View from the House: My priorities for a positive year ahead
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January is well underway but it’s not too late to wish everyone a Happy New Year!
2017, with a snap general election and the start of the Brexit talks, was a turbulent and demanding year for my team in parliament and, I am sure, for many of you too.
2018 may be just as eventful, but let’s hope that it is peaceful and positive. In that spirit, I want to take this opportunity to set out my priorities for the months ahead.
First and foremost, of course, Brexit will continue to dominate the national agenda and my task will be to lead for the opposition in holding the government to account and shaping events as we go forward.
At the end of last year, the government finally secured agreement on the first stage of negotiations with the European Union. That was an important moment, but the next stage of the negotiations will be much harder.
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In the next few months, I will continue to argue and press for strong transitional arrangements to come into effect in March 2019.
It is obvious that a final deal with the EU will not be completed by then and anything less than transitional arrangements on the same basic terms as we currently have with the EU will be bad for Holborn & St Pancras, bad for the economy and bad for the country.
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The fact that just before Christmas we won and important victory in Parliament giving MPs a vote on the Article 50 deal before it is finalised is crucial. It allows Parliament a much greater role and say on the Brexit negotiations.
There are many issues closer to home that will also demand my time and attention. From the NHS to housing, education to air quality, and HS2 to crime.
Since becoming your MP, I have pledged to champion these issues in Westminster and in the constituency - and I will continue to do so.
HS2 will have a devastating impact on our local communities and the scale of the disruption residents will face is unprecedented. The concerns that residents have are rightly brought to my attention at my advice clinics, in my meetings with community groups and at public meetings. I will stand by our residents and defend their vital interests.
Turning to our local schools, which we should be proud of, my stance is clear. We should support our family of schools and protect them from threatened cuts. That is why I have held a number of public meetings on the issue and campaigned with others to reverse the government’s funding proposals. On a lighter note, one of the best things about being an MP is meeting with school children to hear about their ideas and ambitions for the future. It’s also an opportunity for them to ask me questions – which is a much more daunting prospect than you might imagine!
And finally, youth crime. I have been deeply concerned about the recent spike in moped robberies and the levels of knife crime in London – and indeed – Camden. It’s clear more must done to tackle this issue and that’s why I’m pleased to have been appointed to co-chair Camden Council’s Youth Safety Taskforce to take action to support and protect young people in the community.
So, in 2018, I intend to continue to be as accessible as before. I look forward to meeting, talking and working with as many of you as possible. If there is ever anything you would like to discuss with me please get in touch; and if you see my out and about, come up and say hello.