Newsletter of Bob Blackman - MP for Harrow East 
Since the last edition I have,

 ~  continued my schedule of street surgeries around Harrow East, knocking on doors and finding out about the issues that matter to you.

 ~ paid tribute to those who died in the Great War with a visit to Harrow Weald Cemetary and the grave of Leefe Robinson VC, who famously shot down a zeppelin from a single pilot plane.

 ~ met with Vaishnav Sangh Trustees to discuss the proposed Temple in North West London.
 ~ joined Gurudev Dr. Rajeshji and around 500 guests at the International Siddhashram Shakti Centre (ISSC) to celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna. Minesh Patel of Law Partnership Solicitors on behalf of ISSC handed over a cheque for £2,501.00, which was the amount raised for the Philippines Typhoon in 2013. 
  ~   paid a visit to Sainsbury's on Stanmore Broadway to learn about their approaches to food safety and preparation and the career opportunities available to local people. Earlier this year the supermarket chain was awarded its second Gold Investors in People accreditation, for supporting and helping develop staff skills. Retail is a great place to build a career and Sainsburys have committed to helping its 161,000 employees progress, with at least half receiving externally accredited training by 2020.

  ~  attended the AGM of the Hindu Council UK in my capacity as Chairman of the APPG British Hindus. Matters arising included the appointment of Honorary Advisors, the consideration of financial reports and the appointment of an Independent Examiner until the next AGM.
 ~  joined members of the Wembley Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue for a meal and a discussion on the experiences of Jewish refugees from Arab countries.

 ~  attended a special Appreciation Breakfast for Kol Boniach, a UK-based organisation set up by Rabbi Osher Shapiro to help Jewish teenagers at risk of developing addictive behaviours due to negative environmental factors.
  ~  attended at the Closing Ceremony of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (UK)'s Sangh and Samiti Shiksha Varg 2014 as Guest of Honour. This is a structured 9 day residential course to develop Youth Leaders aged 13 to 18 years, involving personal and team ‪leadership development skills through physical programs and intellectual workshops, discussions and lectures. 
 ~  addressed a group of 20 service users at Harrow Mencap`s Activity Centre, answering their questions in an open Q&A session. I also saw their brand new facilities for people with Learning Disabilities and Autism.
 ~ supported the Harrow Fundraising Committee at their Afternoon Tea, which was held as part of a weekend of events to raise funds for the Army Benevolent Fund (ABF) charity. The ABF gives a lifetime of support to serving and retired soldiers and their families, providing financial assistance when they are in real need. 

  ~  cut the ribbon for the Youth Help the Community (YHTC) 'STOP, POP, SHOP' event which took place at the Wealdstone Centre in aid of Harrow Foodbank. YHTC is a scheme which helps young people locally gain the skills they need to find employment.
 ~  continued my work on the Communities and Local Government Select Committee and the Backbench Business Committee.

 ~  hosted several meetings of the All Party Parliamentary Group for British Hindus, including a very well attended Raksha Bandhan Festival.
  ~  took part in a fun walk from Edgware to Canons Park organised by diabetes awareness charity, Silver Star, along with Nina Wadia from Eastenders and a host of colourful characters, including a giant duck. Silver Star has recently opened a new office Harrow and is is holding free diabetes checks at the civic centre.
 ~  met with representatives of the Bahá’í community to discuss the ongoing situation in Iran. Across the country Bahá’ís are facing threats of murder from unknown forces, arrest and imprisonment and denial of access to employment and education.

 ~  sponsored a Guardian roundtable event, 'The Big Housing Debate', in Parliament to discuss the myriad of challenges currently facing the affordable housing sector.
 ~  continued my programme of events for the Bob Blackman Business Breakfast Club. Recent speakers include London MEP Dr Charles Tannock and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Charities, Social Enterprise and Volunteering, The Hon Nick Hurd MP.
  ~  went to the KP Hall in Kenton to attend a Bhagwan Shree Lakshmi Narayan Dham UK event with founder His Holiness Brahmrishi Shree Kumar Swamiji, to receive his blessings and celebrate his message of interfaith harmony, equality and brotherhood for people of all faiths.
 ~  attended the Borough’s annual Battle of Britain Thanksgiving Service, which took place at St John The Evangelist Church in Stanmore, and paid tribute to those who lost their lives keeping our nation safe in the Great War.
  ~  joined the fight against breast cancer once again by taking part in Breast Cancer Campaign’s flagship fundraiser, 'wear it pink' day. The theme of wear it pink this year is to ‘look good, do good’ in support of breast cancer research... and I certainly did my best!

On Friday 24 October people across the country will come together to find fun and stylish ways to wear pink in the office, at home or at school. Donations raised by this year’s fashion inspired event will go to Breast Cancer Campaign to fund lifesaving breast cancer research. 

Find out more about the campaign here.
 ~ had a meeting with Chris Spencer, Interim Corporate Director of Children and Families at Harrow Council, to discuss the pressing need for more school places in Harrow.

 ~ guided the Transport for London Bill through the House of Commons at its Third Reading, on behalf of Transport for London.

  ~  joined with members of our local Nepalese community to pay tribute to the former Prime Minister of Nepal, Bishweshwar Prasad ‘BP’ Koiraia, on the centenary of his birth at an event organised by the Nepali People Coordination Council UK (NPCCUK).
 ~ met with several constituents visiting the House of Commons as part of a 'Mass Lobby of Parliament for Gaza' in order to discuss the ongoing conflict taking place in the Middle East and to hear their views.

 ~ attended a briefing with Air Vice-Marshal Edward Stringer CBE MA BEng RAF, the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff, to hear more about the successful utilisation of Reserves and the Battle of Britain Reserve Squadrons.
 ~ welcomed students from St Dominic's Sixth Form College to Parliament as they came for a tour of the historic site. 90 students had the chance to see both the House of Lords and House of Commons, and then to question me on any subject they could think of at an extensive open Q&A session.
 ~  was invited to speak by the First Unity Lodge Bnai Brith at their most recent meeting, where I elaborated on the conflict between Israel and Palestine based on my own experiences of visiting the area.

 ~  had meetings with various colleagues, constituents and charity representatives to discuss the issues that matter to our area.

Website of the Week
Every year 50,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. 12,000 die, while millions live with its long-term impact. 

Breast Cancer Campaign is a wide community of scientists, supporters and people affected by breast cancer which aims to fund world-class breast cancer research projects in the UK and Ireland. 

To find out more about how you can help, please visit their

Debate on the Situation in Jammu and Kashmir

Bob took a stand on behalf of India and the majority opinion of people living in Jammu Kashmir, and called for the Pakistani forces illegally occupying part of Kashmir to leave and allow the states to finally unite at a recent debate. 

It was brought before the House by Liberal Democrat MP for Bradford East, David Ward, who spoke on behalf of the minority Muslim groups in his constituency who are part of the so-called ‘Self Determination’ movement. In response, Bob was very clear that the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits, who were ethnically cleansed from the region 25 years ago and who largely still remain in refugee camps, cannot be forgotten and that the refusal of successive Pakistani Governments to recognise that the territory was ceded to India by the Maharaja in the 1940s is to blame for the ongoing conflict.

During the debate, Bob stated, “The Shi’a Muslims do not support the right of self-determination, and nor do the Gujjars and Bakarwals, Buddhists, Hindi Dogras, Kashmiri Pandits, Sikhs or Christians. The only issue is that part of the Muslim population support it; but they are a minority. Far from wanting secession, either to Pakistan or as a separate state, the vast majority of people in the state want it to remain part of India.”

He was also keen to reinforce that, “The Hindu Pandits were forced out in a process of ethnic cleansing. The reports that I hear give a figure of 700,000 of them still living in refugee camps having been forced out. It would be ridiculous to reward those who engaged in ethnic cleansing by saying, “We will get rid of all the people who might vote the wrong way, and then have a plebiscite.” It is absurd to represent the question in that way.”

As well as representing the majority view in India, Bob asked the responding Minister to make clear what the UK Government has provided in terms of aid to victims of the severe flooding in the region and made it clear that, while it was right for British Parliamentarians to discuss the matter, it was the business of India and Pakistan alone to decide the fate of Jammu Kashmir.

In the News


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