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This has been one of the most difficult and distressing weeks I have experienced in parliament. 

The debate and vote to trigger Article 50 and begin the process of leaving the EU has dominated business. At the start of the debate, which ran over Tuesday and Wednesday, Labour’s spokesperson, Keir Starmer, explained how painful the Labour party, with our long internationalist tradition, is finding the process. There is a real feeling of sadness on the Labour benches.


I’ve written at length this week about my decision to abstain in the vote that took place on Wednesday, and to fight hard during the remaining stages of the bill’s passage through parliament for improvements that can protect the interests of my constituents. If you haven’t already seen it, you can read my speech and my explanation of what I’ll be doing next here: http://www.kategreen.org/latest_brexit_update.


Meanwhile, the European Scrutiny Committee, of which I’m a member, had a very interesting session with the former ambassador to the EU, Sir Ivan Rogers, who controversially resigned over the Christmas holiday. You can watch the session on parliament TV at http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/0d6145fa-5329-426d-8300-8eda8f215184


Brexit wasn’t the only event in parliament this week to cause anger and dismay on the Labour benches. On Monday, we devoted over 4 hours to discussing President Trump’s outrageous decision to ban nationals from 7 countries from entering the US, something which Labour utterly opposes. Along with our strong criticism of the President, MPs queued up to complain about the disgraceful and feeble response of the UK government.


It isn’t good enough for Boris Johnson to come to parliament and deny that this policy discriminates against Muslims. The seven countries affected have largely Muslim populations. It’s wrong for the Prime Minister and the government to continue to cosy up to Trump, and appalling that he’s to be afforded a state visit. And if Boris Johnson can’t understand that discrimination, prejudice and fuelling hatred against particular groups replicates exactly how the appalling actions of the Nazis against Jews started in the 1920s and 1930s, he’s being wilfully, wickedly blind to the danger of this situation. You can read a transcript of his statement to parliament and the subsequent debate at: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2017-01-30/debates/70D7676A-311F-4EA2-9425-C0B1B4443A26/USImmigrationPolicy#contribution-94401B1E-0928-4C05-96D6-1EAEDDFE635A.


At least, in a week of such darkness and religious intolerance, it did give me pleasure to join MPs of all parties in supporting World Hijab Day.


Another group of people who suffer repeated stigma and discrimination (and were also persecuted by the Nazis) are Gypsies, Roma and Travellers. I’m a member of the all-party group of MPs that campaign for fair treatment for this group, and on Wednesday, I was very pleased to introduce a short debate on their disproportionate representation and poor experiences in the youth justice system. Astonishingly, the government doesn't actually know exactly how many young Gypsies and Travellers are in youth custody institutions, because they don’t collect the information. I’m pressing for proper monitoring of this group, and will be keeping up the pressure on the minister. You can read a transcript of the debate at https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2017-02-01/debates/E4E42C1C-0552-4F98-A6A5-A17483F5960C/YouthJusticeSystemGypsiesAndTravellers#contribution-90622F21-891E-47A1-97EE-CFBAE7CE13EC.


I also spent time in parliament this week on a committee which is considering a bill to implement the Istanbul Convention on tackling violence against women and girls into UK law. And I’m delighted to report on this one that we’re making progress. The minister gave a positive response to the bill, and it now proceeds to its next parliamentary stages. I’m hoping the UK will be fully signed up to this international convention in the near future.


Dealing with so many difficult, distressing matters in Westminster made being back on the constituency last Friday a special pleasure. Huge thanks to St Matthews Primary which, along with Moss Park Infants, are becoming a Unicef ‘Rights Respecting’ school, and who showed me all the work they were doing for their Rights Week. This is a great initiative which the children clearly really like, which introduces young people to notions of respect for and the rights of one another. The children had some great ideas about what that means in practice, and I very much enjoyed meeting them.

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I was also pleased to meet the heads of the Catholic primary schools in my constituency, to discuss their concerns about the government’s proposed changes to the schools funding formula. In Trafford, some schools gain, but many lose, and I’m doing all I can to fight the unfair changes. In the next few weeks, I’ll be meeting heads of other primary and secondary schools, and I’m also very keen to head from parents, teachers and governors. More information about what the new formula could mean for your local school, and information about my campaign, are at http://www.kategreen.org/kate_s_campaign_against_school_cuts.


Finally, thanks and congratulations to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women’s Association for the invitation to your charity fayre last Sunday. The Association has been doing great work in raising money for local charities, including Stretford foodbank. Thank you to everyone involved for such a warm welcome, and for all your efforts.

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A difficult week - but we can't let discrimination and hatred Trump tolerance and respect

This has been one of the most difficult and distressing weeks I have experienced in parliament. 

 bigconvologowithkate.pngKate is inviting local residents to come and chat with her about issues which matter to them as part of her Big Conversation. 

Kate’s Big Conversations are a series of events she is hosting in February which are open to all who live and work in her constituency.

There will be a mix of question and answer sessions, themed discussions, and just a chance to come and have a chat so that Kate can hear firsthand the views of everyone locally.

Kate will be talking about everything from care of the elderly to Breixt, from educational opportunities for young people to air pollution and our local environment.

The events will be held on:

Saturday 11th February, 10.30am – 12 noon, Rainbow Café, Partington (focusing on issues affecting the community in Partington)

Wednesday 15th February, 3pm – 4.30pm, Stretford Leisure Centre main site (an event for local voluntary sector and community organisations to discuss their work and what’s needed in Trafford)

Wednesday 15th February, 7pm – 8.30pm, Stretford Leisure Centre main site (an event for the community to come and discuss Brexit matters)

March 2017 – an event for young people to discuss the issues that matter to them and a forum for the community to discuss health and social care matters will take place next month (dates TBC).

Kate said, “As your local MP, it’s my job to listen to your concerns and, where I can, answer your questions and raise issues in parliament on your behalf.

“That’s why I’m hosting a series of Big Conversations to hear from as many residents as possible about what’s affecting people across my constituency.

“The Big Conversations are on a whole range of topics, in a variety of locations, so I look forward to having a chat with as many residents as possible.”

If you’d like to attend one of these events or would like any further information then please let me know by e-mailing kate.green.mp@parliament.uk or telephoning 0161 749 9120.

Kate invites residents to take part in Big Conversation

 Kate is inviting local residents to come and chat with her about issues which matter to them as part of her Big Conversation. 

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The Government’s European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill passed its Second Reading in the House of Commons on 1st February by a majority vote of 384.

I abstained from voting on the Bill as I am not prepared to vote to trigger the process of our leaving the EU without assurance of the consequences for my constituents. The Bill, in its current form, does nothing to acknowledge concerns raised by constituents on both sides of this most important and far-reaching of debates. The vote took place before the government's White Paper on Exiting the EU was presented, so MPs had to vote without any real information about the government's strategy and I could not take such a leap into the dark for my constituents.

I voted to oppose the programme motion, which is the Government’s timetable for debating a Bill at each of its stages.  A mere three days of debate next week when we can table amendments to try and improve this Bill, before it heads off to the House of Lords, is simply insufficient. To have just five days of debate and scrutiny on legislation which will directly impact on every aspect of our lives and the lives of future generations is extraordinary and, I believe, reckless. 

You can read the transcript of my contribution to the debate in Parliament, in which I set out my position, at the following link: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2017-01-31b.889.2.  

Hundreds of amendments to the Bill have been tabled by MPs from different parties, and I have already added my support to a number of those which I feel best incorporate the concerns that have been raised with me. We do not know which amendments will get selected for debate next week but those I have supported would help address some of those concerns, many of which I share. However, I will not vote for a bad deal that will risk making life harder and poorer for my constituents, and if the Bill is not significantly improved by the time it returns to the Commons for final approval, then I will vote against it.  

I am holding an event to discuss Brexit matters on the 15th February between 7 and 8.30pm at Stretford Leisure Centre. This is part of a series of ‘Big Conversation’ events I am holding throughout the constituency to hear people’s views on particular issues. If you would like to attend this event and have not yet informed me of your intention to do so, then please contact my office on 1016 749 9120 or e-mail kate.green.mp@parliament.uk.  

Best wishes,

Kate

Update on Article 50 vote

The Government’s European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill passed its Second Reading in the House of Commons on 1st February by a majority vote of 384.

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