Category Archives: campaigns

Rochester and Strood says No Estuary Airport!

Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, today joined local residents and campaigners at St James’ Church in Cooling to reveal the results of his No Estuary Airport ballot prior to making his submission to the Davies Aviation Commission. Over the past seven months, residents across the Rochester and Strood constituency have been asked for their opinion on whether or not they support the proposals to build a new hub airport in or around the Thames Estuary.

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The results are (wheeled) in… Rochester and Strood says No Estuary Airport!

The response has been extraordinarily good. Just under 8,000 residents took the time to have their say on the plans, and the answer has been a resounding ‘NO’ to proposals put forward for a Thames Estuary airport including by Boris Johnson and Foster+Partners. 92.6% of residents across the constituency do not support the proposals, with just 7.3% in favour. In Strood Rural and Peninsula wards, which would be most impacted by a new airport, the figure was even higher with 94.4% of all respondents saying ‘NO’, with just 5.5% supporting the plans.

Across the rest of the constituency, excluding Peninsula and Strood Rural wards, 87.8% of local residents oppose the plans, with 12.1% in favour.

Download full breakdown of results by ward – Click Here

WP_20130930_003Speaking prior to making his submission to the Davies Commission, Mark Reckless said:

“These proposals are, economically, completely unjustified. It is going to cost, perhaps, up to £100bn, and much of that will be government-guaranteed money, while all of the other proposals will be, in the main, privately funded. I just don’t believe it’s a credible proposal which merits further investigation. That’s what I said to Sir Howard Davies when I met him a week or so ago, and this ballot shows the strength of feeling against the proposals here in Rochester and Strood.

The jobs argument has completely failed. It would devastate West London to close Heathrow which would be necessary. Even Boris himself has now been pushing Stansted because he realises he hasn’t been able to gather enough support for this flight of fancy, pie in the sky proposal. I hope now we can rule this out once and for all. I would like to thank everyone who has been helping me with my campaign to do just that. Thank you all very much.”

View Mark’s submission to the Davies Aviation Commission – Click Here

Mark Reckless also accepted for submission to the Davies Commission a 1,800+ strong petition against the Thames Estuary Airport on behalf of the Friends of North Kent Marshes (FoNKM).

WP_20130930_035Speaking at the event, Gill Moore of FoNKM, said:

“We’re asking the Davies Commission to rule out all thoughts of a Thames Estuary Airport at the earliest opportunity and we hope he will be doing that in December. We’ve collected loads and loads of signatures alongside our MP, Mark Reckless, and we’re hoping against hope that the Davies Commission will take notice of it.”

V__AC86Mark was delighted to hand in the petition along with his own submission and the result of the constituency-wide ballot directly to Jillian Spindura at the office of the Davies Airport Commission who stated:

“Yours are the biggest and most comprehensive set of responses we have had opposing any airport proposal.”

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No Estuary Airport!

Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, and George Crozer, Friends of North Kent Marshes, introduce Mark’s No Estuary Airport Campaign.

For more information and to sign the online petition – Click Here

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Mark Reckless launches No Estuary Airport campaign

Speaking on BBC Radio Kent, Mark Reckless MP discusses the launch of his No Estuary Airport campaign on the Hoo Peninsula today.

Please join the campaign by signing the online petition against a Thames Estuary airport – Click Here

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Why we should oppose a Thames Estuary Airport

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Sign The Online Petition – Click Here

Many of us remember the No Airport at Cliffe campaign and how the Hoo Peninsula came together ten years ago to defeat the then government’s ‘Cliffe’ airport plan. There is no similar proposal from the government this time. However, an independent commission has been set up, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, to look at aviation capacity in the South-East.

Various people have suggested building an airport in the Thames Estuary area. The Mayor of London initially proposed an artificial ‘Boris’ Island north of the Isle of Sheppey, while architects Foster + Partners have proposed building over the north-east of the Hoo Peninsula and reclaimed land beyond.

010220133960None of these proposals appear credible to me. Cost estimates range from £70 billion to over £100 billion, around £50 per plane ticket. It is not clear why anyone would want to pay for this, when it would be so much cheaper to expand existing airports. Does the Mayor of London want to close Heathrow and move its 75,000 directly employed staff and 40,000 ancillary staff to Medway, or keep it open, with British Airways and other airlines saying that they would then refuse to move.

The Davies Commission will look at all the arguments and produce an interim report in late 2013 and a final report in 2015. These will not bind government but I would ask you to sign our petition and contact the Davies Commission to expose the weakness of arguments for a Thames Estuary airport.

Even Boris has now said that his desired new hub airport could instead be at Stansted. If £5 billion were spent on a Crossrail spur from Stansted to Stratford this would link Stansted to the City in 25 minutes, the West End (or Ebbsfleet) in 35 minutes and Heathrow in less than an hour. Gatwick are also now pushing to have a second runway.

We should use this opportunity with the Davies Commission to rule out environmentally devastating proposals for a Thames Estuary Airport once and for all.

Mark Reckless MP and volunteers from across the community will be visiting households across the Hoo Peninsula asking residents to sign his Parliamentary petition against the airport. You can show your support for the No Estuary Airport campaign now by completing the online petition form – click here.

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Local MP backs patients’ concerns over gaps in care

MD_CampaignRochester and Strood MP, Mark Reckless, has vowed to back patients affected by devastating muscle-wasting conditions in their fight for specialist services, which they say would change lives and save the NHS money. 

Mark Reckless has signed a motion in Parliament calling for the NHS to implement guidelines for care and support for people with muscle-wasting diseases and called on the new NHS Commissioning Board to support the development of networks across the country with a view towards reducing costly unplanned emergency admissions to hospital.

The motion in Parliament welcomes the State of the Nation report published by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign today showing that patients with muscle-wasting conditions are concerned that some regional NHS groups have put up barriers and caused delays to investing and improving services for people with muscle wasting conditions, and that specialist health professionals might be restricted by NHS geographical boundaries in providing the necessary care and support. Coupled with this is unease that GPs will have more control over planning local services.

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s report showed that:

  • Patients continue to experience long waits for a correct diagnosis, with less than half of people receiving a diagnosis in under a year and nearly one-in-six having to wait over 5 years for their diagnosis.
  • More than one-third of patients reported their condition had been initially misdiagnosed.
  • Worryingly, over a third of people were uncertain whether their GP had offered the correct advice and fewer than half felt that the advice was correct.
  • Over a quarter of patients also reported that they were forced to wait more than 12 months to see a specialist consultant, after they had been diagnosed with a neuromuscular condition.

200241_10150165354751068_5938208_nCommenting on the report, Mark Reckless MP said:

“I was shocked to read the findings of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s Patient Survey. I am concerned that too many patients and families affected by muscle-wasting conditions in the UK are receiving poorly co-ordinated care which can not only result in unnecessary use of NHS resources but can also have serious implications for a patient’s life expectancy and quality of life.”

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s Director of Campaigns, Care and Information, Nic Bungay, said:

“We are delighted to have the support of Mark Reckless MP backing patients’ calls for improvements to specialist care, who is a powerful voice for people with muscle-wasting conditions in Rochester and Strood.”

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign is now calling for:

  • clinicians and the NHS to ensure children and adults with severe muscle-wasting conditions, who have associated respiratory and cardiac issues, should have their heart and lungs checked regularly at a muscle centre or a clinic that has appropriate expertise from a specialist multi-disciplinary team
  • the NHS to ensure a faster diagnosis for both adults and children with symptoms of a muscle-wasting condition, with families supported by specialist, multi-disciplinary teams of health professionals accessible within their local area
  • GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups to work with specialist neuromuscular clinicians, regional NHS leaders and people affected by these conditions to ensure that (a) the warning signs are picked up sooner and (b) appropriate care and support arrangements are in place locally
  • recognition by the NHS that investment in specialist care can dramatically reduce unplanned admissions and save money, by keeping people out of hospital
  • new guidelines  on neuromuscular services set to be published by the NHS on the treatment and care of people with these conditions to be implemented as soon as possible.

For more information about the work of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign please visit www.muscular-dystrophy.org or contact Emma Warren, Press Officer, on 020 7803 4844, mobile: 07894915689 or email: e.warren@muscular-dystrophy.org

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MP joins campaigners to launch national ‘Enough Food For Everyone IF’ campaign in Rochester

Launch of IF campaign at Rochester Cathedral 1

On Wednesday 30 January, the Rt Rev Dr Brian Castle, the Bishop of Tonbridge, helped launch ‘Enough Food for Everyone IF’, a national multi-agency campaign calling for an end to global hunger. He was joined outside Rochester Cathedral by the Very Rev Dr Mark Beach, Dean of Rochester Cathedral, Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, Emma Kevan, Regional Coordinator for Christian Aid and by local supporters representing some of the 100 charities and agencies taking part.

‘Enough Food for Everyone IF’ is the largest coalition of its kind in the UK since Make Poverty History in 2005. The coalition warns that despite there being enough food in the world for everyone, nearly one billion people go to bed hungry every night, and two million children die from malnutrition every year.

The campaign calls on Prime Minister David Cameron to use the UK’s G8 presidency in 2013 to take action on the root causes of the hunger crisis in the poorest countries.

The ‘IF’ movement challenges the Prime Minister to tackle 4 big IFs to ensure there is enough food for everyone:

  • IF we stop poor farmers being forced off their land, and use the available   agricultural land to grow food for people, not biofuels for cars.
  • IF governments keep their promises on aid, invest to stop children dying from malnutrition and help the poorest people feed themselves through investment in small farmers.
  • IF governments close loopholes to stop big companies dodging tax in poor countries, so that millions of people can free themselves from hunger.
  • IF we force governments and investors to be honest and open about the deals they make in the poorest countries that stop people getting enough food.

Speaking at the regional launch in Rochester, the Rt Revd Dr Brian Castle, Bishop of Tonbridge, said:

“For some years I was a parish priest working in Zambia, and one of the saddest things I had to do was to bury young people, who simply died of hunger. But before it gets to that extreme, hunger brings tiredness and lethargy which means people can’t concentrate, can’t take advantage of education, and find it difficult to work. When we think about the significance of hunger – if we’re able to combat it, not only are we saving lives, but we’re raising potential.”

Bishop Brian urged those gathered to spread the word, saying:

“I’m totally supportive of this campaign – let’s share the message that ending hunger is within our reach.”

Launch of IF campaign at Rochester Cathedral 2Mark Reckless, Conservative Member of Parliament for Rochester and Strood, helped unveil the ‘Enough Food for Everyone IF’ banner at Rochester Cathedral, and pledged his support for the aims of the campaign. He said:

“The idea of having a law [to spend 0.7 per cent on aid] is something I rather like the idea of, because a problem with government spending is that there is not enough parliamentary control. For that reason, I would support bringing policy in this area into law.”

He added:

“On the point of transparency and tax, if it’s known what multinationals pay in various jurisdictions, then you can put public pressure on them to pay their fair share.”

Emma Kevan, Christian Aid’s Regional Coordinator for Kent said:

“If we can get greater international tax transparency, it will make it harder for money to be hidden in tax havens. This will mean that all governments will have more money to boost farming and nutrition which will allow people to help themselves. We really need to raise our voices through this campaign and improve things for everybody.”

More information about the campaign and other events taking place can be found by visiting the website: http://enoughfoodif.org

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Vote Conservative for In/Out Referendum

Mark Reckless MPIn the early hours of Friday 7th May 2010 I made a speech at what is now called Medway Park.

After I had thanked constituents, campaign team, police and officials I repeated my campaign promise that I would use my election to fight for an In/Out referendum so that Britain could again be an independent country.

The local BBC reporter covering the Medway count asked me afterward if that was party policy. I said “No, not yet”.

It is now.

Within eighteen months 81 Conservative MPs voted for an In/Out referendum.

A year later I got a majority in Parliament to cut the EU budget.

Now the Prime Minister has promised an In/Out referendum.

It is therefore time for everyone, whether they believe in an independent Britain, or simply in democracy, to get behind the Prime Minister and campaign finally for that In/Out referendum.

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Mark Reckless MP Backs ‘Meningitis Matters’ to Raise Awareness of Disease

r600x600Mark Reckless MP is backing Meningitis Research Foundation’s activity ‘Meningitis Matters’ – to raise awareness of meningitis and septicaemia, and to ensure that tackling the diseases remains a top public health priority while the current NHS reforms are implemented.

Meningitis is still a serious and life-threatening disease, affecting around 3,400 people in the UK each year . Infants and young people are at greatest risk : meningitis causes the largest number of deaths amongst children under five – more than any other infectious disease .

Meningitis Matters aims to raise awareness of the disease and ensure that the changes imposed by the new Health and Social Care Act 2012 do not have a destabilising effect on meningitis research, surveillance and immunisation rates.

Supporting Meningitis Matters, Mr Reckless met with local constituent Donna Cooney whose son Ollie contracted meningococal meningitis when he was 13 months old in 2004 to discuss her personal experience of the disease.

Donna said:

“I was putting my very poorly son Ollie to bed when I noticed pinprick red spots on his neck. He was rushed to hospital and given only a 5% chance of survival. But after a week on life support and four weeks in hospital doctors were amazed he pulled through and his limbs weren’t affected. Had I not known the signs it would have been a very different story. He has been left with 5 scars, the biggest one on his back the size of a 50p, so he is a very lucky boy. He has also suffered with night terrors ever since, I can’t wake him and he remembers nothing the next day. I am backing the Meningitis Matters campaign to make sure that meningitis does remain a high priority during the NHS reforms and to ensure that all children are protected against all forms of the disease.”

Along with other MPs, Mr Reckless has signed a pledge calling on the Government to introduce new meningitis vaccines as soon as readily available. Many deadly strains of meningitis remain uncontrolled, and vaccination is still the most effective way to prevent and control it.

He said:

“Meningitis hasn’t gone away – it still kills far too many children and leaves many more with life-long disabilities. Although real progress has been made over the last decade, more needs to be done. Meningitis and septicaemia are terrible diseases which are vaccine preventable and no child should be dying from them in today’s world.”

Meningitis Matters calls on the Government to:

  • Introduce new vaccines that prevent meningitis onto the national immunisation schedule as soon as they become available
  • Develop in partnership with patient groups communication strategies to raise awareness of the importance of meningitis and the need for vaccination
  • Provide good quality integrated support and aftercare for those left with disabilities and debilitating after-effects

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Update on proposed Insolvency Service changes

Following representations from Mark Reckless and Tracey Crouch amongst others, Norman Lamb MP has now further advised that The Insolvency Office has communicated to staff in the 3 affected offices – Bournemouth, Medway and Stockton – that before taking a firm decision on the future of the individual offices, they need to take stock.

As a result, the decision regarding the future of the Medway office has been deferred until the Autumn and could possibly lead to re-consideration of the proposed closure plan.

Welcoming the news, Mark Reckless said:

“While the Minister recognises in his letter that this does not provide the workers at the Medway office with the certainty they need, I still welcome the decision to look again at the impact which the proposed closures could have, not just in Medway, but on The Insolvency Service as a whole.

I would like to thank everybody who made representations to the Minister, particularly the PCS Union which on this occasion has campaigned so effectively on behalf of its members at the Medway office.”

Kevin Etheridge, Assistant Secretary of the PCS Union BIS Group, added:

“On behalf of my members at the Medway office which is currently under public consultation, I should like to thank Tracey Crouch MP and Mark Reckless MP for the representations they made to Norman Lamb Minister at our recent meeting in London to retain the office.

I wish to put on record my thanks and appreciation to Tracey and Mark for their joint, effective approach in writing to Ministers and supporting the staff and service at the Medway office.”

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Mark Reckless MP supports Summer Reading Challenge

Mark Reckless is supporting a campaign run by The Reading Agency to encourage all primary school children to join their local library and take part in this year’s Summer Reading Challenge – the UK’s biggest reading promotion for primary school children.

The Challenge which begins on 14 July is for every child aged 4-11 years to read six books of their choice from their local library during the summer holidays. Children earn stickers along the way and will be given a certificate or “Olympic style” medal when they complete the Challenge. This is the 14th year of the Challenge and this year the theme is “Story Lab” which is set in a city hosting the Olympic Games www.story-lab.org.uk.

Over 20 popular children’s authors are supporting the campaign including children’s laureate Julia Donaldson and fellow award-winning writers  Malorie Blackman, Charlie Higson,  Anthony Horowitz, Michael Morpurgo, Michael Rosen and Jacqueline Wilson.

Mark Reckless said;

“I hope parents and carers in Rochester and Strood will take their children to their local library this summer and if they aren’t already members sign up and do the Summer Reading Challenge.  It’s free and makes reading fun, a vital ingredient in building literacy. Last year 2,756 children in Medway took part in the Challenge. I hope we will beat that figure this year and show local libraries how much we value them.”

This year libraries will be linking the Challenge to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, as it is an official project in the London 2012 Festival – the finale of the Cultural Olympiad www.london2012.com/festival. Details of local events are available from local libraries.

Miranda McKearney, Chief Executive of The Reading Agency said;

“With so much pressure on libraries, this year of all years is the time to support the work libraries do to inspire children to enjoy reading. Research shows that children who use libraries are twice as likely to be above average readers and that children who take part in the Challenge go back to school with improved reading skills and a boost to their confidence.“

Justin Tomlinson MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Libraries said;

“An international reading and literacy study found that only 40% of English children were keen readers as opposed to 64% of Italians. It’s really important that we tackle this as reading for pleasure is a more important determinant of children’s educational success than their family’s socio-economic status.”

Tony Durcan of the Society of Chief Librarians said;

“The Summer Reading Challenge showcases how libraries are modernising the way they support children’s reading. It combines a fun, incentivised challenge with book talking support from library staff and teenage volunteers, lots of live events, and a fantastic website – www.story-lab.org.uk. “

Annie Mauger, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals said:

“The Summer Reading Challenge is an incredible initiative and great way of encouraging children and young people to keep reading and using their library over the summer. Knowledgeable, passionate and skilled library staff in schools and public libraries are so important to engage children with exciting books and brilliant writing.”

This year the Challenge is also a Children’s University validated learning activity.   Children enrolled in a Children’s University can get their passports stamped at their local library and earn up to ten hours of “Children’s University learning” if they complete the Challenge. They will be able to earn a further four hours if they complete additional activities organised by local libraries. The hours will count towards Children’s University certificates.

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