On a personal note I was saddened to lose our good and loyal friend Jeremy Hardie. As well as being a brilliant comedian, whenever the call for solidarity went out, Jeremy courageously supported campaigns for social justice from the Guildford 4, the miners’ strike to the plight of refugees. We all loved him.
Below is a brief summary of just some of my activities locally and in Parliament in the last month.
As part of our Road to Rebuilding the Economy campaign I went to Stoke-on Trent Stoke to listen to what the local problems and priorities are, as well as talk about Labour’s plan for Britain and how we can use these policies to tackle the city’s problems.
The main issues that came up in the discussion about what was holding Stoke back was inefficient transport, graduate retention, cuts in youth centres correlating with rise in gang culture, underemployment, lack of access to mental health services.
The solutions to building Stoke’s economy which was discussed in the second breakout included bringing services back into the Council, progressive procurement policy, improved and affordable bus routes, green manufacturing and job creation in the Arts. To see a video clip click here
Later that afternoon I met with a group of Local Business owners in the potteries industry. The main issue was their concerns about how Brexit was going to have a detrimental impact on their business.
I then went on to the Staybridge fundraiser in the constituency of my Shadow Economic Secretary Jonathan Reynolds. It was a great night and raised significant funds for the CLPs campaigns.
LBC Phone in with Iain Dale 5th
I answered viewer’s questions about how the Labour party are dealing with Antisemitism, how we would deal with State Aid Rules and Public Ownership post Brexit if we were part of the customs union, a second referendum on Brexit, Venezuela, The Labour Party’s finances, polling trends, how I would have dealt with the Credit Crunch in 2010 and my views on extending article 50 for 9 months. The full interview can be seen here
Industry Forum: TheCityUK 6th
I spoke at TheCityUK Industry Forum about Labour’s vision for the financial and related professional services industry. The forum represents a large number of finance and industrial sectors. Their main concern id Brexit and its consequences for the economy.
Institute of Employment Rights
I spoke at the Institute of Employment Rights event to celebrate its 30th anniversary about Labour’s plans for a world of work fit for workers in the 21st century. Professor Keith Ewing and John Hendy QC highlighted some of the IERs past work. It was a most enjoyable evening. I have worked with IER for decades and the group has been the driving force behind our policies to restore trade union rights in our country.
Progressive Economy Forum Lecture 7th
I spoke at the Progressive Economy Forum Lecture alongside Professor Stephany Griffith-Jones about Labour’s plans for a National Investment Bank and how this slots into Labour’s broader economic/social vision. The NIB will provide us with the investment we need to promote the high paid, high skills jobs our people need.
Labour Representation Committee Conference 9th
I spoke at the LRC AGM on Labour’s policies and plans for Government. Many of these policies are the ideas developed by the LRC since I helped fund it with Tony Benn several years ago.
Neurodiversity & Autism Labour Group Launch
There was a great turnout for the launch of the Labour Party Autism/Neurodiversity Manifesto. We had a fascinating discussion about the need for a detailed programme of policies to campaign for now and when we go into government. The manifesto has been written by people who are neurodiverse.
Labour Left Conference
I spoke at Dulwich and West Norwood Momentum/ Labour Left in support of the socialist policies that were included in the 2017 Labour Manifesto. Ted Knight had organised a packed conference focusing on the key policy programme needed to transform our society.
Canvassing in Bell Farm 10th
I joined our councillors and campaigners visiting homes on Bell Farm to invite residents to our local coffee morning.
ESA Lobby 13th
I joined disabled activists in an important lobby of Parliament to expose the harm being done to disabled people by Tory policies. Marsha de Cordova explained that Labour will build a social security system that is fair and first does no harm. The Conservatives have created a hostile environment for disabled people. There was a moving discussion of the harm being inflicted on disable people by the current benefits system drawing upon people’s experiences of the hardship imposed upon them. Billions has been cut from social security, flawed assessments and a cruel sanctions regime. Labour has pledged to build a social security that will #FirstDoNoHarm
POLITICO London Playbook Live
I spoke in conversation with Playbook Editor Jack Blanchard. We had a candid conversation about how the Labour Party would ensure the U.K. thrives after Brexit. How Labour would reshape the U.K. economy and what businesses can expect when Labour assume power. When asked “Churchill – hero or villain”, I commented villain as a result of his sending troops against the miners in Tonypandy. It sparked a wide range of reaction.
Interview on Churchill with ITV News 14th
I was stopped on my way in to Parliament by an ITN interviewer to explain why when asked in a round of quick-fire questions at the end of a meeting the previous evening, if I thought Winston Churchill was a hero or a Villani. Winston Churchill was a war hero but there was also another side to him’. The interview can be viewed here
UKs withdrawal from the EU
The Prime Minister has lost yet another vote on the biggest issue facing the Country. It must surely be evident to her that her proposals are not acceptable and she should back Labour’s deal to protect the living standards of the British people and future generations.
The Andrew Marr Show 17th
In reply to Andrews question about Sir Jim Ratcliff leaving the UK for Monaco to avoid paying taxes I said that I was really disappointed. Every penny this super rich person has avoided in Taxes means the NHS doesn’t treat patients as well as they could, it means our children don’t get the full investment in their education, its means less safety on our streets. I appeal to people like this. It’s a great country. Just make your contribution like the rest of us. It’s not asking a lot if you have a fair taxation system. I also spoke about the consequences of a no deal Brexit, the prospect of a general election, a wealth tax and antisemitism. The interview can be viewed here
I spoke at an event with local business leader in Walsall about Labour’s plans on supporting small businesses, creating quality jobs, investing in communities and building relationships with BAME communities in Walsall, Wolverhampton and the wider region.
Friends of Cranford Park 22nd
We met with the project design team to go through their proposals for Fuller Way Community Centre. The project plan is our exciting revitalisation of the park and I have given my full support.
Coffee morning 23rd
I convened a coffee morning with the local councillors at Bell Farm Christian Centre for residents to drop in. It was a successful way of meeting local residents and listening to their concerns.
Shri Guru Ravi Dass
I attended the annual celebration of the birth of Shri Guru Ravi Dass, alongside Virendra Sharma MP, Seema Malhotra and the Indian High Commission.
HPA and Hasbro 26th
I hosted a visit to Parliament for our local Hillingdon Play Association Volunteers and the Hasbro staff who assist us each year.
In an interview with Robert Peston I told him that the Labour party was willing to do what it can to ensure that the consequences of a no-deal Brexit were avoided. We have argued in our manifesto that we’ll respect the referendum but that we would not allow Theresa May to inflict upon us a reckless Brexit deal. That would be catastrophic for our economy.