If you didn’t know, most Wednesdays, Members of Parliament (MP’s) gather in the House of Commons and have the opportunity to ask the Prime minister questions about many issues particularly issues relating to their constituencies and local community. So here at London 360 we bring you the London questions and the Prime Ministers response.
Dawn Butler Labour Co-operative MP for Brent Central brought in to Parliament’s attention five tragic stabbings that occurred in the capital. Butler mentioned that she would be meeting the deputy mayor of London next week and asked the prime minister for a meeting with her, the Deputy mayor of London, other MP’s and her borough commander to talk about the issue of knife crime. The MP for Brent Central also asked for The Sycamore Project, which is an organisation that wants to be rolled out throughout the country to be included in the talks. The PM responded with condolences for the victims and stressed the importance of the issue for cities like London and she mentioned that she would be happy to meet and further investigate The Sycamore Project.
Dawn Butler requesting a meeting with the Prime Minister with other stakeholders is a good and appropriate response to the normalised but horrific reality that young people are being violently murdered and injured on our streets. However one wonders what this meeting can meaningfully achieve. It seems as if the issue of knife crime is an unending one for London. At the end of last year, the Evening Standard had reported that knife crime in the capital had surged in comparison with the statistics from 2014. The causes of the surge have been attributed to the fact that, increasingly stabbings are not being reported by the victims as there are still taboos and genuine fears against retaliation for ‘snitching’ as well as the misguided belief amongst some that carrying a knife will be a defense, when statistics show that it makes you more likely to be a victim. So we’ve got a diagnosis, why haven’t we been able to come up with the medicine? There are many underlying issues that facilitate the cause of the surge including poverty, distrust between communities and the police and a community’s lack of trust in the police’s ability to protect them. This is a multi-layered issue that is not going to be solved overnight as it desperately needs thoughtful long-term consideration. Hopefully this meeting is a continuation and an assessment of an already existing long-term strategy or if not it should be the start.
James Berry Conservative MP for Kingston and Surbiton asked the prime minister for confirmation for highly skilled, EU nationals who have settled in his constituency who work at Kingston University and Kingston Hospital would continue to be welcomed in the UK after we leave the EU. The Prime minister responded with affirming her governments commitment to bringing net migration down whilst stressing the UK’s openness to the ‘brightest and the best’ from the EU.
It is now taken as gospel that the referendum on EU membership was also a referendum on immigration. Which explains the current governments commitment to bring net migration down and the reassessment from all major parties on their policies on this issue. As Berry points out these highly skilled EU nationals majorly contribute to the economy of his constituency. This is of course true of any constituency throughout London and the UK and their right to remain should not be in jeopardy. No other major economy makes its economic and trade decisions based on its immigration commitments. Of course it is a relief that Theresa May has given these reassurances, the fact that reassurances are necessary is what gives rise to concern.
Check in next Wednesday to see what #LONDONASKS.