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Out with local Labour members speaking to people at East Dulwich Station & Dog Kennel Hill Primary School this morning as national campaigning recommences following the terrible attack in Manchester.
I have spoken to various Remain voters so far during this election. Many say to me they accept the result of the vote and just want the government to get on and do the best deal they can. Some tell me they voted Remain because they did worry about the possible economic consequences, and they are now relieved to see the bad predictions of recession this winter and collapse of confidence did not come true.
A few have told me they still cannot accept the decision and still fear there will be bad economic results in due course. They seem to think when we leave there will be all sorts of new barriers and restrictions imposed which will get in the way of normal travel, trade and collaboration across the Channel. They have perhaps been Lib Dem voters in the past and are often particularly concerned about academic and student links, research and cultural exchanges.
Let me try to reassure. The UK government has made very clear it wants a UK open to talent and university collaboration. The UK is not planning closed borders, making it more difficult for people to come here to courses in UK universities. We will still welcome tourists,visitor performers, people with good qualifications, entrepreneurs wanting to invest. The government will be generous with visas for talented and qualified people wanting to come to the UK to be faculty members, just as we are today with academics coming from the USA and other non EU countries. It will also want to see a continuation of the many musical, artistic and cultural links and exchanges that take place with EU and non EU countries today.
Nor do I expect the rest of the EU to want to stop EU citizens travelling to the UK or undertaking university work here. Under international law the EU would not be able to block people and ideas to and from the UK, nor can I imagine they would want to. There are no restrictions the EU could place just on the UK – they would have to be common restrictions against the rest of the world. I do not think the EU wants to cut itself off.
The UK has several world class leading universities and many other good ones. Their interests will be upheld by the government. More importantly, as the UK and the EU both pride themselves on a belief in freedom and on a pluralistic society, universities,individual students and academics will remain free to travel, study, work and collaborate in each other’s countries as they see fit. I want to live in a free society. Such a society does not stop free institutions doing as they wish, and allows them under the law to pursue their aims and development. Some people think government is more important and more powerful than it is, and have a very dim view of how the EU will seek to behave.
Published and promoted by Fraser Mc Farland on behalf of John Redwood, both at 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU
Horrible news this morning as reports of another ghastly terrorist attack on a concert in Manchester come in. More than 20 young people are dead and circa 60 injured. My deepest sympathy, thoughts and prayers go to family and friends. Reports say there was one man who blew himself up. How anyone can do this is beyond comprehension. Rightly, all political activity has been postponed and our flag on the Tower will fly at half mast in respect and sympathy. A terrible day.
It has been a privilege to serve as Torbay’s MP for the last two years, and over the next 4 weeks I will be out and about across the constituency talking to as many constituents on the doorstep as possible.
It has been gratifying and humbling to hear some of the feedback from you so far on my work as the local MP. I have always made clear that Torbay comes before Westminster, and I have tried to devote to my time to as many constituency-based activities as possible.
A fantastic group of local volunteers has been out an about with me. Please take your chance to speak to me and have your say - positive or negative! - over the next few weeks. Yesterday I heard from constituents on a wide range of issues, from the EU and Brexit to local bus services.
I am pictured here campaigning yesterday in the Bay with my Conservative colleague and former senior Minister Mark Harper.
Robert Buckland is inviting people to join him and don their wackiest hat on Friday 12th May to raise funds for families across Swindon living with the effects of brain injury.
Headway Swindon, a local brain injury charity, has organised the event and is appealing to businesses, schools, and community organisations to get creative for Hats for Headway Day as part of Action for Brain Injury Week which runs from the 8th -14th May.
Staff at Headway Swindon have suggested a few ideas of how people can get involved and support the fundraiser, including organising a dress down day or wearing a wacky hat to work and even holding your own mini-competition with a prize for the best or funniest head gear.
Not only will participants be helping out a worthy cause while having fun, but the fundraiser will be part of a nationwide competition run by the national charity with a prize for 'best hat'.
A spokesperson from the charity said: “We want people to know that by taking part in Hats for Headway Day, they’ll be supporting our work to improve the lives of local people affected by brain injury, helping them to rebuild their lives and regain their independence.”
Robert Buckland commented: “Headway Swindon is a fantastic local charity who work hard to improve the lives of those living with the effects of brain injury and their families here in Swindon. I am looking forward to wearing my hat and taking part in Hats for Headway Day on 12th May.
For more information about this year's Hats for Headway Day, simply contact Headway Swindon on 01793 674820; or e-mail email@example.com
Karen Lumley, MP for Redditch County, is urging community groups to take full advantage of a new community grant awards competition.
The UK's leading supplier of sustainable timber and building materials, Jewson, gave away a total of £250,000 to local community projects last year – and the same prize fund is available for 2017.
Building Better Communities is a competition which gives local causes the chance to win free building materials for building projects. Applicants can choose to nominate a project for a top regional prize of £50,000, or a share of a bigger £150,000 regional prize fund where they can ask for anything from £500 to £10,000 to spend on building materials.
New for 2017 is the Trade Hero category, which seeks to celebrate construction workers who play a big role in their community. The Trade Hero will win £50,000 worth of building materials to enable them to complete a worthy community project.
Nominations can be made via buildingbettercommunities.co.uk or the Jewson Facebook page at facebook.com/jewsonuk. Nominations close on the 5 May 2017.
Karen said: "As Jewson has a branch in Redditch, it struck me that this was a competition well worth entering. Wouldn't it be great if Redditch communities got to share in the prizes?"
7 April 2017
Dear Mr. Smith,
Submission to the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group regarding the Transformation Programme Phase One Consultation
For 32 years I was the Member of Parliament for Banbury.
Banbury is a market town which serves a large catchment area straddling three counties.
The Horton General Hospital serves a similar catchment area of some 150,000 people spread across three counties.
Over the years, the Horton Hospital has faced a number of threats of downgrading.
Whilst I was Member of Parliament in 2008, there were proposals to downgrade paediatric services, obstetrics and gynaecology.
These proposals were referred to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP).
The conclusions of the IRP could not have been clearer and the IRP concluded “the Horton Hospital has a positive future as an integral part of the ORH NHS Trust. Appropriate clinical networks must be developed between the three hospitals that make up the Trust, with primary care and other neighbouring hospitals. This will involve change and now is the time for all concerned to agree the best way forward.”
The IRP made six recommendations.
Recommendation 2 clearly stated that “The IRP does not support the Trust’s proposals to reconfigure services in paediatrics, obstetrics, gynaecology and the SCBU at the Horton Hospital. The IRP does not consider that they will provide an accessible or improved service to the people of North Oxfordshire and the surrounding areas.”
Recommendation 4 was that “the PCT must develop a clear vision for children’s and maternity services within an explicit strategy for services for North Oxfordshire as a whole”.
And Recommendation 5 was “the ORH must do more to develop clinically integrated practice across the Horton, John Radcliffe and Churchill sites as well as developing the wider clinical networks with other hospitals, primary care and the independent sector”.
The IRP gave the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust a month within the publication of the Report to publish a plan including a timeline for taking forward the work proposed by their Recommendations. In fairness, the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust undertook that work which resulted in there being consultant-delivered children’s services at the Horton General Hospital and a consultant-led maternity service.
It is disappointing that within so few years of such clear recommendations from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel that the identical services are again being threatened at the Horton.
It is very difficult for people to understand the Clinical Commissioning Group’s exact proposals because the CCG has chosen to split the consultation process. By splitting the consultation process, the Trust’s proposal and the consultation has become confused.
It is impossible to understand the full implications of the proposals in Phase One, without knowing what will be put forward in Phase Two.
In 2008, GPs and other health providers in Northamptonshire and Warwickshire were very much involved in opposing the Trust’s then plans to downgrade services at the Horton.
There is little evidence that the Trust has sought this time to consult GPs in Warwickshire and Northamptonshire and it is not surprising that some medical services will be considered to be less sustainable if the Trust is ignoring a sizeable part of the Horton Hospital’s catchment area.
It is disappointing that the consultation paper only presents the Trust’s own preferred option.
It gives every characteristic of the Trust seeking to present a “fait accompli”.
It is worth recalling that this is exactly what the Trust with the proposals they put forward last time in 2007/2008, proposals which were described unanimously by local GPs as being “unsafe and unsustainable”.
It seems bizarre that the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust wishes to reduce beds and downgrade services at the Horton General Hospital at exactly the time that Banbury and Bicester are growing rapidly with large numbers of new houses visibly being built and Cherwell District Council’s Local Plan stating that 23,000 further houses will be built in the district between now and 2031.
The IRP concluded in 2008 that the John Radcliffe Hospital is too far and too inaccessible for many of those living in North Oxfordshire.
Nothing has happened in the intervening years to make the John Radcliffe any nearer and less inaccessible.
The Trust, as always, has failed to have proper regard to the inevitable domino effect of their proposals so removing obstetric services will have a knock-on effect on the anaesthetics rota and that will inevitably undermine capacity to provide any acute services provided at the Horton General Hospital.
There has been considerable confusion about the contingency arrangements to be put in place should the Horton Maternity Unit be downgraded to a Midwife-led Unit (MLU).
The pre-business consultation case talked about a static ambulance situation at the Horton General Hospital. However, at a public meeting in St. Mary’s Church at which I was present, it was suggested that this ambulance be removed should the service become a Midwife-led Unit. I understand that at other meetings those attending were told that the ambulance would remain. How are people expected to comment on proposals without having any clarity on how transfers will take place should the suspension of consultant-led maternity at the Horton become permanent.
I understand that in the short time there has been an MLU at the Horton it has been necessary for the static ambulance to be used over forty times.
These are not one offs. These are regular occurrences.
It is very unfair on expectant mothers for them to have to contemplate being moved in labour some distance over some time to the John Radcliffe.
When I was involved, as Member of Parliament, in the 2007/8 discussions, the Horton General Hospital was seeing approximately 1,500 births per year.
I understand that since the suspension of consultant-led maternity at the end of January, there have been just 61 babies born at the Horton – equivalent of just some 190 births a year where mothers elect to use a local MLU. The consequence will be that there will be some 1,300 plus births that will have to take place elsewhere.
Is the John Radcliffe able to cope with this extra demand?
And inevitably the larger the Unit, the more difficult it must become to provide mothers with personalised care.
In the last Report, the IRP observed that “We were disappointed in the limited extent of clinical and systems integration between the John Radcliffe, Churchill and Horton Hospitals and consider that more should have been achieved given the time the hospitals have been within the same Trust. This is relevant to this Review because there is the greater potential to support local services at the Horton Hospital than there would be if the Horton was linked with another smaller district General Hospital . . . the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust’s commitment that the Horton Hospital is an important part of its portfolio needs clear reinforcement in its future strategic documents. The IRP was left with a sense that the Horton Hospital remains a problem to be solved rather than a development opportunity”.
Sadly, nothing seems to have changed in the intervening years and one is still left with the very strong impression that so far as the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust is concerned, “the Horton Hospital remains a problem to be solved rather than a development opportunity”.
Local people and local communities are faced with almost identical proposals from the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust as we were in 2007.
The IRP’s conclusions on those proposals could not have been clearer and I would suggest that nothing has happened in the intervening years either to negate the IRP’s conclusions or to justify the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust seeking yet again to downgrade services at the Horton General Hospital.
The effect of the Trust’s proposals will mean that the Horton will no longer be a hospital in any recognisable sense of that word, but will simply be a random collection of outpatient clinics and medical services, risking further deterioration as the undermining of anaesthetics puts further acute services at risk.
It is also clear that the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust no longer wish the Horton Hospital to be serving the people of the Banbury catchment area, but rather that anyone living in Northamptonshire, notwithstanding they may only live a couple of miles away from Banbury are increasingly going to be pressurised to use services in Northamptonshire and people living in Warwickshire, again notwithstanding they may only live a few miles away from Banbury, are increasingly going to be pressurised to use NHS services in Warwickshire – this does not seem to reflect any attempt at an integrated NHS provision for patients.
Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry, DL
To download a copy of the full letter, please click on the following link: 170407 STB HGH CCG Submission.
Ed opened a new pedestrian footbridge in Uffington built by Network Rail. He also had a look at a bug hotel built by local scouts as part of the development.
The newly redeveloped station building at Snodland was officially re-opened by Tracey last week after a £1.1Million investment.
Passenger numbers have increased significantly at Snodland since Southeastern's successful High Speed service was introduced in 2009. This coupled with growth and investment in the area, has resulted in the ticket office being reopened for a growing number of commuters, three decades after it was originally shut down
The redevelopment of the station has created a new ‘transport interchange’ at the front of the station with an extended car park and included work in the main station building to reopen the ticket office for the first time since 1986.
Tracey was joined by Southeastern’s Managing Director, David Statham, local councillors, contractors who carried out the work, members of the Railway Heritage Trust and the Department for Transport for a plaque unveiling and a slice of cake.
In the new booking hall, Southeastern who organised the event, displayed picture montages of the work taking place at the station before, during and after the work was completed, as well as having light refreshments provided by a local caterer in Snodland.
With passenger numbers steadily on the rise, up to 40% in some areas, the upgrades to the listed building and forecourt are a welcome improvement to the station.
The station ticket office at Snodland was closed by British Rail in 1986.
David Statham, Managing Director at Southeastern, said: “We are over the moon to be re-opening the station ticket office and upgrading the station building at Snodland. Since the introduction of high speed services the number of passengers using Snodland station has grown significantly and we want to give those passengers who use the station a better experience.”
Tracey said: “It’s fantastic to see that after years of being closed the station ticket office is now in use again for passengers. This is much needed as housing developments in the area are completed, seeing more and more people use the station. This is very welcome investment to the town of Snodland and I’m very humbled to be asked to officially open the station building.”
The work was completed at the end of September and was jointly funded by the Department for Transport (DfT) with £600,000 from its National Station Improvement Programme (NSIP), Kent County Council with £485,000 from its Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) and the Railway Heritage Trust (£32,000).
Network Rail carried out some of the work at the station and their Route Enhancement manager Mike Smith said: “Our Railway Upgrade Plan is not just about trains and railways, it’s about people.
“The rebirth of Snodland is a great example of how the railway industry can work with local partners to the benefit of the people who make the community and the local economy across Kent.”
Other partners include Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, Kent Community Rail Partnership and Network Rail, which Southeastern is working with to improve facilities at stations across the network.
My father died just over a year ago. I dreamt about him last night. Thinking about him, I’m reminded of two things today: first, that he loved me; and second, that he was – to put it mildly – puzzled by my choice of profession. He never saw the point of parliament, which he thought a ‘giant talking shop.’ […]
The Haringey Indepedent asked me to outline reasons why people should vote for me… Here’s my response!
“Starting with the very basic – I am local! I grew up in Haringey, went to Highgate primary, and still live in the constituency of Hornsey and Wood Green today.
“It’s so important to know the area you want to represent.
“I also have a 20 year record of working with residents and campaign groups to protect and improve our local services.
“If I had to pick the single most important campaign – it would be saving the Whittington A&E from the previous Labour Government’s closure plans. The second I got wind, I posted the information on my website (where it remains today!) and kicked off a massive campaign.
“Joining forces with local residents and campaign groups – I marched, I petitioned, I secured a debate and asked questions in Parliament, and together we were successful and Gordon Brown’s Government backed down. If we hadn’t saved it – I don’t think we’d still have a hospital.
“Nationally, I’ve fought for policies that benefit our borough. The Lib Dems in parliament have taken the lowest paid workers out of paying tax, and introduced the Pupil Premium to get extra money to schools in more disadvantaged areas.
“These measures mean that thousands of low-paid Haringey workers have be taken out of paying income tax altogether, and £13 million extra has been given to our local schools, teachers and pupils.
“In Government, I’ve used my ministerial positions to push a progressive agenda. As Equalities minister, I was the originator and architect of equal marriage. I then moved to the Department for International Development, where I announced a £35 million programme to end FGM within a generation, and protected the aid budget.
Maria said: “This new legislation will make a real difference to how local matters are decided. The Community Rights measures, for example, will give new rights to local community and voluntary groups to protect, improve and even run important frontline services that might otherwise close down, such as local shops, pubs and libraries,.”
Maria added: “This Bill offers great opportunities for Basingstoke. Among other things, it will radically reform the planning system so that local people have a greater say and influence over what Basingstoke looks like in the future. Giving local people the opportunity to shape the development of the communities in which they live is something that I have long campaigned for, and I am delighted to see it being enshrined in law.
“The Borough Council’s current consultation on the number of new homes needed in Basingstoke is part of this process of taking local people’s views into consideration in developing a vision for the future. I would urge all residents to let the Council have their views on this before the end of the consultation on 14 January.”