The past few weeks have been a rollercoaster in politics. The Prime Minister has announced that she intends to stand down. The contest for the new leader officially starts on Monday 10th June but as I write this 11 candidates have already put their names forward and begun their campaigns. This list will be shortened to two names through a series of votes by MPs before going to a final vote of all members of the Conservative Party. The new Prime Minister will be in place before Parliament rises for the summer recess.
During the half term week, it was very good to spend time in Chelmsford chatting to many residents. Thank you to everyone who has stopped to talk to me. I learnt about so many different things from safer cycling, to global insurance markets via the challenges of navigating broken pavements in a wheelchair. I have prepared a short Annual Report with an update on some of the many project we have been working on over the last twelve months. It also has a short survey for residents to outline your priorities. If you would like a copy its available on my website. www.vickyford.uk. I am interested to know which of the various candidates local Chelmsford residents think should become the new Prime Minister. There is a survey on my website so please do take a few minutes to fill it in.
In Westminster, I led a delegation of Essex MPs to a meeting with the Schools Minister to discuss schools funding. After the financial crash, the Government ring-fenced and protected many elements of school funding, but other costs have increased. This puts great pressure on school’s budgets. Additional support is especially needed for those with special educational needs and for post 16 education. The upcoming Spending Review gives a unique opportunity to reset the funding for different government areas. I will continue to campaign for our schools as the Spending Review progresses.
Having a baby is often a joyous time, but for some parents it can also be very difficult. One in five mums suffer from mental health issues either before the birth or in their child’s first year. Getting specialist medical help is often key for a recovery. I visited the Linden Centre near Broomfield Hospital to meet the doctors, nurses and clinicians who specialise in peri-natal mental health. This team serves the NHS across mid and North Essex. It was set up three years ago and they are making a huge difference. Thank you!
Over the half term break I also visited Essex County Council to meet with the Council Leader David Finch. I explained how important it is that we continue to see investment in infrastructure in Chelmsford, especially finding a long-term solution to the Army and Navy as I believe that closing the Baddow Road with a busgate is not acceptable. We also discussed our local libraries, they are deeply cherished, and I would like to see them all stay open.
Regular readers will know that I have been concerned about high levels of violence at Chelmsford prison, especially violence against prison officers. I recently met the Governor and was pleased to hear about a range of improvements.
A big shout out to the outgoing Mayor of Chelmsford, Councillor Yvonne Spence and her Deputy Mayor Councillor Christine Garrett who raised an astonishing £85,000 for two chosen charities Kids Inspire and Broomfield Hospital Dementia Project during their year in office.
And finally, congratulations to Councillor Bob Massey on his appointment as incoming Mayor of Chelmsford. Bob has been the City Council Cabinet Member responsible for overseeing Chelmsford’s Parks over the past few years. They are looking particularly beautiful now. And congratulations also to Councillor Janette Potter, who will be the Deputy Mayor. I wish Bob, Janette and the Mayoral team all the very best.
As every please don’t hesitate to get in touch at Vicky.Ford.MP@Parliament.uk