It is an honour to have been unanimously re-selected by all the local party branches and affiliated organisations to stand as Labour’s candidate for Tooting in the next general election.
I want to say a huge thank you to all the members and affiliates who took part, and who continue to put their trust in me to represent our community.
Serving as the Member of Parliament for the community I grew up in is an honour. From helping local residents with casework, playing a part in winning the council, defending our NHS and serving as the shadow Minister to Mental Health - I have the best job in the world. My job is made even greater by the fantastic support local members show me all year round, so I want to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to them all!
The next election is make-or-break for our party, we simply must win. I’m looking forward to working hard to make this happen.
The NHS is being dismantled, I see it every time I work a shift. More people than ever are relying on foodbanks, and the cost-of-living crisis is having a devastating impact on people locally and across the country. I will be absolutely committed to doing everything I can to put Labour into Government and make the changes this country so desperately needs.
Thank you again to everyone who voted.
Recently I visited the fantastic Balham Ballers holiday club, based at Ravensbourne Primary school.
Balham Ballers provide a sports programme for young people aged five to twelve over the school holidays, focusing mainly on football but also giving young people a chance to enjoy a wide range of other sporting activities. I have loved working with the Balham Ballers team over the last few years and it has been fantastic to see them go from strength to strength.
Balham Ballers are passionate about promoting a love of sports amongst both boys and girls. This is something that I am particularly supportive of. Following the Lionesses' fantastic win at the Euros earlier this month, the England football team have said "every girl should be given the chance to play football at school." However, currently only 63% of schools offer equal access to football, a number that falls to just 44% at secondary schools.
It was great to see so many young people in our community enjoying football, and I even took a penalty myself!
To find out more about the Balham Ballers, click here.
Fresh off the back of our trip to South Wales yesterday, Luke Pollard MP and I continued to take the fight to the Tories today, this time in Reading.
We kicked off the day with a doorknocking session in Reading West, another Tory-held marginal seat where it is essential Labour wins at the next general election. We were delighted to be joined by my colleague, Matt Rodda, MP for Reading East, who took us to a community-run cafe to show the empowering work that local people are doing on a daily basis.
Reading is a great example of what Labour can do in power - the town's carbon emissions have been reduced by 70% in the last 12 years and the Council is currently investing £88 million in over 300 new social housing homes across Reading.
Today, my friend Luke Pollard MP and I visited the lush landscape of South Wales in order to continue our fight to put Keir Starmer in 10 Downing Street.
We visited Barry Island (cue many Gavin and Stacey references!) in the Vale of Glamorgan seat and Chepstow in Monmouth - two vitally important areas that Labour needs to win to form a government. Labour took control of both Vale of Glamorgan & Monmouthshire Councils after the May elections and I greatly enjoyed campaigning with local members, building on that momentum in order to elect two new Labour MPs at the next election.
Of course, a trip to Barry Island would not be complete without a wander down the beautiful seafront, complete with ice cream. Lloniannau!
It was great to visit the wonderful volunteers at the White Eagle Club in Balham recently. The Tooting and Balham Community has rallied together to support the appeal for Ukraine since the Russian invasion in March.
Since the appeal was launched, the White Eagle Club has sent 74 trucks, 112 vans, and a massive 1,800 tonnes of goods to Ukraine as part of their humanitarian aid mission. They have also provided many Ukrainian nationals who have recently fled to the UK with clothes, shoes, toiletries, and supplies for babies and infants.
It’s always amazing to see the community come together to help those in need.
There is however, still much more that the White Eagle Club needs, both for Ukrainian nationals arriving in the UK and to be sent to those still living in Ukraine.
Items that are most in need include; medical supplies, toiletries, sanitary products and baby powder, as well as clothes for those who have recently arrived in the UK.
You can donate items to 211 Balham High Street at the following times:
Tuesdays: 11.00 - 20.00
Wednesday: 10.00 - 17.00
It was great to visit Mount Carmel Rehabilitation centre again recently. I’ve enjoyed working with this fantastic organisation over the last few years.
Mount Carmel offers residential and day programmes to people struggling with addictions. Their Counsellors provide a series of programmes, including a range of talking therapy groups, art therapy and equine therapy, to help people overcome their addiction issues.
The pandemic has left Mount Carmel more stretched than ever, with many people seeking help after relapsing or struggling with new addiction problems during the lockdowns. Despite the increased demand, the team at Mount Carmel continue to provide first class care to all their clients.
I look forward to continuing to work with the team at Mount Carmel, and seeing all that they go on to achieve.
If you would like to support the work they do in our community, you can donate to their Just Giving page below