Created: 30 July 2010
Before the summer recess, Bob spoke prolifically in the House, drawing attention to important local and national issues.
Bob congratulated Elmgrove, Aylward, Glebe, St John's and Stag Lane schools on winning Artsmark awards from the Arts Council.
Bob raised concerns about Cedars youth Centre and made it very clear that he expects the £4.2 million that was set aside for developments to be approved by the Department for Education. Bob will continue to press for this until success is achieved.
Bob also declared his commitment to preserving Bentley Prior, stating that “there is a clear need to preserve the priory for the nation so that we can celebrate what Fighter Command achieved 70 years ago. We must not allow it to fall into disrepair and disuse and pass it on in that state to our children and our children's children.”
The ColArt Group, also known as Winsor and Newton, has announced that it is considering proposals aimed at closing one of its five UK sites. In an attempt to increase efficiency the firm is considering shutting down operations in Wealdstone in order to transfer manufacturing responsibilities to France which would result in devastating job losses in Harrow. This would mean closing the Wealdstone site by the end of 2011 despite indicators showing that the site is producing profits. The company is now in the midst of a 90 day consultation process with local trade union representatives and the 190 employees affected. Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday Bob Blackman, Member of Parliament for Harrow East, spoke out against these closures and urged for a resolution that would allow the Wealdstone branch to remain open and profitable.
Bob Blackman MP said:
“The local council and the Government need to intervene to safeguard those jobs for local people and to protect manufacturing industry in London. I trust that that support and effort will be forthcoming from the Government before the consultation period is over at the end of September. This afternoon I met representatives of the factory, who are deeply concerned about what is going to happen to their jobs and to the future of manufacturing in our area. I am happy to place on record my firm and full support for their work, and I will, with the firm, be seeking appropriate measures to ensure that we safeguard that facility for local people.”
Harrow Council has offered to work with ColArt to support them in taking forward proposals on the Kodak site and to help ColArt consolidate their Head Office and other functions in Wealdstone. Bob has since been in constant correspondence with representatives of ColArt.
Bob drew attention in the Chamber to a recent case, Regina v. Robert Nicholls, which arose on 28 and 29 Junein Lewes Crown court. The case concerns a number of individuals who committed terrible criminal damage at a local armaments factory in January 2009. As they virtually admitted that they had done so, it was something of a surprise when they were acquitted of the crimes after the jury had deliberated for a very short period. Further to the ruling, the Judge’s summing up was released, it very much appeared to justify the actions of the young men involved.
Bob voiced his concern that this “is the thin end of a very thick wedge, and the Government-the Ministry of Justice-must step in and take action. We cannot have judges with prejudicial views instructing juries to acquit people where there is no evidence to support that outcome. I have asked the Lord Chancellor to intervene in this case and ensure that something is done, and I trust that that will happen before the recess.” Further to this speech Bob adhered to his commitment to write to the Lord Chancellor regarding the ruling.