Ilford Recorder Column 21 April 2011

Just before Parliament went into  its Easter recess I spoke several times in debates about the implications of the popular uprisings and democratic revolutions in the Arab world and questioned Prime Minister Cameron and Foreign Secretary Hague about the progess of the intervention to protect the Libyan  people of Benghazi and Misrata and the need to maintain international unity behind United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973.

 

I questioned Ministers about the way Redbridge Council and the Government have conspired to allow a private  "free school" to take over the Downhall centre and evict community groups. I also called a  special debate on a "ten minute rule " bill to improve electoral registration and counter use of websites by extremist groups during elections.

 

During the recess I have attended several community events including speaking to Redbridge Samaritans; Gants Hill Rotary Club; Navratra celebrations at Ilford Hindu Centre and of course the huge Save King George Hospital Rally at the Town Hall.It is vital that we keep our united campaign going and that we impress on the Independent Reconfiguration Panel and Secretary of State Andrew Lansley the vital importance of the need to keep  Accident and Emergency and Maternity Services in Ilford. 

 

I have also held my regular advice and street surgeries.  As usual most people who contact me are concerned about personal issues and problems such as difficulties finding school places or housing. Very few people raise national issues and almost none mention the national referendum on the choice between the Alternative Vote or First past the Post election systems to be held on 5 May. This reflects badly on the appalling cynical and negative campaigns by both the Yes and No camps. Although I will be voting Yes in the referendum I am disgusted by the anti politics tone of the Party political broadcast last week. There are positive arguments for AV including reducing negative tactical voting and increasing choice. Unfortunately the positive case is not being heard amongst the cacophony of abuse denigration and name calling.

 

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