Category Archives: labour

VIDEO: Discussing immigration on Daily Politics

Mark Reckless today joined Atul Hatwal, Director of Migration Matters Trust, on BBC’s Daily Politics to discuss the impact which mass immigration has had on the United Kingdom.

Speaking after the show Mark said:

“I know from talking to my constituents that the issue of immigration is one of their top concerns and I welcome the action which this government has taken to cut net inflow to the UK. We remain on course to cut immigration from the 100s of thousands seen under Labour to the 10s of thousands.

I look forward to debating the further proposed measures aimed at limiting immigration this coming Tuesday when the Immigration Bill returns to the House of Commons for its second reading.”

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Filed under bbc, conservatives, Employment, Home Office, Immigration, labour, mark reckless, medway, News, theresa may, youtube

Why Do Labour Fund This?

This evening I debated on Channel 4 News with a lady from the Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London (RAMFEL). They are based in Ilford and appear to receive funding from three Labour councils, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Barking & Dagenham.

Yet RAMFEL’s website criticises action to crack down on employers of illegal immigrants, supports a campaign called “Hands Off My Workmate” and describes employers who co-operate with the authorities against illegal immigration as “grasses”.

Do Labour agree with this? If not, why are they helping fund it?

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Filed under Community, Employment, Home Affairs Select Committee, Home Office, Immigration, labour, mark reckless, rochester and strood, youtube

Special Measures to support Medway Hospital

08102011535I visited Medway Maritime Hospital on Friday with my colleague Tracey Crouch MP to question hospital Chair, Denise Harker, and Chief Executive, Mark Devlin, about what they were doing to put right problems identified at the hospital by the country’s Chief Medical Officer, Bruce Keogh.

Today Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, confirmed that Medway was to receive special measures of support from the government.

I asked him:

Mark Reckless (Rochester and Strood) (Con):

Is the Secretary of State aware that in Medway we were left with just three consultants to share cover of A and E, but we have now increased the number to six, and it will soon rise to eight?

He replied:

Mr Hunt:

These are precisely the problems that this review is designed to root out. There were problems with long A and E waits as well as with inappropriate medical interventions and poor communication with patients, but I hope my hon. Friend’s constituents will be reassured by the transparency of what is happening today, and the fact that I am making this Government accountable for sorting out those sorts of problems.

My Medway colleagues, Rehman Chisthi and Tracey Crouch, also spoke out on behalf of hospital patients.

Rehman noted that in 2005/06 the hospital had the seventh highest death rate in the country without special measures being adopted. The ‘excess mortality rate’ now is around 8% (up to 10% in one year may be considered chance) compared to 25% in 2005/06.

Tracey asked when our constituents could expect to see significant improvements at Medway hospital and the Secretary of State said we wanted these ‘swiftly’.

I have issued the following statement jointly with Reh and Tracey:

“The Government has conducted a thorough and expert led investigation of 14 hospitals including Medway Maritime Hospital in response to the higher than expected mortality rates at the hospital, which has been shown to have existed for some time.

“The report has highlighted significant concerns over the current procedures in place to protect patients and to provide safe care in the hospital and the Government has placed Medway in special measures.

“It is vital that Medway Hospital is given the support it needs to take all necessary steps to address these concerns so that residents can have trust in the hospital providing excellent health services.”


Filed under conservatives, Health, Jeremy Hunt, labour, mark reckless, medway, Medway Maritime Hospital, nhs, rochester and strood

Let Britain Decide

It has been nearly 40 years since the British people last had their say on Europe. In that time, so much has changed. People feel that the EU is heading in a direction they never signed up to.

We need a better deal for Britain, including putting the key question to the British people through an In/Out referendum by the end of 2017 at the latest. Currently, only one of the main three political parties are supporting this: the Conservatives.

That’s why the party has launched a new campaign website,, which makes it simple for people to back the Bill, help build public pressure, give people a voice, and urge MPs from other parties to listen to their constituents.

Please visit if you would like to get involved.

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Filed under conservatives, david cameron, europe, Eurozone, labour, lib dems, mark reckless, medway, People's Pledge, Referendum, rochester and strood

MP urges residents to have their say on Lower Thames crossing

Lower Thames Crossing: the options - Click on map  to view full size

Lower Thames Crossing: the options – Click on map to view full size

Mark Reckless, local MP for Rochester and Strood, is urging residents in Medway to make their views known as part of the government consultation on a proposed new road crossing on the Thames to help alleviate congestion at the Dartford-Thurrock crossing.

This consultation is designed to gather views on the preferred location for additional road-based river crossing capacity in the Lower Thames area.

Responses to this consultation will form part of the evidence base that government will use to make a decision on where to locate a new crossing.

The location options considered are:

  • option A: at the site of the existing A282 Dartford-Thurrock crossing
  • option B: connecting the A2 with the A1089
  • option C: connecting the M2 with the A13 and the M25 between junctions 29 and 30
  • option C variant: connecting the M2 with the A13 and the M25 between junctions 29 and 30, and additionally widening the A229 between the M2 and the M20

Speaking of the consultation, Mark said:

“I am pleased that the government is committed to tackling congestion in the North Kent area, particularly when so many of the residents and businesses in my constituency are so reliant on the existing Dartford crossing.

However, a number of concerns have been raised with me with regards to the possible impact which any new crossing may have on our local environment. While none of the final options presented appear to be quite as ecologically destructive as those bizarrely supported by the Medway Labour group, I would strongly urge all residents to make sure that their voices are heard by contributing to the consultation.”

You can find out more through the consultation page or by attending one of the following public information events being held next month in the Lower Thames area:

  • Thursday 13 June, Dartford Library, Central Park, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1EU, from 2pm to 8pm
  • Saturday 15 June, Grays Library, Orsett Road, Grays, Essex, RM17 5DX, from 10am to 5pm
  • Monday 17 June, Chadwell Information Centre, Brentwood Road, Chadwell St Mary, Grays, Essex, RM16 4JP, from 2pm to 7pm
  • Thursday 20 June, Bluewater (Thames Walk at the entrance to the plaza), Greenhithe, Kent, DA9 9ST, from 10am to 9pm
  • Friday 21 June, Lakeside (level two near the customer service desk), West Thurrock Way, Grays, Essex, RM20 2ZP, from 10am to 10pm
  • Saturday 22 June, Gravesend Library, Windmill Street, Gravesend, Kent, DA12 1BE, from 9am to 5pm
  • Monday 24 June, Basildon District Council, Basildon Centre (reception), St Martin’s Square, Basildon, Essex. SS14 1DL, from 11am to 5pm

Please respond to the consultation by 16 July.


Filed under cliffe woods, conservatives, Cooling, council, Countryside, dartford crossing, economy, Environment, hoo peninsula, isle of grain, labour, Lower Thames Crossing, mark reckless, medway, MP, rochester, rochester and strood, strood, transport

VIDEO: Euroscepticism “alive and well in Kent”

Watch Mark Reckless debate the European Union with Lib Dem MEP Catherine Bearder and Labour peer Lord Bassam on BBC’s Sunday Politics South East:

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Filed under Bulgaria, conservatives, Employment, europe, Eurozone, Home Affairs Select Committee, Home Office, Immigration, labour, lib dems, mark reckless, medway, MP, rochester and strood, Romania, youtube

VIDEO: Mark Reckless MP responds to Home Secretary on Press Regulator

Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, responds to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, following the debate on the Crime and Courts Bill.

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Filed under Abu Hamza, Abu Qatada, conservatives, Dominic Raab, europe, European Court of Human Rights, Hacking, Home Office, Human Rights Act, Immigration, labour, Leveson, lib dems, mark reckless, National Crime Agency, News International, rochester and strood, theresa may, UKBA, youtube

Interview with DeHavilland

25062011476Conservative MP Mark Reckless speaks to DeHavilland about Parliament, politics, the Coalition, immigration and Europe.

Speaking in Portcullis House, Mr Reckless outlined what his achievements had been over the course of this Parliament.

Eurosceptic, and widely perceived to be on the right of his party, Mr Reckless singled out  Prime Minister David Cameron’s commitment to an in-out referendum on EU membership.

He also highlighted the recently negotiated reduction in the EU Budget as another success, recalling his role in marshalling a major rebellion of Conservative MPs in October 2012 which inflicted the first serious Parliamentary defeat on the Coalition.

Closer to home, the election of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) was a source of immense pride for the Rochester and Strood MP, who oversaw the development of the policy during tenure as a member of the Policy Unit at Conservative Central Office.

However, Mr Reckless’ involvement with PCCs did not end there; he was a powerful advocate for the Policing Protocol Order during its passage through Parliament.

Reflecting on the impact of the Coalition Government, Mr Reckless felt that politics as a whole had “opened up” since the 2010 general election.

Mark RecklessElaborating, he said the introduction of elections to Select Committees and the Backbench Business Committee, as well as measures to strengthen the power of backbench MPs to hold the executive to account had been integral to improving Parliamentary scrutiny.

An avid blogger, Mr Reckless also extolled the virtues of the internet and social media in providing Members with a new forum for their views.

However, he was highly critical of power being focused within Whitehall, blaming the influence of “Sir Humphrey” and the Quad of senior Coalition Ministers.

Pressed on a Parliamentary reform he would most like to see, Mr Reckless said he would prefer to see the membership of the Committee of Selection elected from among all backbenchers, as opposed to just Whips.

The Committee makes appointments to general committees, including public bill committees, and is therefore highly influential at this stage of legislative scrutiny.

Turning to his work as a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee, DeHavilland inquired about the MP’s recent visit to Qatar, where he had praised the work of UK Border Agency (UKBA) staff in the Abu Dhabi operation.

However, Mr Reckless was unwilling to extend such praise to the UKBA back home, in light of the organisation’s recent failings.

Despite being complimentary of Committee Chair and Labour MP Keith Vaz, Mr Reckless did not hesitate to distinguish himself from Mr Vaz on the key issue of immigration.

Asked if he agreed with Mr Vaz and the Chairs of four other Select Committees that overseas students should be excluded from the target for the Government’s migration target, the Conservative MP said no.

Indeed, he held up the fall in net migration revealed in recent figures as a success, and dismissed a recent speech by Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper on the grounds that Labour had “no clear policy” on immigration.

A former City Economist, Mr Reckless has firm views on the financial services reform and Parliament’s role in delivering it.

In particular, he didn’t feel the work of Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards had enjoyed as high a profile as it should have done.

Moreover, he believes that the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and HBOS should have been allowed to fail in 2008.

010220133960Mr Reckless has been particularly vocal in his opposition to a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary, an opposition he described as being based on “economic” reasons.

Whilst insisting that he retained an “open mind” on the future of the UK’s aviation needs and Heathrow, the Conservative MP emphasised his pleasure that Gatwick Airport had begun to campaign for expansion.

He hinted towards a preference for the development of multiple hubs in the South East, and in particular of Gatwick and Stansted.

In particular, Mr Reckless championed the case for a Crossrail spur to Stansted Airport, pointing to his work on this issue with fellow Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith.

On the issue of energy, he confirmed that he would not be supporting the decarbonisation amendment to the Energy Bill brought forward by Conservative Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee Tim Yeo.

Asked to single out a single measure for the forthcoming Budget statement, Mr Reckless called for Whitehall department budgets to be subject to approval by the relevant departmental Select Committee.

Finally, questioned on the rhetoric of Home Secretary Theresa May, Mr Reckless pointed to a blog he had written in response to her recent ConservativeHome conference speech.

In the piece, he argues: “All we need do to rein in our domestic courts’ exorbitant rulings in this area is pass primary legislation to remove Article 8 as a grounds on which courts can prevent deportation of foreign prisoners sentenced to a year or more in prison.”

Mike Indian, Parliamentary Analyst

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Filed under boris johnson, conservatives, david cameron, economy, Employment, Energy, Environment, estuary airport, europe, Eurozone, Heathrow, Home Affairs Select Committee, Home Office, keith vaz, labour, Lord Foster, mark reckless, medway, No Estuary Airport, Parliament, People's Pledge, police, Policing, Referendum, rochester and strood, Thames Hub, UKBA

WATCH: Boulton & Co 11th March 2013

Mark Reckless MP joins Eleanor Laing and Dr Sarah Wollaston as one of the guests on Sky News’ Boulton & Co hosted by Adam Boulton:

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Filed under conservatives, economy, Employment, Energy, kingsnorth, labour, lib dems, mark reckless, medway, rochester and strood, youtube

We can do something about EU immigration

I discussed immigration from Bulgaria and Romania on the Daily Politics earlier.

At the end Andrew Neil asked me if there was anything which could be done.

I had suggested not paying child benefit to children not resident in the UK and highlighted difficulties in how our welfare system interacted with EU membership.

The real answer though must be to take back control of our own borders. If you want an independent Britain where we decide who comes to our country and if they get benefits, then vote for a Conservative government in 2015 which will give you that choice in an ‘In/Out’ referendum.

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Filed under benefits, Bulgaria, conservatives, economy, europe, Eurozone, Home Affairs Select Committee, Immigration, labour, mark reckless, Referendum, rochester and strood, Romania