Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, this week tucked in at a Christian Aid Big Brekkie event in Parliament, to show his support for Christian Aid Week (14-20 May), which is raising money for refugees fleeing conflict around the world.
Ahead of Christian Aid Week, Jim Fitzpatrick attended the event in Parliament to find out about activities and events taking place during the charity’s annual fundraising week in Poplar and Limehouse. Last year, £2523.81 was raised in Poplar and Limehouse during Christian Aid Week.
As Christian Aid marks 60 years of Christian Aid Week, the organisation is inviting people to join them in a Big Brekkie breakfast to stand in solidarity with refugees around the world. The charity has been working with refugees since the Second World War, and is not turning its back now.
Today, tens of millions of people across the globe are forced from their homes due to war, conflict and disaster. Many make life-threatening dangerous journeys in search of a safe place to call home.
While the majority of today’s refugees continue to seek sanctuary in poor countries, in 2015 more than once million refugees crossed into Europe. With borders across the continent now closed to refugees, thousands are stranded – and in need of urgent help.
Nejebar, from Afghanistan, fled her homeland after the Taliban announced they would kill anyone who worked for the government, like her husband Noor. They eventually sought refuge in Greece with their children, after a treacherous journey across the Mediterranean in a small rubber dinghy. The young family have left their home, family and friends behind, and now reside in a small tent, with no certainty on their future, especially that of their children.
“I was pleased to meet with Christian Aid and hear about the great work that’s being done in Poplar and Limehouse and across the country to help refugees at this desperate time. For millions of people around the world displaced from their homes, Christian Aid’s work provides vital support. I encourage my constituents to get involved in Christian Aid Week events where they can.”
Simon Kirkland, Christian Aid’s UK Parliamentary and Political Adviser, said:
“We are really grateful for Jim Fitzpatrick’s support for Christian Aid’s important fundraising events in Poplar and Limehouse. Everyone can do something to help this Christian Aid Week, whether its attending a local event, giving money or praying for the world’s many refugees at this difficult time. Thank you to everyone who is able to take part in this year’s Christian Aid Week.”
This year, the people of Poplar and Limehouse will once again be holding events during Christian Aid Week to support our work with refugees. So far, the events we know are happening include:
14 May 9.15-10.15am: Big Brekkie, St Mary’s, Bow Church
16 May, 8am – 6pm: station collection, Mile End tube station ecumenical (St Mary’s, St Paul’s Bow Common, Bow Road Methodists)
21 May, time to be confirmed: Christian Aid Week Service, Great Light Connections
20 September: Station collection at Canary Wharf station by Poplar Christian Aid Group
Last year, I campaigned for the UK to remain a member of the European Union but as we know, the nation chose to leave. Below are some of the questions I’ve been asked on the subject and my responses to them…
67% of Tower Hamlets voted to Remain, why did you back Brexit?
I have been asked by some constituents why I didn’t ‘abide by the outcome’ locally. The referendum was a national issue in which everyone had an equal vote. I feel there is a principle here, in terms of respecting and abiding by the result and believe it is simply wrong to try to overturn the democratically achieved outcome. If Remain had won the vote, we all would have expected the result to have been honoured.
I’d also ask you to consider that if the decision had gone the other way- how would you feel if those who’d voted Leave, after having lost the referendum then tried to override the result?
This was not an easy decision for me to make and I understand not everyone is in line with my thinking. Since the vote I have advocated and supported an exit strategy that is as fair, reasonable and tenable as possible.
But the referendum was only advisory!
No one was promised an advisory referendum, with the final decision being left to Parliament. Everyone went into the referendum believing the result would be binding.
What did Labour do during the debate on Brexit?
The Labour Party brought forward and argued in favour of several amendments over the course of the debate on the Brexit Bill. We continually called for a meaningful vote on the final terms of the deal in Parliament and repeatedly emphasised that EU citizens should not be used as bargaining chips. Despite our efforts, all amendments were voted down by the Government.
When the Bill made its way to the House of Lords, Labour Peers voted against the Government on both these issues but on its return to the Commons, the amendments were again voted down. The Prime Minister and David Davis made it clear during the debate that there was no amendment, however re-worded they were willing to accept in the Bill.
In the end, it was pressure from Labour that forced the Government to concede and guarantee that Parliament will have a vote on both the withdrawal arrangements and future relationship with the EU.
How will Labour fight to ensure a fair Brexit for all?
Labour wants an outward-looking UK and opposes Theresa May’s attitude to Brexit. The Labour Party have promised that if we win the General Election we’ll offer a unilateral guarantee to EU nationals living in the UK that they can stay.
We’ll also ensure that Parliament has its say and if it were to reject our deal, we’d return to negotiations.
Labour’s alternative approach would leave decisions like access to the single market and the customs union on the table and will protect the rights of workers, the environment and consumers. Our plan would be to rebuild the economy by investing in infrastructure, skills, new technology and the green industries.
Isn’t this General Election all about Brexit?
No, absolutely not. The Tories will focus solely on Brexit in the coming weeks but this election is about far, far more than that. Living standards are falling, wages have stagnated, local council budgets are being slashed, child poverty is on the rise, social care is in crisis, school budgets are being cut and our NHS is in deep trouble. Never a day goes by without a constituent raising their concerns.
A vote for Labour on 8 June will mean a chance to address all the above. Poplar and Limehouse cannot afford another five years of the Tories and neither can the country.
To all constituents – I would like to confirm I will be seeking re-election as your Member of Parliament for Poplar and Limehouse on 8 June. I had previously said I would stand down in 2020 but it’s only 2017. Today I voted against an early general election but the vast majority of MPs voted in favour.
I didn’t foresee an early election and was shocked by the Prime Minister’s announcement, especially given the number of times she said she wouldn’t call one. It is sheer political opportunism at a time of great uncertainty for the country.
The Tories will focus solely on Brexit in the coming weeks but this election is about far, far more than that. Living standards are falling, wages have stagnated, local council budgets are being slashed, child poverty is on the rise, social care is in crisis, school budgets are being cut and our NHS is in deep trouble. Never a day goes by without a constituent raising their concerns.
A vote for Labour on 8 June will mean a chance to address all the above. Constituents in Poplar and Limehouse must unite around these issues and fight hard for a Labour victory. Tower Hamlets cannot afford another five years of the Tories and neither can the country.
It takes 5 minutes to register and all you need is your National Insurance number, address and date of birth.
Londoners aren’t going to the polls just yet but the elections taking place around the country next month are a timely reminder of why you need to register to vote- if you’re not signed up, you won’t be able to take part.
MP for Poplar and Limehouse has undertaken a challenge to make the employers in the constituency more inclusive, encouraging them to sign up to the Disability Confident scheme which helps employers open up their workforce to disabled people.
The challenge, to sign up 30 businesses in April, is part of a national campaign run by the Disability Confident scheme, which supports employers to increase the diversity of their workforce and offer opportunities to disabled jobseekers, including work experience, apprenticeships, work trials and employment.
“Disabled people make up a fifth of the working age population and our local employers could be missing out on a large proportion of the talent in our community and a chance to become more diverse.
“I hope this scheme will lead to a lot more employers becoming Disability Confident and improved opportunities for local disabled people to realise their potential in the workplace.”
To find out more information and how you can sign up, please click here.
The British Council seeks exceptional young people aged 18-35 to join a nine-day workshop to develop leadership skills, learn from global policy experts and attend private meetings with inspirational leaders.
Successful applicants will take part in regional heats to win the opportunity to meet with MPs in the UK Houses of Parliament
The search is on for a new generation of leaders to join emerging leaders from nine other countries for an intensive policy and leadership development opportunity, culminating in a conference in the UK Houses of Parliament.
Future Leaders Connect, launched this year by the British Council, will offer nine days of leadership learning and development for young people to provide them with the skills they need to turn innovative ideas in to tangible policy recommendations.
Those taking part will meet heads of NGOs, policy-makers and British MPs.
“We have a long, proud tradition of democratic policy-making in this country and this is a great opportunity for the next generation of leaders to take it forward. The connections these young people will make not only with UK decision makers but also with their counterparts from across the world, will be invaluable to them in their careers.
“I would urge anybody from Poplar and Limehouse who wants to make a difference, have their voice heard and become a great leader, to apply to Future Leaders Connect.”
Anyone who would like to take part needs to submit an online application by 23.59 Sunday 14 May. They will be asked what their unique policy ideas are and about their experience as a leader.
They will join finalists from ten other countries for a nine-day programme which will include training in public speaking, policy development expertise and leadership skills. This culminates with one day in the Houses of Parliament, meeting MPs and law makers.
Sir Ciarán Devane, the Chief Executive of the British Council, said: “An international outlook is vital for the future leaders of all countries, if they wish to overcome the challenges they will face.
“Through Future Leaders Connect the British Council will help a new generation to understand practical policy development by putting them in contact with the leaders of today. The programme will help them to develop the skills and international contacts they need to make positive change in their countries.”