Weekly Roundup, 25 - 31st January 2016

My weekly round up of work in the European Parliament, the UK and beyond!

Wow, what another whirlwind of a week in Brussels!

First thing, I hosted a group of students from across Europe who are part of the Sharing Perspectives Foundation and we discussed the refugee crisis and what the EU can do, before whizzing off to speak at the launch of the European Parliament Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup. I also chaired a panel with UNIC Cinemas on European strategies for film and cinema where we discussed diversity, representation and the social role of this sector. My North West Labour colleague Afzal Khan MEP was appointed as a special envoy to the Muslim communities so this is an exciting step in our work together, my recent report that was adopted in the European Parliament explores combatting racism and discrimination. It was of course Holocaust Memorial Day, and our work in the EP continues to make a stand against prejudice and intolerance.

I also hosted a breakfast meeting with European Internet Forum on improving the access of vulnerable people to the information society, which tied in nicely to the panel I chaired on using the digital world in fighting social and regional inequalities and the work I'm currently doing on meeting the antipoverty target in the light of increasing household costs - crucial at a time when the Tories are trying to get rid of child poverty targets!

We also had a meeting with the new Shadow Minister for Europe, Pat Glass MP. Pat encouraged me to get involved in politics a few years ago, and now I'm an MEP!

At the weekend, I was again speaking at a symposium on asylum, refugees and migration. There I met the celebrated Scottish-Nigerian Poet Jackie Kay (who is the Chancellor of Salford Uni). Jackie's multicultural background makes her a powerful commentator on race, Britishness & belonging. I also met with Stand Up To Racism Manchester to plan increasing action locally, national and in Europe.

I then went down to London to speak at the Labour CND conference and to meet with drama teachers at National Drama's AGM to discuss how best to campaign for arts in education - particularly drama provision - in the light of increased cuts.

Now I'm in Strasbourg preparing for a week of voting, I'll keep you updated on what happens here.

Have a great week!

Take care,