Meet Marsha de Cordova, the Labour Party candidate

8 mins read
Marsha de Cordova - Credit: Labour party

Marsha de Cordova is the Labour Party candidate in the Battersea constituency for the UK Parliamentary election on Thursday 4 July 2024.

To provide more information about the main candidates, we have partnered with the community website and invited them to answer our questions. We hope this will give you an opportunity to learn more about their concerns, proposals, and how they can assist Battersea residents.

Could you introduce yourself to our readers?

Marsha de Cordova – Credit: Labour party

I am proud to be standing for re-election as your MP for Battersea and have the chance to continue my work making Battersea the best place to live, work, and visit.

I have been determined to create a fairer and more equal society for everyone. From my career before Parliament as a disability rights campaigner, charity founder and leader, to my work as an MP, I have always sought to break down barriers.

Tell us something about you our readers may not know.

My brother is a Premier League footballer [Bobby Decordova-Reid who plays for Fulham – editor’s note]

You are now running to be elected as Labour MP for a third term. What makes the Battersea constituency, where you have lived for quite some years, special for you?

Marsha de Cordova in parliament – Credit: Labour party

It has been an honour and privilege to represent Battersea, to be your voice in Parliament and to be a champion for our community. One of the things that makes our area so special is the wonderful community spirit and infrastructure we have here.

It has been a privilege to work alongside the many individuals, and community and faith organisations that do fantastic work in the area, including supporting young people, the elderly, refugees and many others.

You held two roles as Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities and previously as Shadow Minister Disabled People. In 2021 you resigned from the shadow cabinet and you said you wanted to concentrate more on your constituency. What experience do you bring as part of Keir Starmer shadow cabinet and how can it help Battersea?

Serving in a shadow ministerial role enabled me to hold the government to account and develop policies which would bring transformative change to our country including for constituents here in Battersea. They continue to provide a blueprint for the kinds of changes I’d like to see.

I led Labour’s response on equalities during the pandemic and highlighted the many health inequalities that Black, Asian and Ethnic Minorities, women and disabled people faced in Battersea including leading a campaign locally to encourage take up of the covid vaccine.

With the busiest station at the heart of Battersea, public transport is used by the vast majority of people in the area. What would you like to see improved for that in Battersea?

Throughout my time as an MP, I have made it my priority to improve transport and ensure it’s inclusive for all users.

We have had some huge wins here. These include saving some of our vital bus routes such as the C3; forcing the government to U-turn on their planned cuts to local rail ticket offices at Clapham Junction and Wandsworth Town; and securing funding to make nearly all our train stations in Battersea more accessible including Access for All work at Wandsworth Town station. I was also proud to be there for the opening of the Northern Line extension in North Battersea.

However, there is a lot more work to do. The Tories have u-turned on access for all funding at Battersea Park station and I will be calling for funding to be restored to make the station accessible.

Clapham Junction station is one of the busiest interchange stations in the country and it needs to be redeveloped to make it fit for purpose. This includes ensuring it is fully accessible. As part of the redevelopment plans, I want to see the Northern Line extended to Clapham Junction – imagine the investment and opportunity that it will bring to our community!

Housing is also a local concern. Recently we have seen some proposal for massive schemes exceeding local plan rules – which justify their scale on the grounds that they also affordable housing. Where is the right balance between providing the social housing we need, and making sure that our urban environment remains one people want to live in?

Marsha de Cordova on a construction site – Credit: Labour party

Battersea is one of the youngest constituencies in the country and has a higher amount of private and social renters than the national average.

The Tories have failed on housing and presided over continued crisis, exacerbated by their disastrous policies. Particularly impactful have been the scrapping of house building targets, u-turning on ending leasehold tenures, and the failure to pass renters reform legislation. Worst of all, too many residents in Battersea continue to live in unsafe housing due to fire safety which I have campaigned to address in Parliament.

I will continue to campaign for safe, secure and genuinely affordable housing in Battersea. It is necessary to increase housing supply but that must be done with community support and respond to residents wants and needs which is why I oppose the redevelopment of One Battersea Bridge. My first contribution in Parliament when I was elected in 2017 was to call for more affordable housing in the Battersea Power Station development.

Labour will build 1.5 million homes to buy and rent, end the unfair leasehold system, reform the private rental sector including ending S21 no fault evictions, and secure more protection for those affected by the cladding and fire safety crisis.

The cost of living is a real worry for many of our readers. Since Labour took control in 2022, the Council has implemented the London Living Wage for its staff and contractors. What additional measures do you believe are necessary, including in the private sector, and what do you think is the best approach for the government to provide support?

We need to kickstart economic growth and move away from the low growth high tax economy which the Tories have entrenched over the past 14 years.

Their mismanagement of the economy has caused the biggest fall in living standards on record and stoked the high inflation which is affecting all of us. The price of the annual supermarket shop has risen by nearly £1,000 since the last General Election.

Labour aims to secure the highest sustained growth in the G7 to underpin our recovery. Economic growth will boost prosperity, deliver good jobs and improve living standards.
In addition, we have a number of other pledges which will dramatically improve the finances and security of households across the country. This includes delivering the biggest ever increase in social and affordable housing, offering better job security and pay with our New Deal for Workers, improving educational outcomes, and providing affordable childcare and free breakfast clubs in schools.

Our Green Prosperity Plan, a cornerstone of which will include switching on Great British Energy, will save households an average £300 annually on their energy expenses, while our warm homes plan will lower bills even further by insulating five million homes.

Issues of disability and discrimination have been central to your political engagement. What are the first changes you would advocate for under a Labour government?

My lived experience has informed the two guiding principles in my life and career: namely, of making a difference and being a voice for a voiceless.

Over the past 14 years, successive Tory governments have created a hostile environment against disabled people which has resulted in unimaginable suffering for millions. The adverse effects of these policies were so severe that they have prompted investigation by the UN for violation of disabled people’s rights.

The Labour Party is and has always been the party of equality. Our many achievements include strengthening the National Disability Council with the Disability Rights Commission, ratifying the UNCRPD in 2009, and passing the Equality Act 2010 which enforces, protects and promotes the rights of disabled people.

One of the biggest issues of concern for disabled people is access to employment. We need more robust measures to achieve equality in the workplace which the Tories haven’t put in place. I will push to make sure that we deliver quickly on the full right to equal pay for disabled people; for disability and ethnicity pay gap reporting for large employers; for improving employment support and access to reasonable adjustments; and tackling the Access to Work backlog.

Group photo – Credit: Labour party

In the 2016 EU referendum there was a 70 % remain vote here, one of the highest in the country. There is still a lot of strong feeling about Brexit, however Labour seems to have ruled out revisiting the issue – how would you address the issue in this election?

Brexit has been an unmitigated disaster and I have campaigned in Parliament to highlight the negative impact it has had locally. Our country is always stronger when we work with others, and I will continue to call for closer ties with the EU and to tear down unnecessary barriers.

Climate change and environmental issues are core concerns for our readers. Keir Starmer announced last year that Labour will not revoke the decision to drill more oil fields in the North Sea. Some people say that if all the oil in the Rosebank oil field is burnt, it will emit more CO2 than the world’s 28 poorest countries combined in a year. Additionally, Labour has renounced its pledge to spend £28bn annually on environmental projects. Do you think that Labour can still be trusted to tackle climate emergency?

The climate emergency is the defining crisis of our time. My record shows that I take the climate and nature crisis very seriously. I have been rated “very good” for votes supporting action on climate by VoteClimate and was the Vice-Chair of the Environment APPG.

I’m committed to making Battersea even greener, cleaner and healthier. So, you can be assured that I will be continue holding any future government to account on their climate commitments.

Labour has made the climate emergency a priority. That’s why clean energy by 2030 is Labour’s second mission and we will make Britain a clean energy super-power by 2030 with our Green Prosperity Plan. We will switch on Great British Energy, create a National Wealth Fund to boost green jobs and will not issue any new oil and gas licenses.

Our track record shows we can deliver on climate and nature. We passed the Climate Change Act 2008 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. This was the first global legally binding climate change mitigation target set by a country.

The situation in Gaza is a significant concern for many voters, particularly in London where opinions are strong. You recently rebelled and voted against the party line on a ceasefire motion. What led you to make this decision, despite the potential risk to your prospects for Ministerial positions? Do you foresee yourself taking similar stances in the future?

I have been horrified by the violence we saw on 7th October 2023 in Israel as well as that witnessed in the many subsequent months, in both Gaza and the Occupied West Bank.

The only solution to the situation is a political settlement. That’s why I voted for an immediate ceasefire in Parliament in November of last year and have continued to call for one at every available opportunity. The need for a political settlement has also prompted me to consistently call for the release of all hostages, for the removal of all restrictions to humanitarian access and aid, including restoration of UNWRA funding, the suspensions of arm transfers to Israel, immediate recognition of a Palestinian state, respect for the ICC/ICJ rulings, and the proactive upholding of international law.

If I’m re-elected, I will continue to campaign for the next government to focus its diplomatic efforts on achieving these goals and a two-state solution based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps and Jerusalem as the shared capital. This the only viable pathway to achieving peace for Israelis and Palestinians.

Group picture – Credit: Labour party

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CJI editor and Clapham Junction Action Group co-founder and coordinator since 2008, Cyril has lived in Clapham Junction since 2001.
He is also funder and CEO of Habilis-Digital Ltd, a digital agency creating and managing websites and Internet solutions.

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