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As 2017 kicks off with a turbulent start, I thought it only right to kick off the year with a brief update on my work. 

Action on Homelessness

On Christmas Day I was at the Ealing Soup Kitchen, St John's Church with a team from Haven Green Baptist Church serving a full Christmas dinner to local homeless and those alone over Xmas. We were even joined by Masood from Eastenders.

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We are fortunate in having Ealing Foodbank, Acton Homeless Concern and Ealing Winter Churches Night Shelter but we are a prosperous borough in a wealthy nation, the government should act too rather than leaving everything to market forces and charitable deeds. I have spoken recently on this in Parliament including in the Homelessness Reduction Bill which will return in January - read here and by contributing to a debate on the subject on 14th Dec - see here

Celebrating Ealing Paralympic Success and Fighting Disability Cuts

2016 might have spelt bad news for international crises (Aleppo, Calais, Brussels, Berlin, Nice, Trump to name a few) and celebrity deaths (see this memorial), but Team GB success in the Paralympics was a highlight. I welcomed St Benedicts 6th former and teenage wheelchair fencer Dimitri Coutya - who went straight from A-levels to represent the nation in Rio - to Parliament. More on this here.

Rupa_Nation_Builder_Paralympics.jpgI have also been alongside Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson campaigning against  benefit sanctions for the disabled – pictured with constituents here.

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The  government should be supporting success for disabled people, not attempting  to balance its books on the backs of those who are among the most vulnerable  in society.

Mucking in at the start of Ealing Cinema Work – at last! 

As a lifelong Ealonian I saw Grease and the original Star Wars at the old ABC cinema opposite Ealing Town Hall so I was pleased to don high-vis gear (alongside council leader Julian Bell driving a digger!) at the breaking-of-the-ground of the exciting building project that will restore a five screen Picturehouse to the site as well as retail and residential property. It’s estimated that we can enjoy popcorn and film again there again in less than two years from the start of the works. I'll be pressing for this to come in on time. In the meantime the travelling cinema will return this Spring and there are always eight screens at the Park Royal / Acton Vue where I’m a regular. 

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Media and Miscellany

I was on ITV's Late Debate watch here discussing the Richmond Park By-election (a victory against divisive politics as Zac Goldsmith who campaigned negatively against Sadiq Khan was decisively defeated over Brexit) and Heathrow Expansion (which I continue to be against).

I've written a number of Guardian columns including on the death of my friend and colleague Jo Cox. Full list here.

I had several letters/ comments in the Evening Standard and a regular column in the Ealing Gazette. The latest one is here.

My video interview at Acton Xmas Market can be seen here.

I had fun with Ealing Trailfinders at Pitshanger Light Up the Lane recently (pictured below). 

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Shadow Ministerial Promotion

As a frequent Commons speaker with 386 appearances to date (full list here) I was promoted in the latest re-shuffle to Shadow Home Affairs Minister. I've led Labour MPs on the Criminal Finances Bill, spoken on online hate crime, overseas student visas and more - from money laundering to hop-picking - from the frontbench and dispatch box.

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 Brexit has loomed large in all of the above. As a committed internationalist and in light of the huge pro-remain vote locally I will continue to oppose it vigorously. Theresa May who I questioned just last week read here has at least now agreed to share some of her negotiating principles with Parliament – thanks to opposition pressure. Recently I have also pressed the Home Secretary on the Government's shambolic handling of permanent residency applications made by EU nationals which you can watch here

Serving Ealing, Acton and Chiswick all Year Round

I do a weekly advice surgery, the venue changes so please phone 020 7219 6865 Mon - Fri if you'd like to attend. I'm also happy to raise constituent issues in Parliament so do let me know if you'd like me to do this or even come in to watch a debate.

Yours Sincerely, 

 

Rupa Huq MP

Ealing Central & Acton

Out With the Old in with the New Year!

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No one should be alone at Christmas

Christmas is a day which many of us spend with the family, where we languish in the throes of a food induced coma because we tried to convince ourselves that eating a dozen mince pies and cheese after Christmas dinner was a good idea. Of course we then top this off with the obligatory game of Monopoly- which always goes on for far too long!- and which of course would not be complete without that one family member who takes it all a bit too seriously…

However, this is not how Christmas day is for everyone.

Over the years we have become accustomed to seeing the growth in rough sleeping on our streets and across the capital. It has become a grim and yet normalised reality to see people queuing outside food banks, with those queues symbolising everything that is wrong with today’s Tory run Britain. But for the past 40 years, through both the good times and the bad, Ealing Soup Kitchen has been at the forefront of providing a warm and safe place to go to on Christmas day for those with nowhere to go, or no one to share Christmas with.

Since 1974 when it as first founded, and where initially it served food out of the back of a van to a small number of service users, Ealing Soup Kitchen now regularly finds itself cooking for up to 90 people on Saturdays and Sundays, and this Christmas was no exception.  Joined by Rupa and Nitin Ganatra- also known to many of you as EastEnders’s very own Masood! - Ealing Soup Kitchen turned St Johns Church into a roaring hub of Christmas festivities.

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Rupa swapped the dispatch box for table service and pot washing, whilst Nitin mucked in with drying the dishes and the amazing volunteers of Ealing Green Baptist Church led by Julian and Chef Herman kept the Christmas dinners- with all the trimmings!- coming until 9pm!

Rupa had the following to say about the day’s events:

“It was fun to be part of Julian’s amazing team and feed dozens throughout the afternoon. Christmas day is a day that no person should be alone for and we served some familiar faces known to be from doing my weekly advice surgeries in Ealing and Acton. Sadly given the government’s ever more punitive tax and benefit policies it seems that my surgery queues and those using excellent services that our churches provide such at Ealing Soup Kitchen, Ealing Foodbank and Ealing Churches Winter Night Shelter will continue to be ever-lengthening. There is a sense that it’s all well and good to volunteer on Christmas Day but services like this need our help all year round, not just for Christmas!”

If you wish to be a part of this great organisation and to do your bit in helping the most vulnerable residents of Ealing and Acton then you can donate to Ealing Soup Kitchen here:

http://www.ealingsoupkitchen.org/get-involved-.html

Alternatively if you would like to donate your time the Soup Kitchen is always looking for volunteers to help out with their Homeless Drop in Centre held every Friday at St Johns Crypt. Unwanted but wearable clothes are also welcome donations.

If you would like to know any more about the services offered by Ealing Soup Kitchen then please see here:

http://www.ealingsoupkitchen.org/

The Work Never Stops! Rupa's Christmas with the Ealing Soup Kitchen

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Dr Rupa Huq MP, Ealing Central and Acton

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