Harriet Harman

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

Current News

This morning I met Chief Superintendent Zander Gibson, the new Police Borough Commander for Southwark. We discussed police numbers, victim confidence to report rape and serious sexual assault, race relations and recruitment, and police engagement with young people and community stakeholders.

Meeting Southwark Police Borough Commander Zander Gibson - 26/03

This morning I met Chief Superintendent Zander Gibson, the new Police Borough Commander for Southwark. We discussed police numbers, victim confidence to report rape and serious sexual assault, race relations...

This morning I met Chief Superintendent Zander Gibson, the new Police Borough Commander for Southwark. We discussed police numbers, victim confidence to report rape and serious sexual assault, race relations and recruitment, and police engagement with young people and community stakeholders.

Meeting Southwark Police Borough Commander - 26/3/14

This morning I met Chief Superintendent Zander Gibson, the new Police Borough Commander for Southwark. We discussed police numbers, victim confidence to report rape and serious sexual assault, race relations...

Harriet Harman MP, Labour’s Shadow Culture Secretary, responding to questions about Labour’s position on proposed amendments in the Deregulation Bill covering decriminalisation of non-payment of the BBC’s licence fee, said:

“The BBC is an institution of enormous importance to our culture.  It is loved in this country and admired around the world.  We need to maintain funding for the BBC.  But no one wants to see people in prison for non-payment of the television licence fee. 

“That’s why Labour will support these amendments on decriminalisation, but on condition that any decision is taken after a comprehensive review so that the funding of the BBC is not undermined. 

“Labour believes the licence fee is key to the independence of the BBC and remains the best funding model.”

Ends

BBC - Statement re decriminalisation of non payment of the license fee

Harriet Harman MP, Labour’s Shadow Culture Secretary, responding to questions about Labour’s position on proposed amendments in the Deregulation Bill covering decriminalisation of non-payment of the BBC’s licence fee, said:...

PMQs 13032014

Today I challenged Nick Clegg on tuition fees following research that shows that the trebling of tuition fees is on course to cost the taxpayer more than the system it replaced. The full exchange is below. 

Challenging Nick Clegg on Tuition Fees – 25/03/2014

Today I challenged Nick Clegg on tuition fees following research that shows that the trebling of tuition fees is on course to cost the taxpayer more than the system it... Read more

Platform Scottish Conference_22032014

Over 1000 Labour members, MSPs, MPs, Trade Union  and Councillors met in Perth for Labour’s annual Scottish conference. Following Johann Lamont, Leader of the Scottish Labour Party’s key note speech to conference, I joined Margaret Curran, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland for an ‘in conversation’ discussion with journalist Kate Devlin. Following this I attended evening receptions including Scottish Trade Union Labour event, a Local Government Reception and MP and MSP event.

Scottish Labour Conference – 22/03/2014

Over 1000 Labour members, MSPs, MPs, Trade Union  and Councillors met in Perth for Labour’s annual Scottish conference. Following Johann Lamont, Leader of the Scottish Labour Party’s key note speech... Read more

When I first became an MP in the 1980's, one of the biggest complaints from local mothers bringing up young children on their own was the lack of childcare.


The difficulty of trying to keep a toddler happy and entertained - especially in a small flat; the dread of rainy days because even going to the park would not be an option. Too many felt isolated – with their own parents living far away from them. There were no community nurseries and no help with the cost of the very few private nurseries, or with the cost of childminders.


Their aspirations for themselves and their children were the inspiration for what we did when we got into government in 1997.
Parents should have access to childcare which is affordable, accessible and high quality.  Our National Childcare Strategy – through childcare tax credits, Sure Start Centres and nurseries in the NHS and colleges – led to a massive increase in childcare provision. There were 2,500 more childcare places in Southwark alone.

Now, 3 years in to a Tory/Lib-Dem Coalition Government – that progress on childcare is slipping back.

Childcare tax credit, which helps parents pay nursery or childminders fees, has been cut. The Government Grant to Southwark for children services like Sure Start has been cut.

There are more children under five in Southwark but fewer childcare places. Fifteen hours a week free childcare is just not enough for many mothers to get a job or work the hours they need. 

As mothers, whose pay has stagnated, save money by cutting back on the hours of childcare they use, they rely more on a patchwork of family and friends.  And this undermines the continuity of care for the child.

And some have to give up work altogether and fall back on benefits.  As the Government is cutting back, the price is being paid by children and parents and a growing benefit bill.

That's why Southwark Council is working hard to protect children's services and why we, if we get back into government, will guarantee parents 25 hours free childcare.

South London Press column: Childcare in Camberwell & Peckham - 21/03/2014

When I first became an MP in the 1980's, one of the biggest complaints from local mothers bringing up young children on their own was the lack of childcare. The...

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ARK All Saints Academy visit - 20/03/2014

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This morning I visited ARK All Saints Academy in Camberwell to meet the new principal, Lucy Frame, see the new building, and talk to the scholars about the challenges facing young people today, being an MP, and their plans for the future. I was also shown around the new school building which was opened earlier this year.

Visit to ARK All Saints Academy in Camberwell - 20/3/14

This morning I visited ARK All Saints Academy in Camberwell to meet the new principal, Lucy Frame, see the new building, and talk to the scholars about the challenges facing... Read more

Mr Speaker, I thank the Deputy Prime Minister for his generous,warm,thoughtful words on Tony Benn 

This is a parliamentary occasion to remember Tony Benn.

But it was a parliamentary occasion every time Tony Benn spoke in this house.

Before the House was televised, I always remember that when Tony Benn’s name appeared on the monitor, we members would hasten out of our offices - and into the chamber.

And all those who passionately agreed with him and all those who passionately disagreed with him would be there to listen to him.

He was a great orator - both inside and outside this House - and what made his oratory great was not just his formidable intellect - though he had that - or his great historical knowledge - though he had that too - it was that he spoke out of conviction.  He spoke from the heart.

Tony was first elected to this House in 1950 but he was concerned that upon his father’s death, his inheritance of a peerage would disqualify him from serving his constituents who had elected him.

On his father’s death in 1960, he was disqualified but fought his way back to this House through the Peerage Act of 1963 and a by-election. When Labour formed a government in 1964, Tony became postmaster general and then Minister of Technology. With Labour in power again from 1974 to 1979, he became Secretary of State for Industry and then Secretary of State for Energy. As Energy Secretary, he encouraged a number of workers' co-operatives. The most notable of which was Meriden in the Midlands, which continued to produce Triumph motorcycles for another decade.

What drove him on was his belief in the power of people - ordinary people, through their trade unions and through their votes - to bring about change and change them for the better.

His commitment was to the historic fight against social injustice - but he was never stuck in the past - he embraced new movements - like the green movement and the women's movement. 

He very much believed in movements. He believed the power of people working together to make change.

And he was encouraging people and giving them the confidence to do that.

And everyone who ever met Tony has their own story about that. 

And this is mine...

It was back in the mid 80s.  I was the only woman MP with very young children and finding it hard to cope.  Sitting by myself in the corner of the Stranger’s cafe - 11 o’clock at night – still waiting for a vote - feeling terrible. 

Tony came and sat down next to me and said you look exhausted - you should be at home. 

I said I couldn't because I hadn't been let off by the whips.

And he said I can give you a really important piece of advice for your future: “You don't have to worry about the whips.  I never do..."

So I was sent home to my family by Tony Benn - himself a great family man.

The public know him for his passion for politics - but his other great life-long passion was for his family.

For his wife, children and grandchildren.

He proposed to Caroline - only nine days after meeting her - explaining that it would have been sooner but he was a quite shy.  He later bought the bench on which they were sitting when he proposed - and it remained in their garden till the end.

He was enormously and justifiably proud of his children....

His daughter Melissa - so like her mother.

And his sons... Joshua, Stephen and Hillary - the Rt Hon member for Leeds central - so like him.

His legacy is not just to this house and to progressive politics in this country but also in the values and commitment taken forward by his children.

To whom we extend our sympathy and with whom we share the grief of the loss of a great parliamentarian and great politician.

Tribute - Tony Benn Debate - House of Commons - 20/03/2014

Mr Speaker, I thank the Deputy Prime Minister for his generous,warm,thoughtful words on Tony Benn  This is a parliamentary occasion to remember Tony Benn. But it was a parliamentary occasion...

Over the centuries, migrants coming to this country to make a better life for themselves and their children have contributed to what makes Britain great.  Whether it’s the Irish communities who came here to escape the potato famine and built our roads, to the Jewish community fleeing fascism, or the people who came from the Caribbean and India to work in our health service.  Any industry, service, and business public or private has drawn on the initiative and hard work of immigrants.
But, Ed Miliband is clear that we have must have controlled migration and that fair rules must apply to those who come from within the EU as well as from outside the EU.


In his speech earlier in the week, Ed has spelled out how we will work with other EU countries to change the EU free movement rules.


If someone comes here from another EU country and they commit a crime they should be prosecuted and then deported. Committing a crime here means that you have broken the rules and should be sent home.  Currently you cannot usually be deported unless your crime is so serious that you have been sent to prison for more than 12 months for some violent crimes, or 24 months for others. That means somebody coming to the UK from within the EU could receive a custodial sentence for common assault within a month of arriving, but not even be considered for deportation proceedings because their offence didn’t meet the sentencing threshold. We believe that needs to be looked at.   If you come here to work but your children remain in your home country, you should not be able to claim child benefit and send it back to them.  Child benefit should be for children living with their parents – not for those in another country.


If you come here from another EU country for the first time, you shouldn’t be able to claim out-of-work benefits until you have been here for 6 months.


When a new country joins the EU, there should be tougher restrictions that mean people from that country should not be able to come to the UK to work without restrictions until that country has been a member of the EU for longer than the current 7 years.
And of course there are some changes that we should make ourselves and that the government should be getting on with immediately.


There should be tough enforcement of the minimum wage to stop employers using migrants to undercut the pay and conditions of longstanding workers here.


There should also be tough enforcement of the rules restricting the use of homes for “multi-occupation” so that neighbourhoods are not disrupted by employers using family homes for “hotbedding” exploited migrant workers.
Recruitment agencies should be banned from hiring exclusively from overseas, locking local people out of the labour market.
People are right to value the part that is played in our communities of people who come to this country from abroad.  But it has to be a two-way deal.

 Published on Labourlist on Saturday 15 March http://labourlist.org/2014/03/immigration-has-to-be-a-two-way-deal/

Immigration has to be a two way deal – 15/03/2014

Over the centuries, migrants coming to this country to make a better life for themselves and their children have contributed to what makes Britain great.  Whether it’s the Irish communities...

On Wednesday 5th March Baroness Onora O'Neill, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), attended a meeting where we discussed the ongoing work of the EHRC, including an inquiry into the cleaning industry.  The EHRC is seeking contributions from cleaners and housekeepers on their experiences of working in this sector.  Many constituents from Camberwell and Peckham are cleaners and their views should be heard.  That is why I wrote a letter to Southwark News and the South London Press, encouraging people in Southwark to come forward and share their thoughts.

Full text of letter -

Businesses and services in London couldn’t operate without the army of hardworking cleaners who, often in the small hours and usually for low pay, make sure our offices, hospitals, schools, cinemas and leisure centres are clean and safe for the people who use them.

Many of London's cleaners live in Camberwell and Peckham.  Many keep the House of Commons – and my office – sparkling clean. 

Some who work as cleaners have asked for my help when they have been unfairly treated.  I strongly believe those who work in cleaning deserve dignity and respect in the workplace.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is holding an inquiry into the cleaning industry and wants to hear the views of cleaners about how they are treated at work.  If you work in cleaning and want to share your experiences then please email cleaning@equalityhumanrights.com.  And send me a copy at harriet.harman.mp@parliament.uk.

I hope that cleaners from Camberwell and Peckham make their views about working in the cleaning industry heard, to help ensure all cleaners are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

Harriet Harman Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham

Invaluable cleaners in Southwark deserve to be heard

On Wednesday 5th March Baroness Onora O'Neill, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), attended a meeting where we discussed the ongoing work of the EHRC, including an...

Today, at Culture, Media and Sport questions in the House of Commons, I challenged Ed Vaizey, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport about the rights of each and every child to have experience of, and opportunities in, culture and the arts at school:

DCMS Questions - 13/03/2014

Today, at Culture, Media and Sport questions in the House of Commons, I challenged Ed Vaizey, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport about the rights of each... Read more

PMQs 13032014
Today I challenged Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister on the Lib Dems broken promises and the backing of Tories policies. In particular I challenged Nick Clegg on Lib Dem support of the Bedroom Tax, the tax cut for millionaires and voting last night against letting local people have more control over their health services. PMQs can be viewed here.

Challenging Nick Clegg at PMQs - 12/03/2014

Today I challenged Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister on the Lib Dems broken promises and the backing of Tories policies. In particular I challenged Nick Clegg on Lib Dem support... Read more

ITV

On the panel this evening were advertising boss Sir Martin Sorrell, presenter Julia Bradbury and comedian David Schneider we debated school choice, Crimea and the advertising industry. As always the programme was chaired by Tom Bradby.

ITV - The Agenda - 10/03/2014

On the panel this evening were advertising boss Sir Martin Sorrell, presenter Julia Bradbury and comedian David Schneider we debated school choice, Crimea and the advertising industry. As always the...

Harriet Harman, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party has launched Amplify - www.labourwomen.org.uk - a new website highlighting the role of women in the Labour Party and working to ensure further progress towards equality.

Amplify will: •        Turn the spotlight on how the Tories with their Lib Dem allies are hitting women hardest. •        Campaign to protect the advances for women that were made by the last Labour Government - on childcare, on domestic violence, on women's rights at work- and help us to continue to make further progress towards equality. •        Discuss what women want from their government and their local authorities.    •        Provide a forum where Labour women can discuss ideas and campaign for a 2015 manifesto which takes forward the progress made by the last Labour government.   •        Become a place for women to get involved in Labour campaigns all around the country in the run-up to the General Election in 2015

Harriet Harman, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party said:

“Amplify will bring together women from across the Labour movement - members and supporters, trade unionists, politicians, feminists and community campaigners.

“Together we will work to ensure we continue to make further progress towards equality and highlight how the Tory-Lib Dem Government – particularly with the cost-of-living crisis - is hitting women hardest.”   Gloria De Piero, Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities said:

“Today far too many women feel disconnected from politics.

“David Cameron and Nick Clegg have tuned women’s voices out. They have shut women out of the top table of politics and have lost touch with the reality of women’s lives and struggles.

“But Labour is listening. On the weekend of International Women’s Day Labour is holding events across every part of Britain with women from every generation, background and perspective to find out ‘What Women Want’.

“And ‘Amplify’ will give women in the Labour Party and outside it a platform not just to be heard but to send their messages right to the heart of our Party and our politics.”   Ends   Editors’ notes   1.   Link to the Amplify website: www.labourwomen.org.uk

Amplify Launch - increasing the power of Labour women - 08/03/20

Harriet Harman, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party has launched Amplify - www.labourwomen.org.uk - a new website highlighting the role of women in the Labour Party and working to ensure further progress...

LBC

As part of International Women’s day LBC’s Iain Dale hosted an hour long radio discussion with Professor Mary Beard, Zoe Williams columnist at The Guardian and Cristina Odone of the Daily Telegraph We discussed wide ranging topics affecting Women in society today with a focus on women in politics, media, banking & business

LBC - International Women's Day - 07.03.14

As part of International Women’s day LBC’s Iain Dale hosted an hour long radio discussion with Professor Mary Beard, Zoe Williams columnist at The Guardian and Cristina Odone of the Daily...

Wow 07.03.14

Over 100 people attended a special Women of the World Question Time event at the Southbank Centre to discuss key challenges affecting women in today’s society. We had a good discussion followed by a Q & A session. The topics ranged from equal pay, maternity pay & leave, childcare as well as the importance of supporting each other as Women of the World.

WOW Festival – Part of International Women’s day – 07/03/2014

Over 100 people attended a special Women of the World Question Time event at the Southbank Centre to discuss key challenges affecting women in today’s society. We had a good discussion... Read more

South East Conference_15032014 South East Labour held their regional conference in Crawley this weekend. I joined Labour members, MPs, Councillors and candidates from across the region. I spoke about the progress Labour has made since 2010 – winning control of councils like Reading, Southampton and Gravesham and gaining Councillors across the region. People in the area are concerned about the cost of living as working families are being hit by rising rail fares, childcare costs and high house prices.

LGBT at SE conference_17032014

South East Conference_15032014

South East Labour held their regional conference in Crawley this weekend. I joined Labour members, MPs, Councillors and candidates from across the region. I spoke about the progress Labour has...

Speaking Labour Students 26032014
Over 200 Labour students from across the country joined together at a reception in London to celebrate the work they have been doing. Speakers at the event included Leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband, Community’s General Secretary, Roy Rickhuss and Labour’s 2015 candidate for Reading West Victoria Groulef . I spoke about the fact that Labour, led by Ed Miliband has been setting the agenda whilst the Coalition Government has promised things which it has not delivered. Since 2010, Labour has gained over 1950 new Councillors and it is Labour students who have helped deliver this. Their energy and dynamism will be crucial in helping Labour win in key seats across the country in 2015.   

Labour Students Reception – 26/03/2014

Over 200 Labour students from across the country joined together at a reception in London to celebrate the work they have been doing. Speakers at the event included Leader of... Read more

Special Conference_20140301
Today the Labour Party held their special conference to vote on the NEC’s recommendations following the Collins Review on Labour Party Reform. 86% of delegates voted in favour of the changes which will open up the Party and get more people involved.

Labour’s Special Conference – 1/03/2014

Today the Labour Party held their special conference to vote on the NEC’s recommendations following the Collins Review on Labour Party Reform. 86% of delegates voted in favour of the... Read more

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