Friday, 31 December 2010

Mark Reckless Welcomes Eastgate House Funding

Mark Reckless has welcomed the news that Eastgate House in the heart of Rochester has been awarded a first round pass with development funding of £80,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The HLF grant will go towards a three year scheme which will see the Grade I listed Eastgate House repaired, conserved and transformed into a mixed use exhibition and community facility that is accessible for all including the mobility impaired.

The Eastgate House project is now in the running for a further second-round grant of £919,000 and Mark Reckless is fully supporting the bid to see the historic Elizabethan town house, built in the 1590s, restored to its former glory.

Speaking about the award, Mark Reckless said:

"I am delighted that the bid for Heritage Lottery Fund (hlf) funding has passed the first stage. The award of £80,000 will go a long way to ensuring that Eastgate House will remain a focal point at the heart of our community here in Rochester.

I welcome the HLF's recognition of the proposals put forward for Eastgate House, particularly in light of the tough competition it faced from other schemes nationally. The first round pass for funding shows that the HLF consider this project has real potential to deliver high-quality benefits and value for money.

Medway Council now has an excellent opportunity to develop the Eastgate House project to a second round application of £919,000. I hope everyone in our community will join me in backing the bid so that future generations can continue to enjoy this wonderful example of Elizabethan design made famous by Charles Dickens."

Show your support for the bid by leaving your name below with a message.

For more information on Eastgate House, please visit the Visit Medway website - Click Here

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Thursday, 23 December 2010

Mark's Christmas Message 2010

Mark has recorded the following message to constituents and would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


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Thursday, 16 December 2010

Support Ireland, Not The Euro

Mark Reckless MP speaking in the House of Commons during the Second Reading of the Loans To Ireland Bill on 15th December 2010



Mark's speech was made following a series of questions in the chamber on the issue of the Irish bail out, starting with a question to the Prime Minister David Cameron during PMQs. These are set out below (courtesy of TheyWorkForYou.com)

Loans to Ireland Bill (Allocation of Time): Loans to Ireland Bill (15 Dec 2010)Mark Reckless: The package is described as a bail-out of Ireland, but it is important that we recognise that Ireland has not asked for the bail-out and that it is not the package that the Irish would have wished. Ireland and the IMF proposed to write down bank senior debt-that is, default on an element of that debt-because they recognised that it would be very difficult, although not impossible, for Ireland...

Loans to Ireland Bill (Allocation of Time): Loans to Ireland Bill (15 Dec 2010)Mark Reckless: All we are doing is passing on to Ireland the quarter per cent. or so of benefit that we gain by being a better creditor than the eurozone. Most hon. Members feel that we should help Ireland, but I agree with my hon. Friend that it is not necessarily helpful to Ireland to have a huge amount of extra debt on top of the great debt it already has. On that basis, I understand his point.

Loans to Ireland Bill (Allocation of Time): Loans to Ireland Bill (15 Dec 2010)Mark Reckless: Will my right hon. Friend confirm that, notwithstanding previous assurances, this loan will not rank pari passu with the EU funds extended under the mechanism, but will be subordinated to them?

Loans to Ireland Bill (Allocation of Time): Loans to Ireland Bill (15 Dec 2010)Mark Reckless: It is enormously welcome that this country is working with Iceland and Ireland to support them in these very difficult times. The Chancellor has mentioned the current 7.5-year swap rate; can he tell us how much higher it is than when he first announced our participation in this bail-out?

Loans to Ireland Bill (Allocation of Time) (15 Dec 2010)Mark Reckless: We may have heard one or two "Hear, hears", and I am certainly someone who wants to speak on Second Reading, but let me make clear my appreciation for what my hon. Friend is doing. Any responsibility for the curtailment of time for Back Benchers should rest squarely where it belongs, which is with those on the Treasury Bench.

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland: National Asset Management Authority (15 Dec 2010)Mark Reckless: What assessment his Department has made of assets held by the Republic of Ireland's National Asset Management Agency in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement.

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland: National Asset Management Authority (15 Dec 2010)Mark Reckless: Given the difficulty NAMA is having in managing these assets and the Republic's already over-indebted situation, would it not make sense for us to take some of those assets off its hands, as consideration for financial support we may give?

Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister: Engagements (15 Dec 2010)Mark Reckless: The BBC reports that the German Finance Minister wants to set an interest rate to punish Ireland. Will the Prime Minister confirm that this country wants to help Ireland?



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Friday, 10 December 2010

Statement On Tuition Fees


Yesterday in a tense and emotional atmosphere, with student protest around Parliament, MPs voted by 323 to 302 votes to raise tuition fees from just over £3000, to £6000, and potentially to £9000.

I was one of the 302 who voted against that government proposal. Five other Conservative and twenty one Liberal Democrat colleagues joined me in the 'No' lobby. It is not easy to vote with only a minority of my side of the House but I know that it was also not easy for many MPs who did vote with the government to make their decision. I also pay tribute to Tracey Crouch MP who was as principled in her abstention as those of us who voted either for or against.

I found it particularly difficult to justify the suddenness of the move with one student required to pay only around £3000 but then another student, potentially a sister just one year behind at school, expected to pay two or three times more with very little warning. I also believe that as MPs we should make decisions and whenever possible try and explain those likely decisions before an election, rather than use a report from someone who is not elected, however distinguished, to justify a decision (the Browne Report).

I was enormously impressed by the students who put their case to me on this issue. They asked me why they should have to pay so much when Welsh and Scottish and in many cases EU students did not have to pay at all. I then showed David Willetts, the universities minister, detailed statistics showing that 46% of EU students due to repay a loan from the British taxpayer were in default. I have also asked govenment ministers how thay can justify an 80% decrease in grant to universities in the context of a 60% increase in our net payments to the EU.

I cannot justify it, and voted accordingly.

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Thursday, 9 December 2010

Mark Reckless MP Welcomes BT Broadband Initiative For Community Groups In Rochester And Strood

Rochester and Strood MP, Mark Reckless, today welcomed the launch of a new initiative which will allow community groups in Rochester and Strood which help get people online to apply for a year’s free broadband with BT.

The BT Community Connections scheme offers the opportunity for community groups to be awarded a year's free BT broadband if they help their community access the internet and improve people’s ICT skills. The scheme welcomes applications from groups able to demonstrate how they help the local community learn about the benefits of the internet and how they will train people on how to use the internet. Priority will be given to applications from community groups that operate in areas of deprivation.

Mark Reckless MP said:

"Currently there are nine million people in the UK who have never used the internet. Learning how to use it can be truly transformational for those who don’t currently do so, for whatever reason. It opens up a whole new world, whether that relates to work, keeping in touch with friends and family or just doing the weekly shop. I would urge any group which helps people access the internet and improves their ICT skills, to apply for this opportunity to win a year’s broadband."

Applications close on Thursday 13 January 2011. Community groups can get more information and apply for the awards online: www.bt.com/communityconnections.

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Sunday, 5 December 2010

Over A Third Of Irish Want To Leave Euro For Pound



I commissioned top Irish pollster RED C to ask the following question to a representative sample of 1,000 people across the Republic of Ireland between 29/11/10 and 1/12/10:
“In light of the current financial crisis, would you support Ireland leaving the Euro and re-establishing a link with the pound sterling, or not?”.

Over a third of the sample answered ‘Yes’.

Support was strongest among the younger age groups and people with children. A majority of those who have already lost their jobs want Ireland to leave the Euro and return to sterling. Even 43% of Sinn Fein supporters now want to return to the pound (see full results).

In the 1990s I was UK Economist for Warburgs and argued that “the UK and Ireland would be especially badly affected by monetary union with the Continent” with Irish bank lending exploding out of control under EMU (see
link1 and link2). The fall-out from that has now caused ruling Fianna Fail to fall behind Sinn Fein, even losing in my grandfather’s old seat in Donegal (Henry McDevitt TD 1938-43).

The EU thinks it can order whoever forms Ireland’s new government to slash spending and hike taxes to bail out the European Central Bank (ECB) and European investors in Irish banks. The EU is also demanding that the Irish people submit weekly reports on what they spend and is imposing an interest rate which is intended to punish rather than help.

Such behaviour by the EU may be a miscalculation because it rather assumes that the Irish have nowhere else to go. That is not the case. Individually tens, and perhaps soon hundreds, of thousands are emigrating to England and elsewhere to escape the Carolingian economic settlement.

Collectively, Ireland wants to renounce its politicians’ self-serving guarantee of senior bank debt but, despite IMF support, this has so far been vetoed by the EU and the ECB. Ireland also needs monetary policy better suited to its economy so as to avoid repeated boom-bust cycles in bank lending under the Euro.

The EU may successfully bully Greece or Spain, calculating that it would be too risky for them to reintroduce their own currency, but Ireland has another option. Already over a third of Ireland want bilateral arrangements with the UK, instead of what is on offer from the EU and the Euro, and that is before the EU measures begin to bite.

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Saturday, 4 December 2010

Christmas Message To Our Armed Forces



Video courtesy of Winkball
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Tuesday, 30 November 2010

It's Snow Joke For The Elderly

If you have urgent needs because of the bad weather with which the council may be able to help please call Customer First on Medway 333333 during business hours or Medway 304400 if it is an emergency out of hours.

Details of school closures can be found here and weather and travel updates can be found here

Once again I would like to take the opportunity to call on local residents to please take the time to check on their elderly or vulnerable neighbours to make sure they are safe and well. Even if the snow does ease during the day, our roads, streets and alleyways will remain virtually impassable to our less able residents for quite some time due to the icy conditions that will no doubt follow.

If you know anyone locally who you think may need some assistance then please call in on them. It really doesn't take long to just have a quick check on how they are and see if they need some help with shopping or clearing their paths.

Kent Police advice for drivers in bad weather:


If you do have to drive make sure you have full visibility before setting off, so allow time to de-mist and de-ice all windows. Poor weather conditions mean it can be harder for drivers to see, so use your lights.

When the roads are wet and icy it can take twice as long to stop your vehicle, so slow down. In poor visibility be extra alert for hazards.

Carry warm waterproof clothing, food, water and a torch in your vehicle in case weather conditions mean you have to stop. Make sure you have plenty of fuel for your journey before you set off.
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Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Mark Reckless MP Questions Government On Train Fares

Mark Reckless MP asked the Secretary of State for Transport to explain the Government’s policy: “on the application of a cap on fare rises on train services provided by Southeastern under its franchise agreement which enables a different rate of fare rises to that applied by other franchisees” and requested that the Minister make a statement on the issue.

The Government Minister replied that: “The Southeastern Franchise Agreement agreed by the last Government specified that from 2007-2011, regulated fares on the network would be capped at RPI +3 per cent”. She explained that: “next year will be the final one in which Southeastern has a different fares regime to most other parts of the network. From 2012, RPI +3 will become the standard formula for prices regulated by the Department for Transport, including Southeastern”.

Mark Reckless said: “I believe that Kent was not given a fair deal by the last government, which agreed a contract with Southeastern providing for our fares to rise faster than elsewhere. This will stop after January and Southeastern will henceforth be treated the same as the rest of the country. I hope that Southeastern, having been given four years of higher fares than other providers, will now improve their service to passengers”.

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Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Questioning The Chancellor On Ireland Bail-out

From Hansard (22 November 2010):

Mark Reckless (Rochester and Strood, Conservative)
Is not the fundamental problem that Ireland has the wrong interest rate and the wrong exchange rate, and that Irish politicians made a fundamental mistake by joining the euro? Does the Chancellor agree that we must stand and support Ireland, and that should Ireland seek a return to sterling, it must have a seat on the Monetary Policy Committee?

George Osborne (Chancellor of the Exchequer, HM Treasury; Tatton, Conservative)
The first time I met my hon. Friend was when we were both at university together, and he gave a speech about exchange rates and the European exchange rate mechanism. He was absolutely right in his prediction of what would happen shortly thereafter, so it is good to hear him talk about exchange rates here in the House of Commons. I would make this observation: decisions on people's currencies must, as I am sure he would agree, be decisions for the nation state involved. I have made the observation-just because there has been some interesting speculation about this-that much of Ireland's sovereign debt is denominated in euros, which would remain whatever its currency was.

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Friday, 19 November 2010

Tesco for Schools

I was delighted to have been asked to present computer equipment to schools in my constituency on behalf of Tesco via their excellent voucher scheme. Here are some photos from the day.

Thanks to all the children who came along. I hope they all make good use of the new equipment they now have.










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Thursday, 18 November 2010

Supporting Ireland, Not The Euro!

Mark Reckless MP today called on the coalition government to allow a full debate on the financial crisis in Ireland.

Speaking in the House, Mark proposed that the British government give the people of Ireland "whatever support is necessary to support an orderly return to sterling" and called on the Leader of the House, Sir George Young, to send out a clear message that not a penny of UK taxpayers' money will be spent on bailing out the Euro.

From
Hansard:

Mark Reckless (Rochester and Strood) (Con): May I repeat the request for a debate on Ireland? My grandfather served in the Dail for Fianna Fail, and if he could see it now, he would be turning in his grave. Surely the message from this House to those politicians must be that we will not vote for a penny to bail out their euro, whereas the message to the Irish people must be that we will give whatever support is necessary to support an orderly return to sterling.

Sir George Young: I understand where my hon. Friend is coming from. I repeat what I said to my hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough (Mr Leigh). The Chancellor of the Exchequer will want to keep the House informed in the light of the discussions that are taking place in Dublin about the support that may be needed, but which, as I understand it, has not so far been requested by the Irish Government. This country has an interest in a stable and prosperous Ireland and, as I have said, we stand ready to do what we can to secure that objective.

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Wednesday, 17 November 2010

A Better Option For Ireland

Ireland is being bullied by Euro-zone countries to act in their best interests rather than its own:

• Portugal's finance minister urges Ireland “to do the right thing for the euro and accept a bail-out”;

• Spain’s finance minister tells Ireland to make the “proper decision”; and

• Angela Merkel can’t decide whether to protect German banks, who have over-lent to Ireland, or German taxpayers who would fund a bail out.

Ireland though will act in its own interests - and it has a better option than the two that were open to Greece. The Greeks had to do what they were told by the Germans, or re-establish the drachma.

In the long-term it might be best for Greece to go its own way. In the short-term though the costs of inflation, default and exclusion from the international capital markets would be high, and would only partially be offset by an inflow of bargain hunting tourists.

Unlike Greece, Ireland would not need to re-establish an independent currency, with all the short-term difficulties that would entail. Ireland could simply rejoin sterling and have a monetary policy more suited for Irish needs.

Germany’s Irish loans could be deemed to have been made in sterling, so as to provide a fair return but allow Ireland to start exporting its way back to growth. We would benefit from closer relations with Ireland and keep the spur of Irish tax competition which the EU would snuff out.

Every MP I have spoken to says they would be happy for Ireland to have a guaranteed seat on the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee. This would mean that, unlike before 1979, Ireland as a sovereign country would have a proper say in setting sterling interest rates.

When we raised the idea with David Liddington, our Europe minister, at the Conservative Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday he was positive, if Ireland wants to explore this option. I know the Chancellor will want to help Ireland stand up to bullying at ECOFIN today.

What better way than to let them know they can come back to sterling if the euro isn’t working for them?

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Thursday, 11 November 2010

Transport Minister Pressed To Fully Fund Medway Tunnel

Medway tunnel could be fully funded by the government in the future if a local campaign is successful.

Mark Reckless MP and the local councillor responsible for transport, Phil Filmer, met with the Transport Minister, Mike Penning, on Tuesday (9th November) to discuss the future funding of the tunnel.

Currently Medway Council is the only unitary authority in the country to have responsibility for such a tunnel, which serves 46,000 vehicles every day.

Nationally, most tunnels are either funded from tolls or are on major roads where the funding comes directly from the government.

In contrast Medway Council only receives funding for the length of the road inside the tunnel, which is the equivalent of 725 metres, and not for its running costs. This means the council has to rely on its own highways budget.

At the meeting, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Mike Penning MP promised to raise the issue with his fellow minister to see if the tunnel could be included in a new asset register from 2012.

If this were to happen, the council would then receive the necessary funding from the government, as part of its formula grant, to manage the Medway tunnel.

Mark Reckless is also writing to the Transport Minister Norman Baker to see if he would be willing to visit Medway to see the tunnel for himself. This follows on from a campaign by local councillor Herbie Crack who is working in partnership with Mr Reckless to get the minister to come to Medway.

Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services Cllr Phil Filmer said:

"The minister was very sympathetic to Medway’s position as the only unitary authority in the country which has to maintain a tunnel with a value of £120 million from its highway budget. Funding for the tunnel is purely based on the equivalent of a section of duel carriageway 725 metres long, which does not take account of the tunnels running costs and needs to change".

Mark Reckless MP said:

"I was very pleased with how this issue is being progressed by the coalition government and, in conjunction with what other councillors are doing locally to convince ministers to visit the site, will hopefully result in a positive outcome and see the tunnel getting the funding it requires."

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Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Mark Reckless Calls For Action On Student Loans

Mark Reckless MP has called on the Government to take action over continuing delays in students receiving their funding, following a warning from the National Audit Office that the Student Loans Company scheme was at "substantial" risk of being hit by delays again this year.

In a question to the Secretary of State for Education, Mark Reckless called for action to be taken on behalf of students who have started the new academic year, but are still waiting for their loans to be processed. He called upon the Secretary of State for Education to "take action over the longstanding issue of student loans not being processed in a timely manner."

Commenting on the question, Mark said:

"In recent weeks I have been contacted by many students and parents seeking my assistance in sorting out the mess we have inherited from the last government. As the MP for a constituency which has transformed itself over recent years into a major destination for students from all across the country seeking to further their education at our top-class universities here in Medway, I am dismayed that so many of our young people are still struggling to pay their rent and bills despite repeated assurances from the previous government that this issue was being addressed.

At a time when we are asking students to share a greater burden of the cost in financing their own higher education, I think the least we can do is ensure they receive their money on time."

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MP Web Awards Nomination

Mark Reckless has been shortlisted for an award in BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, MP Web Awards.

Mark will be competing against 25 other MPs in the ‘social media’ category after his web presence was recognised by independent voters in a recent poll.

Mark will now have to await the decision of this year’s judges who include Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail, Mark Say, editor of Government Computing, Matthew Windle, a member of Youth Parliament and Rachel Gibson, Professor of Political Science at the University of Manchester. Judges will be looking for sites that successfully engage, excite, provide information and encourage two-way communication between MPs and their constituents.

Speaking of the nomination, Mark Reckless said:

“I am delighted that the work I have been doing to raise the profile of the constituency is being recognised further afield. Like most politicians I realise we need to do more in terms of engaging with the public using social media such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, as well as by more traditional means. I certainly think younger voters particularly appreciate being able to engage with their representatives using new and developing social technologies.

There are some great colleagues shortlisted for this award so I won’t be holding my breath, but being nominated so early in my Parliamentary career is very welcome and it is something I hope to build on. Plus, it can be great fun and doesn’t have to cost the taxpayer a penny!”


Mark was also recently voted 43rd in the Total Politics Top 100 Conservative blogs category and 11th in the Top 30 MP Blogs.

The awards ceremony will take place on Monday 15th November in the House of Commons and will be hosted by the Rt Hon Alun Michael MP, Chair of the Parliamentary Information Technology Committee.

For more information about the Awards please visit:
http://www.bcs.org/mpawards

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Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Congratulations For Safe Exit Success

Mark Reckless has congratulated Kent Police after their Safe Exit team were presented with a national award at the Jane’s Police Review Gala Awards by the Home Secretary Theresa May.

The
Safe Exit scheme, which was awarded first place in the ‘Diversity in Action’ category, was launched by the Kent Police in Medway in partnership with the Medway Drug and Alcohol Team, Medway Council and NHS Medway to tackle the negative impact that street prostitution has on local communities. To date the scheme has seen over 80% of women involved in the illegal sex trade in Medway sign up to receive advice and support, enabling them to take control of their lives and leave the trade safely.

Speaking of the award, Mark Reckless said:

"I am delighted that Steve Corbishley and his team have received this award from the Home Secretary. The Home Affairs Select Committee also showcased this work after I invited
Keith Vaz, our Chairman, to Medway to learn more of our success. I will be seeing Steve Corbishley and his team tomorrow to congratulate them."

The awards ceremony took place at the London Hilton, Park Lane, London. One thousand people, including police officers and staff, were in attendance with the Home Secretary, to recognise and reward outstanding achievements in policing.

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Thursday, 4 November 2010

Debating The EU Budget


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Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Controlling Immigration

Today we publish our first Report of the Home Affairs Select Committee in this Parliament. All our eleven members were elected by, and in competition with, other MPs, rather than on the say-so of party whips, so our conclusions are completely independent of government.

However, on the ‘Immigration Cap’, the subject of our first report, I am delighted to be full-square behind the government and to have a fellow Kent MP, Damian Green, as the minister controlling immigration. After a decade during which net immigration has run at hundreds of thousands a year we are going to deliver on our manifesto promise and reduce it to just tens of thousands.

Our Report today focuses on just one area of immigration, people from outside the European Economic Area (“EEA”) who apply for work visas. One key conclusion of the Committee is that the Government must move far beyond this category, and will need to impose tighter controls on students and, potentially, family migration if it is to cut net immigration to just tens of thousands a year as promised.

We cannot control some immigration, e.g. the increase last year in the number of UK citizens abroad choosing to return to the UK, so we must control others routes as stringently as necessary to cut net immigration to tens of thousands a year. This need not though mean damaging the economy, since:

• Perhaps half of Tier 1 migrants, who were defined by the previous government as being so highly skilled that we should give them a visa even if they didn’t have a job, have only been able to get unskilled work, so these visas can be reallocated; and

• If a particular business really needs a particular overseas national to work in the UK, then that can be accommodated within an overall cap by auctioning available permits to businesses which benefit most from foreign workers.

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Monday, 25 October 2010

Mark Reckless MP Slams Peninsula Airport Plans

Mark Reckless has hit out after an unjustified and irresponsible article stated that the Mayor of London is considering plans to build an airport on the Hoo Peninsula.

In an open letter to the Sunday Times Mark states;

Dear Sir,

Your article on 24 October referring to “new plans for a £14 billion replacement airport alongside the Thames estuary” has caused unnecessary upset to the twenty thousand or so of my constituents who live on what you describe as “the largely uninhabited Hoo peninsula”.

Rather than being “new” or “the brainchild of John Olsen” as suggested, the plan for an airport on the Hoo Peninsula is, as you recognise elsewhere in your article, essentially the same as the Labour government’s 2002-3 Cliffe Airport proposal. You noted that “the site was rejected because of the high risk of bird strike” but that was only one of many reasons.

In rejecting the proposal the previous government cited a lack of support from airlines and concerns that high up-front construction costs could make it financially unviable. Its white paper concluded that “the net benefits of Cliffe were lower than for any of the combinations of additional capacity at existing airports”.

The Prime Minister and the Coalition Government have repeatedly ruled out the building of a new airport in or around the Thames Estuary. Even the Mayor of London, who in any event has neither the power nor the money to build such an airport, has said he is no longer pushing the idea. It will not happen.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Reckless MP

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Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Mark Reckless MP Calls For Reduction In EU Budget



Mark Reckless MP has called for a reduction in the UK's contribution to the EU ahead of tomorrow's Comprehensive Spending Review.

Speaking alongside Sir Menzies Campbell on the BBC's Daily Politics show, Mark expressed his concern that the UK's contribution to the EU is set to rise at a time when the coalition government is forced find savings and cut public services in order to address the economic mess left by the last Labour government.

On top of the £1.9 billion increase to the EU budget the UK will be paying in 2011, the European Union has asked for a further increase of £380million to cover the cost of 'admin'. Mark recently joined 37 other Conservative MPs in supporting Douglas Carswell's amendment calling on the government to cut the UK's contribution to the EU.

Speaking on the Daily Politics, Mark said;

"In our country it is not the government that is sovereign, nor is it the EU. It is the Westminster Parliament, and if we say the EU budget is reduced, the government will reduce it.

Take child benefit for example. We're finding a billion by not giving it to top rate taxpayers although the commitment was to do so previously. There are now suggestions it will be taken away for children over sixteen. But at the same time I find that we are paying £70million every year to children elsewhere in the EU in child benefit who aren't even here. Now surely that is something we should consider. We can't have the EU as the only area that is exempt - that is going up 60% - while finding these reductions elsewhere. We must make savings."

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Mark Reckless MP Welcomes Residents To New Sheltered Scheme In Hoo



Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, was the special guest at Kent-based housing association mhs homes' official opening of Great Paul House, a new sheltered scheme based in Hoo, Kent.

The formal opening of the scheme was also attended by representatives from the Homes and Communities Agency, Medway Council, national developer Taylor Wimpey and Employers Agent Calford Seaden as well as residents, representatives from Medway Older Persons Partnership and staff and board members from mhs homes.

Mr Reckless cut the ribbon in front of the crowd and officially declared the sheltered scheme open. He said, "It's a real pleasure to open this impressive scheme. mhs homes has managed the process in partnership with developers and contractors very well. This is a great development situated in the middle of properties that house a real mix of people, from the young to families and older residents. I hope everyone who lives here is very happy."

The Sheltered Scheme which is a development of 26, one bedroom quality flats, derives its name from "The Great Paul Bell" which hangs at St Paul's Cathedral in London and holds the title for the largest bell in the country.

Caroline Proverbs (pictured with Mark), mhs homes operations director said, "We were very pleased that Mark Reckless MP was able to open the scheme and help us officially open the final phase of sixty three new build properties which we have been working on with Taylor Wimpey for over a year and a half. Each flat within the scheme has been designed internally to provide spacious living. There is a sizeable lounge and kitchen area as well as generously sized bedrooms and luxury fitted bathrooms."

Angela Pething a resident of Great Paul House, is very pleased with her new flat, she said, "The flat is lovely and a perfect size, plus I've got fantastic views overlooking the River Medway. I've always lived in Medway and my family live close by so this scheme is ideal."

The Homes and Communities Agency helped to fund the development scheme and gave mhs homes just under £4.4million for the 63 units which all meet the Eco Homes Very Good standard. Akin Durowoju, head of area at the HCA, said: "These new residents can look forward to a high quality, affordable and comfortable new home at Great Paul House. I'm certain this development will be an asset for the community, providing opportunities for people to stay close to their families and friends as their support needs change."

John Eleckington another new resident said, "My wife and I came and looked round before we put down a bid for the flat. I'm an ex-builder and was very impressed with the scheme. We will be moving in shortly and looking forward to living here, especially with the views we will have every morning."

Thirty seven of the homes - (eight 2 bedroom flats, seventeen x 2 bedroom houses, five 3 bedroom houses and seven 4 bedroom houses.) a mix of flats and houses were handed over to the mhs homes housing team throughout January to March 2010 and are all fully occupied. All of the new homes have been let to general needs residents.

Managing director of Taylor Wimpey South East, Phil Chapman said, "Taylor Wimpey South East are proud to be involved in helping deliver such an important community scheme as Great Paul House and our close working relationship with mhs homes group has helped to ensure the scheme was delivered on time and to an excellent standard."

For more information please contact Kate Stevens at mhs homes on 01634 354226, or contact Tim Abbott at the HCA on 0118 902 8441, or email tim.abbott@hca.gsx.gov.uk

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Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Working Together In The National Interest


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Fares Fair For Medway? Have Your Say

Are you a Southeastern commuter? Do you think fares are too high? Well Mark would like to hear from you.

Following a recent meeting with Charles Horton, Managing Director of Southeastern Trains, Mark Reckless is to raise the issue of rail fares and the affect they have had on local commuters here in Medway with Theresa Villiers, the Minister of State for Transport.

Mark will be joined by other local MPs such as Tracey Crouch (Chatham and Aylesford) to discuss the fare regime agreed under the last government that allows Southeastern to raise fares by the July RPI +3% whilst the rest of the country have seen fares rise by only RPI +1%. Fair?

As commuters in Medway brace themselves for yet another above-inflation fare increase in January, reported to be 7.8% on regulated fares (season tickets), Mark Reckless thinks the travelling public have suffered for far too long due to the unfair franchise agreement negotiated under the Labour government and would like to make sure your concerns are raised at the very highest level.

"I want Theresa Villiers to understand how unhappy many of my constituents are with Southeastern Trains and the last government singling us out for bigger increases than anywhere else in the country."

If you would like to have your say on Southeastern’s fares or general service levels then please email Mark or use the contact form on Mark's website to ensure your voice is heard.

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Monday, 4 October 2010

In Good Hands

Mark Reckless, MP, recently visited a promotional event held at the Dockside Outlet Centre in Chatham to find out more about the Volunteer Management Programme in Medway.

The programme is a national project funded by the Office of Civil Society and managed by Capacity Builders. Supported by the Voluntary Infrastructure Consortium Medway and delivered through a partnership (CVS Medway, North Kent Training Service, Hope in the Community, Hands & Gillingham Volunteer Centre and Hands Rochester Volunteer Centre).

Representatives from the partner organisations attended to give information to those people who manage or co-ordinate the work of volunteers as well as to people interested in volunteering generally. There was also a chance to explore the Medway SOS Bus and find out about the valuable role played by volunteers.


Speaking of the visit, Mark Reckless said “I am always struck by the large number of people who vounteer and the huge range of ways in which people can vounteer. Hands Volunteer Centre provide a fantastic service in bringing vounteers together with the organaisations which need them and I look forward to a working in close partnership with them as we develop the Big Society.”

Gillingham Volunteer Centre Manager, John Guy, said “We are always grateful to others who lend their support to our work in the local community and it was good to have the support of the local MP for the work that we do”.



Above: (left to right) Yvonne Morgan, Chair and Ann Hopley, Projects Manager, of Hands & Gillingham Volunteer Centre; Jane Legg, Manager of Hands Rochester Volunteer Centre; Mark Reckless, MP, Rochester & Strood (also a Medway Cllr.).

Ann Hopley, Project Manager of Gillingham Volunteer Centre, added “if we can help make the experience of volunteering better for all concerned then it can only be to everyone’s advantage.”

Rochester Volunteer Centre Manager, Jane Legg, said “In our role as a Volunteer Centre we recruit volunteers for our direct services and for other local charities. We can help you find the right volunteering placement. Our thanks go to the management of Dockside Outlet Centre and everyone involved in this event”.

To find out about the Programme of Network Meetings, Mentoring Scheme and Training contact Laura Boone at CVS (Medway) on 01634 812850.

For support from local Volunteer Centres, or for information about Volunteering in general, contact Jane Legg (Rochester) 01634 830371, or Ann Hopley (Gillingham) 01634 362119.

To view Hands & Gillingham Volunteer Centre’s website
please click here

To view Rochester Volunteer Centre’s website please click here

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Thursday, 30 September 2010

New Constituency Office Address

Please note that as from tomorrow (1st October) Mark's constituency office will be moving to a new address. If you would like to write to Mark, please address your correspondence to;

Mark Reckless MP
Suite 6, 4A Castle View Mews
Castle Hill
Rochester
Kent ME1 1LA


We are expecting the new office to be fully up and running within the next two weeks, but we will be unable to take calls until further notice. If you have an urgent query in the meantime you can still contact the Westminster office on 020 7219 7135.

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Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Mark Reckless MP Takes A Walk On The Wild Side

Mark Reckless MP took a walk on the wild side when he visited RSPB North Kent Marshes reserves on the Hoo Peninsula yesterday (Monday 27 September 2010).

He joined RSPB area manager Alan Johnson and Friends of North Kent Marshes to look at the work that has been carried out on the sites. This includes the creation of a car park at Cliffe Pools to improve access for visitors.

Mr Reckless said: “The RSPB reserves at Northward Hill and Cliffe Pools give Medway the most extraordinary range of birdlife and biodiversity and the RSPB’s work goes from strength to strength.

“Above all though, the reserves are a wonderful day out for people in Medway and beyond.”

Viewed from two elevated viewpoints, Mark was briefed on the wider significance of the North Kent Marshes.

Alan Johnson, RSPB area manager, said, “Cliffe Pools and Northward Hill form part of a network of RSPB reserves along both banks of the Thames Estuary. This is one of the UK’s most important areas for wildlife, including hundreds of thousands of waders and wildfowl which depend on the Thames Estuary as their winter feeding ground.”

As well as protecting these vital sites for wildlife, the RSPB is committed to opening up access across the Thames Estuary to allow people to enjoy the amazing wildlife on their own doorsteps.”

For further information and to arrange an interview, please contact:

Sophie McCallum, RSPB South East, t: 01273 763603

Visit the RSPB website – Click Here
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Saturday, 18 September 2010

MP Mark Reckless Wants Kingsnorth Plant Reassurance

From the BBC;

A Kent MP has asked the government for reassurance about the future of a controversial coal-fired power station.

Mark Reckless, the Conservative MP for Rochester and Strood, was speaking in Parliament about the Kingsnorth plant.

The power station near Strood is one of the sites in the running to house a carbon and capture storage facility.

Mr Reckless asked the energy minister Gregory Barker if the government would give “proper and full consideration” to the proposals.

The site has been a high-profile target for environmental protests by groups that argue a new plant would increase carbon emissions and climate change.

The energy firm E.On announced last October it was putting on hold the plans, claiming electricity demand had fallen during the global recession.

Mr Barker said the government was committed to carbon and capture storage technology and Kingsnorth was one of the schemes under consideration.

Photo courtesy of
David Bowen
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Supporting National Cholesterol Week

HEART UK took its message on the importance of knowing your cholesterol to Westminster today. The nation’s leading cholesterol charity, organisers of the UK’s first National Cholesterol Week, set up cholesterol testing within the Palace of Westminster this afternoon. Local MP Mark Reckless not only attended this event, but also had his cholesterol tested.

“I am delighted to support HEART UK’s National Cholesterol Week. Heart disease is the biggest killer in the UK and if something as simple and as painless as a quick cholesterol test can make the difference between a long and healthy life or a shorter life expectancy, marred by illness, then I urge all my constituents to get their cholesterol tested as soon as possible,” said Mark Reckless after receiving his results. “All you have to do is make an appointment at your local GP’s surgery. A raised cholesterol reading is an excellent indicator of cardiovascular problems and so testing early is a good way of helping to keep your heart healthy.”

This Parliamentary Reception, sponsored by Welch’s Purple Grape Juice, was organised by HEART UK in conjunction with Chris Ruane MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Heart Disease. Aldo Zilli, the celebrity chef, also attended this event in his role as Ambassador to HEART UK. The author of Zilli Light and the owner of several renowned restaurants in London, he has lost several members of his family to problems associated with high cholesterol and so is a keen supporter of the work of HEART UK.

“I am delighted to be here this afternoon supporting HEART UK’s National Cholesterol Week,” he told MPs. “I am determined to raise awareness of the problems of too much cholesterol. Many people don’t fully understand how important it is to keep cholesterol in check or how to do it. People need to look at what they are putting into their bodies. Remember you only have one body and one heart.”

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found naturally in the body, but high levels of it can cause the arteries to narrow. Not only does this force the heart to work harder to pump the blood around the body but if arteries that feed the heart become completely blocked the heart can become starved of oxygen resulting in a heart attack. Cholesterol is measured in units called millimoles per litre of blood (mmol/L). According to guidelines laid out by the Joint British Societies, we should aim for a total cholesterol level under 5 mmol/l in order to keep our hearts healthy and an LDL cholesterol of less than 3mmol/l.

For further information on National Cholesterol Week, including an information pack supported by Shredded Wheat, please contact National Cholesterol Week Co-Ordinators Diana Butler or Rachael Gardiner on 01784 780093 or email Rachael at rachaelgardiner@echocoms.com.

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Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Welcoming Keith Vaz MP To Medway

Policing successes in Medway and Kent were highlighted in the House of Commons on Monday following a cross-agency meeting arranged by Mark Reckless in Medway, and attended by Keith Vaz MP, Chairman of the influential Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC).

Following an invitation from Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood and fellow HASC member, to visit the constituency, Mr Vaz met with key figures in the local community including Ian Learmonth, the Chief Constable of Kent, Cllr Rodney Chambers, leader of Medway Council, and Neil Davies, CE of Medway Council, to discuss how innovative and effective programmes such the Safe Exit and Integrated Offender Management schemes have achieved real and tangible results in the fight against crime and anti-social behaviour.

The Safe Exit scheme was launched by the Kent Police in Medway in partnership with the Medway Drug and Alcohol Team, Medway Council and NHS Medway to tackle the negative impact that street prostitution has on local communities. To date the scheme has seen over 80% of women involved in the illegal sex trade in Medway sign up to receive advice and support, enabling them to take control of their lives and leave the trade safely.

The Integrated Offender Management scheme is run by staff from the Kent Police, Youth Offending services and other agencies to tackle the most problematic offenders within a specific area or community.

Both of these schemes were praised by Keith Vaz when he returned to Westminster for questions to the Home Secretary. Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Vaz stated:


“This morning, at the invitation of the hon. Member for Rochester and Strood (Mark Reckless), I visited Medway and was shown two innovative, award-winning schemes pioneered by the police there to combat prostitution and to ensure effective offender management.”

Mark Reckless MP welcomed the visit, saying:

"I was really pleased to welcome Keith Vaz to the constituency in his role as Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee. We had a really constructive meeting and debate on the role of policing here in Medway. In my role with the Kent Police Authority, and as a Medway Councillor, I have worked closely with the Police and other agencies to ensure we deliver the best possible service to the people of the Medway Towns.

I particularly welcome the Chairman’s recognition in the House of Commons for the innovative schemes we have developed here in Medway to tackle prostitution and reoffending. It has been shown that by working closely with local councils and other
agencies, the Police can tackle the root causes of problems within our communities. I hope that other forces will replicate this ground-breaking work which we have been doing in Medway and which Keith and I have promoted in Parliament this week."

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Monday, 23 August 2010

Open Letter To Kent County Council

Pension SectionKent
County Council,2nd Floor
Brenchley House
Week Street
Maidstone
Kent ME14 1RF

Dear XXXX

Firefighters Pension Scheme

I am writing on behalf of a constituent regarding your recent letter to them in which they are required to complete a Certificate of Entitlement.

Having read the contents of your letter and listened to my constituent’s concerns, I am concerned that the process of forcing widows and widowers of those who served so bravely in the Fire Service to prove that they are still eligible to receive their pension is, to put it mildly, insensitive.

As my constituent rightly points out, there is already a legal obligation on recipients of widow’s and widower’s pension to declare a change in their circumstances that may affect their entitlement. It therefore strikes me as being inappropriate and unnecessary to force recipients of this pension to declare their eligibility on an annual basis, a procedure which clearly does imply a lack of trust in recipients, notwithstanding your contrary assertion.

I would be grateful if you would give consideration as to how Kent County Council can go about administering this scheme in the future so as to avoid causing further undue distress to my constituent and others who are in a similar position.

I am, because of the importance of this issue to those that I represent, making my concerns known to the Kent media.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Reckless
Member of Parliament for Rochester and Strood
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Friday, 6 August 2010

Strood Academy Saved

We have received fantastic news in Medway today from the Coalition Government. All three of our Academies in Medway, including the Strood Academy which has already been up and running for a year albeit in old or temporary buildings on two sites, have got the go ahead to build brand new school buildings.

I am enormously grateful to Michael Gove, whom I am proud to count as a personal friend as well as someone I believe will prove to be an outstanding Secretary of State for Education, for keeping faith with us in Medway over these schools.

In these very tight economic times the Coalition Government has prioritised crucial schools funding for us in Medway and, because of the tough but necessary decisions being taken on the public finances generally, we now have funding which is not just an unfunded aspiration, but is secure and sustainable.

I did not feel able to say too much publicly before we had an official announcement. However, as constituents might imagine, following the initial announcement that funding for our three Academies was "under discussion", all three Medway MPs embarked on intensive lobbying.

I was fortunate to be able to arrange a meeting with Michael the evening after the initial announcement. I followed up with
this letter once I had spoken with Les Wicks and met with Rose Collinson to agree a strategy where I focussed my efforts on the Strood Academy in my constituency. This complemented the work of Medway officers and Tracey Crouch and Rehman Chisthi in respect of the two schools in their constituences.

Throughout the process I have believed that we had an outstandingly strong case in respect of the Strood Academy. I am delighted that this has now been formally recognised, but also that the Coalition Government has been able to give the support it has to the Bishop of Rochester and Brompton Academies, which were a year behind us in Strood.

I am really pleased for all the children who will benefit as well as for their parents and teachers. I would also like to say thank you to the council officers who have worked so hard on this. Great news!

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Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Addressing Residents' Concerns Over Watts Meadow



Cllr Mark Reckless MP spent an hour on Monday visiting Watts Meadow with local campaigner Adrian Osborne of Rochester Avenue to inspect its current state.

Visiting the site with Rochester West ward colleague Cllr Ted Baker, Mark was given a demonstration of just how difficult it is to navigate the site if you are blind or disabled given the current condition of the walkways through the meadow. Wearing a blackout mask provided by Adrian to bring home the difficulties which the blind faces, Mark found the going really hard.

Mark said:

"The paths and walkways around Watts Meadow can be difficult to navigate for those of us who have full vision and no disabilities. Now, thanks to Adrian's intervention, I am only too well aware of just how hard it must be to enjoy this beautiful green space if you have problems with your vision or a disability of any kind.

It is clear that some work needs to be done to ensure that everyone can enjoy Watts Meadow, including getting particular pathways levelled. In some areas foliage, nettles and brambles also need cutting back, although I understand the case for leaving some of other areas entirely to nature.

Residents are currently being denied access to the meadow from Priestfields due to house-building work in that area. I have emphasised to Robin Cooper, the responsible Director at Medway Council, how upset residents are that this closure was not pre-notified. I believe that, subject to financial constraints, there is also a need for Watts Meadow to be brought up to a suitable condition more generally so that local people can fully enjoy this vital green lung in the heart of Rochester.

I will be working with Medway Council and residents such as Adrian Osborne to make sure Watts Meadow gets the care and attention it so rightly deserves. I will also be trying to understand why the Friends of Watts Meadow group have not had the success working with the Council which we have achieved with the Borstal Open Spaces Society."

Mark is also interested to hear from anyone who can shed some light on when the concrete road that leads up the allotments on Watts Meadow was built and why it remains, to this day, unfinished. One theory put forward by Adrian Osborne is that it was dug up by builders when the houses in Ethelbert Road were constructed. If anyone can help with this mystery, they can email contact@markreckless.com

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Tuesday, 22 June 2010

“This Reckless Tory Budget would not have been possible without the Liberal Democrats”

I managed to find a seat in the Chamber earlier, but it was next to the Liberal Democrats, and one or two colleagues caught my eye as Labour's acting leader, Harriet Harman, trotted out the above line of attack.

I first met George Osborne twenty years ago during freshers' week at university, so I did a little bit of a double take today as I saw him walk into the Chamber, have the Prime Minister pour him a drink, and then launch into the most important budget statement for a generation.

George seems to have grown into the role of Chancellor very quickly. As well as being politically sensitive and astute, I feel that he delivered just about the best economic package he could, given the mess which he has been left to clear up.

Only halving the deficit over five years, as Labour proposed, was never a serious plan, because investors would not have lent us the money at a price we could afford. We will eliminate the current structural budget deficit over the course of the Parliament to restore confidence in our credit, our currency and our country.

Harriet Harman is right. This Budget would not have been possible without, at a minimum, Liberal Democrat acquiescence. It is surely better though - however much Harriet Harman dislikes it – to have Liberal Democrats and Conservatives actively working together to clear up the mess which Labour have left behind.

We are all in it together. Today's Budget sets out, not Conservative cuts, but the best efforts of our national coalition to put our country back on track.

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Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Decision Day For St John's

Councillor Mark Reckless MP has welcomed the news that the Office of the Schools Adjudicator has today ruled against the closure of St John's Infants School in Chatham and the amalgamation of Delce Infants and Juniors.

Today's ruling will come as a great relief to all the parents, children and staff who campaigned so hard to keep these small and successful community-based schools.

In November of last year Mark called on the Council to take independent legal advice to clarify whether or not Medway Council was acting lawfully in its plans to close St John's.

Speaking on the ruling Mark said:

"Last year, I was extremely pleased to have helped keep St Peter's Infants School open, and I similarly welcome the decision of the adjudicator with regard to St John's. I was never convinced of the case for closing St John's and voiced my concerns, including with respect to the legality of the process, in Overview and Scrutiny, to full Council, and finally to the Adjudicator.

My congratulations go out to all the parents, children and staff at St John's on running such a spirited campaign. I am also delighted that the two Delce schools will retain their independence and hopefully now go from strength to strength. Let us hope that this is the end of these proposals once and for all."

Decision on St John's Decision -
Click Here
Decision on Delce Schools -
Click Here
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Maiden Speech In The Commons

I congratulate Gemma Doyle and Members on both sides of the House on the excellent maiden speeches we have heard today.

I thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, for recognising me for this maiden speech. It is, after all, five years since my predecessor, Bob Marshall-Andrews, took to the airwaves to concede defeat. Many Members may have heard him admit defeat on that occasion, but not all may have heard him make later what has variously been described as an Al Gore-style retraction or a Lazarus-like recovery.

Bob Marshall-Andrews represented the constituents of Medway for 13 years, highly ably holding the Government to account throughout that period. During that time he faced a pincer attack from my campaign and from his Front Bench. On one occasion, the Labour Whips were so keen to assist my campaign that they leaked the fact that they had given him permission to undertake legal work in Hong Kong for several weeks while Parliament was sitting. Such things are always opaque, but I understand that it was in retaliation for Mr Marshall-Andrews having auctioned a series of Whips' letters to recalcitrant MPs, to raise money for the Campaign group.

Bob Marshall-Andrews had a number of great successes. He defended the right to trial by jury-I am delighted that my hon. Friend Mr Raab took up that cause this evening-and he helped to prevent the extension of detention without trial. He played a major part locally in bringing the campuses of four universities to our constituency.

The counstituency of Rochester and Strood is the successor to the Medway constituency. It contains two of the five Medway towns. Rochester, with its castle and cathedral, was and should again be a city. Strood, its proud neighbour over the River Medway, grew in the patriotic fervour of the Boer war, along with Chatham dockyard, and that is recorded in street names such as Gordon, Kitchener and Cecil.

The constituency contains the historic dockyard of Chatham, which built and served our Navy from before the time of Pepys, to Nelson's HMS Victory, to the Falklands conflict. We are proud of that heritage, but we are also proud that, 25 years on, we have recovered from the closure of that dockyard.

The constituency is two thirds urban, but also a third rural. We have the Hoo peninsula, between the Rivers Medway and Thames, which stretches from Grain to Cliffe, and where we saw off the threat of an airport twice the size of Heathrow. The constituency also contains the north downs villages of Cuxton and Halling.

On the substance of the debate tonight, I should declare an interest: I am a member of the Kent police authority. However, on occasion, turkeys do vote for Christmas, and I should like to welcome the coalition's proposals to abolish police authorities and replace us with directly elected individuals. It must be right that those who exercise the coercive power of the state should be held to account by those whom they serve. That is a progressive cause. It is the cause for centuries of the parish constable against the remote magistracy. It is the cause of London Labour councils and the South Yorkshire police authority through the 1980s. It is the cause of the Levellers and, indeed, the Diggers, to which my hon. Friend the Member for Esher and Walton referred earlier. However, it is a cause today that is represented not by the Opposition, but by the Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend Mr Cameron, who represents not just Burford, but democratic ideals of the Levellers who lost their lives there.

I have heard the odd senior police officer oppose those plans, yet there is no suggestion of any intrusion on the chief constable's prerogative. The powers that will be transferred are currently those of police authorities. Surely, the objection is not merely that directly elected individuals will exercise those powers more effectively than police authorities have done to date.

We will also codify operational independence. I would caution that that does not mean that the police should be allowed to get along with things solely as they wish. The Metropolitan police have a tradition of independence because we have had a concern to guard against them becoming the arm of central Government. However, our tripartite system is a compromise between counties, where chief constables would occasionally receive instructions, and boroughs, where oversight was much greater. Indeed, the watch committee of the borough of Preston met twice a day-once in the morning, to give the chief constable his instructions, and once in the early evening, to check that he had carried them out.

Before I close, I should like to draw the House's attention to what I consider the major trend in policing of the past 25 years. It is the movement of power from locally appointed and accountable chief constables to an organisation that is both a private company and a trade union with a closed shop: the Association of Chief Police Officers, which has grown to dominate the field of policing without the sanction of the House. It has its committees and its cabinet, and it issues instructions to us in Kent on how much we should charge for policing the Faversham carnival or the Maidstone water festival. It is right that we should now move and have directly elected police commissioners to rebalance the policing landscape and restore local democracy.


Hansard Source: 7th June 2010
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Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Dunkirk Little Ships Visit

Cllr Mark Reckless MP with veterans of the 1940 evacuation from France

Cllr Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, attended the Dunkirk 70th Anniversary over the weekend, accompanied by fellow Conservative Association members Parish Councillors Chris Buckwell and Alan Marsh, as well as Conservative MEP for South-East England, Daniel Hannan.

Mark said "It was a very moving experience, and we had the chance to speak with veterans who are in their nineties. The Dunkirk Little Ships had made a great effort to return to Dunkirk and I wanted to pay my respects on this historic occasion".

Cllr Mark Reckless MP, Kelly Tolhurst and Daniel Hannan MEP

Mark was particularly delighted to meet up with the Tolhurst family from Borstal, including Kelly Tolhurst who took charge of leading the Little Ships into Dunkirk harbour last week, and Ian and Doreen Pearson from Cuxton. Their boats, Lijns and Wendy Ken, had been at Dunkirk in 1940.

Cllr Chris Buckwell, Doreen and Ian Pearson, and Cllr Mark Reckless MP

Councillor Buckwell also updated Mark on progress being made by the Medway Queen Preservation Society, which was represented at Dunkirk by way of her display vehicle and a number of visiting Preservation Society activists.
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Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Catching Breath...



It is two and a half weeks since the election and I apologise to readers for not updating here during that period.

There has been an extraordinary crush of commitments and expectations and the hardest part has been to prioritise.

I have done a few interviews, but turned down many more, and dealt successfully with some constituency casework, but fear that it may be a month or two before I am really on top of it.

Currently my office is a committee room in the House of Commons which I share with up to a dozen other MPs. The camaraderie is at least good for morale, one colleague teasing me that I should enjoy the view of the Thames before the whips install me in a windowless broom cupboard.



However, I am looking forward to having a permanent base for work, particularly in the constituency, and one or two people to help organise my work, and I am grateful to the one who has helping me a bit voluntarily now.

Today was the State Opening of Parliament and a wonderful experience. One MP told me that it was the 56th time that the Queen has read such a speech.

In the Chamber one area where colleagues are still feeling their way is in how we relate to the Liberal Democrats in our coalition. Don Foster, the Liberal Democrat for Bath, said he was proud to be the first Liberal since 1939 to propose or second the Loyal Address (which supports the Queen’s speech), and was generally supportive of our joint programme.

However, he then riled some colleagues by citing an historical quotation hailing the Conservative party being led to the left under aristocratic leadership. The Prime Minister shot straight back that, whilst the last Liberal to second the Loyal Address had indeed done so in 1939, he then sank into obscurity until he joined the Conservatives some years later.

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Friday, 7 May 2010

Rochester and Strood Constituency Result

1. Mark Reckless (Conservative) - 23,604
2. Teresa Murray (Labour) - 13,651
3. Geoff Juby (Liberal Democrats) - 7,800
4. Ron Sands (English Democrats) - 2,182
5. Simon Marchant (Green Party) - 734

Total votes cast: 48,044
Turnout %: 65.14%

The constituency swing is 9.8% from Labour to Conservative.
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Thursday, 6 May 2010

Vote Mark Reckless for Change Today

Vote for Change today.



ADVERT

Rochester Fireplaces - Home Sweet Home
139 High Street, Rochester, Kent ME1 1EW
Tel: 01634 408 007

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Monday, 3 May 2010

After 13 Years, Labour Gets An “F” In The South East

As the General Election approaches the final stretch, Conservatives released a report card revealing Labour's failure across the English regions.

On the key issues of concern to voters, Labour have spent billions yet failed to improve the quality of life for many millions of people across the country.

Commenting, Conservative Party Chairman Eric Pickles said:

"Today we’re holding Labour to account. Thirteen years of Labour and what we're left with is a budgetary black hole and more empty promises. If I were a teacher, I’d look at Labour's record in the South East and give them an 'F'."

Conservatives released a "report card" of Labour's record of failure in the regions. The report card looks at Labour’s record on jobs, the economy, crime, NHS, education and transport.

Download the full report card here

Full South East data
here


ADVERT

Xtremity - Stockists of Windsurfing, Snowboarding and Skateboarding Hardware and Fashion Items for Men and Women
2A Crow Lane, Rochester, Kent ME1 1RF
Tel: 01634 402944

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Friday, 30 April 2010

We Need To Protect Our Border

Mark Reckless is extremely concerned to learn that Labour are apparently slashing the number of immigration officers deployed at Dover to protect against illegal immigration:

Read the article here

As a member of the Kent Police Authority Mark is demanding to know whether Kent Police have been properly consulted about these proposals.

He is also questioning whether the civil service should be carrying them forward during an election period when they know that the Conservatives will introduce a new border force, combining police and immigration officers.


ADVERT

The Rochester Armoury - Bringing The Past Back To The Future
2B Crow Lane, Rochester, Kent ME1 1RF
Tel: 01634 845526

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Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Campaign Diary Week 3

It's a two horse race...



ADVERT

Nimbus Lighting, 144 High Street, Rochester, Kent ME1 1ER.
Great Lighting At Great Prices.
Tel: 01634 407724

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