Sadiq Khan on the leaked Labour manifesto

London Mayor Sadiq Khan visited Hounslow on Saturday, supporting Ruth Cadbury. A little band of Labour loyalists gathered to go campaigning door to door. Before they set off he gave a rallying speech and they took selfies. Then it was the turn of the media – a rag tail assortment of local film crews and an eight year old boy, who read three questions which Sadiq answered patiently before saying “thank you and thank you for being a journalist”.

Then it was my turn. I asked him what he thought of the Labour manifesto. He gave me a very safe answer mentioning all the uncontroversial bits, like the desire to remain in the single market and pointing out that neither of us had yet seen the manifesto as it had only been leaked. He didn’t touch on plans to re-nationalise rail services, energy and the Royal Mail or to scrap tuition fees, so I asked him whether he was in favour of re-nationalising rail. At which point his two minders from Labour Party HQ swung in to action, the man shouldering his way between us and guiding Sadiq away from me with a little gentle pressure on his shoulder, the woman batting our microphone away and wagging her finger in my face: “One question only” (not something which had been mentioned previously).

It crossed my mind to complain that the child had asked three questions, but not wanting to look churlish and pathetic, I held my peace. But I was shocked that so senior a figure as Sadiq was not allowed to speak for himself and that he acquiesced so readily. At some point soon all the Labour heavyweights are going to have to say where they stand on the manifesto. After it’s published today there will be no hiding. No selfie with a smiling Mayor for me. Nor did he thank me for being a journalist. Hey ho.

Grove Park piazza appeal

Grove Park is the area south of the railway line by Chiswick Rail Station. For some it is a place they abandon their car in the early hours, to run for a train in to Waterloo but for the people who live in the area it’s where they come to pick up a prescription and get health advice from Sue in Busby’s pharmacy, to enjoy lunch at Mohammed’s café, buy a paper from the news agents and drop off their dry cleaning, or to have a quiet pint in the Station House.

Grove Park is characterised by a large expanse of tarmac between the row of shops and the pub. The Grove Park Group Residents Association is campaigning to have it transformed into a continental style piazza. They’re launching an appeal to raise funds and are holding an event on Saturday 20 May from 10.00 am – 4.00 pm to publicise it.

Here are the details from the Grove Park Group Residents Association:

The Grove Park Group Residents Association invites you, your family and neighbours to the launch of the Grove Park Shops Piazza Appeal. This is a major opportunity to change the area where we live for the better. Visit the GPG marquee where there will be a band, free refreshments and a chance to enter the free prize draw.

The piazza will:

• create a lively outdoor, continental café style, community space

• provide a brick paved area between the shops and pub to calm traffic

• shift the balance back in favour of pedestrians

• retain the parking spaces

• significantly improve accessibility to the shops

On display will be concept plans, drawings and information about the Piazza. Hounslow Council have set us a target of £36,750 to raise from the community to kick start the scheme. They have pledged to match this figure. We are already on the way with a number of generous donations but we need your help.

How does it all work?

We have set up a project on the Mayor of London’s community crowdfunding platform, SpaceHive. This exciting initiative is helping people locally all over London realise a wide range of community led projects. Pledges are made by local residents and businesses and supported by councils and others. What is more, if sufficient pledges are made, the Mayor may also make a donation to the project. So the more pledges the better, large or small. We already have a pledge from Hounslow Council but our aim is to secure a contribution from the Mayor.

Time is critical, there is a £5.1 million Mayoral fund available but we are competing with other projects across the capital. Our deadline to reach our target amount is September.

To make a pledge now visit:
www.spacehive.com/grove-park-shops-piazza
Or come along on 20th May when GPG committee members will be on hand to answer questions and record your suggestions for how the plans can be improved. Or call us on: 020 8707 2902

Who are the GPG?

The Grove Park Group, originally founded in the 1970s, was re-formed in 2011. Run by a committee of nine we represent members living across the extended Grove Park area.

The association’s aims are to maintain the character and ambience of Grove Park, understand the concerns of its residents and work with the council to manage the implications of social, economic and development pressures on the area.

Straight fight between Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems

The election nominations have been confirmed. In both Chiswick’s constituencies there are only three candidates standing: Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem. No independents, no UKIP candidates, no Greens. There’s a move amongst those who voted Remain to vote Labour in marginal seats (ie both Chiswick constituencies) so that even if Labour doesn’t win, there is a creditable opposition in parliament who can vote against a hard Brexit. In both Ealing Central & Acton and Brentford & Isleworth the Green Party has opted to join the ‘progressive alliance’ and have swung their support behind Labour.

Although the Lib Dems officially are not encouraging tactical voting to keep the Conservatives out in marginal seats, Sir Vince Cable was overheard saying he would ‘find it hard’ to vote against Labour’s Rupa Huq in Ealing Central & Acton, prompting an outraged response from the Lib Dem candidate Jon Ball. He told Get West London: “She (Dr Huq) does not have a chance of winning it because she nominated Jeremy Corbyn and he is hugely unpopular.” Joe Bourke, the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Brentford & Isleworth says: “Jon Ball was absolutely right to contest the Ealing Central and Acton constituency for the Lib Dems. Our democratic system relies on voters being given a choice of parties. It makes a mockery of voters’ decisions when parties stand aside – as though your party’s voters belong tribally to your own party and should be directed to whichever party you wish. Standing aside as a candidate diminishes the democratic choice in that seat. Yes, you can encourage tactical voting – but that is an individual voting choice not something forced on voters by a candidate withdrawal. “Many Lib Dem voters consider Labour no better than the Tories. The most likely outcome of a Lib Dem candidate standing down in a constituency is a three way split between not voting at all, voting conservative or voting Labour.”

Ealing West & Acton candidates:
Labour – Rupa Huq
Conservative – Joy Morrissey
Lib Dem – Jon Ball

Brentford & Isleworth candidates:
Labour – Ruth Cadbury
Conservative – Mary Macleod
Lib Dem – Joe Bourke

Lib Dems announce £4.5m of funding for mental health in Hounslow

The Liberal Democrats have announced that they will add another £1 billion for mental ill health care through putting a penny on income tax. This could equate to approximately £4.5 m of the party’s additional health funding being spent in Hounslow tackling the “historic injustice” faced by people with mental ill health.

“Last weekend, Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron and Shadow Health Secretary Norman Lamb unveiled a Five Point NHS and Care Recovery Plan to increase funding for health and social care services, including a penny on income tax to provide a £6 billion funding boost. “Today the Liberal Democrats announced that they will spend approximately £4.5 m of this extra money would be ring-fenced as dedicated funding for mental health services in Hounslow. “This would help to deliver on 12 key priorities, including improving waiting time standards for mental health care on the NHS and providing support for pregnant women and young people suffering from mental health problems.

“The Liberal Democrats will also set out to end the inappropriate use of force against people with mental ill health, end out of area placements for mental health patients and prioritise national action to reduce the number of suicides”.The Liberal Democrats have announced that they will add another £1 billion for mental ill health care through putting a penny on income tax. This could equate to approximately £4.5 m of the party’s additional health funding being spent in Hounslow tackling the “historic injustice” faced by people with mental ill health.

“Last weekend, Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron and Shadow Health Secretary Norman Lamb unveiled a Five Point NHS and Care Recovery Plan to increase funding for health and social care services, including a penny on income tax to provide a £6 billion funding boost. “Today the Liberal Democrats announced that they will spend approximately £4.5 m of this extra money would be ring-fenced as dedicated funding for mental health services in Hounslow. “This would help to deliver on 12 key priorities, including improving waiting time standards for mental health care on the NHS and providing support for pregnant women and young people suffering from mental health problems.

“The Liberal Democrats will also set out to end the inappropriate use of force against people with mental ill health, end out of area placements for mental health patients and prioritise national action to reduce the number of suicides”.

Chiswick Park bridge agreement signed

Chiswick Park, the business park which houses a workforce of some 8,000 people on the site opposite Gunnersbury tube station, has signed an agreement with the London Borough of Hounslow, the London Borough of Ealing, Network Rail and Transport for London to proceed with the development of a pedestrian bridge linking the Park to Chiswick Park station.

The 135m long footbridge will be constructed over the railway line, extending from the northern end of the business park, and will provide employees with direct access to Chiswick Park station. Residents have long campaigned for the bridge to ease congestion at Gunnersbury tube station, where locals often have to wait to get down to the platform, missing trains while the flood of incoming office workers comes out of the station.

Chiswick Park say that construction will begin in August 2017, with expected completion and opening taking place in December 2018. “The first phase of construction involves enabling and piling works, before the three connecting spans of the bridge, which will be constructed off-site, are transported to the site and lifted into place. Following the fitting of decking, lighting and infill panels, landscaping works will be undertaken on either side of the bridge to complete the works”.

Graham White, Chief Executive of Chiswick Park, said: “We’re pleased to have reached this agreement with the neighbouring councils, Transport for London and Network Rail. I’m sure the bridge will be welcomed by our guest companies on the park, and the wider community, by taking the pressure off the growing number of commuters using Gunnersbury station during busy periods, while significantly increasing the proximity of the shops, cafes and restaurants on the High Road to our guests on the Park.”

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for environment, transport and leisure at the London Borough of Ealing, said: “We welcome the construction of this new pedestrian bridge which will provide an easier and much shorter journey for people travelling to and from Chiswick Park Campus to Chiswick Park Station, as well as a direct link between the Colonial Drive development and Chiswick Park Campus.”

Macleod vs Cadbury – The Chiswick Calendar Election Debate

The Chiswick Calendar Election Debate was standing room only in the Boston Room of George IV in Chiswick on Wednesday 10 May. Brentford & Isleworth candidates Mary Macleod (Conservative) and Ruth Cadbury (Labour) were asked by BBC news presenter Rachel Schofield about their views on Brexit, the NHS, housing, education, the economy and a third runway at Heathrow.

Mary Macleod dismissed Ruth’s claims that Labour could fund their promises on the NHS while Ruth mocked the Conservative candidate’s repetition of ‘strong and secure’ as a description of Theresa May’s leadership style. “They said that about the Titanic” she said. Watch the full hour’s debate here.

Greens withdraw Brentford & Isleworth candidate

Hounslow Green Party has announced that Diane Scott will not be standing for the Brentford and Isleworth constituency in the 2017 General Election.

This is their press release:

Diane Scott said “The Green Party can’t win in Brentford and Isleworth this time. If I stood we would split the progressive vote. This is a very close seat where the Labour majority in 2015 was only 465, much less than the Green Party vote of 2,120. This election is very important because the Brexit deal will determine the quality of life for all of us. We don’t want to see a brutally hard Brexit agreement accompanied by a watering down of environmental and other protections. We don’t want to see EU citizens forcibly repatriated from this country. We have made a one-off decision to stand down and support the only party that can stop a hard Brexit. In this constituency Joe Bourke of the Liberal Democrats got only 2,305 votes last time, and he can’t win this time.

We have obtained important commitments from the Labour candidate Ruth Cadbury on proportional representation and the environment. We have not entered into a full strategic alliance with Labour at this stage, but hope that our tactical decision to stand aside will encourage an alliance of the progressive parties in the future. All the members of the local party were balloted on this decision in an open, transparent and inclusive process.

We thank all those voters who voted Green in the past and apologise to voters who wanted to vote Green this time and now can’t.”

Ruth Cadbury has committed, if elected, to:

  • vote for proportional representation in Westminster
  • work to influence Labour’s policy process in favour of proportional representation
  • fight the Tories watering down commitments on Climate Change, particularly as part of ‘hard Brexit’
  • support work in Parliament prioritising the environment and climate change, particularly on energy and trade policies
  • continue opposing Heathrow expansion
  • continue campaigning on air pollution

Ruth would also like to see Labour stand aside for the Green Party in Brighton Pavilion and the Isle of Wight. (This The Chiswick Calendar has not verified independently with Ruth)

Daniel Goldsmith, who stood for the Green Party in this seat in 2015 said “Diane would have been an excellent candidate and raised important environmental issues. I have been impressed with the work of Ruth Cadbury as an MP. She has campaigned hard against the third runway and air-pollution. As a keen cyclist I appreciate her work on cycling, where she is co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group. I admire her commitment as a Quaker to achieve non-violent solutions to political conflicts. I will be lending my vote to Ruth this time, as the only candidate who will fight against a hard Brexit”

Liberal Democrats committed to a second referendum

If you voted Remain in the EU Referendum, for Liberal Democrat candidate Joe Bourke there is only one way you can vote in this election: Liberal Democrat. The candidate for Brentford & Isleworth told Bridget Osborne that his party is committed to a second referendum, whereas the Labour party was ‘trying to face both ways’ and if we get a Conservative government then we will be committed to a hard Brexit.

Theresa May woz ‘ere – but it was a secret

Theresa May popped in to Brentford this afternoon to visit the graphics and signage maker Octink with Conservative party candidate for Brentford & Isleworth Mary Macleod. So secret was the arrangement that not only were local media not invited, but the local party only heard about it an hour before and only Mary was invited. So much for meeting the people.

Ruth Cadbury hopes to “buck the trend” and be re-elected

Labour have suffered big losses in the local elections, including the loss of overall control of Glasgow council for the first time in nearly 40 years. UKIP has been almost obliterated, failing to win a single seat in its supposed heartland. The Conservatives have taken control of five councils in England and Wales and also made headway in Scotland.

None of this bodes well for Ruth Cadbury and Rupa Huq, Labour general election candidates in two of the most marginal seats in the country. Ruth Cadbury, candidate for Brentford & Isleworth, acknowledges “it’s a challenge” but says it’s a challenge that she’s ready to meet. She talked to Bridget Osborne at the Clayton Hotel Chiswick about her chances of re-election.

Priti Patel visits Brentford with Mary Macleod

For the second day running the Conservative party has fielded one of its big names to come and support their candidate in what they clearly see as a target seat.

The Secretary of State for International Development Priti Patel visited the African entrepreneurship charity the MicroLoan Foundation and artisan chocolate producer Bianca Marton in Brentford on Tuesday with Conservative candidate for Brentford & Isleworth Mary Macleod. At MicroLoan Foundation, Priti and Mary met with founder and CEO Peter Ryan and other staff to hear about the work they are doing to provide women in sub-Saharan Africa with small loans to set up businesses to help them provide for their families. To date MicroLoan Foundation has loaned £25m and helped over 150,000 women many of whom were trying to survive on little over £1 a day. 99% of the loans provided by MicroLoan Foundation are repaid in full and can then be used again to help more women to start a business. Priti Patel said it was fantastic to see how: “their efforts are setting up a virtuous economic circle in their local community, allowing their children to complete their education and build a better future for the next generation. “Mary has made supporting female entrepreneurship a real priority and I look forward to working with her again in Parliament to continue these efforts.”

The next stop on the Brentford visit was to Bianca Marton, creator of award-winning artisan chocolates. Bianca showed the politicians the dairy-free chocolate making process and talked about some of the challenges of setting up and growing a business. Mary said: “We have some amazing organisations locally and it was great to visit two of those today. Women have typically been behind men in setting up businesses in both the UK and globally. I believe everyone should have the opportunity and necessary support to set up a business if that is what they choose to do. This entrepreneurial spirit is vital for our economy in the UK and also for the global economy.”

Amber Rudd visits Chiswick

Home Secretary Amber Rudd visited Chiswick on Monday 1 May supporting Conservative candidate for Brentford & Isleworth Mary Macleod. She heard the concerns of local residents about drug dealing and aggressive behaviour by young people in and around the High Rd. Since ‘strong’ and ‘secure’ have become watchwords of the campaign, Bridget Osborne asked her about her comments on Sky TV that Britain could leave the European police organisation Europol if the government fails to get the deal they want on Brexit.

What does Mary Macleod think about Brexit?

The Conservative candidate for Brentford & Isleworth was MP for the constituency from 2010 – 2015 so people tend to know who she is and what she stands for, except for the issue of Brexit. When she was voted out she worked for government for a bit but then went back to the private sector, where she had worked previously, as a head hunter for the biggest global executive search firm. What does Mary Macleod think about Brexit? Bridget Osborne met her at the Urban Pantry in Devonshire Rd to find out about her views. She asked her first whether she had missed politics.

Joy Morrissey selected as Conservative candidate for Ealing Central & Acton

Joy Morrissey has been selected by Conservatives in Ealing as their candidate for Ealing Central and Acton. An Ealing councillor since 2014, she used to work for the former MP Angie Bray. She voted Leave in the referendum.

Since November 2016 she has worked at the Centre for Social Justice, set up by Iain Duncan-Smith, running their events programme. According to their website: ‘Joy was born in the United States and came to the UK to do a masters degree at LSE. Her passion for social justice comes from a long period supporting humanitarian charities in Albania, Kosovo, China & India. She is an elected Ealing Councillor and theShadow Portfolio holder for Health & Wellbeing and thetrustee of a homeless charity in Acton as well as Chairman of the Ealing Central Business Club’.

Rupa Huq says there’s been an ‘amazing’ increase in new Labour members in Ealing Central and Acton

Rupa Huq, Labour candidate for Ealing Central and Acton, says there has amazing increase in the number of new members since the election was called. She’s been out campaigning in the Walpole and Hanger Hill areas of her constituency and will be in Ealing Broadway at 6.00pm on Thursday hoping to catch people on the way home from work.

She says: “As the party of big money, the Tories simply do not appear to comprehend the scale of the carnage they have caused to the lives of ordinary people. Yet the people of Ealing and Acton are not fooled. We understand that the Conservatives savage infliction of cuts to our invaluable public services are driven by ideology.

It is not any of their habitual targets, the disabled, single mothers, NHS staff, police or firefighters which caused a global recession. That was done by the very people who now bank roll and pull the strings behind the scenes in the Conservative Party. Yet it is on the backs of the most vulnerable that the Conservatives seek to balance the books.

The people of Ealing and Acton voted 72% to remain in the EU. We know that the kamikaze haste of the Tories to push our European partners away will irrevocably damage our economy, the living standards of our children and deplete our international standing in the world. That is why we have seen an amazing increase in the number of new members in the Labour Party locally, and those coming from outside the constituency, to offer their time to knock on doors, deliver leaflets and phone potential voters.