I am emailing to update with a summary of my work representing Poplar and Limehouse.
For more detailed information my website is regularly updated and you can follow my activity via social
media Facebook and Twitter.
Surgery appointments are still taking place digitally and by phone and can arranged by calling 02072196826 weekdays between 10am-4pm or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Apsana Begum MP
I have been raising concerns about the disproportionate effect of Covid-19 on black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people since the onset of the crisis – tabling Early Day Motion #427 “Covid-19 and BAME Communities” ().
I spoke about this issue during the 2nd Reading debate of the Finance Bill on 27th April and the General Debate on Covid-19 on 12th May.
Most recently, I spoke in a debate on the effect of covid-19 on Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities calling for urgent action to address the unfair health and economic inequalities that are key factors (18th June,
see video on Facebook).
You may also wish to read my articles published on 8th April
and 16th June.
The demonstrations and rallies across America, and beyond, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder reflect an opposition to the ongoing failure of the American political establishment to reckon with the history of slavery,
and racial inequality
The Socialist Campaign Group of MPs, of which I am a member, promptly issued a statement calling for justice for George Floyd and recognition that his death took place in the context of centuries of social depravation and economic extraction that have been endured by African Americans.
I also am a top signatory of Early Day Motion George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter campaign Early Day Motion #564.
Similarly, I joined 160 MPs from every major party, calling for an immediate end to exporting of British riot gear, teargas, and rubber bullets to the US in light of a violent police crackdown against civil rights protesters.
I have also supported the call for justice for the family of Belly Mujinga – including signing Early Day Motion #561 which calls on the Government to investigate the circumstances of Ms. Mujinga’s death.
I tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament calling for justice
for Shukri Abdi and a comprehensive investigation into events leading up to her drowning last Summer, including the actions of all public bodies involved and the allegations of school bullying.
However, last week, as people were calling out the state regarding racism, Islamophobia and discrimination, the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill received its 2nd Reading. I have since raised concerns that this legislation
delays the long awaited review of Prevent which fosters discrimination against Muslim people and introduces significant curtailments on civil liberties, which will disadvantage BAME communities.
With Zarah Sultana MP & Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP, I co-ordinated a letter signed by 60 MPs and tabled an EDM calling for universal healthcare to everyone who needs it – calling for an immediate suspension of NHS Charging for migrants and data sharing with the Home Office during the coronavirus pandemic.
I have called for an urgent and comprehensive action plan to safeguard and protect the health and wellbeing of all migrants at this difficult time (including calling for an amnesty for undocumented migrants).
I voted against Second Reading (18th May) of the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill because it failed to secure the rights of British citizens to live, work and study in other EEA Member
States. In particular, I am proud to have signed a reasoned amendment calling for an end to the hostile environment.
My thoughts are with the loved ones of the individuals who have sadly died in the UK and with those who have contracted the virus.
I play tribute to public sector workers. I am confident that they will do the absolute best job they possibly can in the difficult circumstances they are facing and have my full support.
I have been in contact with councillors, the Chief Executive of Tower Hamlets council and the Mayor – along with other key points on contact in terms of local infrastructure.
I am continuing to hold the Government to account, making a number of interventions in Parliament and beyond, calling for the proper scale of intervention, leadership and co-ordination needed – including raising concerns
over overcrowded households, the mental health crisis in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and as to how people with disabilities, the elderly and other vulnerable people will receive the support needed.
There is widespread concern about, and opposition to, the Government’s call for pupils to return to school. The NEU’s arguments that nothing should happen unless and until the scientific advice and evidence indicates
that it is safe to move forward with the wider opening of schools, are, in my opinion, sensible, considered and logical. I participated in a parent’s meeting via zoom hosted by Tower Hamlets Unison and City
and East London NEU. On the 30th May, I wrote to headteachers to assure them that they had my full support in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of pupils and staff.
After all our lobbying, I welcomed that the Government’s stance on providing free school meals vouchers over the Easter holidays and half term was overturned and now the same has happened regarding the Summer. More
recently I raised this in Parliament on 16th June.
Locally, I have supported calls for the scheme to be extended to include participation from Iceland and have sought to have a regular and constructive dialogue with local schools.
I have been delighted to liaise with schools, foodbanks and volunteers across Poplar and Limehouse – alongside campaigning against food poverty and raising concerns about the crisis in Parlaiment.
I am very pleased to continue to participate in the Education Select Committee [including meetings organised online]. We have meet with Government Ministers and OFSTED. In particular, on the 29th April we grilled the Education
Secretary about Department for Education’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic – including raising concerns about disadvantaged groups, special educational needs, disabilities and school funding.
I have been campaigning to demand that the government helps to prevent a future rent debt and eviction crisis by freezing rents and writing off arrears. Working with Labour Homelessness Campaign, I have been lobbying the Government to clarify whether
the ‘Everyone In’ homelessness scheme will continue to receive Government funding, and whether local authorities are currently required to house those with No Recourse to Public Funds.
I supported Labour’s Shadow Treasury Team’s #Budget2020 response in raising the three crises tied to a decade of decline – coronavirus, the social emergency and climate change.
I have written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer with cross party support suggesting three essential conditions that big businesses seeking state support should follow in order to qualify: that they must not be registered in tax havens; that they must implement a moratorium
on dividend pay-outs and share buybacks; and that they must curb excessive executive pay.
I have been raising concerns about social care and the coronavirus crisis – including being in contact with the council and other authorities making representations accordingly.
I have been working with other MPs to lobby the Government around testing and tracking in relation to care homes and social care.
I have been glad to have been supporting local organisations, including Mohila Ongon, in tackling domestic abuse in Tower Hamlets. The Domestic Abuse Bill in Parliament currently before parliament sets out a a new legal
obligation on councils to provide secure refuges for victims. This is progress, but we need =E2=80=8Bto be certain that refuges have secure long-term funding.
I have been calling on the Government must do whatever it takes to protect people from the economic impact of coronavirus – including extending support schemes for workers and business so that no one is forced to work in
unsafe conditions and that people’s health and wellbeing is prioritised. See recent media coverage.
I have been highlighting how many are falling in between “cracks” in government schemes including freelancers, the recently recruited and businesses not registered for rates.
In particular, many businesses in my constituency have contacted me with concerns that they are not eligible for relief because they are not registered for business rates, as they are renting a small space within a larger
property, paying a proportion of business rates to the landlord. I raised this during the 2nd Reading debate of the Finance Bill on 27th April 2020 and will continue to follow up.
I have been continuing to campaign for the rights, incomes and safety of all workers – from postal workers to doctors, to bus drivers to cleaners to supermarket shelve-stackers to nurses to migrant workers to carers. For
Locally, I have been working with PCS the union regarding the disproportionate impact of office-based working on outsourced support staff in the Government’s own departments (situated on the Canary Wharf estate) – security
guards, cleaners, porters etc.
It has been an ongoing cause for concern that residential blocks in Poplar and Limehouse and elsewhere, covered in unsafe cladding, have still not had it removed.
On 29th April, spoke in the 2nd Reading of the Fire Safety Bill in Parliament about how it is utterly unacceptable that residential blocks in my constituency of Poplar and Limehouse and elsewhere, covered in Grenfell-style
ACM cladding, have still not had it removed.
In particular, I called on the Government to acknowledge the difficulties that leaseholders face in particular and ensure with action – not simply words – that remediation work will not – in any circumstances whatsoever
– fall on individual leaseholders in affected blocks.
Last weekend, I organised a meeting to discuss tackling local issues regarding cladding and fire safety. It was attended by over sixty local residents and included speakers from the charity Leasehold Knowledge Partnership
and the Fire Brigades Union.
I have been making representations in Parliament about ensuring that local communities are empowered and involved in decision making processes around local planning. In particular, I have been raising concerns regarding
the Government’s approval of the Westferry Printworks development – questioning the Secretary of State in Parliament before the court result.
In May, I called for the Secretary of State to consider his position as soon as the revelations surrounding the quashing of the planning permission for Westferry Printworks scheme.
I am continuing to raise this important matter in every way I can – including tabling a number of parliamentary questions.
Since the coronavirus crisis has unfolded, I have been supporting constituents in returning to the UK from a number of countries – including Bangladesh. This has included signing a letter, along with 34 other MPs, calling
on the UK Government to act urgently to return British nationals from Bangladesh.
I have continued to call for the UK and international community to provide urgent support to the world’s poorest countries – including taking a stand against unfair international debts – especially as the Global South still
continues to overcome the destruction caused by imperialism and disproportionately shoulder the burden of a global climate crisis they did not create.