Newsletter 30 April


Welcome to my April newsletter!


In this issue you’ll find out what I’ve been up to including:


(1) Action for Poplar and Limehouse

(2) Action on health

(3) Action on the economy

(4) Action on education and youth

(5) Action on human rights and equality

(6) Action on workers rights

(7) Action on housing, health and safety


This month I’ve enjoyed returning to the #LabourDoorstep, phone banking and door knocking to re-elect Sadiq Khan and Unmesh Desai in the London elections. I am looking forward to seeing you on this campaign trail before the 6 May.


To those of you who have been observing the month of Ramadan, I hope that you are enjoying the blessings of this beautiful month, Ramadan Mubarak!


Warmest wishes, Apsana

(1) Action for Poplar and Limehouse


On 22 April, I spoke at a rally held outside the headquarters of Operose, a subsidiary of American health company Centene, who have recently been handed private contracts for 49 GP practices. These include Cable Street practice and East One Health in our constituency.

Patients are already reporting to me lower quality service and delays in the issuing of prescriptions. The campaign continues to grow with my Parliamentary Motion garnering the support of over 70 MPs across the House.

On the 16 April, I attended a service before the royal funeral at Christ Church Isle of Dogs and then met with non-essential business owners locally to discuss their first week back into business following the second national lockdown. As restrictions lift, I appeal to you to remain cautious about the warnings of a third wave and also continue to support all our local & independent businesses who could do with a much needed boost at this time.


This month, my team and I have sent over 1,200 letters to emails to and on behalf of local constituents. Issues and cases I am tackling relate to increases in service charges for both social tenants and leaseholders, disrepair works and accessibility of local services.

(2) Action on Health


At a local level, the vaccine rollout has improved significantly but I am closely following the rollout particularly among younger people including the rollout of the Moderna vaccine.


Pregnancy-related mortality rates stand at shocking levels for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic mothers compared with their white counterparts. As part of a pledge I have made with Five X More, an organisation working to help close the gap, I am already working with local NHS leaders to assess and address local gaps and will be meeting with Black and Asian women locally to further this campaign in the coming weeks.


Young people with eating disorders developed in the pandemic has resulted in more local presentations to NHS services. I have raised this with local NHS leaders with the case for stronger local-based support for this.


With colleagues, I am calling on Boris Johnson to pause the government’s planned reorganisation of the NHS and social care and carry out a full public consultation so that patients, NHS staff, care workers and unpaid carers can have their say. If you are on Twitter, please follow the hashtag #NHSPauseConsult for updates on this campaign.

(3) Action on the economy


Whilst the Tories continue to hand out contracts to their friends, the Prime Minister reportedly saying, others in the country bear the brunt of the pandemic. Notably in the last month David Cameron and the Greensill scandal.

I supported tabling two amendments to the Finance Bill, the first amendment would create a higher rate of tax for those earning more than £200,000 and the second to implement a windfall tax for those who have profited most during the pandemic.

(4) Action on education and youth


The Education Secretary’s latest crackdown on the behaviour of pupils is a cause for alarm given the trauma and challenges young people have experienced in the pandemic. I’ve called for a moratorium on pupil exclusions for at least a year, so that young people can be given the chance to adjust to Covid safety restrictions and educational settings.


I also joined colleagues in writing to the Principal of Pimlico Academy, in our neighbouring constituency regarding a dispute over uniform rules, specifically on afro hair and observing the hijab. These policies if rolled out more broadly in other academy trusts would be detrimental to the inclusion of local pupils.


On the Education Committee, I’ve been asking questions on the introduction of secure schools as part of a new enquiry into prison education. On 27 April, I asked the Minister for Higher Education on issues including sexual harassment policies at universities as well as the financial stability of the higher education sector including risks posed to lower-tariff universities in light of expected A Level grade inflations this year.

(5) Action on human rights and equality


I’m actively opposing the Government’s authoritarian Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. On 3 April, I spoke at a protest outside Parliament, highlighting the impact this bill would have on already vulnerable communities. If you would like to join me at the National (socially distanced) Rally tomorrow on 1 May, please get in touch – don’t forget your mask!


Against the rise of Islamophobia in France under the guise of protecting freedoms, I have written to the UK’s Ambassador to France on proposals to ban under-18s from wearing hijab in public spaces. The letter co-signed by 28 parliamentary colleagues asks the UK Government publicly oppose the proposals.


I spoke at the latest reading of the Domestic Abuse Bill, where more than 80 tabled amendments from the House of Lords were discussed. In the speech I specifically called for greater levels of support for migrant women, which was also the focus of my article for Labourlist.

(6) Action on worker’s rights


This month I’ve also been supporting strikers demanding their rights in various sectors: IWGB members striking against Deliveroo in Shoreditch, Unite members in the London Bus Strikes, and British Gas workers who are GMB union members and have lost their jobs after refusing Fire and Rehire contracts.


The entire labour movement have come together to call for ‘fire and rehire’ practices in the workplace to be outlawed. Consistent with my opposition to this locally on the Tower Rewards proposals, I will be campaigning alongside our trade unions to force the Government to ban this practice everywhere. Join us on the campaign at endfireandrehire.com.

(6) Action on housing, health and safety


The Fire Safety Bill has now passed in Parliament after a ping-pong between both Houses. To my dismay amendments to ensure leaseholders do not pay for the cladding crisis did not pass. The Government is intent on protecting the building and development industry at the expense of leaseholders, some of whom are already being billed for remedial works. I’ve been continuing to meet with constituents and make representations on these including in Canary Wharf ward.


I have raised questions to the Government about the impact of delays to the timescales the Government’s Building Safety Fund, and the impact this could have on the September start date of remediation programmes for both smaller and larger applications such as local housing associations.


On 28 April, I spoke at the Trade Union Congress rally along with the General Secretary of the TUC, paying tribute to those who have been impacted by the Bow crane collapse. I called out the Government’s cuts to the Health and Safety Executive which has led to a significant drop in inspections and called on trade unions to come together and push back on any Government’s relaxing of safe working rules to allow workers into unsafe work environments as restrictions lift.