I completely agree with David Cameron’s action in removing the Whip from Derek Conway MP. I have nothing against MP’s employing family members indeed MP’s from all parties have been doing so largely without problems for years but the actions of Mr Conway simply bring the whole process into disrepute and I sincerely hope that people do not assume that all MP’s would do the same thing Mr Conway has done.
I think one of the most crucial elements of politics is “trust”. Voters need to be able to trust politicians even if they do not agree with them. One of the greatest problems in recent years has been that voters are turned off the wole political process because quite simply they do not believe ie trust any politicians. It can be argued that the roots of this cynicism can be blamed on all the major parties.
This week we have seen the issue of MP’s pay raised once more and with it the issue of their expenses. Apparently MP’s are allowed to claim up to £250 without providing a receipt. Now this would not be aproblem if the public trusted their elected representatives. I can see there are strong arguments for saying it would not be cost effective to remove this de minimis limit but I wonder if removing it might increase the trust public have in MP’s.
It had end to end sometime and Bury’s great FA cup run has finally ended with their 2-0 defeat at Southampton. It has been a great effort this season especially after the huge disappointment and, I believe, injustice of last season when Bury were thrown out of the FA cup.
On Saturday Susan and I went over to York to a meeting of all the Conservative Candidates so far selected in the North of England. We had briefings from various Party officials and the keynote speaker was the Shadow Home Secretary the Rt. Hon. David Davis.
Yesterday after spending most of the day catching up with my emails and paperwork I had meetings with our local Party officers and my own Campaign Director. In the evening I attended a meeting of the Councillors Group where in addition to the usual business we had a presentation on the work of the Childrens Services Department which was very informative
It has been announced this week that Moorside Councillor Peter Ashworth will be the next Mayor of Bury. I have known for a few weeks that this was likely but as is the tradition with these things I had to keep it confidential until it was announced officially. Peter is well known from his many years of service in the Finance Department at the Town Hall and is President of the Salisbury Conservative Club where I am a member. I wish him well for the year ahead and I am sure he will be a great ambassador for Bury.
I have not been a 100% for the last few days. Nothing really bad but very croaky voice, blocked sinus, red eyes just a bad cold I guess. It is amazing that for all the progress made in science and medicine the basic common cold is invincible. I have been able to keep working and I have spent most of my time and dealing with my accounts ahead of the deadline for filing my tax return.
I did manage to get to the Bury FA cup replay on Tuesday evening and it was indeed a memorable match. A typical cup tie the Shakers battled all the way and really deserved the 2-1 win and a place in Round 4. Of course they are managerless at the moment and I hope it is not too long before a new man at the helm is appointed so that he can start to ensure League survival this year and build for a promotion push next season!
I strongly believe in organ donation. I have carried a donor card since 1984 and I urge anyone to consider the possibility of allowing their organs to be used after their death. This weekend the Prime Minister has let it be known that he proposes to consult on the idea of allowing organs to be removed without consent. I feel that this is the wrong approach and I have today written to the local papers to make my view clear. I believe that this is a matter of personal choice and when the matter was last considered by Parliament Conservative M.P.’s were allowed a free vote. I believe that it is the responsibility of Government to encourage new potential donors and to ensure that all the processes are in place to allow transplants to take place but I believe the individual should opt in to being a donor and that it should not be a case of the State owning our bodies after death.
This morning Susan and I attended the funeral of Bill Hemmingway. Bill was a staunch supporter of the Conservative Party in Bury and in recent years has fought a long battle against illness. Bill never complained and he was a man who I had great admiration for. He will forever be associated with the Conservative Clubs movement – he was President of the Lancashire Federation of Conservative Clubs. He will be sadly missed.
Yesterday I visited Ramsbottom Civic Hall along with Alistair Burt MP the former Bury North MP and the Council Leader Bob Bibby and Ramsbottom Councillor Barry Theckston. I have of course visited the Civic Hall many times before but this time, woith the help of Council Officers, we went to the upstairs part of the Hall which is normally closed off. It was very interesting to see what a large amount of space is presently unused up there. In recent years Ramsbottom Civic Hall has always featured on the list of potential cuts when the annual budget was being considered. At the last local elections the Conservatives pledged to reverse this trend and proposed the sale of the old Adult Learning Centre in Bury at 2/4 Market Street with the proceeds being used towards helping tosafeguard the future of Ramsbottom Civic Hall. The property on Market Street was sucessfully sold at auction last month for over £300,000 so it looks like the future of Ramsbottom Civic Hall is brighter than it has been for some time. Of course there is still much more to be done and even these proceeds of sale are not enough to do all that could be done with the Civic Hall but it is, at least, a start!