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Apj_abdul_kalam.JPGToday is a very sad day. We have seen the passing of one of the founders of Indian greatness. Shri Abdul Kalam served the Indian nation and people for his entire life, for over eighty years he was a public servant of the highest regard. From working as a scientist, a founding member of India’s nuclear project he became the holder of the highest office in the land, serving as President and as a great leader of India. He was never too grand and after his term was done he passed on his many years’ experience and knowledge to millions as both a teacher and as an inspiration. Few can match the public service and great role model of Shri Abdul Kalam and with his passing we have lost one of India’s greatest sons.

Virendra Sharma

Shri Abdul Kalam

Today is a very sad day. We have seen the passing of one of the founders of Indian greatness. Shri Abdul Kalam served the Indian nation and people for his...

Yvette, Tom and Tessa are Labour's winning team

Labour in Ealing know how to win elections but nationally we need to rediscover that winning habit. In the current Labour Leadership elections and the London Mayoral candidate selection we need to choose a winning team. 

I firmly believe the next Labour leader should be Yvette Cooper. Yvette has the requisite blend of experience and freshness and the ability to reach out to Tory and LibDem voters whose support we need to win again. She has ministerial experience at the highest level and is an intelligent, knowledgeable and sophisticated politician with a common touch. In the Leadership hustings she has shown all these qualities along with a down to earthiness and humour that shows she is the one to beat.   

I also think it is time we had woman leader of the Labour Party and a woman as Labour Prime Minister. As a working mum with three children she connects well with all voters but especially with women and as she astutely observed - "David Cameron has a blind spot when it comes to women." Cameron will not find it easy dealing with her quick wits in Prime Minister's questions. 

I will be backing Tom Watson as Deputy Leader knowing his deep roots in the Labour Party and his impressive campaigning both against the likes of Rupert Murdoch and also through social media. I've known Tom since he was the Party's Youth and Student officer when we both worked together at Walworth Rd under Neil Kinnock and he is a man who delivers.

Finally I'm supporting Tessa Jowell as Labour's candidate for London Mayor. She has rightly identified that if Labour wants to win in 2020 then we have to win the London Mayorality next year. Tessa has that winning mentality and along with Yvette and Tom will make a great Labour winning team. If you want to join me in voting for Yvette, Tom and Tessa you can sign up to be a registered Labour supporter for just £3 at www.supporters.labour.org.uk or become a full member at www.labour.org.uk   

 

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Labour's Winning Team

Yvette, Tom and Tessa are Labour's winning teamLabour in Ealing know how to win elections but nationally we need to rediscover that winning habit. In the current Labour Leadership elections...

I have written, to those constituents that have asked, to explain my position on the Welfare Reform and Work Bill. 

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Thank you for writing to me about my vote on the Welfare Reform and Work Bill.

There are two important things to note. Firstly this bill has not yet become law, Monday's vote was only on the second reading of a bill, where the government proposes a lot of the details of the bill. The bill has now entered its Committee stage, where amendments can be attempted, this is where I will be focussing on curbing the bill's most extreme elements. Secondly, we have fewer MPs than the Conservatives so rather than engage in token opposition of the entire bill we are working to mitigate the worst excesses of the bill by trying to attract a few of the more moderate Tories to vote with us on a number of amendments. 

The Bill contains some of the £12billion cuts to welfare which the Chancellor announced in his Emergency Budget on 8 July. Others cuts, such as the cuts to tax credits for three million low and middle income families, are not included in the Bill and will be dealt with as secondary legislation. I will oppose these cuts when they come before Parliament.

There are a number of measures I support in the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, including plans to create 3 million apprenticeships, reduce rents for those living in social housing, and cap the amount that people can claim in benefits to ensure that people are always better off in work. 

I therefore did not oppose the Bill in full. The Labour Party tabled a Reasoned Amendment to the Bill which allowed us to highlight those elements of the Bill which we support, whilst also outlining those which we oppose and will seek to have removed from the Bill. 

These include:  

  • the abolition of child poverty targets, which the Labour government put in place, and which require the government to take action to reduce absolute and relative poverty 
  • cuts to support for the sick and disabled who are not fit for work – this includes people who have cancer or Parkinson’s disease  

I voted to oppose those changes. In addition to this, we have tabled 24 detailed amendments to the Bill which seek to mitigate the worst impacts of this legislation. I will be pushing hard as the Bill passes through Parliament in the coming months to make sure that it is workable and fair.  

Labour’s amendments include: 

  • carers, those with children under 2, and those who have experienced domestic violence, not being subject to the household benefit cap 
  • councils being given sufficient emergency funding to help those most affected by the household benefit cap 
  • the four year freeze on working-age benefits being subject to an annual review to take into account the national economic situation, the rate of inflation and (in the case of Local Housing Allowance) the cost of renting  
  • a plan to make sure that reducing social rents does not negatively impact on the ability of housing association and councils to build more affordable homes.  

 

On Tuesday I spoke in Parliament to raise with the Chancellor of the Exchequer the issue of the increasing number of in-work families in poverty. The Chancellor refused to acknowledge that the removal of tax credits would hurt working families. I and the rest of the Labour Party will be voting to oppose the removal of tax credits which will only make struggling families worse off.

I can assure you that I will be doing everything I can to make sure that this Bill does not make life harder for working families, and protects those who are unable to work. I came into Parliament to fight for working people, and against child poverty, and I will continue to do this for as long as I am elected by the people of Ealing, Southall.

 

Yours sincerely,

Virendra Sharma MP

Welfare Reform and Work Bill

I have written, to those constituents that have asked, to explain my position on the Welfare Reform and Work Bill.    Thank you for writing to me about my vote...


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