It’s been a busy year

I have had a busy year and am now looking forward to spending time with my family over the festive season.  In April I was confirmed as one of the six new european candidates for the Labour party and the elections are only six months away now.  I have enjoyed meeting Labour party members and talking to the public all across London about the campaign.  Next year the campaign steps up a gear as I will be working really hard to ensure that the Labour party double the number of MEP’s in the European parliament and increase the number of Labour councillors across London.  I will also be speaking at a number of events about the up-coming elections, you can find out where I’ll be on my out and about page.

I had a really useful time visiting the Council of Europe and European parliament in Strasbourg this month. I attended the plenary session and saw where women’s rights were voted down by Conservative and right wing MEP’s. I also attended the civil liberties committee, where Claude Moraes MEP is leading an inquiry into the sharing of our personal data in the USA.  I attended two events with the Europeans lobby whilst I was there, one about how we can take stronger action against rape and one to watch a film screening about the experiences of migrant women across Europe.  I had a catch up with my mentor, Mojca Kleva MEP and am looking forward to helping her with her re-election campaign in Slovenia in April and she will also return the favour and help me campaign here in London also.  I also plan to visit the European parliament again in Brussels a number of times next year, to continue to learn more about the role of MEP’s in parliament.

I was delighted to find out that I have been shortlisted for a grassroot diplomat award for my work in equality and diversity.  You can find out more about the awards here.

Seasons greetings to you and yours.

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Me and my mentor Mojca Kleva MEP, discussing the importance of the European Women’s lobby mentoring project in the European parliament in Strasbourg.  You can find out more about the project here.

Strasbourg calling

I am looking forward to attending the final plenary session of 2013 of the European parliament in Strasbourg from the 9-11th.  This will give me an opportunity to see how plenary sessions operate and how MEP’s vote on important issues. I will also have a catch up with my mentor in the European parliament, Mojca Kleva MEP about the life of an MEP and how she balances work and family commitments. I am being sponsored by the European Women’s lobby to attend as part of their European mentoring project which you can find out more about here.

During my time in Strasbourg I will be attending two events.  The European Women’s Lobby will be hosting an event: “Promote Human Rights, Act against Rape!” that will take place on the occasion of the International Human Rights Day 10 December.  This will be an opportunity to reassert that women’s rights are human rights and bring to the attention of members of the European Parliament that rape is a persistent violation of women’s rights, while demanding justice and support for victims of rape.  I will also be attending the screening of a film called, This is My Home Now, which follows the stories of three migrant women living in Europe.

I have been busy over the past couple of weeks, attending a joint health overview and scrutiny session with Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Waltham Forest and Redbridge about the proposed changes to cancer services across East London.  The proposal from NHS England, is to reduce the number of sites where certain specialist interventions are carried out.  I stated that I did not have anything against the proposal in principle, but was concerned about increased journey time for my residents.  I attended fundraising dinners in Romford, Brent, Barking and Newham to raise much needed funds for the European and local elections in May 2014.

I attended a consultation meeting hoisted by BAME on the new race equality strategy strategy the Labour party recently launched.  Keith Vaz MP and Sharon Hodgson MP attended as well as Jennette Arnold AM and Simon Wooley from Operation Black vote.   On 23 October 2013, the Labour Party launched a consultation on its race equality strategy.  Realising One Nation: Developing a new race equality strategy for Labour is a consultation designed to kick start the process of developing the strategy, ideas and policies that will help a future Labour government to take down the barriers that exist for black and ethnic minority people in our economy, society and politics.  Submissions are welcomed from individuals and organisations.

I am a committee member of the Labour Movement for Europe as well as the GMB Womens committee and both had meetings which I attended and fed into, where an exciting program of work is being developed by both for 2014.  I attended a campaign briefing session for all European candidates across the UK, which was held in Euston, where we heard from Douglas Alexander MP, Glennis Wilmot MEP and Iain McNichol about the exciting plans for the European campaign strategy. I am looking forward to attending the London Labour summit later this month, where we hear more about the campaign strategy for London local elections and the general elections.

I have been continuously campaigning on the doorstep for Labour for the upcoming European and local elections which are only six months away now.  I attended sessions in Forest Gate with London Young Labour, Croydon and a session in Redbridge with Mikes Gapes MP.  There was a positive response on the doorstep for Labour in all areas.

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Women in politics, closure of NHS Walk in centres and OHTV Real talk show

This week has been another busy one.  I have written two blog posts. The first is about why gender should be on the political agenda, based on my personal experience of being the youngest woman on Barking and Dagenham council.  The article can be read on the Fabian review online here.  My second article of the week was about why the closure of walk-in centres, particularly the Broad Street centre in Dagenham may lead to health inequalities.  The article can be read on the 2020 health website here.  I attended the Hornchurch and Upminster Labour party monthly meeting to update them about the priorities of the European campaign, which evolved into an interesting debate on whether the UK should stay in or out of the European Union.

I will spend the weekend campaigning in Croydon with London MEP’s and MEP candidates and Forest Gate with London Young Labour.  I was glad to be able to play in part in helping Harrow Labour with their recent bye-election and was delighted to hear that Glen Hearnden was elected as a Labour councillor on the 7th November.

I was a guest on the OHTV (Sky 199) Real talk show on Thursday, where we debated plastic surgery, the American ‘stand your ground’ law and prostate cancer.  There was a great response online and many emails coming in today still continuing on the debate!  For any of you that might have missed the show, it will be repeated at the following dates and times on sky channel 199:

Friday 15th November at 15.30
Saturday 16th November at 16.00
Monday 18th November at 22.00
Tuesday 19th November at 15.30

This is a picture with me and the other two guests, Luther and Erica alongside the show’s host Trish Adudu.

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Why being part of the of the European Union is good for our health

The challenges that we face in London in relation to health are also problems that face Europe as a whole. In order to tackle these challenges head on, we need to work together with the member states so that we can find solutions to the common problems we face and reduce health inequalities all across Europe, as well as create a more cohesive approach to developing policy to address these.  Read my article on the 2020 health website about why being part of the European Union is better for health outcomes here.

The rise of the far right in Europe

In my experience, we can fight the far right by showing that it brings false solutions and that Labour’s economic and social policies deliver results.  Read my article about how we tackle the rise of the far right on the Fabian society review here.

Care quality commission listening event

On Tuesday 15th October, 2013, I attended a listening event hosted by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The CQC are running listening events for each of the first 18 NHS trusts that they are inspecting under our new model. Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Trust (BHRUT) is currently being inspected under this model.  You can read my article on the issues I highlighted at this event on the Havering Fabian Society website here.

Women in public life awards @wipla_2013

I was delighted to win the category of local government personality of the year at the 2013 Dod’s and FDA Women in public life awards.  I feel really humbled and privileged to have won this award, considering the other shortlisted women in this category and their achievements. It’s wonderful to be acknowledged for my work in the local community but the most important thing is that the residents of Barking and Dagenham put their trust in me to represent them on the council.  I am determined that this achievement will only serve as further encouragement to us all to break down the barriers to women getting involved in public life.

You can see all of the award winners here.

The awards were presented at a public sector conference for women in leadership in London on 12 September. Judges included Baroness Glenys Kinnock and Laura Kuenssberg, ITV’s Business Editor.  The awards, in association with ActionAid UK the international development organisation, celebrate women leaders in society, seeking to recognising and promote the work of women in politics, business the civil service and community leadership.

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The Labour MEP Ballot closes at 5pm tomorrow!

I have had a fantastic time meeting and campaigning with Labour party members from all across London, during the first four months of my European candidature.  I have been thrilled with how much support there is for the European campaign and for the UK to have a strong voice in Europe.  All Labour party members have the chance to vote in the ballot to rank all of the candidates and I am asking members to support me as their first choice candidate.  The ballot closes at 5pm on wednesday 31st July.  It is too late to vote by post, but you can still vote online, with the security codes in your ballot pack.  You can watch a video of my priorities for the European campaign here.

@CoopParty supports my MEP Campaign

I was delighted when the London Region of the Coop Party sent out an email to all of it’s members, asking them to support Co-operative members in the MEP Ballot.  As a member of the Cooperative Party, I think that’s it’s really important that Co-operative values are promoted all across Europe.  This week I attended the Carshalton and Wallington CLP Social, which was held in the fantastic Hope Pub.  It was at threat of closure, when the local community stepped in and now run it as a Co-operative.  The staff were very friendly and the food and atmosphere was great.  This is just one of the many examples of how a Co-operative approach can bring real benefits to a local community.

You can read the full text of the email that was sent to London members of the Coop Party below:

 

Dear London Co-operative Party member,

 

You will by now have received ballot papers from the Labour Party for the selection of their European Parliamentary Candidates for 2014 (if you are also a Labour Party member).  In this ballot, you are asked to put the candidates who have been chosen in a priority order. The deadline for return of ballot papers is 31st July.

 

We are writing to you to urge that you vote (in whichever order you feel appropriate) for those candidates who are members of the Co-operative Party.

 

The following candidates are members of the Co-operative Party, and are listed simply in alphabetical order rather than in any suggested priority order :

 

Sitting MEPs

 

Mary Honeyball MEP      http://thehoneyballbuzz.com

Claude Moraes MEP       http://www.claudemoraes.com

 

New Candidates for MEP

 

Sanchia Alasia                    http://sanchiaalasia.com

Lucy Anderson                  http://www.lucyanderson.org

Seb Dance                           http://www.sebdance.com

 

This selection ballot will make a real difference to who represents London in the European Parliament.  On current polling, Labour would gain more seats than the two that we currently hold.

 

Co-operation and mutuality are international as well as national and local issues, and it is important that the co-operative agenda and perspectives are not forgotten at a European level.  There is a strong co-operative tradition and presence amongst many of our European partners – upon which we and they can build with further co-operative voices and action in the European Parliament.

 

We urge you to use your vote – and in the co-operative interest.

 

Yours in co-operation,

 

 

 

London Co-operative Party

 

___________________________________

 

London Co-operative Party

 

address : 77 Weston Street  SE1 3SD

email :   london@party.coop

@unisontweets Linda Perks, Regional Secretary, UNISON Greater London Region, urges London UNISON members of the Labour Party to support me in the ballot

I was really honoured that Linda Perks, Regional Secretary of the UNISON Greater London Region, recently sent out an email to all London UNISON members of the Labour party.  Her email urged UNISON members to support the UNISON MEP candidates in the ballot that is currently occurring.

It is really crucial that UNISON members vote in this ballot to rank candidates from 1 to 6 to determine their order on the list. The London region needs strong voices in Europe, people with the drive and determination to work with the trade unions in Europe on equality and employment issues. With my experience and skill I will be able to make very positive differences and be a proactive MEP for London, representing the interest of ordinary workers at the European level.

You can read the full text of the email here.

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