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Newsletter 30 March 2021

Welcome to my March newsletter! 

Here’s a summary of what you will find in this month’s issue: 

• Action for Poplar and Limehouse 

• Action on the economy 

• Action on health 

• Action on education  

• Action on human rights  

• Action on health and safety 

• Action on gender inequality 

• Action on worker’s rights 

(1) Action on Poplar and Limehouse

This month marks one year since my maiden speech  in Parliament on International Women’s Day.

On the 6 March I joined Womens 100  at their International Women’s Day celebrations to recognise local women’s leadership during the Covid  crisis. On 7 March  I joined Mohila Ongon   calling on women to occupy political spaces drawing on the inspiring women farmers protesting against agriculture laws in India.

On 11 March, I participated in a Parliament’s Education Service  event  on my experiences as a woman parliamentarian to an audience including young women constituents at  Mulberry School for Girls.

On 25 March, I had fun  speaking with Year 6 pupils at Seven Mills Primary School on the climate emergency exploring their ideas for vertical gardens and my work supporting the Climate Emergency Bill. I was happy to answer their questions and thank their teachers for working to arrange this. 

On 26 March, Bangladesh celebrated 50 years of independence. I  joined events  with British Bangladeshi constituents including with  the Bangladesh High Commission to mark this significant  milestone. 

This month, my team and I have assisted with casework and enquiries on issues including service charge hikes, welfare and disability benefit support, delays in citizenship applications and urgent travel requests. 

(2) Action on the Economy

The Chancellor announced an austerity budget and in Parliament, called out  disparities in his Covid-19 economic support commitments last year and  called for an inclusive, intersectional Green Recovery with economic equality.  

(3) Action on Health

News that 49 GP practices are being taken over by an American private healthcare firm recently including two in Poplar and Limehouse (East One and Cable Street) is alarming. I  tabled a motion in Parliament and  have written to  the Secretary of State seeking transparency and clarification. 

I have continued to meet with local NHS leaders on delays and demand in vaccine supply and  have made representations regarding constituent experiences at the Royal London hospital. 

On 18 March I spoke in a debate on adult social care reform, calling for an overhaul of the system to ensure that the tragedy of deaths at HC-One Aspen Court care home are never repeated. I also highlighted the contributions of Neighbourhoods in Poplar and First Love Foundation locally in filling the gaps due to the fragmented social care system. 

I remain concerned that there is still little data being shared by the government on the disproportionate impact of the second wave of pandemic on ethnic minority communities. I called this out  during a media interview. 

It’s so important that we vaccination offers are taken up of both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines. Locally we have seen some improvement in the rates of uptake, but I urge everyone  to book themselves for a vaccine when contacted, for any of the two vaccines offered.

(4) Action on Education

I recognise how difficult it has been for parents and guardians with supporting learning during lockdown. It is with a heavy conscience that I continued to call for no return to in-person reaching until safe to do so.  

On the Education Committee, I have been calling for (i) more support on students with learning difficulties and (ii) a suspension on pupil exclusions in light of mental health challenges being experienced by young people in the pandemic and the backdrop of new Covid safety measures in schools. 

I am pleased that the  School Uniform Bill  to cut costs for families passed in Parliament this month and that many local parents and guardians with benefit from this.

Photo taken pre pandemic with Mike Amesbury MP

Photo taken pre-pandemic with Mike Amesbury MP

(5) Action on human rights and civil liberties

Following the tragic murder of Sarah Everard and the police violence at the vigil that followed, I supported  amendments to  scrap the new Policing Bill proposing more police powers to curb the right to protest.  I debated  against the Bill and  joined a vigil outside it the Commons before the vote.

The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS) Bill has ping-ponged between both Houses in Parliament. It returned to the Commons this month and I spoke against measures in it as I have done at every stage despite the government largely ignoring some amendments.  

These Bills have huge ramifications for our civil liberties and human rights. I wrote about it here  and chaired a public event online bringing together experts and to explore these in more detailed which can be watched back  here .

(6) Action on Health and Safety

I secured and led a debate  on the issue of health and safety regulations around cranes on construction sites, following the  Bow crane collapse last year. I paid tribute to June Harvey who sadly died as a result and constituents still impacted by it, calling for greater regulation over the construction industry and their use of cranes.  

The cladding scandal ensues with Tory MPs voting down amendments to the Fire Safety Bill.  I spoke at a debate  on interim costs on residential leaseholder constituents, many of whom are faced with the prospect of bankruptcy. 

(7) Action on Gender Inequality

At the International Women’s Day debate in Parliament, I spoke  about the issue of honour based abuse – a commonly misunderstood form of domestic abuse, calling for a legally recognised definition of it in the Domestic Abuse Bill. 

As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Domestic Violence and Abuse, I led a meeting  on the impact of domestic abuse on children with experts and a child survivor. 

8) Action on Workers’ Rights

Before the budget announcements, I  listened to and spoke at a rally of members of PCS Union and civil servants based at Canary Wharf, ahead of the Budget to discuss the issues of pay freezes. 

I have called for a public enquiry  in to the Shrewsbury workers injustice, following the historic verdict clearing them of unlawful activities during the national construction workers strike in the 1970s. After 25 years of campaigning for worker’s rights it is only right that the full circumstances of the original dispute and subsequent trial are revealed so no such grave miscarriages of justice are ever repeated. 

I hope you will consider getting an early vote  for the May elections and look forward to seeing you online or in person on the campaign trail!