John’s Monthly Newsletter May 2019
Below is a brief summary of just some of my activities locally and in Parliament in the last month.
High Court – Decision on Heathrow 1st
I attended the High Court Decision on the Heathrow airport expansion. It was a bizarre judgement that lets government off the hook on climate change because it has not put the Paris Climate Change Agreement into UK law. The Campaign goes on as an Appeals is certain. This is just the first stage in defeating 3rd runway & protecting our environment. I am confident that a 3rd runway will not go ahead based upon the environmental and cost concerns.
London May Day Rally and International Workers Day
I spoke at the May Day Rally at Trafalgar Square on the day when ordinary workers around the world celebrate their solidarity and achievements. In our present political climate it is important we re-assert the need for trade union rights and workers protection. We also celebrate the real internationalism of workers across the world facing the same big multinationals and financiers who try to impose austerity and attack public services. We stand with workers around the world and oppose those who seek to divide us by skin colour or ethnic background. We win when we stand together.
RMT May Day Social
Following the rally, I spoke at RMT’s London Transport Regional Council’s annual to remember the 5th anniversary of the tragic death of RMT leader Bob Crow. Presentation of long service awards were made to some of the members by Steve Hedley, Assistant General Secretary. Bob Crow was a superb trade union leader and a good friend to our constituency, campaigning for us in every election. We all miss him.
Environment and climate emergency debate
I voted to declare an environment and climate emergency. It is time for a green industrial revolution. Parliament has a historic opportunity to be the first in the world to declare an an environment and climate emergency. We need the Government to bring a fully costed plan back to Parliament within the next 6 months.
At the request of our old friend and former MEP, Robert Evans, I was out campaigning in Stanwell for the local elections with a great Labour doorstep team. Congratulations, well done and thank you to all our members who campaigned so hard.
Iain Dale 2nd
I spoke with Iain Dale about the local elections and the Brexit deadlock. In the talks with the Government I explained there had been a great deal of movement to enable a deal to break the Brexit deadlock. The big issue for us, was that if we secured a deal, how long would it last as the Tories would be in the middle of a leadership election possibly by June, at least by the Autumn.
Launch of Euro Campaign Southall 4th
I spoke at the Launch of the Euro Campaign meeting at the Punjab National Bank in Southall, joining Katie Clarke our candidate, Onkar Sahota and Virendra Sharma and a large number of local activists.
Marr on Sunday 5th
I spoke with Andrew Marr about a Zero Carbon Economy and how we in the Labour treasury team are re-writing the Green Book, which is the criteria by which investment decisions are made by the Government. One of our key priorities is going to be tackling Climate change and tackling inequalities within our society. One of the best perks I have ever had has been meeting Adrian Dunbar. A brilliant actor and caring, thoughtful person. Though I couldn’t get who is H out of him! I’m an avid fan of Line of Duty.
Chesterfield May Day celebration 6th
There was a great turnout for the Chesterfield May Day rally. I was proud to speak alongside the inspirational Mark Serwatka, PCS general Secretary, historically one of the finest and most eloquent trade union leaders our movement has produced.
Launch of Basic Income as Common Dividends 7th
I hosted and spoke at the launch of Guy Standing’s report proposing UK pilots of a Basic Income is a useful contribution to debates on social security. We are committed to developing a radical agenda needed to eradicate poverty and we will study its recommendations carefully.
Enhancing the Bank of England Toolkit 9th
Great to be at the Progressive Economy Forum (PEF) workshop today on Enhancing the Bank of England Toolkit. We won’t get a grip on the problems of our time, like the climate emergency & low productivity, without coordinating action across institutions, including the Treasury and Bank of England. This meeting brought together a group of expert advisers on how we can harness the powers of the Bank of England more effectively to grow the economy.
Britain in the Global Economy’ IPPR Centre for Economic Justice Launch
I enjoyed speaking at IPPR Centre for Economic Justice Launch about the need for a new socialist internationalism that breaks with the neoliberalism of current institutions.
I convened an ongoing series of community meetings in Hayes this week to discuss issues of local concern and plan our local campaigns and community initiatives. Ranged from meeting in Heathrow villages about 3rd runway to Brookside Community Centre on litter, crime & housing. All the meetings were well attended with the support also of our local councillors.
Canal meeting 10th
I attended the local Canal working group to discuss further improvements to the canal environment.
TUC Executive Committee Away Day 13th
At the TUC executive committee away day I spoke about Labour’s Brexit strategy and I set out Labour’s priorities for government. I also talked about the role trade unions can play in this.
Wall Street Journal CEO Council 14th
I spoke ‘in conversation with’ Gerard Baker Editor at Large of The Wall Street Journal at their annual meeting about how Labour would reshape business, technology and society in post-Brexit Britain.
Muslims for Labour
I attended the Labour Muslim Network as they discussed their annual Iftar, their strategy for the year ahead and how they can contribute to Labour’s plans for the upcoming year.
FT Brexit and Beyond Summit 15th
I spoke to a selected group of company chief executives brought together by the Financial Times to discuss the prospects for the economy, related to Brexit.
Tamils for Labour’s 10th Anniversary Mullivaikal Remembrance Event
I spoke at the Tamils for Labour meeting to commemorating the 10th anniversary of the end of Sri Lanka’s armed conflict and to honour the memory of all those who died during the this conflict. I re-affirmed the Labour Party’s support for the values of truth, justice, accountability and reconciliation, and I support their calls for Tamil self-determination. I have arranged a detailed strategy meeting with Tamils for Labour.
International Tax Seminar 16th
I hosted a half-day workshop which brought together leading experts on tax avoidance. Participants included individuals who have investigated tax avoidance practice, campaigners, lawyers, policy specialists, and others along with members of the Shadow Treasury Team.
The aim of the workshop was to deepen our analysis of how and where tax avoidance is occurring – and to inform the Labour Party’s policy response to tax avoidance. The workshop provided a forum for open, imaginative, critical discussion of the merits of various policy options which will help the Labour Party to develop a rigorous and robust response to tax avoidance.
We discussed domestic reforms, international coordination, and enforcement and resourcing. We covered a range of topics, including a general anti-avoidance rule, tax havens, and HMRC. It was a mix of academics, campaigners, and investigative journalists.
It was great to be out campaigning in Peterborough for our PPC Lisa Forbes who is a superb local candidate. She has a track record of working hard on behalf the local community. Just the sort of dedicated local MP Peterborough needs. There was an amazing turnout of trade union members and local campaigners.
Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Havelock Rd, Southall UB2 4NP 19th
I visited Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara in Southall along With Jeremy and all our local Labour MPs and Euro candidates with us. Thak you to all the congregation for such a terrific reception.
General Federation of Trade Unions 20th
I hosted and spoke at the 120th anniversary of the federation, with whom I am working on a project for political education amongst young people.
Treasury Questions 21st
During our regular treasury questions slot in Parliament I asked the Chancellor to explain what he sees as the impact of a no-deal Brexit. I highlighted the fact that the reality is that for many the Brexit vote was, and may well be again, a kick at the establishment: an establishment that has inflicted nine years of harsh austerity on them, and which many feel has ignored them. As has been revealed this week, that austerity programme has meant children going to school hungry,without warm clothes or dry shoes, and single mothers with no food in their cupboards skipping meals so that their children can eat. Does the Chancellor even acknowledge the role that his austerity politics have played in delivering the Brexit vote?
Jubilee Debt Campaign
The Shadow Treasury Team met campaigners from Mozambique and the Jubilee Debt Campaign to hear about the shocking lack of transparency on loans to governments. I’ll be working with the Labour DFID team to see what we can do to support the fight for justice. We are introducing legislation to enforce a public register of all loans from the UK to countries in the global south.
Stockley Park Directors Breakfast Briefing 22nd
I spoke with business representatives at Stockley Park as part of their planned Directors briefings about the economic situation following Brexit and labour’s vision for the future of Britain.
Compassion in World Farming
I attended a briefing on Compassion in World Farming to move to cage free systems. Cage systems are cruel and prevent so many essential natural behaviours. Yet, every year, millions of animals are confined in cages across the UK. This is despite a wealth of robust scientific evidence to demonstrate the suffering caused by ‘enriched’ cages for laying hens and farrowing crates for sows.
Several countries across the EU have already prohibited certain cages that are permitted in the UK; the UK must take a more ambitious approach to introducing higher welfare farming systems if it is not to be left behind. I am delighted to support the End the Cage Age campaign, which already has such widespread public support and call on the Government to deliver a cage-free future for British farming.”
Fighting Outsourcing and defending worker’s rights
I chaired an outsourcing event in Parliament, organised by Independent Workers Union of Great Britain ,which was held to discuss how outsourcing leads to negative treatment of workers and inferior pay and terms and conditions. The rise of outsourcing has always been the result of calculated moves by the right to undermine workers and boost the power of capital. Outsourcing has had disastrous effects right across this country and beyond: in local government, universities, government departments, and elsewhere. A Labour Government will say no more to this. We have made key announcements about ending the scandal of outsourcing, and we look forward to continuing to set out comprehensive alternatives that will make insourcing the new normal across the country.
Nanaksar Primary School 24th
I spoke with yr 5 pupils at Nanaksar Primary school about Brexit as they have been following the issue of ‘Brexit’ closely, as they quite correctly believe it ultimately affects their future. We had a very informed discussion with 81% of pupils voting to stay and 19% to leave in a referendum they held.
Guru Nanak School
I was also invited to speak with Year 12 sociology students about my career in politics and experience of living in a capitalist society. An extremely interesting discussion took place.
2nd BWI Conference on Global Multinational Companies and Global Agreements 27th
At the request of Unite, I spoke at the BWI conference about responsible economic growth that respects workers’ rights. This included investing in skills and training enabling technological advance to benefit workers and their families, and to put workers at the centre of the transition to secure climate security.
Willow Tree Lane Festival
I was so pleased to attend the festival organised at the Willow Tree Lane shopping parade, with our local councillors and Helen Lowder, our CLP Chair. This event arose out of a suggestion at one of my community meetings and was organised by the local charity Trinity. It was a huge success including the folk singing by local party member Ray Smith.
NHS Dental Practice in Yiewsley
I was pleased to speak at the opening of a new NHS Dental practice in Yiesley as I have campaigned for several years for improvements in local dental services to address especially our poor rates of dental health amongst local children.