NEWS THIS WEEK – from Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North & Stoke Newington

31 Jan 2017
Theresa May needs to withdraw offer of State Visit to Donald Trump
At the time of writing, over 1.6 million people have signed a petition arguing that the offer of a State Visit to Donald Trump. They are right to do so – as I argued on Question Time last Thursday, Theresa May must be willing to tell President Trump that he is wrong - her failure to do so is shameful.
We simply cannot turn a blind eye to Donald Trump’s values. This is a man who even compared to other right-wing Republican Presidents is quite extraordinary.
As Jeremy Corbyn has said “Let no one be in doubt that I will oppose, and the Labour Party will oppose, all those who fan the flames of fear at home and abroad… His invite should be withdrawn until the executive orders are gone and every element of them repealed.”
Labour has taken a clear lead on this issue, with Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry saying after the Prime Minister met Trump last week that, “The Prime Minister referred to a special relationship based on our shared history and interests, but she has to realise that it is also a relationship based on shared values, and if the President is going to discard those values, whether by embracing torture or ignoring climate change, then she must be willing to tell him frankly that he is wrong. Her failure to do so today - even behind closed doors - was nothing less than shameful.”

Theresa May continues to deny the NHS Crisis
This week we saw reports of increases in waiting times for hip operations as the crisis in the NHS deepens.
It is shocking in 21st Century Britain that patients in some parts of the country will only qualify for knee and hip replacement operations on the NHS if they can prove pain so exceptional that it prevents sleep.
Rationing of this kind is against the best traditions of the NHS and now there are concerns that if the Government continues to deny sufficient funding to the NHS, rationing of treatments could become more widespread.
In the same week, we saw other reports that GPs are drawing up plans to charge patients for evening and weekend appointments.
This would allow wealthier patients to jump the queue. It is an intolerable consequence of Government under-funding of General Practice and the Tories’ wasteful re-organisation of the NHS.
As Shadow Secretary of State for Health Jonathan Ashworth said, “The fairest, most efficient and most equitable way of delivering healthcare is to ensure it is publicly funded and free at the point of use.”
Day-after-day we see further revelations about the reality of Tory mismanagement of the NHS. The Prime Minister simply cannot keep blaming everyone other than her own Government for the scale of this crisis.

The latest crime statistics show the true scale of the challenge our police officers now face due to Tory cuts
The release of police workforce statistics, this week showed that with over 20,000 officers lost since 2010, the Tories are risking public safety with these extreme cuts.
As I said in a Press Release issued as Shadow Home Secretary, “They slashed police budgets in the last Parliament and are reducing funding even further now… The latest crime statistics show the true scale of the challenge our officers now face. This is the worst time to cut the police.”

Tory Government Blames Migrants For Its Own Failings
When the Tories attack migrants to distract from their own failings the overwhelming majority of the population is worse off twice over. First, it means they are getting away with cuts, rising inequality and falling living standards. They are also getting away with attacking our communities and those we all rely on.
There is a widespread anxiety that the economic outlook will deteriorate. If so, we should expect the Tories to expand their scapegoating tactics.  Labour will pin the blame where it really belongs. It is the Tories who are making you worse off.
You can read my full piece for LabourList here

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