Tag Archives: heidi alexander

Jeremy Hunt in House of Commons – video

Video of the South London Healthcare NHS Trust statement in House of Commons

22m51s – Bob Neil Conservative, Bromley and Chislehurst
24m50s – Dame Joan Ruddock – Labour, Lewisham and Deptford
28m18s – Bob Stewart – Conservative, Beckenham
29m56s – Heidi Alexander – Labour, Lewisham East
31m58s – Simon Hughes – Liberal Democrat, Bermondsey and Old Southwark
34m12s – Tessa Jowell – Dulwich and West Norwood
37m18s – Stephen Dorrell – Chair, Health Committee
38m37s – Jim Dowd – Labour, Lewisham West and Penge
41m52s – Nick de Bois – Conservative, Enfield North
42m48s – Clive Efford – Labour, Eltham
44m05s – Nick Raynsford – Labour, Greenwich and Woolwich
45m12s – Teresa Pearce – Labour, Erith and Thamesmead
47m27s – Kate Hoey – Labour, Vauxhall
49m38s – Kevin Barron – Labour, Rother Valley

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Jeremy Hunt won’t meet Lewisham hospital objectors

Heidi Alexander MP asked the following to Jeremy Hunt (from Hansard):

Heidi Alexander (Lewisham East, Labour)
Last week, the Secretary of State refused my request to meet a small group of local GPs, hospital doctors and residents who are opposed to the closure of accident and emergency and maternity at Lewisham hospital, yet in his former role he seemed very happy to trade hundreds of texts with Rupert Murdoch’s lobbyists about the purchase of BSkyB by News Corp. Why is it one rule for Rupert Murdoch’s lobbyists and another for doctors in Lewisham?

Jeremy Hunt (South West Surrey, Conservative)
I think that the hon. Lady might perhaps read Lord Leveson’s conclusions before she starts hurling about allegations, many of which came from her side of the House, that were later shown to be totally false. With respect to the decision on Lewisham hospital, I thought that we had a very useful meeting last night with the south London MPs who are directly affected. She understands that the process put into law by her party and her Government means that I cannot reopen the entire consultation and start seeing some groups without seeing all groups that are affected. That is why I am limiting the discussions I have with colleagues, but I think that that is the right thing to do.

The Blackheath Society has emailed its members:

Further to our email yesterday regarding the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign we have now been asked to let you know about an additional mass rally which is taking place on the same day – 26 January to highlight all the other plans to cut the local health services.     All those who care about their local hospitals and health services are being urged to join this rally starting on Blackheath – near All Saints Church – at 12 noon.  The group will move on to join the Lewisham campaigners who are meeting at the roundabout near Lewisham station and all will march to the rally in Mountsfield Park.

For more information:  jane.chapman1@btconnect.com  020 8856 3682


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Lewisham Hospital update

So the consultation results are in.  Apparently it’s a great idea to close Lewisham A&E and maternity wards.  I’m sure that’s what you all sent to the consultation.

Email from our local MP Heidi Alexander (emphasis mine):

Dear Sir/Madam
Thank you again for signing the petition to save Lewisham Hospital’s A&E and maternity department, which I presented to No. 10 just before Christmas. Over 35,000 people have now signed the petition, and together we are sending a loud and clear message that we strongly oppose the plans for closure.
Despite this, we learnt this week that the Special Administrator appointed to the South London Healthcare Trust has formally recommended to Government that both A&E and maternity services at Lewisham should close. He proposes to replace them with an urgent care centre and a midwife-led birthing unit.
Many people – including me – feel badly let down by the so-called consultation process that has taken place. It is sheer madness to be shutting down services at a solvent, successful hospital in order to deal with financial problems elsewhere. I am also extremely concerned about the inadequate services that will be left for South East London – just this week the two closest maternity units, at Queen Elizabeth, Woolwich and Kings, had to turn away pregnant women in labour as they were at capacity.
But this is not a done deal, and together we must keep up the fight.
The Health Secretary is currently considering these proposals, and will be announcing his decision on 1st February. Along with my parliamentary colleagues Dame Joan Ruddock and Jim Dowd, I will be doing all that I can to convince the Health Secretary of the case against these proposals. But we need your help.
Between now and 1st February, please do all that you can to help the campaign. If you have 5 minutes or 5 days, there are lots of ways you can get involved. At the bottom of this email, there are specific contacts and things you can do to help – for example, leafleting, making placards or being a steward at campaign events.
If you can only spare a little time, please do the following:

  1. Protest against the proposals. The Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign have organised a second peaceful demonstration on Saturday 26th January. Assemble at Lewisham Roundabout (by the station) at 12, before we march past the hospital to Mountsfield Park for a rally, music and giant petition. I will be speaking at the rally.
  2. Let the Secretary of State know what you think by sending your views directly to him. Email Jeremy Hunt on mb-sofs@dh.gsi.gov.uk or write to him at Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health, Department for Health, Richmond House, 79 Whitehall, London SW1A 2NS
  3. Forward this email on to your friends. Spread the word about the campaign! This does not only affect the people of Lewisham, and Mr Hunt needs to know that people across South East London are not prepared to accept these recommendations and have their services and their safety compromised.

The campaign to Save Lewisham Hospital is far from over. We must be prepared to step up and make our voices heard. I hope we can count upon your support.
Best wishes
Heidi Alexander MP


Filed under lewisham, politics

Missiles ‘a disgrace’

Missiles on Blakheath

The Press Association writes that:

A major military exercise in London to test security ahead of the Olympics “achieved its objectives” and final decisions on whether to deploy equipment including surface-to-air missiles will now be taken, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has said.

Philip Hammond, the ‘defence’ Secretary also says that:

“The exercise achieved its objectives and I’m confident we are well placed to deliver this important role.”

The objectives of getting the BBC and ITV to point their cameras at a couple of authoratative army generals standing in front of missiles, comparing them to golf bags.

Local MP Heidi Alexander asked:

“It is my understanding a final ministerial decision has yet to be taken (on missiles at Blackheath).

“When will that decision be made and will the Ministry of Defence (MoD) be in direct contact with residents who live in close proximity to the proposed sites to inform them of the decision?”

Mr Hammond said: “You are right. We have now received the military advice on the outcome of the exercise that took place and ministers will now consider that advice and make a final decision about the deployment of ground-based air defence systems.

“As you would expect, when a decision is taken it will be made first to this House but I will ensure the Army then engages with residents who live in close proximity to the sites to make sure they are aware of all the ramifications of the decision, if the decision is indeed taken to go ahead and deploy.”

So with the Olympics starting next month, they still can’t decide whether putting missiles on the heath to blow up aeroplanes over London is a dumb idea.  Or perhaps they have already decided, but are deferring the decision until the last possible moment.

Interestingly, there’s no mention of whether the missile’s guards will be unarmed, as was suggested in one of the previous local leaflets.

By the way, the quotation marks in the headline are mine.  If they can editorialise through scare quotes, so can I…


Filed under blackheath, Olympics

GBAD and other acronyms

Response from Heidi Alexander to the Blackheath Missile Crisis:

Dear Blackheath Bugle,

Heidi has asked me to paste below a briefing note which I hope will answer the questions you raised in your blog post. She won’t be able to be at the Blackheath Assembly tonight because of votes in Parliament on the Health and Social Care Bill but Kevin Bonavia will have copies of the briefing to distribute this evening.

If anybody has any comments or questions about the briefing note it would be really helpful if they could be sent direct to Heidi with their postal address included.

Jamie Milne – Office Manager

London 2012 – Possible Military Defence Arrangements – Blackheath

I am sorry not to be able to attend the Blackheath Local Assembly this evening. The House of Commons is debating the Health & Social Care Bill this afternoon and I need to be present in Parliament to express my opposition to the Government’s proposals at the vote.

I know that many people have questions about the recent news that the Ministry of Defence (the MoD) are considering the use of Blackheath as part of their air security plan for the Olympics. They are exploring using Blackheath as a location for a Ground Based Air Defence System (GBAD). Continue reading


Filed under blackheath, fucking missiles, politics

Missile questions for our MPs

UPDATE: The response to this post from Heidi Alexander MP can be read here.

So we are to have missiles in our beautiful shared garden.

Clive Efford (Labour, MP for Eltham) criticised the Defence Minister for placing missiles in Olxeas Wood. But what about the ones planned on Blackheath?

Heidi Alexander (Labour, MP for Lewisham East) tweeted the following today:

MoD were looking at Blackheath suitability for potential olympic missile defence site last week. No decision yet taken. link
Have asked MoD for face to face briefing. link
I know it sounds surreal but sadly true. Nothing has been decided yet though. link
MoD describe it as some form of ground based air defence system. That’s all I know at the moment. link

Lewisham East Constituency

A commenter on my facebook page suggested the possible location of the missiles:

“The radar trial took place on Thursday just north east of the army cadet centre. the launcher was sans missile ( thank goodness)” — John Morris

As can just about be seen on the Ordnance Survey Election Maps, if the missile site is located north-east of the Territorial Army Barracks, this places it firmly in Heidi’s constituency.

However, assuming it is a Rapier missile, it has a range of 500m (seems very short to me?), meaning that it could also potentially kill people in the neighbouring “Greenwich and Woolwich Borough” constituency, the MP of which is Nick Raynsford (Labour).

I’d dearly love to attend the assembly meeting tomorrow, but I’m unlikely to be able to make it. If Heidi Alexander is at the assembly on Tuesday, here are some questions, you might like to consider asking:

* Who owns the land that the missiles will be placed on?
* Were any special orders required to place the missiles on the land?
* Who owns the missiles?
* Is there any way that you could have prevented this from happening?
* When did you first hear about it, and how was it presented to you?
* Do you think it is an appropriate course of action, taken by a supposedly sovereign nation, during peace time?

Guardian 13th Nov 2011: US officials worried about security at London 2012 Olympics

Washington’s need for reassurance is exasperating British officials and anti-terrorism officials, who have privately raised concerns about the meddling, as well as the size of the US “footprint” in the UK during the games next year.

BBC News 14th Nov 2011: Ground-to-air missiles ‘may protect’ London 2012 games

Mr Hammond was asked by his predecessor to confirm whether there would be a “full range of multilayered defence and deterrents” in place for the 2012 Games including surface-to-air missiles.

He replied: “I can assure him that all necessary measures to ensure the security and safety of the London Olympic Games will be taken including – if the advice of the military is that it is required – appropriate ground-to-air defences.”

UPDATE: Reply from Councillor Chris Maines on my facebook page:

I can confirm that there will be an opportunity to ask questions at the Blackheath Assembly tonight – a senior police officer will be present. However, this is an MOD issue and they are a difficult organisation to engage in full consultation. Since my briefing last week I have raised question at cabinet committee level although it seems as a matter of national security it is difficult to get definative responses, Cllr Chris Maines – Chair, Blackheath Assembly

BBC News article including quote from Heidi Alexander about the missiles
Olympics missile sites considered for Blackheath and Shooters Hill

On Facebook, Kevin Bonavia (local councillor) says that an MoD representative will attend the Assembly tonight.


Filed under blackheath, Olympics

Station car park price rise petition

Following on from the Assembly meeting last week, Heidi Alexander (local MP) has made a petition against Network Rail raising the car park charges.

Spotted by the BVRG

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