Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Brentford FC Community Sports Trust..doing great work!

Last week, I attended an event at the new Audi centre in Brentford to celebrate the achievements of the Brentford Football Club Community Sports Trust over the last two years.

Brentford FC Community Sports Trust started out as a football-based charity and they now offer some 27 different sports and other educational activities to more than 27,800 children in the area. They have achieved so much over the past two years with 179 projects currently across health, social inclusion, education and sports participation.

I recently saw some of this work, when I visited Brentford FC with Jeremy Hunt MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. We were shown several examples of work that is done in the community, including local schoolchildren enjoying their kayaking lesson at the Kew Boating Arch. Might be tempted to join them next time!

The work that the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust is an inspiration to others. They have shown real leadership and commitment to working within the local community and making a difference to young people by giving them opportunities to develop and learn.

P.S. I was at Griffin Park on Saturday afternoon and was thrilled to watch The Bees take a point from the mighty Leeds United. Well done to the team.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Chiswick Remembers

A large crowd came out at the weekend to mark Remembrance Sunday at the War Memorial at Turnham Green.
Wreaths were laid by the Mayor of Hounslow, Cllr Paul Lynch, our local VC veteran and many others. This was followed by a service in Christ Church Turnham Green, led by the Vicar, Mr Matt Boyes.

It was a lovely ceremony and service. The Mayoress' reading (Prudence Lynch) was especially moving as we remembered the brave soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and veterans who have played a vital role in the defence of our country.

We owe it to those in the military, many of whom are still in Iraq and Afghanistan, making sacrifices to ensure our security and freedom at home. We appreciate what they have done and are doing.
We will continue to remember them.

Photo: Mary Macleod with Mayor Cllr Paul Lynch, our local VC veteran and the Lord Lieutenant outside Christ Church Turnham Green

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Stop Human Trafficking

Last night I was at a Helen Bamber charity event in Ronnie Scott's. Great evening organised by Stephen and Trixie Brenninkmeijer with support from Emma Thompson.

The Helen Bamber Foundation is a human rights charity, working with survivors of human rights violations. Do you know that children are sold for as little as $20 each? Do you know that 2-4 million men, women and children are trafficked across borders and within their own country every year? More than one person is trafficked across a border every minute, which is equivalent to five jumbo jets every day. It is a trade that earns twice as much worldwide revenue as Coca Cola. It needs to be stopped.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

The political conference season is over, which for most people will be a blessed relief. But with the economy struggling and unemployment rising, the need for a change is growing.

The economy is critical and that's why at the Conference, Conservatives outlined how they will aim to tackle the mess we're in.

There are a number of key pledges for council tax payers, business, first time buyers and pensioners:

  • - freeze council tax for two years
  • - introduce a £50bn National Loan Guarantee Scheme to underwrite bank lending to businesses and get credit flowing again
  • - provide tax cuts for new jobs with a £2.6bn package of tax breaks to get people into work
  • - abolish Stamp Duty for nine out of ten first-time buyers
  • - raise the Inheritance Tax threshold to £1 million
  • - cut the main rate of corporation tax to 25p and the small companies' rate to 20p
Policies like these will have a positive impact not just nationally but on the people and businesses in Chiswick, Brentford, Isleworth, Osterley & Hounslow and I'd urge you to find out more about our economic plans by clicking on the link below.


Labour cuts back on right to buy

With housing such a high profile issue locally, courtesy of a group of squatters, I thought it was worth highlighting what a Conservative government plans for social housing.

The goal is to extend the opportunity for social tenants across England, by:

  • - Rewards for good behaviour: Offering tenants with a record of five years’ good tenant behaviour a 10% equity share in their social rented property, which can be cashed in when they want to move up the housing ladder.
  • - A ‘Right to Move’: Introducing a comprehensive national mobility scheme for good tenants who wish to move to other social sector properties.
  • - Supporting low-cost housing sector: Strengthening shared ownership schemes which allow those on intermediate incomes to part-own their home.
  • - Cutting waiting lists: Relaxing the rules that prevent thousands of habitable empty properties being used to house those on local authority waiting lists.

Labour has cut back on council tenants' ‘right to buy’, making it increasingly hard for people on lower incomes to own their own homes. We want to find ways to help tenants get into the property ladder.

An independent report commissioned by the Government has highlighted the benefits of the Right to Buy in promoting home ownership, giving people a stake in the state of their neighbourhood and creating mixed communities:

“The Right to Buy was one of the most successful housing policies… because the policy enabled many households to become owner-occupiers who would not otherwise been able to do so… It has been a positive influence in maintaining mixed communities in spatial terms. It has also provided a cheaper access point into owner-occupation for lower income employed households helping to sustain mixed communities are these properties are transferred into the market.’

(ODPM, Lessons from the past, challenges for the future for housing policy)

I’d be interested in your views on this, of course.

And if you’d like to know more about Conservative policy in this area check this out:http://www.conservatives.com/News/News_stories/2009/02/Our_plan_to_tackle_Britains_social_housing_crisis.aspx

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

My Commitment to You on Expenses

Ever since the details of MP’s expenses were first published, people have been furious about the excessive, unacceptable and possibly illegal claims made by some of the people representing us in the House of Commons. As your local Conservative candidate, I want to make it clear to you that I will not play the system or bend the rules. Instead, I will abide by the standards that politicians expect others to live by.

When I was first selected for this constituency, I made it clear that if I was fortunate enough to be elected as the Member of Parliament for this area, I would not be claiming an additional central London home from the tax-payer. I am now making clear other specific commitments I will make to ensure that we rebuild trust back into the political process. I am giving local residents a clear choice between Ann Keen and I. One of the key differences will be on our approach to expenses.

If I am elected as Member of Parliament at the next General Election, I promise to:

  1. Not claim the allowance for an additional home in the centre of London.
  2. Publish on my website details of all my office expenses incurred as the Member of Parliament.
  3. Publish on my website details of all donations above £1,000, in line with Electoral Commission rules.
  4. Open up my unedited expenses claims to local newspapers at the end of every financial year.
  5. Never claim for day-to-day living expenses such as food, furniture or household goods.
  6. Hold regular surgeries so that local residents can ask directly about issues important to them.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Hounslow Crime Survey

There’s no doubt in my mind that one of the key roles of government is to keep us safe from crime and criminals. If we aren’t safe in our homes and on our streets, then we will never create a just and successful society.

Sadly though, no society has ever been crime-free. I guess, sadly, it never will.

But government can change the policy framework and working environment for the experts – the police, the criminal justice system, social workers and others working at the coal face – so they can get on with their jobs of preventing crime and punishing criminals.

We need a police force freed from pointless paperwork. We need more than just one in five knife criminals jailed:
http://tinyurl.com/ko7ln3. Twelve years on, and Labour has failed us.

Earlier this year, I commissioned a survey about crime in the borough. The survey was sent to about 70,000 people across Chiswick, Brentford, Syon, Osterley and Hounslow. I reckon it must be one of the largest surveys on the subject done in the area.

The results will be available on my website very soon. But in the meantime, if you want to know more about what a Conservative administration would do on crime see the links below.

Conservatives on crime

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Should we be compassionate?

This week, the Lockerbie bomber has dropped his second appeal against conviction. We are now waiting to hear if the Scottish Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, will grant Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, who has terminal cancer, early release on compassionate grounds or transfer him to a Libyan jail.

I believe Megrahi should serve out his sentence in Scotland. Justice means that he needs to do the life sentence for what he did. 270 lives were lost in the 1988 bombing.

This is about being compassionate for the victims and their families and not for the the person who did the crime.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Skyride for Cyclists - a great day!

Even although I was feeling under the weather with a cold and cough, I managed to get out this weekend to participate in the Hounslow Skyride. There was an excellent atmosphere around Syon Park and Osterley Park where individuals, friends and families were all participating in a day of cycling around the Borough.

This was a great initiative from Boris Johnson and one that hopefully will encourage many people to cycle more. Great for health and great for the environment!

Friday, 12 June 2009

Boris Johnson in Hounslow today

This afternoon, the Mayor of London is in Hounslow to celebrate the launch of Freewheel, Hounslow. http://www.london.gov.uk/freewheel/signup/

After his official duties, Boris will be joining me and some Councillors and doing a walkabout on the High Street. Please do come along and meet us at 4.30-5pm. We will be walking from School Road and heading west to Bell/Cressy Corner.

There are a lot of issues that Boris and I agree on. The most important being our opposition to Heathrow expansion.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Historic Defeat for Labour

The European results last night were bad for Labour. They slumped to their worst post War election result. In the London region, Conservatives got the most votes and we have kept our three seats. Well done to Charles, Syed and Marina.

The Conservative agenda in Europe is a positive agenda for change in Europe: to drive forward open markets to help beat the recession, taking action on global warming and cutting the cost of Europe. I know the three London Conservative MEPs will work to deliver that. If you want to read the European Manifesto Conservatives stood on, follow the link below:

All in all, then, the last seven days have been momentus for politics. Cabinet ministers coming and going randomly. Local government and European elections and, unfortunately, continuing chaos at the heart of Government. It all underlines the need to get on with a General Election. We need a government which is energised, focussed and disciplined. We need a new approach to the problems we face locally in this constituency and nationally. The Labour Party isn’t focussed, energised or disciplined. It has lost the confidence of (even) its core supporters (look at what happened in Wales) and its MPs are too busy bickering. To hear a more poetic explanation of why we need a general election, listen to Daniel Hannan MEP quoting Dr Seuss in a message to Gordon Brown:

PS: If you’d like to keep abreast of what I’m up to you can also follow me via http://twitter.com/MaryMacleod4MP or join my Facebook group: http://tinyurl.com/pfnfb3

Friday, 5 June 2009

Post Election...

Yesterday was a busy day. Election days always are!

I managed to get round all the wards in the constituency to talk to voters and the many Conservative supporters, who turned out to help (to all of them, my sincere thanks for all their efforts).

It'll be interesting to see what the actual turn out is. It was quiet in many places but it's hard to tell when many will have used a postal vote. My sense was that the sound of the Government falling to pieces up the road in Westminster distracted voters' attention from this European election. Which is a shame. Over 65% of our legislation gets decided in Europe so people should take an interest in what they are doing. We also need a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and the Conservatives are the only Party that will deliver that.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Time for a General Election NOW!

Today’s Guardian editorial says it all: ‘It is time to cut him [Gordon Brown] loose.’

The government and its leader have clearly lost the plot. In the midst of a deep recession and a crisis of confidence in the political system, we can’t afford a lame duck Prime Minister and government. As the Guardian says of Brown: ‘The truth is there is no vision from him, no plan, no argument for the future and no support.’

That’s why I and other Conservatives want a General Election now. Tomorrow’s local and European elections are a chance to get that message across to the electorate. In the case of Europe, there’s also the chance to demand the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty we have so far (and so shabbily) been denied by the Government (a right that the Liberals would also deny voters).

My hope is voters in Chiswick, Brentford, Isleworth, Osterley & Hounslow will turn out and vote in the EU elections. I (obviously) hope they’ll vote Conservative because I think our policies, our candidates and our approach is the right one (no pun intended). If you’re not yet decided or want to know more, I’d urge you to check out the following links:

Why we need a general election

Why Conservatives want a European Referendum

Who the Conservative European candidates are

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Support for Gurkhas

On Saturday, I visited Dharma Tamang, the President of the Hounslow Branch of GAESCO (Gurkha Army Ex Servicemens Organisation).

Mr Tamang did a fantastic job last week on the Gurkhas' campaign when he appeared at the Home Office Select Committee to discuss Gurkha entry and residence rights. He then fought alongside Joanna Lumley in the campaign for ensuring there is justice for Gurkhas in allowing them stay in the UK.

I went to see him as I wanted to show my support to him and the work he is doing. I believe that people who fight for our country should have the right to come and live in our country. Former Gurkhas, and other foreign-born ex-service personnel, have already contributed to our society, and have therefore earned the right to come here. I am delighted that a Conservative Government would allow pre-1997 Gurkhas the right to settle in the UK.

Photo: Mary Macleod with Dharma Tamang and Cllr Paul Lynch in Hounslow

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Women in the Conservative Party

The Times printed an article this week which stated that the Conservative Party had made no improvement in getting more women into Parliament. It was complete nonsense.

The facts are:

a) 80 women have been selected, most selected in winnable constituencies. If the Conservatives are elected with an overall majority of just one seat they will have 55 Conservative female MPs. More than a threefold increase over the current number of 17 female MPs.

b) There are 7 women in the Shadow Cabinet. Given there are only 17 female MPs women, this means that more than 40% of our female MPs are in the Shadow Cabinet. This is a sign of how committed to women’s advancement David Cameron is.

I have fought long and hard to get more women into roles in public life and Parliament. No-one though should be given a role just because of their gender or race. It should be because they are the best person for the job with the right skills and experience. We want the best men and women in the Shadow Cabinet so that they can deliver much needed change for our country.

There is naturally more to be done of course to increase female representation at all levels of public life and we need to encourage more women to come forward to stand for election – both locally and nationally.

Photo: Theresa May MP, Mary Macleod and some of the female candidates who are standing at the next election

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Shadow Justice Minister visits Isleworth

David Burrowes MP, Shadow Justice Minister, visited the Hounslow Youth Offending Team last week in Isleworth at The Redless Centre in Redlees Park.

We got an excellent briefing on the Hounslow YOS and met a few young offenders who have been supported by the team.

This is such an important issue - making sure we give young people who have made a mistake, another chance in life. It is at this point that we can intervene and stop them creating a life of crime.

David was impressed with the work that was being done by the YOT, "I was very pleased to visit the Youth Offending Team with Mary and hear first hand from the team and also young offenders about how best to tackle youth crime. I was particularly impressed by the dedication and commitment of the YOT. It is important as we develop our policies that we learn from the good practice taking place in Hounslow . We need to ensure that we provide more opportunity for the local Council to have more responsibility for local young people who are in the criminal justice system, particularly when they end up in youth custody."

Photo: Mary with David Burrowes MP, Cllr Paul Lynch and Cllr Lin Davies (Cllr Barbara Reid is the photographer)

Friday, 17 April 2009

Class game shows to help learning

The Government's latest proposal is to use TV quizes and game shows in the classroom to improve discipline and behaviour in schools.

As a school governor, I know how important it is to make classes as interesting as possible so that children learn. If children understand what is being taught and feel they are learning and achieving results... their behaviour improves. That does not mean however, that teachers have to resort to game shows. Let us leave teachers to define the instructional strategy they use as they are the experts. What is important that children are learning and getting the best education possible in whatever school they attend.

Discipline in the classroom is an issue and teachers do need more power to deal with it. If we can sort out bad behaviour at this early stage, then it will save us years of issues in the criminal courts.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Labour's Political Smears

This last week has been an awful example of what people hate so much about politics. The games that politicians play to try and get one over their opponent.

The 'e-mail smears' scandal raises serious concerns about what is going on in 10 Downing Street. Although the Prime Minister is trying to distance himself from what is going on, the facts remain that it is all part of the Labour Party machine. Damian McBride was personally appointed by the Prime Minister and directly responsible to him. He worked alongside the Minister for the Civil Service, Tom Watson, at the heart of the Prime Minister's office.

The Prime Minister needs to tell us if he was aware of the proposed smears? Was he aware of the 'Red Rag' website to which they were to be sent? Was he aware that his advisers were involved with it? And did his Minister for the Civil Service have any knowledge of or involvement in it?

In my view, if this government can only make up lies to fight the Conservative Party... then they are not fit to govern.

We must once and for all, get rid of all political lies and smears that are just made up to take down an innocent person and get political advantage. We must clean up politics and bring respect and honesty back into politics. Lets fight on policy.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Fighting Crime Locally

Chris Grayling MP, Shadow Home Secretary, visited the Borough on Wednesday 25th March to look at crime locally in Chiswick, Brentford, Isleworth, Osterley and Hounslow.

Chris began his visit by being part of a panel in Chiswick Town Hall at a public meeting that was open to all residents to look at ways of reducing crime in the local community. Superintendent Phipps from the Metropolitan Police, Cllr John Todd and Margaret Bourne from Victim Support also joined us on the panel.

Superintendent Phipps gave an excellent overview of crime locally and described the complexities of policing in the Hounslow Borough with 140 languages, between 212-260,000 people living in the area and with half of those arrested for petty crimes, testing positive for drugs. Progress had been made though with surveillance on gateways into high-risk burglary areas, following suspect vehicles and removing Class A drug dealers from the area.

Cllr John Todd highlighted the initiatives that the Council have undertaken in relation to reducing crime, including increasing CCTV cameras in underpasses, organising a leadership course for young people who have been in trouble and creating drink free zones.

Chris highlighted four areas which he saw as a priority:

1. zero tolerance on low level criminality such as broken wing mirrors, anti-social behavior and graffiti before it leads to more serious crimes
2. ending the caution culture that has developed to save police paperwork and achieve targets
3. reviewing the licensing laws
4. reducing the amount of paperwork that the police have to deal with.

Chris and I then went on a tour of the Borough with the Drugs Squad to see the impact of drugs locally and to hear what the police were doing to identify those involved in selling drugs and the challenges they had to deal with to ensure a conviction.

We really need to deal with burglaries, vehicle crime and drug-related crime to make sure we all are safe at home, at work, on the street and in the community. Drugs are having a detrimental impact on the lives of local residents and this issue needs to be dealt with.

Photo: Mary with Chris Grayling MP and Superintendent Phipps

Thursday, 2 April 2009

The Battle of the Giants

The 2009 Boat Race was as exciting as ever at the weekend.

It was the battle of the giants! When they weighed in at the Hurlingham Club in Fulham, the Oxford crew was the heaviest in the 180 year history of the event and Cambridge was the heaviest ever Light Blue crew.

Oxford got it right on the day this year with a win... although Cambridge are still ahead with 79 wins over 75.

Everyone at the Race seemed to really it - the atmosphere, the anticipation and the ice-cream! It is such a good example of a great community event.

Photo: Mary with her godson Mal

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Crime Summit in Chiswick

You are warmly invited to our Crime Summit tomorrow in Chiswick.

Date: Wednesday 25th March 2009
Time: 1230-1330
Venue: Chiswick Town Hall, Heathfield Terrace, Chiswick, W4 4JN

Chris Grayling MP, Shadow Home Secretary
Superintendent Phipps, Hounslow Borough Metropolitan Police
Cllr John Todd, local Chiswick Councillor
Margaret Bourne, Victim Support
Mary Macleod, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate (chair)

The panel will be there to take your questions and dicuss any concerns you may have. This is our chance to focus on reducing crime locally together and make sure we all are safe at home, at work, on the street and in the community.

All local residents, businesses and local organisations are welcome to attend.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

David Cameron's son Ivan dies

It was very sad news to hear today of David Cameron's eldest son Ivan dying in the early hours of this morning at St Mary's Hospital. Ivan, who was six years old, suffered from cerebral palsy and epilepsy. My thoughts and prayers are with David, Samantha, Nancy and Arthur and the extended family at this sad and difficult time.

Hearing of a death like this, reminds me how important it is that we make the most of each day. None of us, no matter what age we are, know how long we have in this world. Someone once said, "live each day as though it is your last". Sometimes we get so busy (especially me!) that we forget to "stand still and smell the roses" and enjoy each moment. We need to take time for ourselves, time for friends and family and time to reflect and remember how fortunate we are in so many ways.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Hounslow Community Reception with Baroness Warsi

Last night Baroness Sayeeda Warsi was the guest of honour at our Hounslow Community Reception, kindly hosted by the Urban Spice restaurant.

Saira Khan, an entrepreneur and former contestant in ‘The Apprentice’ introduced Sayeeda to the guests. Saira talked about her experiences of being brought up in Britain and the values of hard work, focus and determination, which have helped her get to where she is now.

In her speech, Sayeeda mentioned how important it was to work across religious and ethnic groups and bring them together in the community. She did not feel that giving government funding to just one ethnic or religious organisation helped in creating community cohesion.

In my view, government funding should be given to local councils to distribute as a Community Cohesion grant. They can decide which organisations work best locally across all religious and ethnic groups, in building a stronger society, where people of all backgrounds live, study and work closely together within their local community.

Photo 1: Mary with Saira Khan and Sayeeda Warsi
Photo 2: Mr Pankaj Makol, Mr & Mrs Neeraj Makol and Mr Jaz Walia with Mary Macleod and Sayeeda Warsi at the Urban Spice restaurant, 159 Hanworth Road, Hounslow

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Visit to the local Mosque

I had a lovely visit recently to the Hounslow Jamia Masjid and Islamic Centre on Wellington Road South.

Tony Arbour AM, Cllr Mark Bowen, Cllr Barbara Reid, Christine Quick and Fauad Hafeez from Hounslow Central and Ranjiv Godfrey from Hounslow Heath also joined me there.

We were given a tour of the Centre and met the teachers and children of the school that is within the Centre. It was really interesting to get an insight into a Community Mosque and hear about the work that they do.

My thanks to all those who invited us there and made us feel so welcome.

Photo: Mary (centre) with Cllr Barbara Reid, Cllr Mark Bowen, Tony Arbour AM, Dr Mobhin, Mr A Majid, Mr Riaz Butt, Mr Saleem and Mr Karamat Malik.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Government give go-ahead for Third Runway

Last week, the Government gave the go-ahead for a Third Runway at Heathrow.

This shows clearly that they have not listened to local people and that they do not care at all for the local environment. As Theresa Villiers, the Shadow Transport Secretary warned, “A third runway at Heathrow would inflict devastating damage to the environment and to the quality of life of millions of people and the Conservatives will fight them every step of the way.”

An increase of 222,000 extra flights a year will have a major impact of residents, and I, with Theresa, will continue to fight the Government's plans.

If you have been a Labour voter in the past but are against a Third Runway at Heathrow, please now vote for the Conservatives... so that we can stop these plans from being implemented.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Every child with £17k debt thanks to Labour

George Osborne has just launched a poster campaign to highlight that every child in Britain is born owing £17,000 because of Labour’s Debt Crisis.

The stark reality is that under Labour, Britain’s national debt is set to double to over one trillion pounds in just five years. This will have to be paid back. Families will have to work longer and harder as they are facing a bill of more than £2,000 just to pay the interest on this debt.

Gordon Brown promised us no boom and bust......but what have we now got? Exactly that.
As a country, we need change now. We need a change for the better... before Gordon Brown does any more damage.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Can we stop expansion at Heathrow....yes we can!

The government's latest plans for a rail link to Heathrow to serve a third runway appears as a last minute desperate measure to shore up their ill-conceived plans for expansion at Heathrow.

We already have proposed high speed rail as an alternative to a third runway. The government is now jumping on the bandwagon. It shows just how much trouble they are in with their expansion plans, which are opposed by 95% of local residents.

A third runway and mixed-mode operations would be disastrous for local people. There would be a 50% increase in flights and the respite that currently comes from runway alternation would be gone. It is immoral to expect people to live with that level of noise. I will continue to fight against expansion at Heathrow and to safeguard and improve quality of life for local residents.

I have invited Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon to visit the constituency before making his final decision but have not yet had a response from him. Wonder why?

Friday, 2 January 2009

Chiswick pensioners - not alone at Christmas

On Christmas Day, I went along to the 'Pensioners Alone at Christmas' lunch in Chiswick with Cllr John Todd and Cllr Gerald McGregor.

It was a superb event and wonderfully organised by Pauline Hart. Pauline (who has been doing this for over twenty years) and her team of volunteers collect pensioners in the morning from around the Chiswick area and then give them a fabulous Christmas dinner in the Bridge Street Chiswick Day Care Centre.

The pensioners, who otherwise would have spent the day alone, were thrilled to have a Christmas lunch organised for them and to get together with others to have a fun afternoon.

Congratulations to Pauline and the volunteers for yet again making the day really special for so many.

Photo: Mary and Cllr John Todd with some of the pensioners attending the lunch