The following is the transcript of the speech Stella Creasy made in parliament at the Second Reading of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill on Wednesday 1st February 2017:
Let us make no mistake: we are leaving the EU. The referendum seven months ago settled that issue. Today’s vote is not about whether Members have a leave or remain constituency. This Bill is about green-lighting the Prime Minister in her approach to Brexit and to parliamentary scrutiny: a fast-tracked process devoid of any detail for triggering article 50 in March when key European allies will have elections distracting them; and the grudging promise of a White Paper tomorrow for a vote today to replace the blank paper we currently have.
Those of us who campaigned for remain know that Brexit is to happen, but how we green-light it is a different matter. All of us have to ask ourselves whether we are confident that, as things stand, this Government are going to get the best deal, or even a good deal, for our country. I cannot answer yes to that question. This Bill is our only opportunity to send the Prime Minister back to the drawing board, both on the process and on the purpose of her negotiation.
In the short time available to me, I wish to deal with three points that Walthamstow residents whom I met on Sunday, both leave and remain voters, wanted to make clear. They understand that there are many different ways in which Brexit could happen, but they get the importance of the single market being part of the negotiations. They understand that when 50% of goods cross borders at least twice before they hit the shop floor, we are now talking about more red tape for British businesses.
They understand that a Government who abandon the customs union and the common commercial policy for a form of associate membership that does not even exist put thousands of jobs at risk from the beginning. The Secretary of State himself said that businesses would ensure that trade with Britain continues uninterrupted and under similar circumstances. That is clearly not the case, and the British public deserve better.
Walthamstow wants rights for EU citizens to be confirmed, not to be used as bargaining chips or to upset the new company that we keep, in the shape of President Trump. Finally, Walthamstow wants employment rights to be protected. I just attended a statutory instrument Committee in which the Government were already talking about extending the erosion of employment rights, so it is clear that it is not a done deal.
Yesterday, my constituency neighbour, the right hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr Duncan Smith), who sadly is not present, said that he would vote to trigger article 50 simply because of all the mistakes of the past. Well, I cannot green-light article 50 tonight because of all the opportunities for the future that it puts at stake. I am a proud patriot: I am proud of my country and I want the best for my country. We can and should be doing better. We cannot trigger this process now. We must rethink and go back to the drawing board, for the sake of everybody we represent, whether they were for leave or remain.
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
In 2017 we want to ensure a strong voice for the power of equality to change the lives of everyone for the better. Our Feminist Action Network links campaigners around the world with activists here in Britain to do just that. Here are five ways in the coming weeks you can be part of this:
- With Republicans in America pledged to cut their funding, please join us on Thursday 19th January holding a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood in Central London. Planned parenthood provides basic healthcare to 59% of all women in America. Speakers include Jess Philips MP, Jane Garvey and Ayesha Hazarika.
- March with us on Saturday 21st January at 12pm in Grosvenor Square in London outside the American Embassy as part of an international day of action following the inauguration of President Donald Trump to honour champions of human rights.
- Ask your MP to vote for New Clause 1 of the Children and Social Work Bill to make sure consent is on the national curriculum for all schoolchildren in England– this is our last opportunity to get this into legislation. Show your support on social media too by sharing this article or using the tag #NC1SRE
- Share the story of the Yazidi women and call for restoration of dedicated support services for these survivors of ISIS’s sexual slavery. You can find out more here.
- 60% of garment workers in India and Bangladesh have experienced harassment or abuse – ask your favourite retailer on social media to read the Fairwear Foundation report and what action they are taking in response.
Please do feel free to share this list and encourage others to join the #FAN2017 so that together we can speak up for causes and campaigns around the world and take action to make a positive difference.
For just £3 you could win a fabulous dinner with Stella Creasy and a surprise special guest in 2017...want to know who? then see below!
Book your Come Dine with MP ticket here
Walthamstow CLP is giving members of the Labour Party the chance to go out for a six course tasting menu dinner at a top London restaurant with a variety of special guests - All you have to do is buy a ticket and you’ll have a chance to win each month.
If you buy one month’s entry, it’s £6. But if you buy 12 months’ entry, the cost goes down to £3 a month - just £36 in total.
Book your Come Dine with MP ticket here
Guests confirmed to take part in 2017 so far include...
Jimmy Wales, Co- Founder of Wikipedia
Harriet Harman, former Leader of the Labour Party and Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham
David Aaronovitch- Times Columnist and author of Voodoo Histories: the role of Conspiracy Theory in Modern History and Party Animals: My Family and Other Communists
Lord Alf Dubs- Member of the House of Lords, and sponsor of the Dubs amendment to help child refugees in Europe
Owen Jones- Owen Jones is a columnist and the author of Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Class and The Establishment – And How They Get Away With It
Alan Johnson- Former Labour Health and Education Secretary of State and Member of Parliament for Hull West and Hessle
Adam Rutherford- Author of a Brief History of Everyone who ever lived
Jenny Beavan- Multiple Oscar Winning Costume Designer
Whether you enter for a year, six months, three months or just next month this unique ballot in aid of Walthamstow Labour Party's campaign fund is one you don't want to miss...book now to avoid disappointment!
The winner of Walthamstow MP’s Stella Creasy’s festive greeting card has been announced as Priyanthan Navaratnam, Aged 8 of Class 4T of Whittingham Primary School in Walthamstow. Speaking about the competition Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy said:
"It gets harder and harder every year to judge the competition because the standard of entries is so high- there’s real artistic and creative talent here amongst our young children and it shows in the hundreds of entries I received! Priyanthan’s entry caught our eye because of his detailed picture of Walthamtow’s iconic dogtrack and imaginative depiction of Santa Claus flying over it. The card has now gone out to over 4,000 people both in our local community and nationally too –I’m looking forward to showing Priyanthan around parliament when he comes for his winner’s tea so he can meet first hand some of those who received it.
I also want to put on record my gratitude to the local businesses who kindly covered the full cost of producing this card and so helped make this ever popular competition for our local children possible- these were Bates of London, The Stow Brothers, Your Move, Rineys, Sodo Pizza and Capital and Regional who own the Selbourne Walk Mall. Congratulations to all who took part and I hope everyone in Walthamstow has a wonderful Christmas and New Year."
Ask Your MP to Help Put Consent on the Curriculum - Back the Safeguarding Amendment to Children and Social Work Bill
"We cannot say that we safeguard our children when we make sure that they are taught about composting but not consent"
Click here to watch full speech
Today I tabled legislation to make the provision of sex and relationship education part of safeguarding all children in schools in England.
Composting and recycling are part of our national curriculum. Consent and equality are not.
It’s time to change this- One in three young girls say they have been sexually harassed in school. There have been 5,500 assaults reported in schools in the last three years alone.
Sex and relationship education which covers consent, sexual violence, healthy relationships and domestic violence is a crucial part of preventing harm.
This proposal would ensure all pupils were given lessons not just in the biology of sex, but healthy relationships and consent. It would also require these lessons to be age appropriate, balanced, inclusive and religiously diverse - and give young people themselves the right to say if they want to take part in these sessions.
Teaching these skills isn't about replacing the role of families in guiding young people - it is about ensuring the peers of every child share the same respect for other students any parent would wish for their child.
So far twenty other MPs have backed this proposal- please help us win the case for this legislation by asking your MP to join us in supporting this measure.
Contact your MP by emailing them using this link - please ask them to add their name to the New Clause to the Children and Social Work Bill “Safeguarding: provision of personal, social and health education”.
Thank you for your support.
A brand new initiative, that promotes and encourages residents to ‘shop local’ this Christmas called #stowxmas, was launched on Friday 2nd December from the back of a local milkfloat.
Walthamstow has many wonderful traders and businesses selling gifts and treats- this map helps residents to find them and so promote our local economy.
This map was created in partnership with Parker Dairies, The Tramworks, East and Co. and Wood Street Walls and the We17 campaign group, which is seeking to support Walthamstow following the impact of the vote to leave the European Union. Campaigners were concerned that traders may be affected by the uncertain economic conditions, so want to encourage residents to buy their gifts this festive season locally and help support these local traders. The map features independent stores as varied as florists, coffee blenders, African inspired textiles, local honey, yoga studios, fishmongers and local brewers all reflect the diverse nature of the borough.
An online version of the #StowXmas map can be found at www.stowxmas.com and the map will be launched at 3pm on Saturday 3rd December at Today Bread, in Central Parade. The launch coincides with the national Small Business Saturday. Parker Dairies will also be distributing their map to customers via the milk floats and residents are encouraged to display the map in their windows too to show support for local businesses and traders this festive season.
Around 3.9 million people on waiting lists
1.8 million people wait four hours or more in A&E
One in four patients have to wait a week or more to see their GP
Help us #CarefortheNHS
Walthamstow Labour Party will be holding a campaigning workshop this Saturday 26th November in central Walthamstow at 12.30pm as part of Labour’s national day of action to safeguard the future of our NHS.
A powerful report by an independent think tank makes clear that our local healthcare services are in crisis - by 2020/21 they are forecasting a deficit of 398m just to maintain our current service levels. It also shows many staff in our NHS are on low incomes, the impact of PFI debt on our local hospital and the shortage of doctors working in our community as well as the demographic changes in East London. With patients already struggling to get appointments to see our local doctors, concerns growing over mental health services and a lack of transparency about decision making, urgent change is required.
On Saturday we will be joined by Cllr Ahsan Khan who leads on healthcare service planning for Waltham Forest Council, as well as members of local patient involvement groups. We will discuss how we can challenge this Government as they underfund and understaff our NHS, and how you can become involved in our local HealthyE17 campaign to ensure as the NHS changes to meet the 21st Century it puts patients, not profits, first.
To book your place on this free workshop please click here
This workshop is being organised by Walthamstow Labour Party. It will last no longer than 90 minutes and is open to all Walthamstow residents to join us – to help us plan for the logistics of this event please RSVP for full details including the venue and let us know if you plan to bring other residents.
The following is a speech given in parliament as part of a debate on social mobility on Tuesday 22nd November 2016:
The question that we are all trying to answer today is, “If you are talented, can you succeed in modern Britain? And why does it matter if you can’t?” We should be unashamedly selfish about social mobility. Living in a country where more people can achieve their potential means that they are more likely to do things which help us all, whether they invent new forms of energy or become doctors, entertainers or even MPs. When brains, not birth, form the basis of achievement, we all benefit. That is why it matters that social mobility is stuck in Britain. It is wasting the potential to change the world.
In my short contribution today, I want to take up the challenge posed by my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford South (Judith Cummins), who spoke about the repetition in this debate, and offer the challenge that focusing on schools and education is not enough. We also have to address the divisions in access to finance and networks, which continue to hold back too many in our country. Bluntly, we have to address the fact that it is the bank of mum and dad—and all that it offers in terms of cash and connections—that increasingly makes a difference to social mobility in our modern world, and that we miss a trick if we do not think about those things.
We should make no mistake: education too often drives outcomes, and money and privilege have a big hand in that, as many Members have already set out. That is not just about academic talent; it is also about creative talent, and the same patterns are clear in acting and sport, although with the possible exception of music. Surely, however, our answer to young, bright children cannot be that we think they should go on “The X Factor”—we know they have the X factor.
Instead, we have to understand the barriers they face in this post-Brexit, low-growth world, where constant, disruptive technological change means they will hold seven different jobs in their lifetime—two of which have not yet been invented. If we do not address those barriers, too many children will not get those opportunities. It is in that environment that we need to understand how access to finance makes a difference. Housing has come to dominate not just catchment areas, but families’ options for subsidising their children, whether that is remortgaging and starting up a business or being able to help their children go to university.
This is also about understanding how, in today’s disruptive world, the bank of mum and dad can be the difference in terms of taking the leap between one career and the next. With half of all today’s students chasing careers that will be made obsolete by technology and automation, we cannot afford to ignore this challenge.
Where previous generations fought to ensure that their children could advance up the career ladder, the next generation will thrive only if it can access multiple livelihoods. Many ladders are being taken away just as they are being created. Our new elite will be those with not just the money to start again, but the contacts and the confidence to get their foot in many doors.
In the face of such uncertainty about traditional career paths, one great hope for us should be the entrepreneurship among our young adults. However, what do we have to offer those young entrepreneurs? Whether someone is educated at university or wants to start a new business or to go into further education, the bank of mum and dad offers not just money but contacts and networks, in a world where access to internships and unpaid experience all too often defines outcomes.
That is why it is time for us to think again. It is time to ask how we ensure that not just 50% but 100% of all 18-year-olds can take out a loan for the pathway they want to take. It is time to ask how we can make sure every child can access that educational work experience or internship opportunity, not just those with the parents who can get them in the door or who can pay for them do that work. It is time to ask why on earth the last Government got rid of the child trust fund and to bring it back in time to help the next generation of children to move forward.
Michael Young talked about a meritocracy. That is why grammar schools are such an outmoded way of thinking. The future will be about the many different doors we want children to be able to walk through and about making sure that the bank of mum and dad is open to every single young person, not just the few.
For the last three years in Walthamstow, the HealthyE17 campaign has been helping encourage local residents to join their Patient Involvement Group in their GP practice to ensure their voices are heard in decisions about healthcare in our community. We've made real progress and still have several practices where we are seeking to support involvement. If you are a patient at any of the below surgeries and would like to be part of helping patients be involved in local healthcare decisions please do email email@example.com.
- Bailey Practice (Shernhall Street)
- Brunner Road Medical Centre
- Claremont Medical Centre
- Ecclesbourne Practice
- Forest Surgery
- Grove Road Surgery
- Higham Hill Medical Centre
- Queens Road Medical Centre
- Sinnot Road Surgery
- Wood Street Health Centre
Pleasure is spread through the earth
In stray gifts to be claimed by whoever shall find.
William Wordsworth, 1806
Walthamstow is full of great places to find gifts and treats - that's why in the run up to Christmas, Hannukah and Eid 2016 we want to tell the world about them! To help promote our Walthamstow traders and shops we plan to produce a map of where you can find fantastic gifts around our community that we will be distributing for for free as well as online from early December onwards.
Please complete this short survey!
This project is part of our We17 campaign to help support our local economy, following the impact of the Brexit vote, and is being created in partnership with the Wood Street Walls . There will also be a poster you can display to support this 'shop local' initiative too.
Please encourage anyone in Walthamstow who makes or sells gifts and treats to fill in this survey to help influence this project.
Please complete this short survey!
We will be in touch with those who have expressed interest in being part of this initiative to let them know the next steps - please note completing this survey does not commit any business to participation or guarantee a spot on this map and it will only cover the Walthamstow constituency area. The deadline for completion is Friday 11th November.