The last couple of days have brought the first real warm and sunny weather of the summer and it has been a pleasant change to be out campaigning without having to worry about taking a raincoat along. This morning I was out helping colleagues from Bury South where there is a local Council by election in Radcliffe West on Thursday. We received a generally positive response and it will, I think, be a close result on Thursday.
Yesterday, speaking at the Open University in Milton Keynes David Cameron spoke at some length about the ways a Conservative Government will change the way politics operates. You can watch the speech and read the text in full here.
Read the first sentence after the sub-heading Text alerts.
On Thursday evening I attended a meeting of the Ramsbottom, Tottington and North Manor Local Area Partnership (LAP). These bodies used to be called Area Boards and whilst I agree with the principle of devolving power down to the most local unit possible unfortunately I have to say that the way Labour have forced the Area Board’s to be renamed and reorganised has not been a great success in terms of increasing local involvement. Despite the valiant efforts of all those involved in the meetings, especially the LAP Chairmen and Managers, the attendance by members of the public is woefully low. Only when a local issue raises the political temperature does attendance increase. Attendance used to be better under the previous Area Board system and whilst the idea of LAP’s may soung good in theory in practice I, for one, remain to be convinced.
The meeting on Thursday was held at Ramsbottom Fire Station and the highlight was undoubtedly a display by the fire cadets who are raising money to travel to the Czech Republic to represent the Country in a competition against other Cadets from across Europe. They performed with great skill and organisation and I hope they perform as well when they have their chance on the international stage.
On Monday, together with my colleague Councillor Michelle Wiseman the Prospective Conservative MP for Bury South I accompanied the Shadow Minister for Business Mark Prisk MP on a visit to O2. We met with staff and then toured the call centre. It is the largest employer in Bury provding employment for over 1400 once contractors are taken into account.
After the visit we then attended a meeting with over 50 businessmen and women from Bury and surrounding areas organised jointly by the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Conservative Business Relations. After a brief speech from Mark Prisk we had a question and answer session where topics ranged from the level of taxation to the difficulty in obtaining finance.
Phew! Busy day. This morning in between speaking to various media representatives I went to help volunteers deliver leaflets in Radcliffe West in Bury South where there is to be a by-election on 4th June. In Samantha Davies we have an excellent new Candidiate who is a Radcliffe resident and is enthusiastic and very committed to try and help the residents of Radcliffe. The Ward has up to now had three Labour Councillors so it will be very difficult to win but we have had an excellent response on the doorstep with quite a few voters switching straight to us from Labour.
I have now had the opportunity to read the full report in the Daily Telegraph on the claims made by the current M.P. for Bury North. Apart from the admission that interest was claimed in respect of a mortgage that had been repaid it appears that expenses were claimed for five different properties. There may well be very good reasons for each one of the changes but I just wanted to place on record that as far as I am concerned my main home will always be here in Bury. I will never change the designation or my second home purely in an attempt to maximise the amount of expenses I could claim as it appears some M.P’s have done.
I have been up since 4.30am as I have travelled down to London today (well yesterday as it is nearly 1am!) for a Notary Training Day. Although not compulsory it is recommended that Notaries attend the training days organised from time to time by The Notaries Society to ensure that we keep up to date with any changes.
My return rail trip back to Manchester was notable for two reasons. Firstly, I shared a carriage with Henry Winkler better known as The Fonz from the American hit tv series Happy Days. Secondly, because from about 10pm my phone didn’t stop ringing with various people wanting my reaction to the fact that the current M.P. for Bury North was featured on the front page of the Daily Telegraph and, later, was the leading news story on the BBC Radio 5 news bulletin. As is well known I never make personal attacks on other politicians and I am not about to start now.
What I can say is that I fully support the actions taken and the proposals made by David Cameron. I would personally never even dream of claiming for the things it appears some M.P’s have claimed for. I am always conscious that it is not Government money it is the public’s money. Hardworking families in Bury really struggle to make ends meet and I can well understand the anger that people feel when they read the revelations that have come to light in the past few days. I only hope that the damage that has been done to the standing and the trust of politicians can be repaired.