The Clarence and Deeply Vale


I was delighted to be able to welcome the Local Government Minister Kris Hopkins MP to Bury again yesterday. We had a tour of the The Clarence Public House and their basement microbrewery. It is good news that this local in the town centre has reopened after standing empty for several years.

We then moved on to the Deeply Vale Brewery and saw at first hand how another Bury based microbrewery is successfully brewing and selling beer across the region.

Phillip Hughes R.I.P.

Like millions of other cricket fans around the World I was saddened when I woke this morning to the news that Australian batsman Phil Hughes had passed away after he had been struck on the head by a bouncer in a Sheffield Shield game two days ago. At just a few days shy of his 26th birthday one can only imagine how devastated his family and friends must be. It is another reminder of one of my favourite sayings: ‘you just never know what is around the corner’.
Tragedy can strike without warning.

I am sure helmet manufacturers will carefully consider whether any small change to the design of the helmet could have made a difference. We will never know. I just hope that, notwithstanding this tragedy, the rules of cricket are not changed to outlaw the bouncer. It would I fear only be counterproductive. Batsman might stop wearing helmets and would be taken by surprise if the ball, as sometimes happens slips from the bowler’s hand, and flies straight at the head of a batsman.

My thoughts and prayers are with Phil Hughes family and friends and indeed with Sean Abbott who was the bowler who sent down the fateful delivery.

Elton High School Redevelopment

The plans for the new Elton High School are now ready for viewing and there will be a public exhibition of the plans at Elton High School (Walshaw Road Bury BL8 1RN) next Monday and Tuesday.
The display will include the latest drawings showing details of the pedestrian and vehicular access arrangements. Details of the construction process and the overall timescales will also be available.

The exhibition will be open on Monday 1st December from 3.30pm until 7.30pm and on Tuesday 2nd December from 4pm until 7.30pm.

The plan is to build a new school on the existing site and then demolish the existing buildings on the site which will be replaced with a new playing field.

Chesham Fold Community Centre

Many congratulations to all those at the Chesham Fold Community Centre in Bury who have been awarded £500 from the 2014 Lloyds Bank Community Fund. The Fund helps people working in local communities by giving cash grants up to £3,000 based on a public vote. The votes were cast between 2nd September and 10th October. People voted either in the branch, online or via Text message on Twitter. Across the Country 1,400 good causes will be helped benefitting hundreds of thousands of people.
More information can be found at

Recall of MP’s Bill

The Recall of MP’s Bill passed through the remainder of its legislative stages in the House of Commons this evening and will now pass to the House of Lords for consideration.
My view is that I would not have started down this particular road but now that we have and raised voters hope that they are going to be given a right to recall errant MP’s I think the current Bill will only serve to disappoint.

I voted for the package of changes put forward by my colleague Zac Goldsmith which would have genuinely put the power of recall in the hands of constituents but by a considerable majority the plans were rejected. Now it will be back to whether a MP is sentenced to jail by the Courts or suspended by the Committee of Standards in the House of Commons as to whether a MP will face a recall by-election. The crucial point that I am concerned about is that MP’s should not face a Recall ballot for the views that they hold. It should only be for misconduct. MP’s must always be free o speak out even if what they say is unpopular.

Rochester and Strood Result

Not entirely unexpectedly my former colleague and now friend in another party Mark Reckless held on to his seat in Rochester and Strood. It would be churlish not to congratulate him and indeed UKIP on their success. I understand they become only the 4th Party since World War 2 to win two by-elections in the same Parliament so quite an achievement.

So what does it mean? It will undoubtedly cheer up UKIP members to have gone from zero to two MP’s in a short period of time but I would caution against too much euphoria. Their success will mean UKIP policies will come under greater scrutiny than they The margin of victory in Rochester was rather less than the polls had suggested and the bookies now have the Conservatives odds on to regain the seat in May next year.

As for the conservatives my view is that our task remains essentially unchanged we must continue to make the case for a strong and secure economy. The only way to having strong public services is to have a strong and growing economy. The economy is moving in the right direction but there is still much more to do. The next election will be about giving the British people a choice: do they want to go back to the Party of more spending, more borrowing and higher taxes or do they want to stick to the Party that is putting Britain back on the road to recovery. In short do they want David Cameron to be Prime Minister or Ed Miliband?

Oh and just in case anyone is wondering can I just mention again I have absolutely no intention whatsoever of leaving the Conservative Party and joining another Party Red, Green, Yellow or …Purple. ( I don’t expect it will stop the media speculation but hey they have got a job to do!)

Rochester and Strood by-election

It is always disappointing when anyone decides to leave the Conservative Party, all the more so when it is a Conservative Member of Parliament. MP’s of various parties have changed parties for different reasons over the years. Very often they have chosen to remain in Parliament representing their new Party without asking the electorate whether they agreed. The last two MP’s who have decided for reasons of their own to leave the Conservative Party and join UKIP have both done the honourable thing and resigned their seats and put their new allegiance to the test in a by-election. I suspect that as in Clacton a few weeks ago the question that the voters in Rochester and Strood will be asking themselves is should an MP be penalised for doing the honourable thing and saying the people who elected him ‘ Look, I have changed parties do you still want me to represent you for the rest of this Parliament?’
That is a very different question to the one which people will be asking themselves at next year’s general election which will be Do we want a Labour Government under Ed Miliband or a Conservative one under David Cameron?