CCG is advising people to follow the below advice and ensure they are using the right service.
Despite strong local opposition, the NHS walk-in clinic at the Waldron Heath Centre will close on Saturday 31st March. All other services at the centre will remain open.Lewisham CCG is...
A lot of people have been contacting me this week about the Unpaid Trial Work Periods Bill, which is due to have its second reading on Friday 16th March.
As many of you may know, prior to becoming an MP I spent many years as a trade union official and have long campaigned for the protection and strengthening of employment rights. I therefore share concerns about the exploitation of ‘trial shifts’ whereby businesses can employ workers for up to 40 hours of unpaid work.
A lot of people have been contacting me this week about the Unpaid Trial Work Periods Bill, which is due to have its second reading on Friday 16th March. As... Read more
On Friday 2nd March, several Southeastern trains were stranded for hours outside Lewisham station due to the severe weather conditions. This happened at peak time and many of the carriages... Read more
The ongoing conflict in Yemen continues to be an issue of high concern to many people in Lewisham Deptford.
The visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the UK has rightly drawn attention to the ongoing suffering and dire humanitarian situation in Yemen, where over 10,000 people have been killed since 2014 and several million are at risk of famine.
I have previously expressed my deep concern about potential violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) in Yemen, including air strikes on civilians by the Saudi-led coalition which you can read here.
I firmly believe that we need an independent, UN-led investigation into these alleged violations and that the Government should impose an immediate suspension on any further arms sales for use in the Yemen conflict until such an investigation has concluded.
Human rights should be at the heart of our foreign policy and it is vital that a peaceful, negotiated resolution can be urgently secured.
I can assure my constituents that my Labour colleagues and I will continue to pressure the Government to use its influence to secure a UN resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire and resumption of peace talks in Yemen. I will be keeping my website updated on any further developments.
The ongoing conflict in Yemen continues to be an issue of high concern to many people in Lewisham Deptford.The visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the UK has...
Thank you for all your emails regarding the medicinal use of cannabis and the case of Alfie Dingley.
The law around drug use is a sensitive issue and I recognise that there are a range of strongly held views on this matter. I have enormous sympathy for anybody with a physical condition seeking the most effective pain relief and I know that several organisations are campaigning for changes in drugs laws, specifically the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal use.
As you may be aware, there is already a regulatory process in place to enable medicines, including those containing controlled drugs such as cannabis, to be developed and subsequently prescribed and supplied to patients.
On 20 February, there was a statement on the very subject of medicinal cannabis in the Commons. You can read the full transcript in Hansard: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2018-02-20/debates/5C18DA05-4AF4-408A-A7C2-67F3E84133CC/MedicalCannabis. As you will see from the transcript, this is an issue which is gaining traction and I suspect it will return to the Commons again before long.
Members of the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on drug policy reform are calling on the government to assist with Alfie's plight. I very much welcome the Home Office’s recent announcement that it is considering allowing a medical cannabis trial to treat Alfie’s a rare form of epilepsy.
Thank you for all your emails regarding the medicinal use of cannabis and the case of Alfie Dingley.The law around drug use is a sensitive issue and I recognise that...
This morning I visited the picket line at Goldsmiths to support UCU workers who are striking against changes to their pensions.
Universities UK plans to close the defined benefit portion of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) and replace it with a defined contribution scheme. This is very concerning as I know it would significantly reduce the security of retirement income for academic staff in many UK universities and that further erosion of USS benefits could reduce universities' ability to attract and retain staff in an increasingly competitive sector.
I understand that talks between Universities UK and the UCU resumed last week and I hope that a satisfactory outcome can be negotiated. Although the Government has dismissed intervening (viewing universities as autonomous institutions responsible for their own pension provision) I believe that it should step in to review the situation and urge Universities UK to work with University and College Union to find a better solution.
I have written to the Minister for Universities (Sam Gyimah) to outline my concerns and to urge the Government to act, as well as writing to the Warden of Goldsmiths.
This morning I visited the picket line at Goldsmiths to support UCU workers who are striking against changes to their pensions. Universities UK plans to close the defined benefit portion...
As some of you may have heard, my younger sister had an accident recently and broke her neck. Thankfully she is on the mend now, but it was a very worrying time for our family.
At Business Questions on Thursday 1st March I took the opportunity to praise the wonderful NHS workers who have been looking after my sister. I also raised the issue of all the extra hours the doctors and nurses were putting in before and after their shift and called for a debate on NHS working hours.
You can watch me ask my question below and read the response I received from Andrea Leadsom, Leader of the House, in Hansard.
As some of you may have heard, my younger sister had an accident recently and broke her neck. Thankfully she is on the mend now, but it was a very...
Thank you to everyone who has contacted me recently about the East Coast mainline franchise.
On February 5th the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, announced that the East Coast Franchise, currently run by Stagecoach and Virgin, had run out of money and overbid on its contract. He said the Government was ending the current contract early and considering options to put a new successor in place within months. I think it is unacceptable that the Transport Secretary has effectively awarded Stagecoach and Virgin a £2bn taxpayer bailout, as I believe franchise failure should mean forfeit.
In addition, the Government has said it will not restrict Stagecoach from bidding on current and future franchises and that Virgin Trains will continue to run the West Coast partnership.
The Government’s policy is effectively propping up a crumbling system of rail privatisation. Recent figures from the third quarter of 2017-18 showed that Virgin East Coast had its lowest punctuality levels since 2010-11. The Government is currently rewarding failure and it is taxpayers and passengers who are paying the price.
It is unacceptable that we currently pay some of the highest rail fares in Europe for increasingly unreliable and overcrowded services. I believe we should prioritise public service over private profit which is why at the 2017 General Election I stood on a manifesto which pledged to bring our railways back into public ownership, as franchises expire, or through franchise reviews and break clauses. I believe this would deliver real improvements for passengers.
The National Audit Office has announced that it will investigate the Government’s handling of the franchise to date, and is expected to report its findings in spring 2018. In addition, the Commons’ Transport Committee is also holding an inquiry on the failure of the East Coast franchise. Written submissions are being accepted until 26 March 2018.
Thank you to everyone who has contacted me recently about the East Coast mainline franchise. On February 5th the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, announced that the East Coast Franchise, currently...
Thank you to everyone who has contacted me about the treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli detention.
I share your concerns and agree that more needs to be done about this. No child, no matter what their nationality or where they are in the world, should be subjected to physical or psychological violence, blindfolded, painfully restrained, or subjected to coercive force or threats.
In 2012, the independent Children in Military Custody report outlined no fewer than 40 recommendations for how Israeli authorities should improve the way they deal with arrests, interrogations, bail hearings, sentencing and the investigation of complaints. However, over half a decade later, only one of these recommendations is believed to have been implemented.
The recent arrest of Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi has served to highlight these issues once again. I believe it is time for the UK Government to step up and demand that Israeli authorities not only implement the remaining recommendations of the Children in Military Custody report, but also respect their ongoing obligations under international law – in particular, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. There should also be an independent investigation into reports of ill-treatment of young people in Israel’s military detention system and I believe the UK Government must call for this immediately.
Without this kind of insistence on basic protections for the rights of Palestinians, we will never make the progress we all want to see towards a long term, sustainable peace in the Middle East. I can assure you that my Labour colleagues and I will continue to press the Government on the actions it is taking.
Update 28th February 2018
I submitted a written parliamentary question on this issue and have now received a response from Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State for the Middle East at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (128173):
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the recent arrest of Ahed Tamimi, if the Government will seek the establishment of an urgent independent investigation into allegations of ill-treatment of young people in Israel's military detention system. (128173)
Tabled on: 19 February 2018
Israel’s treatment of Palestinian minors in military detention remains a human rights priority for this Government. While we do not have plans to establish an investigation, we have repeatedly and publicly called on Israel to fulfil its international legal obligations. Israel should implement the protections and due process that children are entitled to under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Israel is a State Party. We continue to closely follow the case of Ahed Tamimi and, while it is ultimately a matter for the Israeli authorities, we have raised our concerns with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK and the Israeli Ministry of Justice.
The answer was submitted on 27 Feb 2018 at 17:36.
Thank you to everyone who has contacted me about the treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli detention. I share your concerns and agree that more needs to be done about...