Standing strong after Manchester

Following the tragic attack in Manchester on Monday 22nd May, I, made the following statement:

“On behalf of Islington Council and everyone in Islington, I send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of those killed and injured in Manchester last night.

“We send our support and friendship to the people of Greater Manchester as they pull together, helping one another as is the tradition of that great city.

“Events like this remind us of the importance of standing together, and not allowing cowardly acts of terrorism to dictate to us how we live our lives.”

The attack in Manchester was a savage act that aimed to kill children.  In response to this horror we must stay strong. Strong in our response so that the people responsible are hunted down. But also strong in our values: we know that this evil will be ended more quickly if we stay united as a community and are steadfast in holding to core British values of tolerance, respect and community. We must use atrocities like this as a spur to build a more united community not tear ourselves apart.

Afterall, what terrorists want from attacks like this is to divide communities, increase hostility toward Muslims and disrupt our daily lives. To beat the hate mongers we must make sure the opposite happens.

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Theresa May: lunch snatcher

I’ve just come from hustings at St Mary Magdalene Academy, where I had the pleasure of deputising for Emily Thornberry.

As well as general disgust at the Tory cuts to Islington schools parents were shocked at Theresa May’s plan to cut free school meals from working families.  Low income parents were horrified that the out of touch Tories will take away a service that they have come to rely on.

Islington Labour introduced Free School Meals for All primary school kids in 2010. It’s a massively popular and effective policy that improves children’s ability to learn and saves working families £500 a year per child.

It is astonishing, even for the Tories, that they should hit hard working people in this way.  In the same way that Margaret Thatcher snatched children’s free milk, Theresa May is snatching their meals.

Please sign this petition put together by Fiona Twycross AM: Keep Infant Free School Meals.

FSM Page

Free School meals for all: works in Islington, will work nationally.

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Labour’s manifesto – tried and tested in local government

One of the best things about Labour’s manifesto is that many of the best ideas in it have been tried and tested by Labour in local government – especially here in Islington.

I’ve been pleased to play a small part in this process through my role on Labour’s NPF and through the LGA Labour Group.  Just some of the highlights are:

Universal free school meals

Labour has pledged to introduce free school meals for all primary school children.

Islington Labour’s free school meals for all policy means that every primary school and nursery pupil receives a free hot and nutritious meal every school day. This helps children to focus on learning and removes the stigma of receiving free school meals. The policy has helped each family save £500 per year per child. Islington Labour has invested almost £2 million in providing free school meals for children in the last year.

This policy has helped Islington primary schools become some of the best in the country for helping pupils from poorer backgrounds achieve good exam results.

Affordable housing

Labour has pledged to build at least 100,000 council and housing association homes – for genuinely affordable rent or sale – per year by the end of the next Parliament. The need for more genuinely affordable homes is acute in Islington.

Labour run Islington are undertaking the largest council house building programme in 30 years and have delivered 709 new genuinely affordable homes in the past 2 years, prioritised for local people. The Council built 1,919 new genuinely affordable homes 2010-2015.

The Tories plan to force the council to sell off council homes, which will see it lose 300 much-needed council homes every year, and ban lifetime tenancies for council tenancies, which we strongly oppose.

Labour has pledged more secure tenancies and new consumer rights for private renters. They will also look at giving the Mayor of London power to give London renters additional security.

We have introduced targeted landlord licensing schemes to improve standards for private renters and fined landlords who weren’t treating tenants fairly over £50,000.

Affordable energy

Labour will ensure security of energy supply, that costs are affordable, and that we meet our climate change targets and transition to a low-carbon economy.

Labour supports the creation of publically owned, locally accountable energy companies, with at least one in every region.  Islington Council has built an energy plant – Bunhill Energy Centre – to provide cheaper greener power to local residents. We have supplied over 700 local homes with cheaper greener energy and cut energy bills for 3,000 council tenants by a third.


Labour has pledged a National Education Service, providing better education and life chances for all. It will enable everyone to upskill or retain at any point in their life, without fear of falling into debt with loans, by scrapping fees for adult learners.

Islington Council has helped over 3,000 local people into paid jobs, including over 800 young people, since 2014.  We have supported almost 300 young people to start apprenticeships since 2014.  We have halved the number of young people not in a job, education or training.

Living wage

Labour has pledged to raise the Minimum Wage to the level of the Living Wage (expected to be at least £10 by 2020) – for all workers aged 18 and over.  Islington became the UK’s first Living Wage council in 2012. All Council staff and 99% of our contractors are now on at least the London Living Wage, including our home carers.


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Jeremy Vine in Islington

Have a listen to the Jeremy Vine show from the fantastic Nags Head market on Seven Sisters Road.  It features, among other things, me being interviewed part of the way in.

The link is on the BBC’s iPlayer.

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New Community Centre for Tollington

For the ten years they ran Islington Council, the Lib Dems neglected Tollington ward. 

When Islington Labour took power at the Town Hall in 2010 we decided to invest across the borough. We know that Tollington ward is one of the most deprived in the country but the community facilities were out of date and struggling to meet the changing needs of our area.

Working with Jeremy Corbyn, before he became party leader, ward councillors worked with the community to develop a plan that replaced two outdated community buildings with one new, and bigger, centre and some much needed council housing.

After years in the planning and building the development is nearing completion and it was a pleasure to visit it this week with ward colleague Cllr Flora Williamson.

new community centre visit RW & FW

Visiting the new community centre with Cllr Flora Williamson and Colin Adams,  who will manage the new building.

The building still isn’t finished yet but it’s really exciting to see it take shape.

new community centre visit 3

The new community space

new community centre visit 2

The community kitchen being installed

new community centre visit 1

The new sports hall

new community centre visit 5

The outdoor space with planters for food growing, with the new housing in the background

new community centre visit 4

A photo of some of the 23 new Council homes soon to be ready for local residents

Islington Labour was elected to deliver more jobs, better housing and help with the cost of living for ordinary local residents.  This new community centre and Council Housing development will do all three.

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Making a Difference with Less

With this Labour administration, Islington Council is on the side of ordinary working people.

Despite the massive cuts imposed on Islington by the Tory Government (and their Lib Dem helpers) I’m proud of everything we’ve done for our borough over the last few years.

Islington Labour has put together a booklet for local people setting out our key achievements.  The booklet is posted below.  Please let me know what you think.


Front PageEnergyCouncil EfficiencyFSM PageOlder PeopleYoung People 2JobsSchoolsHousingStanding Up for You

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Why vote Labour in Islington?

This election in Islington boils down to a choice between Islington Labour and the Tories.

Campaign launch

Islington Labour – On Your Side.

Once again, the Tories have decided that their own political opportunism should come before the needs of working people in Islington. Just as with the EU Referendum, the future of our country is being used as a bargaining chip by the Tories with Theresa May’s decision to call a snap General Election.

Unlike the Tories, Islington Labour is on the side of working people in Islington and we are making a difference on the issues that matter most to them. From delivering the biggest council house building programme in the borough for 30 years, to helping more than 3,000 local unemployed people into work since 2014 – Islington Labour, working as a united team, is making a difference.

But our efforts to make Islington a fairer place have been despite massive cuts imposed by this Tory Government, and by the last Tory-led government which was propped up by their favourite stooges – the Lib Dems.

Since 2010, the Tories have cut core government funding to Islington by more than half, and will have cut it by more than 70 per cent by 2020. At the same time, some Tory-run councils in leafier parts of the country have seen their funding increase, despite Islington being the 24th most deprived area in England. This is in addition to cuts to the police, NHS and fire services, as well as hugely damaging changes to vital social security for the least well-off.

But that’s the Tories for you – putting the best-off first and doing nothing to help places like Islington tackle the challenges we face.

We are lucky to have two local MPs in Emily Thornberry and Jeremy Corbyn who are champions for our community. They have been with us every the step of the way as we have fought to make our borough a fairer place, supporting our pioneering policy of free school meals for all primary and nursery pupils and our £100 council tax discount for older residents.

I am proud to stand alongside Emily and Jeremy as they fight the General Election on 8thJune. With Labour’s commitment to build 500,000 council homes across the country, to introduce a real Living Wage of £10, to give the NHS the funding it needs and to tackle the crisis in social care – it is clear there is only one party that understands what matters most to working people in Islington.

I have written before about how damaging the Tories’ extreme hard Brexit would be for Islington. I fully support Labour’s demands for the rights of EU citizens living here to be protected, as well as ensuring access to the single market and protecting employment and environmental rights.

We need two Labour MPs for Islington to stand-up for local people. We need them to help us to challenge the Tories’ plans to force councils to sell-off council homes and to ban lifetime council tenancies. We need Emily and Jeremy to help us fight for fair funding for our local schools that will be hit by the Tories’ cuts to school budgets. We need a strong Labour team to fight the Tory cuts to the council.

Let’s not forget that the Tories finished second in both constituencies at the last General Election, so a vote for anyone other than Labour only helps the hard Brexit Tories.

On 8th June it’s a straight choice between Labour, on your side and making a difference, or the Tories and five more years of cuts and playing politics with our community.

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