Diwali is a time to celebrate the victory of good over evil, to take stock and be grateful for the gifts bestowed to us and to show our appreciation to our family, friends and communities.
On behalf of Labour Friends of India, I wish a happy Diwali, and prosperous New Year to all Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist communities throughout the UK.
Barry Gardiner MP
On 9th November 2012, Barry met with firefighters from Wembley station to thank them for their ongoing work protecting and saving lives of Brent residents and also to understand their concerns about proposed cuts to the London Fire Brigade budget.
Barry raised a number of these concerns in Parliament on 2nd November 2012 when he called upon the Government to ensure that these cuts do not have an unfair impact on ethnic minority communities and that these cuts could mean that firefighters will take longer to respond to call-outs and will not be able to attend all call-outs with the same number of crews and fire engines as they are currently required to do.
You can read Barry's full speech and the full debate in Parliament here.
Today, Barry Gardiner MP has written to the company - Global Experiences - to challenge their practice of charging students for work experience freely offered at the House of Commons. Over the past two years Mr Gardiner’s office has welcomed five students from North America as volunteers seeking work experience in Parliament which the company represented as being engaged in a valid course of academic study.
Mr Gardiner said:
“For the company to be charging young people in this way is a disgrace. They have entirely misrepresented to my office the basis on which these students sought work experience.”
Barry questions the Government's decision to withdraw London Metropolitan University's right to sponsor student visas
On 3rd September 2012 Barry raised a question in Parliament about the United Kingdom Border Agency's decision to withdraw London Metropolitan University's right to sponsor visas for foreign students who wish to study in the UK and demanded that the Government explain what this would mean for those students who may have their student visas revoked, especially those who rely on the earnings of a partner to pay for their studies.
Sir Rhodes Boyson served my constituency of Brent North for 23 years as its Member of Parliament. He is still remembered with affection by many people locally as a caring and hardworking constituency MP.
Whilst we differed in our political allegiance our interactions were always characterised by great personal courtesy and respect.
It was with sadness that I heard of his passing on Tuesday and my sympathies and those of many others in Brent go to his surviving family.
Today India celebrates sixty-five years of independence and this significant date in Indian history provides us with an opportunity to again reflect on India's growing global influence and, specifically, the massive contribution that India and Indian people have made to the culture of the United Kingdom.
On 13th July 2012 Barry had the pleasure of attending the opening ceremony for the Community Centre for the Ismaili Muslim Community as guest of honour and keynote speaker.
The event marked the opening of a community centre for the residents of Jubilee Court, a purpose-built, independent living care facility for elderly and disabled members of the Ismaili Muslim community in Brent. Barry joined Mr Amin Mawji OBE, President of the Ismaili Council in the UK in unveiling a plaque dedicated to the new centre.
You can find out more about Jubilee Court here.
On 12th July 2012 Barry visited Kingsbury High School in Brent to meet with students and teachers as part of the school's Olympics welcoming celebrations. Barry shared the schoolchildren's excitement about the coming of the Games and congratulated Jai Padhiar on being selected as an Olympic torchbearer and the school for being invited to take part in the Guard of Honour being formed to welcome the Olympic athletes to the Olympic village.
Barry takes part in 40th Anniversary Annual Mela festival of the Shree Kutch Leva Patel Community in the United Kingdom
On 8th July 2012 Barry had the pleasure of attending and taking part in the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Shree Kutch Leva Patel Community (SKLP UK) Annual Mela festival in Northolt. The celebrations included a showcase of dance and stage performances, fantastic food, attractions and speeches from members from Brent and Harrow.
The SKLP UK is a community based organisation which aims to develop local and international bonds between its members and affiliates and have hosted their Annual Mela annually promoting the sporting and cultural heritage of their members.
You can find out more about SKLP UK here.