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Vauxhall MP Florence Eshalomi makes maiden speech in Commons

Florence Eshalomi, elected last December as the Labour MP for Vauxhall, made her maiden speech in the House of Commons on Thursday afternoon during a debate on health and social care.

Florence Eshalomi

As is traditional, Ms Eshalomi began by paying tribute to her predecessor. She described Kate Hoey as "a diligent, hard-working constituency MP who fought very hard for her constituents".

She added: "I hope to build on her work locally and I pledge to represent the residents of Vauxhall to the best of my ability."

She also highlighted some of the national and international attractions and institutions along the South Bank in her constituency, "including the London Eye, the National Theatre, the Young Vic, the Southbank Centre, the Kia Oval cricket ground, and the home of MI6".

Turning to the topic of the day's Commons debate, she said: "St Thomas' Hospital in my constituency is also close to my heart.

"I never imagined that almost five years to the day, as I was literally pacing up and down the maternity ward, looking over the river, trying to coerce my daughter to come out, I would now be sat in this Parliament fighting for funding for our hard-working doctors and nurses.

"The NHS is struggling to cope with the increase in demand for health and social care. The A&E department at St Thomas' is treating more patients than ever before.

"Attendance has risen by two thirds since 2018. The staff are now seeing 600 patients on their busiest days compared with an average of 420 when the new emergency department opened in 2018.

"So what is driving this increase? A significant number of patients are presenting with serious mental health problems, there is a high number of homeless people with complex health needs, and the number of children attending the Evelina Hospital A&E continues to rise.

"In November and December, it had a record attendance, with 130 children seen in one single day – more than double the number seen in four years.

"With an ageing population and more complex needs adding so many cost pressures to the budgets, I hope that this Government will make sure that increasing funding to the NHS is a top priority."

Ms Eshalomi addressed the issue of youth violence: "We cannot allow ourselves to become desensitised to the issue of knife crime.

"Young people in my constituency are being groomed for violence, and there has been an increase in fatal stabbings over recent years."

She concluded: "In this Parliament, I will continue to speak up for investment in youth services and creating positive opportunities for our young people, so that they do not see selling drugs as a way to make money.

"I will continue to speak up and challenge the Home Office to invest in our police service, so that it has the resources to catch the people who continue to exploit our vulnerable young people.

"And I will continue to champion and speak up for the young women and girls who are facing sexual exploitation.

"The people of Vauxhall have placed their trust in me, and I pledge to represent their interests and concerns to the best of my ability for as long as I am in this House."

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