Harriet Harman

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

Current News

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

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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...

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