Wokingham Times

This week Parliament is having a half term holiday! It is so frustrating, when there is a Greek crisis, the run up to the UK budget, tensions in the Middle East, rows over the Health Service reforms and much else that we need to be sorting out. I have to turn up the heat on www.johnredwood.com when there’s no Parliament to speak in. I do think we need to work more days each year in Westminster, like most other people in employment.

I received a most welcome letter last week. Mark Ashwell wrote to me, pledging his support to me as MP and Prospective Conservative Parliamentary candidate come the next election. He has asked to rejoin the Conservatives and wants to help us locally. I know Mark has lots of ideas about local issues. As an active leader of the Chamber of Commerce he is particularly keen to get the Town Centre redevelopment under way, and supports our proposals for a new station and road improvements. I think it will be good for him and the Conservative team on the Borough and Town Councils if they can work together for a better Wokingham.

It does feel as if we have some momentum over the station. There are difficulties with some of the Council’s plans for extra housing. Having chosen places where Councillors think the area could take more homes, they are naturally keen to ensure we do not end up with many more developments elsewhere as a result of appeals to the national planners. I have agreed a meeting for our Council leaders with Bob Neil, local government Minister, to try to sort out the remaining issues and concerns Wokingham understandably has. I support more localism. That means the Council should call all the shots on development, not just some of them. I will keep you posted of what progress we make. I do not wish to see our better greenfields, gaps between settlements and lovely countryside concreted over. Where new development is allowed it should come with the extra road capacity, better drainage, and other public service facilities new developments need to help them become successful communities.

I am busy putting together my submissions for the Budget. I am especially keen to get the government to change its approach to the state owned banks, so they can contribute more to business development and economic recovery. If you have ideas you want the Chancellor to know about, drop me a line at the House of Commons or put it on my website.

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  1. James Sutherland
    Posted February 15, 2012 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Unusually, I find myself in disagreement. Rather than working – hence legislating and spending – more, I would like MPs to do *less*. In an ideal world, “career politician” could be an oxymoron, with those who write our laws having actual jobs in the real world. I understand this model works well in quite a few states in the US, though not Congress itself (and guess where most of the debt and spending comes from…)

    As previously noted on this very blog, overall spending actually continues to increase. Would we really be worse off if the whole of Parliament simply took a ‘gap year’ or two, backpacking round Azerbaijan or something, rather than thinking of new ways to spend money to appear to be “doing something”? I know there are individuals – like our host – who strive to improve matters, but the net result still seems to involve ever-increasing spending and debt.

  2. Barbara Stevens
    Posted February 15, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    I agree with you Mr Redwood, why do MPs have so much time off, we pay them to be in parliament not out. There are many questions and problems that need constant attention. I’m surprised you don’t have a constructed week within parliament, when to be there and when to leave. Recess for what? There should be no recess it seems you are having time off like the students and children, why? I’m surprised and horrified that MPs are not expected to be there at least 5 days out of 7, and come and go as they please. Is it not time you had a specified week and records of attendance, and a system of inpeachment if you don’t obey the rules. We all have to be responsible when employed. After all governments are making the unemployed sign on, be available for work, or have their benefits stopped, does this not this apply to all.

  • 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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