Harriet Harman

Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham. Mother of the House.

Current News

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This morning I met parents at the school gate of John Donne Primary school in Peckham along with local councillors Sandra Rhule and Sunil Chopra. I also visited the school and met with Head Teachers Evelyn Holdsworth and Nick Tildesley, and Community Governor Olive Lewis, to discuss their campaign for a secondary-level Free School.

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John Donne Primary visit & school gate - 11/06/2014

This morning I met parents at the school gate of John Donne Primary school in Peckham along with local councillors Sandra Rhule and Sunil Chopra. I also visited the school...

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This afternoon I met with Dave Ward, Tom Higginson and Adam Love from Network Rail at the House of Commons to discuss plans for the re-development of Peckham Rye station area. It was a constructive meeting and encouraging to see that they fully support extending the public consultation period.

Meeting with Network Rail - 10/06/2014

This afternoon I met with Dave Ward, Tom Higginson and Adam Love from Network Rail at the House of Commons to discuss plans for the re-development of Peckham Rye station...

Radio

The Arts must be for everyone, not just for some. That was the theme of my keynote speech to the Roundhouse today, where I launched a Labour Party consultation document on Young People and the Arts.

Young People and the Arts launch - 09/06/2014

The Arts must be for everyone, not just for some. That was the theme of my keynote speech to the Roundhouse today, where I launched a Labour Party consultation document... Read more

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On Saturday I attended the annual Southwark Civic Awards ceremony at Southwark Cathedral. The awards are for local people - nominated by their local community - in recognition of their service to the community. The ceremony was followed by the inauguration of Southwark's new Mayor Cllr Sunil Chopra and Deputy Mayor Cllr Neil Coyle.

Southwark Civic Awards & Mayor Making Ceremony - 7/6/14

On Saturday I attended the annual Southwark Civic Awards ceremony at Southwark Cathedral. The awards are for local people - nominated by their local community - in recognition of their...

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On Saturday I attended the annual Southwark Civic Awards ceremony at Southwark Cathedral. The awards are for local people - nominated by their local community - in recognition of their service to the community. The ceremony was followed by the inauguration of Southwark's new Mayor Cllr Sunil Chopra and Deputy Mayor Cllr Neil Coyle.

Southwark Civic Awards & Mayor Making Ceremony - 07/06/2014

On Saturday I attended the annual Southwark Civic Awards ceremony at Southwark Cathedral. The awards are for local people - nominated by their local community - in recognition of their...

One of the most important things for most people is our NHS. From cradle to grave, we need to know our health services are there when we need them. And most people’s regular contact is with their GP. People want to be able to get an appointment quickly, see the same doctor each time and feel that their doctor has enough time for them.
 
People in Southwark tell me that they are finding it harder to see their GP. A teacher from Peckham complained she had to wait over 3 weeks for an appointment that she could fit in with her work. But her symptoms worsened and she tried to get an appointment sooner. She rang first thing in the morning but all appointments for that day had already been booked by 8.10am. She was told by the receptionist to call again the next day and ‘hope to be one of the lucky ones’.

A woman from Peckham Rye complained she had to wait almost a month for an appointment. She was told when she called that she could call again the next day to see if an appointment was available but this was inconvenient for her because she starts work early in the morning. In the past, she has even been late to work because she couldn’t get through on the phone when trying to make a same day appointment. 
 
People need to be able to see their GP promptly to avoid worry, get an early diagnosis and treatment, and it should not be a struggle to get an appointment when you need it. People should not have to take time off work to see their GP and lose pay or suffer anxiety, or be forced to go to A&E when it isn’t an accident or an emergency.
 
A survey at my advice surgery showed three quarters said they had to wait over 48 hours to get a GP appointment and over half were not able to get an appointment on the same day. Most worryingly, over half of the constituents surveyed said they had had to go to A&E because they couldn’t see their GP in time.
 
When Labour was in Government, 80% of patients got a GP appointment in 48 hours. Only 20% had to wait longer. Now 60% have to wait more than 48 hours to see their GP.
 
As your local MP, I’ve worked hard over the years with other South London MP’s to improve our NHS. My worry is that with this Tory/Lib Dem Government we are slipping back.
 
That is why the next Labour government will invest in GP surgeries and give people the right to an appointment within 48 hours, and on the same day for those who need it.

Southwark News column: GP access - 5/6/14

One of the most important things for most people is our NHS. From cradle to grave, we need to know our health services are there when we need them. And...

Everyone was horrified to see that over 200 girls had been abducted from their school in northern Nigeria. But it has been particularly heart-rending for the many Southwark residents who come from Nigeria and who still have family there. It’s been over a month since they were taken. The video broadcast by their captors must have been yet more torture for the parents who await their return.

They were taken by a militant group called ‘Boko Haram’, who are against Western education and are against any girl going to school.

It is the right of every child - boy and girl - to get an education. 

The most important thing now is to find the girls and bring them home. That is vital not just for each and every one of them. But it’s also important for all the other boys and girls in northern Nigeria. If Boko Haram are able to get away with this terrible crime, then parents in northern Nigeria will become fearful of sending their children to school - especially their daughters.

It’s essential not just for each child, but for Nigeria's future, that all girls in Nigeria go to school.  A country cannot develop and prosper economically if half the population - its women - are kept in illiteracy and ignorance. 

Given the gravity of the crime against so many young girls, it was extraordinary how long it took the Nigerian government to take action. And for too long the international community did not seem to be responding.

There's no doubt that the Nigerian government face difficulties with Boko Haram in northern Nigeria. That's why help from other countries internationally is so vital. Think of the massive international effort to find the missing Malaysian Airways plane with search equipment mobilised from all around the world.
To mobilise international action and to show the Nigerian government that we in the UK want them to do everything they can to get the girls back, and after discussions with my Nigerian constituents, I started a campaign in Parliament. I took up the case of the Nigerian girls with the Foreign Secretary William Hague and the Women’s Minister, I wrote to the Nigerian High Commissioner, and tabled a motion in Parliament which was signed by 94 Members of Parliament from all the political parties calling on the Government to support Nigerian efforts to find the girls and bring them home safely.

Our government has now sent a team of experts to help the Nigerian authorities and I welcome this. But we need to keep up the support and the pressure. I hope everyone will sign petitions and write to our government urging action.

This is not just a Nigerian issue. We must stand together in solidarity and back the right of every girl to receive an education. And we must leave no stone unturned until these girls are back with their families.

South London Press column: Missing Nigerian Schoolgirls - 23/05/ 2014

Everyone was horrified to see that over 200 girls had been abducted from their school in northern Nigeria. But it has been particularly heart-rending for the many Southwark residents who...

Stonehouse

Clare Moody European candidate for the South West, David Drew PPC, Geoff Wheeler, Leader of Stroud District Council and I met up at Stroud Labour Party office today ahead of tomorrow’s local and European elections. It was great to meet and chat with local members who busy preparing to get the vote out!

Stroud campaigning - 21/05/2014

Clare Moody European candidate for the South West, David Drew PPC, Geoff Wheeler, Leader of Stroud District Council and I met up at Stroud Labour Party office today ahead of... Read more

Pendle

Azhar Ali, PPC for Pendle and Yvonne Tennant local candidate for Marsden and I joined local Labour members in Marsden Ward to campaign ahead of the local and European elections on Thursday. We were also joined by Julie Cooper PPC for Burnley. It was a great morning and we got speak to lots of residents about the issues that are affecting them in their local area.

Pendle campaigning & What Older Women want lunch - 20/05/2014

Azhar Ali, PPC for Pendle and Yvonne Tennant local candidate for Marsden and I joined local Labour members in Marsden Ward to campaign ahead of the local and European elections... Read more

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On Saturday I was out campaigning in Rotherhithe with Neil Coyle, Parliamentary candidate for Bermondsey & Old Southwark, Val Shawcross AM, Southwark Council Leader Peter John and local Labour councillors, candidates and Party members.

Campaigning in Southwark - 17/05/2014

On Saturday I was out campaigning in Rotherhithe with Neil Coyle, Parliamentary candidate for Bermondsey & Old Southwark, Val Shawcross AM, Southwark Council Leader Peter John and local Labour councillors,... Read more

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Today I met with Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe and Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley (Specialist Crime & Operations Unit), along with Simon Hughes MP, at New Scotland Yard. We discussed what progress the police has made in ensuring justice for victims of rape and serious sexual offences following the IPCC's report on the failure of Southwark Police Sapphire Unit to properly report and investigate victims complaints of rape and other serious sexual offences.

Meeting with Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe

Today I met with Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe and Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley (Specialist Crime & Operations Unit), along with Simon Hughes MP, at New Scotland Yard. We discussed what...

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Today I met with Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe and Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley (Specialist Crime & Operations Unit), along with Simon Hughes MP, at New Scotland Yard. We discussed what progress the police has made in ensuring justice for victims of rape and serious sexual offences following the IPCC's report on the failure of Southwark Police Sapphire Unit to properly report and investigate victims complaints of rape and other serious sexual offences.

Meeting Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe - 15/5/14

Today I met with Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe and Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley (Specialist Crime & Operations Unit), along with Simon Hughes MP, at New Scotland Yard. We discussed what...

PMQs 20131204

Today I challenged Nick Clegg on the Government’s failure to protect tenants from rip-off letting agencies.

Challenging Nick Clegg at DPMQs - 13/05/2014

Today I challenged Nick Clegg on the Government’s failure to protect tenants from rip-off letting agencies. Read more

Marine

Lara Norris PPC for Great Yarmouth and Trevor Wainwright, Labour Leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council and I visited the Marine Centre on Marine Parade to hear from Wayne Nixon, General Manager, on the improvements and upgraded facilities the centre has recently undergone as well as discussing the great plans for the future of the centre.

Great Yarmouth Visit - 13/05/2014

Lara Norris PPC for Great Yarmouth and Trevor Wainwright, Labour Leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council and I visited the Marine Centre on Marine Parade to hear from Wayne Nixon,... Read more

Publisher

The Publisher’s Association held their AGM this morning in Central London. 60 members of the association came together to discuss the current issues affecting them within their industry.

Publisher's Association AGM - 08/05/2014

The Publisher’s Association held their AGM this morning in Central London. 60 members of the association came together to discuss the current issues affecting them within their industry. Read more

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This morning I visited St Thomas the Apostle College in Nunhead to talk with members of the school council and tour the new school building. Thanks to Serge Cefai, the Executive Head, and Head Teacher Eamon Connolly for showing me around, and congratulations on achieving their best ever GSCE results - 73% including maths and English.

Visit to St Thomas the Apostle College, Nunhead - 7/5/14

This morning I visited St Thomas the Apostle College in Nunhead to talk with members of the school council and tour the new school building. Thanks to Serge Cefai, the... Read more

In Parliament I am leading a campaign to raise awareness of the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls from the Government Secondary School in north-eastern Nigeria on 14th April.

I welcome the Government’s condemnation of the attack and pledge to support the Nigerian Government in its efforts to locate and safely return the missing schoolgirls.  But there is still a chronic lack of information on their whereabouts – and it has been over three weeks since the abduction. 

That is why I have written to the Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK and asked for a meeting, to raise my and my constituents’ concerns and to hear what the Nigerian Government is doing to bring the girls back.  I have also written to the Women’s Minister, Nicky Morgan MP, to see how this issue can be raised internationally with UN Women, and to the British High Commissioner to Nigeria for further information about what is being done to return the schoolgirls.  On Thursday 1st May I tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament, which I hope all MPs will sign.

See below for my letter to the Nigerian High Commissioner -

HHHC

Missing Nigerian schoolgirls - 06/05/2014

In Parliament I am leading a campaign to raise awareness of the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls from the Government Secondary School in north-eastern Nigeria on 14th April. I welcome the Government’s...

Backstage High House Production Park

The High House Production Park is a new charity to support a centre of excellence for creative industries in Thurrock - to inspire a new generation. This has been established through the partnership of Royal Opera House, ACME Studios, Creative and Cultural Skills, alongside Thurrock Council. I joined John Kent, labour Leader of Thurrock Council and Polly Billington, Labour’s candidate for the 2015 General Election for a tour of the Park.

Visit to High House Production Park – 6/05/2014

The High House Production Park is a new charity to support a centre of excellence for creative industries in Thurrock - to inspire a new generation. This has been established... Read more

Today the Lib Dems held their local election launch. Harriet Harman MP, Labour's Deputy Leader, responding to the Lib Dem local election launch, said:

"The Lib Dems are a party of broken promises. Nick Clegg says they're different from the Tories, but the truth is they've backed David Cameron all the way.

"From trebling tuition fees when they promised to abolish them, increasing VAT when they promised not to, backing the bedroom tax, cutting tax for millionaires and undermining the NHS, the Lib Dems are not a constraint on the Tories - they are their willing helpers."

Lib Dems are a Party of Broken Promises – 06/05/2014

Today the Lib Dems held their local election launch. Harriet Harman MP, Labour's Deputy Leader, responding to the Lib Dem local election launch, said: "The Lib Dems are a party...

Labour's London Manifestos for this week's elections show a striking commitment from our councillors to arts, culture and the creative industries.  This is a big, and welcome, change from what you would expect to have seen in London Labour Council Manifestos 10 years ago.

An analysis of Labour's manifestos show that commitment is based on the view that councils must support the arts, culture and creative industries in their area because it is important • for young people • for jobs and regeneration and • for building a sense of local communities.

The manifestos include Labour promises • to award scholarships to enable young people from low income backgrounds to study foundation arts courses • ensuring all primary children get music tuition • to use council powers to make open spaces available for festivals and events for music and literature • to use their planning and regeneration role to create cultural hubs and work spaces for arts micro-businesses.

It is all the more important that Labour councillors are stepping forward now to protect the arts and culture because the government has undermined access to the arts by • cutting the Arts council • downplaying arts in the curriculum.

This Labour council commitment to arts and culture is all the more notable as it comes at a time when there is an unprecedented central government cuts in council funds.  It clearly draws on the pioneering work of Labour Cities such as Gateshead, Newcastle and Manchester who have used arts and culture as a route to regeneration, and draws on great benefits which came from the last Labour government's support for the arts.

As Shadow Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, I set up, working with the Local Government Association Labour group, the Creative Councillors Network.  This brings together the culture lead in all Labour groups to strengthen the case for council support for the arts and share best practice in how to support arts and culture at a time of constrained council budgets.

See below examples of support for the arts and culture from Labour London Council Manifestos:

Labour understands the importance of cultural learning to young people:

  • Southwark Labour will award scholarships to local young people from low income backgrounds to study art foundation courses in Southwark
  • Newham Labour will continue with the Every Newham Child a Musician programme giving every child in year 5 a free instrument and three years’ free tuition.  Their programmes include encouraging children to play chess to aid their concentration and analytical skills and they recently launched a programme to ensure all Newham kids get a chance to experience London’s world class theatre
  • Haringey Labour will invest to ensure that children who have benefitted from music lessons in years 4 and 5 can continue them into year 6, free of charge
  • Islington Labour will expand schemes to raise young people’s aspirations and confidence – they will roll out a highly successful programme of classical music tuition from Highbury Grove (as a result in the top 100 state schools in England) to more of Islington’s schools so that children from all backgrounds get the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument
  • Camden Labour is working to open up access to local cultural venues to Camden children and will create new apprenticeships in the local music industry for young people
  • Hackney Labour will continue the Mayor’s Music Awards for primary and secondary schools. Hackney Labour will support the work of Loughborough University and Hackney Community College to establish a new shared campus to provide a pathway for local people into the new creative and technology jobs being established in the iCITY/Here East development
  • Kensington and Chelsea Labour will re-focus spend on arts programmes for grassroots events and young people’s and children’s projects
  • Enfield Labour will celebrate young people’s innovation and creativity with science, arts and music awards
  • Tower Hamlets Labour will forge partnerships with the aim that each young person will have the opportunity of at least one visit a year to a museum or gallery and look at how to support music and cultural experience for school children.
  • Camden Labour will continue to fund their nationally renowned music service and work to open up access for all Camden children to their diverse range of cultural venues, large and small.  They are developing apprenticeships with the local music industry for the borough’s young people.
  • Hillingdon Labour will ensure the Hillingdon Music Service goes from strength to strength and work with schools, colleges and universities which have cultural facilities that could be of benefit to the wider public to enable better community use.  They will put young people in the driving seat to co-produce services and look at expansion towards the arts and cultural activities
  • Kingston Labour will roll out music programmes to more of Kingston’s schools so that children from all backgrounds get the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument, and attract new funding for youth services to protect  opportunities for young people through drama and music from cuts.
  • Westminster Labour will introduce more after school and holiday activities for children and encourage excellence in all cultural activities enjoyed by young people.  They will support the Westminster Choral project in primary schools and establish a Westminster Youth Orchestra to develop musical excellence, the enjoyment of making music together and to give young people the opportunity to show their talents locally.

Labour understands the importance of arts and the creative industries to local regeneration

  • Tower Hamlets Labour appreciate that successful creative industries rely on a rich cultural and artistic environment and will lead on encouraging the growth of cultural enterprise galleries and promoting events to celebrate the borough.  They will maximise the potential for the regeneration of Fish Island, while protecting its unique character as an employment and cultural location. They will nurture new entrepreneurs and creative industries through Start Up Centres providing affordable work space, mentoring and advice. 
  • Hackney Labour will ensure that the regeneration of Hackney Central, through the Hackney Fashion Hub, will create new workspaces, local jobs and improve the public space and work to deliver the regeneration of Hackney Wick, supporting the local creative business community
  • Camden Labour will use Camden’s ‘spare spaces’ to support artists and creative economy start-ups and will encourage and support the further development of the ‘knowledge quarter’ around Euston and King’s Cross, working with organisations such as the British Library and University of the Arts.  Their review of local planning policies will specifically look at giving support and protection to small cultural organisations.
  • Hillingdon Labour will seek to create a new Cultural Quarter to support their vibrant arts and cultural community
  • Haringey Labour will build on attracting a global architectural practice to the area which will help generate employment and regeneration and education for young people.
  • Islington Labour supports the development of new creative industries like ‘Tech City’ in Old Street and work to ensure that Islington’s residents directly benefit from the jobs and investment linked to the cluster
  • Lewisham Labour will attempt to create an environment in which the arts and digital media sectors can thrive, through their support of small and micro businesses

Labour knows the value that festivals, community venues and creative events bring to enliven local places for residents and visitors

  • Croydon Labour will establish a framework for more community-run arts and cultural events and bring back a summer festival to Croydon.  They support Fairfield Halls – a venue that has hosted groups from the Beatles to JLS – and are dedicated to providing a wider variety of local artistic venues.  They will work with community groups to make it easier for community-run events to take place in the borough and re-establish a vibrant fringe theatre for Croydon
  • Barnet Labour will do all it can to support and promote local arts and cultural events, including community festivals and support community organisations including local museums and theatre
  • Southwark Labour will  enhance and expand affordable studio and performance space
  • Greenwich Labour will refurbish the Borough Halls as a new centre for the performing arts, improve the standard and quality of performing arts venues, and establish a Heritage Trust to ensure the protection and investment in heritage buildings in the Royal Borough
  • Tower Hamlets Labour will support programmes of events that celebrate local heritage and diversity and bring people together, and will reintroduce the annual fireworks display in Victoria Park.  They will keep the borough’s Henry Moore sculpture “Old Flo” in the Council’s ownership and return it to Tower Hamlets, and seek lottery and other funding to expand their historic building restoration programme
  • Lambeth Labour will open Britain’s first black heritage centre in Windrush Square in 2014 – this was opposed by LibDem and Tory councillors
  • Sutton Labour will support local community and amateur theatre, support the use of parks for open air concerts and seek to protect existing free access to museums and historic buildings in the face of government cuts
  • Hounslow Labour will deliver a Hounslow Town war memorial for the 100th anniversary of WW1
  • Redbridge Labour will expand cultural services
  • Hillingdon Labour will seek to create borough museums in partnership with national bodies or through sponsorship
  • Haringey Labour will seek Lottery funding to refurbish the Victoria Theatre and BBC studios at Alexandra Palace
  • Waltham Forest will transform community facilities including museums and libraries – they have developed major cultural projects like the William Morris Gallery and hosted free events
  • Kingston Labour will work with local residents in support of a wider variety of venues and greater participation in the arts.  They will make it easier for arts and cultural events to take place and support campaigns and festivals to promote reading and books.
  • Islington Labour will support campaigns and festivals like Islington Reads and the Islington Word Festival to promote reading and books
  • Harrow Labour will create a cultural strategy for Harrow, filling this important gap left by the current Tory-led council

London Labour councils back arts and culture - 19/05/2014

Labour's London Manifestos for this week's elections show a striking commitment from our councillors to arts, culture and the creative industries.  This is a big, and welcome, change from what...

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