The work of an MP – as local advocate

One of the important parts of an MP’s job is to act as advocate for his or her local area to government. It may necessary to take up financial issues like the level of Council grant or access to government programmes. It may require lobbying for some change in rules or regulation that are impeding progress. In Wokingham’s case it is often seeking to secure financial assistance with projects needed to  support Wokingham’s growth, as with new schools, roads, flood prevention  and health facilities.

In recent years Wokingham has done  better, with three new primary schools, a new station, a new doctors’ surgery and the start of the Shinfield and the Arborfield bypasses. Now we need to work on the northern and southern distributor roads for Wokingham, further flood prevention measures as more homes are built, and on secondary school provision. I also wish to see considerably more progress with fair funding between Wokingham schools and the schools elsewhere that receive considerably more per head.

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26 Comments

  1. Roy Grainger
    Posted March 27, 2015 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Lucky Wokingham. My Labour MP is actively obstructive and opposes new free schools setting up in the area. He’d rather his constituents had less school places so he can remain ideologically pure.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 27, 2015 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      Indeed what education and the NHS need is more competition. Miliband today was trying to restrict it further with absurd profit limits on companies working for the NHS. The state sector can rarely compete on a level basis so they have to kill nearly all competition usually by taking you money in tax thus forcing nearly everyone to use their second rate schools and NHS.

    • Bill
      Posted March 27, 2015 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      Of course, there are Labour MPs who send their children to private schools (for which they pay) or grammar schools (for which they don’t). Is this against Labour policy and ought the public to be informed?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 28, 2015 at 12:02 am | Permalink

        To be a Labour MP is nearly always clearly proof of hypocrisy, do as I say not as I do. Either they are so stupid they belief that their ever bigger state/ever bigger taxes policies will actually work or more likely they know they will not but think they can con people to vote for them with irrational appeals to emotion, entitlement and envy.

        Of course their children usually have “particular needs” that means that the local, bog standard, comp is just not good enough. It is too full of the children of Labour voters perhaps?

  2. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted March 27, 2015 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    If I lived in Wokingham, I would want to know why no fewer than THREE new primary schools are needed. Presumably then another three will be needed as there seems no end in site to the policy of open borders.

    For those that quite like the character and space afforded by Wokingham the politicians response is – TOUGH change is coming.

    Presumably a similar number of new hospitals and other services will be built or will services be allowed to deteriorate in other areas ?.

    I suspect that for generations, the current prevision was perfectly adequate until certain foolish politicians permitted large scale immigration – against our wishes.

    Rather than lobbying for more of this unwanted ‘growth’ John Redwood should be putting the case for less or no ‘growth’. A town cannot grow forever – JR needs to set out at which point more growth will be bad for the quality of life of the people of Wokingham.
    I take the view that point has already been passed – where do you stand John Redwood ??.

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted March 27, 2015 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      Rather than more schools etc. what Wokingham needs is an MP who supports the need to retain its nature as a country town by resisting the infilling between it and neighbouring towns. In particular we need someone who will help to resist the rape of Elms Field by the local council and support the retention improvement and where possible extension of the one reasonably sized green space in the centre of the town. None of the alternatives are easily accessible by public transport.

      Reply I did press the Council to withdraw their Elms Field development plans as people did want more open space. I am now seeking views on their new approach

    • zorro
      Posted March 27, 2015 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      When will then roadworks at the Showcase cinema be finished (started?) first of all?

      zorro

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 27, 2015 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      Kenneth

      Wokingham is set to grow by approx 40,000 people/20,000 new homes.

      New build is now taking place almost everywhere around the Town, and indeed in other areas within 5 miles of the Town Centre.

      Unfortunately this was passed by a certain Mr Prescott, master of huge failure in almost everything he touched.

      Reason:

      Think it was probably Market Town Envy.

      The Council were originally against such development, but he over ruled them, hence we are where we are.

      Infrastructure cannot cope, Hospitals cannot cope, Doctors surgeries overrun, just about to try and catch up on schools.

      • Kenneth R Moore
        Posted March 29, 2015 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        With that level of development, Wokingham will cease to be Wokingham anymore. The politicians are hoping that the changes will happen so slowly ( a field gone here, a familiar building demolished there) that nobody will get upset. Prescott is the primary cause but how many other officials have rubber stamped and gold plated his decisions ?.

        Until the local people show their anger and take to the streets in peaceful protest, nothing will change.

        John Redwood can offer us no hope – a Conservative vote is a vote for a party leadership that wants us to stay locked into the waste and open door border policy of the Eu.

  3. alan jutson
    Posted March 27, 2015 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    John appreciate the work you have done, but as you say, still much to do.

    Wokingham has changed hugely over the decades, not always for the best from my point of view I have to say.

    Infrastructure is now the key, but I simply do not see the Councils ideas at present as being anywhere near enough to reduce the chaos of traffic congestion that is happening now let alone in the future.

    Both the northern and Southern relief roads are not wide enough, and will not take traffic far enough away from the Town Centre.

    Northern relief road should have access direct to the A329M at either the Warren bridge or Ashridge bridge,

  4. ian wragg
    Posted March 27, 2015 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    So you’ve done well with extra schools etc etc. How much has this been driven by immigration.
    Hidden costs to the UK taxpayer never discussed when telling us the unalloyed success of mass immigration.
    swelling the number in the country by a quarter of a million ( admitted too) annually will mean we cannot build enough schools, hospitals roads etc until we are completely concreted over.
    When is your party going to start to reduce mass immigration John. Next week, next year never……,.,.,,

  5. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted March 27, 2015 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Yes the award for Wokingham pupils at £ 4125 each is derisory compared to Newham and Tower Hamlets at around eight thousand each ( plus pupil premium top up of thirteen hundred).

    Maybe you sbould welcome some more immigrants to your area wih children. Then not only would you get all the benefits that immigration brings to this country but also each immigrant child would attract large amounts of additional funding too.

  6. Richard1
    Posted March 27, 2015 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    In the next few weeks could Tory MPs make their main work getting a Tory govt elected? Labour are to make bogus NHS scares their main electoral platform (again). No surprise, it’s worked for them before. We have Labours Andy Burnham – health secretary responsible for the NHS when hundreds of people died unnecessarily in the mid-staffs disaster – constantly in the media. Where is Jeremy hunt these days? Is anyone from the Conservative Party in Mr Hunts absence going to counter this barrage of nonsense from Labour?

    • Bill
      Posted March 27, 2015 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      Agree. I heard Burnham on the World At One this lunchtime and he seems to think that if he keeps on talking no one will notice that he fails to answer basic questions like, for instance, would you increase or decrease the percentage of work that is outsourced from the NHS? And do you acknowledge that the outsourcing began during Labour’s term of office?

      He wants to imply that the Conservatives will destroy the NHS, which is nonsense. What this is really about is the jobs of the members of the Health unions.

      • Richard1
        Posted March 27, 2015 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

        Mr burnham is indeed absurd – wide eyed and hyperbolic at the wickedness of the Tories increasing private sector involvement in the NHS from 5% (when burnham was health secretary) to 6% now. No politician – except for Nigel Farage and Dan Hannan as far as I can make out – dare discuss the NHS outside the straight jacket of soviet style total control. Thus we are asked not to dwell on > 1,000 deaths at mid staffs under Labour. We shouldn’t ask why cancer diagnosis and survival rates are worse in the UK than in comparable countries. And we shouldn’t ask why our system allows the health authorities and police to hunt down desperate parents trying to find a cure for their ill child (happily successful) which their local NHS soviet had forbidden.

        In spite of the constraints of soviet level nationalisation, this governments ‘top down reorganisation’ has in fact cut 18,000 bureaucrats and increased by about the same amount the number of doctors and nurses.

        But where is Mr Hunt, supposed to be the Conservatives’ voice in all this? Burnham is getting daily coverage wall to wall. Is Mr Hunt retiring? I ask our host to light a metaphorical fire under him.

        Reply Mr Hunt is on the media today

        • Richard1
          Posted March 28, 2015 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

          Good show, Mr Hunt is articulate and quite effective, and contrary to Labours barrage of bilge has done an effective job. But I do not think the Conservatives are being nearly robust enough on the NHS. A much better defence should be offered pointing out the improvements in performance and increased numbers of doctors and nurses. And let’s not be squeamish about pointing out the horrors of the NHS under Labour – with the mid Staffs disaster at the top of the list.

  7. John E
    Posted March 27, 2015 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Who takes the lead for those of us concerned about the Royal Berks Hospital? I hear twenty medical staff resigned en-masse last week from A +E leading to an enquiry and the maternity unit continues to lose staff at a very high rate. Those are being categorised as retirements even though they all go on to work elsewhere.
    Perhaps you or one of your Reading colleagues might ask what is going on.

    • David L
      Posted March 27, 2015 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      In a conversation with a local GP’s wife this week I was told that “all GP’s over 45 are looking for a way out, their working life is so pressurised they’re burning out”. And the new practitioners who will likely replace them may not have English as their first language, causing communication problems with the growing number of (us) oldies. Wokingham’s population is growing rapidly so where will the extra resources for our health care come from? Good luck with that, John

      • John E
        Posted March 27, 2015 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

        That matches my experience. My highly respected and senior GP who I had received exemplary care from for 29 years retired last year telling me he was getting out while he could. This was such a waste of his experience and talents.

      • alan jutson
        Posted March 30, 2015 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        David L

        Your conversation mirrors that I had with my own retired (12 years ago) GP who I met recently.

        Said he was glad he got out as the NHS was getting far too political.

        He just wanted to treat people, so that they got better.

  8. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 27, 2015 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    So Wokingham has already got three new primary schools, but now it needs greater provision for secondary education; why?

    Obviously I don’t mean, “Why are the children in the primary schools getting older so that they will need to go on to secondary schools?”, but “Why are there are now so many more children in Wokingham that extra school places must be provided?”.

    Was the local water supply dosed up with some fertility drug, did you institute spring rites with public orgies and wanton mass procreation, or what?

    Oddly enough, I can remember when there was a plan to shut down one of the secondary schools in this town because of falling rolls, and all of the head teachers banded together and agreed that they would jointly resist this, they would not try to compete with each other for survival, and none of them would try to condemn another to closure.

    I can’t remember exactly when that was, and unfortunately this time google is reluctant to be my friend, but I think it was probably under Thatcher rather than Major.

    Did anything similar happen in Wokingham around then, JR, can you recall?

    • John E
      Posted March 27, 2015 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      I think you will find that was around the time when they decided to sell off the land that had been reserved for a new secondary school in Lower Earley, with entirely predictable, and predicted, results.

    • Kenneth R Moore
      Posted March 27, 2015 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      The trouble is all these new services, better schools will just attract yet more people into the Wokingham area. We saw Milliband last night refuse to discuss population growth in a serious way as is typical of the political classes.
      Politicians have an inbuilt need to forever tinker and press for growth in service provision to justify their jobs – but sometimes they would be better of doing nothing.

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 27, 2015 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      Dennis

      See my reply to Kenneth above, for an answer to your question Why !

      The name Prescott is the reason.

      The other reason appears to be the Council now seem to have given up any opposition to additional building.

      Many fields are now being bought up by builders, with options on them.

    • David Price
      Posted March 28, 2015 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      The Lower Ealey residential estate was developed in the 70’s – 80’s and was the largest in Europe at the time. In the mid 80’s I believe we had the highest birthrate in Europe so this would result in a large number of youngsters needing primary and secondary schools in recent years, independent of any influx from London owing to property prices.

      Cross-rail will add to the pressure.

  9. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted March 28, 2015 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Is this your first campaign address in the run-up to the General Election John?

    Reply No.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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