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.
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.
I have also been alongside Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson campaigning against benefit sanctions for the disabled – pictured with constituents here.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Rupa Huq MP
Ealing Central & Acton