Harriet Harman

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

Current News

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The woman to woman pink bus arrived in Cambridge to a great reception this afternoon. Parliamentary Prospective Candidate Daniel Zeichner was there to meet us along with local activists and Cambridge students.

As well as local canvassing Daniel and I also met with representatives from the Cambridge Family Mediation Centre to discuss issues that are effecting women, including changes to legal aid.

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BBC Look East also came to talk about the woman to woman campaign which is scheduled to visit over 70 constituencies before the end of March but with more dates being added all of the time this number will definitely rise and visits will continue up until the General Election in May.

Woman to Woman - Cambridge

  The woman to woman pink bus arrived in Cambridge to a great reception this afternoon. Parliamentary Prospective Candidate Daniel Zeichner was there to meet us along with local activists...

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In Bedford this morning Patrick Hall, Parliamentary Candidate for Bedford met the Woman to Woman campaign bus tour in Cavendish Street. We were joined by a great group of activists to canvass in the local area.

Woman to Woman - Bedford

In Bedford this morning Patrick Hall, Parliamentary Candidate for Bedford met the Woman to Woman campaign bus tour in Cavendish Street. We were joined by a great group of activists... Read more

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London Fashion Week happens twice a year and I attended London Fashion Week’s opening breakfast to mark the start of the shows.  At the breakfast guests had the opportunity to hear from Natalie Massenet MBE, Chairman of the British Fashion Council (BFC), and James Mcarthur, BFC Business Pillar President.  They talked about the achievements of the British fashion industry and the importance it has both at home and abroad.  London Fashion Week is an opportunity for both well-known and newer brands to showcase their styles.

Attending London Fashion Week Opening Breakfast

London Fashion Week happens twice a year and I attended London Fashion Week’s opening breakfast to mark the start of the shows.  At the breakfast guests had the opportunity to...

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The Women to Women tour in arrived in Brighton Kemptown to a great reception this afternoon. Parliamentary Prospective Candidate Nancy Platts met us at the Open Art Gallery Café to meet with local women to talk about what matters to them. It was also good to meet with the café owner Juliet and discuss what matters to her ahead of the General Election in May.

Brighton Kemptown

  The Women to Women tour in arrived in Brighton Kemptown to a great reception this afternoon. Parliamentary Prospective Candidate Nancy Platts met us at the Open Art Gallery Café... Read more

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On the first stop of the Woman to woman tour today I met up with Sarah Owen, Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Hastings & Rye at Rye Town Boxing Club. We got to meet with a great group of girls that use the club. Women and girls are less likely to participate in sport, and the purpose of this visit was to highlight the positive outcomes that participating in sport can bring for women and girls.

Hastings & Rye – Woman to Woman tour

On the first stop of the Woman to woman tour today I met up with Sarah Owen, Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Hastings & Rye at Rye Town Boxing Club. We... Read more

As part of Labour’s ‘Woman to Woman’ campaign tour, the pink bus made its way to Bermondsey and Old Southwark in support of the Labour’s candidate, Neil Coyle.

It was a great turnout and I was pleased to be joined by Gloria De Piero MP, Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, Diane Abbott MP, London Assembly member Val Shawcross, local Labour councillors from across Southwark, including Lorraine Lauder MBE, and lots of Party members. 

We talked to local residents in East Street Market about the issues that will be a priority for them at the General Election in May. 

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Bermondsey and Old Southwark - 'Woman to Woman' tour

As part of Labour’s ‘Woman to Woman’ campaign tour, the pink bus made its way to Bermondsey and Old Southwark in support of the Labour’s candidate, Neil Coyle. It was...

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Following the national launch of the Woman to Woman the campaign will be launched in every region and nation before the end of March. Today was the London Launch in Croydon Central. In London 1.1 million women didn’t vote in 2010 – we want to ensure women use their vote at this years’ General Election. Arriving on the pink bus with Diane Abbott and Baroness Glenys Thornton we joined Parliamentary Candidate for Croydon Central, Sarah Jones for the event in the New Addington community centre which was attended by over 85 women, including community activists, representatives from organisations across Croydon and individuals interested in finding out more the campaign and contributing their views on what they would like a Government to deliver for them. Women raised a number of issues including childcare, the NHS and affordable housing

Woman to Woman - Croydon Central

Following the national launch of the Woman to Woman the campaign will be launched in every region and nation before the end of March. Today was the London Launch in...

Labour welcomes the publication of the Warwick Commission report. The Warwick Commission rightly emphasises the importance of the cultural and creative industries to individuals, communities and our economy. The cultural and creative industries were worth £76.9 billion to the British economy in 2013, or about five per cent of the economy as a whole. They rightly highlight that everyone should have access to the arts and that effective government backing for the arts requires better cross department working.

Ensuring that young people have the right education and skills to succeed is essential to build on the success of the cultural and creative industries and the report has rightly identified this. Arts and culture should be accessible to all, regardless of their background, and this will be a priority for the next Labour Government.

Response to the Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value

Labour welcomes the publication of the Warwick Commission report. The Warwick Commission rightly emphasises the importance of the cultural and creative industries to individuals, communities and our economy. The cultural...

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The national launch of Labour’s women’s campaign – Woman to Woman was held today in Stevenage. Over 100 women joined at the event at the local leisure centre to celebrate the launch but also discuss the issues that mattered to them. A number of women Labour MPs attended including Gloria De Piero, Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities; Lucy Powell, Vice Chair of the General Election campaign; Caroline Flint, Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change; Sharon Hodgson, Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities; Diane Abbott MP and Baroness Thornton.  

 

Launching the women’s campaign in Stevenage

The national launch of Labour’s women’s campaign – Woman to Woman was held today in Stevenage. Over 100 women joined at the event at the local leisure centre to celebrate... Read more

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The Gloucester Grove estate is one of the largest estates in Peckham. The Tenant's Management Organisation (TMO) is responsible for managing the housing needs of all tenants and residents and I met Bassey Bassey (Chair of the TMO) and Abiola Olatunji (estate manager) to discuss residents concerns about the recent problems with heating and hot water.

Gloucester Grove Estate advice surgery and walkabout

The Gloucester Grove estate is one of the largest estates in Peckham. The Tenant's Management Organisation (TMO) is responsible for managing the housing needs of all tenants and residents and I... Read more

Harriet Harman MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Gloria De Piero MP, Shadow Minister for women and equalities and Lucy Powell MP, Vice Chair of the Election campaign have today (Wednesday) launched Labour’s biggest ever women’s campaign to reach out to women across the country ahead of May’s General Election. Statistics published last month showed that 9.1 million women in the UK did not vote in 2010. 

Labour launches biggest ever women’s campaign: Woman to Woman

Harriet Harman MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Gloria De Piero MP, Shadow Minister for women and equalities and Lucy Powell MP, Vice Chair of the Election campaign have... Read more

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This evening the Fabian Women’s Network celebrated its 10th Anniversary. I joined Seema Malhotra MP, Shadow Home Office Minister for Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls and President of the Fabian Women’s Network and Ivana Bartoletti, Chair of the Fabian Women’s Network for the celebratory event.

Fabian Women's Network 10th Anniversary Reception

This evening the Fabian Women’s Network celebrated its 10th Anniversary. I joined Seema Malhotra MP, Shadow Home Office Minister for Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls and President of the... Read more

Rt Hon David Cameron MP

Prime Minister

10 Downing Street

London

SW1A 2AA

 

Dear Prime Minister,

 

Digital Single Market

 

I am writing to raise my concerns regarding your government’s priorities for the Digital Single Market which you have set out in a paper to Jean Claude Juncker dated 8th January.  I am concerned about the effect that the priorities you set out will have on British interests – both consumers using digital services and businesses operating in the copyright and licensing sectors. 

The UK has one of the largest creative sectors in Europe and is a hub for many global businesses seeking to access EU and global markets.  A report prepared by the British Film Institute in 2012 shows that the combination of facilities, skills, locations and fiscal incentives has enabled our film and television industries to continue to thrive and make an increasingly significant contribution to our economy.  As such, we among European nations have much to gain but also the potential to lose if the measures proposed under the Digital Single Market fail to recognise properly the critical importance the current copyright and licensing regime plays in encouraging investment in the creative industries.  The role of Government should be to protect and grow this successful industry of which we are rightly proud.  We must have proper protection for the valuable content created by British creative industries and our intellectual property regime is the foundation for future investment in the creative industries.

You have identified a number of issues relating to the Digital Single Market in your paper to Jean Claude Juncker, including digital access, copyright and licensing.  However you have not addressed a number of points critical to the success of our creative sector and I would urge you quickly to clarify your position on the following issues:

 

 1.       Copyright exceptions

In the final section of the paper you state that “the EU should support copyright exceptions to allow research, education, text and data mining to take place across the market”.  This implies that you are giving blanket support for the new copyright exceptions.  But in December 2013 the Intellectual Property Office said that “the UK strongly believes that any potential future proposal to update European copyright law should be built on a robust evidence base, should be technologically neutral and would need to protect the rights of creators as well as encouraging new businesses and services”.  Your paper to Jean Claude Juncker suggests that the UK position has changed in a way which would damage the interests of UK intellectual property.  What consultation have you carried out with British companies with an interest in intellectual property about this and what consultations are you planning to carry out in the coming months on this issue?  Where is the robust evidence base to support your change in position on copyright?

 

2.       Portability and Cross Border Access to Digital Services

Services such as Netflix, have exploded in popularity over recent years and consumers are demanding more from the services that they are paying for every month.  The market for cross border distribution of content is a nascent and fast moving one and the creative industries are launching new business models to satisfy consumer demand.  Copyright does not prevent these new business models from being launched, rather it facilitates them where there are sound business reasons to do so.

Having a portability of subscription services, cross border access to content and a common set of cross border consumer rights may be beneficial to consumers in the short term but economic and business drivers such as territorial licensing must also be taken into consideration.

Furthermore, even if a service such as Netflix is able to allow users to access their home account from abroad, it may not necessarily choose to do so.  This is often a business decision based on issues such as the need to comply with consumer protection and data privacy.  The Government should ensure that EU regulation develops in a way that supports not undermines the development of the commercial business models being developed by the UK’s strong creative industries.  What assessments (including economic assessments) have you carried out to measure the impact of this on Britain’s creative industries, and its contracts and consumers?

 

3.       Contractual freedom

Any proposals that could lead to a de facto mandate for compulsory pan-European distribution licensing would undermine the way that many audio-visual projects are financed and impact negatively on the business models for investors in, and distributors of, UK creative content. UK film and television-makers, in particular, depend on selling distribution rights to national distributors before filming starts as a way of financing – this practice is known as territorial pre-sales – and as such, contractual freedom for UK-based companies is essential.  The current EU proposals could threaten a major intervention in the market and damage the UK’s creative sector and both the value and volume of intellectual property that it produces and exports.  EU-wide co-operation is important in this field but it must also recognise the needs of different industries and territories.  What discussions have you had with the industry about contractual freedom within the EU, and what are your estimates of the cost implications of this policy on UK-based firms?

 

4.       Consumer prices

Current EU proposals, particularly around cross-border access, will likely lead to a rise in prices for consumers.  The new proposals may dissuade distributors from sharing their products altogether, meaning that British cultural assets will not be exported, and enjoyed by the rest of the European Union.  What assessment have you made of the damage to the UK economy as a result of this policy and what discussions have you had with distributors about the impact that this will have on their business model?

 

5.       Timelines for implementation

A further, pressing concern relating to the implementation of the Digital Single Market is the timescale that has been set by the European Commission.  In a blog written on 29th January by Andrus Ansip, EU Vice President for the Digital Single Market, the following timeline was set out:

o   24th February - #Digital4EU stakeholder conference which will invite over 400 pan-European stakeholders to hear their views on shaping Europe’s digital future;
o   End of March – European Commissioners will take part in a general debate on the Digital Single Market;
o   The final Digital Single Market Strategy will be published in May;
o   All 28 Member States will discuss the strategy at their meeting in June.

There is a great deal of concern in the sector that this timetable may be too short to address all of the issues at stake.  Nor does this timetable take into account the fact that the UK is having an election in May, which at the very least will not give the government sufficient time to carry out consultations and engagement in Europe to shape the debate and act in the best interest of our valuable creative industries.  I would urge you to write to Jean Claude Juncker as a matter of urgency to request him to reconsider this timetable.

Enabling the UK’s creative industries to flourish is essential but this requires the right domestic and European Union policies.  Under the plans in your paper to Juncker many independent projects in our creative industries sector may not go ahead, damaging the UK industry as a whole and Britain’s reputation internationally. 

I am supportive of developing a Digital Single Market within the European Union but this must not be at the expense of our creative industries, particularly many of the SMEs and independent projects that are such an important part of it. 

Your paper to Jean Claude Juncker shows a lack of understanding of the issues that the creative industries sector face and I am calling on you to reconsider these decisions as a matter of urgency.

Finally, the position you appear to have adopted is not one that we agree with and is not a cross-party consensus.  A Labour Government elected in May would seek urgently to raise with the Commission and Council the matters I have raised here.

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

 

Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

 

Harriet Harman, Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport writes to the Prime Minister about the Digital Single Market

Rt Hon David Cameron MP Prime Minister 10 Downing Street London SW1A 2AA   Dear Prime Minister,   Digital Single Market   I am writing to raise my concerns regarding...

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As part of VAULT, a visual and performing arts festival taking place in railway arches underneath Waterloo station, I took part as a panelist in the Big Arts Debate.  This gave me, along with representatives from the Conservatives, Green and UKIP parties to outline our priorities and plans for the arts and culture sector ahead of May’s General Election.  A lively debate took place, with a wide range of subjects discussed including arts funding, the role and importance of arts and culture in society, the BBC and supporting creative industries all featured.  It was great to see so many people interested in the future of arts and culture policy at this exciting time.

Taking part in the Big Arts Debate at Vault Festival

As part of VAULT, a visual and performing arts festival taking place in railway arches underneath Waterloo station, I took part as a panelist in the Big Arts Debate.  This...

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Joining our great local campaign team of members and councillors to talk to residents in Nunhead.

Campaigning in Nunhead

Joining our great local campaign team of members and councillors to talk to residents in Nunhead.

Cllr Richard Livingstone

Cabinet Member for Housing

Southwark Council

160 Tooley Street

London SE1 2TZ

 

6th February 2015

 

Dear Richard,

 

Disruptions to heating & hot water services on the Gloucester Grove & North Peckham Estates

 

As you know estate residents have contacted me about the breakdown of heating and hot water on the North Peckham/Gloucester Grove estates in recent weeks.

 

It has been extremely inconvenient and uncomfortable for people to be without a reliable supply of heating and hot water, especially at this cold time of year. It will also have been expensive for residents to use the portable electric fan heaters distributed by the Council as a temporary solution.

 

I’m writing to ask for your assurances that the Council will take action on the following:

 

*To ensure the heating and hot water system is working and continues to stay working.

 

*For the Council to not charge residents for the period when they did not receive heating and hot water and to compensate them for the inconvenience.

 

*To ensure tenants have the opportunity to be involved in the independent review that will look at the whole heating system and recommend options for the long term.


Thank you for keeping in touch with my office and I will stay in close contact with the local councillors and tenants associations.

 

I know you are doing your best to get all this sorted out. 
 

Best wishes,

 

Harriet Harman

Southwark Council must compensate and work with Gloucester Grove and North Peckham tenants to fix heating problems

Cllr Richard Livingstone Cabinet Member for Housing Southwark Council 160 Tooley Street London SE1 2TZ   6th February 2015   Dear Richard,   Disruptions to heating & hot water services...

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It's National Libraries Day on the 7th February when libraries around the country hold events to encourage people to visit, and highlight the importance of local libraries to residents, communities and the wider public.

Visiting Peckham Library ahead of National Libraries Day

It's National Libraries Day on the 7th February when libraries around the country hold events to encourage people to visit, and highlight the importance of local libraries to residents, communities... Read more

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The Unite National Women’s committee is Chaired by Jane Stewart and is comprised of 34 members from all around the country, working in a diverse range of industries – including from the NHS, Local Government, Sainsburys, Unilever and Barclays. I joined them for their quarterly meeting to discuss the Labour Party’s offer to women for the 2015 General election and the women’s campaign. We then had a general discussion on the issues Unite members were concerned about in their respective industries. 

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Unite National Women’s Committee meeting

The Unite National Women’s committee is Chaired by Jane Stewart and is comprised of 34 members from all around the country, working in a diverse range of industries – including...

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Women in Construction make up only 11 per cent of the construction workforce and only 1 per cent of workers on site. Ian Mearns MP hosted a Parliamentary forum with UCATT – the trade union for construction workers for women in construction. Many of the women there are women pioneers in their industries, being the only women on site. We discussed the specific challenges they face in their jobs as painters and decorators, electricians, bricklayers, plumbers and carpenters.

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Meeting with women in the construction industry

Women in Construction make up only 11 per cent of the construction workforce and only 1 per cent of workers on site. Ian Mearns MP hosted a Parliamentary forum with...

Eight hundred years after the original four copies of the Magna Carta were issued in 1215, a special exhibition was held at the British Library bringing all four of these copies together for the first time in history.  I attended this reception which gave attendees the opportunities to see these copies of the Magna Carta and also learn more about the history of the document.

The Magna Carta was issued by King John and was the first document to establish that everyone, including the King, was subject to the rule of law.  Many of the original clauses have been repealed in modern times, but the Magna Carta remains a cornerstone of the British constitution. 

Harriet attends the Magna Carta unification reception at the British Library

Eight hundred years after the original four copies of the Magna Carta were issued in 1215, a special exhibition was held at the British Library bringing all four of these...

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