Political peeps

pre 2019

'One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors,' Plato

What the post 2017 newspapers say…


Fifty Conservative MPs including North Somerset’s globetrotting MP Liam Fox and former London mayor Boris Johnson are calling on Theresa May’s cabinet to create a new lottery to raise £120 million for a royal yacht to promote post-Brexit Britain. 
It follows plans to replace the country’s passports, which are currently burgundy and bear EU markings, with a blue British one after Brexit. 
A new yacht would ‘showcase post-Brexit Britain and bring trade to our shores’, the MPs said in a letter to the Government. 
But the proposal met with an immediate backlash on Twitter, as the MPs faced accusations of being ‘out of touch’ with the public. 
Angry social media users pointed to the number of homeless people on the streets and the cash-strapped National Health Service, as they questioned the Conservatives’ priorities in spending £120 million on a new yacht. 
According to national press reports Dr Fox nearly lost his job as international trade secretary to Democratic Unionist Party deputy leader Nigel Dodds until PM Theresa May vetoed the plan although a Belfast newspaper dubbed it ‘fake news’.
And the Daily Express reports on International Trade Secretary Liam Fox's announcement that the Government has recruited 100 negotiators to strike post-Brexit trade deals.
On new year’s day The Times said that Dr Fox has flown around the world eight times in an attempt to fulfil Mrs May's promise of a ‘truly global’ post-Brexit Britain. 
The London-based broadsheet said In 18 months the international trade secretary has clocked up 219,000 air miles, visiting 27 countries and every continent except Antarctica including going to the US four times ...
Despite all this effort our North Somerset MP no longer features in the Conservative Home poll for the next PM which has Jacob Rees-Mogg leading its table for the past two months and with Michael Gove coming second. 
But our MP has been quoted saying a favourite usually fails to win…

Political catch-up

 

This page has been particularly quiet of late but when I checked our MP's website he hasn't posted any 'news' since March last year although he has been very active like the US president Donald Trump on Twitter.

However, the national press is full of the globetrotting Dr Fox and his Brexit trade colleagues which as a local online newspaper we will mostly ignore.

Dr Fox and his wife Jesme did make it to the annual Yatton branch dinner which was the same night at Nailsea Community Christmas Fair so we were given a miss although see below his recent tour of Nailsea School.

Dr Fox tweeted the dinner was 'great fun and good turnout' but the real comedy was added in the comments by political wags.

Remarks like the menu consisted of Irish stew and Eton Mess with catering from the local Food Bank the crypics one-liners also noted the absence of young people at the dinner.

Presume with no elections most politicians are keeping quiet - expect flurry of activiity just before the for next polling day.  

MP on school tour

 

A tour of Nailsea School was on the timetable for North Somerset MP Liam Fox.

Dr Fox was invited to view The Hub which provided an alternative curriculum and support to students who may find the transition to secondary school more challenging than others.

The globetrotting trade minister was happy to have his feet on terra firma while being shown round by Year 7 students, school presidents, Griffin House head girl and head boy together with assistant head teacher Julie Baldwin and school governor Joanne Hopkinson.

Pupils presented the MP with letters they had written about how well they have settled at their new school.

Miss Baldwin said: "Substantial planning and effort has gone in to the development of The Hub.  

"Staff are passionate about this new venture and its positive impact for Nailsea School.  

"Students were delighted to meet Dr Fox and always relish the opportunity to take the lead and demonstrate what they value about the school.”
Dr Fox said he was impressed with the facilities and how the design of the school enhances learning.  

Student leaders took the opportunity to talk to Dr Fox about issues affecting education and gave their opinions on the consequences of changes to funding. The young  people also told how visibly the school has improved under the leadership of the new head teacher Dee Elliott.  

Nailsea’s improvement year on year is reflected in the rising numbers of students applying to the school and last summer’s record breaking exam results.
Dr Fox added he was delighted to meet the students in the hub and enjoyed talking with them about their school.

He was presented with a clock made in school to mark his visit.

MP visits Nailsea School
MP visits Nailsea School
MP visits Nailsea School
MP visits Nailsea School
MP visits Nailsea School

New Nailsea website

Nailsea Town Council has a new website.

www.nailseatown.com is an online hub to showcase all that Nailsea has on offer, from its dedicated history groups and societies to its skate park, sports groups and upcoming events.

Nailsea Town Council chairman David Packham said “www.nailseatown.com will serve as a central resource of information for residents and visitors of the town, where they can find out about the diverse range of events and organisations that take place in Nailsea, and promote their own events, sports and community groups and businesses.

"It’s great to see that more than 150 Nailsea-based organisations have already got involved in the project, with many offering amazing raffle prizes to be won as part of the launch campaign on social media.

“Throughout the project, we uncovered some incredible bits of history from the WI in very fragile books, that have now been digitised and will be for the first time accessible publicly on the new website.

"It’s just one example of how valuable the new website will be for making information more accessible for the whole community.”

The nailseatown.com initiative aims to involve all groups, businesses and communities in Nailsea who want to benefit from an improved digital presence for the town. The launch is alongside the opening of No. 65 High Street, a new place opened by Nailsea Town Council to help people of all ages to develop their digital skills..

Council needs £10m to balance its books

North Somerset Council has to find another £10 million in cuts.

Well don't know how they are going to do that given they have sold the family silver and reduced staff/services to the bone.

Yet like many councils across the country it is facing a very difficult budget setting process for 2018-19.

Having already incorporated £90m of revenue savings into its budget since 2010, the continuing fall of government funding, along with significant increases in demand for social care services, mean the council will have to find further savings of more than £10m next year.

The council’s Executive is meeting this month to debate plans to close the gap in next year’s budget.

Council officers have been working hard to identify potential areas where additional savings can be made.

Because of the significant levels of savings already generated, the ability to drive further large scale savings has become increasingly difficult.

It says 'the focus remains on transforming the way services are delivered and adopting a more commercial approach'.

That probably translates into more privatisation and a hike in community charges.

It says it has kept council tax increases low for a number of years and has also accepted the government’s freeze grant on several occasions, both of which have enabled local residents to have a very low level of council tax compared to others.

This also means that the council has a low tax-base, and is effectively being penalised, with less opportunity than other councils to address the shift in funding resources from government grants to locally-generated income sources.

By 2020, more than 92 per cent of the council’s budget is expected to be funded through council tax and business rates income rather than through the revenue support and other government grants.

The council’s strategic approach to long-term sustainable budgeting is to create a largely self-sufficient financial position by 2021.

Delivering structured growth of housing and business with the required infrastructure is key to this.

An increased council tax base and more local business rates will reduce reliance on the inevitable declining funding from central government.

The executive meeting at the Town Hall in Weston-super-Mare this week will publish a report on the council website.

To read click HERE is available on the council’s website.

Councillors have the opportunity to scrutinise budget proposals during December, and all savings proposals must also be assessed for the impacts they will have on recognised equalities groups.

The final budget will be considered again by the executive on Tuesday, February 6, before the budget is set, and council tax rates agreed at the full council meeting on Tuesday, February 20.

Fireman is new Nailsea councillor

Oliver Ellis has been elected to represent West End Ward on Nailsea Town Council.

With a less than 20 per cent turnout 606 votes in total were cast with Mr Ellis, of Worcester Gardens, duly elected.

The fireman is part of the group which opposed the development at Engine Lane which netted the council a multi-million pound windfall some of which is going towards buying 65 High Street as a hub for the community. 

Nailsea Town Council election

Nailsea Town Council has two vacancies and three candidates in West End and Golden Valley wards.

Polling day is on Thursday, June 29.

All are seeking election as independent councillors.

As only one candidate standing in Golden Valley ward the result is a foregone conclusion.

The new councillor will be Jon Argles, pictured top, of Porlock Gardens, who was born just under 40 years ago and was raised in Nailsea.

He has worked in market research, international education, online marketing and ship classification.

He currently works in financial services.
Jon still lives in Nailsea and has a wife and two children, one at Nailsea School and another just about to start.

He is also a sectional assistant for 2nd Nailsea Scouts.
In the brief moments he manages to get to himself, Jon says he enjoys collecting and playing complicated board games.
Jon is a passionate advocate for social justice, and looks forward to working collegiately with the rest of the council to both help the current community, and to prepare Nailsea for the challenges of the future.

Meanwhile in the West Ward two candidates fighting for one seat.

Polling is at 2nd Nailsea Schout HQ, Hannah More Road.

Mum-of-five and former community champion for Tesco supermarket is Deb Bears, pictured centre.

Deb, of Strawberry Gardens, is more often seen these days behind the deli counter when not helping out at Alchemy Trampoline & DMT Club where two of ther daughters are star performers.

Deb was responsible for bringing back Nailsea Community Christmas Fair in 2016 and is on the committee for the 2017 event.

Deb is passionate about helping young people get 'a home of their own' and to this end supports limited development at Nailsea.

Oliver Ellis, pictured bottom, of Worcester Gardens, says he is only candidate seeking to represent the ward in which he lives.

And he has set out the reasons he wants to be a town councillor as:

  • To be a strong voice for the West End

  • To bring a fresh perspective and enthusiasm to Nailsea Town Council

  • To protect Nailsea’s picturesque and valued green spaces

  • To challenge proposals for nearly 3,000 new houses in the West End

  • To support new housing in more suitable locations and of suitable scale and type

  • To address issues raised by people living in the West End

  • To make life better for my family and yours

Oli said: "I am the only candidate who lives in the West End ward.

"I live with my wife, Helen, and two young children - Emilia, aged two, and Harry, two months.

"I am passionate about making Nailsea great for the next generation as well as current residents.

"As part of my job as a fire fighter, I am used to considering the needs of local communities and will bring this experience to decision making for Nailsea.

"I recently completed a history and politics degree.

"I achieved this while working full time, so I am used to having commitments on top of work and family life.

"I support local charity events and most recently I have taken part in the Tough As Nails race.

"I try to attend as many local events as I can to support our community.

"I enjoy keeping fit and running with Nailsea running club.

"I also enjoy open water swimming and regularly swim from Clevedon beach."

#GE 2017 North Somerset
#GE 2017 North Somerset
#GE 2017 North Somerset
#GE 2017 North Somerset
#GE 2017 North Somerset
#GE 2017 North Somerset
#GE 2017 North Somerset
#GE 2017 North Somerset
#GE 2017 North Somerset
#GE 2017 North Somerset
#GE 2017 North Somerset
#GE 2017 North Somerset
#GE 2017 North Somerset
#GE 2017 North Somerset
#GE 2017 North Somerset
#GE 2017 North Somerset
#GE 2017 North Somerset
#GE 2017 North Somerset
#GE 2017 North Somerset
#GE 2017 North Somerset
#GE 2017 North Somerset
#GE 2017 North Somerset
#GE 2017 North Somerset
#GE 2017 North Somerset
#GE 2017 North Somerset
#GE 2017 North Somerset
#GE 2017 North Somerset
#GE 2017 North Somerset
#GE 2017 North Somerset

Four 'just men' but no-show Greens 

at North Somerset 

Not everyone is a winner in 2017 but Conservative candidate Liam Fox romped home to take the North Somerset seat for the sixth time in the general election this June.
Overall the results appeared to be random with lots of surprises leaving Prime Minister Theresa May re-elected but with less Tory MPS.

The full North Somerset results are:
Independent - Donald Davies 3,929 votes
Labour Party - Greg Chambers 16,502 votes
Liberal Democrats - Richard Foord, 5,982 votes
Conservative Party - Liam Fox, 33,605 votes
Green Party - Charley Pattison 1,976 votes

 

In total 62,118 votes were cast representing a 77.14 per cent turnout in North Somerset.
Having fought the seat at the 1992, 1997, 2001, 2005, 2015 and 2017 elections this is the second highest vote Dr Fox has secured but not his highest percentage of the vote.
He first won what was then the old Woodspring seat in 1992 with 35,175 votes and served under a John Major government.
The Conservative share of the vote in North Somerset increased by 0.7 per cent to 54.2 per cent, but Labour increased its share by 12.3 per cent to earn itself swing of 5.8 per cent.
Dr Fox, who served as Secretary of State for International Trade in the last Parliament, held the seat with a reduced majority of 17,103 over Labour Party candidate Greg Chambers.
The former defence secretary polled 33,605 votes compared with Dr Chambers’ 16,502.
Considered right of centre, Dr Fox’s opposition in 2017 was split between four left-leaning candidates as a hope for a united challenger didn't happen and calls to back #oneopposition North Somerset fell flat.
And as Ukip decided not to contest the seat it left the way open to re-elect the favourite Dr Fox to win.
Having spent eight years in opposition Dr Fox's fortunes have vacillated between holding high office and challenging for leadership of the Conservative Party to a demotion to the back benches after admitting allowing his close friend Adam Werritty to attend official government briefings.
Adam is still a close friend and often visits the constituency with his wife Lucy and their young child especially when the annual beer and cider festival is in full swing or it is election time although he wasn’t at the 2017 count.
Supporter Steve Morten commented on the Nailsea People Facebook page: “Well done Liam, go for Prime Minister now.”
While Lorraine Hopkinson-Parker said: “Disappointed that Liam Fox is back again but very encouraging that Greg Chambers the Labour candidate increased his vote by 12.3 per cent and was clear second place choice!”
She is backing the #OneOpposition and #GetTheFoxOut campaign.
At approximately 4.30am acting returning officer Nicholas Brain announced the result.
Dr Fox thanked everyone for returning him to parliament, briefly commenting on the tragic events in Manchester and London.
He said he was ‘extremely grateful and humbled’ to be re-elected with such a high poll but added the country faced many challenges ahead with the Brexit negotiations especially in light of the mixed results nationwide.
Afterwards he ruffled a few feathers by refusing media requests for interviews.

Nailsea voters go back to the polls on Thursday, June 29, for a town council vacancy.

And in other news Nailsea man James Heappey was re-elected Conservative MP for Wells taking more than 50 per cent of the vote.
His nervous mother Anita Heappey a Nailsea town councillor who was at the Scotch Horn Centre count need not have worried as James polled 30,488 votes.
Former MP Liberal Democrat Tessa Munt took 22,906 votes to secure a not-good-enough second place.
The niece of a Nailsea School governor, Tracey Crouch, 41, has been re-elected as MP for Chatham and Aylesford. 
She received 25,587 votes - 10,000 more than Labour candidate Vince Maple who received 15,129. 
Lots of relatives of Filton and Bradley Stoke Conservative candidate Jack Lopresti live in Nailsea.
The Conservative candidate retained the seat though his majority has been cut to around 4,000 - from 10,000 in 2015.

The sitting MP beat Labour’s Naomi Rylatt by 4,182 votes.
Ian Kealey who was a maths teacher at Nailsea School back in 2002 failed to impress the electorate at Bristol South.
The Ukip candidate polled 1,672 votes while Labour Party candidate Karin Smyth won with 32,666 votes.

 FACT FILE 

 

North Somerset constituency covers the towns of Clevedon, Portishead and Nailsea as well as Abbots Leigh, Backwell, Barrow Gurney, Brockley, Clapton-in-Gordano, Cleeve, Congresbury, Dundry, Easton-in-Gordano, Flax Bourton, Kenn, Kingston Seymour, Long Ashton, Portbury, Pill, Tickenham, Walton-in-Gordano, Weston-in-Gordano, Winford, Wraxall and Failand, Wrington and Yatton.

It’s a predominantly rural area with a population of 101,1641.

The constituency has a diverse range of businesses and attractions, including Bristol Airport, Royal Portbury Dock, Tyntesfield estate, Clifton Suspension Bridge, the Strawberry Line and Clevedon Pier – a Grade 1 listed Victorian pier.

The constituency of North Somerset was created in 2000 following a boundary review by the Electoral Commission for England.

Previously the area was part of the Woodspring constituency.

The local authority for this constituency is North Somerset Council, which is Conservative led.

In the EU referendum, the North Somerset council area (covering the North Somerset and Weston-super-Mare parliamentary constituencies) voted 48 per cent to remain and 52 per cent to leave, with a turnout of 77.5%.

The number of people eligible to vote in the 2017 election was 80,570.

There have been 64 polling stations across the constituency, including one at the children’s room at the Black Horse pub in Clapton-in-Gordano and the Mobile Library at Brockley.

With 80 counting assistants working into the early house the electoral officer

issued 29,456 postal votes and 1,059 proxy votes across both the North Somerset and neighbouring Weston-super-Mare constituencies.

Despite calls for her to resign Theresa May was on route to the palace at midday on Friday, June 9, believing she can form a government supported by Northern Ireland Unionists.

Key points according to the BBC:

  • The Conservatives have lost their Commons majority - the Tories are now the largest party in a hung Parliament

  • Theresa May says she will form a government and work with the 10 Democratic Unionist Party MPs, after going to Buckingham Palace to see the Queen

  • Jeremy Corbyn says she should quit and Labour wants to attempt a minority government

  • The Conservatives plus 10 DUP MPs may have 329 seats - more than the other parties put together

  • A final score of 319 seats for the Conservatives, down 13 on 2015, has been predicted, pending a result in Kensington

  • A so-called 'progressive alliance' between Labour, SNP, Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and Greens would have 313. A majority is 326

  • There are 261 seats for Labour - up 29 seats; 35 seats for the SNP, a loss of 21 seats; the Lib Dems are up four to 12 seats; Plaid Cymru on four seats; the Greens on one, and none for UKIP

  • UKIP leader Paul Nuttall has resigned

  • In Northern Ireland, the SDLP and the UUP have lost all their Westminster MPs after a night of big gains for the DUP and Sinn Féin

  • The Lib Dems had a mixed night with some former big figures returning - but ex-leader Nick Clegg losing his seat 

  • Leader Tim Farron called on Theresa May to resign

  • The SNP remains the largest party in Scotland but the Conservatives have won 12 seats from them so far; Labour have won seven; the Lib Dems three

  • Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says the SNP is ready to work with others to try to keep the Conservatives out of government and block their Brexit strategy

  • There is economic uncertainty reflected in the City 

  • Voter turnout is up by 2% to 69% - the highest since 1997. The vote share is Conservative 42%, Labour 40%, Lib Dems 7%, UKIP 2% and the Greens 2%.

  • Labour put in a strong showing in Wales, taking back Gower, Cardiff North and Vale of Clwyd from the Conservatives

Getting hustled at hustings for #GE2017

Backwell School chair of governors Maurice Moloney slammed the Lib Dems election leaflet at the hustings meeting at Nailsea on Wednesday night.

But most of the anger form the 150-strong audience was the no-show of North Somerset’s Conservative MP for the past 25 years Liam Fox who had been busy campaigning in Cumbria.

Organised by Christians Together in Nailsea and District the event at the Methodist church was chaired by the Rev James Pennington, the curate at Holy Trinity.

On the top table were:

•          Green Party - Charley Pattison

•          Independent - Donald Davies

•          Labour Party - Greg Chambers

•          Liberal Democrats - Richard Foord

Former Green candidate David Derbyshire said: “The missing Dr Fox was clearly something that irritated the audience.

“The most relevant question was roughly ‘UKIP have put their support behind Liam Fox, why can the right unite, but the left not?’.

“There was an awkward exchange between the chair of Backwell School governors and Lib Dem Richard Foord.

“Mr Foord put out a leaflet claiming Backwell School will need to lose 14 staff as a result of new education funding…this was dubbed ‘unnecessary scaremongering ‘as it is categorically not the case that they will be losing teachers.

“This was very awkward for Mr Foord, a former Backwell School pupil.”

Congratulations must go to North Somerset Times reporter Liam Jones who made more than 62 live tweets during the 90 minute Question Time-style debate.

The evening was dominated by the all the old political chestnuts like a coalition government, what constitutes democracy, the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of Brexit, taxation of the top earners, need for more house-building, caring for the elderly and improving infrastructure and the environment.

There were a couple of curved balls about abortion, taking voting rights away from expats and legalizing cannabis but local people are far too polite to rant on about the pros and cons of immigration. 

Trendlewood vicar Steve Tilley said: “A strong closing statement from Greg Chambers but not sure the room ready to go from extreme right to extreme left.”

Although Kevin Webb said: “I was disappointed by the Greg and thought he came across as arrogant.”

Mr Tilley said: “Best question of the night, UKIP have withdrawn to leave one candidate for the right.

“Why are there four left-leaning candidates?”

Richard Quintin Greatrex posted on social media later: “I gather there was a plan to unite behind one moderately well-known candidate, who fell ill and isn't standing.

“So, the deal fell through and all four of the more left-leaning parties are going to split the vote between them.

“Sad, one good candidate could have had a chance.”

This was Sir Graham Watson who lost his seat as an MEP at the last European elections and had looked forward to standing in North Somerset before falling seriously ill with pancreatitis.

Mr Tilley added: “Not sure why we have a question on abortion.

“Hasn't presented as a divisive issue this general election as candidates broadly agree.

“Greens and Lib Dem candidates most articulate on Brexit but not sure it is realistic to have a vote on outcome.”

Rob Fieldson said: “Seems a bit like suing for a divorce, then saying you've changed your mind because you didn't get custody of the dog.

“It just doesn't work like that!”

At the end of the evening the most applause went to Charley Pattison.

Nailsea People didn’t bother to go as what candidates say pre-elections seems to have very little correlation with what they do afterwards but thanks everyone who helped put this report together for their contribution.

Question time at Nailsea

Conservative candidate Liam Fox is busy campaigning in Cumbria (don’t ask me why), we hear first choice Lib Dem candidate Sir Graham Watson is recovering from a life-threatening attack of acute pancreatitis and former Nailsea man James Heappey is fighting for his political life down in Wells but the others who want to be elected for the North Somerset constituency will be at a Question Time hustings at the Methodist church tonight, Thursday, June 1 – please note last minute switch of venue. Me, I’ll watching television at home and you’ll be lucky to get me at the polling station on Thursday, June 8. 

  • Green Party - Charley Pattison

  • Independent - Donald Davies

  • Labour Party - Greg Chambers

  • Liberal Democrats - Richard Foord 

The event runs from 7.30-9pm and is organised by Christians Together In Nailsea and District.​

Refreshments served and everyone is welcome.

Apathy rules at my house


At the risk of sounding like Brenda from Bristol I don’t know if I can be arsed to vote in the next General Election on Thursday, June 8.
It is all Prime Minister Theresa May’s fault as she didn’t have to go to the country until May 2020.
Now all 650 parliamentary constituencies will be up for grabs – I hate that expression – with the bookies widely predicting the Conservatives romping home with a massive majority especially as any alternative alliance failed to materialise.
Mrs May has been ridiculed for her ‘strong and stable’ catchphrase while the Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has – well – just be ridiculed.
The Greens are being ignored by the BBC and UKIP isn’t standing here because the Conservative candidate embraces its main policies (allegedly).
If you don’t remember the Lib Dems read on…little bit at the bottom but the last time the old Liberal Party won a North Somerset seat was in 1910.
Former MEP Sir Graham Watson came for coffee in Nailsea and left - in a hurry. 
The multi-linguist lost his seat at the European Parliament elections in May 2014 despite polling 10.7 per cent of the vote. 
Sir Graham who represented Somerset and North Devon for 20 years was in Nailsea on Armistice Day, Friday, November 11, last year and attended the Somerset Square service. 
As a fellow Scottish-born political heavyweight he wanted to go head-to-head with Liam Fox but only if he was sure he could beat him at the ballot box – I told him he couldn’t.
The most interesting twist for 2017 is Don Davies who is trying his luck as an independent candidate which is a first for many years.
Here is a Nailsea People rundown on those standing – all views are my own unless I have quoted someone else.Voters in North Somerset  have the choice of five candidates.


Conservative Party – Dr Liam Fox
North Somerset MP since 1992 previously a GP in Buckinghamshire who did a bit of locum work in Nailsea prior to first standing for what was then called Woodspring.
He was born and educated in Scotland – not quite the same start as the Etonians he rubs shoulders with in the House of Commons especially as he begun life in a council house and went to a Catholic comprehensive school.
But in the 2015 election he took nearly 50 per cent of the vote.
When first selected, a leading local Tory was reported as saying it didn’t matter what he stood for as he was ‘so pretty he would be easy to package and sell’ to the electorate!
Dr Fox is very personable and a good constituency MP it is just his politics for anyone with a left leaning that stink.

He is a dear friend since my decade as editor of the Clevedon Mercury but the only thing we seem to agree on politically is both being against capital punishment.
To the right of Attila the Hun is one expression I have heard and he was plagued with lobbyists I noticed on visits to Westminster.
He lives at Tickenham with wife Jesme and the couple also have a Docklands bolthole in London.


Green Party - Charley Pattison
Charley Pattison is a practicing barrister specialising in criminal law and human rights. 
She sits on the board of trustees of the Avon and Bristol Law Centre.
A keen surfer she is friends with Phil Williams the man behind the skatepark at Nailsea and supports the Refugees Welcome North Somerset group.
A first class honours graduate from Aston University she joined the 2015 Bristol to Paris cycle ride for the United Nations Climate Change Conference.
She is also secretary for the equal educational opportunities Making Waves Foundation.
She says if elected she will campaign against an ‘extreme Brexit’, the ‘destruction of our greenbelt’ and to get the voting age lowered to 16.
Locally, she has already joined the campaign to protect the Lord Nelson pub from demolition, in her home village.
She said: “Politics should be about joined up thinking that reduces inequality rather than propping up a system where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, whilst we all breathe increasingly more polluted air and where our children cannot afford homes let alone education.”

She took some stick on social media for her launch photograph which was taken in Bristol and not North Somerset - just saying...


Independent - Donald Davies 
Mr Davies is the leader of the opposition on North Somerset Council and lives in Pill, where among other things he helped set up a Foodbank and edits the parish church magazine
He said: “Our residents are demanding a viable, locally based, progressive candidate who is fully committed to the campaign and keen to represent the voices of North Somerset.
“I will have the autonomy to make a full commitment without party political constraints.
“I will work hard to protect North Somerset from a further five years of irreparable damage to our public services - the NHS and social care, housing, education, transport and local government.
“Anyone who has worked with me in the past will know that I am committed to taking both policy and practical measures to protect us from climate change, with community initiatives being essential in helping to slow the rate of decline of our planet’s rapidly diminishing resources.”
Mr Davies is backed by a group called ‘North Somerset deserves better’ which is urging people to vote tactically.


Labour Party - Greg Chambers
Somerset born Greg Chambers ran for Labour at the last General Election, back in 2015 and finished second behind Dr Fox.
The 40-year-old is married to Ravinder with two young children.
He said: “The Conservatives talk of strong and stable government, but look around you:
•    Look at local government being run on a shoestring, education and social services being cut back, care homes closing, libraries ‘co-located’, recycling centres reducing their hours;
•    Look at the NHS – waiting times are shocking and increasing, and we are short of nurses and doctors. What happens when many of the EU nationals go home?
•    Look at Brexit – we don’t know what will happen in the negotiations and Theresa May’s refusal to give details is not good enough. Look at what the ‘nasty’ Tories do (as Theresa May called them), not what they say.
•    Look at the food banks – many people are not managing after years of pay cuts while millionaires and billionaires get richer by the day
“Continuing with austerity cannot be justified. 
“I am campaigning for proper funding for all our public services, not the two-tier service – one for the rich and the other for the rest of us – that Tories like Liam Fox keep pushing for.”


Liberal Democrats - Richard Foord 
Richard Foord, 39, was not first choice as the Liberal Democrat candidate.
Former MEP Sir Graham Watson came for coffee and spent a day in Nailsea before deciding not to stand – I hope it wasn’t anything I said!
The former Yatton resident lives at Uffculme on the Devon/Somerset border.
After a stint in the army he now works at Exeter university developing international partnerships.
A keen mountain walker, cyclist and runner his interests include sustainable transport and Scouting.
He said: “I know North Somerset and many of the people who live here. 
“I was born in Weston, lived in Yatton, went to school in Backwell, went to clubs in Nailsea, worked in Portishead, have family in Clevedon and have ancestors in the churchyards here. 
“Whether you have lived locally all your life or have just moved to the area, you’ll appreciate that it is a great place to live, but it could be better still.”
Nailsea People cut his tirade against the Conservatives and Brexit as too rambling…

And what news of other candidates with a Nailsea connection?

A Conservative MP candidate blasted a schoolgirl saying ‘why don’t you f*** off back to Scotland’ after she revealed she was in support of independence.

Nailsea man James Heappey, a ­prospective MP for Wells, Somerset, made the comment when he met students at Millfield school and asked how they would vote in a new Scottish independence referendum.

James is the son of North Somerset district councillor Anita Heappey.

It is believed that the schoolgirl was upset by the comment made by the MP and informed her parents, who got in touch with education bosses.

Former Wells and Mendip MP Tessa Munt who lost the 2015 election to Mr Heappey will stand again for the Liberal Democrats.

Also running is Andy Merryfield for the Labour Party and Lorna Corke for the Christian Peoples Alliance.

The Green Party and UKIP have not entered a candidate for the the constituency.

The niece of a Nailsea School governor is fighting to be re-elected MP for Chatham and Aylesford.

Tracey Crouch, 41, won the seat at the 2010 election for the Conservatives.

A law and politics graduate of the University of Hull the Daily Telegraph list her as a  'pragmatic, Eurosceptic' to the right of centre.

In May 2015 she was made Minister for Sport.

The other candidates standing are Nicole Bushill (Ukip), John Gibson (Christian), Bernard Hyde (Green), Vince Maple (Labour) and Thomas Quinton (Lib Dems).

Lots of relatives of Filton and Bradley Stoke Conservative candidate Jack Lopresti live in Nailsea.

A former Bristol City councillor and army veteran Mr Lopresti was first elected as MP in 2010 and is part of the huge ice cream and catering business Italian family.

He is being challenged by Eva Fielding (Lib Dem), Naomi Rylatt (Labour) and Diana Warner (Green Party).

And saving the worse until last our thanks go to  former Nailsea School student Emma Rowlands who is keeping her politcial finger on the button by spotting a tweet from Ian Kealey who was a maths teacher at the Mizzymead Road campus back in 2002.
He is currently standing in Bristol South as the UKIP candidate but in 2015 he was the parliamentary candidate for North Somerset.
Mr Kealey retweeted a picture of the Bristol South Labour Party team on canvassing with word 'losers'. 
Emma said: “Good to see our old maths teacher from Nailsea School and current UKIP candidate for Bristol South writing such eloquent tweets in the lead up to the election.”
He later compounded his error by commenting on the LGBT post.
Emma added: “The more you read the worse it gets. 
“Thankfully he only has 83 followers.”
Mr Kealey, 58, no longer teaches and told the Bristol Post he now runs a guest house.
The others contesting the election in Bristol South are Tony Dyer (Green), John Langley (Independent), Ben Nutland (Lib Dem), Karin Smyth (Labour) and Mark Weston (Conservative).

Well I wasn't going to vote but then I remembered the women who campaigned so hard to win  the right to vote and the suffrage movement. led by Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst, and had second thoughts.

Women in Britain over the age of 30, meeting certain property qualifications, were given the right to vote in 1918, and in 1928 suffrage was extended to all women over the age of 21.

But I would urge people to make an informed decision and not an 'eenie, meenie, meinie, moe' choice.

Carol Deacon 

By George our doctor's trade travels

As Saint George’s Day approaches this weekend, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has celebrated the international demand for quintessential English food and drink around the world.
From strawberries and cream to cheddar cheese and gin, typically English products are proving popular internationally.

This comes as the Department for International Trade has sought to open up new markets to UK producers, launching its new ‘integrated export hub’ where companies large and small can find live export opportunities along with free advice and support to get exporting.

Right now, there are almost 200 live opportunities for food and drink exporters including opportunities as far-afield from China to India and the Middle East.

The North Somerset MP said: "As we celebrate St George’s day, it’s clear that many other countries around the world will also be enjoying delicious and typically English food and drink.

"From the Middle East to China, products are in demand and more and more producers are making sure they make the most of these opportunities as part of a Global Britain."

Some classic English food and drink exports include:

  • Strawberries and cream has long been a favourite refreshing summer treat, enjoyed at classic sporting events like the Wimbledon Tennis Championships and at picnics across the country. Its not just the English enjoying a summer strawberry, as last year £900,000 worth of the classic fruit were exported abroad.

  • Other classics like cheddar cheese are also finding a growing following, with exports at over £229 million. One current opportunity for cheddar manufacturers is in Indonesia, while a premium food seller in India has already seen 71 applications from UK producers through DIT.

  • With the huge growth in English Gin distilleries in recent years, its little surprise that ‘mother’s ruin’ is also finding a global following and UK gin exports stood at £474,000 last year. The department also has opportunities for any gin producers to go global, with live opportunities for distribution in Greece and QingDao city in China – home to over 9 million people."

However the Mirror newspaper has slammed Dr Fox's world trade efforts.

It says:'Britain's International Trade Ministers have covered the same distance from the Earth to the Moon, jetting around the world to try and strike post- Brexit deals. But Liam Fox and his team have failed to secure a single commitment - despite racking up 240,000 taxpayer-funded air miles. By comparison, the moon is 238,600 miles from our planet. Analysis by Labour found Dr Fox and his DIT deputies cruised the skies for 400 hours aboard 100 planes between July and December. The Secretary of State alone has clocked up more than 60,000 miles on official visits to three continents, Labour said. They included a five-day trip to India, four days to Brazil, three days to Oman and a two-day trip to Germany. The findings came from a trawl of publicly-availably transparency data showing that since it was created by Theresa May last July, the Department for International Trade has dispatched its four ministers on 35 trips involving 100 flights covering an estimated 243,170 miles. But despite their jet-setting across the globe, the quartet has yet to secure a single firm commitment to an immediate free trade agreement after the UK leaves the European Union in 2019. Cabinet ministers spent more than £1.3million on foreign trips in the six months following last June’s referendum. In addition to the bill racked up by Mr Fox, Theresa May spent £639, 058 on overseas travel in just six months, the Foreign Office £260,000 and the Department for Culture £53,205. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson covered more than 45,000 air miles during the period and his deputy Alok Sharma 93,000 miles. The bill for Mr Johnson’s travels was £88,288'.

Dr Fox and onboard emergency

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox jumped to the rescue of nine-month-old baby having a seizure on a flight, it has been reported. 
Dr Fox, who worked as a GP in Nailsea before being elected as the North Somerseet MP, was on an official trip to the Philippines when an emergency message was broadcast on board his plane.
A couple from Hong Kong were concerned about their baby, which appeared to be having a fit. 
Dr Fox answered the request and came forward, diagnosing the baby with febrile convulsion.
An eyewitness told The Sun newspaper: “Dr Fox placed the baby in the recovery position and then bathed him to reduce his high temperature.”
The baby recovered fully by the time the plane landed and Dr Fox was able to continue his trip, making overtures to controversial Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. 
Dr Fox was later criticised for speaking of ‘shared values’ the UK holds with Mr Duterte, who has led a brutal war on drugs and bragged of personally executing suspected criminals. 
More than 7,000 people have been killed in Mr Duterte's campaign, according to police figures, causing widespread condemnation.
He has also urged the public to kill drug addicts, who he said he would be ‘happy to slaughter’ in their millions, reports The Independent newspaper.
During the the past few months since the Prime Minister Theresa May created the Department for International Trade, it has made 76 overseas ministerial visits to 44 markets.
Dr Fox made at keynote speech at the Conservative Spring Forum and said: “Our message has been that Britain is open for business as never before. It is a message that has been enthusiastically welcomed by our friends and partners in every corner of the globe.”
He added we are ‘a small island perched on the edge of the European continent became a leader of world trade. For over a century the terms ‘Britain’ and ‘free trade’ were virtually synonymous’.  
Click HERE to read full speech.

FULL HOUSE: North Somerset Conservative Association annual meeting on Friday, March 3, was a great success. MP Liam Fox tweeted he was delighted with the increase in membership. Future events including an Irish-themed evening at Yatton, ladies luncheon club at Clevedon with a coffee and cookies morning at The Hawthorns, Clevedon all this month. For more details click HERE. The dates of Dr Fox's two next Nailsea surgeries are Friday, June 9, 6 -8pm and Saturday, July 22, 10am-nnon both at the Tithe Barn, Church Lane,

There isn’t a day goes by without North Somerset MP Liam Fox in the national and international news.
And this week he is among the poster boys and girls who campaigned for Brexit circulating on social media questioning where the extra funds promised for the NHS have gone…
But most of what is being reported is international rather than home news as his job as trade minister has him jetting around the world negotiating deals to fill the void when we leave the European Union.
Front runner is Canada who is seems according to The Sun newspaper is first in line for post-Brexit trade deal with Britain after EU passes long-awaited CETA agreement
Last month the trade secretary visited his Canadian counterpart in Montreal where they agreed it would provide a platform for any bespoke UK deal after we leave the EU.

Of late he has been in the far east visiting Singapore and other Asian countries banging the drum for the UK.

Closer to home Dr Fox praised the city of Liverpool new container port rather than beating the drum for Avonmouth.
Upon officially opening Liverpool2 last year, the UK’s Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, proclaimed: “The north is booming once more and the world wants in. And this is the gateway.”

However, is popularity with the grassroot Conservative voter is still riding high as this poll shows. 
His next local surgery is on Saturday, March 4, 10am-noon at the Tithe Barn, Church Lane.
It is appointment only by contacting Ione Douglas, his personal assistant, at his Parliamentary office in London by email ione.douglas@parliament.uk or calling 0207 219 4198.

Liam is Brexit our poster boy

NEW BOY ON THE BLOCK: Former MEP Sir Graham Watson challenged Brexit North Somerset MP Liam Fox to defend his anti EU stance in an open letter published left. The multi-linguist lost his seat at the European Parliament elections in May 2014 despite polling 10.7 per cent of the vote. Sir Graham who represented Somerset and North Devon for 20 years was in Nailsea on Armistice Day, Friday, November 11, and attended the Somerset Square service. With his wife and two children the family lived in Langport, Somerset, from 1994 to 2017. According to Wikepdia they now live in Edinburgh. The pro European enjoys sailings, choir singing and music. He also indulges in the restoration of Art Nouveau houses and classic wooden yachts. Knighted in the 2011 Birthday Honours for political and public service he is also the recipient of honours from the Republic of China, Georgia and Gibraltar. Word on the street is the two heavyweight Scottish-born politicians could go head-to-head at the next general election...watch this space...

Twinned with tabloid trouble for flying flag

You couldn’t make it up but then a south west news agency, Bristol Post and the Daily Mail had a good try by claiming North Somerset MP Liam Fox was at war with his neighbours because they were flying the French flag.

Well to be fair the Bristol newspaper only said 'raised eyebrows' and it was the national tabloid that went warmongering.

The Brexiteer politician had the sense not to be quoted on the silly season-style story but former Nailsea estate agent Sue Bracey who lives next door to the Conservative MP sent an enquiring journalist away with a flea in their ear.

The flags were put up to welcome French residents who arrived from Tickenham's twinned town of Aigné, near Le Mans.

Sue is reported saying: 'It has got nothing to do with Liam.

“Recently we had a visit from our French family.

“We all put the French flags up when they visit. It is just a French flag and a European flag.”

The non-event attracted one online comment from an expat saying 'is this a story'. 

If you really want to read the full story click HERE as it is a lighter moment in comparison to reading the free trade keynote speech our Conservative MP made in Manchester this week.

The International Trade Secretary who got into hot water for calling bosses ‘lazy’  and claiming executives preferred to play golf rather than fulfilling their ‘duty’ as exporters was a little more guarded while up north.

Pressed over the previous remarks our Dr Fox was a little less forthright although he repeated his claim the UK had been ‘too willing to rest upon the achievements’ of past generations.

Highlighting the nation's trade deficit, he argued Britain had ‘fallen behind’ and there was a need to identify and remove the ‘impediments’ to boosting exports.

The former Nailsea GP added: "The alternative to that is, that our current account deficit grows with the economic consequences that that brings.

"When I was a doctor, my job was not to tell people what they wanted to hear. It was to tell them what they needed to hear so we could put things right.

"If it applies to medicine, why do the same ethics not apply to politics.

"A question I have always wondered."

To read the speech in full click HERE.

Not fat or lazy

North Somerset MP Liam Fox's off-the-cuff remarks that Britain is 'too lazy and too fat' with businessmen preferring 'golf on a Friday afternoon' rather than contributing to the country's prosperity, has created a media beanfeast and outrage from our local business community.
The international trade secretary's remarks, at a Conservative Way Forward event, were recorded by a reporter from the Times.
Downing Street said he was clearly expressing private views.
Dr Fox, who was a prominent voice within the Leave campaign in the EU referendum, is in charge of negotiating trade deals for the UK once it has left the European Union.
During his speech to activists on Thursday evening he said there needed to be a change in British business culture and said people had got to stop thinking about exporting as an opportunity and start thinking about it as a duty.
He said: "This country is not the free-trading nation it once was. We have become too lazy, and too fat on our successes in previous generations.

"Companies who could be contributing to our national prosperity - but choose not to because it might be too difficult or too time-consuming or because they can't play golf on a Friday afternoon - we've got to be saying to them if you want to share in the prosperity of our country you have a duty to contribute to the prosperity of our country."
Labour Party former shadow business secretary ChukaUmunna tweeted; "Yes, what a great incentive to sign a bilateral trade deal with the UK, eh?"
Crown Glass shopping centre management boss Mark Robinson said: "UK business is fat and lazy, says Liam Fox: Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear."
Accountant Della Hudson said: "I'm inviting Dr Fox to visit my small business and our hardworking clients in his constituency.
"I'm happy to work hard for my staff and clients but never call me lazy. Or fat! He's closer to a golf course than I've ever been and I've created a business employing eight people  while raising two children."
Southfield Road ​Ooh! Chocolata said; "So these are your private views, and Monday you'll be out championing British business. How does that work exactly?"

And another tweeted a photograph of Liam playing golf with a mate! 

TOP TABLE: North Somerset MP Liam Fox and his fellow Brexiteers Boris Johnson and David Davis have come in for a fair (or unfair depending on your political persuasion) about of stick in the newspapers but the Mail has now published another story questioning their credentials for high office. While the trio argue the UK will strike trade deals with the EU and other markets former Business Minister Anna Soubry claims the view is a delusion and she is quoted as saying they are 'more like Compo, Foggy and Clegg – colourful characters, but very much the last of the Chequers summer wine'. Read more by clicking HERE.​

Keep your political enemies close

Political arm wrestling breaking out at the Foreign Office between Boris Johnson and Liam Fox is making the news.

Reports of leaked emails revealing a power battle over Brexit between the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox have been reported in the national press.

The couple are said to be fighting for control of the UK's foreign policy and the responsibility for implementing Brexit, according to a series of leaked emails between the two ministers.

The messages from North Somerset MP Dr Fox are said to show he wants to break-up the Foreign Office.

In one email leaked to the Daily Telegraph, Dr Fox suggests British trade with other countries will not ‘flourish’ if responsibility for future economic policy remains with the Foreign Office.

He said: "It has become clear to me that existing cross-Whitehall structures have meant that the government has not taken the holistic approach it might have on trade and investment agendas."

The emails, which were also copied-in to Prime Minister Theresa May, added that a ‘rational restructuring’ should result in the Foreign Office transferring responsibility for economic diplomacy to the Department for International Trade, ‘allowing the FCO [Foreign & Commonwealth Office] to retain clear leadership on diplomacy and security’.

The PM is said to be unimpressed with the intervention with Whitehall sources saying the letter ‘went down like a lead balloon’ while others said Mrs May interrupted her summer holiday in Switzerland to respond.

The Independent reports Dr Fox was ‘given short shrift by Downing Street after Johnson objected to being asked to preside over a diminished Foreign Office’.

One Whitehall source said: "There was no way that the Foreign Office was going to surrender one of its key functions to Liam Fox."

The letter ‘represents the first evidence of significant tensions between the Eurosceptic Cabinet ministers’, says the Telegraph, and comes after Johnson was forced to share Chevening House, the country home of the foreign secretary, with Fox and Brexit Secretary David Davis.

Davis has already provoked anger within other departments by saying he will have the pick of the ‘most brilliant people’ from across Whitehall to work in his new Department for Exiting the European Union.

The leak is the second embarrassment for Fox in less than a week, after a press release appeared on his department's website saying that, after Brexit, the UK would trade with the EU under World Trade Organisation rules ‘until new trade deals are negotiated’.

That would mean businesses exporting to the EU would have to pay heavy tariffs, including 10 per cent on cars and 12 per cent on clothing.

The press release, which was quickly taken down, was said to have been posted "by mistake".

The UK could remain in the EU ‘until late 2019’ after ministers warned senior figures in the City of London that the Brexit and International trade departments will not be ready to enact Article 50 in January, The Sunday Times reported this week.

Sources also cited upcoming French and German elections as a cause for delay, saying: "You can't negotiate when you don't know who you're negotiating with."

The ‘prospect of a year's delay will anger hardline Eurosceptic Conservative MPs and Leave voters who expected a speedy Brexit’, the paper says.

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage warned that failure to deliver on the EU referendum result and curb immigration could lead to mass demonstrations on the streets.

And in another piece of negative press which even the local free newspaper for Nailsea reported that a charity set up by Dr Fox has fail to deliver on promises set out in a series of high-profile publicity campaigns.

The charity Give Us Time was set up by Fox in 2012 after the collapse of his charity Atlantic Bridge, with the aim of giving free holidays to the families of military personnel.

It has also been a recipient of Libor funding, awarded by the Treasury.

But 18 months after its launch, the charity had paid for just five families to go on holiday, despite claiming shortly after launch that ‘300 weeks or six years’ of free accommodation was already secured, according to an investigation by BuzzFeed.

A charity spokesman told the North Somerset Times: “Give Us Time is an armed forces charity solely dedicated to helping service families by providing them with holidays after long periods of separation, injury and other needs arising from their military service.

“Dr Fox founded the charity in 2012 but has had no involvement in its operations or accounting processes.

“Give Us Time was incorporated as a charity in 2013 and is registered with the Charity Commission and Companies House.

“All its annual reports and accounts are available to the public via the appropriate websites.

“As members of the Confederation of Service Charities (Cobseo) we learn and share best practice within the wider military charity sector.

“We were extremely lucky to receive Libor funding to further the aims of the charity which recognises the need to provide a holistic approach to welfare by providing support to the family unit.

“The publication of data is a matter for the Treasury.”

STOP PRESS: Theresa May's three Eurosceptic Cabinet ministers held a private meeting yesterday to “clear the air” after weeks of significant tensions, reports The Telegraph today, Thursday, August 25. The newspaper said that Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and David Davis, who are all tasked with helping Britain to leave the EU, gathered together on 'neutral ground' in the Cabinet Office. It comes after Mr Johnson vowed to 'knuckle down and get on with it' after he was embroiled in a bitter Whitehall row. This saw the North Somerset MP as being branded 'nutty and obsessive' by a Whitehall official, believed to be linked to the Foreign Office where he previously worked in the mid-1990s under Michael Howard. Mrs May was quoted as being 'unimpressed' with Dr Fox's behaviour and sources said she wants her ministers to 'stop wasting time' and instead focus on delivering Brexit. Read more HERE.

International trade minister is in business

Just days after being back in government North Somerset MP Liam Fox has come under fire.

First is was for his decision to open an international trade office in North Carolina after the US state passed a sweeping anti-LGBT law.

The new Conservative international trade secretary plans to open a mission in the state capital, Raleigh, as part of the government’s push to expand the UK’s trade links following the Brexit vote.

In March, North Carolina introduced a law which, among other things, bars transgender people from using bathrooms that match their gender identity, and it prevents towns from passing LGBT anti-discrimination laws.

The law sparked economic boycotts by companies that could cost the state billions of dollars a year.

In a speech in the US this week Dr Fox said: "I am pleased to announce that the UK government plans to open three new offices right here in the United States, in Minneapolis, Raleigh and San Diego.

“Our ambitious vision for an open and outward-looking UK economy includes growing our footprint in the most important markets around the world and these three cities offer exciting opportunities to boost trade and investment.”

Each office will be staffed by one officer, recruited locally in the US on behalf of HMG.

Then according to what newspapers you read Dr Fox was slapped down by No 10 over comments he made about Britain’s post-Brexit trade with the EU.

He was reported saying early next year could be the best time for Britain to trigger formal divorce talks with the European Union so a deal can be reached before the next national election in 2020.

The Wall Street Journal reported Fox also said London would likely seek to enter a free-trade agreement with the EU rather than a closer customs union, which he said could restrict its ability to negotiate lower tariffs with other trading partners.

New Prime Minister Theresa May has said Britain will not trigger Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty, which formally begins the process of leaving the bloc, this year as it needs time to prepare for negotiations.

The Wall Street Journal said that in an interview, Fox had said the timing was still being debated by the new government but early next year could be best so that Britain can work out its new relationship before the next general election.

Already adding up his air mile since his new appointed Dr Fox held a series of productive meetings in Washington including with Trade Representative Michael Froman, before travelling to Chicago to speak at the Sage Summit for small and medium sized businesses.

He then heads to Los Angeles, where he will speak at a British American Business Council (BABC) event.

Back in government

 

It was a very Brexit coup that restored North Somerset MP Liam Fox to cabinet.

Patiently waiting in the wings and plotting with his co-conspirators in government to oust the Notting Hill set took some very careful political planning.

And now the Conservative right-winger has been rewarded by his friend and new Prime Minister Theresa May by being made international trade secretary.

The icing on the cake is that now he gets a ‘grace and favour’ holiday home which he will have to timeshare with foreign secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit minister David Davis.

The iconic country residence in question is remarkable 17-century mansion called Chevening House near Sevenoaks, Kent.

One leading national newspaper said of the share: ‘The three leading Brexit ministers are not great chums and quite how the Brexit house-share will work in practice remains to be seen although, given that Chevening has 115 rooms, it should be possible for them all to turn up at once without having them having to worry about one of them hogging the bathroom’.

Meanwhile back at Westminister the arm-wrestling for staff and status continues as Dr Fox is about to start work hoping to secure ground-breaking free trade deals with 12 countries before Britain leaves the EU.

Austrialia, Canada and the US are in his sights but cutting bureaucracy has left the British civil service with no trade negotiators, according to Oliver Letwin is the former Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

He told BBC Radio Four that ‘the trade negotiators who are Brits at the moment are basically working for the EU’ while Canada, which recently agreed a trade deal with the EU, has ‘300 trade negotiators’.

Yet Dr Fox was reported as saying this week: "We can make Britain a beacon for open trade.

"We've already had a number of countries saying we'd love to do a trade deal with the world's fifth-biggest economy without having to deal with the other 27 members of the EU."

Since last month's referendum Britain has dropped from the fifth biggest economy in the world to the sixth.

The elevation of Dr Fox who raised on a Scottish council estate and went to the House of Commons via a Glasgow Catholic comprehensive and medical school has been along a slightly arduous route.

He was cast into the margins of his party five years ago and forced to resign from the front benches in 2011 after allowing his friend and best man Adam Werritty to take on an unofficial and undeclared role as his adviser.

It was during this time as Foreigh Office minister he lived at Admiralty House, Whitehall, in a 'grace and favour' ministerial flat and where he celebrated his 50th birthday with a party attended by former PM David Cameron and the late Margaret Thatcher.

His current country residence is down the road at Tickenham with wife and fellow medical doctor Jesme.

Dr Fox stood in the Tory party leadership contest but fell at the first round of voting which lead to a late, futile attempt by Michael Gove to win for the Oxbridge set which most thought was never going to succeed.

  • Another ‘mate’ of Liam’s will be the guest speaker at the North Somerset Conservative Association autumn supper on Thursday evening, September 15. Lord William Hague or to give him his full moniker according to Wikipedia - William Jefferson Hague, Baron Hague of Richmond – was MP for Richmond, Yorkshire until 2015 when he was elevated to the peerage. When he was Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs he was effectively Liam’s boss. Tickets £30 for the event at Nailsea Masonic Hall from the constituency office at 71 High Street, Nailsea.

Could Liam be new leader?

Nailsea People respectfully declined an invitation by Dr Liam Fox MP to attend his official Conservative leadership launch campaign on Thursday lunchtime but we were very pleased to be invitied.

It was held at the Millbank Tower a 118-metre high skyscraper in the City of Westminster by the River Thames.

HERE is the full contents of the speech our North Somerset MP gave in London.

Prior to the formal procedure he gave several interviews on television and radio that morning where he main his intentions clear.

He also faced ‘awkward’ question about past behaviour which forced his resignation as defence secretary in October 2011.

He said all politicians were entitled to mistakes and it wasn’t possible to have a blameless life but that he had learned lessons.

He added he wasn’t going to lie when asked about friend Adam Werritty the Scottish businessman who was best man at his wedding in 2005 to fellow doctor Jesme Baird.

At the time he told PM David Cameron: “As I said in the House of Commons…I mistakenly allowed the distinction between my personal interest and my government activities to become blurred.”

In a shock move former London mayor Boris Johnson has ruled himself out of the contest.

In a dramatic press conference just moments before the deadline for nominations passed, Mr Johnson said that the next Tory leader would have to unify his party and ensure that Britain stood tall in the world.

He said: "Having consulted colleagues and in view of the circumstances in Parliament, I have concluded that person cannot be me.

"My role will be to give every possible support to the next Conservative administration to make sure we properly fulfil the mandate of the people that was delivered at the referendum and to champion the agenda I believe in."

It came after the shock announcement by fellow Brexit campaigner Michael Gove - who had widely been expected to be Mr Johnson's running mate - that he was putting himself forward for the leadership.

Johnson's decision not to join the battle leaves Home Secretary Theresa May as hot favourite to be the next Prime Minister.

He made supporters and journalists wait until the end of his speech before revealing his intentions, just moments before the official announcement from the Tories 1922 Committee that there would be five candidates in the contest with current betting odds in brackets:

  • Michael Gove* (5/2) is MP for Surrey Heath and former columnist for The Times;

  • Theresa May (4/7) has been Home Secretary since 2010 and is MP for Maidenhead;

  • Stephen Crabb (20/1) is MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions since March 2016;

  • Liam Fox* (33/1) is MP for North Somerset, founder of the charity Give Us Time, and former Secretary of State for Defence; and

  • Andrea Leadsom* (6/1) is MP for South Northamptonshire and has served as Minister of State for Energy at the Department of Energy and Climate Change since 11 May 2015.

Dr Fox stood unsuccessfully in the 2005 Conservative leadership election but had the support of more than 50 fellow MPs

The deadline for nominations closed at noon on Thursday.

The field of five hopefuls will be whittled down to a final two by Tory MPs following a series of ballots of the party's 331 MPs.

Then it will be a vote of the entire Conservative membership.

The winner of that vote will become the new Conservative leader and prime minister.

The winner will be known by Friday, September 2, at the latest.

* denotes leading light Brexit campaign to leave the European Union

RIP Jo Cox MP

A EU Referendum rally planned for Friday evening at Nailsea was cancelled following the death of Labour MP Jo Cox.

The 41-year-old who represented Batley and Spen in West Yorkshire was stabbed and shot on Thursday afternoon and died later in hospital.

As a mark of respect many groups suspended their campaigns including the organisers of the meeting planned for the Scotch Horn Leisure Centre.

Another Europe Is Possible, which believes the UK should remain within the EU, had invited three speakers to offer their views.

Organiser Steve Timmins said: “In view of the tragic events and the devastating loss of Jo Cox MP the Another Europe Is Possible event at Scotch Horn Leisure Centre is cancelled and all campaigning is suspended.”

North Somerset Labour Party did however man a Keep Britain In stall at Nailsea Saturday market.

North Somerset MP Liam Fox has described the killing of Labour’s Jo Cox as ‘truly senseless’.

The Conservative MP tweeted his thoughts in the aftermath of her death.

He said: “We are all shocked by the news of Jo Cox’s murder.

“A truly senseless waste which worst of all leaves two young children without their mother.”

Sunday services at St Peter's Church, Birstall - in Mrs Cox's constituency - come as a memorial fund set up in her name has topped £600,000.

Thomas Mair, accused of her murder, appeared before magistrates on Saturday where he gave his name as 'Death to traitors, freedom for Britain'.

Later, Mrs Cox's sister called on people to ‘focus on that which unites us and not which divides us’.

Kim Leadbeater was speaking as she and Mrs Cox's parents Gordon and Jean visited Birstall on Saturday to read floral tributes and thank gathered crowds for their support.

The tributes paid to her sister had ‘genuinely made a difference’, she said, and helped the family through some ‘dark times’.

"I could not watch the overwhelming outpouring of love without speaking on behalf of Jo," she said.

"She will live on through good people in the world."

The Reverend Paul Knight, vicar at St Peter's Anglican church, told the congregation Mrs Cox was a ‘fervent advocate for the poor and the oppressed’.

Tributes were also paid to Bernard Kenny, the 77-year-old man who was injured as he came to the MP's aid on Thursday.

"I think he has been a very brave person," Rev Knight said.

Mr Kenny remains in a stable condition in hospital.

Mrs Cox, who was married with two children, was about to attend a constituency surgery when she was killed.

As services remembering Jo Cox took place, her husband, Brendan, tweeted: "Jo loved camping. Last night the kids & I camped in her memory & remembered the last time we were all woken by the dawn chorus."

Mr Mair, aged 52, of Birstall, faces charges of murder, grievous bodily harm, possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence and possession of an offensive weapon.

The defendant, who was wearing a grey tracksuit, refused to give his correct name and did not reply when asked to confirm his address and date of birth at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

He did not enter a plea and is next due to appear for a bail application hearing at the Old Bailey on Monday.

Parliament will be recalled on Monday to allow MPs to pay further tributes to Mrs Cox.

The funds raised in the memorial fund will support three causes her husband, Brendan Cox, said were close to her heart, including the The Royal Voluntary Service, HOPE not hate and The White Helmets.

Voters will go to the polls in the EU referendum on Thursday, June 23.

Liam voted number two

 

Despite lots of media exposure on radio, television and in the newspapers North Somerset MP Liam Fox was not the favourite this month for the next Conservative leader.

But who would have thought the teachers most disliked politician Michael Gove would have pipped him at the post.

Published online by Conservative Home it shows Mr Gove topping the next party leader survey for the second month running.

Journalist Paul Goodman said: “After a turbulent period, the survey is settling down – or at least shows signs of doing so in its next party leader question.”

In January, home secretary Theresa May was top.

 In February, she was replaced by Dr Fox.

In March, Boris Johnson toppled him, in the wake of his own declaration for Brexit. 

And last month, Mr Gove took the lead.

This month, he extends it by five points. 

Mr Gove who is also Scottish-born is a former education minister is the MP for Surrey Heath.

He is also an author and was formerly a columnist for The Times.

Party members are clearly minded at the moment to support a pro-Leave candidate: 70 per cent of them do so – almost exactly the same number as those who say that they will either vote for Brexit in June’s referendum, or are likely to.

Mrs May trailed Dr Fox by a single vote. 

Priti Patel stays on nine per cent, not a bad rating at all for a Minister who doesn’t head a department. 

And George Osborne appears to be marooned on eight per cent or thereabouts, at least for the moment.

Since Jeremy Hunt has said that his present job is likely to be ‘my last big job in politics’ he has been taken out of the equation.

The 'latest Liam pronouncements’ include tweets about spending the £350m we send to the EU every week on our priorities; having a duty of care towards those willing to put their lives on the line for our forces for instance Afghan translators; leaving the EU gives us our freedom - that's fundamental; ‘EU is fundamentally doomed, with or without UK 'cos can't deal with problems of identity’ and confirming post  Brexit the UK will still have seat at the United Nations, NATO, G7 and in the Commonwealth.

He was also reported comparing the ‘EU to Soviet Union: And we all remember what happened when that country’s authority began to crumble’.

In the House of Commons the former Nailsea GP has spoken about the junior doctors contract and earlier in April he gave the Ronald Reagan lecture at The Margaret Thatcher Centre while warning that the Foreign Office where he once worked has been reduced to little more than an EU embassy.

Closer to home with wife Jesme, the couple were pictured during the bank holiday weekend enjoying at the North Somerset Show and his next Nailsea surgery is on Friday, June 10, 6-8pm at the Conservative offices, 71 High Street.

To book an appointment contact his personal assistant Ione Douglas by emailing ione.douglas@parliament.uk, call 0207 219 4198 or write to The Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP, House of Commons, Westminster, London SW1A 0AA.

 

RE-ELECTED

Candidates for police and crime commissioner job

 

The list of candidates standing for election as Avon and Somerset  police and crime commissioner has been published.
There are seven candidates.

In 2012 only 20 per cent of people eligible to vote in this area bothered and natinwide the election saw the lowest turnout in peacetime history with only 15.1 per cent of voters turning out.
In England and Wales, outside of Greater London, police and crime commissioners are directly-elected officials charged with securing efficient and effective policing of their police area. 
They are not warranted police officers, although they appoint and hold to account their chief constable.
The first police and crime commissioner for this area Sue Mountstevens is seeking re-election.
The 60-year-old mother of three who lives near Pill has had a controversial ride since swapping her role as head of the family bakery company for a life in politics.
The former member of Avon and Somerset Police Authority, vice-chair of the Independent Monitoring Board for Bristol Prison and magistrate she is on her third chief constable in as many years. 
Bath & North East Somerset Council chief executive and Avon and Somerset police area returning officer Dr Jo Farrar said: “Police and crime commissioners make decisions which will have a key impact on how your local area looks and feels, and how the policing needs of local communities are met. 
"So it’s important that people have their say on Thursday, May 5.”
A new website has been launched to provide up-to-date information on the PCC election, click HERE to learn more.

The police and crime commissioner is responsible for overseeing how crime is tackled across the Avon and Somerset area and doing everything they can to make sure that the police are providing a good service. 

They do this by:

  • meeting the public regularly to listen to their views on policing;

  • producing a police and crime plan setting out local policing priorities;

  • deciding how the budget will be spent; and

  • appointing chief constables and dismissing them if necessary.

The following people are seeking election:

  • Criminal barrister Kerry Barker has been selected by Labour to stand for police and crime commissioner of Avon and Somerset. He said: "My first priority is to speak to as many residents as possible about what they feel they need from their PCC. For too long people in Avon and Somerset have not had their voices heard on matters of police and crime and I intend to make that right.”

  • Mark Weston is standing for the Conservative Party for the election.He is the current leader of the Conservative Group on Bristol City Council.He also has experience of policing matters as a member of the Police and Crime panel in Bristol and says he would like to put the community at the heart of policing. Mr Weston will be in Nailsea on Saturday, April 9, meeting people.

  • Wells deputy mayor Chris Briton is the Green Party candidate. He is a qualified youth offender team officer and award-winning artist who writes and directs pantomime for Wells Little Theatre.

  • Paul Crossley  was the leader of Bath and North East Somerset Council from 2002-7 and from 2011-15, turning it into one of the most successful councils in the area with low unemployment, high investment, great schools and low crime. Mr Crossley said: “I am delighted and honoured to have been selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate. My experience running a large council enables me to improve efficiency while cutting waste and bureaucracy. I have the highest regard for the people who make the police their career. I want to help Avon and Somerset police force be the best and most effective in the country.

  • Coleford town councillor, businessman and smallholder Aaron Foot is the UK Independence Party candidate. 

  • Retired police officer Kevin Phillips in an independent candidate who also served as chairman of the Avon and Somerset Police Federation. He says he wants to campaign to put victims at the heart of the criminal justice system and refocus the needs of neighbourhood policing.

You read it here first

 

Nailsea People said it two weeks ago on its first March front page - click HERE to read - and now in this One Minute Fox North Somerset MP Liam Fox echoes the sentiments in his latest news video Metro-Mayors. 

Liam for leader

 

Following his anti-Brussels stance North Somerset MP Liam Fox is the favourite to become the next Conservative leader.

For the first time a poll of nearly 700 readers of the Conservative Home website this week made Dr Fox their top choice to take over from David Cameron.

Dr Fox has joined the cross-party Brexit alliance campaigning to leave the European Union.

Brexit is a blend of the words 'British' and ‘exit’.

Although it was conducted before the draft EU renegotiation deal was published it is seen as a strong indication of the eurosceptic grassroots membership.

 Many party activists were incensed when the Prime Minister recently urged MPs to ignore the opinions of their local parties when it came to picking a side in the referendum on whether to leave the European Union.

The PM is expected to back staying in.

Former defence secretary Dr Fox  - who stood in the 2005 Tory leadership contest won by Mr Cameron and is thought not to have ruled himself out of a future bid - has emerged this year as a leading advocate of Brexit.

He was the only non-minister in the survey, apart from London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Dr Fox was backed by nearly 21 per cent of those taking part in the survey, just ahead of home secretary Theresa May

Mr Johnson was third favourite, on just under 19 per cent, followed by chancellor George Osborne and business secretary Sajid Javid.

Mr Cameron said last year that he will step down as leader before the 2020 election after serving two terms in Downing Street.

SHARED VIEWS: North Someret MP Liam Fox shared a 'Grassroots Out’ platform with UKIP leader Nigel Farage and Labour MP Kate Hoey. the cross party representatives were campaigning for the UK to leave the EU. More than 2,000 people attended the event at Kettering, Northamptonshire to hear Mr Farage say ''we are not against Europe, we love Europe'. He added: "What we are against is the idea of all of our laws being administered by those in Brussels." To listen to what Dr fox had to say watch the YouTube video left.

House of Lords charity evening 

 

Give Us Time the charity founded by North Somerset MP Liam Fox hosted a VIP evening at the House of Lords.

Among the guests were charity’s ambassador Lady Kitty Eleanor Spencer the eldest daughter of Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer and his first wife, Victoria Lockwood; Baroness Floella Benjamin, theTrinidadian-British actress, author, singer, businesswoman and politician who once presented children's programmes such as Play School; Worldwide Timeshare Hypermarket chief executive Phil Watson; Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and charity trustee Belinda deLucy McKeeve.

Give Us Time takes one-week holidays donated by owners of holiday homes and timeshares, and matches them with military personnel in need of rest, rehabilitation and reconnection with their families.

The charity was founded in 2012 by former Army medic and the ex defence minister after Dr Fox became aware that homecomings were not always as easy as might be expected for service personnel or their families.

One Minute Fox newsreels by North Somerset MP

 

North Somerset MP Liam Fox has released two more One Minute Fox videos, top, this time he deals with the war in Syria.

The first is called What Do Stop The War Really Want To Stop? and the second is The ISIS Challenge.

In the Stop the War video he asks do they really want the international community to cease military activity against ISIS in Syria.

He said; "Presumably, they believe that they are not a threat to innocent civilians in the region or beyond.

"None of us want to see unnecessary conflict but let’s remind them of a few home truths.

"ISIS are a violent bunch of murderous fanatics who claim it is their duty to kill anyone who does not agree with their hard line religious views."

And in the second he said; "The extended reach of Isis, as well as their regional activities, represents a huge international security challenge.

"The aim has been to degrade and contain Isis, but clearly they are not contained.

"We need to attack them on multiple fronts.

"We need to cut off their sources of funding.

"We need to counter their propaganda with a positive narrative about our values – and we have to take action against Isis bases in Syria."

Click on the videos top to listed to the full text.

  • With that snappy (not) titleToyota and the Reality of BREXIT, North Somerset MP Liam Fox has released another new One Minute Fox video. This time it backs our December front page story when he calls the UK to leave the EU. To read the full story which includes the Andrew Marr interview an except from Hansand  in full click HERE

Last 2015 political postings

 

Christmas cards 2015 from across the political spectrum.

Top left clockwise is Scottish rebel rouser Nicola Sturgeon with The First Minister Noel, then Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn with Bicycle Bell Rock, Lib Dem leader Tim Farron with In the Bleak Mid-Political Winter, Conservative chanellor George Osborne with I'm Dreaming Of A Tight Christmas, the PM's Christmas card of David and Samantha Cameron return to 10 Downing Street following the 2015 general election, North Somerset MP Liam Fox sent Adoration of the Shepherds by Agnolo Bronzino and last but not least, Ukip leader Nigel Farage with Have Yourself a Merry Little England. How many did you received? Nailsea People only got the one from Liam. 

Speaking in House of Commons + radio

 

On Monday, November 16, North Somerset MP Liam Fox said in parliament:

 

Dr Liam Fox (North Somerset) (Con): Events in Paris have exposed the truth about ISIS and its fellow jihadists, which is that they hate us not because of what we do, but because of what we are. They hate our history, our identity and our values. Does my right hon. Friend agree that those who say that we will be left alone if we leave them alone are peddling a dangerous and deadly deception?

 

Mrs May: My right hon. Friend makes a very important point. It is quite clear from those who attacked in Paris and those who have attacked elsewhere that their poisonous ideology is against the way in which the west conducts its life—the sort of lives that we lead and the sort of structures that we have in the west and elsewhere in other parts of the world. He is absolutely right that it is not the case that if we take no action, they will take no action against us. It is clear that they have evil intent and, sadly, as we saw on Friday, they have put that evil intent into practice.

 

He later gave the BBC World at One interview.

FOX NEWS: North Somerset MP Liam Fox stars in his new One Minute Fox video called The Referendum and Treaty Change. It is all about the for against arguments about the European Union. Click arrow to listen. For further videos scroll down this page

Wealthy OAPs face sweeping welfare cuts

 

Could well off OAPs lose their fuel allowance, free TV licences, bus passes and prescriptions?

North Somerset MP Liam Fox wants to cut government funded perks for well-off pensioners.

Dr Fox was part of the panel at a controversial Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) fringe meeting at the Conservative Party Conference this week.

The former defence secretary said now was a ‘great opportunity’ to make sweeping cuts in welfare spending while the Labour Party is not such a ‘great threat’.

At the same meeting in Manchester, TPA research director Alex Wild said pensioners hit by cuts to winter fuel payments ‘may not be around’ by the next election, reports the BBC.

Mr Wild, a key figure in the right-wing pressure group said others may not remember who put the policy in place.

He warned his comments ‘will sound a little bit morbid’, going on to say: "Some of the people... won't be around to vote against you in the next election.

“So that's just a practical point, and the other point is they might have forgotten by then."

He added: "If you did it now, chances are that in 2020 someone who has had their winter fuel cut might be thinking, 'Oh I can't remember, was it this government or was it the last one? I'm not quite sure’.

"So on a purely practical basis I would say do it immediately.

“That might be one of those things I regret saying in later life but that would be my practical advice to the government."

Mr Fox told the same meeting that the government had to act now to make further cuts to benefits and welfare.

He said ‘we can never go back’ to the ‘historically high’ levels of public spending seen in recent years and the government's public spending cuts must be ‘for keeps’.

He added: "This is the time to fix the roof.

"We have a broken opposition.

“We have just won a general election and we need now to take the tough decisions we believe are right."

Dr Fox said now that ‘Labour was not such a great threat’, this was a ‘great opportunity for us to do some of the more difficult things, however unpalatable they will be in the short term are what we need to do for the country’.

He added: "We need to do what we all know deep in our hearts to be right."

But the morning after the TPA meeting Mr Wild faced calls this morning to apologise for the remarks.

Dot Gibson, general secretary of Britain's biggest older people organisation, the National Pensioners Convention, said: “Mr Wild’s remarks are both politically cynical and personally offensive and there needs to be an apology.

"It represents some of the most awful ageist nonsense I've heard in a long time.

“He doesn't consider the fact that the winter fuel allowance is essential because every year tens of thousands of older people die from the cold.

"Taking it away would just make this worse – but perhaps that’s what he wants. He also suggests that younger people would support making their grandparents worse off.

"That’s all part of this phoney generation war that the TPA and others like to promote.

"Families care about each other, and grandparents often help out their grandchildren where they can.

“Contrary to what he suggested, Mr Wild can be sure pensioners won’t be forgetting this in a hurry.”

A TPA spokesman said Mr Wild ‘made a joke to the room that the room laughed at, but now understands that beyond the four walls of the room it hasn't gone down so well.

He added that the joke was ‘in poor taste’ but said Mr Wild: "stands behind the substance of what he said."

Londoners mustn’t have a veto on Heathrow airport

 

Are we so parochial the people from North Somerset care little about what happens on the edge of the M4? Our MP Liam Fox who is also chairman of the South West Conservative MPs Group writing for The Telegraph newspaper thinks not – this is what he has to say:

 

"As we approach the London Mayoral election in 2016 there will be an increasing tendency for London-based media and politicians to see issues even more in terms of the capital than is usual.

For those of us outside the M25, it will be an opportunity to show how ‘London’ issues can have a huge impact on the rest of us.

A prime example is the need for greater runway capacity.

Three years have passed since the Coalition asked Sir Howard Davies’ Airports Commission to identify the most effective option for expanding the UK’s airport capacity.

The commission has now provided a ‘clear and unanimous’’ recommendation that a third runway at Heathrow would provide ‘more substantial economic and strategic benefits’’ to Britain than any other option.

The Davies commission was endorsed by the Conservatives and Labour.

Its recommendations enjoy wide cross-party support.

Graham Brady, chairman of the Conservative 1922 Committee of backbench MPs, suggests that up to 600 MPs would support the findings if it came to a vote in the Commons.

It is easy to understand the commission’s reasoning.

In choosing to expand our world-class airport, we can ensure that Heathrow maintains its position as the gateway to Europe and a hub connecting the UK to the powerhouses of the world.

The report concludes that a third runway at Heathrow will boost the economy by more than £200 billion.

Yet the airport question is still considered a purely London issue.

While MPs whose constituencies lie closest to Heathrow have certainly been the most vocal in their opposition, the capital must not be allowed to dominate a debate that is about the future of the whole UK.

Residents of west London who live beneath the flight path do have legitimate concerns.

One of the great benefits of the commission’s recommendation is that it includes measures to reduce drastically noise pollution from the airport.

As a Somerset MP, though, my first question for any proposal must always be: “How does this benefit the South West?’’

 A third runway at Heathrow offers my region a £10 billion increase in economic activity, as well as 12,300 new jobs.

This is partially facilitated by the Government’s pledge to construct a £500 million rail link connecting the Great Western mainline directly to Heathrow Terminal 5.

This link, which includes a tunnel under the M25, will reduce journey times to London by half an hour and allow passengers to board a train at Bristol and travel directly to their terminal.

It will put one in four people in the UK within one change of the airport.

The Great Western Mainline link will carry its first passengers in 2021, well before any runway will be finished.

Yet it will have the effect of making Heathrow a ‘local airport’’ for South West England, creating jobs and allowing the region to share in the prosperity as Heathrow connects Britain to the global economy.

National business groups such as the Institute of Directors and CBI agree with regional bodies such as Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, the Dorset Chamber of Commerce, Newquay Cornwall Airport and the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce that Heathrow should expand as soon as possible.

The airport debate cannot be allowed to become London-centric.

While the benefits to the South West are significant, they merely reflect of the benefits that expanding our best-connected airport will bring to the entire country.

The commission, moreover, is clear in its recommendation of Heathrow over Gatwick. True, both airports are equally convenient from the capital, but London is not a city-state. We must ensure that all corners of Britain are included in this decision.

"The capital must not be allowed to dominate a debate that is about the economic future of the entire UK"

The Government and those in the capital must unite behind Heathrow, and move towards a prosperous vision of the future for the entire United Kingdom. The London mayoral candidates will have their own views for those they represent, but they must remember there is a bigger constituency outside the capital."

  • Dr Liam Fox MP will be interviewed live from North Somerset on the Murnaghan programme on Sky News on Sunday, September 20.  The programme is broadcast between 10am-noon.

  AN ALTERNATIVE  

Although nowhere near rivalling the film production of 21st Century Fox our North Somerset MP has managed a prolilfic output with his One Minute Fox videos.

Since the launch he has posted more than 30 short, soapbox films giving his opinion on a vast range of topical subjects.

Many deal with foreign policy or take an anti-European Union stance and all can be viewed HERE.

His latest – his 35th - about the EU bailout of Greece is on this page.

It is called Greece From Tragedy To Pantomime

Other titles in the series include:

  • English Votes For English Laws

  • Access to Justice

  • Grexit (2)

  • Grexit (1)

  • The Threats to the British Economy Part 2

  • The Threats to the British Economy Part 1

  • Rising Tides

  • The Madness of a European Army

  • Defence Budget - The First Duty of Government

  • The Risks of the Euro

  • De-risking the Euro

  • No Public Funds For Political Parties

  • Russia's Lessons

  • Let's Call Treason By Its Real Name

  • Weaponising the NHS is Disgusting

  • Our Security - Everyone's Responsibility

  • After Paris

  • Mental Health

  • The Politics of Hope/ New Year's Message 

  • Russia's Dangerous World View

  • Don't Apologise For Christmas 

  • North Somerset Sustainable Housing

  • Wealth Creation

  • Living Within Our Means - Autumn Statement

  • Immigration Open and Shut

  • Immigration Integration

  • Euro Crisis

  • No Jihad Gap Year

  • Remembrance

  • Welfare Liberation

  • The Unsustainable EU

  • Diversity and Commonality

  • The Fundamentalist Threat

 

 

This week in Parliament the North Somerset MP spoke against a bill to help termterminally ill people to chose when they died.

Called the Right To Die Bill it is the first time the issue has been debated in the House of Commons for 20 years.

The former Nailsea GP said: “It is all too easy to open a Pandora’s box, with utterly unintended consequences that may be very different from the primary intentions of those promoting the bill.

“People feeling that they are a burden when making a decision to end their lives prematurely is only one factor, but that is one reason too many.

“The answer is not to make it easier to kill people; we need societal change to prevent people from feeling a burden in their elderly years.”

More power to Nailsea people

 

Like Scotland beforehand politicians in the West of England are going for more independence by asking for devolution.

Urban and rural councillors are joining forces to ask the government for more autonomy which they say will enrich the local economy by £2bn.

But unlike Scotland there is no talk of a referendum as many feel the May elections gave them a mandate for the breakaway move.

In a submission to the Treasury this week they are calling for a £1bn investment which could triple the level of spending on major projects such as transport, flood defence and housing during the next 10 years.
The package, which also proposes greater local control over post-16 training and skills, is focused on increasing economic productivity to grow the region’s economy by at least five per cent more than it would without the deal.

In doing so they say it will create a fairer region where people have better access to employment, more homes available and better transport options. But funnily enough those who were opposed to Avon Country Council or even a bigger Greater Bristol have joined hands for a West of England powerhouse.

North Somerset Council leader Nigel Ashton said: “The devolution deal builds on the strong partnership working we have in the West of England and in making this submission to government we are signalling our ambition for growth.

“Alongside this we are also seeking to secure powers so that we can make sure that growth takes place in appropriate places and is supported by improvements to our transport network and provision of essential infrastructure.

“The proposals also give us a real opportunity to work with businesses, government and our training and education providers, making sure we develop skilled people locally to sustain growth in our area.”
He is supported by Bath and North East Somerset leader Tim Warren, South Gloucestershire Council leader Matthew Riddle, West of England Local Enterprise Partnership chairman Colin Skellett, Bristol major George Ferguson.

The government is expected to make its decision in time for the chancellor’s autumn statement on Wednesday, November 25.

Liam beats Boris in leadership poll

 

More than a third of people polled by a Conservative website want chancellor George Osborne to succeed David Cameron as prime minister. 

Last month Mr Osborne soared into the lead in the monthly future party leader survey conducted by Britain’s leading Conservative blog edited by former High Wycombe MP and journalist Paul Goodman.

Mr Osborne went from 22 per cent to 31 per cent and this month he got 33 per cent of the vote. 

The only other possible candidates to get more than 30 per cent in the poll was Theresa May back in June 2014.

Sajid Javid is still second, with his score more or less unchanged on 18 per cent (it was 19 per cent last month). Mrs May’s score is essentially static, too, up from 13 per cent to 15 per cent.

However, she is up to third – partly because Boris Johnson’s rating has fallen from 17 per cent to 12 per cent.  The London Mayor’s past five percentage ratings have been 27 (pre-election), 21, 23, 17 and now 12, his lowest finding in the survey to date.

Mr Goodman said: "I wouldn’t say his figure is in freefall, but it is falling – the trend is unmistakably downwards. 

"Indeed, he is now fifth, just a whisker behind Liam Fox, who is on 13 per cent. 

"I think Fox is scooping up all the vote of the unreconciled Right, which may see other candidates enter the field in the real poll.

"All in all, the survey seems to be settling down to a post-election norm, with May, Fox and Johnson tucked in behind Javid, and Osborne well ahead of all of them."

Although a leadership election could be taking place this time next year, there is an EU referendum to get through first, and much can change. 

Here are the scores in full:

  • George Osborne 33 per cent - up two points;

  • Sajid Javid 18 per cent - down one point;

  • Theresa May 15 per cent - up two points;

  • Liam Fox 13 per cent - down one point;

  • Boris Johnson 12 per cent  - down five points;

  • Michael Gove 5 per cent - no change;

  • Jeremy Hunt 3 per cent - up one point; and

  • Nicky Morgan 1 per cent - no change.

This poll was conducted among nearly 1,000 party members with only 93 declining to vote.

Pictured are a much younger Cameron, Osborne and Fox, photo courtesey of The Commentator website.

Ladies who lunch now go to supper at Nailsea

 

North Somerset Conservative Association is hosting a supper with guest speaker Ann Widdecombe.

The former MP who was born in Bath has many friends living at Nailsea and nearby and is a frequent visitor to Noah's Ark zoo farm at Wraxall.

The supper is at Nailsea Masonic Hall, Nailsea Park.

Elephant Eden was officially launched to the public in September 2011 with the help Miss Widdecombe who is a family friend of owners Anthony and Christina Bush.

The 68-year-old former privy councillor and novelist now spends her time making guest television appearances on programmes as diverse at Strictly Come Dancing and Celebrity Fit Club.

She was MP for  Maidstonefrom 1987 to 1997 and for Maidstone and The Weald from 1997 to 2010.

She is a convert from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism.

As an MP, Miss Widdecombe was known for opposing the legality of abortion, her opposition to various issues of LGBT equality such as an equal age of consent and the repeal of Section 28, her support for the re-introduction of the death penalty, the retention of blasphemy laws and her opposition to fox hunting.

Supper sounds like good fun then!

Click the image left to buy tickets which will be on sale to the general public from Thursday, September 10.

Tickets cost £32 for members of the Conservative Party and £32.50 for non-members.

Liam for leadership

 

The Conservative Party polls for who will be its next leader changes monthly but with David Cameron committed to step down before the May 2020 general election speculation is hotting up.

One minute it’s Boris Johnson the next it’s Theresa May.

But one constant in the runners-up list is North Somerset MP Liam Fox.

This month George Osborne has overtaken Mr Johnson  to become the favourite to lead the Conservative Party when Mr Cameron steps down, while Mrs May has fallen behind Dr Fox, according to a poll of activists. 

Surprisingly the Chancellor picked up 30.9 per cent of the vote, well ahead of Sajid Javid, the business secretary, on 18.9 per cent with the London mayor and Uxbridge blond MP on 16.6 per cent.

But Dr Fox, the former Defence Secretary, polled in fourth place on 13.9 per cent, ahead of Mrs May, the Home Secretary - a one-time favourite - on 13.1 per cent, according to the poll of 700 party members, by Conservative Home.

The results are a marked shift since last month, when Mr Johnson was favourite on 22 per cent, narrowly ahead of Mr Javid and Mr Osborne.

The surge in support for Mr Osborne follows his first all-Conservative budget in July.

Last summer Mrs May enjoyed 35 per cent of activists' support - a 12 point lead over Mr Johnson, with Mr Osborne trailing on just 8 per cent.

Read more by clicking HERE.

Paddy Power an online betting website is offering odds at Mr Osborne 5/2, Mr Johnson 11/4, Mrs May 7/1, Mr Javid 12/1 and Dr Fox at 40/1 on who is likely to be the next Prime Minister.

But then it has UKIP leader Nigel Farage at 250/1 and Labour Party contender Jeremy Corbyn at 14/1.

Read more by clicking HERE.

Some political pundits fearful of the ‘Eton set’ say ‘Dr Fox who was brought up in a Glasgow council house and attended state school could well be seen as the man to put the Tory Party back in touch with working class voters’. 

Whatever the politicals say Dr Fox is a firm favourite with the blue-rinse county ladies and was the late Margaret Thatcher's blue-eyed boy.

No post election blues for this busy bee

 

It you thought our North Somerset MP Liam Fox would take it a bit easier after the whirlwind general election campaign then think again.

He has been popping up everywhere on radio, television, in the constituency, newspapers and at the House of Commons during debates and on the terrace with a climate change delegation from Christian Aid.

With wife Jesme Baird the couple attended the opening of the new Portishead Lifeboat Station and took time beforehand to speak at the business forum.

Dr Fox has been vocal in parliament on all sorts of matters including the sale of the Royal Bank of Scotland and twice concerning the European Union.

And he has had something to say about the proposed nuclear agreement with Iran and the threats by animal rights activists to Caffe Nero on milk sourcing.

Dr Fox said: “The ‘serious and credible threats’ against Caffe Nero team members from Animal Rights activists is a disgrace which the police need to deal with urgently. 

“It is tragic that farmers will potentially pay the price for this intimidation”.

Writing in The Telegraph newspaper this week he said: “The euro does not have a problem... it is the problem Europe’s leaders must face the truth that the single currency now poses fundamental threat to global financial stability.”

On the EU his warned Prime Minister David Cameron he could face a crushing series of Conservative resignations if he fails to allow Cabinet ministers to campaign for exit.

And he wanted the PM to give full details of his EU negotiations before the Tory conference in October.

Speaking in the EU referendum bill debate he said: “No one in this country who is under the age of 58 —happily including myself — has been able to have a say on our membership of the European Union.

“The world is very different from how it was in 1975 when my parents campaigned on opposite sides of the European question.

“Then, Britain was the sick man of Europe, with chronic high inflation and with state-owned industries bleeding us dry.

“It was dominated by the trade union barons.

“We looked at Europe as a sign of economic success.

“We looked at Germany and said, ‘Let’s have a little bit of that!’.

But the EU became more than a common market with trading partners becoming politicial partners, said Dr Fox and with all the recent game changes it is time to turn the clock back and give power back to British people.

Dr Fox added; “Many who voted in that referendum believe that by stealth they were sold a pup by being sold into a very different entity on which they were never allowed to give their opinion.”

 That is why we should celebrate what is happening in the Chamber today. We are allowing those people to have a voice, which they have been denied by Governments of both political complexions for many years.

This is just a taster - to find out more visit Dr Fox’s website by clicking HERE or follow him on Twitter with hashtag @liamfoxmp.

STOP PRESS: Dr Liam Fox will be on BBC Points West immediately after 10’o’clock news on BBC 1 on Tuesday, June 23, to discuss the re-opening of Portishead Railway Station or watch later on iPlayer.

Liam sees Sun

setting on EU

unless reformed 

 

North Somerset MP Liam Fox made a speech during the debate on the Queen’s address to both Houses of Parliament on Thursday, May 28.

He said; "The Gracious Speech sets out a programme with both vision and ambition. 

"The Government have three historic tasks in this term: balancing the budget; doing so in a way that does not diminish our national security; and, of course, giving the British people a say on our future relationship with the European Union. 

"The great dividing line at the general election was between those who believed in living within our means and those who believed there was a different way.

"The myth peddled by the left—that there is an easy and painless alternative to what they call 'austerity'—was seen through by the British public."Dealing with the deficit is the great unfinished business from the last Parliament."

He then spelt out his interpretation of our fiscal situation and the state-of-the-world in defence terms..

To lister to the full live recording click HERE.

And in the Sun on Sunday Dr Fox set out his views on an EU referendum.

Writing for the Sun on Sunday on May 31, North Somerset MP Liam Fox wrote that the referendum on Britain's membership in the European Union cannot be rushed.

He said: “At last we know. The election of a Conservative majority Government means the British people will, finally, be given a say on our future in the European Union.

“This promise, kept so quickly, will go some way to restoring the public’s damaged faith in our political system.

“Yet even before we have passed the necessary law to allow the referendum to take place, the debate has become highly polarised.

“There are those who say we should stay in the European Union regardless of the outcome of any renegotiation and there are those who say we should go anyway.

“I think both cases are wrong.

“Most people will be willing to give the Prime Minister time to take his case to our European partners and try to create a new balance that will be to the benefit of both the United Kingdom and the EU itself.

”It is such a momentous decision for our country that we must take our time and get the best outcome possible before we take a final decision in a referendum.

“The last time the British people were given a say was 40 years ago, so no one under the age of 58 has been able to express an opinion on this most important subject — and that’s including me.

“I was 13 at the time of the last referendum, which I remember vividly because my parents were strongly on opposite sides.

“Those who voted for what was then the Common Market wanted to ensure Britain had a strong trading relationship with our European neighbours.

“Many of those who voted yes now feel they were betrayed and sold into an ever-tighter political relationship with a Europe that they never gave their agreement to.

“This referendum will be a chance to rebalance that relationship for future generations.

“In 1975 Britain was a very different country. We suffered from high inflation and rising unemployment.

“The Labour government of Harold Wilson was bullied by the trade union leaders at home and lived in fear of the Soviet Union in the Cold War abroad.

“Many Britons abandoned our shores to seek a new life abroad.

“Now Britain is a very different country, with an unemployment rate of 5.5 per cent, compared to 11.4 per cent in the Eurozone.

“The City of London is the engine of the global financial industry and Britain attracts the lion’s share of all Europe’s inward investment.

“Such is our economic success that people are desperate to come here to take advantage of our economic expansion.

“Gone are the days when Britain was regarded as the sick man of Europe.

“Today’s confident Britain is ambitious and outward looking.

“Back in the Seventies, Europe was seen by many as being at the centre of the world economy and at the centre of global influence.

“Not so today.

“The constant crisis in the Eurozone, seen most clearly today in the Greek debt emergency, is directly due to the disastrous way in which the single currency, the euro, was introduced.

“Millions of young Europeans, in particular, find themselves unemployed as a consequence of European economic mismanagement.

“In Spain, 58 per cent of young Europeans find themselves on the dole, while in countries outside the Eurozone, such as Britain, youth unemployment continues to fall. The EU is no longer seen as an economic model to aspire to but a potential threat to global financial stability.

“In the Sixties and Seventies Europe was at the centre of the global political world and crucial to success in the Cold War against the Communist Soviet Union.

“That world has completely altered.

“The era of globalisation has seen the emergence of new powers and new centres of influence.

“The rise of India and China — and the increasing confidence of Commonwealth partners such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada — means that Europeans can no longer regard themselves as being “at the centre of the world”.

“Too many in the European political establishment have failed to understand that basic truth.

“The Prime Minister is yet to formally set out the detailed areas upon which he is negotiating but there are several clear issues at stake.

“The scale of European economic migration is a huge political problem in many parts of the country (though it still accounts for less than half of Britain’s total immigration).

“Most people in Britain do not have a problem with immigrants who are coming to contribute to the wealth of our country. But they resent those trying to use British public services and the benefits system without putting anything in first.

“In the City of London there are many who fear that there are those in Brussels, jealous of London’s success, who would use any new powers to handicap us.

“They believe that London is in competition with Frankfurt and Paris. They are wrong.

“London competes with New York, Shanghai and Singapore, playing in the financial premier league.

“The Chancellor has made clear his opposition to any European power grab, and this will be one of the central battlegrounds of the negotiations.

“Yet the most important issue is a much more fundamental one. Many people, myself included, feel that too many of our laws are made outside of our shores — and that we must bring back powers to the United Kingdom Parliament so British citizens can make the ultimate decisions about how we are governed.

“This argument, about sovereignty, is likely to be at the very core of the debate leading up to the referendum.

“Those who are trying to bounce the British people into an early referendum should be resisted.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity we cannot afford to get wrong.

“The British people rightly expect a full, detailed and mature debate on the options they will face.

“Neither the ‘yes’ campaign, nor the ‘no’ campaign will have all the arguments on their side and we must have a fair, honest and transparent debate without bullying or scare-mongering.

“That is why it is right to cut the Prime Minister some slack and allow him the time and space required to get the best deal possible.

“We must then take our time before coming to a final decision.

“For the sake of future generations, in Britain and the rest of the EU, it is important to be right . . . rather than quick."

PHOTO: Chatham House

  • Number of member countries when we joined: Nine
  • Number of countries now: 28
  • Britain’s estimated net contribution to EU in 2015-16: £8.7billion
  • 270,000 EU migrants came to Britain last year
  • 97 per cent think David Cameron cannot get a better deal
  • Odds on Britain staying in the EU: 1 in 2
  • Odds on us leaving: 6/4
  • Most Brits would vote to stay in
  • 45 per cent in, 38 per cent out, 17 per cent undecided according to Survation poll on May 8/9
  • Last UK referendum on membership of Europe: 1975.

From Nailsea rugby player to Wells MP

 

Former Nailsea resident James Heappey has made his maiden speech in parliament as the new MP for Wells.

Conservative MP James spoke for the first time in the House of Commons on Monday night, June 1, since winning the seat from Liberal Democrat Tessa Munt at last month's General Election.

In his speech, he urged the Government to complete the final phase of fibre broadband roll-out in Somerset ‘as soon as possible’.

And the ex Army officer also talked about the work of the UK's armed forces and the rural beauty and industrial benefits of his constituency mentioning most of the major towns and the Glastonbury festival in the five minutes he took to the floor.

His mother Anita Heappey is a Nailsea town councillor for Youngwood ward  helps out at the Conservative High Street constituency office of North Somerset MP Liam Fox.

James, 34, lives at Axbridge with his wife Kate and his two children, Charlie and Matilda.

While at QEH school he played for Nailsea & Backwell Rugby Club as junior captain.

James also made several appearances on stage with Nailsea Musicals most notably as a soldier in the Pirates Of Penzance.

You can read James’ full speech by clicking HERE.

You can also watch James reading his speech on the parliament live recording at 8.37pm by clicking HERE.

New town council chairman

 

Nailsea Town Council has a new chairman.

David Packham who was vice-chairman took up the role at the annual council meeting.

Mr Packham, aged 66, retired in 2013 from his job in the construction industry.

He said: "I have spent all of my working life in the construction industry.

"For the past 20 years of my career I worked for Symonds - who became Capita Symonds - and worked on projects that included hospitals, office headquarters, buildings for Defence Estates and sports facilities.

"Locally I was involved with the @Bristol development, Finzels Reach in the centre of Bristol, student accommodation for UWE, college building for Weston College and much else over many years.

"I have lived in Nailsea for 17 years."

He is married with four grown up children and seven grandchildren.

Mr Packham said: "My time is taken up with looking after grandchildren, gardening, walking and Nailsea Town Council."

He said it is his aim while chairman to help Nailsea achieve the policies it has set out in the Parish Plan adding: "In particular I am keen to see homes built that meets the target of achieving sufficient housing to maintain a balanced population age structure.

"I made a point on my election of thanking all of our councillors who are all volunteers and dedicate a great deal of their time for the benefit of Nailsea.

"I am looking forward to serving the people of Nailsea over the coming year."

Former chairman and retired primary school teacher Clare Hunt was elected vice chairman.

  • The results of the 2015 general, district and parish elections are all on the May front page. To read click HERE - the updated list of local councillors is below.

Our district and town councillors

 

Nailsea has four district councillors.

As a unitary authority North Somerset Council provides the majority of public services in district.

They are responsible highways, street maintenance, education, planning applications, social care, libraries, waste and management.

With the exception of Andy Cole all also serve on the town council - contact details right.

 

Nailsea Golden Valley

Andy Cole Independent 01275 855089

Nailsea West End

James Tonkin Independent

Nailsea Yeo

Mary Blatchford Conservative

Nailsea Youngwood

Jan Barber Conservative

 

Nailsea Town Council is responsible for managing the Tithe Barn, maintaining sports fields and the Garden of Rest, running the farmers’ and craft markets, reviewing planning applications, providing grants to local organisations and employing a street orderly.

It also liaises with North Somerset Council.

Some district councillors are also town councillors - Backwell Parish Council and Wraxall & Failand Parish Council look after the adjoining villages.

Councillors currently serving on Nailsea Town Council which has offices and meetings at the Tithe Barn are:

 

Golden Valley Ward

Jeremy Blatchford 01275 810511

Rod Lees 01275 791940

David Packham 01275 853131 chairman

John Phillips 01275 810389

Mary Ponsonby 01275 854781

 

West End Ward

Mike Bird 01275 856360

Helen Hamblin 01275 798533

Saeeda Jamell 01275 855016

Julie Petford 01275 853030

James Tonkin 01275 856472

 

Yeo Ward

Phil Barclay 01275 854124

Mary Blatchford 01275 810511

Liz Frappell 01275 856863

Jane Holt 01275 794236

Ann Tonkin 01275 856472

 

Youngwood Ward

Jan Barber 01275 854851

Anita Heappey 01275 851478

Clare Hunt 01275 540735 vice chairman

Neil Middleton 01275 854756

John Wilson 01275 852942

Fox on fox hunting

 

Attempts to overturn hunting ban will fail, predicts North Somerset MP Liam Fox.

Dr Fox made his prediction during an interview on Sky News’s Murnaghan programme .

He said MPs will defeat David Cameron's proposed vote on repealing the Hunting Act which would prove a major blow for countryside campaigners.

The former defence secretary said a ‘substantial’ number of Tory MPs will vote against repealing the controversial law should there be a free vote.

Just a few dozen Conservative MPs would likely need to vote no to kill off the best chance in a decade of overturning a law first implemented under Labour PM Tony Blair.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats are likely to oppose repealing the Hunting Act while the SNP have indicated they will sit out the vote as it is an English-only matter.

It comes amid reports the Prime Minister could propose a compromised package that would allow fox hunting but put in place additional animal cruelty protections.

Dr Fox, who served in Mr Cameron’s cabinet in the early coalition years and is seen as on the right of the party, said: "I would like to see a free vote on it.

“Given the balance of the House of Commons I think you will have pretty much all the opposition parties voting against and a substantial number of Conservatives against it.

"I do not see it happening.

“But again we gave a commitment we would have a free vote and I think that we should have a free vote."

The 2004 Hunting Act – which bans the hunting with dogs of wild mammals including foxes, deer and hares – took force 10 years ago in England and Wales in February 2005.

Should MPs fail to overturn the law it would likely end any chance of fox hunting being reintroduced in Britain for a generation.

A poll by YouGov earlier this year found that a majority of British people support the 2004 ban on fox hunting.

Election posters vandalised

 

Maybe its a sign of the times that people are getting fed-up with the General Election campaign with politicians making claims and counter claims on what they will or will not do it electioned but up and down the country posters are being defaced or dug up.

And North Somerset is no different.

Liberal Democrats have suffered a spate of vandalism to their signs in the district.

The sign outside the candidate's home In Clevedon was removed and later found in a different road.

And signs along the A370 in and outside Backwell were ripped down and damaged.

Lib Dem candidate for North Somerset constituency Marcus Kravis said:"I  have known the odd sign to disappear in previous elections, but never known it as bad as this.

"In Backwell we had many signs ripped of their posts and damaged and the same has happened to several signs in Kenn More Road.

"You usually expect the odd one, but not ever so many in one go.

"It is a worrying  trend and is a real shame that the democratic process can cause people to behave in such a way.

"I understand that it has happened to one other party's signs as well, again a shame when this election has been fought in a particularly friendly and respectful manner between the candidates.  

"On the brighter side, we have been meaning to put a few more up on that particular stretch of road which we did when we replaced the damaged ones."

A group clad in fancy dress have been caught on CCTV ripping down a Tory election poster in the marginal seat of Cardiff North.

And an election saboteur has been spotted pulling down Labour posters in Caversham near Reading.

Three of the party’s posters were ripped down in broad daylight within 24 hours of being posted.

Labour council candidate Mary Waite says she hopes it is not a co-ordinated campaign of vandalism.

In Worcester vandals have torn down, damaged, stolen or defaced dozens of General Election signs.

Mystery attackers have been targeting Robin Walker's re-election campaign by trespassing onto private land belonging to householders across the city to wreck his posters.

The situation has got so bad that some members of the public, many of them pensioners, are now too frightened to accept replacement banners for fear of reprisals, reports Tory chiefs who have contacted West Mercia Police.

Voting green at Nailsea School

 

The Green Party came out the winners at a hustings debate hosted by Nailsea School on Friday evening.

In an exit poll the Green Party won 45 per cent of the vote.

The Labour Party came second with 21 per cent closely followed by the Lib Dems on 20 per cent.

The Conservative Party polled 12 per cent but lagging behind despite a £30K donation to its North Somerset election fund where UKIP on two per cent.

The lively and large audience was made up of staff, governors, students and their parents and friends.

On the panel was David Derbyshire (Green Party), Dr Greg Chambers (Labour Party), Marcus Kravis (Liberal Democrat) and Ian Kealey (UKIP).

Dr Liam Fox (Conservative) had sent his apologises and it was planned for North Somerset district council candidate Anita Heappey, whose son James is fighting the Wells seat, to act as stand-in.

But on the night both Dr Fox and Ms Heappey were unavailable so it was left to 22-year-old political graduate James Hall to defend the Tory corner.

The Wrington political graduate who prior to the general election being called had been working in Kenneth Clarke's office is helping out as a campaign assistant on the North Somerset election trail.

Head teacher Chris Wade acted as chairman and subjects under scrutiny ranged from lack of funding for the arts to ‘fracking’ for gas; gender inequality to the call by some rightwing politicians to reinstate selective education.

Another controversial issue was proposals to introduce votes at 16, a move welcomed by Dr Chambers.

He stressed ‘importance of young people participating in the election process in order to be involved in democracy’.

Deputy head teacher Dee Heal said: “The audience is clearly in favour of lowering voting age.”

Former Nailsea School student Jordan Warren said: “Excellent debate, some points raised were worth it.”

While Jordan thought the chairman could have been more impartial others said Mr Wade should be the next David Dimbleby with Bath University lecturer Steve Cayzer praising the head teacher for ‘staying admirably objective’.

Jordan added: “I was disappointed that Dr Fox could not attend - quite a letdown as he has been our MP for 23 years.”

Coutts banker Matt Furneaux also said he would have preferred to hear direct from Dr Fox given all his opposition was present.

And parent Tracy Hayler said: “Feel sorry for Jamie Hall dropped in at the deep end by his boss.”

Lucy Worthington, aged 13, thought there was a palatable distaste for the UKIP candidate in the hall.

She said: “Everyone made Ian Kealey feel very nervous and uncomfortable and you could tell.”

Chair of governors Sally-Ann Hancock said: “UKIP sees ‘arts’ as a luxury.”

She wanted its economic benefits recognised.

Dr Hancock bemoaned the ‘excessive focuses’ on the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) over arts.

Nailsea School display co-ordinator Fiona Davies said: “Some brilliant questions and challenges.

“Nailsea School students are so well informed.”

NatWest banker and Nailsea School governor Becky Driscoll said: “Interesting debate with some excellent questions on some hot topics.”

Mr Kravis said: “Great evening, well organised and chaired with great questions.

“Shame it had to end.”

Mr Derbyshire said: “Really enjoyed engaged young audience at Nailsea School.

Youth worker Neil Wylie was in the same boat as Dr Fox and www.nailseapeople.com - all unable to make the evening.

Neil tweeted: “Wish I could be at the #northsomersetleadersdebate tonight.

“Sounds like a fantastic opportunity created by @nailseaschool.”

Nailsea School has already put one former pupil in parliament and at the 2015 election another has also put her cap in the ring.

Claire Perry is seeking re-election as the Conservative MP for Devizes a constituency she has represented since 2010.

And Plymouth undergraduate Libby Brown who was inspired to stand by Dr Fox when she won a debating title as a Nailsea School student is fighting Sutton and Devonport constituency for the Green Party.

  • Nailsea School is also holding a mock 'general' election on Thursday, May 7 to run alongside its school president’s election.

  • The final Christians Together hustings at Nailsea is on Monday, April 27, 7.30-9pm also in the auditorium at Nailsea School.

NB: This report has been mostly compiled from live tweets made on the night. The slideshow below is random photos from the campaign trail.

North Somerset General Election 2015
North Somerset General Election 2015

Nailsea Town Council chairman Clare Hunt meets Ed Miliband at Labour Party hustings at Bristol

North Somerset General Election 2015
North Somerset General Election 2015

Liam Fox out on the campaign trail hits Wells where he is helping former Nailsea resident James Heappey canvass for the Conservative Party - scroll down this page to learn more about James

North Somerset General Election 2015
North Somerset General Election 2015

UKIP post this on its FB page - a sign the campaign is getting dirty

North Somerset General Election 2015
North Somerset General Election 2015

Nailsea Town Council chairman Clare Hunt meets Ed Miliband at Labour Party hustings at Bristol

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