Brent results for the General Election

Residents have voted emphatically for Labour in Brent. We are represented by three MPs covering the Hampstead and Kilburn, Brent Central and Brent North constituencies.

Tulip Siddiq has increased her majority in Hampstead and Kilburn from 1,138 to 15,560. In Brent Central where my Council ward Dudden Hill is, Dawn Butler increased her vote share from 19,649 to 27,997 and in Brent North, Barry Gardiner increased his majority from 10,834 to 17,061.

The Conservatives had heavily targeted Brent North and Hampstead and Kilburn in particular but London in general saw Labour support rapidly increase across the capital. Personally I mostly campaigned in my own ward in Dudden Hill within Brent Central but did go to campaign sessions in Hampstead and Kilburn and Harrow West where Gareth Thomas not only retained his seat but increased his majority.

Sadly, we are still facing a Tory Government led by a weak leader but we will now have a strengthened and united opposition which will be incredibly important as we go through Brexit negotiations.

We were already knocking on doors before the snap election was called as we don’t just go on the doorstep during election time. Our returns in Dudden Hill when canvassing in the snap election period where showing that Dawn would increase her majority and in a worst case scenario would be no worse than the 2015 result under Ed Miliband’s leadership. A few conversations I had with voters during the campaign stick to my head.

In Dudden Hill, I met a firefighter who was so angry with the Government following the terror attacks. He lived in Kilburn but happened to be visiting his mother in my ward when I knocked on the door. He was furious at how much the emergency services were praised for their work in response to the attacks but when it comes to day to day activity they were treated like crap. They couldn’t even exercise or show their frustrations by being able to strike. He hadn’t had a pay rise in years and all his living costs had gone up. They felt undervalued day in day out and used as a political tool when they are needed.

Corbyn was mentioned as a reason people were not voting Labour but when we checked our returns, this was generally mentioned by people who had never voted for Labour and were anti-Labour in all elections.

Labour voters who mentioned dislike for Corbyn still said they would vote for Labour because of Party values. Corbyn was even mentioned as a reason for people voting for Labour, switching to Labour from Greens or Lib Dems and he gave a reason for people who had never voted before to vote for Labour for the first time in their lives.

Results in Brent Central and Brent North show the Conservative vote was fairly static in Brent and in terms of vote share there were slight decreases but a huge drop in their support in Hampstead and Kilburn.

It was truly remarkable to see people coming forward to vote at polling stations who had never been motivated to come out and exercise their democratic right before. As we showed in the London elections with Sadiq Khan’s victory, positive campaigning and the politics of hope definitely helped to deliver the unexpected general election result we are waking up to today.

 

Sarah Teather a no show at Parliamentary debate on local hospitals

Maybe there was a rational reason why the Tory Liberal Minister could not attend the debate and vote on the NHS and local hospitals.

However, it is good that attention was paid to Central Middlesex Hospital in the debate.

Barry Gardiner MP for Brent North said,

Barry Gardiner: Thank you, Sir. I shall try to respect your advice.

In November 2011, the following announcement appeared on the Central Middlesex hospital website:

“A and E at Central Middx Hospital is temporarily closing overnight between 7 pm and 8 am starting from Monday 14 November 2011.

The urgent care centre next to A and E will remain open 24 hrs a day 7 days a week to treat patients with minor injuries and illness.

We are making this temporary change to ensure we continue to provide a safe service to patients during the winter months.”

In those three paragraphs, we hear twice over that that overnight closure is temporary, which gave minimal comfort to my constituents in Brent who used the facility. The overnight closure is indeed temporary. On 2 July, a consultation entitled “Shaping a healthier future” was launched in north-west London, and residents can submit their views until 8 October this year. The consultation, promoted by a transitional body called NHS North West London, aims to centralise and rationalise hospital services in the area. Each proposal outlined in the consultation includes the closure of the A and E at Central Middlesex—not overnight provision, but the 24-hour facility—for good.

The motion speaks of

“the growing gap between Ministers’ statements and what is happening in the NHS”.

I may have trouble agreeing with that, because it depends on which Minister and which statements. The Minister of State, Department for Education, the hon. Member for Brent Central (Sarah Teather), received an e-mail from me today advising her that, if called to speak, I would quote her in this evening’s debate. I wanted to do so, because she made the following three statements. First:

“The Tories would be a disaster for the NHS, they plan a part privatised service”.

The second quotation:

“These cuts will hit the poorest and most vulnerable hardest”.

The third quotation:

“The government must take urgent steps to safeguard our local NHS”.

Those three quotes date respectively from 2003, 2007 and 2007, when the hon. Lady was campaigning to keep open the accident and emergency centre at Central Middlesex hospital—campaigning for something which she, in her government, is now closing. No wonder her latest comment is:

“This flawed consultation, which does not allow residents to say that they want to save the A and E, is a kick in the teeth for all local people.”

I do not speak Parseltongue—I do not understand it—but I deplore the pretence of opposing a policy that you are pushing through in government. That is really disgraceful.

Even Tory MP for Ealing, Angie Bray MP spoke out against what is happening. She said,

Angie Bray: As my right hon. Friend is aware, the proposal is to downgrade four accident and emergency departments across London that are all right beside my constituency. Does he agree with my constituents that losing four accident and emergency departments is disproportionate and will mean a significant loss of service for them locally?

Boundary changes to Brent

The Coalition Government is proposing to cut the number of Parliamentary constituencies from 650 to 600. In London, it is proposed to cut the number of Parliamentary Constituencies by 5, from 73 to 68. Brent is going to be affected by these boundary changes.

At the moment, the London Borough of Brent lies in three Parliamentary constituency boundaries: Brent Central, Brent North and Hampstead and Kilburn. Boundary changes will see wards in the London Borough of Brent in five different Parliamentary constituencies; Harrow, Stanmore, Wembley and Perivale, Willesden and Hampstead and Kilburn.

Changes:

  • At the moment, Brondesbury Park Ward lies in Hampstead and Kilburn Parliamentary constituency. It is proposed that this Ward comes over to Brent Central. Kilburn Ward and Queens Park Ward are to remain in Hampstead and Kilburn.
  • College Park and Old Oak Ward, which is in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham is to come over to Brent Central Parliamentary constituency.
  • Tokyngton Ward is to move over from Brent Central to the Brent North Parliamentary seat.
  • Brent Central is to be renamed Willesden.
  • Perivale Ward is to move from the Ealing North Parliamentary seat to Brent North
  • Brent North is to be renamed Wembley and Perivale.
  • Fryent Ward and Queensbury Ward are to move over to what is now known as Harrow East in a new Parliamentary constituency that will be named Stanmore.
  • Kenton Ward in Brent is to move from Brent North to what is now Harrow West in a Parliamentary Constituency called Harrow.

Below are web links to the new proposed constituencies:

It is worth noting that the Government are consulting on these proposals for a 12-week period, from 13 September 2011 to 5 December 2011 so these are not finalised proposals. You can contribute your comments here: LINK

The Commission will be holding public hearings across all the English regions. There will be one hosted at Brent Town Hall on Thursday 20th October from 11am to 8pm and Friday 21st October from 9am to 5pm. For more details and to register, click here: LINK

Kenton by-election result

Unfortunately Labour was unable to gain a seat from the Conservatives in Kenton ward yesterday following the death of Councillor Arthur Steel which triggered the by-election. Conservative candidate Suresh Kansagra won by 156 votes.

The final results were as follows:

  1. Suresh Kansagra (Conservative) – 1,063 votes
  2. Ellie May Southwood (Labour) – 907 votes
  3. Robert Dunwell (Independent) – 185 votes
  4. Alan Mathison (Green Party) – 75 votes

(turnout – 25.96%)

The seat would have been a real coup for Brent Labour as it has been Conservative since its existence. It remains the only ward in Brent which has three Conservative Councillors. It was a fair fought election and Ellie was a splendid candidate and managed to increase the Labour vote in Kenton Ward by 2.8%. Meanwhile the Lib Dem vote collapsed from 14.4% in May to 7.4% yesterday and were even shamefully beaten by the Independent candidate Robert Dunwell.

Change from May 2010 elections

Party May 2010 Result Feb 2011 by-election Result Change from May election (%)
Conservative 46.3 % 43.9 % – 2.4 %
Labour 34.7 % 37.5 % + 2.8 %
Lib Dem 14.4 % 7.4 % – 7 %
Green 4.6 % 3.1 % – 1.5 %
Independent 0 % 7.6 % + 7.6 %

I’d like to congratulate Suresh on his victory and I look forward to working with him at the Council.

Labour hits the ground running at the Town Hall

The new Labour majority, which will take charge of Brent Council following the Council’s Annual General Meeting, has already taken a number of steps to improve the lives of local people.

In addition to the scrapping of the unpopular £25.00 charge for bulky refuse collection, Labour will:

  • Cancel the sale of the Scout Hut at Oliver Goldsmith School in Fryent ward;
  • Seek to cancel the sale of land at Barham Park, on which the previous administration had sought to build a block of flats;
  • Bring forward plans for new youth facilities in Chalkhill;
  • Bring forward an urgent report on the health and safety issues relating to the dining facility at Byron Court Primary School;
  • Investigate sharing services with neighbouring councils in order to achieve the savings needed to avoid cuts in front line services;
  • Ensure that low paid staff are protected during the difficult financial times which lie ahead.

The Leader of Brent Council, Councillor Ann John, said:

“It is important that we deliver on the promises we made during the election campaign and we will continue to make progress as quickly as we can. We will work closely with our local Labour MPs, Barry Gardiner who represents Brent North and Glenda Jackson, whose Hampstead & Kilburn constituency covers part of the borough, to secure real improvements in the quality of service to local people”.

Barry Gardiner, Member of Parliament for Brent North, said:

“Ann John has lost no time in getting the Council back to work for the people of Brent. These dramatic initiatives are precisely what people voted for last week. Voters will be delighted that she is moving to deliver real change so quickly”.

What a last few days it has been

It was a horrible morning as we learnt the result of the Brent Central Parliamentary vote. We were absolutely distraught at losing such an inspiring MP in Dawn. Barry Gardiner and Glenda Jackson’s result did soften the blow as Hampstead and Kilburn elected Glenda, and Brent North elected Barry.

Yesterday at 4PM the Council results for Dudden Hill Ward was announced. It was the second result announced after the Willesden Green Ward announcement where there was no change from 2006. At the Dudden Hill Count table, the Labour pile looked marginally bigger than the Lib Dem stack.

Before they’re announced, the Candidates and our Agents already know the results. We were called behind the count table to look at the ballot papers that were sorted into the pile where the ballots were disputable.

I looked at the results sheets… I was ahead of two of my Lib Dem opponents! After we had all agreed where the disputed papers should go, the result was finalised. I had got in by 50 votes.

But the day wasn’t over. As the results were announced Ward by Ward, we were making gains all across Brent. The final result was astonishing. Brent Labour now have 40 Councillors in Brent to 17 Lib Dems and 6 Conservatives.

Commiserations to all my fellow Dudden Hill candidates of all parties who were unsuccessful on this occasion and congratulations to Aslam Choudry and David Clues for also being elected as Dudden Hill Councillors.  This has been a hard fought campaign and many had no sleep for two days. The actual campaign was exhausting. I’m sure all candidates are sporting a ‘campaign calf’ from being on their feet constantly, knocking on doors, talking to people, canvassing for support.

Lastly, thank you for all your support, to every voter, to every leaflet deliverer, to every donater, to my fellow candidates, to the A-Team, to Dawn & her team, to volunteers, everyone else that helped and to you.

I look forward to the challenges that the next four years will bring – and I look forward to serving Dudden Hill and Brent.

Brent Council accused of intimidating Brent Youth Parliament members

I recenty spoke along with Transport Minister Sadiq Khan MP,  Islington South and Finsbury MP Emily Thornberry and my fellow young Brent Council Candidates Roxanne Mashari (Welsh Harp Ward) and Nadhim Ahmed (Dollis Hill Ward) at a Young People’s reception organised by Youth Opportunities and Youth Engagement Minister Dawn Butler MP.

It was amazing to meet so many young people involved positively in our communities. A few members of the Brent Youth Parliament were among the guests which has since caused local controversy. The Liberal Democrat and Conservative controlled Brent Council has since sent the Brent Youth Parliament members an intimidating letter saying:

“You will obviously need to give careful consideration as to whether you wish to align yourself with a particular person or group and what impact this may have on others’ perception of you as a Brent Youth Parliament member.

“If you do decide to participate in local politics, you will need to give consideration as to which person or group you are willing to be connected with and, any implications of this.”

Barry Gardiner MP, who represents Brent North in Parliament raised the issue in Parliament and was advised by Sir Alan Haselhurst to take the matter to the Speaker of the House of Commons. Harrow Times have reported in the story LINK.

I think it’s an absolute disgrace that young people are being discouraged from being involved in politics by being threatened and intimidated in this manner.

Brent Labour has led the way in youth representation and in this years’ local elections will be putting forward 5 candidates in their 20s.