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Last night, I voted again against leaving the EU. My short comments below were designed to flesh out some of the reasons why (in the limited time MPs get to speak – which could be just 3 minutes).

Over summer I spent a lot of time discussing the Bill and Brexit with people across Bermondsey, Walworth, Rotherhithe, Borough and the Elephant, especially those who voted to Leave. I remind them I made a promise in both 2015 and 2017 to all constituents: I will never support anything in Parliament that could harm our community. It is a simple promise made in replacing a Lib Dem who voted for policies that did severe damage to local people left paying the Bedroom Tax, denied access to justice under legal aid cuts, or paying extortionate tuition fees. But it equally covers Brexit: the biggest issue facing our country and which would leave the whole UK worse off.

  • I also met further constituency employers about the Bill.      Businesses like ABTA (the Association of British Travel Agents) who      highlight that it is EU not WTO rules that cover transatlantic flights and      fear the Bill may not keep UK-US flights airborne.
  • I met organisations like the British Toys and Hobbies Association      who fear the UK could: lose trade we currently do within the EU; lose our      place as global leader in this sector; and be flooded with counterfeit      toys from new deals outside the EU.
  • And met employers who worry the Bill does not answer fears about      future workforce issues. The Bill and leaked Home Office proposals pose      new concerns for employers and taxpayers. The Government wants a new      expensive registration and visa system. The NHS alone would have to foot      the bill for 54,000 new visas for existing staff. The taxpayer would pay      for this, but loses doubly: also funding extra civil servants to      administer the new system. And businesses would lose out by paying for      employees’ visas and being less competitive with rivals within the EU and      facing lengthy delays to get visas for new recruits. It often takes over 6      months for my constituents to get visas currently.  

These are all issues which the advocates of Brexit should have had the answers to before the Government irresponsibly triggered Article 50. Big Ben might not be bonging but the clock is now ticking on leaving the EU and Ministers still don’t have a clue.

In June voters may have shorn the Government of its majority, but didn’t dent its arrogance, as we see from Henry VIII clauses and attempts to dominate Bill committees. But we shouldn’t be surprised at this authoritarian streak from a Government that tried to:

  • rig electoral registers;
  • inflate the number of unelected Lords whilst reducing elected MPs;
  • cut funding for opposition political parties;
  • gagged charities from speaking up about the impact of Coalition and      Tory policies;
  • and had to be dragged through courts to allow MPs to even debate      Brexit, let alone scrutinise any detail.

And look at the people who try to justify this shoddy approach. They’re the same people who told us this would be easy. The same people who said we needed to ‘take back control’ but now say Parliament should adopt 40 years of legislation without scrutiny. And the same people who said they wanted the UK ‘Parliament to be sovereign’ who now try to impose a tinpot Maybot dictatorship over the Commons having ignored voters’ rejection of a hard Brexit in June.

It wasn’t just hard Brexit rejected though, it was ‘neglexit’ – the Government’s complete neglect of a positive domestic agenda, instead offering:

  • More foodbanks for working people;
  • Less chance to own your own home;
  • Cuts to schools and social care;
  • Longer NHS waiting times.
  • A Government bereft of ideas, dominated by men with 1950s mindsets.     

In failing to respect June’s result, in continuing to fail to have positive policies for British people, and in banging the drum for the hardest of possible Brexits and all the damage it would cause, Ministers and their backbenchers appear to be fighting amongst themselves on how best to lose the next general election.

 

 

Voting against Brexit again

  Last night, I voted again against leaving the EU. My short comments below were designed to flesh out some of the reasons why (in the limited time MPs get to...

Recess is a fantastic time for young adults, who are on their summer holidays from school, to come into my office and gain some work experience. I try and accommodate everyone who asks and am so grateful for their fantastic input! Below is a blog from Joseph from Elephant and Castle who came in last week to gain some experience before going on to study Politics in sixth form.  

Knife Crime by Joseph

Knife crime is on the rise and not much is being done to stop it. In Southwark alone the amount of knife crime incidents in the last year has risen by 48%. The latest Metropolitan police statistics show that there were 254 knife crime with injury incidents in the last year. It is clear to see that knife crime is a major concern for our community and it needs to be tackled.

It was reported recently that Southwark has the worst record in London for solving knife crime cases. The current conviction rate for Southwark knife crime cases currently stands at 15.4%. This statistic is horrifying as it means that the majority of people who commit these crimes are never brought to justice and face no punishment. This also includes murders, which means that parents who will suffer for the rest of their life as a result of losing their son or daughter will also have to live with the pain of knowing that justice was not served and their child’s murder was left unsolved.

These tragedies are occurring more and more often, there must be an explanation for this. Well, there is really only one real explanation to why knife crime is on the rise and why conviction rates are falling. The Metropolitan police simply do not have the resources to solve these tragic cases. This is because since 2010 when the Conservatives regained power to run the country, instead of making citizens feel safer they have made citizens feel less safe and have placed crime along with other youth issues to the back of their priority list. Under the Conservative government the number of police officers have been cut by 20,000, while in Southwark the number of police PSCO’s in local areas have been reduced by 200. Crime has increased because there is no longer a police presence in the local area due to police cuts by the Tory government, and the conviction rate has fallen due to the lack of resources in the Metropolitan police due to cuts by the Tory government.

It is clear that to see that knife crime is not on the government’s agenda and so it is clear that the best way to tackle knife crime is to place it on the government’s agenda and make it the government’s priority. The job of the Tory government is to represent the people and so we, the people must make it clear that we want more police officers on our streets, more opportunities made available for us young people so that we do not need to result to crime to make a living, and regular engagement with the youth in the local community. Our local MP Neil Coyle will continue to question Prime Minister Theresa May on this issue to ensure that knife crime is placed on the government’s agenda, while we, the local community must get in contact with the local council, and ensure that crime is placed on their agenda. I believe that once knife crime is given priority there will be a change.

As a young person in the local community I think there are two main ways to solve knife crime. Firstly on a practical level I think that there needs to be more police officers in local areas to prevent knife incidents and ensure safety among citizens. Secondly, I think that there needs to be more opportunities and education provided for people, such as more youth clubs and events to push people young and old away from crime but towards a brighter future. There needs to be an understanding among the community that no matter where you come from, no matter who you are, there is a place for you in society and that not everyone will become a millionaire but that there is an opportunity to move away from a life of crime to a happier, more fruitful life.

Joseph

 

Knife Crime by Joseph, Work Experience from Elephant and Castle

Recess is a fantastic time for young adults, who are on their summer holidays from school, to come into my office and gain some work experience. I try and accommodate...

 

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I’ve been in touch with many people over the Tideway Tunnel construction works and went on site to raise concerns and see how the site is developing. I met with the site project team and Tideway Chief Exec, Andy Mitchell.

The tunnel, when finished, aims to prevent almost all sewage entering the Thames from London’s Victorian-era sewers and was welcomed by many environmental groups for its long-term benefits. The Chambers Wharf site selection for a major works site was opposed locally however and has a significant impact on many local people.

I was given a tour of the construction site with Tideway showing me some of the extra measures they are taking to minimise noise and local impact – like bringing more materials by river and not road, using the first electric hydrofraise (excavating machine) in the world, and adding additional insulation to some of the pipes pumping materials around.

The scale and complexity of the project inevitably mean it will continue to have a significant impact and I raised several people’s specific concerns about the works – and proposed extended work times. Some evenings, work will continue to 10pm – an issue opposed by Southwark Council and many local people. Around 180 households have already received some form of extra help as a result of the current works and longer hours on site may cause the number to rise further.

Tideway emphasised their other contributions – in creating jobs and apprenticeships for local people, as well as funding local projects and part of the Thames Skills Academy to create even more work on the river with a skilled workforce for the future. However, it is essential that disruption and noise for local people is minimised and adequately compensated given the potential disruption to people’s lives on and around this compact site.

I will continue to monitor the site and if you have any concerns please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Tideway construction

    I’ve been in touch with many people over the Tideway Tunnel construction works and went on site to raise concerns and see how the site is developing. I...

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