Harriet Harman

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

Policy Issues

Many people have contacted me about the important issue of John Spellar’s bill to introduce an ‘Agent of Change rule’.

Local music venues are an important source of entertainment for local communities, and are critical to aspiring full-time musicians entering into the professional music industry, but they are increasingly under threat. Since 2007, more than half of London’s 430 live music venues have closed. A major reason for this is new residential developments submitting noise abatement orders against local music venues.

New developments should not be able to force long-standing local venues to close due to sound pollution. We need to strike a balance between building new homes and protecting our existing businesses.

An Agent of Change rule would fix this problem by making the person or business carrying out the change responsible for managing the impact of the change. This would mean developers building near an established live music venue would be responsible for the costs of providing adequate soundproofing, rather than money-pressed music venues.

I and my Labour colleagues will always stand up for our local music industry.

Supporting a New 'Agent for Change' Rule

Many people have contacted me about the important issue of John Spellar’s bill to introduce an ‘Agent of Change rule’. Local music venues are an important source of entertainment for...

Many constituents have contacted me on the important issue of Parliamentary scrutiny of trade deals. I share your concerns and have signed EDM 128.

It is important that future trade deals do not lead to a race to the bottom and are used instead to maintain and build on existing standards. This is why it is so important that Parliament is given proper time to scrutinise new deals.

The Trade Bill and Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill made it clear that the Government wants our trade policy to be decided behind closed doors. They want to use Brexit as an excuse for a power grab from Parliament, using Henry VIII powers to avoid scrutiny or debate.

Labour is committed to transparency and we are seeking to amend future trade legislation to ensure MPs can challenge future trade proposals that would negatively affect their constituencies or the economy. I was disappointed that last week the Government voted against Labour’s reasoned amendments to both the Trade Bill and Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill highlighting these very concerns.

I will continue to work with my Labour colleagues to ensure the power of Parliament and regulatory protections are not undermined as we leave the European Union and enter into new trade agreements. 

Parliamentary Scrutiny of Trade Deals Post-Brexit

Many constituents have contacted me on the important issue of Parliamentary scrutiny of trade deals. I share your concerns and have signed EDM 128. It is important that future trade...

Israel is the only country in the world that automatically prosecutes children in military courts. Labour will continue to urge the UK government to raise the issue of child military detention with their Israeli counterparts and I understand the Minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt MP, is committed to doing so.

There can be little progress unless both sides are sure of their security. Sadly, at present the opposite is true. Peace and security are becoming ever harder to achieve because of the climate of increasing aggression and extremism and settlement building.

We need an end to the fear Israeli citizens feel whenever they hear air-raid sirens warning of rocket attacks or the latest reports of terror attacks on ordinary Israeli citizens. And we need an end to the anger and unfairness that has been felt by many Palestinian people since 1967, with their children growing up afraid, in poverty and deprivation, their homes bulldozed to make way for illegal settlements, and their futures offering just more of the same. It is a vicious cycle of fear and despair.

Military Detainment of Palestinian Children by the IDF

Israel is the only country in the world that automatically prosecutes children in military courts. Labour will continue to urge the UK government to raise the issue of child military...

Yesterday, I and my Labour colleagues voted for Dominic Grieve’s amendment 7, to give Parliament a say on the final terms of the UK’s exit from the EU and I was pleased members from across the house voted to ensure the amendment passed 309 votes to 305 votes.

This is a great win for Parliament. The Government will now be required to pass a statute on the terms of the final exit deal, before changing any regulation or creating new bodies.

Parliamentary scrutiny of this process is vital to ensure that the final deal works for the whole country and protects jobs and the economy. People did not vote to take power from Brussels to give it to Ministers without any accountability to Parliament.

I will continue to work with my Labour colleagues and members across the House to improve the Government’s flawed Bill and protect existing rights and protections.

Great Win For Parliament - Amendment 7 to EU Bill Passed

Yesterday, I and my Labour colleagues voted for Dominic Grieve’s amendment 7, to give Parliament a say on the final terms of the UK’s exit from the EU and I...

Many constituents have contacted me on the important issue of ensuring Animal Sentience is enshrined in UK law after we leave the European Union.

For most of us it’s not a question. It’s obvious that your pet can feel pain or be happy.

On 24th November I voted in favour of New Clause 30 to the EU Withdrawal Bill to transfer EU law on animal sentience into UK law and was so dismayed that the government voted against this.

But I am pleased that following that vote and the pressure from Labour MPs, Caroline Lucas MP and campaigners such as yourself, the Government has been forced into a major U-turn this week and they’ve announced a new draft Bill to ensure high standards of animal protection in the UK and ensure government must now ‘pay regard to animal sentience when making new laws.’

Labour will continue to hold the government to account on the delivery of the Bill. 

Government U-turns on Animal Sentience Protection

Many constituents have contacted me on the important issue of ensuring Animal Sentience is enshrined in UK law after we leave the European Union. For most of us it’s not...

A number of people have contacted about the important issue of the status of animals as sentient beings in law. On Thursday 15th November I voted in favour of New Clause 30 to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill to transfer the EU Protocol on animal sentience into UK law, so that animals continue to be recognised as sentient beings after the UK leaves the EU. I am dismayed that the Government voted against this by 313 votes to 295.

Please be assured that I will continue to work with MPs from all parties to ensure that Brexit does not result in the weakening of existing animal welfare standards.

Voting to Enshrine Animals as ‘Sentient Beings’ Post-Brexit

A number of people have contacted about the important issue of the status of animals as sentient beings in law. On Thursday 15th November I voted in favour of New...

A number of people have contacted about the impact of the Tory pay cap for public sector workers.

We are all indebted to the professionalism and dedication of those that work in our public services. They do a brilliant job in difficult circumstances and are well overdue a real terms pay rise. I have consistently opposed the Government’s public sector pay cap and voted to scrap the 1% pay cap in Parliament on Wednesday 13th September.

Whilst I welcome the Government lifting of the 1% pay cap I am concerned that their proposed pay increase will be nowhere near enough for the 5 million people working in the public sector whose wages are on average over £1,000 a year lower in real terms than in 2010.

The Government’s policy of pay restraint has created a workforce crisis in our NHS and schools. I will be working with my Labour colleagues to put increasing pressure on the Government to give public sector workers the pay rise they deserve in the Autumn Budget on Wednesday 22nd November. 

Give Public Sector Workers the Pay Rise They Deserve

A number of people have contacted about the impact of the Tory pay cap for public sector workers. We are all indebted to the professionalism and dedication of those that...

A number of constituents have contacted me about Jim McMahon and Labour’s campaign for votes for 16 and 17 year olds. I fully support Jim McMahon’s Bill. I was disappointed the Government talked the bill out and prevented a vote on this important issue on Friday 3rd November.

The Scottish Referendum in 2014 showed us what enfranchising 16 and 17-year-olds can mean - over 80% of them registered to vote in the independence referendum there, and they participated and brought energy and vitality to the debate.

Labour tried to make it so 16 and 17 year olds could vote in the EU Referendum too. We believe we should encourage 16 and 17 year olds to participate in a democratic decision that will determine their future as much as it will ours. However, unfortunately the Government did not allow them to vote and now many young people will feel they have to deal with a future they did not want.

A Labour Government will lower the voting age to include 16 and 17 year old and please be assured we will continue to press the Tory government on this issue.

Votes at 16

A number of constituents have contacted me about Jim McMahon and Labour’s campaign for votes for 16 and 17 year olds. I fully support Jim McMahon’s Bill. I was disappointed...

A number of people have contacted about the important issue of the Government’s Brexit Impact Assessments. On Wednesday 1st November MPs unanimously passed a Labour motion demanding the Government releases the 58 Brexit impact studies.

Labour has been absolutely clear since the referendum that ministers could not withhold vital information from the public and Parliament about the impact of Brexit on jobs and the economy.

It’s completely unacceptable for the Tories to have wasted months avoiding responsible scrutiny and trying to keep the public in the dark. The reality is that it should not have taken an ancient Parliamentary procedure to get ministers to listen to common sense.

The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis MP must now urgently respond to Parliament’s vote and publish these papers in full without redactions and Labour will continue to press the Government until they do so.

Government Must Publish Brexit Impact Assessments

A number of people have contacted about the important issue of the Government’s Brexit Impact Assessments. On Wednesday 1st November MPs unanimously passed a Labour motion demanding the Government releases...

We have a moral obligation to provide a space of sanctuary to those forced from their homes, by war, famine or other disasters. The current rules do not reflect the right to family life and instead force refugees to choose between their safety and their family. The importance of family relationships do not depreciate with age and our laws should reflect this, rather than prolong the suffering of those that have already been through so much.

Please be assured that I will continue to support efforts to improve the law on family reunification.

Government Must Improve the Law on Family Reunification

We have a moral obligation to provide a space of sanctuary to those forced from their homes, by war, famine or other disasters. The current rules do not reflect the...

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