...that the first time I set foot in the House of Commons chamber was as a Member of Parliament being sworn in. But the truth is – growing up in South London, Parliament was a place for other people. It was beyond my, and my parent’s wildest dreams, that I could ever become an MP and be in a position to represent my community in Parliament.
It’s been a busy week in Parliament this week – and having come straight from the chamber I want to spend this week’s enews telling you a bit about how, nine and a half years on, I am still so honoured to be the MP for Tooting, and take the responsibility of representing local residents in Parliament very seriously.
Something I hear more and more about when I speak to local residents is our NHS. Thousands of frontline staff have been lost from the NHS since David Cameron became Prime Minister. And its days like today that remind me how proud I am to be a Labour MP. I joined my colleague Clive Efford MP in Parliament to support his bill which aims to protect our health service from privatisation, and call for integration over fragmentation, people before profit, and collaboration over competition in our NHS.
I had no hesitation in backing this bill as it will make sure patients in Tooting, Balham, Earlsfield, Furzedown and Wandsworth Common are put first once again. And the message I want to send to local residents is to have faith in Labour. We created the NHS in 1948. After years of neglect we rescued the NHS in 1997 and we’ll do it again after the next General election, should we win. The NHS is the Labour Party’s greatest achievement and it’s there for all us, based on our need.
Having had over 2500 local residents sign the petition to ‘Save The Wheatsheaf’ when it was under threat last summer, I know that Tooting residents understand the importance of protecting our pubs. Every week 27 pubs across the country close, and I understand that a lot of local pubs are struggling to make a living as a result of the pubs market being unfair and unbalanced.
So this week I helped defeat the government and voted in Parliament for a new clause to the Small Business Bill which will address this unfairness, give licensees the option of going ‘free of tie’ – so that they can buy their beers on the open market – whenever they negotiate a new contract. This is the best way to ensure that large pub companies offer fair terms to their licensees and to finally address the scandal of so many valued community pubs shutting. I agree with this, was proud to support this clause and am delighted that it passed. You can read more about this here.
Until next time.