Please note this post is from my previous blog. To read my posts during the 2017 General Election campaign click here.
After a hugely enjoyable 15-month campaign, delivering tens of thousands of leaflets and knocking on thousands of doors, I’m delighted to report that I was elected to represent the good people of Coldharbour, Mottingham & New Eltham in the Royal Borough of Greenwich on Thursday. It is a huge honour to have received residents support, and to join Cllr John Hills and Cllr Mandy Brinkhurst on the council.
I am particularly pleased that we successfully saw off a strong UKIP challenge in the ward (after UKIP made us their number 1 target ward in the elections in Greenwich & Lewisham), and to win despite some of the campaigning tactics of the local Labour MP, who I was fortunate to be able to challenge at a public meeting last month over his deeply irresponsible attempt to play politics over the recent spate of burglaries in New Eltham. Both facts show that local people want hard working councillors who will stand up for their interests, not petty party politics – and we don’t intend to let them down over the next four years.
As a new ward councillor, I am looking forward to continuing our successful Mend The Mound campaign to force the council to give the Coldharbour shops the attention they deserve – emboldened by our recent success in securing progress on the new Cafe at number 8 after a needless two-year delay. Similarly, in Mottingham, LiDL’s appeal against Bromley Council’s decision to reject its plans to demolish the Porcupine will take place by public inquiry in July, and John, Mandy and I are gearing up to again play our part in the community’s ongoing efforts to save the pub. In New Eltham, we will also be continuing our ongoing efforts to set up a network of Neighbourhood Watch groups – and much more besides. Watch this space!
Elsewhere in the borough, it is fair to say that the results were not as good as we had hoped for the Conservatives in Greenwich. I am particularly disappointed that my friends Nigel Fletcher and Adam Thomas did not get the result they deserved this time – they were two excellent, hard working, dedicated public servants who have served this borough with distinction on the council. Their result in Eltham North ward is proof – should proof be needed – that if you vote UKIP, you get Labour – and their loss is all the more galling when you consider the UKIP candidate in the ward made no effort whatsoever throughout the campaign. Their contributions will be sorely missed.
Similarly, there were many fine Conservative candidates across the Borough who deserved a better result at Friday’s marathon all-day count at the Waterfront Leisure Centre in Woolwich. I hope they will all stay involved in local politics, and I look forward to doing everything I can to help them secure the seats they deserve on the council at the earliest opportunity.
We now face the task of rebuilding and standing up for residents – not just in the wards that we hold, but across the borough – by providing the strong opposition that Greenwich so badly needs. On Saturday I was delighted to receive the unanimous backing of my colleagues to become Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group, so that I can help to do just that from the frontbench. It is a challenge I eagerly await.
Tonight, I sign in as a new councillor at Woolwich Town Hall, and meet with our Leader, Cllr Spencer Drury and whip, Cllr Geoff Brighty to plan our work in the near future. With the dust beginning to settle after the election campaign, I hope to blog more regularly – on politics in Greenwich and elsewhere – in the coming months.
In the meantime, residents of Coldharbour, Mottingham & New Eltham can keep up to date with John’s, Mandy’s and my work at our ward website www.CHNEwardteam.com, on Twitter @CHNEwardTeam and on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/CHNEwardTeam