On Wednesday I pledged my commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day by signing a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons to honour those who perished in the Holocaust.
With 27th January marking the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and extermination camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Holocaust Educational Trust placed a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons to give MPs the opportunity to remember those who were persecuted and murdered during the Holocaust - and to support a ‘Legacy of Hope', learning from Survivors' experiences to help create a future free from hatred and prejudice.
I… » Read more
Holocaust Memorial Day is commemorated internationally on 27th January each year. The date was chosen as it was the day in 1945 on which the Soviet Army liberated the largest Nazi concentration camp - Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The day allows us to reflect on what can happen when racism, prejudice and exclusionary behaviour are left unchecked. As well as remembering the victims and survivors of the Holocuast it is also a reminder that unless we oppose discrimination, persecution and racism such crimes could happen at any time and in any place as the genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and the ongoing atrocities… » Read more
My experience as a parent in north Westminster has almost exactly mirrored my life as an MP - local childminder, Pre-School, nursery, primary and secondary school. Real life being what it is, it has sometimes been a bumpy ride. Yet, taken overall, I have been impressed and often deeply moved by the dedication and ability of those working in our early years services and schools. Happily, my journey has occured at the same time that we've seen immense improvement in Westminster's education provision.
A decade or so ago, half of all the borough's secondary schools, and several primaries, were either… » Read more
The unprecedented level of devastation and loss of life caused by the earthquake that hit Haiti on 12th January becomes more apparent with every day that passes.
Ravaging large parts of the poorest country in the Western hemisphere - where 80% of the population live in destitution - the earthquake has brought untold misery to a people who have already suffered so much.
I am very pleased that the Government is trebling its funding for the immediate humanitarian response to the Haiti earthquake. The total sum will now rise from $10 million to £20 million (over $30m) based on the… » Read more
At Prime Ministers' Questions on 6th January Karen Buck asked the Prime Minister a question about the Israeli siege of Gaza which began in November 1998.
"A year on from the devastating conflict in Gaza, which left 1,400 Palestinians dead, the siege continues. Humanitarian relief is hard to come by, and Gaza lies shattered. Although there were undoubtedly war crimes on both sides, does my right hon. Friend agree that what is now happening is the collective punishment of 1 million people? Will he now make urgent representations to ease the siege on Gaza as a critical… » Read more
The Chilcot inquiry into the events leading up to the invasion of Iraq, and the decision to commit more troops to the NATO campaign in Afghanistan bring foreign affairs back up the agenda, though in truth the years of calm on the international stage were few and far between. More accurately still, the recent years in which the UK itself was directly involved in overseas conflict were few and far between- only really between the Falklands War and the defence of the ethnic Albanian population in Kosovo, if Northern Ireland is considered separately. Yet this time of relative peace for… » Read more
On Wednesday I joined other Members of the Children's, Schools and Families Select Committee on a visit to the Dorothy Gardner Nursery Centre on Bravington Road in Queen's Park.
The committee visted the centre to look at the facilities and to hear evidence from the first-class professionals who work there about Childrens' Centres and how they can work better for families in the area and how the good work going on at the Dorothy Gardner can provide lessons for Childrens' Centres all over the country.» Read more
Women Like Us is a voluntary group that organises in schools and Children's Centres to support parents going into work. Work can be a big step for parents, especially when they are worried about making the change from benefits to wages; possibly getting into financial difficulties during this transition; finding suitable childcare and so on. Women Like Us is there to led advice, support and assistance, and draws on parents with direct experience to help others in the same position.
This week, Secretary of State Yvette Cooper came to Gateway School to watch Women like us in action, and to… » Read more
The Importance of Youth Clubs
Young people from the Avenues Youth Club staged a show of fashion, dance and music at the Tabernacle last night, to celebrate Back History month. The Avenues club operates in a very challenging environment and I am today calling on Westminster Council to re-think the level of support they are offering to it.
If we are to break the cycle of youth anti-social behaviour and support schools and families in promoting education and skills, we need well-resourced youth clubs, offering a range of activities throughout the week.
This can't be done on thin air, despite… » Read more
As you may know Parliament returned this week. Even though I have never claimed or received any housing allowance, it was still a relief not to receive a letter from Thomas Legg on my return.
There is no doubt that some MPs have made greed. Those that made extravagant claims should obviously pay the price. However, I am slightly concerned by the selective presentation of the issue this week - which focuses on claims for cleaning but ignores the fact that the better off MPs can use the whole of their housing allowance against a large mortgage on which they… » Read more
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