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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

For Londoners

London has nearly 8.8 million residents. As the Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London, it isn’t therefore possible for me to write to or meet every Londoner! As a result, I have put together the following responses to frequently-asked questions, which I hope prove useful.

If you are an EU national or a UK national living in the EU, see my advice and resources page which aims to address your Brexit-related concerns.

 

Q1. Are you my MEP? How do you differ from my MP?

Q2. I want to raise an issue with you. Do you hold a regular surgery?

Q3. Can you tell me the Green Party’s position on a particular issue?

Q4. Can you help me with a housing problem?

Q5. I need legal advice. Can you help?

Q6. Can you help with my immigration or asylum case?

Q7. My human rights have been abused. Can you help me take this to Europe?

Q8. I have a ‘cross-border’ problem, possibly caused by misapplication of EU rules. Can you help?

Q9. Can you help me to challenge a planning application or respond to a local environmental problem which will affect me?

Q10. I am victim or witness of crime. Can you help me?

 

Q1. Are you my MEP? How do you differ from my MP?

If you are a London resident, you currently have eight Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). Every one of London’s MEPs represents the whole London region. I am one of London’s eight MEPs, but the only one from the Green Party. For a complete list of UK MEPs, see the European Parliament’s UK website – europarl.org.uk.

MEPs sit in the European Parliament in Strasbourg and Brussels, not in the Westminster Parliament in London. This means I spend less time in London than your MP, and I spend time primarily on European Union legislation, not legislation developed solely by the UK Government.

Early Day Motions
This also means that, unlike your MP, I can’t sign Early Day Motions, and I have less immediate influence over Westminster legislation than your MP. However, I help shape EU legislation which can potentially bring social, economic and environmental benefits for Londoners. I also raise concerns with the Government over UK legislation on a range of issues and respond to problems raised by London residents where the voice of an MEP can make a difference.

Q2. I want to raise an issue with you. Do you hold a regular surgery?

As I have to split my time between London, Brussels and Strasbourg it isn’t possible for me to arrange a regular surgery. If you want to raise a problem with me, please email jeanlambert@greenmeps.org.uk or write to me at my London office. You can also phone my London office, although it is always better to email or write. Please be as clear and succinct as possible in your communications, and confirm that you are a London resident, giving your postal address. My full contact details can be found at jeanlambertmep.org.uk/contact. All communications are treated in the strictest confidence.

Q3. Can you tell me the Green Party’s position on a particular issue?

The best way to find the Green Party’s position on an issue is to look at policy.greenparty.org.uk. All policy is agreed by the Party’s members at its conferences, and is listed under separate subject headings, from Agriculture to Workers’ Rights. There are also shorter Policy Pointers which summarise policy areas. If you can’t find what you want, you can contact the Green Party’s Policy Co-ordinator via policy@greenparty.org.uk. Perspectives from the London Green Party can be found at london.greenparty.org.uk and for European Green Party you should consult europeangreens.eu.

If you want to know my views on a particular issue, you should first look at my news and issues webpages.

Q4. Can you help me with a housing problem?

The European Parliament doesn’t cover housing issues, so there are real limits to how far I can make a difference.

If you are a council tenant or leaseholder, you should firstly take the matter up with your local councillors. Their contact details can be found via writetothem.com. If the matter remains unresolved, you can complain via the Local Government Ombudsman – lgo.org.uk.

If you are the tenant of a housing association or any other Registered Social Landlord, you can make a complaint via the Housing Ombudsman Service – housing-ombudsman.org.uk. This service also deals with complaints against some private landlords.

The housing charity Shelter provides an independent advice and supportline at england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/how_we_can_help/housing_advice_helpline. This website also points you towards local advice services, and offers online help.

Q5. I need legal advice. Can you help?

As an elected politician I am not qualified to give legal advice – and it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to give it. This is the point of qualified lawyers!

Depending on your income, you may qualify for free legal advice via Legal Aid. More information about Legal Aid can be found at gov.uk/legal-aid/overview.

The Law Centres Federation also has information about local law centres in London boroughs – see lawcentres.org.uk. These provide free information and advice.

If your problem has a European dimension, the AIRE Centre may be able to help. The AIRE Centre is a London-based charity providing advice on individual rights in Europe. More information is available at airecentre.org.

If you are a (non-UK) EEA national living in London and thinking about applying for a registration certificate or a document certifying permanent residence, I have recently published a factsheet explaining your legal rights.

Q6. Can you help with my immigration or asylum case?

The Home Office frequently takes far too long in dealing with such cases. The most important thing is to ensure you have good legal representation and that you meet any deadlines set.

The following webpages can help you to find immigration legal advice – righttoremain.org.uk/resources/lawyers.html and ilpa.org.uk/search-directory.php.

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants is a useful organisation to consult, and offers a limited advice service – jcwi.org.uk.

The Migrants’ Rights Network offers a comprehensive list of information sources and advice providers – migrantsrights.org.uk/about/advice-services.

Another useful resource is the Right to Remain toolkit – righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/

If you do send me information about your case, you should quote your Home Office number, address and date of birth. Never send me any original documents. If you are not a London resident, the Home Office is extremely unlikely to discuss your case with me (or any other London MEP). In such cases you should contact your local MP or regional MEPs. To find who they are, type your postcode into writetothem.com.

Q7. My human rights have been abused. Can you help me take this to Europe?

The UK’s Human Rights Act enshrines many human rights protections in UK law. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) will only hear cases once the domestic courts of the UK (or any other Member State) have been exhausted. You will therefore need to firstly take legal action through the UK courts. If this fails you can then bring a case to the ECtHR.

If you proceed with a case, whether through the UK courts or ECtHR, you will need legal advice and legal representation. As an elected politician I cannot provide legal advice – but see separate question on getting legal advice. Also, it is not commonly understood that the European Court of Human Rights is part of the Council of Europe, and not part of the European Union. This means that Members of the European Parliament have no formal relationship with the ECtHR. Contact with the ECtHR is a matter for your legal representatives. EU legislation is dealt with by the Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

The AIRE Centre is a London-based charity providing advice on individual rights in Europe. More information is available at airecentre.org.

Q8. I have a ‘cross-border’ problem, possibly caused by misapplication of EU rules. Can you help?

If this involves residence permits, professional qualifications, motor vehicle registration, employment rights, social security, taxation or driving licences you should initially contact SOLVIT (ec.europa.eu/solvit/site/about/index_en.htm), the Commission’s problem solving service designed to resolve these matters. SOLVIT can also help with some business problems.

If your problem relates to consumer rights with a European dimension, you should initially contact the UK European Union Consumer Centre – ukecc.net/.

The Commission also provides practical information about Europe for citizens and businesses via Your Europe – europa.eu/youreurope/advice/index_en.htm.

Q9. Can you help me to challenge a planning application or respond to a local environmental problem which will affect me?

Greens argue that local people should have more of a say over planning decisions – but unfortunately the Government is moving things in the opposite direction! You can get information and initial independent advice on challenging a planning proposal (and about other planning issues) from Planning Aid for London – planningaidforlondon.org.uk/. You will have a limited time within which to register an objection. If the proposal is big enough to affect the local community you could consider starting a local campaign, which should increase the number of objections.

If you have an environmental problem you can get advice from the Environmental Law Foundation. They offer a free legal advice and referral service to members of the public and community groups who have specific environmental legal concerns. More information can be found at elflaw.org.

If it is a local issue, your local councillors may help: their contact details can be found on your local authority website or via writetothem.com.

Q10. I am victim or witness of crime. Can you help me?

To report a local crime or express concern about crime in your neighbourhood, enter your postcode at met.police.uk/saferneighbourhoods to find phone, email and postal contact details for your ward neighbourhood police team.

For other information to help report crime, including specific types of crime, see met.police.uk/Site/reportingcrime.

If you have been affected by crime (as a victim or witness) and need free confidential and independent support, contact Victim Support – victimsupport.org.uk.

If none of the above has answered your question, please contact me!