This autumn I will be running two fringe events at the Labour Party Conference. If you are attending the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool on 24 or 25 September, please join me for two very important discussions. And feel free to share these events with anyone who may be interested.

Labour for refugees: The Labour Party and refugees’ right to work

When: 7pm on 24 September 2018

Where: Albert Suite, Pullman Hotel, Kings Dock St, Liverpool L3 4FP

Asylum seekers usually come with a desire to work, even though they have suffered trauma and often appalling journeys to reach safety. They also want to work to maintain their skills and support themselves and their families. But they are not allowed work until they receive refugee status, even if this decision is delayed for years. And when they do receive refugee status, a lack of integration services means they often struggle to find employment. The good news is that the UK can learn from other countries which make it easier for asylum seekers and refugees to work, from Germany to Uganda.

I will be chairing this event in my capacity as chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees. Speakers include refugees, and businesses with experience of helping refugees into jobs.

Labour on drugs: How to reduce harm, cut crime, and save money

When: 5.30pm on 25 September 2018

Where: King’s Suite, Pullman Hotel, Kings Dock St, Liverpool L3 4FP

Earlier this year, Jeff Smith MP (Manchester Withington) and I launched the Labour Campaign for Drug Policy Reform.

Current government drug policy is letting down the people Labour is set up to represent. Whether it’s children being exploited by dealers to sell heroin on our estates, BAME people being disproportionately imprisoned for possessing cannabis, or treatment services struggling under the weight of austerity, it’s the most vulnerable who are bearing the brunt of the UK’s failed drug policies. 

With governments around the world moving to harm reduction policies, and organisations such as the British Medical Journal to the Royal College of Physicians supporting reform here in the UK, we believe it’s time for Labour members to have a voice on how we approach this complex policy issue. Please come to join the debate and let us know how we should make drug laws fit for the 21st Century.

Jeff and I will be chairing the debate. Speakers include former Justice Secretary Lord Falconer, Dr Judith Yates from International Doctors for Healthier Drug Policies, Neil Woods, former undercover policeman and founder of LEAP (Law Enforcement Action Partnership), and David Jamieson, Labour PCC in the West Midlands.

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