Our close relationship with the United States has always been important, and that will continue to be true regardless of any differences we may have with individual presidents, including President Trump. However, state visits, which require an invitation, have historically taken place after a considerably longer period following a president's inauguration than the one currently proposed for President Trump.
I am opposed to a state visit in these circumstances. Almost two million people have signed a petition to this effect, which was debated in Parliament on 20th February 2017, and I have written to the Prime Minister outlining my opposition. The Foreign Secretary responded to my letter, stating that President Trump’s policies relate only to the United States of America. The Foreign Secretary indicated therefore that this would not be an adequate reason to stop President Trump making a state visit to the UK.
If the state visit does go ahead, I remain strongly opposed to giving President Trump the honour of addressing Parliament and I am pleased that the Speaker of the House of Commons has also expressed this sentiment. In order to prevent President Trump from making an address in the Palace of Westminster, I have sought permission to sign Early Day Motion 890. If President Trump was permitted to address Parliament, I would boycott the speech.
Hundreds of people have contacted me about tonight's vote and Brexit in general and so I want to share how I will be voting on the Government’s Bill to trigger Article 50 and explain my decision.
Despite having voted and campaigned passionately to Remain in the EU, I do not believe the fundamental question of this vote is to re-run the EU Referendum campaign.
I believe the fundamental questions at the heart of this vote are this: how do we best reflect the will of the British people? How do we preserve and advance the idea of a representative democracy?
The health of our democracy at this point is critical: distrust in our politics has never been higher. The EU Referendum introduced huge uncertainty into the understanding of our political system. David Cameron’s total failure of leadership meant it was never clear to the public what the relationship between the referendum and Parliament would be.
And yet, given the scale of the change we’re about to go through, we need our political system to work properly more than ever.
The UK’s political system is based on the essential idea that an MP represents the interests and will of the constituency that elected them to Parliament.
On this Bill, I believe the Referendum means that we, as MPs, must vote not on our judgement of what is in the interests of our constituents, but instead on what we understand their will to be.
Across Wandsworth, over 100,000 people (75%) voted to Remain in the EU.
So, while I fully expect Parliament as a whole to vote to trigger Article 50, I will vote against triggering Article 50.
As long as I am MP for Tooting, I will represent the will and interests of its people faithfully and to the best of my abilities. That is the commitment I made during last year’s election and one I will not back away from.
I also believe this decision honours our democracy: respecting both the referendum result as a whole and the principle of a representative democracy. To do anything else would be to undermine people’s faith that they have a voice in our political system.
Through her impulse for autocracy and total control, Theresa May is already undermining our politics further. She may like to pretend the Referendum was a landslide or a whitewash, but we know it wasn’t. She may want to claim every person who voted Leave voted for the same concept of a harsh and extreme Brexit, but we know they didn’t.
In doing so, the Prime Minister has also set people against the idea that once votes have been cast, the decision of the majority is respected, but what follows must be done in the best interest of all. Yes, the decision to leave the EU was made by 52%, but the form of Brexit must take the interests of 100% of our people into consideration.
That is her duty as Prime Minister and Theresa May is currently not fulfilling it.
It’s becoming clear that the Prime Minister is pursuing an extreme version of Brexit that she does not have a mandate for. Everything is up for grabs: from our economy, the Single Market and workers’ rights to the NHS and the rights of our friends, family and colleagues who happen to be EU citizens.
The many benefits of the relationship with the EU have not just disappeared. As we work out the future of the UK, we have to fight for what we believe and for our interests. Brexit will change our country, but it doesn’t have to destroy everything great about it.
And that starts in standing up for the principle of a representative democracy in this vote so that everybody has a voice.
That is why I will be voting against trigger in Article 50 – to faithfully represent the people of Tooting in Parliament.
And it is why after Parliament as a whole votes to trigger Article 50, as I fully expect, I will ensure that the people of Tooting have a constructive voice in how the UK leaves the European Union so that we protect the things we cherish.
I hope that you can understand my decision and that we can work together as the UK charts its course through the great challenge ahead.
Wishing you all the best,
…launched ‘Take One’ Apprenticeship Scheme
At the end of November, in partnership with South Thames College I launched a new apprenticeship scheme for local small businesses.
During my election campaign, I promised to champion local businesses and promote apprenticeships. I am delivering on that promise and will continue to work with South Thames College to see successful apprenticeships set up.
…worked with young people in Tooting
I want to ensure that all young people in Tooting are getting the best start in life possible. To do this I met with a group of young men to discuss what can be done in Tooting, and further afield, to empower young people to create opportunities. There was a great discussion and I plan to move forward with this work.
…started to tackle fly-tipping in Tooting
Fly-tipping is a major problem in the Tooting area. Hundreds of local people joined my campaign to help combat it. Huge thank you to everyone who got involved, we made a real difference.
After discussions, the Council announced in October that they would be drafting in more prevention officers, deploying mobile CCTV units to hotspots and ensuring perpetrators are fined. We also managed to get the chewing gum removed from the pavement area outside Tooting Broadway Station.
…celebrated with Ronald McDonald House
St George's Hospital Ronald McDonald House turned ten in September. This organisation does some fantastic work for families going through toughest times. I was delighted to be invited to present a funding cheque this week as well as having worked with them throughout the year.
…suffered because of Southern Rail
In my first 100 days of being MP for Tooting, Southern Rail services have arrived late more than two-thirds of the time. I have written to the Transport Secretary and joined calls from Sadiq Khan pushing the Government to hand over control of the franchise to TfL.
…donated to refugees in Calais
At the start of September I drove to the Jungle Refugee Camp in Calais. So many Tooting businesses and residents donated food and supplies for the visit, the response was incredible. See the video here
The situation in Syria is devastating and I recently spoke about the situation in Aleppo, you can watch it here.
…supported Gatwick expansion
In August, I met with the Chief Executive of Gatwick Airport, Stewart Wingate, to discuss the potential expansion of Gatwick Airport.
I am disappointed the Government gave Heathrow the go-ahead. Gatwick expansion would create thousands of new jobs, disrupt less homes with night flights, provide easier access for more people and lower costs. I believe Gatwick is the right option for expansion.
…campaigned to bring Crossrail 2 to Tooting
Balham doesn’t want Crossrail 2, Tooting does – together we’ve campaigned to try and make this happen.
With a decision expected to be made in spring next year, I will keep on pressing the Government and Mayor of London to ensure Crossrail 2 comes to Tooting. We must ensure it works for everyone. Community assets must be protected, affordable homes built and disruption during construction kept to a minimum.
…held negotiations over Earlsfield Station closure
With Earlsfield Station scheduled to close for three weeks next August, with your support I have been negotiating for South West Trains to ensure local people don’t face too much disruption.
This has the potential to cause a commuting nightmare for thousands of local residents. I want South West Trains to provide a dedicated Rail Replacement Bus from Earlsfield Station to Wandsworth Common or Clapham Junction but they have not yet agreed and are still looking into it.
They have a draft agreement with TfL for extra 77 buses to be put on but I don’t think this provides enough capacity to deal with the amount of commuters and is quite inconvenient.
…stood up for our NHS
Over 3,000 signed my letter to Theresa May, demanding she halted imposing new contracts on Junior Doctors. I’ve challenged the Government on many things over the last few months.
St George’s Hospital went into Special Measures, I’ve met with the Board and am confident they have a plan in place to deal with the issues but ultimately the Government are stripping the NHS back to the bone and without adequate funding the situation will only get worse.
The AFC Wimbledon Stadium development will go ahead after the Government approved the scheme. I support the move but understand some reservations local residents have. We must now ensure the development works for Earlsfield and doesn’t cause unnecessary disruption.
Some points have been raised throughout this process around match days, transport infrastructure and local provisions. I have raised these issues with the relevant authorities and have had reassurances.
I wanted further reassurances that Earlsfield residents won’t be affected on match days or by the number of new residents moving in – so raised this with the Leader of Merton Council. I’m pleased Merton have announced hundreds of thousands of pounds in contributions to improving the pavements, roads and green spaces around Earlsfield.
When I met with the Wandsworth Borough Police Commander I was assured that match days would see sufficient number of Police Officers on patrol in the local area. They were confident they could handle the flow of crowds on match days. I will continue to work with the Police to ensure proper plans are in place when the stadium nears completion.
With the new homes being built within the development, we must ensure our local services have capacity to manage increasing demands. We need the Government to properly invest in our schools and health services, the new development would require just one extra doctor for the local area – I’m pleased Merton have committed to providing healthcare provision and will ensure this pledge is followed through.
Last year, 41% of the homes Merton built were affordable, compared to just 15% in Wandsworth. When it comes to building genuinely affordable homes – Merton Labour Council beats Wandsworth Conservative Council. The number of affordable homes on this site is low, but I am confident that Merton have a plan to deliver more and more affordable homes across their borough in the coming years.
I met with representatives from South West Trains at Earlsfield station in order to discuss what measures were being put in place to limit congestion on match days. Once the December 2017 upgrade works are completed capacity will increase by 33% on all services going in and out of Earlsfield with the introduction of ten car trains. Further to this, TfL has also announced a million-pound package to improved bus routes along Garratt Lane which should further reduce the pressures around Earlsfield Station.
Today the Chancellor announced his Autumn Statement.
After speaking with constituents I questioned the Chancellor on affordable housing.
Wandsworth Council have authorised over 10,000 new homes in the borough, of which 13% are deemed affordable. However, the cheapest house is a studio flat priced at £400,000.
This is not affordable. I therefore asked the Chancellor 'what is an affordable home?'
His response: there is a consenus that we need to make all homes affordable, but to do this challenges around land supply need to be resolved. A housing white paper will be brought forward by the Communities Minister shortly.
I am confident that this does not answer the question I asked. I will continue to fight for affordable housing for residents of Tooting.
|Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP||
THE LABOUR PARTY AND DR ROSENA ALLIN-KHAN MAY USE DATA OBTAINED VIA THIS WEBSITE TO CONTACT YOU.