Hello again, With more evidence today of the dangerous times we live in, it’s difficult to look forward to the forthcoming Easter break. I am taking a few days off and very much hope you too have an enjoyable time with friends and family. I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who contacted me following the terrorist attack in Westminster. My team and I appreciated your kind thoughts; tributes and condolences to the families of those who died and the injured, have been passed on.
There’s a lot of news so please read on. As ever, Anna
Hospitals are no place for protests – patients must come first Today, I spoke with the Chief Executive of Nottingham University Hospitals Trust (NUHT) about a “protest” being staged outside the Treatment Centre at the QMC. A small number of people from an anti abortion organisation are demonstrating outside the Treatment Centre which is used by a variety of patients and staff.
I strongly believe in the right to free speech and the right to demonstrate and protest. Tomorrow, as usual, the Market Square in Nottingham will host a variety of campaigns with stalls and people handing out leaflets urging us to support their cause. Everyone is also free to lobby their MP, march on Parliament – even bring their protest to my constituency office. We are a great democracy that is rightly proud of our traditions of protest and free speech.
But the aim of the QMC ‘protest’ are confused. The organisers claim variously they are “praying to end Abortion” and support “40 days of life”. However, one participant told BBC Radio Nottingham their aim is to persuade women who are about to terminate their pregnancy that they should not.
The majority of women who use the Treatment Centre for a termination are particularly vulnerable. They include girls under the age of 16 who have been raped, sometimes by a father or step father and couples who have been told there is a serious foetal abnormality. The last thing, I suggest, anyone in such circumstance wants, is to be distressed or upset in any way.
There’s an argument, the protest is in breach of the Public Order Act as it could cause distress to a child or woman about to have or who may have had a termination. In any event, I take the firm view demonstrations and protests have no place in Hospital grounds – whatever the cause. The primary duty of NUHT is to care for its patients, then its staff. This ‘protest’ is designed to cause distress and misplaced guilt in women seeking the lawful termination of a pregnancy. I believe it also seeks to intimidate health workers working with those women. NUHT would not tolerate any other protest or demonstration, however quiet it may be, and particularly if it caused distress to patients and objection amongst its staff.
I made these views very clear today to the Chief Executive of NUHT, Peter Homa who I have a lot of time for. Unfortunately, his view is that NHS England should set him some guidelines. I suggested he should stand up for patients and his staff and make it clear to these anti-abortion demonstrators that they should take their protest elsewhere.
A few months ago I met with the Police Minister, Brandon Lewis and senior police officers; I asked them to review these types of anti – abortion protests and they agreed. You can be assured I will continue to work to protect the rights of women to exercise choice and support health workers who provide support and services to them.
NUHT seem to take the view “they will be gone by Monday”. Let them be gone from the QMC for good – their proper place is in the Market Square or outside Parliament.
A52 campaign wins top support Tony Smith’s campaign to stop dangerous speeding on the A52 through Bramcote and Beeston is gathering top level support. The Nottingham Post used an editorial to argue in favour of average speed cameras along the A52 – which seems a very good idea. The Transport Minister, Andrew Jones, has agreed to meet Tony after I made a request to him in the House of Commons. There was another accident on the A52 this week and again excessive speed appears to have been involved. The recent spate of accidents means the anticipated Highways England review will be delayed.
Rylands prepares for Chariot procession I visited the annual festival of prayer at the Beeston Hindu Temple which ends on Sunday 9 April with a Chariot procession through the Rylands. Everyone is welcome and the event begins at 11 am at the Temple finishing at noon. The Hindu Temple has an open door policy and I would encourage everyone to pay them a visit. The Temple is currently applying for planing permission to build a facade to add to their building on West Crescent and is consulting extensively. I wish them well.
HS2 Trowell viaduct opposition grows I spoke in Parliament just before the Easter recess about HS2’s plans for a 60 foot viaduct through Trowell. Ministers have already visited the village and have agreed to consider all options to the plans. I am against the proposed viaduct which will dominate the village and have no doubt the majority of people in Trowell are of the same view. I attended an anti-HS2 meeting in the Parish Hall and whilst we didn’t agree on the merits of HS2 (I am a supporter of HS2) nor the route, we all agreed the viaduct must be opposed. I have asked HS2 for a model of the plans in preparation for a public meeting in June or July. I will keep you updated.
Let’s get Stapleford sorted! I’ve had a number of meetings in Stapleford about community facilities in the town. The first concerned the Community Association building which is set to be demolished to make way for homes. The building is used primarily by a dance school – which is not of itself a problem, it’s just that it doesn’t provide the sort of facilities required by the whole of Stapleford’s community. I have written to the Borough Council expressing my concern that a number of sole traders need ‘rehousing’ as a result of the demolition.
The second meeting was with my friend Pete Scott and Justin Cockerham who run Stapleford Town Football Club. In short there is, I believe, a genuine and exciting opportunity to provide a new community centre for Stapleford and state of the art football facilities for girls and boys in the town. It’s all in the early stages, but I am backing the scheme which will rely on some brave thinking and action from the Borough and Town Councils. I will keep you informed.
Moorgreen speeding I was very pleased to meet members of the Moorgreen Residents Association to discuss the longstanding problem of speeding and heavy vehicles in the area. I have written a number of times to the County Council but they refuse to change the speed limit, restrict HGV’s and introduce speed reduction measures on Moorgreen and the B6000. After the County Council elections on May 4th these problems will become a priority for me and I’ve already asked for the new criteria concerning road safety improvements and the guidance regarding HGVs.
Beeston station – update There’s no debate – the lack of accessibility for the disabled at Beeston Station is unacceptable. I had a very positive meeting with East Midlands Trains about a number of matters, particularly the issue of poor access. ‘We are not alone’ is of little comfort – however EMT have agreed to look at the cost of the much needed improvements.
They have also agreed to analyse passenger figures which show a drop in the number of people using Beeston station. I asked for the figures from the last few years so we can see if there is a problem. Anecdotally, the trams works increased the number of passengers using Beeston, so the fall may not be due to competition from the tram but simply getting back to normal levels.
Beeston’s Great Get Together Beeston resident Ginny Hartman is planning a community picnic as part of a national event to celebrate the values of Jo Cox MP. Jo was murdered last June and the Great Get Together is in recognition of her motto “we have more in common”. Dovecote Park is the venue and the date for your diary is June 17. More details when things are finalised. <<Organise your own Great Get Together here>>
Kimberley welcomes new business I was delighted to open Watsons Estate Agents – a brand new business on Main Street in Kimberley. Will and Sheree Watson have invested a considerable amount of time and money into the shop which is set to be a real asset to Kimberley.
Retirement homes under construction Work on 48 new homes for older residents is underway in Stapleford. The development, on Hickings Lane, is due to finish early next year. Carpenter Court is being built on brown field land and I am keen to support projects that provide new homes on alternative sites to our precious Green Belt land. My thanks to site manager John Causer who showed me the site and the plans.
School funding and the apprenticeship levy My thanks to all the head teachers who wrote to me about how the planned changes to the school funding formula, will effect their budget. As a result I have written to the Education Secretary, Justine Greening as part of the consultation before any changes are made. I am coming to the conclusion that it is right to change the formula but some parts of it need adjusting. Whilst I appreciate that the Government will spend more overall on our schools, I find it very difficult to accept that so many schools in Broxtowe will be worse off. All schools face rising costs and for most, the imposition of part of the County Council’s apprenticeship levy. I am working with all political parties to seek to stop this hugely unfair burden on our schools. My Letter to Education Minster Justine Greening
A new political party? There have been somewhat bizarre reports that I am about to leave the Conservative Party and form a new party. I don’t make a secret of my concern that the Conservatives must firmly hold on to the centre ground of British politics, especially as the Labour Party drifts even further to the lunatic left. As one long time Labour supporter said to me this week in Kimberley “they can’t even expel Ken Livingstone”. We also saw the sad spectacle of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in Newark, failing to correctly name the Labour leader of Notts County Council, Alan Rhodes.
The reality is our electoral system favours a few “broad church” political parties. The Prime Minister, Theresa May, made an excellent speech in Nottinghamshire yesterday to launch our County Council campaign (more below). Theresa May’s recent more pragmatic approach on the need for migrant workers chimes with the One Nation Tory I have always been.
The Prime Minister Theresa May, came to Nottinghamshire to launch the Conservative local elections campaign. Nottinghamshire is a key area – the County Council is currently controlled by Labour though I hope that will change on May 4th!
If elected to run Notts, the Conservatives will spend more to improve social care services, and create a £1 million pothole fund, as their top priorities. I very much hope you will support your local candidate and if you would like to help the Conservative campaign please let me know.
Attenborough crossings decision denial Network Rail have strenuously denied rumours that they have made a decision to close the Attenborough crossings. Any decision will not be made until the Autumn and they continue to consider the many hundreds of responses they had to the consultation.
Off road bike action My thanks to everyone who has contacted me about the growing scourge of off road bikers. I have accordingly written to our most senior police officer asking him to ensure his officers take action when complaints are made.