NEWS THIS WEEK – from Diane Abbott MP

28 Mar 2017
Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism

Last week’s horrific attack at Westminster was an attack on all of us, all our people, all our communities and our institutions. It must not be allowed to divide us, to change who we are or to erode our democracy.

United together, we can always defeat those who threaten us – in contrast, demonising whole communities, as some on the far-right have sought to do, will not make us any safer in these difficult times.

By standing in unity since the attack Londoners have defied the hatred of the terrorists and those who would seek to divide us.

Greater restrictions and rationing are a direct result of Tory underfunding of the NHS

This week saw reports that NHS England is to develop new guidelines in order to stop GPs from prescribing certain medicines.

As Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth put it, “We have long warned this underfunding would lead to greater rationing of services and treatments. Ministers need to explain what [the] restrictions will mean for those eligible for free prescriptions such as the elderly, pregnant and those on low incomes. Of course, NHS bosses are right to demand the best possible value for money from the medicines they buy so that every penny can go towards patient care. But let’s be clear: the greater  restrictions and rationing proposed today are a direct result of Theresa May’s underfunding of the NHS.“

We need to be clear that this Government has forced the NHS through the longest period of financial squeeze in its history, with hospital bosses recently warning it will be ‘mission impossible’ to achieve the  standards of care the public demand given the scale of the underfunding.

Holding the Tories to Account on Brexit

This week, the Prime Minister will inform the European council that the UK intends to leave the EU.

On Monday, Shadow Minister for Brexit Keir Starmer set out six key tests for any final Brexit deal. They cover the impact of Brexit on our  future relationship with the EU, our economy, national security,  fundamental rights, immigration and the distribution of power and opportunity across the country.

They are the yardstick by which Labour will hold the prime minister to account throughout negotiations and how we will judge the final deal she returns with.

UKIP loses Its only MP Douglas Carswell

Commenting on Douglas Carswell’s decision to leave UKIP this weekend,  Labour’s Shadow Minister and Elections Chair, Andrew Gwynne MP, said: “UKIP are tearing themselves apart. Their only MP has quit,= their biggest donor has fled and their leader was utterly rejected by the voters of  Stoke-on-Trent a few weeks ago. Under Paul Nuttall UKIP now has no MPs and no future.”

This episode exposes the truth of UKIP: they’ve got nothing to offer the voters and they’re a divided party with extreme policies, such as privatising the NHS.

It is crucial that there is effective judicial oversight of the security services’ access to encrypted messages

In response to the controversy over encrypted messages in the wake of  the terrorist attack at Westminster, Labour opposes an open access trawl of all messaging. Good counter-terrorism measures are nearly always intelligence-led.

In the cases of suspects or perpetrators of serious crime or terrorism,  it is crucial that there is effective judicial oversight of the security services’ access to encrypted messages.

Fighting terrorism is a serious business, and should not be used for political grandstanding.

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