"If this is how banks treat their friends it's no wonder they have so few". Following Lloyds' announcement that they will be closing yet more branches, today I have written an article for The Guardian about the impact of bank branch closures on ordinary people, local communities and local economies. You can read the piece here. On top of the £75 billion in fines, compensation and legal expenses that the big banks are having to pay because of previous misdeeds, they will now h
Today I have written to Minister for Women & Equalities Justine Greening MP about proposed cuts to the Equality and Human Rights Commission's budget - cuts that would send a very worrying message about human rights and equality in our country.
On Friday I was thrilled to attend the handover ceremony for a new community centre and church in Tottenham Hale - The Engine Room and St Francis Church. The site will provide a 24-space nursery, a café, two community halls, a learning workshop and a chapel for prayer and worship. I have taken a great interest in this project since it was first launched because I believe the Engine Room's vision to engage communities, foster harmony and build a real sense of identity in Totte
Yesterday I wrote to Minister of State for Welfare Reform Lord Freud opposing the Government's planned cuts to the Housing Benefit paid to people living in supported housing - including those with mental health problems and disabilities. Whilst the Government professes to be a 'one nation Government' acting in the interests of the future, welfare cuts that will hit the most vulnerable hardest are totally wrong and I will continue to oppose them in the strongest possible terms
Today I have written to the Universities Minister Jo Johnson MP about retrospective changes to student loan repayments. The Government are planning to freeze the level at which graduates repay their student loans, after promising that the threshold would rise with inflation. Retrospectively moving the goal posts in this way is a scandal. It is totally unfair and will hit the poorest hardest. Many young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are put off applying to university b
Yesterday I spoke out in opposition to the Government's plans for our universities during the Second Reading of the Higher Education and Research Bill. I didn't have time to say everything that I wanted to say, so I have posted the speech that I planned to give on my Facebook page. You can read what I was actually able to say on Hansard here, or below. You can watch my speech on Parliament TV here (from 16:26).
Freedom of Information requests that I submitted to the Metropolitan Police show that our police may be overly targeting BAME youths as gang members, leading to harsher treatment by our criminal justice system. Figures for the Met's database of gang suspects, called the gangs matrix, show that of the 3,626 people listed on that database 78% were black and a further 9% were from other ethnic minorities. This means that 90% of youths classed as a gang member, suspected of invol
Today I spoke out in opposition to the Government's plans for our universities during the Second Reading of the Higher Education Bill. I didn't have time to say everything that I wanted to say, so I have posted the speech that I planned to give on my Facebook page. In my speech I focused on the lack of progress in improving access to our universities, particularly top universities. I have copied this section of my speech below: "The figures are striking. Between 2005 and 2015
During the Urgent Question on the situation in Turkey I asked the Government a question about the behaviour of President Erdogan. I asked the Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan MP: "Does the Minister recognise the concern in my constituency Which has the largest Turkish-speaking population in the country that The way the West behaved to Erdogan is frankly similar to the way we behaved to Mubarak This is a man who is stretching democracy beyond belief. Will the Minister now b
Earlier this evening I spoke out in opposition to the Government's plans to renew our Trident nuclear weapons, and voted against the Government's motion. I joined the CND as a teenager over 20 years ago because I grew up under an ever-present threat of nuclear annihilation. Thankfully the threat of nuclear attack seems far more remote than when I was growing up, but many of us now seem to have lost sight of the senselessness of the stockpiling of these weapons and the utter b