Seema Malhotra MP

Labour and Co-Operative Member of Parliament for Feltham and Heston

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Seema Malhotra MP recently obtained figures on the numbers of students potentially threatened by tougher restrictions on travel. 

The figures, 13,000 plus a further 10,000 from the Erasmus plus programme in the most recent year available, came through a parliamentary answer@E is a European Union programme to facilitate study and education for people from different European Union countries.

Concern over the effect on young people of leaving the European Union was behind ones of Seema's amendments to the Bill, which was defeated by the government. 

In her speech on the Bill, Seema said: "They are our future, and we have a stake in their success, too. The way we conduct this debate and make decisions, the language we use and the way we design in relationship-building between young people across borders will be a gift we give to the next generation. That is why I am tabling amendments that call on the Government to set priorities for young people in their negotiations, retaining the rights and opportunities for young people to work, study and travel visa-free if they are under 25, so that they do not become worse off than their European counterparts."

Students Threatened by Brexit

Seema Malhotra MP recently obtained figures on the numbers of students potentially threatened by tougher restrictions on travel. 

Seema Malhotra MP Speaking in Parliament 

Seema Malhotra MP has spoken on Israel and Palestine in Parliament, using a Backbench business debate on Israeli settlements to do so. 

The debate took place on Thursday 9 February 2016.  Seema called for "renewed international talks and the need to focus on the issue of children and education in Palestine; and, secondly, to recognise the contribution of associations such as the Britain-Palestine Friendship and Twinning Network here, and also those in the Middle East, that do vital work".

Seema Speaks on Israel and Palestine

  Seema Malhotra MP has spoken on Israel and Palestine in Parliament, using a Backbench business debate on Israeli settlements to do so. 

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Last week MPs voted to allow the Article 50 Bill a second reading and this week we begin Committee Stage. Over the next two days, around 200 proposed new clauses and amendments will be debated.

 

The vote for article 50 last week was not a blank cheque. It must be for the House and the country to be consulted and for there to be a meaningful vote on the final deal. This Bill has been tightly written to limit the ability of MPs to amend it, but it is clear that the views of MPs will not be silenced.

To this effect I have tabled an amendment – New Clause 168 - which would require the Government to establish a National Convention of representatives across of levels of Government, regions and sectors, to meet and produce a report recommending negotiating priorities, to better reflect the needs of the regions of the UK.

 

The Convention would include elected mayors, representatives of local government, MEPs, and representatives from the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly of Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly. It would also include a wider set of voices each with an important contribution to make to the debate, including universities and higher education, business organisations, trade unions and trade bodies and other representatives of civil society.

 

The Referendum in many ways demonstrated the alienation that many people feel from politics as a whole. The result split the country down the middle. Seven out of ten 18-24 year olds voted remain, while two-thirds of the over-65s voted Leave.  Cities seemed to vote remain while small towns and rural areas voted to leave. 

 

Yesterday in my constituency I held a round table with people who voted Leave and those who voted Remain. Aged from people in their twenties to people in their eighties, it was a useful and engaging discussion which addressed the choices and dilemmas ahead.

 

Many still said that they felt neither they nor others they knew really understood what the implications were or what the risks might be. They wanted more information, and they wanted more debate. One person asked me what Article 50 was.

 

People had a vote in a Referendum but going forward there is no forum for people to understand and engage together. The National Convention I am proposing fills an important gap. It gives the English cities and regions a voice alongside Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in a strong national conversation about where we go next. It recognises and harnesses the expertise of our councillors and the vast insights and experience of our MEPs.

 

Brexit will have differential effects on different communities, sectors, regions and nations. The needs of farmers in Cornwall and Cumbria will be different from software engineers in Manchester but those differences should be shared and should be understood. In evidence to the Brexit Select Committee on which I sit, David Davis also admitted that “we haven’t done enough yet on the regional engagement”.

 

Many of us were deeply disappointed with the quality of the referendum debate. The setting up of the National Convention will help to inform and shape a mature national debate during the coming months.

 

This amendment is an opportunity and a test for the Government. If they are serious about a Brexit that works for everyone this is an opportunity to take the discussion out of Whitehall and engage the country. It there is one thing that the debate and referendum outcome has taught us, it is that people want to be listened to.

 

This also a blog in the New Statesman.  

Why everyone should get a say in Brexit negotiations

Last week MPs voted to allow the Article 50 Bill a second reading and this week we begin Committee Stage. Over the next two days, around 200 proposed new clauses...


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