John’s Quarterly Newsletter December 2014
I wish you all a peaceful and happy New Year. I am sending you my newsletter setting out some of the activities I have undertaken in the local area over the last month and some of the issues I have taken up on behalf of our local community.
Next week I will send a newsletter on my activities in Parliament.
You will see that as always it has been an incredibly busy period.
I want to thank all of you who have helped and supported me in my work in this recent period.
On Saturday 1st November we held a very successful community meeting to discuss the situation in Palestine. After the community campaigns we launched in Hayes during the Israeli attack on Gaza many local people were concerned to learn more about the history and background to the plight of the Palestinians.
The meeting today enabled us to explore this history and to see how we as a community could play our small part in securing a just peace. A speaker from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign explained the history of the area over the last century and the way in which the Palestinians were forced off their land.
We then went on to discuss how we as a community could intervene. Three proposals were agreed. First we agreed to mobilise for another community meeting in January specifically aimed at reporting on what progress was being made in securing Palestinian rights and rebuilding Gaza.
Second we agreed to circulate information on how the local community can provide practical aid and assistance to the Palestinian people through the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, Interpal and the various Palestinian charities.
Third we agreed to continue to promote our local boycott Israeli goods campaign and to identify and engage with any local companies trading with Israel, especially those importing goods from the occupied territories.
I am proud that from our local community meetings we clearly have now a dedicated group of local people willing to do all they can to assist Palestine.
Hayes Cricket Club Fireworks 8
The Hayes Cricket Club was packed with local families enjoying the firework display despite the torrential rain. Congratulations and thank you to all the volunteers for the hard work that went into creating such a fantastic event.
The Hayes cricket club volunteers must also be congratulated for the success they have built up over the past 8 years. The youth team has gone from strength to strength and now has a membership of 130 young people every Sunday.
Community Policing Meeting in Charville
Speaking at packed community policing meeting in Charville ward in my constituency on Wednesday 12th November
She Meeting Harmondsworth Church 13
I spoke at a packed meeting to launch the Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE) Campaign at St Mary’s Church in Harmondsworth Village on Tuesday 13th November at 7.30
SHE is the new community campaign to protect our residents against the 3rd runway threat. I am confident we can beat off the 3rd runway once again. It is highly appropriate that we launched this campaign in the village that would be wiped off the face of the earth by the 3rd runway. We have to stand up yet again for our community.
Award of Fellowship at Birbeck 17
I was honoured with a fellowship by my old University, Birbeck. I undertook my first degree at the local Brunel University and then went on to complete a Master’s degree at Birkbeck, studying in the evening whilst employed at the TUC.
In her oration at the graduation ceremony Joanna Bourke likened me to labour organizer Jim Casy who organized the oppressed workers to strike in the famous novel, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, published in 1939.
She concluded saying “McDonnell is described as a man of “Iron Integrity”, who always acts on what he believes is right. Speaking to colleagues and friends, I was told time and again that McDonnell is “simply the most principled Member of Parliament”. He is “selfless”. He is “always passionate, gives all to what he believes in”. He is “a fighter”.
Opening of the Ghurkha Cemetery
I attended and spoke at the opening of a section of Cherry Lane Cemetery which has been allocated to the Nepalese Ghurkha Association. “I am extremely pleased that the wishes of the local Ghurkha Nepalese Community have been abided by in allocating a section of our local cemetery for this communities use. I supported the petition of the Ghurkhas to the Council and have backed their Campaign for this facility over the last 2 years. It is the least we can do for the Ghurkha Community which has served this country so well for generations”.
Friends of Cranford Park AGM
I attended The Friends of Cranford Park AGM on November 20and was re-elected as chair for another year. Cranford Park Friends is a volunteer group re-established, after a four-year hiatus, in November 2012. It aims to increase local knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of Cranford Countryside Park, a historical green space spanning 144 acres. The group are always looking for volunteers to help them in their quest to enhance Cranford Park.
Rally to Support NHS Demo 21
I hosted a rally to support the NHS Bill to end the privatisation of the NHS
Botwell Christmas Fair 22
I attended the Botwell Christmas Fair. A great time was had by all.
Guru Nanak’s Anniversary
I visited the guru Nanak Academy on 22nd November on the anniversary of Guru Nanak’s birthday and presented an award on behalf of the School to Lord Indarjit Singh, a well-known Sikh leader and broadcaster on Radio 4s Prayer for To-day. The award was to thank Lord Singh for all the support he has given to the school over the years.
Planning meeting to discuss next steps in campaign to secure justice & peace for Tamils
I invited Tamil Community leaders to come together to discuss their concerns about the continuing injustices in Sri Lanka. The meeting took place on Saturday 22nd November at the Labour Hall in Pump Lane. The discussion also covered issues regarding the missing Tamils who have disappeared during the war. We are planning a major community conference in February inviting all the community to discuss the plight of Tamils and to try to find a way forward for peace and justice.
Harlington Library McMillan Coffee morning 28
I attended the McMillan coffee morning at the Harlington Library to raise money for the marvellous service that the Macmillan cancer support provide. The Harlington Library is a wonderful library at the heart of our community, always actively involved in supporting local charities.
Hayes Carnival Thank You 28
As Joint chair of the Carnival Committee with John Chamberlain, we thanked all those volunteers who have made our carnival a real community event.
Weekend fairs and concerts
I had a busy weekend attending Harmondsworth Village Fair, St Mary’s Christmas Fair, Charville Centre 30th Anniversary and St Mary’s Advent Concert. Thanks to all the local people for all their hard work on behalf of our community
Visit to Royal Mail’s Hayes delivery Centre
I visited our local delivery office on Monday 1st December to see how the staff are preparing for Christmas. There was a great atmosphere as the workers were explaining to me how Black Friday is impacting on them with so many extra packages to deliver. They also took me through the new delivery system whereby workers go out in pairs in a van and each do a route and come back to the van to pick up delivery for the next route. They do 4 routes each from 7.30 -2.30.“Our postal workers do such an important job at this time of year and help to deliver Christmas for many people and families in our area. I would like to thank them for their efforts and wish them all the best over the busy festive period.”
Airports Commission 3
I presented evidence to the Airports Commission alongside other MPs. For the full transcript of what I said please see www.john-mcdonnell.net/blog
Salvation Army at Barnhill 3
I spent an enjoyable evening at Barnhill Community Centre listening to the Salvation Army’s Christmas Concert and Carols. Thank you to Mark Gritt and the Salvation Army band for putting on such a wonderful event and for all the Salvation Army does throughout the year in supporting people who are often the most vulnerable in our society.
International Development Bill 5th
Today I voted in favour of a bill that would enshrine in law the UK’s commitment to spend 0.7% of national spend on overseas aid. I was pleased to have made a contribution to save lives. Thanks to all my constituents who wrote to me expressing their concerns.
Hillingdon Play Association Christmas Event
I attended the Hillingdon Play Association Christmas Play Day at Barnhill Community cafe, Welbeck Shopping Parade. I met with the Deputy Mayor and all the volunteers. It was a wonderful afternoon. Thank you to the volunteers for organising such a terrific event which was free to all the community.
Hayes Cricket Club AGM
I attended the Hayes Cricket Club AGM on Sunday and was re-elected patron for another year. The club is thriving and I was impressed with the recruitment and training of the young people into the colts many of whom are now appearing in our senior teams.
Hayes and Harlington Scouts Awards 9
I presented the Queens Scout award to James Grant on Tuesday 9th December at The Parish Centre next to St Raphael's Church, Ayles Road.
The Queen’s Scout Award (formerly known as the King’s Scout Award) is the culmination of everything that a young person can do in Scouting.It was introduced by King Edward V11 in October 1909 after a meeting with Lieutenant-General Robert Baden-Powell. After the death of King George VI in 1952, Queen Elizabeth 11 gave her approval for the King's Scout Badge to be known as the Queen's Scout Badge
The award is presented to those Scouts who proved themselves able and willing to serve the Queen, should their service at any time be required by her. In order to be a Queen's Scout a boy had first of all to be a First Class Scout, which meant passing ten tests, and then pass another four badges out of a list of seven, one of which had to be the Pathfinder Badge.
I’m so proud of this achievement by James Grant. This is the first time in at least 12 years, we have had a Queen’s Scout award to be presented.
Official opening of Aspire 11
I launched the opening of Aspire’s new property at 49 Dudley Place (off Pinkwell Lane), Hayes UB3 1PA on Friday 12th December.
Aspire is a national charity that provides practical help to people who have been paralysed by Spinal Cord Injury to live independent lives. They do this through their Independent Living Advisors, Assistive Technology Programme, Housing, Grants and through active campaigning for positive change.
Aspire help to eradicate these barriers to living an independent life by providing temporary housing with fully inclusive features so that individuals can regain confidence after sustaining a life-changing injury and live independently.
Charville Primary School 11
I attended year 2’s a fantastic performance of Scrouge at Charville Primary School which concluded with a magnificent ukelele finale!
Barra Hall Pensioners Christmas Dinner 12
I Popped into Christmas lunch of the local Barra Hall Pensioners' club, at the Cricket Club, which we set up 10 years ago and had a great laugh with everyone
Harlington Model Railway 14
I visited the Harlington Model Railway Christmas open day. I had a great time whizzing round on the trains with my family. The initiative was all run by volunteers. Thank you.
Below is a list of the interventions in have made in the chamber over the last couple of months with a link to the Hansard.
Modern Slavery Bill 4th November
Finance Bill 11 November
Points of order re Esther McVey 17th November
Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill 19th November
Remploy Workers 26th November
Tenancies (Reform) Bill 28th November
Palestine 1st December
Infrastructure Bill 8th December
Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill 9th December
Prison Officers (work related stress) 10th December
Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill 15th December
Firefighters’ Pension Scheme (England)
Northern Ireland (All- Party Talks)
Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill 16th December
National Minimum Wage
Christmas Adjournment: Plea to secure the release of Shaker Aamer from Guantanamo Bay 18th December
Job Seeker’s Allowance (Sanctions)
Written Questions I have asked recorded by date the answer was received.
Human Trafficking 5th November
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to increase co-ordination and coherence in intelligence gathering techniques used in police investigations on human trafficking.
Answered by: Karen Bradley
Tackling Modern slavery is a priority for the National Crime Agency, which is committed to improving the co-ordination and coherence of intelligence gathering processes, working with law enforcement partners in the UK and abroad. For example, Europol helped facilitate the arrest of 90 people suspected of human trafficking as part of Operation Archimedes in September this year, and that is why the Government is seeking to rejoin the measure on 1 December. The Modern Slavery Strategy, which will be published shortly, will set out a number of measures to improve the way in which intelligence on modern slavery is gathered, analysed and shared with law enforcement partners.
Human Trafficking 6th November
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many (a) victims of trafficking and (b) victim direct service providers have been consulted during the review of the National Referral Mechanism for victims of human trafficking.
Answered by: Karen Bradley
Holding answer received on 05 November 2014
In order to inform the review of the National Referral Mechanism the team has consulted with EU States through the Intergovernmental Consultations on Migration, Asylum and Refugees. The review lead, Jeremy Oppenheim has also met with Danish colleagues to discuss their approach.
The review team has visited 10 of the contracted service providers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. At each visit the team has taken the opportunity to meet victims and discuss their experiences. In addition the team has consulted other organisations that work closely with victims and provide additional services.
A full list of those who have been consulted will be included in the final report to be published shortly.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the National Referral Mechanism review team is taking to consider best practice from other EU member states.
Holding answer received on 05 November 2014
Work Capacity Assessment 10th November
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what investigations his Department undertook into the work of Maximus before the award of the work capability assessment contract.
Answered by: Mark Harper:
We are confident in MAXIMUS’s ability to deliver this contract after a thorough evaluation process of their performance on major contracts.