News and Blogs
Many of you will know that I'm working hard to try to get a better deal for our iconic black taxis, raising the issues that affect them in Parliament.
The Department for Transport is delayed in it's publication of a 'task and finish group' report on Taxis and Private Hire. I've been pressing ministers to get this report published, because it will give us a clearer idea of the issues facing the trade and where the government might be willing to act.
The numbers in my question below represent the different times this report has been used in answer to questions by MPs and Lords, often with the promise of 'soon'.
We now know ministers will receive the report next month, but I am just as frustrated as I'm sure you will be that they have said it will be published in 'due course'!
I'll continue to keep an eye on this, and other developments. It's about time the government made this report public.
Picture: Associated Press/Kirsty Wigglesworth
Many of you will know that I'm working hard to try to get a better deal for our iconic black taxis, raising the issues that affect them in Parliament....
Year after year I have travelled to Geneva to make sure that the international community holds the Sri Lankan Government to account. They made a commitment to involve international judges and prosecutors in the investigation and prosecution of war crimes committed during the civil war. Now they must deliver.
It is to the eternal shame of the international community that we looked the other way while innocent people were subjected to unimaginable acts of violence and terror. We owe it to you and to all the Tamil people never to look away again.
As people gather today with the British Tamils Forum in solemn and loving memory of those who are lost, as Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils and the Member of Parliament for Ilford North, I give you my word that I will work relentlessly to make sure that the commitments made to the international community by the Government of Sri Lanka are honoured.
You can read the Tamil Guardian story here.
This week I attended a Tamils for Labour event in Parliament to mark Mullivaikkal. The events of the final weeks of the Sri Lankan civil war were among the most...
Yesterday was the bloodiest day of violence on the border between Gaza and Israel since the recent wave of protests began. 59 Palestinians were reported killed by Israeli forces, including six children. Some 2,771 people were reported injured, including 1,359 by live ammunition, with 130 people in a critical condition. Since the end of March, 97 Palestinians, including twelve children, have been killed by Israeli forces during the course of the demonstrations.
The UN Secretary General, Antonio Gutteres, has expressed his profound alarm at the “sharp escalation of violence” and the “high number of Palestinians killed and injured in the Gaza protests”. According to Save the Children, over 250 children were shot with live ammunition.
This morning, Israel’s ambassador to the UK, Mark Regev, appeared on the Today Programme to defend these actions as necessary to protect Israel’s border and laid bare a series of statements made by Hamas leaders - even in recent weeks - seeking to incite violence against Israel and Israelis.
There can be no justification for Israel’s actions yesterday. None. The idea that Israel’s only options in response to a scenario that was entirely foreseen were to do nothing or to fire live ammunition is absurd. As the executive director of B’Tselem - an Israeli human rights organisation - has argued: “defending the border is not a licence to kill.”
To attempt, as some have done, to portray of tens of thousands of protestors as armed Hamas combatants is deeply disingenuous. There can be no doubt that there has been incitement to violence and those choosing to exploit these protests for their own ends. Nor is there any real doubt that there were armed combatants among the protesters. Violence is their method and the destruction of the State of Israel is their aim. We know what they stand for. But here is an uncomfortable truth for those defending the actions of the Netanyahu’s Government: Hamas has no better friend or recruiting sergeant than the present Israeli Government.
The failure of political leadership - Israeli, Palestinian and American - is contemptible. Today marks 70 years since the creation of the State of Israel - a day of celebration for Israelis who are proud of the great many achievements of their young state with ancient roots. For Palestinians, it is the Nakba - an anniversary of loss, displacement and ultimately occupation. For the international community this should be a moment of profound reflection of our collective failure to bring about two states for two people, where both Israelis and Palestinians can grow up surrounded by peace, security and opportunity.
Instead, we see the unedifying spectacle of the United States of America opening an embassy in Jerusalem for no other reason than the vanity of its President and an appeal to his evangelical base - emboldening reactionary forces in Israel, putting the prospects of peace further away. As John Brennan, the former director of the CIA, has said: “Deaths in Gaza [are the] result of utter disregard of Messers Trump and Netanyahu for Palestinian rights and homeland. By moving [the US] Embassy to Jerusalem, Trump played politics, destroyed US peacemaker role.”
While this jamboree takes place, 2 million Palestinians in Gaza continue to live in an open air prison, trapped under a blockade by Israel and Egypt that has been in place for the past 11 years. So men, women and children have chosen to march. They are marching against the conditions they endure - not living, existing. Every international NGO focused on humanitarian existence has raised the alarm of a systems collapse in Gaza: everything from health care, to sewage management, schools and energy are at breaking point and unable to provide essential services. Less than 4% of the water is drinkable and over 60% of the sea water is full of sewage.
Friends of Israel, including the British Government, have a responsibility to speak up. The current trajectory of Israeli and American policy offers no path to peace and a two state solution. It is a path that will only lead to the further oppression and humiliation of the Palestinian people and, ironically, it will only serve to undermine Israel’s founding principles as a democratic state and put Israel’s longer term security at risk.
There are progressive elements on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict who can bring about the future that a majority of both peoples still want to see. We saw how close they came to success under Rabin. We see those elements at work through NGOs and coexistence projects in Israel and Palestine and here in the UK. They are undermined by those who act as apologists for these actions of the Israeli Government and those who amplify reactionary voices on both sides of the conflict.
After 70 years and decades of missed opportunities, the international community must reflect on the human consequences of placing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the ‘too difficult box’. A new generation of political leadership is required in Israel and Palestine and a new mindset is required here: one that doesn’t see the key divide as choosing between being pro-Israel or Pro-Palestine, but as between siding with reactionaries or progressives or between peacemakers and warmongers. It shouldn’t be hard to choose.
You can see my contribution to today’s Q&A on Gaza in the House of Commons here.
Yesterday was the bloodiest day of violence on the border between Gaza and Israel since the recent wave of protests began. 59 Palestinians were reported killed by Israeli forces, including...
I’m desperately saddened by the news that the wonderful Tessa Jowell has passed away overnight following her battle with brain cancer.
Tessa was the very best of us - and brought out the best in all of us. So kind, generous and determined to make a real difference. What a legacy she leaves - not least through Sure Start, London 2012 and her final mission to make sure that, in future, people can “live well with cancer, not just be dying of it. All of us, for longer.”
I will always be grateful for Tessa’s support and friendship - not least when she returned to Ilford North many times, having first been a candidate here in 1978, to help me win in 2015. She is truly an example to us all and we will do our best to follow her example and honour her legacy.
I will never forget her words to us just weeks ago in the House of Commons: “It was the honour of my life to be one of you. I shall cheer on from the sidelines as you keep fighting the good fight. Remember our battle cry – living with, not dying from cancer, for more people.”
Sending lots of love to Tessa’s husband, her children, family and other friends x
I’m desperately saddened by the news that the wonderful Tessa Jowell has passed away overnight following her battle with brain cancer. Tessa was the very best of us - and...
Our country is increasingly divided and the few economic gains we’ve seen during the past decade have not been enjoyed by all. Pay is stagnating, more people are in low paid, insecure work and our public services are buckling under the pressure of budget cuts and increasing demand.
That’s why I joined today’s march. We need an economy that works in the interests of everyone - not just a privileged few at the top. I was proud to march with GMB, who’ve been leading the way in exposing the low pay and insecurity of jobs in the ‘gig economy’ and warning against a race to the bottom in pay, terms and conditions.
Trades unions are an essential safeguard for working people, but unions like the GMB shouldn’t need to rely on taking rogue employers to court to stand up for their members - they need a Labour Government to defend and extend the rights of working people and the public services we rely upon.
If you’re not in a union, join one! If you’re not sure which union you should join, the TUC website can help: https://www.tuc.org.uk/find-union-you.
Today I joined General Secretary, Tim Roache, GMB Union and trade unionists from across the country on the TUC’s march for a new deal. Our country is increasingly divided and...
We’re raising funds and raising awareness to tackle DIPG, the rare and nasty brain tumour that Kaleigh is fighting. You can donate to support her here: https://www.justgiving.com/…/thebradleyloweryfou…/kaleighlau
You can watch me taking on the challenge here.
Please do share the video, donate if you can and you can even text your donation by typing DIPG53, followed by the amount (e.g £5, £10 etc) to 70070.
I’m nominating five of my colleagues to do it too! All for a great cause!
I’ve just done the #LemonFaceChallenge for my brave young constituent Kaleigh Lau - Kaleigh's Trust - Our Battle with DIPG. We’re raising funds and raising awareness to tackle DIPG, the...
I usually post stuff on here about my work as a local MP and avoid the Labour debate stuff, but recently I’ve had some comments about the state of our party and/or what I’ve been saying. Today, I gave a speech called ‘Moving Labour Forward, Together’ - addressing the local election results, antisemitism and how Labour might win the next general election. It’s here: https://t.co/1grLKl8DhS
Do have a read - whether you’re Labour, Tory or something else. Whether you think Jeremy Corbyn’s brilliant or not. Whether you live in Ilford North or not. I’d be interested in your feedback.
I usually post stuff on here about my work as a local MP and avoid the Labour debate stuff, but recently I’ve had some comments about the state of our...
Thank you to everyone who went out and voted Labour yesterday. I haven’t been to bed yet - having been up at 530am yesterday to campaign and spent all night at the count. Our hard work paid off with 51 Labour councillors returned across Redbridge - a record! In Ilford North we won Aldborough, Barkingside, Clayhall, Fullwell and Hainault, as well as a seat each in South Woodford and Churchfields. We’ll be back out on the doorstep soon to keep in touch, help with local issues and we’ll keep our promises to deliver results for Redbridge.
Politics can be a rough business and I want to pay tribute to those councillors who aren’t returning to Redbridge this time. On my own side, I want to pay special tribute to Lloyd Duddridge - Councillor for Roding Ward. He came within a dozen votes of winning in Bridge, but it wasn’t to be. Lloyd has been a first class councillor and I know he’ll be back, but Redbridge Council will be poorer without him in the meantime.
I also want to pay special tribute to Conservative councillors Robert Cole, Michelle Dunn, Ashley Kissin, Nick Hayes, Matthew Chaudhary and the institution that is Alan Weinberg, as well as the Lib Dems’ Gwyneth Deakins, Ian Bond and Hugh Cleaver who have each given distinguished service to our Borough. We may not always agree, but they have been dedicated public servants, they’re good people and I have the utmost respect for them. Thanks to all those leaving the Council at this election.
Thanks to everyone who went out to vote - and all those who run the elections.
There’s lots to work on to make our Borough a better place. I’m confident our new councillors will do a cracking job - after a bit of sleep! See me talk about the election results here.
Thank you to everyone who went out and voted Labour yesterday. I haven’t been to bed yet - having been up at 530am yesterday to campaign and spent all night...
Just over week ago I posted on my Facebook Page about a mum in need with a five month old baby. The response has been overwhelming.
We’ve had donations of a pram, a cot, a travel cot, baby food, nappies and other baby essentials. I can’t tell you how touched we’ve been in the office by the generosity of our community - or how gratefully your support has been received by mum.
At a time when it feels like the world is always full of bad news stories, it’s nice to remember that there are plenty of people with kind hearts and a concern for others.
If you’d like to help, Redbridge Food Bank is always grateful for donations of baby food. There are usually offers on at the supermarkets so maybe pop a few jars in your basket or trolley.
I want to say an extra special thanks to Women In Need London and The Salvation Army Ilford (who live the meaning of Luke 10:25-37 every single day). You - and all those who helped out a stranger - are truly wonderful.
THANK YOU. Just over week ago I posted on my Facebook Page about a mum in need with a five month old baby. The response has been overwhelming. We’ve had...
Lycamobile shows the latest in a line of faliure by Ministers to shoulder the blame when things go badly wrong.
Here is a company, which stands accused of money laundering in France, which funnelled money out of Sri Lanka from the family of the disgraced despot Rajapaksa, and HMRC have REFUSED to co-operate with French authorities. Most shockingly, a leaked letter from HMRC to French officials cites legal obstacles, the size and wealth of Lycamobile and - most shockingly - th...e fact that Lycamobile is "the biggest corporate donor to the Conservative Party".
Everything about this stinks.
If a small business in Ilford North had an issue with HMRC you can bet they would be breathing down their necks, and yet again we see a faliure to properly deal with a multinational company accused money laundering. What gross double standards.
You can watch me put this very clearly to the Chancellor in Treasury Committee here.
Picture by: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire
Lycamobile shows the latest in a line of faliure by Ministers to shoulder the blame when things go badly wrong. Here is a company, which stands accused of money laundering...