It was my distinct pleasure to welcome Pakistan Minister for Defense, Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan and former Speaker Dr. Fehmida Mirza to dinner last night.
It was a really enjoyable evening, with a fascinating discussion about security challenges in South Asia, Kashmir, human rights, trade and Brexit.
Last week was another very productive week in the European Parliament! Last week, the usual committee meetings and votes, but here's what else I've done.
It was good to catch up with David Miliband to hear about his role as head of the International Rescue Committee - talked about human rights, particularly in relation to Myanmar and Kashmir.
Labour MEPs met with UK Permanent Representative to the EU Sir Tim Barrow to talk about ongoing Brexit negotiations ahead of December's European Council meeting.
I met with representatives of the Channel Islands to discuss Brexit and working together for better tax transparency.
North West Regional Labour Conference and a mission to talk about human rights in Saudi Arabia - it's been a busy week!
Here's what I've been working on for you this week:
I spoke at North West Regional Labour conference in Blackpool about Brexit and the disastrous scenario that No Deal would be.
I took part in official European Parliament missions to Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka. In Riyadh I met with the UK Ambassador as well as the Saudi Foreign Minister and spoke about women's empowerment, human rights and the ongoing crisis in Yemen.
Yesterday I stood up for Women who are victims of Domestic Violence in Jess Phillips MP Westminster Hall debate
I highlighted the shocking statistics facing women escaping domestic violence and highlighted the fantastic work of women's refuges in Lancashire
"In the north-west last year there were 140,000 reported incidents of domestic violence, and some of those women are most at risk when they take a step to leave—that is when they need us; that is when they need a refuge. Last year in my constituency 359 women benefited from the refuge service, as did 761 children.
I always view every Government policy, every announcement with a Burnley/Padiham filter. How will this affect my constituents is always the question and last week’s budget was no different. I don’t know what was more surprising or rather shocking: what the Chancellor said or what he didn’t.
Beginning with what he did say: Economic growth is down and is forecast to go down further for the next three years. Productivity is down and falling. The deficit which we were told would be wiped out by 2015 is still with us.
As the 30th anniversary of Black History Month comes to an end, Islamophobia Awareness month begins. It’s a month that should remind us of the continuous struggles Muslims go through on a daily basis. As a black muslim both months are significant to me, they remind me of the barriers I face, one due to the colour of my skin, and the other due to the god that I worship. Nevertheless, this month shouldn’t be marked by simply highlighting the levels of Islamophobia in our society, but by looking at how governmental policies have fueled the shocking levels, and putting forward objective solutions to eradicate Islamophobia from our society.
We are now bang in the middle of the Conference season and this week it is the turn of the Labour Party. As I begin to write this column I am on my way to Brighton with every intention of playing a full part in what promises to be a very exciting Conference. The Labour Party is the biggest political party in Europe and this year will be our biggest Conference ever. Thousands of members will attend along with representatives of every profession, business and cause known to man.
This year, Young Labour are putting on a packed programme of events for young members on the Sunday of Annual Conference, full of fringes, workshops, and debates, as well as sessions running throughout the week.
For more information about Labour Party Annual Conference 2017, visit http://www.labour.org.uk/pages/annual-conference-2017.
In September, Labour members in Lewisham will select our candidate for Mayor. I'm delighted to be shortlisted. But I’m disappointed that in one of the most diverse communities in the country, I’m the only BAME candidate.
Labour is the party of equality and we have led the way in increasing representation of black and minority ethnic communities in Parliament. But as a party, we need to up our game in local government. In London – the most diverse city in the world – there are just 4 BAME leaders in our 32 boroughs.
"I just don't believe trans people are a real thing. We should make them start hunting and foraging for their own food and see whether they still care about what gender they are then".
I sat in shock and looked out of the train window. I could see over the tops of the seats the man who was spouting his disgusting opinions, loudly for the whole train to hear. I felt like crying. I wanted to get up and shout at him, but I couldn’t muster the strength.