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Thank you to local Shildon Town Councillor Dave Reynolds who has set up a petition in support of our campaign to save Stephen for removal. Stephen is a 19 year old young man who was trafficked to the UK and forced to work as a modern slave.

You can sign the petition here.

Last week I put forward a Parliamentary Question to the Home Secretary to ensure that we receive a timely response to my letter.

Helen backs local petition to support appeal for Shildon Asylum Seeker

Thank you to local Shildon Town Councillor Dave Reynolds who has set up a petition in support of our campaign to save Stephen for removal. Stephen is a 19 year...

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Shildon MP Helen Goodman wrote to Home Secretary Amber Rudd MP following the Home Office’s “grotesque” decision to refuse asylum to a survivor of child trafficking and modern slavery.

Stephen (not his real name), now aged 19, has had his application for Asylum and Humanitarian Protection refused. Following the death of his only relative when he was 8 years old Stephen was homeless and living on the streets of Vietnam forced to collect rubbish from the streets to survive. Aged 10 he was picked up by a criminal gang and trafficked to the UK where he was held and made to work as a slave.

Rescued at the age of 16 Stephen, with the support of his foster parents Reverend David and Davina Tomlinson, finished his education and applied for asylum in the UK. As a converted Christian Stephen would be at great risk of persecution in Vietnam, a one party communist state which recently adopted new law limiting freedom of religion. He would be expected to return without any familial support, only a school education and less than £50 in his pocket. Dismissing Stephen’s vulnerability the Home Office has just called no room at the inn.

David, who has been working in the Parish of Saint John's in Shildon since 2009 said:

“Stephen’s basic human rights have been trampled on, firstly by a cruel and disinterested communist state that allows its children to be abused by criminals, and secondly by the British state in reinforcing this by first rescuing, then discarding him. I believe we are a better nation than this and call on the Home Office to urgently review its procedures to allow the abused and marginalised to flourish. All Stephen wants to do is to work and to give back to this country who he considers has saved his life “

Helen Goodman MP said: “I am genuinely shocked by this decision and I wrote to the Home Secretary to urge her to intervene in this case. It is clear that the government’s current assessment of asylum applications by victims of trafficking and modern slavery is wholly inadequate. It is clear that if he is returned to Vietnam Stephen would once again become a victim of a state failure to protect his human rights – this time it would be the UK government letting him down.”

MP slams heartless Home Office 'no room at the inn' attitude

Shildon MP Helen Goodman wrote to Home Secretary Amber Rudd MP following the Home Office’s “grotesque” decision to refuse asylum to a survivor of child trafficking and modern slavery. Stephen...

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I'm proud to have co-written this report on why the government's power grab via Henry 8th powers is unacceptable.

They must listen to us. 

Helen co-writes report on Henry VIII Powers

I'm proud to have co-written this report on why the government's power grab via Henry 8th powers is unacceptable. They must listen to us. 

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I took the opportunity during the Leaving the EU Questions to remind the government of the necessity to ensure a sustainable future after Brexit for our Teesdale hill farmers who already face marginal incomes.


Leaving the EU: Finance
Commons Chamber: 26 October 2017


Helen Goodman MP

"The uplands have some of the most important environmental benefits in the country, but the farmers have extremely marginal incomes. Will the Minister therefore commit to making no cuts to the support for hill farmers in the uplands?"

 
George Eustice (Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra))

"We are doing quite a lot of analysis of sectors of the industry that could be affected by any future reform in agriculture policy. The hon. Lady is right to say that some farmers in the uplands are more financially vulnerable, and we are taking that into account. We have also been very clear that any change we implement would have a transition period to ensure that people can adjust."

Helen calls on government to continue support for Teesdale hill farmers

I took the opportunity during the Leaving the EU Questions to remind the government of the necessity to ensure a sustainable future after Brexit for our Teesdale hill farmers who...

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I met with my constituent, Michael Crow, to talk about the Guide Dogs campaign Access All Areas. This seeks a legal change so people can take guide dogs into buildings like shops and cafes. Following our meeting I wrote to the Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government. 

Almost half of guide dog owners surveyed by RNIB have experienced an access refusal in the last year with the most frequent examples being taxis, cafes and shops. It is essential that legal rights under the Equality Act 2010 are upheld as refusal can lead to embarrassment and social isolation for the visually impaired. The government must take action on this.

Secondly Michael raised with me the issue of problem pavement parking which affects 90% of people with visually impairment. As promised I met with Transport Minister Jesse Norman MP last night to raise Michael's concerns. Worryingly a YouGov survey showed over half of motorists had considered the problems pavement parking would cause to pedestrians, but had chosen to do so regardless. It is therefore clear that legislative change needs to happen. A clear standardised law across the country would give local authorities real power to tackle pavement parking, in line with Greater London and I pressed the Minister to take vital action to tackle this issue.

Helen pledges her support to Access All Areas campaign

I met with my constituent, Michael Crow, to talk about the Guide Dogs campaign Access All Areas. This seeks a legal change so people can take guide dogs into buildings...

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I took the opportunity during the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill debate to ask for new planning rules to increase the number of electric charging points.

We really have to cut our car emissions if we are to tackle climate change effectively. So last month I decided to do my bit by buying an electric car. I was pleased I could get a locally made Nissan Leaf.

However, if the government really wants to encourage people to make the switch they need to increase the number of charging points. So I challenged Ministers in Parliament to make sure they are installed in all new housing estates, at railway stations and all publicly owned car parks, as in France.

You can watch my intervention on Parliament TV.

Helen challenges Transport Minister to improve access to electric charging points

I took the opportunity during the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill debate to ask for new planning rules to increase the number of electric charging points. We really have to...

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I took the opportunity during today’s Defence Questions to tackle the Minister on speculation about the future of HMS Bulwark.

HMS Bulwark has many County Durham associations including with the Cathedral, Bishop Hospital and Forest-Teesdale School.

I asked the Minister “People in County Durham will be very alarmed that the future of HMS Bulwark is in question. She is one of the country’s two newest amphibious transport docks, the fleet flagship and has been rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean. Surely this is a false economy?”

Disappointingly the Minister failed to provide any reassurance on the future of HMS Bulwark despite support for my question coming from his own Tory MPs.

You can watch my Question on Parliament TV

Helen questions Defence Minister over future of HMS Bulwark

I took the opportunity during today’s Defence Questions to tackle the Minister on speculation about the future of HMS Bulwark. HMS Bulwark has many County Durham associations including with the...

Universal credit is being rolled out in Bishop, Shildon and Spenny over Christmas. Tonight I will vote for this to be paused. It means some people will have no money for six weeks. The Tories just don't care that it pushes people into debt, poverty and eviction. To join Labour's campaign against Universal Credit rollout pl get in touch on Facebook

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Halt Universal Credit until it is fixed

Universal credit is being rolled out in Bishop, Shildon and Spenny over Christmas. Tonight I will vote for this to be paused. It means some people will have no money...

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I came to Middleton to find out about the Post Office situation. From Nov there'll be a service on Wednesday and Friday afternoons but if someone wanted to run it permanently full time that would be better.

Middleton-in-Teesdale Post Office closure

I came to Middleton to find out about the Post Office situation. From Nov there'll be a service on Wednesday and Friday afternoons but if someone wanted to run it...

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I was very pleased to open the Bishop heritage rail trail on Saturday, October 14th. It was a really fascinating morning walking round and seeing the sights of old rail and bicycle factory. Congratulations on this excellent piece of work and did you know hourly service from Bishop to Darlo starts again in December!!!

Helen opens new Heritage Rail Trail

I was very pleased to open the Bishop heritage rail trail on Saturday, October 14th. It was a really fascinating morning walking round and seeing the sights of old rail...

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