Karen Buck – What this Election is about
It’s about our future relationship with Europe- but much more besides
Here in Westminster North, electors voted to ‘remain’ by a margin of more than two to one. Since then local people have never stopped expressing their concerns to me- about the risk to jobs, businesses and prosperity of a ‘hard Brexit’ or, worse, ending up in 2 years with no deal at all, facing tariffs and other trade barriers with our nearest neighbours and biggest trade partner. I think Brexit- and in particular the most extreme and damaging version now being pushed- out of the single market, out of the customs union- is bad for our economy and our country. I understand, too, the reasons that drove many people to vote ‘leave’- but of course no-one, whichever side they were on last year, voted to be poorer as a result.
Many people have been horrified by the plight of EU residents here and Britons living in Europe, who have built their lives on a foundation that’s now been removed from under them. These people should not become ‘bargaining chips’ in the EU negotiations. They deserve to have their positions settled as a matter of urgency. Sadly, there has also been a rise in hate crime and intolerance since last year; totally out of keeping with our values as an open, safe and diverse city, and that is something we can unite against and declare wholly unacceptable.
I voted against the triggering of the Article 50 Bill in Parliament because I was not prepared to accept the risks that Brexit poses for local people, who had, after all, decisively rejected this outcome.
Since the referendum I have also been supporting the case for:
- Maintenance of barrier-free access to the single market;
- Retaining all the rights – workers’, environmental and human – we currently enjoy as members of the EU;
- The rights of EU residents in this country;
- A close, collaborative future partnership with the EU;
- A meaningful vote on the final deal at the end of the Article 50 negotiations- not a ‘take it or leave it’ vote which is no real choice
The Tories used their Commons majority to vote down our amendments to the Article 50 Bill, but I will continue to press these demands and to oppose a hard Brexit.
Let be me clear, if the deal which will be negotiated over the coming 2 years does not deliver for the people of this country I will vote against it.
I’m willing to fight this election on the question of Europe and the crucial importance of not allowing what happens next to be waved through Parliament by an anti-European Conservative party.
But I also want it to be about more than that.
A society such as ours should be able to guarantee a decent quality of life for all and to make the investment- in educating our young people as much as in homes and transport- which will lay the foundations for the future. Of course, as the Conservatives have already threatened, turning us into a global tax haven and slashing protection for workers and consumers will permanently cut our ability to deliver decent services and support for the vulnerable. We must not go down that path. But even before we face any such choices, there are still decisions we can make about which way we want to go as a country.
Spending cuts hit schools for the first time in decades
Government plans to move education funding away from London, together with a funding squeeze overall, will take £7 million out of Westminster school budgets. Not every school is equally hard hit but many primary and secondary schools will lose huge sums. Westminster secondary school heads have written to me to warn, “many of the gains made in Westminster Schools will be at risk”.
London’s deepening housing crisis
Homelessness has risen 130% since 2010. That was not inevitable – in the previous ten years under Labour it fell by three quarters. But this is only the worst symptom of the housing crisis, which sees developers building luxury blocks for sale overseas, while local people cannot afford to rent or buy anything in the borough.
The government will not build affordable homes, will not give meaningful help to lower income people seeking to get onto the housing ladder and will not tackle the high rents and low standards in the private rented sector. All around we can see evidence of luxury flats under construction whilst long-term residents, including many doing the work that keeps the city going, are being priced out.
Our health and social care services
This has been the worst winter for the NHS in many years, as it suffers the biggest financial squeeze in its history. The Imperial Hospital Trust was deeply in deficit in 2016, and I am hearing more and more stories of lengthening waits and cancellations. The deep cuts to social care for elderly and disabled people – down by a third in Westminster – are trapping people in hospitals who should be able to be cared for at home, and this has backed up into problems across the whole hospital service.
And there are lots of specific local issues too.
As your MP I have never stopped campaigning and assisting local people with their concerns. In the last year alone I have responded to over 6000 problems or policy enquiries. And in the last two years I have worked on issues from the threatened closure of St John’s Wood Post Office to the ending of all council funding for Westminster’s youth service and after-school clubs, from fly-tipping to air quality, from basement excavations to the impact of short-lets and from support for our Safer Neighbourhood Police Teams to help for people facing the loss of disability benefits.
I’ll be out talking to residents from now till polling day, but you don’t have to wait until I knock on your door, though. Let me know about what matters most to you – I’ll be pleased to hear from you!
Karen Buck MP
Promoted by Andy Whitley on behalf of Karen Buck, both at 4g Shirland Mews, W9
Karen Buck – Launching the 2017 General Election Campaign in Westminster North
I am honoured to have received the trust and support of residents here in North Westminster as your Member of Parliament.
At the General Election on 8 June I will stand as a strong voice for our community, helping thousands of residents every year with issues and problems through my constituency work.
We’ve had a Conservative government since 2010, a Conservative Council since 1963 and a Conservative Mayor of London from 2008 until last year. Now Theresa May has called this election – having promised not to – to try and pack Parliament with Conservatives to do whatever they want, over Brexit and many other policies.
- The worst possible outcome from leaving the EU, damaging jobs and businesses, bringing economic uncertainty and already putting a squeeze on living standards
- Going ahead with deep cuts to school budgets, hitting London schools hardest
- Running down our NHS with longer waits for hospital treatment – having already slashed home care for older and disabled people
- Deepening the housing crisis – building more and more luxury flats while local people can’t afford a home to rent or buy, worsening homelessness (already up by 130% since 2010)
It is more important than ever that we have the balance of a Labour MP fighting in the interests of North Westminster residents – and only a Labour vote here can stop the Conservatives.
I’m looking forward to meeting you in the coming weeks, but please get in touch if you’d like to help with my campaign.
020 8964 4848 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Promoted by Andy Whitley on behalf of Karen Buck, both at 4g Shirland Mews, W9 3DY
Karen Buck wins Westminster North
Karen Buck has been re-elected Member of Parliament for Westminster North
Karen Buck – Labour – 18,504
Lindsey Hall – Conservative – 16,537
UKIP – 1,489
Lib Dem – 1,457
Green – 1,322
Christian Party – 152
Independent – 63
Karen increased her share of the vote by 2.9% to 46.8%
Karen Buck calls for an end to the ‘shameful’ exodus of the poor from London
The ‘Independent’ reports that Labour is calling for a radical overhaul of housing policy in London after the newspaper revealed that 50,000 homeless families have been pushed out of the capital.
Sadiq Khan, Labour’s shadow London minister has called on the next mayor of London to “conduct a root and branch review of housing in London if we are to end this scandal”.
Karen Buck, who was the Labour MP for Westminster North, warned that the exodus of poor families was a danger to the prosperity of the city:
“Cities have to be mixed, not just for social and moral reasons, but because someone needs to do the low-paid jobs.”
Ms Buck warned that action must be taken before a tragedy occurs to a vulnerable adult or child being moved out of an area and then slipping through the welfare cracks.
Promoted by Andy Whitley on behalf of Karen Buck both at 4g Shirland Mews, London W9 3DY
The Wood & Vale spends an afternoon on the campaign trail with Karen Buck
IT’S hard to get a word in edgeways with Karen Buck. Despite our best efforts during the sunny Friday afternoon I spent following her on campaign, it was impossible to spend more than two minutes with the Labour MP without someone interrupting.
Out in Harrow Road at least Karen Buck is a local celebrity.
On every street corner we meet at least one person who comes up to her with a concern about the area, be it about market stalls blocking the pavement or anti-social behaviour, everyone in the area seems to know her.
And, unusually for a politician, they seem happy to see her.
Despite the intrusion, Karen insists she “loves it”: “I find the community angle of doing an MP’s job is the part that I love most.”
“I think the community is fantastic, I have a great relationship with the local Labour councillors, they are a brilliant team so that makes a lot of difference”, she adds.
She takes me to Maida Hill Market opposite the Prince of Wales pub, which she is campaigning to prevent becoming a betting shop, and says when she took over as MP in 1997 there were drug deals going on in broad daylight. Eighteen years on it is a quiet, small, if a bit shabby market just selling fruit, vegetables and a bit of street food. This is why Karen is so keen to save the Prince of Wales, which was shut down in November after its publican was arrested for rape – though she herself admits the pub was “horrible” when it was open.
She points to the two other betting shops already operating on either side and says the area, already one of the most deprived parts of her constituency, could fall back into being “a no-go area”.
Karen bristles with indignation when she discusses the inequalities in the constituency.
When we meet she tells me that Westminster borough has the highest number of rented properties of any place in the UK; two-thirds of its residents do not own their own homes.
It is these issues that drove her into politics, she says.
“My entire adult life I have felt like that if the world needs to be changed then we all need to play a part in changing it.
“And I have always felt the incredible need to be part of it,” she says
“I feel like I am one of a team, and the changes we made, whether it was in Westminster North or in Britain as a whole, I think we made because we were a Labour government, not because of the individuals within it.”
Karen is the biggest cheerleader for Labour’s record in government and she is still sticking to the line that the financial crash wasn’t Labour – despite even her boss Ed Miliband admitting “mistakes were made”.
“Yes, we lost very badly in 2010 election but that was because of a global economic crisis – that we happened to be in government at the time of the crash,” she insists.
“I am absolutely crystal clear that crisis happened across the world and was a banking-led crisis and didn’t happen because the Labour government spent too much money on Sure Start programmes and local policing teams.”
She attacked the criticisms by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats saying “they were going to match our spending up until the crisis”.
Karen’s campaign has less polish than her Conservative challenger Lindsey Hall’s.
On the Friday afternoon I spent with her at least there were no shiny, happy, energetic young activists trailing her but experienced Labour councillors, Queen’s Park’s Patricia McAllister, and Guthrie McKie and Ruth Bush who represent Harrow Road ward.
But this makes her campaign feel more authentic, less stage-managed and less glossy.
While on the doorstep people offer her problems to solve, rather than pronouncements, and seem to genuinely want to hear what she had to say.
Karen’s campaign is one of continuity rather than change, but judging by her warm reception, the people of Harrow Road at least, think that may not be a bad thing.
Promoted by Andy Whitley on behalf of Karen Buck both at 4g Shirland Mews, London W9 3DY
From the Wood & Vale – 16th April 2015
They say “all politics is local” and next month’s General Election is no different.
I make no apologies for being a fully paid up member of the Karen Buck fan club. I have known Karen for over 30 years as a community campaigner in the 1980s, as a Queen’s Park Councillor from 1990-1997 and as our Labour Member of Parliament for the past 18 years.
Everywhere I go in Westminster North I meet people whose lives have been helped by Karen Buck’s actions – on local housing, on local health services, with immigration and asylum issues and so much more.
Environmental issues are forever high on Karen’s agenda, whether it be campaigns to deal with overflowing refuse bins and dumped furniture, calls for 20mph speed limits on residential roads or action to save local pubs from being closed and turned into yet more luxury flats and betting shops.
Karen has built strong and positive working with the local police and knows how important it is for action to be taken swiftly against anti-social behaviour and other crimes that afflict local communities. Importantly, she has helped build bridges between the police and local communities which has benefitted everyone.
In a multi-cultural community like Westminster, community cohesion is of vital importance to us all. Karen is in regular touch with the huge breadth and range of local communities that have made Westminster North their home over recent decades.
Going canvassing door to door with Karen Buck is a joy. You just have to mention that you are calling on behalf of Karen Buck and people’s eyes light up. Tell them that Karen is in their street or on their landing right now and they want to repeat their thanks for past help even though it might have been many years ago.
Karen has always reached out beyond her natural supporters. She has argued consistently in Parliament for new laws to ban the ‘iceberg’ basements that make life a misery for residents of St. John’s Wood, Bayswater and Lancaster Gate – working closely with her Conservative neighbour Mark Field MP to present a cross party call for action.
At the end of the day I, like everyone else, want a Member of Parliament who gets things done, who is fearless in speaking up for Westminster North and who is prepared to go ‘the extra mile’ for local residents.
Of course, the big national issues – NHS, jobs, housing, the economy – are all vital issues that need to be addressed by the candidates. Karen’s views on all these have been rehearsed regularly in the Wood & Vale over many years. No one can be in doubt that she is on the side of local residents against the powerful and unaccountable.
Yes, “all politics is local” and Labour’s Karen Buck is the local choice for me – and I hope for you, too!
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Leader of the Labour Group
Westminster City Council
Promoted by Andy Whitley on behalf of Karen Buck MP both at 4g Shirland Mews W9 3DY