Guest blog by Ruth Cadbury
Ruth is the parliamentary candidate for Labour for the Brentford & Isleworth constituency, 2019 general election
I have been the independently-minded Labour MP for the Brentford & Isleworth seat (including Chiswick, Osterley and Hounslow) since 2015. First elected with less than 500 majority in 2015, my majority grew to over 12,300 in the 2017 snap election.
This constituency voted to remain in the EU; Chiswick by over 70%. Any kind of Brexit, and particularly a hard Tory Brexit, would threaten the economy, our environmental and consumer standards, our rights at work, our security and peace in Northern Ireland. I believe that the best deal with the EU is the deal we already have. I voted against revoking Article 50 and four times against a disastrous Tory Brexit.
I firmly support offering a Peoples’ Vote to act as a confirmatory referendum with ‘remain’ on the ballot along with a clearly defined ‘leave’ option. I have pledged to campaign for Remain in the Referendum because I firmly believe that no leave deal can be better than the deal we have as a full member of the EU.
The 2016 vote was an advisory referendum with no definition of what ‘leave’ meant. Serious questions have also been asked of the campaign methods used – whether it be the NHS bus lie or the manipulative targeting of voters in Hounslow claiming that immigration would be easier. The ‘leave’ campaign was also found to break electoral law by the Electoral Commission. This should not be allowed to happen again.
And by the way – merely revoking Article 50, with the people having no say, will not restore many people’s trust in politicians and I believe is an irresponsible pledge.
Crumbling public services
Nearly a decade of Conservative Government cuts has left our NHS, education system, social care and most other public services at a crisis point; the most visible proof being the escalating number of rough sleepers we see on our streets and the tragic rise in the use of foodbanks by struggling families.
Founded by the Labour Government in 1947, the NHS is being put at risk by the Tories. Inadequate funding to cope with the predicted rise of demand, cuts in funding to Council social care services, inadequate Mental Health support and a skills crisis across all clinical areas – the NHS is surviving through the goodwill and enormous hard work of the staff. I commit to campaign to cut waiting times, properly fund Mental Health services and end prescription charges.
I’ve visited all the schools in the constituency; meeting heads, teachers and students and they tell me about the impact on Hounslow’s schools of the lost £410 per pupil; narrowing the curriculum and exam choices, lack of support for children with additional needs and shortages of basic equipment. Cuts to Council budgets has meant that all-important youth services have all-but disappeared. I will support policies to reverse per pupil funding cuts and I will continue to work with parents and Parent Teacher Associations.
I chaired two well attended public crime discussions this year and held a constituency survey which together showed how concerned people are about crime. I have liaised with police to increase communication and work with the community. Following the public discussions, it was good to see parents setting up a support group to help address youth crime. But the impact of £1 bn cut in the Government grant for London’s policing since 2010 has meant fewer police officers, community support officers and police stations and a rise in violent crime. Tory Ministers have now admitted their cuts went too far, but are still not prepared to address the scale of the problem. I will campaign for more police on our streets and restored youth services.
Climate change is having an impact locally and globally. I heard Greta Thunberg speak in Westminster earlier this year, and it is right that young people have been forcing us to take address the issue seriously. After Labour declared a climate emergency the Conservatives followed, but I have challenged the Government repeatedly to take action, not just spout warm words.
I have campaigned against expansion at Heathrow not only because of the climate consequences but because whole areas not currently severely affected by aircraft noise, such as Chiswick, will be under the final approach path. Expansion will increase road traffic here, and the resultant air pollution will cause yet more problems, particularly for older people and young children. I am proud to have supported the Chiswick Oasis green wall project with St Mary’s school parents, and campaigned on engine idling outside local schools. As a result of the green wall, there has been a 37% improvement in air quality for the children at St Mary’s.
I’ve lived locally for over 30 years, and represented Brentford on Hounslow Council for much of that time. I worked as a town planner, and brought up 2 sons who went to Lampton School in Hounslow. I know what concerns local people have and hope once again to continue to represent the area I have been so proud to call home.
Outside politics; I run on Saturday Parkruns and ran the London Marathon twice, raising funds for Shelter, Young Minds and CW+ Sun and Stars Appeal at West Middlesex hospital. I’m supposed to be in training for next year’s marathon!
I will be out campaigning over the next few weeks, so if you have any topics you would like to discuss, please do get in touch! You can so email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.