My South London Press column, 29/07/2016

The former Prime Minster, Harold Wilson, famously said that “A week is a long time in politics” but that was before Social Media and 24 hour rolling news channels existed.  Events following the shocking outcome of the EU Referendum made me think that today he might have said an hour was a long time in politics. It triggered the most intense political crisis since before the Second World War and even with a new Prime Minister and Cabinet in place “uncertainty” continues to be a recurring theme.

That uncertainty doesn’t just relate to future trade and employment prospects but has real impacts on the lives of individuals living in Lewisham.  In particular citizens from EU nation states who live and work here and contribute to our community will be feeling anxious at this time.  We simply don’t know if, when and how Great Britain may leave the EU but I will press those who are charged with drafting the new legislation required to ensure that it includes provisions that gives them the same rights they enjoy today.

Lewisham is a tolerant and respectful place where people live together in harmony. We are proud of the strength and variety in our community locally. In Lewisham we are stronger through our diversity. In overwhelming numbers, people in Lewisham are civil to their neighbours and courteous to other local residents.  

But we know there have been racist and xenophobic incidents attacks around the country and in our own borough and these are being treated with the utmost seriousness by Lewisham Council and the Police. Hate crime is unacceptable and we are making it easy to report such incidents.

At a meeting of Lewisham Council a few days ago along with councillors from all parties I signed a declaration pledging to work together to  fight bigotry and intolerance, and support further community cohesion.  We are inviting local residents to make the same pledge and you can do so here http://tinyurl.com/hah6pzm

And finally, if watching the Olympics makes you want to know more about Brazil you don’t have to catch a flight to Rio to do so – you can get along to the amazing Horniman Museum in Forest Hill where you will discover the richness of Brazilian culture this summer. The Museum has collaborated with Brazilian artists and communities to bring you a snapshot of urban Brazil with a season of unique events and exhibitions, inspired by their everyday lives and neighbourhoods. It’s open from 10.30am to 5.30pm 7 days a week. Boa Sorte! 

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