Harriet Harman

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

Current News

LBC

The phone lines were busy this evening at LBC for the next instalment of my regular phone in with Iain Dale.

LBC - Phone In w/Iain Dale - 15/09/14

The phone lines were busy this evening at LBC for the next instalment of my regular phone in with Iain Dale. Read more

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I joined Southwark Labour Party members and councillors on Saturday 13th September at the Beormund Community Centre in Bermondsey for Southwark Labour's annual conference.

Southwark Labour Borough Conference - 13/9/14

I joined Southwark Labour Party members and councillors on Saturday 13th September at the Beormund Community Centre in Bermondsey for Southwark Labour's annual conference.

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London Assembly Member, Val Shawcross, local councillors Richard Livingstone and Evelyn Akoto, and Southwark Council resident services officers Melvina Powell and Andrew Johnson on the Tustin Estate in Livesey.

Tustin Estate Advice Surgery - 11/9/14

London Assembly Member, Val Shawcross, local councillors Richard Livingstone and Evelyn Akoto, and Southwark Council resident services officers Melvina Powell and Andrew Johnson on the Tustin Estate in Livesey.

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This morning I joined my Labour colleagues to travel up to Scotland ahead of the referendum on the 18th September to help the No Campaign get the message across that we're better together. 

#LetsStayTogether - Campaigning in Scotland - 11/09/14

This morning I joined my Labour colleagues to travel up to Scotland ahead of the referendum on the 18th September to help the No Campaign get the message across that we're... Read more

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On Wednesday 10th September I visited the Maudsley Hospital in Camberwell to meet the new Chief Executive of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM), Dr. Matthew Patrick. SLaM provides the widest range of mental health services in the UK and is at the forefront of tackling the stigma of mental health.

South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) visit - 10/9/2014

On Wednesday 10th September I visited the Maudsley Hospital in Camberwell to meet the new Chief Executive of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM), Dr. Matthew Patrick....

Wear it pink

September is breast cancer awareness month and to show my support in the fight against breast cancer I dropped into the Breast Cancer Campaign's annual #wearitpink event in Parliament today.

#Wearitpink - Breast Cancer Campaign Pop In - 10/09/14

September is breast cancer awareness month and to show my support in the fight against breast cancer I dropped into the Breast Cancer Campaign's annual #wearitpink event in Parliament today.... Read more

HH 10.09.14

Today I stood in for Ed Miliband at Prime Minster's Questions following the joint statement announcing that he, David Cameron and Nick Clegg would travel to Scotland to listen and talk to voters ahead of the referendum vote on the 18th September.

Prime Minister's Questions - 10/09/14

Today I stood in for Ed Miliband at Prime Minster's Questions following the joint statement announcing that he, David Cameron and Nick Clegg would travel to Scotland to listen and talk to... Read more

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Liverpool can provide the “blueprint” for how the whole country ensures arts and culture are there for every child from every walk of life.

Tate Liverpool visit and roundtable – 08/09/14

Liverpool can provide the “blueprint” for how the whole country ensures arts and culture are there for every child from every walk of life. Read more

On 31st July I wrote to the Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond MP, on the Ebola crsis in West Africa.  Camberwell and Peckham has the largest West African diaspora in the country and my constituents will be very concerned about the situation in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria.  Many will be worried about family members and close friends in their country of origin and will want to know that the UK Government is doing everything it can to help the affected countries.

You can read the Foreign Secretary's reply to my letter here.

Ebola - Foreign Secretary's reply to my letter - 08/09/2014

On 31st July I wrote to the Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond MP, on the Ebola crsis in West Africa.  Camberwell and Peckham has the largest West African diaspora in the...

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It was good to see so many members and councillors out campaigning in The Lane ward in Peckham on Saturday morning when we visited the Pelican Estate.

Campaigning in Peckham - 6/9/14

It was good to see so many members and councillors out campaigning in The Lane ward in Peckham on Saturday morning when we visited the Pelican Estate.

BAME Reception
The BAME Labour Executive and Labour Party hosted a reception for members, supporters, MPs, Councillors and Parliamentary Candidates this evening. The event was attended by over 150 people from across the country – from Bradford to Plymouth. I spoke about the important role our BAME members will play in the General Election campaign and how it is only the Labour party speaking up for BAME communities. And when it comes to representation Labour has more BAME MPs than the other parties put together but we still aspire to do better and be more representative of the general population.

BAME reception - 3/09/14

The BAME Labour Executive and Labour Party hosted a reception for members, supporters, MPs, Councillors and Parliamentary Candidates this evening. The event was attended by over 150 people from across...

Women's

The Rugby Football Union visited Parliament today to launch their Women & girls strategy. Their plan is to get 100k more women involved in the sport.

England Womens Rugby Event in Parliament - 03/09/2014

The Rugby Football Union visited Parliament today to launch their Women & girls strategy. Their plan is to get 100k more women involved in the sport. Read more

Rt Hon Simon Hughes MP

House of Commons London

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Bedroom Tax costing Southwark households £3.75 million - 2/9/14

Rt Hon Simon Hughes MP House of Commons London SW1A 0AA Read more

Government must reach out to diaspora groups in Ebola crisis

We have started seeing on the TV news disturbing reports of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.  So far, we have heard that nearly 1,300 people have died from the virus and that 2,200 people have been infected in Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Guinea and Liberia.  The Presidents of Liberia and Nigeria have declared a national state of emergency in their countries and Guinea has closed its borders with Sierra Leone and Liberia.  The World Health Organisation – based at the UN – has declared Ebola a global public health emergency.   

Because Ebola is infectious and there is as yet no vaccine which can protect you from it or treatment that can cure you if you get it, senior government ministers here have been meeting to discuss it.  So far Cobra – the government’s emergency committee which brings together ministers from across government departments – has met twice and been chaired by the Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond MP.  Of course it’s important that they are doing this.  The UK is a major participant in the World Health Organisation.  And it’s important that they consider what the impact of the Ebola outbreak might be on the UK and how we can protect ourselves from it. 

Everyone should be concerned to see people hit by a horrible disease and anyone planning to go to any of the affected countries will look to our government to get the best advice about what is safe.  Southwark is home to many people from Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Liberia and Guinea.  These diaspora communities, who are well established here, retain strong ties with their countries of origin.  Many do business with their country back home.  Many still have family and friends there.  And many visit, for family reasons or for business. 

So it is disappointing that the Government has not engaged with our local diaspora communities in order to tell them the decisions our government is making about contingency plans and hear their hopes and concerns.  I’ve asked the Foreign Secretary to convene a meeting of the leaders of the diaspora communities.  So far he has not taken up that suggestion.  I've written to the Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening MP and asked her to ensure that our government does as much as possible to help these countries protect themselves from the spread of infection. 

The health care systems in West Africa do invaluable work but they are very thinly stretched even without the Ebola epidemic.  DFID supports numerous vital health care projects – many of which I've seen on my visits to West Africa.  But what more are DFID doing to help in West Africa at the time of risk from this disease?  As yet I have not heard back from the Secretary of State - which is disappointing.  The Government should be doing everything it can to protect us from this disease.  They should be doing everything they can to help those in the affected countries.  But they should also be talking to the diaspora communities here.  And so far they have failed to do that. 

Southwark News column: Ebola crisis - 28/8/14

Government must reach out to diaspora groups in Ebola crisis We have started seeing on the TV news disturbing reports of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.  So far, we...

HH Speaking - the choice

During August the Shadow Cabinet has been setting out the choice between the Tory threat and the Labour future.

#TheChoice: the Labour future; the Tory threat – 26/08/2014

During August the Shadow Cabinet has been setting out the choice between the Tory threat and the Labour future. Read more

On 31st July I wrote to the Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond MP, on the Ebola crsis in West Africa. 

Ebola - Foreign Secretary's reply to my letter - 8/9/14

On 31st July I wrote to the Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond MP, on the Ebola crsis in West Africa.  Read more

Scotland

With just six weeks to go before the Scottish Referendum, I joined Margaret Curran, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, campaigning for a “No” vote in Edinburgh West and Edinburgh Southern.  Scottish Labour are working hard right across Scotland knocking on doors, phoning and delivering leaflets.

I was delighted to attend the Opening Concert of the Edinburgh International Festival 2014, with pieces by Schoenberg, Scriabin, and Debussy performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, under composer and conductor Oliver Knussen. 

Campaining in Scotland - 08/08/2014

With just six weeks to go before the Scottish Referendum, I joined Margaret Curran, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, campaigning for a “No” vote in Edinburgh West and Edinburgh...

The First World War must never be forgotten.  On 4 August, I attended a Vigil, with Labour Leader Ed Miliband, marking with darkness, the last hour before the centenary of the moment Britain was drawn into this war.

First World War Vigil, Westminster Abbey – 4/8/2014

The First World War must never be forgotten.  On 4 August, I attended a Vigil, with Labour Leader Ed Miliband, marking with darkness, the last hour before the centenary of... Read more

Camberwell and Peckham has the largest West African diaspora community in the country.  My constituents will be very concerned about the recent outbreak of Ebola in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria.

Ebola - My letters to the Government - 7/8/14

Camberwell and Peckham has the largest West African diaspora community in the country.  My constituents will be very concerned about the recent outbreak of Ebola in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea... Read more

As high profile celebrities – like Rolf Harris, Stuart Hall and Max Clifford – go to prison for sexually abusing children, there's been much talk of "historic" sex abuse.  But for the people who were sexually abused as children and who are now adults, it is usually anything but "historic".  The effects of child abuse can stay with the victim long into their adulthood.  Some say the torment of emotions they are left with give them feelings of inability to trust other people in relationships, despair they were not listened to or believed at the time.  Angry they had no-one to protect them, or to confide in.  Doubts and feelings of self-loathing about why they "let it happen" or "didn't stop it".

If you've suffered sexual abuse as a child, reported it and were not believed or told to keep quiet about it, it is often the case that the accusation of lying makes the suffering of the abuse even worse. 

So prosecuting abusers – even decades later – is vital. 

These trials send out an important message to other abusers, that you can’t get away with it just because the victim is vulnerable and it was long ago.  Even if it takes years, the law will catch up with you. 

And it is only when abuse is proved in a court that the institutions that have been used by the abuser face up to what's gone on and take action.  It took years for the Catholic Church to acknowledge the true scale of sex abuse by priests.  Now, after the Jimmy Savile revelations, the BBC and Hospitals are much more careful.  And it will be the case with other institutions

So, even though trials of offences which took place long ago are more difficult, and the offender is now elderly, it is still important to prosecute.

People often say it’s unfair to name the suspect while the victim remains anonymous.  But in our legal system justice must not only be done but “be seen to be done”.  It is dangerous to let the criminal justice system try a defendant in secret.  So, traumatic though it is for the defendant, especially if they are acquitted, it is important for the accused to be named.  You can’t have one rule for sex offences trials and another for other trials.  That would imply that, uniquely in sex cases, the victim is likely to be lying.  And when the defendant’s name is reported it often gives other victims the confidence to come forward thereby helping the prosecution and ensuring that that victim gets justice.

Some people say that this latest spate of sex abuse trials is a witchhunt.  My view is that it is justice for people who were abused as vulnerable children, will protect other children in the future, and is long overdue.

South London Press column: Victims of child abuse - 25/07/2014

As high profile celebrities – like Rolf Harris, Stuart Hall and Max Clifford – go to prison for sexually abusing children, there's been much talk of "historic" sex abuse.  But...

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