Catherine West

Hornsey and Wood Green


AQA has taken a unilateral decision to scrap the A-level in Polish from 2018. Are you going to lobby the AQA to reverse their decision? If yes, are there any other actions which you would undertake in order to preserve the Polish A-level?!

I don’t agree with the decision to scrap the Polish A-level and fully support the campaign for its reversal.  Polish was the second most reported main language in the 2011 census and it’s likely we’ll see the subject grow in popularity, so it’s incredibly shortsighted of the exam board.

Poland was the most loyal ally of Britain in the Second World War. Would you support a ban on British media falsely labelling the German concentration and death camps as being “Polish” e.g. Polish ghetto, death camps of Poland, or, Poland’s Auschwitz?

Labelling the atrocities that happened in the Second World War in Nazi-occupied Poland as ‘Polish’ whilst referring to geographical location is wrong as it could be misinterpreted as ascribing collaboration or direct participation in these atrocities to Polish citizens. This is particularly damaging when millions of Polish citizens were victims of these camps. It is important that we do not forget what happened but also that we are accurate in the detail. I would like to see the British media refrain from using such phrases.

Do you support promoting information about the positive contribution of Polish immigrants to the economy of the UK?

Yes.  I’m proud of our diversity and know that Polish immigrants make a massive contribution to the economic, social and cultural well-being of Britain.  I am appalled at attempts to whip up tensions and hostility.

In the event of Brexit, would you support granting an unconditional Indefinite Leave To Remain to the EU citizens who have lived and worked in Britain under the freedom of movement rules?

I do not wish to see Britain leave the EU. The priority for a Labour government is getting the economy back on track, not getting Britain out of Europe.  Leaving Europe would be damaging for people’s jobs, businesses and families, and it is understandably a worrying prospect for those who have come to live here under freedom of movement rules. A Labour government would not support a referendum that could see Britain sleepwalking out of the EU with uncertain consequences for families and businesses in the UK.  Labour supported Poland’s entry into the EU and NATO, and the rights of Poles to work in the UK.  David Cameron has aligned his party with far-right parties in the European Parliament rather than the mainstream centre-right coalition. It is crucial that we do not allow a Conservative government to further damage our relationship with Europe and create insecurity at a time when we need stability. Only a Labour government can do this.

If you were to be elected to the Parliament, would you join and support the activities of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Poland?

I’ve received a number of emails asking about different All-Party Parliamentary Groups, but this is something I would need to look at and consider fully if I am elected.

Questions were sent out before the elections.