Last week, the Justice Secretary, David Gauke MP, visited Ilford South to discuss crime, policing and other issues relating to Redbridge and Ilford. The minister met with a select few Conservative candidates. He did not attempt to meet with myself or even inform me as the MP. He did not attempt to meet with Cllr Jas Athwal, the leader of Redbridge Council, or Cllr Shelia Bain, the Cabinet Member responsible for policing and enforcement. He did not attempt to meet with any of Redbridge’s strategic officers who are charged with safety in our borough.
At a time when the Conservative government are slashing the Met Police’s budget by £600 million and asking for a further £400 million reduction, whilst burglary rates in Ilford South are increasing, I am dismayed that the Justice Minister missed an opportunity to discuss these issues with myself and that he has put party politics above the safety of my constituents.
Yesterday I raised a Point of Order with the Speaker of the House of Commons on the Justice Secretary’s visit. The Speaker remarked that he was ‘surprised’ by the Justice Secretary’s ‘regrettable’ actions. I hope that the Justice Secretary will apologise and that he will accept Cllr Jas Athwal’s invitation to meet to discuss these matters.
You can watch my speech here.