Angie Bray's Newsletter
Ealing Central and Acton MP : July 2010- Issue 2
Welcome to the second edition of my new newsletter. It is now two months since I first entered Parliament as the MP for Ealing Central and Acton and I cannot remember being so busy before! There is so much to learn, not least how to find the way around the building which is quite complex. The most important learning curve for new MPs is mastering how to get involved in debates, in asking questions and in all the many other procedures, which all have their rules. It is vital to get to grips with the way everything works because, once learnt, the whole purpose of being there is made so much easier - namely to represent the constituency as fully and successfully as possible.
I have now delivered my maiden speech and participated in the debate that followed on from the budget. I have also asked a number of questions about various constituency matters in the chamber as well as tabling others for answer. I am holding an adjournment debate on the issue of Dangerous Dogs, that I first raised in my maiden speech. It is something that I know is important to many Ealing and Acton residents and I shall be urging the Coalition Government to focus on new measures to tackle what is a very serious problem.
I am only too aware that the budget statement and those that followed it about the major adjustments to tax and spending are going to affect probably all of us in Ealing and Acton in one way or another. There is clearly going to be a painful period as we are all required to pay more and receive less while the government wrestles with the massive deficit which has to be brought under control. There are still some very tough decisions ahead and I hope that we will be able to get through these difficult times together as a community. I will always want to hear from anyone who thinks I may be able to help them. I may not always have an immediate solution to hand but I will always try.
In the meantime, I hope that we all continue to enjoy some summer weather and if possible get some kind of a summer break.
1. Over the past few weeks Angie has...
- Attended a meeting of Conservative London MPs
- Met with Ealing Mental Health and Wellbeing Services at a House of Commons reception
- Attended a meeting with the Chancellor of the Exchequer
- Attended a School Governors' meeting at Berrymede Junior School
- Met with the Chairman of Crossrail to discuss, in particular, the timetable for Ealing Broadway and Acton Mainline Stations
- Attended the AGM of the All Party Rail Group
- Met with the Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, Andrew Tyrie
- Taken part in a TV interview with Catch 21, a charitable organisation that encourages youth participation in politics ( click here to see the interview)
- Met with Action Acton at the Small Charity Week reception at the House of Commons
- Met with the Chairman and Chief Executive of Ealing Homes at the House of Commons
- Attended a Save Ealing Centre Committee meeting at Pitshanger Methodist Church Hall
- Visited Acton Care Centre
- Been briefed by the RSPCA on the issues of Dangerous Dogs
- Attended a lunch with BBC Director General Mark Thompson
- Attended an anniversary reception and dinner at the Ismaili Centre in Kensington
- Chaired a Henry Jackson Society meeting with a guest speaker, the prominent Iraqi politican, Ayad Jamal Al-Din
- Addressed politics students at Ealing and West London College
- Sat in on Twyford School's Street Action music workshop
- Met with the Secretary of State for Transport, Philip Hammond, to discuss a number of issues including Heathrow and Crossrail
- Attended the opening of the South Acton Community Fitness Centre
- Been elected as Treasurer of the All Party Parliamentary Crossrail Group
- Met with the Chairman of the Bedford Park Society, Peter Eversden, and neighbouring local MP, Mary Macleod
- Attended a Holocaust Memorial Trust reception in the Speaker's apartments
- Been interviewed by Sky television on her first few weeks as an MP (click here to see the interview)
- Met with Network Rail representatives
- Been elected as Treasurer of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking
- Attended a Metropolitan Police reception
- Visited Southfields Community College, Merton, for a LTA/Sport England briefing
- Visited Acton Mosque to meet with the Imam and trustees of the Mosque
- Attended the AGM of the Walpole Residents' Association as the guest speaker
- Spent the morning at Ealing Hospital meeting with the Chairman and Senior staff and touring the main hospital facilities
- Met with senior management from Danone UK in Central Ealing, where their main office is based, to discuss health campaigns
- Visited the Tallo Centre on the South Acton Estate to discuss various local issues
- Held a surgery at St. Mary's Church, Acton
- Had a meeting with Consumer Focus to discuss the Ealing Post Office move
- Attended, with other Executive members of the 1922 Committee, lunch with the Prime Minister
- Attended the British/American Parliamentary Group AGM
- Chaired an ETAG (Ealing Acton Transport Action Group) meeting at the House of Commons
- Attended a reception at 10 Downing Street
- Met with the Old Actonians Sports Club to discuss football facilities for their youth teams
- Attended a Q&A session with West Acton Primary School pupils visiting parliament
- Attended the first meeting of the Transport Select Committee
- Been briefed by Transport for London's Chief Executive in London transport matters
- Met with the leader of Ealing Council, Cllr. Julian Bell
- Asked a question at Prime Minister's Questions (click here to see Angie asking her first question to the Prime Minister. Fast forward to 23 minutes, 18 seconds)
- Attended a meeting with British Airways
- Met with London Mayor, Boris Johnson
- Had a meeting with Arup regarding regional high speed rail
- Been briefed by Thames Water on local projects
- Visited Twyford School to discuss local educational issues with the Headmistress
- Attended Torkington House Care Home Garden party
- Held a surgery at 39 Broughton Road
2. Meeting with the Chairman of Crossrail
Angie was delighted to be elected to the Transport Select Committee and as Treasurer of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Crossrail. She has held a number of meetings about transport issues already and has met with the Chairman of Crossrail, Terry Morgan, to discuss the project and its future. She wanted confirmation that the project is still on track in terms of timescale and scope and reiterated the importance of the scheme to Ealing and Acton. Mr. Morgan told Angie that he was confident that the project would go through as originally planned and scheduled. He also reassured her that any discussion of an extra station at either Old Oak Common or Kilburn in no way indicates a threat to Acton Mainline Station. Angie subsequently met with the Secretary of State, Philip Hammond MP who also told her he is fully supportive of the whole Crossrail scheme. She said afterwards "I am reassured about the future of the Crossrail project, but I know it is important to continue to stress to all the relevant parties that Crossrail is vital to the future of Ealing and Acton town centres."
3. Transport Update: Ealing and Acton Transport Action Group
The Ealing Acton Transport Action Group (EATAG) held its first meeting at the House of Commons, chaired by Angie. It was attended by representatives from the Network Rail/Crossrail team, First Great Western, Transport for London, Ealing Council and various local stakehold groups. The meeting heard that the new Ealing Broadway station is a step nearer and that Crossrail hopes to present Ealing Council with the final options for the newly designed station in September. The council will now consider how best to consult with the local community on these options as well as its own proposals for the wider transport interchange needs immediately around the station. Plans for the new station at Acton Mainline Station will be presented at the same time and Ealing Council will also be considering how to reconfigure the area around the station to allow for more buses stopping there as well as drop off points for taxis and cars.
Also discussed at the meeting were ideas to make interim improvements to the stations. Ealing Council is considering how to provide more secure cycle parking at Ealing Broadway station, and First Great Western and TFL have agreed to consider jointly how they might be able to provide extra staff to help passengers who need assistance on the stairs to and from the platforms and to the street outside. There was further discussion too on the possibility of opening an extra access point to the station.
"I know we seem to keep going back over some of the same issues but I hope we may at last be making some progress" Angie said straight after the meeting. "I also welcome the new timetable for consultation on the Crossrail plans for the station and I hope that this will now be adhered to."
4. Visit to Ealing Hospital
Angie paid a visit to Ealing Hospital recently to meet senior staff and have a tour around the hospital's main facilities. High on the list of topics discussed was the future of the stroke unit at the hospital. Immediately after the visit, Angie wrote to the Secretary of State, Andrew Lansley, to seek a review of NHS London's plans for stroke treatment at Ealing Hospital. In her letter she said:
"I had a lengthy meeting with the Chairman and other senior staff at Ealing Hospital last week to discuss various issues including future plans for the hospital.
5. Old Actonians Sports Club
The Old Actonians Sports Club, based off Gunnersbury Drive, are training up a number of young football teams and are keen to find extra space for training purposes. At the moment they are often forced to take the teams outside Ealing, which is proving expensive. But they have located two state-of-the-art unused, all-weather, artificial football pitches beside Boddington Gardens. They are currently unused because of a dispute between the council and Wimpey Homes. Angie has joined forces with the Old Actonians Sports Club to campaign for these football pitches to be made available to the young teams and also schools and other local teams. After meeting Andy Smith, who organises the training, Angie wrote letters to both Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and Martin Smith, the Chief Executive of Ealing Council. She said "It seems crazy that such excellent facilities are being left to rot, completely unused, when there is such a need for space to train and play. The council should open up the pitches even if they have not yet resolved the dispute with Wimpey Homes."
6. The Tallo Centre
The work being done by the Tallo Centre - a community centre on the South Acton Estate - was an area that Angie chose to highlight as part of her maiden speech in the House of Commons. She is a great supporter of all the work that they do, with very little funding, to support the Somali community and ease their passage into community life in Acton.
The centre runs a number of important campaigns, including a new one against female circumcision in the Somali community. Angie has been working hard to raise their profile so that their important messages gain as much exposure as possible.
July 19th 2010