Harriet Harman

Labour Member of Parliament for Camberwell & Peckham

Current News

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I'm delighted to be here with you all again this year.

It's been a year of political change in the last year.

We're out of the EU so we've got to campaign to make  the government commit to keeping and keeping up with the rights for women, on maternity and equal pay, that our EU membership has secured for women in this country.

We've got a new Tory Prime Minister - and she's a woman.

But like Margaret Thatcher before her, Theresa May's is no supporter of women.

When we were pushing forward in government on rights for women - she was a drag anchor - calling it a burden on business and voting against our Equality Act.

When we were pushing for more Labour women MPs she chased me round TV and radio studios decrying us, joining the men in her party and some in ours who called it "political correctness gone mad".

And while she's been in government she's voted every time for the cuts to the vital programmes that we brought in when we were in government, like sure start centres, and for tax credits for childcare.

Theresa May is woman - but she's no sister.

The fact of the matter is that it has always been Labour that has been the party of and for women and for equality. 

We have 100 Labour women MPs, more than all the other parties put together. That puts a huge responsibility on the shoulders of our chair of the women's PLP - Jess Philips.  We must be united in holding the government, and our own party, to account and demanding change and progress for women.  And we can do that, together, as women. In the 1980s despite the turmoil in the party  with the party split from top to bottom and with predictions we would never govern again, we women across all of the party worked together and made massive progress. 

We worked together as women in the cause of women despite our differences over the leadership at that time. And so we must and will now.

And let's face it there's not one of us here who isn't smarting that while the Tories, SNP, the Greens and even, god help us, UKIP have a woman leader, when it comes to Labour "it's raining men"

That makes the work of the woman I'm about to introduce to you even more important. She’s speaking for all the women in this country who are suffering under this government and who need Labour.  She's absolutely grounded in the real world and a voice of clarity and principle. She's our Minister for Women and Equality. Let's give our full backing and a huge welcome to Angela Rayner.

National Women's Conference 2016 - Liverpool, Harriet Harman MP introduces Angela Rayner, Shadow Women & Equalities Minister

I'm delighted to be here with you all again this year. It's been a year of political change in the last year. We're out of the EU so we've got...

I've always respected the right of members to choose who they vote for in our internal party elections for Leader.  And I've never, in the past, felt the need to intervene to urge members in Camberwell and Peckham to vote for any particular candidate.  But I'm writing to you today to urge you to vote for Owen Smith and not for Jeremy Corbyn because I feel it is fundamental for the prospect of a progressive future for our country.

I believe Owen Smith recognises what I believe to be the case.  That it is our duty to protect people from the unfairness and the reactionary policies of the Tories.  That it is only with a Labour government that we can do that and that only Labour will make the changes which challenge entrenched inequality, prejudice and discrimination.

The job of the leader of the party is to unite us and take us towards that.  It is clear that Jeremy Corbyn cannot unite the party.  The party has become deeply divided under his leadership. We have seen that both at national and at local level here in Camberwell and Peckham.   A leader cannot blame others for division.  The buck stops with the leader. 

I believe with Owen Smith for Leader we can get on track to put our progressive principles into practice.  I will be voting for him and I hope you will too.

Labour Leadership Election: My message to Camberwell & Peckham members

I've always respected the right of members to choose who they vote for in our internal party elections for Leader.  And I've never, in the past, felt the need to...

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The Joint Committee on Human Rights says the Government should only bring in new legislation if there’s found to be a gap in existing powers. It warns that a crackdown on religious conservatives could end up driving wedges between the communities. The Committee says there is no clear definition of what extremism actually is, the new measures could be used indiscriminately against evangelical Christians or orthodox Jews. The most precious asset is the support of the Muslim community and it could be undermined unless the Government treads with great care.

Read the full report: Counter Extremism

Read the report summary

Read the report conclusions and recommendations

 

 

 

Counter Extremism Report - Joint Committee on Human Rights

The Joint Committee on Human Rights says the Government should only bring in new legislation if there’s found to be a gap in existing powers. It warns that a crackdown...

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So now, after the disastrous and divisive referendum campaign, we have a new Prime Minister.  And for only the second time in our history it will be woman.  I offer Theresa May my congratulations.  Having a woman at the top of our country sends a strong message that no girl or woman can be told "you can't do that because you're a woman".   The overwhelming majority of Conservative MPs are men and she beat them all to the top spot. 

But what will she, as a woman who has now reached the top, do to change things for other women? 

Here are the 8 U-turns we need from this new woman Prime Minister.

  • She should start with a U-turn which ensures that our public services, like the NHS and care for the elderly, have the resources they need.  It is mostly women who care for the elderly.  Conservative government cuts to social care have left women struggling to support family members without the support services they need to back them up.  Most of the people who work in the NHS are women and they need to be valued, not stretched to breaking point
  • She must ensure that every family has accessible, affordable childcare to care for children while the parents are working.  Most of the responsibility for care of young children falls on the mother.  This is the case in two parent families but even more so in lone parent families.  Women want to be able to go out to work, to get on in their jobs, to contribute to the family budget and the nation's economy and to set an example to their children that life is about work rather than relying on benefits.  But they need to know that their children are safe, happy and learning while they are at work.  Too many women have to limit what they do in their work because they can't afford childcare.  She should re-open the children's centres that her government has closed. And set about opening new ones.  
  • She must give parents strong rights at work.  Most of the people at work are someone's parent.  Parents need to be able to spend time with their children as well as earn money to spend on them.  There should be longer maternity and paternity leave and higher maternity and paternity pay.  Many mothers have to go back to work before they feel their baby is ready because they can't afford to stay off.  And many fathers take no paternity leave because they can't afford to lose pay.  Her government has said that these rights are a burden on business.  She must u-turn on that and strengthen rights at work
  • She must give grandparents new rights at work.  Most families just couldn't cope without the help of grandparents but they too are working as they have to work till they're older because of the raising of the retirement age. Grandparents need new rights to take paid time off work to help with their grandchildren
  • She must give the police the resources and the leadership they need to step up tackling domestic violence.  A woman prime minister should make it a priority to prevent the deaths of 2 women every week at the hands of domestic violence.
  • She must ensure that what we do internationally, through our Foreign Office and through our development aid, helps empower women around the world who are suffering poverty and oppression.  50% of our ambassadors must be women.
  • She must implement Labour's Equality Act, now and in full.  That will strengthen the law on equal pay and against discrimination for everyone, not just women but people of all backgrounds.
  • She should appoint a cabinet and ministerial team which is half women.

When Margaret Thatcher was a Prime Minister we had a slogan "The First Lady puts women last"

Being the Prime Minister is not just about who you are.  It's about what you do - for this country and all the people in it.  A woman Prime Minister should deliver for women in the country she will now lead.

 

8 U-turns PM Theresa May should do for women

So now, after the disastrous and divisive referendum campaign, we have a new Prime Minister.  And for only the second time in our history it will be woman.  I offer...

On Monday Southern Rail introduced their temporary timetable. Constituents using East Dulwich, Peckham Rye and Queens Road Peckham stations, will only have 3 Southern rail services to London Bridge between 6am & 9am and only 3 services between 5pm & 7pm from London Bridge to Queens Road Peckham, Peckham Rye & East Dulwich.

I have been contacted by a number of constituents who are deeply worried about the disruption and the impact that these changes will have on: 

  • Their working & family lives

  • Their childcare provision & arrangements

  • Their finances

  • Safety & overcrowding fears

This dramatic and sudden loss of service is simply unacceptable and I urge the Government to strip Govia Thameslink of the franchise.

Today I spoke in the Govia Thameslink Rail service debate in the House of Commons:

'I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on securing this debate and I absolutely 100% agree with him on behalf of my constituents that use East Dulwich, Peckham Rye and Queens Road. They will identify completely with the level of total exasperation and frustration. He has diligently gone through all this and has done all the right things, but his constituents’ situations are simply getting worse and are set to get worse still, with disruption to family and working life and downright safety issues. I simply lend him my support and say that my constituents are every bit as desperate as his. We have no tube and we have congested roads, so they cannot go by bus. People cannot lead their lives like this. I agree with him that it should be stripped of the franchise'.

You can read the full debate here.

Govia Thameslink Rail Service Debate

On Monday Southern Rail introduced their temporary timetable. Constituents using East Dulwich, Peckham Rye and Queens Road Peckham stations, will only have 3 Southern rail services to London Bridge between...

Because of Southern Rail’s continuing failure to provide a reliable service I will now be urging the Government to strip Govia Thameslink Railway of its franchises in advance of its renewal date, with an accelerated transfer of Greater London services to Transport for London.

You can read a copy of the Early Day Motion 298 here

Govia Thameslink Franchise Review - Early Day Motion 298

Because of Southern Rail’s continuing failure to provide a reliable service I will now be urging the Government to strip Govia Thameslink Railway of its franchises in advance of its...

Following the announcement by Southern Rail that they will be introducing a temporary timetable to services from Monday 11th July, I have today written to the CEO of Govia Thameslink who are responsible for the operation of Southern Rail.

Here's my letter:


 

Charles Horton

Chief Executive Officer

Govia Thameslink Railway Limited

Hertford House

1 Cranwood Street

London

EC1V 9QS

 

Friday 8th July 2016

 

By email and post to: charles.horton@gtrailway.com

Dear Charles,

Re: Southern timetable changes

I write following Southern Rail’s announcement of a temporary timetable starting on Monday 11 July which will affect routes serving my constituency.

On Monday, constituents using East Dulwich, Peckham Rye and Queens Road Peckham stations, will only have 3 Southern rail services to London Bridge between 6am & 9am and only 3 services between 5pm & 7pm from London Bridge to Queens Road Peckham, Peckham Rye & East Dulwich.

This dramatic and sudden loss of service is simply unacceptable. 

Since the announcement I have been contacted by a number of constituents who are deeply worried about the disruption and the impact that these changes will have on: 

  • Their working & family lives

  • Their childcare provision & arrangements

  • Their finances

  • Safety & overcrowding fears

My constituents depend on these overland services. They cannot rely on other ways of travelling. The buses are slow because roads are heavily congested and there is no tube. They deserve a rail service they can rely on.

They already continue to suffer from Southern Rail’s ongoing disruptive, poor and unpredictable service and the introduction of this ‘temporary timetable’ on Monday is the final straw.

Because of Southern Rail’s continuing failure to provide a reliable service I will now be urging the Government to strip Govia Thameslink Railway of its franchises in advance of its renewal date, with an accelerated transfer of Greater London services to Transport for London.

Yours sincerely

Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP

 

Southern Rail & Govia Thameslink - Unacceptable failure to provide a reliable service

Following the announcement by Southern Rail that they will be introducing a temporary timetable to services from Monday 11th July, I have today written to the CEO of Govia Thameslink who...

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So now, by a narrow margin, the UK has voted to leave the EU.  Those arguing for "Brexit" said our warnings of the problems if we left the EU were exaggerated and dubbed them "Project Fear". But now we see "Project Fear" is turning into "Project Fact".  Uncertainty is hanging over our economy and businesses are holding back investment decisions.  The pound has fallen in value pushing up the cost of holidays in the EU this summer.  As the economy falters, there's less public money available for our vital public services like support for the disabled and for the NHS. 

Now that the Prime Minister, David Cameron, has resigned, The Conservatives are plunged into a leadership election.  But that does not mean that everything should be "on hold" till the new leader is declared in September.  Immediate action is required and despite their inner turmoil and mutual recriminations the Conservatives are still, after all, the Government.  These are just some of the things they should be doing and what Labour, as the Official Opposition, should be pressing them to do:

•They should be starting now to talk to diplomats in non-EU countries to sound them out for future talks on making trade deals.  Official talks can't start till we are formally out of the EU but we should be starting the informal discussions now

•The same goes for the EU.  They are our biggest trading partner and we will need to be able to trade with them post-Brexit.

•We need to give guarantees for EU citizens who've been settled here, working here, bringing up their families here, that they will continue to have residence rights.  It is not right to hang insecurity over them by using them as a bargaining chip as we try and secure the position for our UK citizens who are settled in Spain, France and Italy. 

•The government should guarantee that we will keep in step with the EU when it comes to improvements in workers’ rights, like maternity leave and paid holidays.  As the EU continues to improve rights at work we must not fall behind and end up with our workers becoming the least protected and supported in Europe. The EU Directives and European Court Judgements won't bind us but we should adopt their rulings.

•The government should guarantee that we will also keep in step with the EU on environmental rights and climate change.  As the EU makes further progress in the battle against climate change and to protect our environment, we mustn't become the "dirty man of Europe".  We won't be bound by Directives such as the Bee Directive in future.  But we should implement them voluntarily.

•The government promised more money for the NHS if we left the EU.  They must be made to deliver on that.

•The government must tackle the xenophobia, racism and division that their referendum has engendered.

This is the agenda we should be taking forward as the Official Opposition. But Jeremy Corbyn, as our Labour leader is not doing so as he does not have leadership qualities and has lost the confidence of Labour MPs.

Southwark voted strongly to Remain in the EU but we lost.  But the government must pull its finger out to mitigate the worse effects of Brexit and Labour must change our leadership and get our act together to make them.  

 

Project Fear turns into Project Fact - Government must deliver on pre-Brexit pledges

So now, by a narrow margin, the UK has voted to leave the EU.  Those arguing for "Brexit" said our warnings of the problems if we left the EU were...

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Please find my monthly report for June here

 

 

June 2016 Report

Please find my monthly report for June here    

It is with great regret that I call on Jeremy Corbyn to stand down as leader of the Labour Party.  Jeremy has many great qualities but he is not a leader. The party and the country needs a strong united Labour Opposition at this immensely challenging time.  Jeremy earned the right to take up the leadership of the party with a big majority.  But he has failed and he has no right or mandate to stay in office despite his failure and take the party down with him.  Leading the party is a privilege not a right. You earn the opportunity to lead by being elected, to lead the whole party, our voters, members, councillors and MPs. But winning the leadership election does not give you the right to continue in post if you fail.  If Jeremy goes now, he will earn the respect and admiration of the party. If he stays he will be responsible for damage to the party on the gravest scale.  No-one has the right to do that.  Being leader of the Opposition is an immensely difficult task.  Much harder than it looks.  The starting point should be to support the leader and help them succeed. And that is what I have done over the past 3 decades and with 6 leaders through thick and thin.  But I have no right to stand by and let our party collapse in disarray.  That is what has happened under Jeremy and that has to stop.  I urge Jeremy to stand down.

Statement re Jeremy Corbyn

It is with great regret that I call on Jeremy Corbyn to stand down as leader of the Labour Party.  Jeremy has many great qualities but he is not a...

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