On Monday, I held my usual surgery at Earlsfield Library. This was the first day of Parliament after the recess. It was also the 2nd Reading of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill. The bill highlights the Government’s determination to tackle anti-social behaviour and to cut crime, but also to ensure that the justice system is firmly on the side of the law-abiding citizen. The Bill proposes to review the law on self defence to ensure that people who act proportionately in defending themselves, others and their property are treated with respect by the justice system. It also brings forward an amendment to extend the offence of incitement to racial hatred to cover hatred against people on the basis of their sexual orientation amendments to strengthen protection of vulnerable children by placing the police, probation and prison services under a positive duty to consider the disclosure of information about convicted sex offenders to members of the public in all cases
As I am a Whip for the Justice Department and this is a “Justice Bill”, it was a particularly hectic day. The Bill was approved without the need for a vote.
On Tuesday, the Secretary of State for Health, Rt Hon Alan Johnson MP visited St Georges Hospital in response to my invitation to visit the Stroke Unit and meet key local stakeholders; including local GP’s, nurses, pharmacists, consultants, Trade Union representatives, patients and senior management of St Georges NHS Trust. I organised the visit so that the Secretary of State could hear first hand the issues that are affecting NHS staff in Tooting, both at St George’s and those who work for Wandsworth Primary Care Trust. To see a photo of me with Alan Johnson and one of St George’s ward Matron’s with a patient in the Stroke unit, click HERE.
I also visited Trinity Medical Centre on Balham High Road to meet GP’s and other staff to discuss a variety of issues that I am interested in seeing the progress of locally such as Choose and Book, Extended Hours, the new GP contract and other issues that are routinely raised with me. I was very impressed by the building and facilities offered at this practice as well as the commitment of all the staff. You can see a photo of Dr Shah and me by clicking HERE. I have agreed to take up the issues raised by the staff with the PCT and St Georges NHS Trust.
I also hosted a meeting at the House of Commons for local members of Tooting Labour Party. The main speaker was Health Minister, Ann Keen MP. Ann used to be a nurse and it was noted that this was probably the first time in History where a Government had a practising surgeon and a former nurse as Ministers in the Department of Health!
The meeting was really well received with Ann explaining the priorities of the new team over the coming period. You can see a photo of the meeting by clicking HERE
I often comment on the joy of living in and representing a diverse community like Tooting. On Saturday, thousands of local people celebrated the Muslim festival of Eid ul Fitr, which comes at the end of the Holy month of fasting, Ramadhan. The night before, I celebrated “Chand Raat” (eve of Eid) with local beauty clinic Sajna and raised loads of money for Breast Cancer. Staff at the salon put on a fantastic spread of food and drink and raised mony by doing henna hand painting. This is the second year running that the Tooting based salon has made a great contribution to breast cancer awareness. You can see a photo of us by clicking HERE.
On Saturday, afternoon I attended the opening of the Oasis Garden at St Mary’s Church in Balham. The garden was previously derelict and thanks to the hard work of the curator and local volunteers and a grant from Western Riverside Authority, the garden really now is an ”oasis” in the location. The Mayor officially opened the Garden and it was good to meet so many neighbours of the Church.