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Leicester East

It is truly an honour to represent the city where I was born and raised and I thank the people of Leicester East for electing me as their MP.

 

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31st July

I recognise that Leicester is rich in different languages and therefore the importance of ensuring all messaging over this time is translated into a language they understand. Did you know that Leicester has just over 15% of Gujerati, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu speakers?

Here is the message of support from Jonathan Ashworth, Liz Kendall and I during the Leicester Lockdown with Gujerati, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu subtitles whilst my team work to provide them in all the other required languages too.

31st July

I wish all Muslims across Leicester and everywhere Eid Mubarak in celebration of Eid Al Adha.

Our mosques cannot yet reopen. No visitors allowed to our homes or gardens. Our sacrifices today will be rewarded. Enjoy online social solidarity.

Wishing you a safe and peaceful Eid.

28th July

When faced with a concrete opportunity to enshrine in law the safety of our most treasured public institution, the Conservatives sat on their hands.

Now our NHS is at the mercy of US negotiators, who are heavily influenced by the multi- billion-dollar private healthcare industry which has a vested interest in carving up our health service for corporate gain.Yet there is an even clearer reason why we cannot trust the government when it says that the NHS is not for sale; they have been selling it off piece by piece for the best part of a decade.

My latest article for The Morning Star here.

28th July

It is appalling that the exploited labour of workers in Leicester East is helping to finance extravagant corporate salaries in the garment industry.

This is a microcosm of the stark inequality that exists in our society and across the world, and is proof that the obscene wealth of billionaires is built on the exploitation of the working class.

We all have a responsibility to ensure the clothes we wear are not stained with human misery.

Read my article in the Leicester Mercury here.

26th July

This is a brave and necessary account of worker, exploitation in Leicester’s garment industry in the Eastern Eye.

I have been approached by many residents of Leicester East who have bravely shared their firsthand experiences of exploitation. This includes employers seeking to avoid detection by pretending their factories are shut whilst workers file through back entrances; unwell employees being told to keep their symptoms secret from colleagues; false payslips which do not reflect real hours worked; being paid far less than the minimum wage and many more instances of cruel mistreatment.

The government must create a safe space for workers to come forward and through collective action be compensated for lost earnings and holiday pay and call out such outrageous employer malpractice, reverse the severe funding cuts to the Health and Safety Executive, create a single ethical licensing scheme and extend protections to all migrant workers.

24th July

It is appalling that the exploited labour of workers in Leicester East is helping to finance extravagant corporate salaries in the garment industry.

This is a microcosm of the stark inequality that exists in our society and across the world, and is proof that the obscene wealth of billionaires is built on the exploitation of the working class. We all have a responsibility to ensure the clothes we wear are not stained with human misery.

Thank you to the 40 parliamentarians, representing 7 political parties, who have signed this letter urging the Prime Minister to act.

22nd July

The government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak in Leicester has left people anxious and confused.

It is disappointing that the government has no plans to protect Leicester’s businesses. This lack of support threatens the future of our businesses and ultimately the employment of many of my constituents.

Leicester City Council has £10 million of earmarked grant cash already sitting in the local authority’s coffers could be used to help ailing businesses – but it needs governmental permission to spend it.

The government must act now to support our community.

Read the letter here.

22nd July

It is great to come together with my colleagues Leicester MP’s Jonathan Ashworth and Liz Kendall in sharing this message and pleased to have finally finished this video.

We are all part of our great city of Leicester, where our diversity is our strength.

This extended period of lockdown has been a real challenge for our residents, and our thoughts remain with all those affected by coronavirus.

By standing together, rejecting those who seek to divide our communities, and following all the health advice – we will defeat this virus, and a brighter future will be in reach.

18th July

I am proud to sign this joint cross party letter led by Dr Lisa Cameron MP alongside many representatives and organisations to tackle worker exploitation.

To avoid the exploitation we have seen in some elements of Leicester’s Garment Industry, the Government must implement a ‘Fit to Trade’ licensing scheme that ensures all garment factories are meeting their legal obligations to their employees.

17th July

Garment workers in Leicester are already surviving well below the poverty line even before the onset of Coronavirus. We all have a responsibility to protect the workers who are making the clothes we wear.When Factories are shut and workers are sent home they receive no income, no sick pay, no furlough pay, no protection. While fashion brands and billionaires profit inequalities are deeply embedded in the supply chain.

We must protect all workers in supply chains and please sign this.

16th July

Its disastrous for our entire Leicester community to remain in Lockdown. According to the evidence and data provided the rate of positive testing for Leicester as a whole remains much higher than the national average and higher than neighbouring cities.

The new map for the area of Lockdown has been published and I attach it below. I’ve sought reassurances that economic support is extended and expanded. All work places must adhere to health and safety and, no one should be forced to work in unsafe conditions. United we must defeat this virus.

I will keep working tirelessly to lobby the government, public health officials and local stakeholders to ensure that Leicester receives the best possible protection from COVID19.

14th July

I am proud to have signed this important joint letter. Leicester’s diversity is our strength. I wholeheartedly reject those seeking to blame our residents and our different communities for this outbreak.

12th July

Leicester’s Garment Industry and the crisis it presents is just a microcosm of the global assault on worker’s rights. Under the Tories zero hour contracts, poor pay & unscrupulous employers flourished

Billionaires exist because the working class, including migrants are exploited.

11th July

I understand how difficult it will be for members of our community to see the rest of the country eating in restaurants and going to the cinema. Yet at a time of unprecedented upheaval, it is important that lives and public health are prioritised above all else.

That’s why I tabled this EDM, to stand in solidarity with the people of Leicester at this difficult time.

10th July

Leicester’s diversity is our strength.

I wholeheartedly reject those seeking to blame our residents and our different communities for this outbreak.

When we stand together in unity there is nothing we cannot accomplish. See full article on Leicester’s #BLM march here.

9th July

With Leicester required to maintain lockdown measures, it will be necessary for economic support to be extended and expanded.

It is impossible for impoverished people to comply with guidance on self-isolation and social distancing.

It is therefore not just morally imperative, but in the best public health interest of everyone in our country that people’s basic needs are met.

I will continue to fight on behalf of Leicester East in Parliament to have this heard.

8th July

I have written to the Prime Minister regarding instances of employer malpractice in some parts of Leicester’s garment industry.

At Prime Minister’s Questions today, Boris Johnson sought to blame the exploitation of workers in Leicester’s garment industry on our local City Mayor. Yet his government has known about this issue for years, rejected all the recommendations of a 2019 Environmental Audit Committee report into this issue, and slashed the funding of the Health and Safety Executive.

The Prime Minister must take responsibility for these failures. I share the dismay of many that the government has long been aware of instances of exploitation and issues yet failed to act.

It is appalling that the exploited labour of the workers of Leicester East is helping to finance extravagant corporate salaries at Boohoo and other corporate giants. This demonstrates the stark inequality that exists in our society and is proof that the obscene wealth of billionaires is built on the exploitation of the working class.

After this crisis, Leicester can no longer be known as ‘the sweatshop’ of Europe. I urge the government to prove that it prioritises public health over private profit by beginning to take workers’ rights seriously.

You can read the full letter here.

7th July

Sales of clothes made by suppliers in Leicester have helped fuel a rapid growth that could reward Boohoo’s bosses, including a billionaire, with bonuses worth £150m as part of a three-year incentive scheme.

It is appalling that the exploited labour of my constituents is helping to finance such extravagant corporate salaries.

This demonstrates the stark inequality that exists in our society, and is proof that the obscene wealth of the few is built on the exploitation of the many.

After this crisis, Leicester can no longer be known as the sweatshop of the UK. The government must prove that it prioritises public health over private profit by beginning to take workers’ rights seriously.

You can read the full article outlining my concerns in the Morning Star here.

7th July

I have received a huge number of enquires relating to the Leicester Lockdown.

I want to help and advocate for as many individuals, families, businesses, groups and organisations as possible. Please email or telephone me direct. My motto is to always be on your side.

If you require basic information this dedicated page on my website will help you navigate the system and range of guidance provided. Click here

6th July

As we emerge from the pandemic, we must forge a new social settlement – a Green New Deal to rebuild the country with a more just and sustainable economy.

We must fight for a society in which public health always comes before private profit. And it must be the big polluters and corporate giants who bear the costs, not ordinary people.

5th July

As a Member of Parliament I first spoke up about this issue on 9th March 2020.

In Leicester’s garment industry today many workers, overwhelmingly women, earn well below the minimum wage; working in unthinkable conditions. This is the legacy of Tory deindustrialisation

Leicester can no longer be known as the UK’s sweatshop of Europe.

At every step in this crisis – from lockdown delay, equipment shortages, care home neglect, testing delays, insufficient data and much more – the government has failed to adequately protect our communities.

Sadly, when it comes to localised outbreaks, the government has not learned from its repeated national failures.

As we go forward, the government must learn the lessons from its mismanagement of Leicester’s spike in coronavirus cases.

Read my full article in The Guardian here.

5th July

As anti-racists, the task ahead of us is not only to defeat this virus, but also to build a world free of the racial inequalities which have exacerbated its brutal impact.

The government’s recklessness has already cost too many lives, especially from African, Asian and minority ethnic communities. They must ensure that their rush to relax lockdown does not lead to even greater suffering.

Check out my article for Eastern Eye here.

4th July

The government must act now to prevent the further impoverishment of working people and their families during this pandemic. This virus has demonstrated that we have a moral duty to ensure that everyone in Leicester and across the UK is protected.

That means that, after this crisis, we can no longer live in a society defined by extreme inequality and in which it is commonplace for our children to go to bed hungry.

4th July

I welcome this plan to tackle racial discrimination in football and I commend the “BAME Football Forum” for their tireless work combatting Racism and hatred in football.

Over recent years, we have seen unacceptable racism across all levels of football. Whilst there is still much to do, recently we have been reminded how the sport can be a force for good.

Marcus Rashford led an inspiring campaign to ensure children do not go hungry. Premier League players have taken the knee and worn shirts in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

It is up to the FA and PFA to help continue this momentum by adopting these necessary recommendations.

Read the plan here.

3rd July

We are a city of solidarity. People from all backgrounds are continuing to work together as we find ourselves in another lockdown.

I want to sincerely thank all the mutual aid groups and volunteers for the exceptional work they do to support our community in Leicester East.

By standing together, in unity, we will overcome this virus.

3rd July

Leicester has the largest number of garment workers in the UK. There are an estimated 1500 garment manufacturing businesses in the city employing around 10,000 people, the majority from African, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

A recent study by HMRC found that, over a six year period, a quarter of all UK textile factories caught failing to pay minimum wage were based in Leicester, with some textile factories reportedly offering less than £3.50 an hour.

A recent report published by the organisation Labour Behind the Label entitled ‘Boohoo & COVID-19: The people behind the profits’ found ‘emerging evidence indicates that conditions in Leicester’s factories, primarily producing for Boohoo, are putting workers at risk of COVID-19 infections and fatalities.’

2nd July

he government has published Public Health England’s Rapid Investigation Team (RIT) Preliminary investigation into COVID-19 exceedances in Leicester.

The report found that six out of the seven wards in Leicester East were in the top ten worst affected– with North Evington the worst affected area.

The infection rate recorded in the community from ‘pillar-2 testing’ – swab tests conducted outside NHS hospitals and Public Health England labs – was more than four times higher than the average for England. Yet this was not provided to Leicester’s health departments for 11 days. The report found that, of the 3,216 cases in the city, almost a third, 944, came in the past 14 days.

The study also found that many of the reported incidents are related to food factories and outlets, and that the average age of those infected is around 40.

1st July

I have received correspondence from hundreds of Leicester residents in opposition to the illegal annexation of Palestinian land.

The international community must stand against this clear violation of a peaceful two state solution.

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