Harriet Harman

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

Current News

This morning I visited psychiatrists at the Maudsley Hospital. It was very worrying to hear from them that when they have someone who is psychotic and paranoid who needs to be sectioned because they’re a risk to themselves or others in the community, cuts to policing mean there is a shortage of police to go with doctors to safely take the person to the Maudsley and sometimes they have to wait weeks before they get the treatment they so desperately need. During that time that person and their family suffer terribly and sometimes are at risk of violence. The Maudsley team only section someone if they have tried everything else and that person is in crisis. They cannot wait. I’ve written to the Minister to demand that she tackle these unacceptable delays and I’m liaising with the police as well. 

 

South London Maudsley Doctors meeting

This morning I visited psychiatrists at the Maudsley Hospital. It was very worrying to hear from them that when they have someone who is psychotic and paranoid who needs to...

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Read my 2017/18 annual report here.

Annual Report 2017/18

Read my 2017/18 annual report here.

The crucial EU Withdrawal Bill vote this month was the “meaningful vote” amendment. Since 2016 I have consistently voted for Parliament to have a say on the final deal. In the face of deep government divisions it would have been better from the start for them to face up to the fact that Parliament’s involvement will make a perilous situation better.

Last week, facing the prospect of a humiliating defeat on the ‘meaningful vote’, Theresa May was forced to enter negotiations with her backbenchers and offer a concession. But the amendment she put forward was not good enough and she’s gone back on her word to them. I voted for the amendment which would have ensured that if the PM’s withdrawal agreement is rejected by MPs - or no deal is reached at all - it would be for Parliament, not the Prime Minister, to decide the next steps. I am deeply disappointed that this was defeated by 320 votes to 303 votes.

I and Labour MPs are working to protect the country as best we can and are seeking to enshrine in law a commitment to avoiding a hard border in Northern Ireland, to retain workers’ rights and environmental protections and the Charter of Fundamental Rights.  

 

Backing the Meaningful Vote amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill

The crucial EU Withdrawal Bill vote this month was the “meaningful vote” amendment. Since 2016 I have consistently voted for Parliament to have a say on the final deal. In...

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Together with Helen Hayes MP, SE5 Forum, South London and Maudsley, King’s College Hospital, Camberwell College of Arts and Southwark Council I am campaigning to re-open Camberwell Station.

This is urgently needed to alleviate delays and dangerous overcrowding at neighbouring stations and especially as there is no tube in Camberwell and Peckham.

Today Helen and I delivered a petition of over 2000 local people’s signatures in support of re-opening the station to Jo Johnson MP, the Minister for Rail.

He told us Transport for London are currently considering the case for re-opening the station and we have written to Commissioner, Mike Brown, to reiterate the intense local concern there is that the station should be re-opened to cope with increasing demand.

Presenting local residents' petition to re-open Camberwell Station

Together with Helen Hayes MP, SE5 Forum, South London and Maudsley, King’s College Hospital, Camberwell College of Arts and Southwark Council I am campaigning to re-open Camberwell Station. This is urgently needed...

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Almost every day following the introduction of the new Thameslink Railway timetable people in Camberwell and Peckham have contacted me exasperated telling that the delays and cancellations have caused total upheaval in their lives. They’ve paid for their season tickets but they’ve been late for work, missed hospital appointments, been late to collect their children from school and suffered misery on their daily travel.  And the overcrowding on the platforms and in the trains is dangerous.  

And people’s frustration has only been worsened by mishandling by Govia Thameslink Railway.

Though the new timetable fiasco has definitely exacerbated the problems, anyone who lives in Camberwell & Peckham will know that problems caused by Southern and Thameslink started well before this and trains have been cancelled, late or dangerously overcrowded from Denmark Hill, Peckham Rye and Nunhead every week for the best part of 3 years. The stations are now bursting -  the number of passengers has doubled in the last 5 years - and people are at their wits end.

For example, before the May timetable change there were 3 direct trains from Nunhead into Farringdon every hour. Now there is just one an hour, which does not even come at the same time from week to week. “It’s impossible to plan my journey to work” one man told me. 

The Government admits the service is ‘wholly unsatisfactory’ but they need to get a grip on the situation and ensure there is some level of accountability of train operators. I am demanding they demonstrate some urgency in tackling this matter and, together with many other MPs, I am taking action to push them on this:

*I have scheduled a meeting with the Rail Minister, Jo Johnson MP, to protest delays and demand an urgent response. 

*I have written to the new CEO of Govia Thameslink Railway to ask what they are doing to fix this rail disruption as soon as possible and compensate passengers.

*I am campaigning with Helen Hayes MP, SE5 Forum and Southwark Council to re-open Camberwell Rail Station which lies on the Thameslink Line. This would alleviate some of the pressure at neighbouring stations.

*I’ve met Network Rail to ask what steps they are taking to keep people safe on platforms. I welcome their commitment that both Denmark Hill and Peckham Rye stations are being prioritised in the top 10 stations for redevelopment. I am demanding the Government now put in the money to back this up.

Whilst the delays and disruption to people’s lives are of course totally unacceptable, even more important is that this has now become a matter of public safety. People need answers about how the situation was allowed to get to this point, what the Government is doing now to sort it and what plans they have longer term to end the issues with this struggling franchise and ensure passengers get value for money from the service they pay for and need to be able to rely on.

 

 

 

Demanding action on delays & overcrowding at local stations - Southwark News

Almost every day following the introduction of the new Thameslink Railway timetable people in Camberwell and Peckham have contacted me exasperated telling that the delays and cancellations have caused total...

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All credit to Abu & Fred Kamara who chair the Crawford Estate tenants association and do fantastic work for the local community. I’m helping residents sort overcrowding & damp problems following my visit with Cllr Dora Dixon-Fyle MBE on June 19th.

Crawford Estate Walkabout

All credit to Abu & Fred Kamara who chair the Crawford Estate tenants association and do fantastic work for the local community. I’m helping residents sort overcrowding & damp problems...

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Congratulations to our new Lewisham East MP Janet Daby - elected with 50.2% of the vote on June 14th! Looking forward to working together in Parliament to hold the Tories to account.

Lewisham East By-Election campaigning

Congratulations to our new Lewisham East MP Janet Daby - elected with 50.2% of the vote on June 14th! Looking forward to working together in Parliament to hold the Tories...

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Great to hear from students at Ivydale about why they love their new school. Congrats to teachers, parents, Hawkins Brown   architects and Southwark Council on the award-winning design!

 

Opening of Ivydale Primary's magnificent new building

Great to hear from students at Ivydale about why they love their new school. Congrats to teachers, parents, Hawkins Brown   architects and Southwark Council on the award-winning design!  

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Great to visit South London Gallery today and hear from Margot Heller about how they are creating links between great art and the bustling local community. I also got to see progress on the former Peckham Road Fire Station site as it becomes a new contemporary arts space and annexe to the main gallery which is due to open in September 2018.

South London Gallery visit

Great to visit South London Gallery today and hear from Margot Heller about how they are creating links between great art and the bustling local community. I also got to...

Celebrating local people, businesses and charities who do so much for people in Southwark at the annual Southwark Civic Awards in Southwark Cathedral.

A big congratulations to all the well-deserved winners including Bryan Hall, long-time sporting volunteer; Eileen Piper, Secretary of Brandon Estate Tenants and Residents Association; and Mark Webb, Chair of the Camberwell Green Safer Neigbourhoods Team Ward Panel; and to the newly elected Mayor of Southwark, Catherine Rose, and Deputy Mayor, Sandra Rhule.

The celebration came almost a year since the terrible terror attack in London Bridge and it was fitting that the Mayor’s Discretionary Award went to Southwark Police, Southwark Fire Service, the London Ambulance Service and King’s College Hospital. It is important to pay tribute to those that did all they could to help people on that tragic night and helped them recover in the weeks following.

Southwark Civic Awards and Mayor Making Ceremony

Celebrating local people, businesses and charities who do so much for people in Southwark at the annual Southwark Civic Awards in Southwark Cathedral. A big congratulations to all the well-deserved...

What is it like to be a British citizen wrongfully detained? For the first time since the Windrush scandal broke this afternoon a parliamentary select committee heard from people wrongfully swept up in the Government's net and detained, Paulette Wilson and Anthony Bryan. As Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights I invited them to speak to our committee to tell us of the intolerable stress and suffering they faced because the Conservative Government incorrectly targeted them as ‘illegal immigrants’. They told us how difficult it had been being asked to produce pages and pages of documentation they had never needed before, and when they couldn't the devastation and fear of losing their jobs and being detained.

Shockingly they said no one explained the reasons for their detention and release. I've written as the Chair of the Committee to the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid MP, to ask for the release Anthony Bryan and Paulette Wilson's entire Home Office case files to them, within 7 days and to summon him to come and give evidence to our committee and explain why these law abiding British people were threatened by the Government and in some cases locked up. It is not acceptable that the Home Office ‘did not know’ how many people from the Windrush Generation had been wrongfully detained.

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Windrush Generation wrongly detained ask for their Home Office files - my letter to Home Secretary

What is it like to be a British citizen wrongfully detained? For the first time since the Windrush scandal broke this afternoon a parliamentary select committee heard from people wrongfully swept up in the... Read more

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Monthly report April/May 2018

Read more

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My Tribute to the House:

Tessa Jowell was the embodiment of that old women’s movement saying: “The personal is political.” For Tessa, the personal and the political were completely intertwined. Her devotion to her children and her stepchildren was what underpinned her drive for Sure Start children’s centres, with parenting support at their heart. Her enjoyment of her family and their prowess in sport was what lay behind her wanting to get the Olympics for the UK. She wanted them and the Paralympics to be shared and to inspire every child and young person across the country.

Tessa had a unique personal style. She befriended people who were struggling, had difficulties or were powerless, whom she felt she could support, but she also befriended the powerful in order to get them to back her progressive causes. She was no softie, though. Everybody has quite rightly said how charming and nice she was, but there was steel behind those clear blue eyes. As her constituency neighbour for 23 years, we went to countless meetings together and worked together on countless campaigns. She was always courteous and polite to the police, the schools, the hospitals and the council, but if ever she felt that they were obfuscating or letting people down, she would be tougher than anybody. She was true Labour, as an activist, as a councillor, as a Member of this House and as a Member of the Lords, but she was never afraid to work cross-party for the causes that she supported or to forge friendships across parties. We are so sad for her family, especially David, Jess and Matthew, but I know they will be strong because she will have prepared them for the loss they faced, just as she supported, on behalf of the Government, those who faced loss after the 9/11 and 7/7 terrorist attacks. We send them all our sympathy.

All around the country there will be people who are listening to these tributes and who have heard of Tessa’s death who worked with her, who knew her and who will be feeling sad but also immensely proud that they can say, “I knew Tessa Jowell.”

Tribute to Dame Tessa Jowell, former Southwark MP

My Tribute to the House: Tessa Jowell was the embodiment of that old women’s movement saying: “The personal is political.” For Tessa, the personal and the political were completely intertwined....

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A house in Herne Hill proudly bears a blue plaque commemorating Sam King, a freeman of the borough of Southwark, the first black Mayor of Southwark, longstanding councillor and outstanding member of the local community. Originally from Jamaica he came to this country on the Empire Windrush in 1948 and raised his 2 children and 3 grandchildren here. Sam exemplified that generation of patriotic British people from the Caribbean who came here to help us rebuild after the Second World War.

In recognition of that they had a right to stay indefinitely as British citizens. So everyone has been dismayed and outraged at what has been done to them. Having worked here, paid their taxes and raised their families here over the decades they were swept up in the net supposedly designed for illegal immigrants. Challenged to produce pages and pages of documentation from years gone by. Those who couldn’t produce this documentation weren’t able to claim their pensions, receive NHS treatment or claim benefits and many landlords evicted them as illegal immigrants and employers sacked them from their work. And this has hit people from the Windrush Generation living in Southwark.  Like the man who came from Jamaica at the age of 19, served in the British Army for 12 years, brought up 3 children, but after living here for 50 years was told he could not have a passport unless he paid a fee and ‘became a British citizen’. The point is he already was a British citizen.  I’ve protested on his behalf and am pressing the Home Secretary for a quick response.

Despite the fact that it’s been months since this scandal was first exposed by campaigners such as Tottenham MP David Lammy, Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott MP and Amelia Gentleman of the Guardian, the Government still haven’t dealt with this mistake and don’t even appear to know the number of people who have been detained and deported.  

Together with 140 other MPs I’ve written to the Prime Minister urging her to immediately guarantee the rights of the Windrush Generation. As Chair of Parliament’s Select Committee on Human Rights I’ve summoned new Home Secretary, Sajid Javid MP, to come and give evidence and explain why these law abiding British people were threatened by the Government and in some cases locked up.  

We are calling on the Government to immediately and fully compensate people for their financial loss and emotional distress. This has been a shameful episode and one which should cause a rethink about how the immigration system, whilst clearly maintaining firm borders, must respect and uphold human rights.  

South London Press article - The Government must fully compensate Windrush Generation wrongly targeted

A house in Herne Hill proudly bears a blue plaque commemorating Sam King, a freeman of the borough of Southwark, the first black Mayor of Southwark, longstanding councillor and outstanding...

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Touring the sensational new Camberwell College of Arts building on Peckham Road and talking with the University of the Arts London team about ensuring local people share the benefits from this millions of pounds public investment.

I also visited the art show put on by Foundation year students at the CCA Wilson Road campus and very much admired this great work from local student and alumni of Dog Kennel Hill Primary School.

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Touring Camberwell College of Arts' sensational new facilities

Touring the sensational new Camberwell College of Arts building on Peckham Road and talking with the University of the Arts London team about ensuring local people share the benefits from this millions...

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On Saturday 5th May 2018 at just after 6pm 17 year old Rhyheim Ainsworth Barton was tragically shot on Cooks Road and later died outside Aberfeldy House on Warham Road.

Rhyheim lived with his mother and younger sister in Southwark, he was an aspiring architect and a keen rapper.

This is such a tragic loss of such a young life.

No parent should have to worry about their child being safe in their local area and the police are doing everything they can to identify the perpetrators of this terrible crime and bring them to justice.

I have visited Rhyheim's devastated mother, Pretana, to pay my respects and offer my assistance to the family and I remain in regular contact with the police who tell me they have deployed extra officers for community reassurance as well as for the absolute necessity of bringing the killers to justice.

On 8th May I attended a community briefing on the Brandon Estate with Rhyheim's family; local residents; TRA Chair, Sheila Benjamin; Southwark Police; Southwark Council Leader, Cllr Peter John; Rhyheim’s local MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, Neil Coyle; David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, who is leading on tackling youth crime in Parliament; and Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London. We stood together in memory of 17 year old Rhyheim and discussed action to prevent any more young people from losing their lives.

Enough is enough. No more families or communities can mourn the loss of a child to violent crime. I will continue to work with the local community and parliamentary colleagues to call on the Government to reverse cuts to youth centres, police officers and schools to prevent further tragedy.

If you think you saw or heard anything on the evening of Saturday 5th May that could help the police with their investigation I urge you to come forward. Any information you provide could help ensure other families do not have to go through the pain that Rhyheim’s mother is going through.

I know people sometimes hesitate to come forward. If you do not want to contact the police directly you can pass information entirely anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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Tragic fatal shooting of Rhyheim Barton, aged just 17

On Saturday 5th May 2018 at just after 6pm 17 year old Rhyheim Ainsworth Barton was tragically shot on Cooks Road and later died outside Aberfeldy House on Warham Road. Rhyheim...

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Great to join Dulwich Hill candidate Jon Hartley and Champion Hill candidate Peter John on election day. Lots of support for the Dulwich Hill Labour team - best of Luck Jon and Maggie Browning! 

Local Election Day in Dulwich Hill Ward

Great to join Dulwich Hill candidate Jon Hartley and Champion Hill candidate Peter John on election day. Lots of support for the Dulwich Hill Labour team - best of Luck Jon and...

HH_Maudsley_01.05.18_ii.jpgOn #InternationalWorkersDay2018 I met Catia & Daniela from the Maudsley Hospital cleaning and catering team, Nadine Houghton, GMB Union Southern Region Organiser, and the Managing Directors of ISS services, who employ the team at the hospital, to demand improvements in staff pay and working conditions.

The cleaning & catering team provide such an important part of the vital care mentally ill patients get at the Maudsley and it is right that the ISS management listened to their concerns about people being on different contracts for the same work, staff workloads and agreed to do all they can to be more accessible.

We will be holding a follow up meeting to get the cleaning team, the Maudsley Council of Governors and ISS managers in one room so the cleaning team can continue to raise their concerns and all parties can work together to move forward harmoniously and in a way which is fair to the hardworking cleaning and catering team.

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Maudsley cleaning & catering team deserve fair pay and conditions

On #InternationalWorkersDay2018 I met Catia & Daniela from the Maudsley Hospital cleaning and catering team, Nadine Houghton, GMB Union Southern Region Organiser, and the Managing Directors of ISS services, who employ the team at the hospital, to demand...

In my role as Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, I have written to the new Home Secretary Sajid Javid MP asking him to appear before the Committee on 16 May.

One of the core fundamental human rights is the right not to be detained unlawfully. The recent Windrush scandal has raised concerns that people have been detained unlawfully. The Home Secretary needs to explain how the Home Office are ensuring rights are being respected within the immigration detention system.

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Joint Committee on Human Rights calls on new Home Secretary to answer questions on Windrush

In my role as Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, I have written to the new Home Secretary Sajid Javid MP asking him to appear before the Committee on 16...

On Monday I signed a joint letter alongside more than 200 MPs calling on the Government to enshrine the rights of the 'Windrush generation' in law by statutory instrument. The Home Secretary must provide proper clarity for the 'Windrush community'. Their status remains in limbo, whilst the Government fails to act. 

Please find the full letter below:

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Joint Letter to the Home Secretary - Government must enshrine the rights of the Windrush Generation in law

On Monday I signed a joint letter alongside more than 200 MPs calling on the Government to enshrine the rights of the 'Windrush generation' in law by statutory instrument. The...

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