Today marks four years since the people of Ilford North elected me to represent our community in Parliament. It remains the greatest honour and privilege of my life.
Since then, I’ve worked as hard as I can in our community and in Westminster to stand up for Ilford North. I thought I’d offer some brief reflections on the past four years.
There are several things I’m proud of:
– Our successful community campaign to save King George A&E
– Being one of Parliament’s most active MPs, regularly raising concerns with ministers that people locally raise with me
– Helping thousands of residents each year with individual problems
– Grilling the Chancellor on the Treasury Committee, particularly about school cuts and policing cuts
– Setting up the first All Party Parliamentary Group on Taxis, putting issues facing the trade on the agenda – with a Bill in Parliament due shortly
– Helping to defeat the Government’s plans to cut tax credits for working families
– Winning practical changes locally – like the changes to Charlie Brown’s Roundabout, the traffic lights on Horns Road for Avanti Court Primary School and Barkingside Station and step-free access at Newbury Park and South Woodford tube stations
– Supporting the late Kaleigh Lau’s campaign against DIPG and honouring her legacy by keeping that fight going
– Successfully lobbying at the UN Human Rights Council at Geneva for an ongoing focus on human rights, justice and reconciliation in Sri Lanka
– Championing our diverse community – standing up against antisemitism as Chair of the APPG on British Jews, producing the first ever working definition on Islamophobia as chair of the APPG on British Muslims and supporting bids for new Hindu and Sikh education provision in our community and campaigning against immigration injustices – from Windrush to the TOEIC visa scandal affecting international students
– Supporting the successful community campaign to Save Oakfield
– Speaking my mind – I did promise at both general elections that I’d be an independent-minded champion for our community and I’d speak truth to power. No one could accuse me of failing to do that!
The things I’ve most enjoyed are:
– Making a difference – whether it’s winning changes to the law or getting a good result for a resident, those ‘punch the air’ moments are the best bits of the job
– School visits – I love talking to young people about my job, encouraging them to take an interest in politics and, most of all, listening to the things that worry them
– Supporting good causes – Hopes and Dreams quiz nights, visits to ELHAP (including the jail break event!) and Vaisakhi at the Punjabi Centre on Ley Street rank among some of my favourite memories.