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ILFORD RECORDER COLUMN 28 May 2015

Here is my first column of the new Parliament.

The three weeks since the General Election have gone very quickly. Files had to be moved back to Westminster from Ilford, computers and IT systems reconnected,  New passes for myself and my staff obtained and a huge volume of post and emails responded to.  

We had the re-election unopposed of Speaker John Bercow, the swearing in of Members and yesterday's Queens Speech setting out the legislative programme of the new Majority Conservative Government.  Constitutional issues relating to devolution,the future of the United Kingdom, and our relationship with the European Union will take up a great deal of time over coming months.

 However local issues are also very important not least the continuing threat to downgrade King George Hospital. The front page story in the Recorder last week may have come as a shock to some,  but sadly not to me. I warned a year ago that despite false claims in a Conservative local election leaflet KGH Accident and Emergency had not been "saved."   When I pursued the matter in Parliament Tory  coalition Ministers made clear that closure plans had not been dropped. They only deferred it by over two years due to the inability of Queens Hospital to cope. 

Now that the General Election is out of the way Trust Chief Executive Matthew Hopkins has decided to be more explicit.  I intend to meet the Trust in the near future to probe them on their plans.  I will also be working with Wes Streeting MP and local Councillors  to consider how we can jointly campaign to defend and improve our local Hospital services.  In the meantime rest assured that I will continue to press Ministers to change the decision they made in 2011 to close A and E at King George Hospital.

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