- Monday 14th May - returning to parliament to support the debate on the Grenfell Tower.
- Tuesday 15th May - taking part in Foreign Office Questions to raise concerns about the treatment of the Rohingya.
- Wednesday 16th May - taking part in a statutory instrument debate on the Somerset boundary changes, then holding a debate on abortion access (see below for details) and then attending the Labour Campaign for the Single Market rally in parliament (see below for details).
- Thursday 17th May - attending the Walthamstow Labour Party General Committee meeting.
- Friday 18th May - holding a residents advice surgery- this is by appointment only. Call 020 8521 1223 for more details.
Fighting for Women's Right to Control their Own Bodies: Abortion Debate
Around the world, women's basic healthcare rights are under threat. Whether in Poland where the far right Government continues to seek to restrict access to abortion, the decision of President Trump to bring back the 'global gag' rule and cut funding for healthcare projects which help women access abortion, funding for anti-choice campaigns across Europe by the far right and Russian oligarchs or in the UK where protestors outside abortion clinics seek to harass women who do not wish to be forced to continue an unwanted pregnancy.
This week I pushed the UK Government about the hypocrisy in their decision to offer a free vote on extending same sex marriage rights to Northern Irish women and yet deny the same approach to helping these women access abortion services in their home country. The United Nations has described our treatment of Northern Irish women in this way as ’ cruel, inhumane, and degrading’. You can read the Minister's disgraceful response here- I have also secured an adjournment debate on abortion access around the world on Wednesday 16th May at 11.30am which is open to anyone to attend.
Next week Ireland votes on the future of the eighth amendment to their constitution which, if repealed, will allow them to provide abortion services to women. Anyone who thinks they may be able to vote in the Irish referendum on Friday 25th May can check their eligibility here.
If you would like to help support this work to give women control over their own bodies please email with abortion in the title.
Brexit, Labour and the Single Market- Rally in Parliament
The chaos caused by Brexit and the Government's approach to negotiating with the European Union continues to dominate parliament. This week the House of Lords voted to amend the EU Withdrawal Bill to include the provision that remaining in the EEA (the European Economic Area) is part of the Government's negotiating approach. This amendment is designed to help keep the UK's membership of the single market part of these discussions. The Lords vote means that this issue will now return to the House of Commons for consideration- please note contrary to some of the coverage of this issue they cannot require an amendment to legislation, they can only require the Commons to think again.
This is now the thirteenth defeat of the Government on this legislation - it is likely that the Government will try to delay this bill returning to the commons for consideration as a result as they try to convince Conservative MPs to oppose these proposals. Yet with the deadline for a deal to be done with the EU on Britain's future now fast approaching, it is vital for british jobs, businesses and consumers to have clarity about what is being discussed and what the law will be so that they can plan for it. Leaving the single market and the customs union will create an avalanche of paperwork and bureaucracy as well as tariffs and charges for British people - if the Government wishes to do this, it is crucial that residents know what these are to be able to address the impact they will have on their lives and livelihoods.
As the Government has spent the last two years telling Europe what it doesn't want, and not setting out what it does, such clarity is impossible. It is time to stop the extreme backbenchers of the Tory Party from pushing a hard brexit on Britain and focus on what is in Britain's best interest. With the Government so divided on this issue, Labour will effectively determine the future relationship we have with Europe- and according to our constitution, Labour policy will be determined by its members.
I pledged to Walthamstow at the general election to fight for our membership of the customs union and the single market as vital components of any future relationship with Europe. I also support the People's Vote campaign to give residents of Walthamstow a vote on the final deal- this is not about rerunning the referendum of over two years ago, but allowing residents to have their say on the outcome of these negotiations.
This coming week I will be joining the Labour Campaign for the Single Market at a rally in parliament to discuss these issues and the role of the Labour movement in standing up for Britain - this meeting on Wednesday 16th May at 7pm will be addressed by Neil Kinnock and you can sign up to join here. You do not have to be a Labour member to attend. If you would like to help campaign within the wider Labour movement on these issues you can also join the Labour Campaign for the Single Market (its free to do so) online here to help.