Another month and another Tory Government scandal. This time we were in the midst of the Windrush Scandal, I had been writing to Government ministers for months on this issue and they had consistently failed to act.
Over the last month I attended a number of events on this scandal, the first of which was hosted by Diane Abbott MP as Shadow Home Secretary, to discuss the next steps we as MPs and those effected needed to take.
The meeting was attended by well over 500 people, more than the four rooms booked could take, and the Westminster corridors were overflowing with attendees who had been affected by the crisis. In the meeting I expressed my serious concerns about the hostile environment created by the Government, and Theresa May during her time as Home Secretary, and its devastating impact on the Windrush generation.
I mean who can forget those horrific “go home” vans that Theresa May herself sent through the streets of Brent?
I also criticised the Government’s inadequate response, including the official helpline which at the time was staffed by inexperienced call centre agents. Following this meeting I wrote to the Prime Minister in depth about the Windrush scandal, setting out the next steps that the Government must take. I am still waiting for my response, I won’t give up until my demands are answered.
The visit of the Jamaican Prime Minister
This scandal had made the headlines just as the Heads of Commonwealth countries were arriving in the UK to attend CHOGM, after initially refusing to meet to discuss the scandal Theresa May made yet another one of her trademark U-turns and met with them.
The visit of the Jamaican Prime Minister to CHOGM gave me the opportunity to introduce him at a town hall meeting in Kilburn. It was a proud moment as the Chair of the APPG Jamaica and a daughter to Jamaican expats (I prefer to use the term rather than immigrants). This was an important meeting to hear the concerns of the Jamaican community, which is the largest in the UK, and was again an opportunity to discuss the Windrush scandal.
Nick Robinson’s Political Thinking Podcast
In case you missed it you should check out my interview for Nick Robinson’s Political Thinking Podcast where I spoke at length about my formative years growing up and the impact my father had on me on which. You can listen to it here.
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir London 10k challenge
The following weekend I joined thousands of people at the launch of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir London 10k challenge. I commend their continued commitment to raising vital money for a host of worthy causes and charities. I was so impressed by everyone who took part in what was a wonderful day. Unfortunately I had hurt my foot and was on crutches so was unable to take part in the walk but I look forward to joining in next time around!
Local Elections 2018
We also saw the local election polling day, coming off of the back of the brilliant 2014 results it was always going to be a big ask to make considerable gains but we made considerable progress in areas across the country gaining seats and councils which we hadn’t do so for decades.
I was also asked to do some of the election night coverage, which was a first for me, in the end I did Sky News, LBC and BBC, it was really enjoyable if not a little tiring after a day’s campaigning. I really hit my stride during my final appearance on BBC which came to a close at 4am. If you haven’t yet seen my lively debate with the Secretary of State for International Trade, Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP, on institutional racism it is definitely worth a watch!
Westminster Employment Forum and London Reclaimed Brick Merchants
The following week I chaired the Westminster Employment Forum on Women in the Workplace which looked ay addressing structural barriers to women’s progression in the workplace, gender pay gap and women in leadership. There is so much more to do!
I really enjoyed my visit to my local, constituency based, London Reclaimed Brick Merchants where I was so impressed with the sisters who have taken over their father’s business making it a three generation run business. It was a real pleasure to talk about what more we can do to get more women into the construction industry.