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HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

The Prime Minister has announced that a Holocaust Memorial will be built in Victoria Tower Gardens and I took the opportunity to mark Holocaust Memorial Day this month by asking him to endorse the important work of the Holocaust Educational Trust in ensuring younger generations are able to visit sites of historical importance and learn about the holocaust with a commitment to fund their Lessons from Auschwitz project. I was very pleased that the Prime Minister was happy to make that important pledge to do so.
Holocaust Memorial Day, 27th January, marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history, and is an important opportunity to remember the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and make sure they are not forgotten.

I also signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment this week to pledge my commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and to honour those who were murdered during the Holocaust, as well to pay tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people and challenge antisemitism and all forms of bigotry.

 
 
Since my last edition, I have continued my programme of street surgeries all around the constituency and I have been doing my part as your representative in Westminster.

Here are a few of the events and engagements I have taken part in recently:

 
CAROLS BY CANDLELIGHT
The Good News Church in Harrow Weald held a Carols By Candlelight service in the run up to Christmas and I was invited to join congregants and to give a reading. In the spirit of the season, I told the traditional Christmas story of the Holy Spirit visiting Mary to tell her that she will give birth to the son of God, as found in the Book of Luke.
SHREE KUTCH SATSANG SWAMINARAYN TEMPLE 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS
I took part in some of the festivities held to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Shree Kutch Satsang Swaminarayan Temple in Kenton over the holiday period.
The auspicious Golden Jubilee occasion was marked with a series of events running between 25th December and 1st January, and I joined in with the very colourful Nagar Yatra (Grand Procession) from Roe Green Park to the temple and also spoke at the closing ceremony.
WHITEFRIARS SCHOOL VISIT TO PARLIAMENT
Parliament has a brand new Education Centre which is welcoming school groups for curriculum-based tours and interactive workshops. I was very happy to welcome a group of Year 4 pupils visiting from Whitefriars School in Wealdstone, meeting them in the new centre and taking part in a question and answer session to help enrich their learning of Parliament.
CELEBRATING LOHRI FESTIVAL
The Voice of Dogras UK celebrated Lohri, the winter festival of India, at the Pink Turban restaurant at Rayners Lane in Harrow and I was invited to attend as the Chief Guest. The programme saw the coming together of the Dogra community (from the Jammu region) together along with their Kashmiri brethren and other communities.
JAMMU & KASHMIR SEMINAR
I was a guest speaker at a seminar on understanding Jammu & Kashmir at the London School of Economics, where I highlighted the need for more political engagement from the British Indian community and made a strong plea for the opening of a Holocaust museum for Kashmiri Hindus in London, to educate about Jehadi radicalisation.
COMMEMORATIVE MEETING AT THE INDIAN HIGH COMMISSION
A meeting was arranged at the Indian High Commission in London to commemorate the 26th year anniversary of the holocaust and genocide of Kashmiri Pandits/Hindus from their homeland and I was pleased to go along to show my support.
Photo by Bhupendrasinh Jethwa
GREEK ORTHODOX COMMUNITY NEW YEAR'S LUNCH EVENT
The Greek Orthodox Community in Harrow and Brent held a New Year's Lunch for local pensioners in their community hall, immediately after their Sunday Service and I was honoured to be invited to join in with the celebrations.
SMOKING AND TOBACCO DISCUSSION WITH HARROW CUT FILMS
The Imperial Tobacco AGM will be taking place in Bristol on February 3rd and last year a group of young people gathered outside the venue in order to make some noise and draw attention to tobacco industry behaviour. I was happy to meet with a group of young people from Harrow Cut Films to discuss their concerns about smoking and the tobacco industry.
 
My interview with Cut Films on my work in this area can be viewed here.

WEBSITE OF THE WEEK
HARROW COMMUNITIES CLICK
Harrow Communities Click is a partnership of Harrow organisations that are committed to improving the lives of local vulnerable people. The project is being funded by Harrow Council, to help vulnerable adults and Harrow residents to support and help each other and build strong friendships through the exchanging of time.

The lead organisation for the project is Age UK Harrow, and the other partners are Mind in Harrow, Harrow Mencap, Harrow Carers, Third Sector Potential CIC and Timebanking UK. For information about their work, please visit their website, here,
 

IN PARLIAMENT
 
You can read some of my most recent contributions in Parliament below. I was fortunate to have two opportunities to put a question to the Prime Minister this month!
Questions to the Prime Minister, Wednesday 20th January 2016
As a former cub scout leader and Queen’s scout, I am pleased to say that scouting is thriving in Harrow. This year marks the centenary of the formation and founding of cub scouting across the UK. Will my right hon. Friend join me in congratulating the 150,000 young people who participate in cub scouting every week in the UK, congratulate and thank the leaders who give up their time voluntarily to enable young people to gain a sense of adventure in a safe environment, and call on more people to volunteer as leaders as part of the big society movement?

Questions to the Prime Minister, Wednesday 27th January 2016
I warmly welcome the Prime Minister’s words on creating a national memorial to the victims of the holocaust. Tonight in Harrow, representatives of the whole community will come together to listen to the people who survived the holocaust. This is the only way we can preserve their memory. My right hon. Friend rightly alluded to the wonderful work of the Holocaust Educational Trust in allowing literally thousands of young people to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau and to see it at first hand. Will he commit the Government to continue funding the Holocaust Educational Trust, so that many thousands more can see the horrors of the holocaust?


Some other recent questions:

Business Questions: Parking on Honeypot Lane
Honeypot Lane forms part of the border between my constituency and that of Barry Gardiner. It is also part of the borough boundary between the London borough of Brent and Harrow. Brent Council has proposed a parking exclusion zone on Honeypot Lane. All of the residents on the Brent side have been fully consulted and have, unsurprisingly, objected to it, because they have no off-street parking at all, but there has been no consultation whatsoever on the Harrow side, other than a tatty notice applied to a lamppost. Could we have a debate in Government time on the implementation of controlled parking zones and the need for public authorities to properly consult people before anything is done?

Backbench Business Debate on Tobacco Control Strategy
I remember in September 2013, on the first Tuesday back after the long summer recess, we held a debate in this place on standardised packaging for tobacco products. The predecessor of the Minister for Public Health was in post, and some 22 Members contributed to the debate. The Government’s position was that they would not introduce standardised packaging, and the Opposition’s view was that it would be the wrong thing to do. Less than two years later, however, it has come to pass. Government policy changed quite radically as a result of pressure from MPs on both sides of the House. I pay tribute to the work that has been done over many years on tobacco control. The key point is that we must continue to bear down on smoking prevalence, so that we see a reduction year on year.

Backbench Business Debate on Holocaust Memorial Day
As a statistic, six million people dying is hard to fathom. I think for many of us it is hard to imagine how any human being could murder that number of people, so it is vital that we bring it back to individuals. I pay tribute to the work the Yad Vashem museum has done to capture the personal testimonials of the survivors, so we can see for posterity what happened in Nazi Germany and try to learn the lessons. I first went to Yad Vashem 24 years ago and I have been back six times since. I have never left there without tears in my eyes. It is a deeply emotional experience. I urge hon. Members on all sides to go there and to see for themselves what happened and the history of the Nazi persecution.
 
Read more online, here.
 

IN THE MEDIA

GET IN TOUCH
 
If you have any issues or concerns which you feel I could help you with, please don't hesitate to get in touch using the contact details below:
 
Email: bob.blackman.mp@parliament.uk
Please remember to include your full name and address, even if you've written to Bob before!

Phone:
To discuss a case, report an issue or make a surgery appointment, please contact Bob's office in Harrow, on 020 8421 3323
For diary, media or tour enquiries, please contact Bob's office in Westminster, on 020 7219 7082


Write to:
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
or
209 Headstone Lane, Harrow, HA2 6ND

 
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