This week, we have seen an unprovoked and unjustifiable attack on Ukraine and on democracy. Vladimir Putin’s actions are a violation of international law and The Labour Party stands with our allies and partners in condemning it in the strongest possible terms. We must maintain and strengthen our unity and resolve. We all stand in complete solidarity with the Ukrainian people as they bravely resist this assault. The hardest possible sanctions must be taken against all those linked to Putin and against the Russian government’s interests, working in a coordinated and unified way with our allies to ensure the Putin regime faces the severest possible consequences. I know that some constituents will be concerned for family and friends in the region, so please do not hesitate to get in touch if there is anything I can assist you with.
On Friday, I was delighted to be welcomed as a guest by the Nishkam Civic Association, touring their community facilities and attending the Guru Nanak Gurdwara on the Soho Road. The Nishkam Civic Association has had a presence in the Soho part of my constituency for many decades, making an altruistic community-led contribution to our civic life, and being a focal point for Sikh’s across the West Midlands. I was honoured to meet Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh to discuss issues important to our community in Ladywood and how our work can better align in the future. The vast community facilities and positive impact on local residents is a testament to the years of work done by the Nishkam Civic Association. As part of the visit, I was also given a tour of Nishkam Primary School, meeting Chief Executive of the Nishkam School Trust Dr Brinder Singh Mahon. We shared our concerns about the rise in problem properties in the area, from HMOs to exempt accommodation, and the negative affect that has on pupils, teaching staff, and the wider neighbourhood. I’ll be following up on all of the points raised and would once again like to offer my thanks to the Nishkam Civic Association for their hospitality and their spirit of community service.
Earlier this week, I took part in an Opposition Day Debate in the House of Commons Chamber on the proliferation of supported exempt accommodation and I pushed the Government to finally take legislative action against rogue operators who are exploiting loopholes in the system. I explained to the Government that criminal enterprises are lining their pockets with taxpayers’ money all within the rules and that my constituents are concerned about the rise in antisocial behaviour in our communities following the rise of exempt accommodation. The introduction of a National Statement of Expectations is well meaning but is failing to stamp out the abuses within the sector. This is an issue for the law, and only the Government has the power to put it right. You can see excerpts from my speech here.
Next Thursday, there will be a by-election in our neighbouring constituency Birmingham, Erdington. Labour’s candidate Paulette Hamilton is a fantastic champion for Erdington and it would be great to see local Labour Party members out campaigning in the last few days of the campaign, to make sure Paulette is elected. Find further information here.