Despite the hectic campaign schedule, with nine teams of volunteers out campaigning with me yesterday, it was also important to show my respect at important local events.
First, the Imperial War Museum in SE1 hosts the 9th May 'Victory Day' celebrations. This is attended by veterans and representatives of the former Soviet countries to mark their equivalent of Victory in Europe Day and is a tribute to the 27 million citizens of those states who gave their lives fighting fascism and Nazism. Their contribution deserves recognition and their sacrifice deserves our respect.
It was also great to mark the unveiling of a blue plaque at the Surrey Docks Farm. The Farm is a wonderful burst of life on the riverside in SE16 and attracts huge numbers of visitors to see their pigs, sheep, donkeys and more right opposite Canary Wharf on our side of the river. The Farm is very close to our Mayor's heart and has been one of the charities she's been fundraising for this year. I've promised to muck out the pigs at some point - and I keep my promises!
Despite the hectic campaign schedule, with nine teams of volunteers out campaigning with me yesterday, it was also important to show my respect at important local events....
Today I visited the City Hope Church foodbank in Bermondsey run as part of the Pecan network in Southwark and Trussell Trust national system. As MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, it has been a privilege to support and witness the work they have done in the local community. The commitment of their staff and volunteers is commendable and a mark of the solidarity in our community. But foodbanks should not have to provide people with the basics in a wealthy, modern country.
That thousands of people are reliant on their help in our community at the heart of London should shame us all. Sadly, hundreds of people using them are in work but are not paid enough to put food on the table. This national disgrace simply wasn't happening in 2010 and is the direct result of policies pursued by Iain Duncan Smith - the most right wing Secretary of State for welfare our country has ever had. All his policies were delivered in Coalition with the lib Dems and have caused huge harm in Southwark: 7,000 people used a foodbank last year, homelessness doubled, poverty is rising again, and over 4,000 local people have been hit with the bedroom tax.
The Lib Dems have never apologised for voting for Coalition policies like these. I made a promise in 2015: I'll never vote for anything that will harm local people. I've kept my promise and will keep supporting the foodbank until I am in Government and able to overturn the policies that have done such damage to our community.
Today I visited the City Hope Church foodbank in Bermondsey run as part of the Pecan network in Southwark and Trussell Trust national system. As MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark,...
Things can only get better
Twenty years ago today I cast my first vote ever. On 1st May 1997 I was proud to vote Labour. I went to the polling station with dad and we both knew how we were voting. We were pleased to be part of electing Labour with a thumping majority.
Our votes helped secure:
- a National Minimum Wage
- a Human Rights Act
- thousands of Sure Start centres
- 1.6 million pensioners and children lifted out of poverty
- peace in Northern Ireland
- the future of the NHS, with thousands more doctors and nurses
- more police and a fall in crime
- a doubling of funding for every school pupil in England and thousands more teachers and teaching assistants
- an axing of third world debt and a doubling of the international aid budget
- free entry to museums and galleries
As we approach the 8th June general election, that record stands out after seven years of Tory and Lib Dem/Conservative Coalition Governments who have:
- doubled homelessness
- increased poverty and destitution
- allowed reliance on foodbanks to rockets, including for working people
- squeezed public services which contributed to the referendum result and the potential costs and consequences of Brexit
- axed police officers leaving our community less safe.
A lot is at stake as we face the election. I am proud to be a Labour candidate again having kept my promises to local voters: I'll never support anything in Parliament that will damage our community or country.
Things can only get better Twenty years ago today I cast my first vote ever. On 1st May 1997 I was proud to vote Labour. I went to the...