Sue Gray Report
This week Sue Gray’s report was published and laid bare the rot that has infected 10 Downing Street under this Prime Minister.
The Government has treated the sacrifices of the British people with utter contempt, and it is abundantly clear that the Prime Minister misled Parliament and the British people.
It is outrageous that we have a Prime Minister and Chancellor who have broken the law, lied about it and yet are still in office.
We are in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, and the Prime Minister is more focussed on saving his own skin, leaving his Government paralysed on the issues that matter.
We deserve better. Tory MPs who said they were waiting for this report have now seen how seriously the Prime Minister has demeaned his office. They must now act and force this out of touch Prime Minister out of office.
Queens Speech - cost of living crisis
After 12 years of a Conservative Government, taxes are at their highest level in 70 years and we are seeing the biggest drop in living standards since the 1950s, with food prices increasing, heating bills going up, wages stagnating, and the Bank of England forecasting growth to go negative next year. The Conservatives claim to be the party of economic responsibility, but this is their record in government.
The Queen’s Speech was an opportunity for the Government to show that they are in touch with reality and on the side of working families. It was an opportunity to show that they understand the challenges people are facing, but they failed.
Labour would deliver an emergency budget cancelling the National Insurance increase, as well as cutting small business rates, while ensuring every pound of taxpayers’ money is well spent. You can see my speech here.
The humanitarian impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been appalling, civilians are being killed and over 4.7 million Ukrainians are now estimated to have fled their country, while another six million people are internally displaced.
In response our local community has rallied together and responded with huge generosity. In particular, the fantastic Lewisham Polish Centre in Forest Hill have been doing brilliant work co-ordinating a relief effort for Ukrainian refugees in Poland.
I was really proud to visit them and contribute to their appeal and was heartened by the support they have received from our local community. They received so many donations that our local Labour Party office was used as an overflow storage facility. I was also honoured to visit the centre last month to welcome one of the first Ukrainian families to arrive in the Borough under the Homes for Ukraine scheme after fleeing the war.
The generosity and compassion of our community has really shone through with so many people registering to sponsor a family. Sadly, however, Home Office bureaucracy has left applicants facing huge delays and unnecessary hurdles.
In Parliament I raised the case of one constituent who was sponsoring a mother and young son. They had fled to Poland, but they had to return to Ukraine because they could not find accommodation. Still awaiting a Home Office decision on their visa application one month on, back in Ukraine they were spending 5 hours a day sheltering from air raids.
I am relieved that they have now received permission to come to the UK but the delays in issuing the visas put them at risk and added further unnecessary trauma. Sadly, their case is not unique. My team have been working tirelessly chasing up visa applications with the Home Office, often remaining on hold for up to three hours in order to progress cases.
It didn't have to be like this. The government ought to have been better prepared. They should cut the bureaucracy around the lengthy applications requiring large amounts of documentation, with bio metrics and security checks carried out swiftly en-route instead. And they should ensure the Home Office is adequately resourced to issue the visas quickly.
The Ukrainian people have shown great courage in the face of appalling Russian aggression, but the Government needs to also step up and match the spirit of the British public and other Western nations in giving sanctuary to those fleeing this war as we have done in generations past.
Local Elections 2022
We had a fantastic set of local election results particularly in London, with Labour winning former long-time Conservative councils, such as Wandsworth, Westminster, and Barnet.
I was out campaigning in the run up to the elections across the constituency and also in Croydon, Plaistow and the Gower to support our fantastic Labour candidates.
More locally I was pleased to see Labour in Lewisham being given a strong mandate to continue to deliver for people in Lewisham, holding all 54 seats on the council.
It was also fantastic to see Labour gains in Plaistow and St Paul's Cray in Bromley and coming close to winning in St Mary's Cray.
I want to congratulate all our candidates who ran and all those who were elected, particularly the fantastic gains we made in Plaistow and St Paul's Cray in Bromley.
As you may know we also have two Parliamentary by-elections happening in June and I have been up to Wakefield several times recently to campaign for Labour.