New Penge Labour MP Ellie Reeves pledges to “fight for local schools” and calls for swift Grenfell Tower enquiry in maiden speech
PUBLISHED: 16:02 12 July 2017 | UPDATED: 16:03 12 July 2017
The MP was voted in to the seat at last month’s general election
The new MP for Lewisham West and Penge has paid tribute to her predecessor while pledging to fight for school funding and work place rights at her maiden speech today.
Ellie Reeves won the seat at June 8’s election, keeping the seat under Labour control after former MP Jim Dowd announced his retirement once the election was called.
The former employment rights lawyer said in Parliament today: “I believe that a first rate education, excellent health care, decent housing and proper employment rights are essential to the prosperity
of us all.”
“Rather than condemn our constituents to a race to the bottom, we must offer them hope, and collectively ensure that our country is able to thrive, advance and progress, whilst no one is left behind.”
“I made a promise to my constituents that I would fight hard for our schools and our young people, and that’s exactly what I am going to do.”
Mrs Reeves paid tribute to her predecessor Jim Dowd’s 25 years of service as an MP, saying: “A lifelong resident of SE23, Jim stood up for our local services, good jobs and he represented his constituents with conviction on national issues. I know he will be greatly missed in this place.”
Speaking in the debate about the Grenfell Tower tragedy, Mrs Reeves, sister to former shadow works and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves, called for the public enquiry to be quick, transparent and with the full inclusion of the victims.
She added: “What seems clear to me is that what happened there, and in the aftermath, is symptomatic of a system that is broken. A system that neglects the poor and vulnerable; a system where cost effectiveness seems to have been put before health and safety; and a system that I have come into this place to change.”
Talking on Brexit, the new MP spoke of her determination to protect workers rights, saying: “I know, first hand, how many of our employment rights come from Europe, such as paid holiday, limits on working time and many of our discrimination laws. I will fight tooth and nail to prevent any compromise of those rights as we negotiate Britain’s exit from the European Union.”