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8 February 2013 16:21
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In this edition:
Greg Hands M.P.’s Diary Website of the Week: The Hurlingham Club Greg Hands M.P. calls Charing Cross news “a step in the right direction” Greg Hands M.P. writes to constituents on the Gay/ Same Sex Marriage Vote News from Greg Hands’s Weekly Surgery Boris Johnson, Greg Hands and RBK&C welcome discussion on possible Crossrail 2 route in Chelsea Boris’s Deputy, Stephen Greenhalgh, outlines how Met in H&F will focus on bobbies, not buildings, in move to cut crime Route announced for cycle race through K&C and H&F on 3rd and 4th August Archaeological Exhibition at Fulham Palace Hands in the papers: NHS U-turn saves Charing Cross Hospital How to contact Greg Hands M.P.
Issue 361 – Friday 8th February 2013
Since the last edition, Greg:
Voted in favour of same sex marriages in the House of Commons. For more information on Greg’s decision, see below. Welcomed news of an apparent climbdown by the NHS on the ending of A&E services at Charing Cross as a “step in the right direction”. For more, see below. Welcomed the NHS’s Independent Reconfiguration Panel to the House of Commons for them to hear Greg’s views on the necessity for keeping children’s cardiac services at the Royal Brompton Hospital, Chelsea. Attended and addressed a meeting of the Brompton Ward Conservatives in St Saviour’s Church, Walton Place, SW3. Attended a meeting of the Palace Riverside ward Conservatives in Fulham, with guest speaker Syed Kamall MEP. Was interviewed by London Polish magazine “Cooltura” on Greg’s support for the UK Polish community and his strong support of Poland. Attended the Conservative Party’s “Black and White” event in the Hurlingham Club, Fulham. Hosted the Serbian community in the House of Commons for a film screening. Had a full schedule of activity as a Government Whip in and around the chamber of the House of Commons, including ministerial meetings and organising votes and standing committees.
Website of the Week:
The website of the Hurlingham Club, the private members club in Fulham, which this week hosted the Conservative Party’s “Black and White” event, which Greg attended.
Greg Hands M.P. calls Charing Cross news “a step in the right direction”
Greg Hands M.P. today welcomed news that NHS North West London is signalling a partial climb down on the closure of the Accident & Emergency unit at Charing Cross Hospital, but is awaiting further information on the proposal. Hammersmith & Fulham Council is reporting - here - that the NHS is to spend £90 million on rebuilding the hospital, retaining a 24/7 emergency facility with ability to admit patients. Greg is keeping an open mind until he sees concrete proposals. A formal recommendation is expected to be made by the NHS on 19th February. Greg Hands M.P. said: “This is a welcome step in the right direction, after a massive local campaign in West London, and from Hammersmith & Fulham Council on the NHS’s initial poorly thought through proposals. I will need to examine this new proposal in more detail, but I would like to see the NHS go further in ensuring that all of my constituents, with their growing population of children and elderly, have the best possible access to accident & emergency facilities. I expect that the Independent Reconfiguration Panel, which is the review body for major hospital changes, will be looking at the proposals, once the NHS has announced its choice on 19th, and I look forward to examining them in more detail then.”
Greg Hands M.P. writes to constituents on the Gay/ Same Sex Marriage Vote
This is an issue which has generated a lot of correspondence with me as your Member of Parliament, with firmly-held views on both sides of the debate. I met a large number of constituents in advance of the debate, including three delegations of constituents opposed to the proposal, and a number of individual constituents supporting the measure. My stated intention before the debate on the Bill’s Second Reading on Tuesday (5th February) was to keep an open mind and to hear all of the arguments for and against the proposal. I was in the Commons Chamber for almost all of the six and a half hours of debate on the proposal. 70 MPs were able to speak in the debate, and a very broad range of opinion was voiced on the matter. Having heard the arguments, I decided to support the proposal, in other words to vote to allow same sex marriages. I was particularly concerned to see that the guarantees to maintain religious freedom were robust and sustainable, and that the much talked about “unintended consequences” of the proposal were properly taken into account. On balance, I thought that those assurances from the Secretary of State were strong enough. I was also concerned that nothing should be done that called into question in any way the status or strength of existing marriages, or had any significant implications for children and family life in this country. My conclusion was that there was no threat in this legislation to either existing marriages, or to family life. I could see no strong argument against allowing same sex couples to marry. Indeed, I note the words of the Prime Minister when he told the Commons this week “Frankly, I am a marriage man. I am a great supporter of marriage. I want to promote marriage, defend marriage, encourage marriage.” I agree. I am married myself, with children, and it is a wonderful institution that brings great strength to civil society. If same sex couples wish to enjoy marriage, I could see no reasonable grounds to stop them from doing so. The Bill will now be debated in committee and then sent to the House of Lords. I will continue to watch the passage of this legislation with interest. If constituents have a view on the proposals, they can contact me by responding to this newsletter.
Greg Hands M.P. Member of Parliament for Chelsea & Fulham
News from Greg Hands’s Weekly Surgery
This week at Greg Hands’s surgery six constituents brought their concerns with a number of issues, including urban foxes and waiting times for entrepreneur’s visas at the UK Border Agency. This week Greg has made representations to the Department of Work and Pensions on behalf of a pensioner from Chelsea and her concerns about the introduction of the Simple Payment Card. This card is for those who do not have a bank account and need to draw their pension. However, only selected businesses can handle the transaction and pensioners in Chelsea are compelled to travel to Battersea or Fulham Broadway. Greg has written to DWP to ask them to encourage more businesses to sign up to accept the Card. Greg aims to assist any constituent he can with their problems involving local or central government as well as with private companies. If you would like a surgery appointment you can contact Greg’s office by emailing email@example.com or calling 020 7219 5448.
Boris Johnson, Greg Hands and RBK&C welcome discussion on possible Crossrail 2 route in Chelsea
News that the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is supporting the Crossrail 2 route put forward by London First has been warmly welcomed by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The route, originally conceived as the Chelsea-Hackney Line, has previously attracted strong local support in the borough. Ten years ago six out of ten residents believed the Council should campaign for a station in Chelsea, large parts of which are some distance from a Tube station. The rail scheme has been dormant for several years but is now firmly back on the radar following the publication of a prospective route by the business group London First. London First say that by the late 2020s there will be a critical need for new rail capacity in central, south-west and north-east London, even after the completion of Crossrail, Thameslink and the current Tube upgrades. Planning how to meet that need must start now and the best way to do so is a second `Crossrail' line connecting these parts of London. The idea for Crossrail 2 - or the Chelsea-Hackney Line as it has traditionally been called - has actually been around for decades. And the Council has been a keen supporter of the idea and a station on the King's Road for almost as long. Greg Hands M.P. also welcomed the idea, saying: “I have been a longstanding supporter of the Chelsea-Hackney Line in principle, and this formed part of my personal election manifesto for Chelsea at the 2010 General Election. This is obviously a very early stage proposal at this stage, but I look forward to hearing the views of Chelsea residents on having a King’s Road station. The station would link directly to St Pancras for the Eurostar and trains to the North, for example.” Councillor Nick Paget-Brown, Deputy Leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, said: "It is clear that London's growing population will need new public transport routes to prevent overloading of the existing system. "For many years we've been convinced that a station in Chelsea, on the Chelsea-Hackney Line, will bring great benefit to the borough. Of course, with the publication of this proposed Crossrail 2 route featuring a station on the King's Road, we will want to hear again what our residents and businesses think and plan to take every opportunity to consult with them. "As well as being a real boost to London and local economy a station on the King's Road would provide alternatives to the car and bring environmental benefits." The line, which would run from Surrey to Hertfordshire, would link Chelsea to Clapham Junction, the West End and four of central London's busiest mainline stations. The route, safeguarded for the Chelsea-Hackney Line back in 1991, includes a station on the King's Road and Council support for the scheme is based on the need to relieve congestion in the Chelsea area and provide residents with easier access to the West End and City.
Boris’s Deputy, Stephen Greenhalgh, outlines how Met in H&F will focus on bobbies, not buildings, in move to cut crime
This was the message from London’s Deputy Mayor for Policing, Stephen Greenhalgh, who attended a packed public meeting to discuss the future of Policing at Hammersmith Town Hall on 5th February. The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), which oversees the Met Police, has issued three challenges to the capital’s force. Known as 20/20/20 Challenge, Mr Greenhalgh explained that the Met has been set a target of cutting crime by 20% in seven priority areas; boosting public confidence by 20% and reducing costs by 20% all by 2015. In response to the targets, MOPAC is now consulting on proposals to reshape the Met by cutting the number of senior managers in the capital from 37 to 26, cutting the number of supervisors by more than 1,000 – while boosting the number of Police Constables from 24,630 to 25,909. In H&F the move would see 92 more Safer neighbourhood Team (SNT) officers delivered onto the streets of the borough, while budget savings of £500million will be delivered across the capital by disposing of underused buildings, making better use of technology and negotiating better deals with suppliers. The number of buildings owned by the Met will fall from around 500 to 300 – including selling New Scotland Yard in Victoria – which will reduce total Met running costs by 30 per cent. Mr Greenhalgh said: “At the moment hundreds of officers are tied up sat behind desks. They are basically very expensive receptionists and I want to get them out and about on the beat, engaging with residents and detecting more crime. Buildings don’t catch criminals, beat police do.” In H&F, the front counter at Shepherds Bush Police station would be closed to the public so that more officers can be released for front-line duties. On average just 17 people a day attend the front counter at Shepherds Bush Police station to report a crime – despite the fact it is quicker to report crimes over the phone or online. Despite this, the counter is currently staffed by Police Constables costing taxpayers nearly £100,000 a year. “We now have a golden opportunity to reconnect Londoners with the Police,” continued Mr Greenhalgh. “New forms of public access is the way forward and not the Victorian idea of front counters – which are now outdated and severely underused.” 92 extra SNT officers would be delivered onto the streets of H&F, if the Met’s proposals are approved. A front counter operating 24 hours a day will remain at Hammersmith Police station and a counter will remain open during the day at Fulham Police station. H&F Police Borough Commander, Chief Superintendent Lucy D'Orsi, said: “All three of the borough’s police stations will remain operational hubs for my officers – including the enhanced squads of council funded beat Police in our town centres. There is a misconception that closing a front counter means closing the Police station, it does not.” H&F Council continues to spend £1.3million a year for three enhanced town centre squads of beat Police with local firms adding an extra £350,000 a year. The additional cash means the borough already has 44 more Police officers than it would do otherwise. Cllr Greg Smith, H&F Council Deputy Leader, says, “The challenge for the Met is to deliver more beat Police officers onto our streets while trimming their budget and improving the way they deter and detect crime “The Police do an excellent job in H&F – and crime continues to fall year on year – but we can do better. Currently there are too many officers sat in buildings waiting for people to come in and report a crime. “Life has changed since Victorian times and in the 21st century many people report crime on their mobile phones, by calling 999 or 101, or even online. We welcome the Met’s proposal to get 92 extra beat Police onto our streets, which will mean we have a record number of Police out and about tackling the criminal minority.” Greg Hands M.P. added: “I wasn’t able to attend the open meeting in Hammersmith & Fulham, as it clashed with the Commons vote on gay marriage. However, I attended a similar presentation in Chelsea Town Hal, the previous week. I am concerned that there won’t now be a 24/7 front counter at any police station in my constituency, however I think this will be outweighed by the money saved being ploughed into front line policing, and particularly more PCs on the street. Residents with a view can, of course, contact me.” MOPAC wants your views to help shape the Mayor’s Police and Crime Plan, which will be published by April 2013. It will set out how MOPAC aims to reduce crime in the capital over the next four years and what the Met Police and other agencies are doing to tackle crime. For more information visit www.london.gov.uk/policingevents.
Route announced for cycle race through K&C and H&F on 3rd and 4th August
Details of the largest mass-participation cycling events to be held in the UK were announced on 7th February by Mayor of London Boris Johnson and double Olympic gold medallist Laura Trott. The events, which will attract over 70,000 cyclists, including some of the world's top professionals, taking part across four separate events, will be held on 3 to 4 August 2013. The festival is expected to give a major boost to the number of active cyclists in the UK, while attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors to London and Surrey. On Sunday 4 August the mass participation Prudential RideLondonSurrey 100 and the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic race for professional male cyclists will start in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The routes, which will come through Kensington and Chelsea will pass many of London's iconic landmarks, before passing through Richmond Park and out into the stunning Surrey Hills - including the testing climbs of Box Hill and Leith Hill - and then returning to finish in the heart of the capital in true Olympic style on the Mall, While both the Prudential RideLondon Surrey 100 and the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic will be spectacular and exciting events the road closures that will accompany them will cause severe disruption to roads and public transport will also be affected in the borough and across large parts of London and Surrey. Councillor Nick Paget-Brown, Deputy Leader of the Council, said: "These cycling events are a fitting legacy of last summer's wonderful Olympic Games. I am sure the efforts of both the amateur and professional cyclists will be appreciated by large crowds not only here in the Royal Borough but right across London and Surrey. "Of course, staging such massive events will inevitably cause disruption with road closures and changes to bus routes. We will work with TfL to minimise this but also urge residents to familiarise themselves with the route and plan ahead." The route enters the borough in Knightsbridge and travels along the route of the A4 before entering Hammersmith and Fulham. Cyclists will then come back into the borough via King's Road, Edith Grove and Chelsea Embankment before an exciting finish on the Mall. A map of the entire route www.PrudentialRideLondon.co.uk. can be found on
The length of road closures will depend on the location of the road on the event route. The organisers want to minimise the disruption to local residents and therefore will be working hard to ensure the roads are only closed for as long as absolutely necessary. The organisers of the event will be communicating with local residents and businesses on the route to inform them of closure times and more information will be published on www.PrudentialRideLondon.co.uk The Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 to be held on Sunday 4 August is open to amateur and club riders. The 100-mile event has attracted over 55,000 applications. Those not lucky enough to get a place may still be able to take part through one of the many charities with guaranteed entries, or teams of four (men, women or mixed) from the same organisation can enter the Business Relay, where each team member will ride around 25 miles. Details of charity places and the Business Relay are on the Prudential RideLondon website at www.PrudentialRideLondon.co.uk. The Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic for elite men's professional riders brings the drama of classic one-day style of racing back to Britain for the first time in 16 years. To be held on Sunday 4 August, the 140 mile route includes all the highlights of the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 route plus the testing challenge of three ascents of Leith Hill, the highest point in Surrey and even steeper than Box Hill. Commenting on today's announcement, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: "Following the superhuman efforts of our Team GB cyclists last year, thousands of cycling enthusiasts, both experienced and amateur, riding a fantastic route through the streets of our fine city is surely a fitting legacy. I am delighted that six months on from Laura Trott's breathtaking gold in the Omnium we are in a position to announce the routes and title sponsor. Prudential RideLondon is sure to become one of the world's top cycling events, the countdown to the start of the event begins now!" Laura Trott, double Olympic gold medallist and Prudential RideLondon ambassador, said: "It's exciting to think that in less than six months' time Prudential RideLondon will have started and the streets of London and Surrey will be filled with over 70,000 cyclists taking part in the two-day festival. Prudential RideLondon has something for everyone and I hope it encourages more people to get on their bikes and start cycling." The events on Saturday 3rd August are: The Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix to be held on Saturday 3rd August, which will feature the world's best women, junior and hand cyclists in action on a circuit in and around St James's Park. The Prudential RideLondon Freecycle to be held on Saturday 3rd August. This eight-mile mass participation ride is free to enter and open to cyclists of all ages and abilities. It aims to encourage anyone inspired by the London 2012 Games to take up cycling as part of an active and healthy lifestyle. Register now at www.PrudentialRideLondon.co.uk. Highlights of the Prudential RideLondon festival and live coverage of the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic will be shown on BBC TV. An international promotional campaign will attract hundreds of thousands of spectators, global TV audiences and substantial economic benefits. It will also provide a long term source of income for investment into improving conditions for cycling in London and into other cycling initiatives.
Archaeological Exhibition at Fulham Palace
Archaeological findings from excavations at Fulham Palace are now on show. The free exhibition, at the Palace itself, is an excellent opportunity to enjoy a look back of archaeological work that has taken place at the site over nearly half a century. Highlights include the intriguing 1972 discovery in a 3rd-century Roman post-pit of a pair of skulls - the severed heads of a dog and a horse. Visitors will also be able to see a 95-yard stretch of the moat which encircled the Palace and was excavated in 2011. The moat is believed to the longest Medieval moat in England. For centuries, this Grade I Listed building, together with its 36 acres situated in extensive grounds by the River Thames, was a country residence of the Bishops of London. The exhibition is open during the museum’s opening hours, Saturdays to Wednesdays, 1-4 pm, and will run through to 17 April 2013. Admission to the Museum and the Exhibition is free. Cllr Greg Smith, H&F Council deputy leader said: “Fulham Palace is of huge historic and cultural importance to the borough and this exhibition will shine a light on its vibrant past.” The grounds of Fulham Palace and the adjoining Bishops Park have recently benefitted from an £8 million joint council and Lottery (Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund) improvement programme. The Gothic Lodge, vinery and potting sheds have been restored at Fulham Palace and an urban beach has been installed in the park. The council has also restored the park’s ornamental lake, created three major play areas and refurbished the café. Fulham Palace has a wealth of things to see and do, from exploring the museum that charts the Palace’s eventful history to having lunch in the Drawing Room Café that looks out onto the beautiful gardens. There is also an art gallery and a diverse programme of events, for all ages, throughout the year. Admission to the Palace and its grounds is free of charge (except for special tours and events). The Palace is available to hire as a stunning venue for weddings as well as private and corporate events. For more information, visit www.fulhampalace.org. Since April 2011, the Palace has been managed by the Fulham Palace Trust, a registered charity.
Hands in the papers:
NHS U-turn saves Charing Cross Hospital
Pippa Crerar, Evening Standard Friday 8th February 2013 Charing Cross Hospital has been saved from closure after a dramatic last-minute U-turn by NHS chiefs. The flagship hospital was to be downgraded to a polyclinic — or urgent care unit — and lose its A&E department. But bosses have apparently decided to keep its A&E unit open, although the most complicated emergencies will go elsewhere. Hammersmith & Fulham council, which made the informal announcement, hailed a major victory. However, campaign groups said the result fell far short of expectations. They claimed Charing Cross, currently a major teaching hospital with 500 in-patient beds and a “blue light” A&E, would effectively become a cottage hospital with just 60 beds. One said: “Would you rather have a cottage hospital than an urgent care unit? In a way it’s a bit like asking if you want one of your legs cut off or both of them.” The A&E unit, treating almost 100,000 patients a year, will retain a 24/7 emergency facility. The hospital will keep its separately funded cancer, teaching and mental health specialisms and gain a new community services role. The council claimed the hospital will receive £90 million in extra NHS funding to rebuild its site. NHS West London’s decision will not be announced formally until February 19. But it is unlikely to mean a similar rethink over the fate of other hospitals in the area. Ealing, Hammersmith and Central Middlesex Hospitals are all expected to lose their A&Es over the next three years amid drastic economies. The initial proposal to close Charing Cross Hospital attracted huge public opposition, with more than 30,000 residents signing a petition. The NHS decision to designate it as a “specialist health and social care hospital” was given a cautious welcome by Greg Hands, the Tory MP for Chelsea and Fulham. “This is definitely a step in the right direction compared with what was originally proposed, which was to reduce Charing Cross to something like a tenth of its current size,” he said. “But we need to see more details and compare this new plan not just with the worst case scenario but also with the status quo.” A spokesman for Save Hammersmith & Fulham hospitals said: "We welcome the news that NHS North West London seems to be prepared to listen at last to residents' concerns about its ill-thought out consultation plans to close four of the nine A&Es currently serving the area. "However, until we see their actual proposal and read the small print we will continue to campaign for the preservation of full A&E services at both Charing Cross and Hammersmith hospitals." A spokesman for NHS NWL said the meeting between the council and health chiefs at which the proposal was discussed was private and no announcement would be made until February 19th. "Anything discussed was therefore just that - a discussion about proposed recommendations - and not a decision," he said.
5 ways to contact Greg Hands M.P.:
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Greg Hands M.P. – a strong voice for Chelsea & Fulham
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