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My view from Westminster

Calling Twitter to account

01:18 pm, Wed 29th Oct 2014


Today in the House of Commons I raised a Point of Order to ask Speaker Bercow for his advice on how best to call Twitter to account for the abuse that has been directed at Luciana Berger MP via that medium.


In spite of a man having been jailed for abuse of Ms Berger the abuse has worsened and deepened in the same violent way. I suggested that if the medium was a newspaper the editor would be brought to the bar of the Commons to answer questions as John Junor was in 1957 and I asked the speaker for advice on how to handle cases relating to the internet for abuse against a member of this house continuing on daily basis.


John Bercow said that “the whole house will unite in concluding that the behaviour [to which Ms. Berger has been subjected] is despicable and beneath contempt” He added that “Decent people throughout the House and across the country will empathise entirely with the Hon. Lady and share my own assessment of the people responsible for this gratuitous abuse”.

A 21-year-old man named Garron Helm, of Litherland, Liverpool had been jailed for four weeks for sending an antisemitic tweet to Luciana Berger MP, the Liverpool Wavertree MP and Shadow Public Health Minister. The offending message showed a yellow star superimposed onto Ms. Berger's head and was accompanied by the hashtag ‘Hitler was right’. It labelled Ms. Berger a "communist Jewess" and read: "you can always trust a Jew to show their true colours eventually". He tweeted under the moniker "Aethewulf" which translated from Old English, means 'Noble Wolf'. Helm pleaded guilty to sending an offensive message. Upon searching his home, the police had found Nazi memorobilia and far-right paraphernalia. It was the first time charges have been brought in the UK over an antisemitic tweet.


As a result of the successful prosecution, a number of far-right websites began a campaign of hate to target Berger. She has been subjected to extreme racist and antisemitic tweets, threats of violence and death.


The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Against Antisemitism has been and will continue working with internet providers at home and abroad towards better systems of reporting and in efforts to combat cyber hate.


My call for Wanless report to be made available to Parliament

11:58 am, Fri 24th Oct 2014



I have today called on Theresa May to make the findings of the Wanless report available to be scrutinised by Parliament.

I tabled two written questions to the Home Office asking if and when the review would be released to MPs.


The report was announced by the Home Secretary in July and covers allegations that the Home Office failed to act on allegations of child sex abuse contained in a dosser compiled by former Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens.


Theresa May has now received the Wanless report detailing how the Home Office dealt with allegations of child abuse and I am calling on her to make the report available to Parliament.


The scale of historic child abuse and how it has been covered up is absolutely shocking. I have been working with journalists and other sources to uncover the truth. The Wanless report is an important part of that and elected Members of Parliament should now be able to review it and continue working to help the victims achieve justice.





Historic child abuse

10:20 am, Fri 24th Oct 2014



It is the biggest and most extraordinary scandal that I have ever seen or could ever imagine. Just last Friday, I heard two more cases of child sex abuse in Bassetlaw. One was a victim of Jimmy Savile, the other was horribly abused whilst they were in local children's homes. These victims have the right to remain anonymous and they will, but this is now, it’s on our doorsteps and in our communities. This is someone's neighbour, son or daughter, mother or brother. People you might work with or socialise with. And more keep coming forward. The spotlight is now on children's homes in our area.  It is everywhere and at last the hidden victims are speaking out.


I have been given evidence which I have already passed on, proving that the Home Office in London under Home Secretary, Leon Brittan investigated these matters. Yet the files have vanished. A now dead MP, Geoffrey Dickens passed on a file of an alleged paedophile ring involving MPs and others.


I have been shown evidence of two murders in Lambeth where the victim was about to speak out. I have been given lists from many sources, most highly credible, of names of prominent people involved. These allegations are as mind blowing as the lists of MPs and names of high profile people. It is a who’s who of politics. Some names are obscure and there are other names you would know.


I have put these lists together, but I know there is a vast amount of information still out there.  I have copied this to a few trusted others and its being acted upon. The trigger has already been pressed.


The last time I investigated this was when I was a councillor in Lambeth in 1988 and 1989 and nobody acted. I had no proof then, just rumours and I could only find small chinks of evidence. But those chinks were true and the police investigation was blocked on high. This is what the police have told me.


I managed to get action taken on council corruption, which was the main thrust of my investigation and lots of it was stopped. But I have returned to those chinks of evidence which indicated that there was a ring of prominent paedophiles and I am working with journalists to expose it.


If the police gave it the importance that the media have we would have had more arrests by now. I predict some arrests. So called honourable Members of Parliament will be held to public account.


But every alleged name will go before the two public inquiries already under way. The Dickens file is so convincing that I believe more victims will emerge and with that some justice and closure.  The sex abusers may run. But you cannot hide any longer. 


And in our community, it is time that we got our house in order. There are good people out there with information and I ask you to come forward. This scandal is a huge jigsaw with very many pieces and so many of those pieces lie there unrecognised, not understandable until they are put together. There are many people out there with one small fragment of the jigsaw. I will be doing my bit to help piece it all together



Welcome FCA decision on Wonga

11:34 am, Thu 2nd Oct 2014



I welcome today’s latest step by the FCA to crack down on irresponsible pay day lenders. Wonga has taken advantage of people in dire financial circumstances.


I am now calling on the Treasury Select Committee to bring Wonga’s senior management to appear before it and explain how they lent so much money to people it knew could never afford to repay it.


Today’s decision was taken following an investigation by the FCA into the pay day lenders’ relending rates. The investigation showed that it was not taking the necessary steps to ensure that customers could actually repay the money they were being lent.


As a result of today’s news approximately 330,000 people who were in arrears have had their loans totalling £220 million written off and they now owe Wonga nothing. Another 45,000 people who are in arrears of no more than 29 days will have the interest of their loans written.


Sadly, it comes as no surprise to learn that Wonga knowingly lent money to people who will never be able to afford to repay a loan and it is morally right that they have been forced to write off these loans.




Time to introduce a 'Rooney Rule'

05:24 pm, Wed 1st Oct 2014


I have today put forward a Parliamentary motion calling for the introduction of a “Rooney Rule” for English football.


The Rooney Rule is used in the NFL to ensure black and ethnic minority candidates are always represented in the interview process for head coaching positions.


We are missing out on a wealth of talent because black and ethnic minority candidates are underrepresented in top coaching positions.


Now is the time to learn from the success in the US and implement a rule for our national game which ensures that black and ethnic minority candidates get a chance to gain interview experience and a better chance of top management positions.


I am calling for all MPs to support my Parliamentary Motion and do what is right for candidates from all backgrounds and for English football.


The full Parliamentary Motion reads as follows:


"That this House believes that the extremely low number of black and ethnic minority managers means that English football is missing out on a great deal of talent; further notes the success of the Rooney Rule in ensuring that black and ethnic minority candidates are represented in the interview process for head coaching positions in the NFL; recognises that this has led to a welcome increase in the number of black and ethnic minority coaches in the NFL; and calls for the introduction of the Rooney Rule into English football with immediate effect to ensure that our national game becomes more representative of the wider society."





Success: Independent Review into Notts Child Abuse

04:48 pm, Wed 1st Oct 2014



I am delighted that following my request Nottinghamshire County Council has agreed to an ‘Independent Review of Historic Child Abuse in Former Residential Homes.'


I wrote to the County Council several weeks ago calling for such an investigation to be launched given the serious allegations that have been made.


 A number of people have come to me stating that they had been abused and their stories had been ignored by the people who were then in power.


 I look forward to working with the County Council on this issue and encourage those who have been abused to come forward.


Please click on the attached document to view the letter.


Independent Review

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