Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Birmingham's Winners and Losers

I've been chewing over the Boundary Commission's proposals for the Birmingham area - here are my observations so far:


Cllr Robert Alden (Conservative, Erdington Ward). Bobby was our Parliamentary candidate for Erdington last time and is hot favourite to be again. The absorption of Sutton New Hall and Castle Bromwich and the removal of Kingstanding makes this a very winnable Conservative seat.

Gisela Stuart MP (Labour, Edgbaston). I'm sticking my neck out a bit on this one. Edgbaston becomes almost unrecognisable from its current state, with the bulk of the existing constituency going into new Birmingham Harborne. The revised Edgbaston, full of right-on students (Selly Oak) and champagne socialists (Moseley), looks good for Labour. I'm not entirely sure how Labour selects its candidates, but as the nominal incumbent, Ms Stuart surely has the edge in getting selected.

Keely Huxtable (Conservative, former PC for Northfield) or Cllr Nigel Dawkins (Conservative, Bournville). Keely and Nigel both came close to winning Northfield and Selly Oak respectively in the last General Election. Nigel's ward goes into the new Northfield at the expense of Weoley, making this a very winnable seat for the Conservatives. Both have a claim to be selected for this constituency.

One as yet unidentified Conservative. All-new Birmingham Harborne, consisting of Harborne, Quinton, Bartley Green, Weoley and Old Warley, should be a definite Tory target. The PPC for this seat will have an excellent chance. 


Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP (Labour, Hodge Hill). 'Dear Mr Byrne, I’m afraid to tell you there's no constituency left.' (Hopefully I'm the first person to make this crack, but I suspect not.)

Steve McCabe MP (Labour, Selly Oak). Selly Oak vanishes under the new proposals; along with Liam Byrne, he will have a fight on his hands to get selected for a different and winnable seat. Mind you, he's managed it once before.

John Hemming MP (Lib Dem, Yardley). John can't be happy with losing Sheldon in exchange for Bordesley Green.


Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP (Conservative, Sutton Coldfield). Andrew will rightly be aggrieved at the loss of part of Sutton Coldfield from the constituency that bears its name, but he is a very hard-working and high-profile figure and I doubt that his tenure will come under serious challenge.

Roger Godsiff MP (Labour, Hall Green). The redrawn Hall Green swaps a fading challenge from Respect for Lab/Lib and Lab/Tory marginals. I wouldn't expect this has given Mr Godsiff either a sleepless night or reason to open any bottles of champagne.

Shabana Mahmood MP (Labour, Ladywood). Swapping Aston and Soho for Hodge Hill and Washwood Heath is hardly tearing the heart out of this rock-solid Labour seat. I don't think that talk of a challenge from Liam Byrne will come to anything.

Khalid Mahmood MP (Labour, Perry Barr). See above.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Rapid Action on Travellers on Highfield Lane

A group of travellers set up camp on Highfield Farm Recreation Ground on Tuesday 23rd August. Accompanied by the Police, I visited them that evening and the following evening and demanded that they left the area. I'm pleased to say that they had left within two days and I’ve ensured that anything they left behind has been cleaned up.

Had the group kept themselves to themselves a bit more then perhaps a confrontation could have been avoided. However, a number of the group were tearing around the park and Woodgate Valley on quad bikes, which was very intimidating for local people. I have a zero tolerance approach to such behaviour and I'm very pleased that our robust stance has worked.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fighting for Quinton Police Station

First of all, I'd like to place on record my deep thanks and respect for Birmingham's police officers who put the safety of the City ahead of their own safety in the recent riots. Everyone in Birmingham owes them a debt of gratitude and I look forward to those responsible for this brief reign of terror facing the full majesty of the law.

These recent events demonstrate even more clearly the need for good local policing, and that's why I've launched a campaign to keep Quinton Police Station open to the public. The response from local people has been excellent and we've even been featured in the Birmingham Mail, which all helps.

If you live in Quinton ward, you'l be receiving a copy of my petition to sign and return very soon. If you'd rather complete the petition online, just visit this site: http://epetition.birmingham.public-i.tv/epetition_core/community/petition/1577

Under the last Labour government, 400 police stations closed - that's more than one every two weeks. Together, we can keep this one open - please sign the petition.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Open Day at Woodgate Valley Fire Station

Woodgate Valley Fire Station (161 Stonehouse Lane, Bartley Green) are having an open day on Saturday 13th August from 10.30am until 3pm. They'll be lots to see and do, including:
  • Chip pan fire demonstration
  • Road traffic collision demonstration
  • Rope rescue demonstration
  • Stalls from partner agencies
Hope to see you there.

Martineau Centre Consultation - More Dates

I have successfully lobbied the Council to add extra dates to the current consultation on the Martineau Centre on Balden Road. These are in addition to the two consultation dates that have already taken place. The consultations will take place at the Martineau Centre itself, on the following dates and times.

  • Monday 25 July, 10am–8pm
  • Saturday 30 July, 9am–noon
  • Saturday 13 August, 9am–noon

If you have any questions or comments about the Martineau Centre or any other matter, I would be more than happy to hear from you.

Supporting The Pod

The Pod, off Selcroft Avenue, is a new initiative to help local young people express themselves through art. I paid today's launch a visit and I was very impressed with what I saw. We talked over a few ideas about how I could help them achieve their goals, so watch this space!

Friday, May 06, 2011

2011 Elections - Commiserations to Len

I've managed to have a bit of a sleep after the manic election campaign in Quinton and Harborne and thought I'd do a quick post on the result. Clearly it's is disappointing that Len Clark was not successful in getting re-elected. Len has spent most of his adult life in public service and I've learnt a lot from him. I wish him a long and thoroughly deserved retirement from front-line politics.

Looking at the votes for each candidate, it appears that the Conservative vote held up very well: compared with 2008, we lost hardly any votes. Two things seem to have happened: the turnout increased, and most of this increased turnout voted Labour, and the (small but significant) Lib Dem vote collapsed, with those voters probably either staying at home or voting Labour too.

The local Labour team did an excellent job of exploiting their own government's economic incompetence by running a largely anti-cuts message, and this appears to have resonated well with voters. But I don't believe that the Labour party, either locally or nationally, is offering a credible alternative, and that's why I'll keep fighting to represent the people of Quinton ward.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Malcolm Harbour MEP Backs HS2

I've recently been talking to West Midlands Conservative MEP Malcolm Harbour about the planned high speed rail link from Birmingham to London. Representing the whole of the West Midlands, Malcolm has to take a balanced view as to HS2's benefits versus any potential disruption caused along the route.

While recognising that some communities and individuals in the wider region will be adversely affected, Malcolm has given his firm backing to HS2. He says, 'The Government has pledged to build a new High Speed Rail network as part of its programme of measures to create a low carbon economy. I fully support this decision and believe it will be a vital measure that will help to deliver significant and long-lasting economic and societal benefits for Britain.

High Speed Rail has the potential to transform the way Britain works and competes in the 21st Century. It can also play a significant role in easing congestion and making the transport system in the UK greener, by offering an alternative to thousands of short haul flights and road journeys. Furthermore, it will also free up capacity on our existing rail infrastructure and improve frequency and service levels for passengers. The Birmingham and West Midlands economy will benefit significantly from the links to the North and South, with the planned extension to Manchester and Leeds which will continue our region’s regeneration.'

I welcome Malcolm's commitment to HS2 and agree that the benefits to Birmingham and the West Midlands will be significant and long-lasting. Bringing Birmingham and London closer together will be a great thing for both cities.

John Lewis comes to Birmingham

The rumours are true! Scheduled to open in 2014 as part of the New Street Station regeneration project, the new 250,000 sq ft John Lewis will be one of the largest outside London. Featuring more than 350,000 products including fashion, furniture, homewares, beauty and the latest technology, it will be another great boost to the city centre and bring in much needed jobs.

Monday, January 31, 2011

West Midlands and Chilterns Rail Route Consultation

If you want to have your say on this important rail route, you have until the end of the week. More details here:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Refuse and Recycling Collection in Birmingham - Update 2

  • Tomorrow's and Friday's half-day strikes have been called off.
  • The work-to-rule by the regular crews is also off for the time being.
  • The Council will continue to deploy the casual crews as well as the regular crews to clear any backlog.
  • Further talks are scheduled for Tuesday.
If there's any more news, I'll let you know.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Refuse and Recycling Collection in Birmingham - Update 1

Despite the snow in mid-December, the trade unions decided to press on with their strike on Monday 20th and they’ve been working four day weeks and refusing overtime since.

To compensate, we’ve recruited a casual workforce, working seven days a week, to pick up the work that the unions are leaving behind. Over the last weekend, this workforce of over 200 members of staff in 70 vehicles collected 1,410 tonnes of refuse in 282,000 black bags.

We’ve also continued to extend the opening hours at the City's five household recycling centres to 8am to 9pm, seven days a week.

The latest advice from Cllr Huxtable, who's the Cabinet Member responsible, is to put out fresh waste only on your scheduled collection day.

The unions are determined to inflict as much disruption as possible on the ordinary people of Birmingham and no-one in the Labour leadership, locally or nationally, has come out and condemned their actions. However, I’m determined that Labour and the unions won’t take Birmingham back to the 1970s.