Welcome to my monthly e-Bulletin for December!

It is fast approaching that unique time of the year where we as families, friends, and communities come together for a period of celebration, merrymaking and worship. Christmas reminds us of the Christian heritage that this country was founded on: compassion, giving, gratitude and forgiveness. 

Romford has commenced its celebrations early with the Christmas light switch-on, which attracted people from across Havering, as well as Christmas fairs and markets around the town and local area. The festivities have truly given Romford that Christmas charm which we all look forward to! 

Christmas also marks the beginning of the end of the year... and what a year it has been!  From returning to normal, post-Covid life with families reunited; Queen Elizabeth II's awe-inspiring Platinum Jubilee which showcased the best of British culture and celebrated the reign of one of history's finest women; a sweltering record-high summer; three different Prime Ministers; the mournful death of Her late Majesty The Queen and the accession of our new monarch, King Charles III. I am most certainly looking forward to celebrating His Majesty The King's Coronation next year and the formal turning of a new page in our national story.

In wishing you and all residents of Romford a very Happy Christmas, I am as always, happy to speak to my constituents directly on whatever local or national issues are important to them over the coming weeks.

So, if you want to get in touch, please e-mail me and further contact details are available below.

Remember to always include your address, postcode and telephone number when e-mailing me, so that I or my staff can get back in touch with you easily.

If you know anyone who might be interested in receiving my regular M.P.’s monthly e-Bulletin, please forward it to them so they can sign up!

With my very best wishes,

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Remembrance Sunday

On the eleventh hour on the Sunday closest to the eleventh day of the eleventh month of this year, as the Member of Parliament for Romford, I laid a wreath at the Cenotaph in the Town Centre’s Coronation Gardens, as I have done for the past twenty-two years. This was done on behalf of all the people of my constituency, something which I am always honoured and proud to take part in. 

For one minute, we stood in solemn silence, just as the guns fell silent across the war battered fields of battle one-hundred-and-four years ago. We look back and give thanks to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms that we enjoy. 

It was also fantastic to look back on the footage of the Ceremony of Remembrance in Whitehall with the King and the Prince of Wales in attendance - we are so very lucky to have such distinguished and stoic individuals embodying our national spirit, outside and above politics. 

We must make the most of that gift of liberty, free-choice, and the freedom to say what we think and believe in. "When you go home, tell them of us and say, For your tomorrow, we gave our today.

Your can read more of my comments here.

Here I am pictured with Councillor Nisha Patel prior to the laying of the wreath at the Coronation Gardens in Romford. 

Christmas and the Christian Tradition

Whether you are at the supermarket on your weekly shop, walking through town for a stroll, or flicking through the channels on your television, you have no doubt already come across Christmas carols and anthems, adverts, depictions of Father Christmas and all the other representations of the Christmas period. However, we must remember what Christmas really is: a Christian period of religious observance inherited by us through nearly two-thousand years of tradition.

Advent, which precedes Christmas, is the beginning of the liturgical year for Christians across the globe. We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ whose teachings have become a source of endless influence, globally. In the words of our late Queen, Christ was, and still is, a "role model of reconciliation and forgiveness... to seek to respect and value all people of whatever faith or none." Whether you are religious or not, the principal tenets of Christianity have been central to the construction of Britain's national identity as well as those human values of charity and forgiveness which are integral to the moral structure of western civilisation.

Given the economic uncertainties we have endured over the last few months as a consequence of the Pandemic and the War in Ukraine, these cornerstones of human decency are so important and it entirely differentiates us from those who would do us harm.

Last weekend, I spent much of Saturday visiting parishioners across the constituency at several different churches and places of worship, including Havering Road Methodist Church; St. Edward’s Roman Catholic Church; and the Church of St. Alban Protomartyr, Romford.  I was thrilled to join in the fun and festivities, as well as meeting so many old friends and local people from our community and enjoy such wonderful fellowship in the lead up to Christmas! 

Mayor Khan's Expansion of the U.L.E.Z. 

On the 25th November, London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, further expanded his political stunt - the so-called Ultra-Low Emissions Zone - to incorporate the entirety of Greater London, which includes Romford. The working people of the region around our Capital City will be the ones incurring the cost as it is them who drive cars no longer deemed 'climate friendly' by this Zones 1-3 Mayor. 

While political debate is centred around the combatting of the cost-of-living crisis, Mayor Khan is insisting that working individuals and families incur a toll on the very object which ensure their livelihoods. Romford, unlike many other areas across the Greater London area, does not have an Underground Station and the Mayor's handling of Tfl Rail has been abysmal. Therefore, the people of Romford are naturally drawn to the utilisation of cars across our borough. 

Then there is the matter of geography. Romford has a far greater affinity towards cities in Essex such as Brentwood, Chelmsford and Southend as opposed to the inner London area. It is, with that in mind, utterly unjust to inhibit the people of Romford, who are also proud residents of Essex, from other parts of their home county. 

The opinions of those within the Borough of Havering were completely rejected by Mayor Khan during his consultation on the U.L.E.Z. expansion. Why should the people of Romford, Hornchurch, Upminster and Rainham be subject to the whim and will of a man they neither voted for, nor believe to be credible. 

I have written to the Mayor himself expressing my complete disgust at this decision and I have called upon the Prime Minister to intervene. Havering must now be given the choice to leave the outdated G.L.A. and return to being a unitary authority. 

Read my letter to the Mayor of London here 

Read my letter to the Prime Minister here

Romford's Designation as the Car Theft Capital of Britain

According to insurance comparison site, MoneySupermarket, Romford has been designated as Britain's 'Car Theft Capital'. I have been deeply alarmed by this designation and have written to the Home Secretary, The Rt Hon. Suella Braverman K.C. M.P., to ask her for more police on the streets of Romford to act as a deterrent to those who would do us harm.  

As the east of London has grown exponentially, we have seen crime spill over from the city. This, coupled with the Mayor of London's mismanagement and neglect of the Police, Romford has been forced to pay the price. Romford is in need of support, and this can only be done through Government intervention. 

Read my letter to the Home Secretary here.

Government Aid and Intervention for the Sake of Schools in the Romford Constituency. 

I have written to the Secretary of State for Education, The Rt. Hon. Gillian Keegan M.P., calling upon her to do two things: increase funding for local schools such as Gidea Park Primary School; and also for her to review her Department's decision not to allow Marshalls Park Academy to establish an on-site Sixth Form. 
The cost-of-living crisis has hit us all hard in the pocket, but it is completely unjust for our schools to pay that same price. Education forms the very bedrock of our society, so to rob our children of quality education due to a lack of available expenditure because of matters outside of their control, would be a sad indictment on our country. Further funding is essential for the quality of school curriculums to be upheld.  
As a former pupil of Marshalls Park Academy, I was disheartened to hear that their application to establish an on-site Sixth Form was dismissed. Havering has just six post-16 education providers across the borough; the joint lowest number of any London Borough. I have implored the Secretary of State to reconsider this as many parents are having to search for Sixth Form colleges far away from their homes which would cause a noticeable impact on their academic and social lives. 

Opening of direct routes on the Elizabeth Line

To the great convenience of commuters in Romford and Gidea Park, locals will now be able to travel directly from either station to the heart of London, to Oxford Street and all the way to Paddington Station. On top of this, Elizabeth Line trains are now operating seven days a week following the conclusion of Sunday tests.

This means that travellers from across Havering can now venture to Paddington in a mere forty minutes without changing trains. From there, there are connecting trains to Heathrow, cutting our journey time to the airport by up to an hour!

I am looking forward to next year's developments allowing the people of Romford and the wider area to travel directly to Heathrow Airport, and to Reading and Abbey Wood, with only one change of train. 

The Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill 

I am pleased to announce that I am supporting my friend and colleague, Henry Smith M.P.'s campaign to ban the import of hunting trophies into Great Britain. 

As a proud animal welfare activist and the chair of the all-party parliamentary group on Zoos and Aquariums, this is a matter close to my heart. Many species which are hunted down and slaughtered by trophy hunters across the globe are endangered and threatened, such as the Rhinoceros and the African Elephant. 

This is not merely an issue close to my heart. 86% of Britons across the country support a ban on trophy hunting, so, as Henry Smith has stated publicly, if the Government want to amass a wave of popular approval, a ban on trophy hunting would be a great first step. 

Gallows Corner Update

I have received an update from Transport for London (TfL) regarding the ongoing 'Major Road Network' (M.R.N.) funding plan. 

Currently, TfL are working closely with the Department for Transport to ensure that their 'Outline Business Case' (O.B.C.) submission is vigorous enough to proceed to the upgrade. Integral to the O.B.C. is the requirement to demonstrate that their designs and cost assumptions are realistic and accurate through the completion of detailed investigations. However, these investigations were delayed due to the challenge of securing the necessary road space needed to undertake them - but they have now been completed. An analysis of engineering data and information will now take place and will be completed in the new year. 

TfL have ensured me that the delay to the submission of the O.B.C. has not delayed the project, and all, otherwise, is going to plan. 

Last Saturday night, I had the pleasure of attending the 60th birthday of my neighbour, Lois Otu Enwo at City Pavilion in Romford. A fantastic occasion for such a wonderful lady! It was fantastic to be amongst friends and join in the celebrations! 

Request your souvenir Platinum Jubilee Certificate  

There is still time to request your special Platinum Jubilee certificate! 

If you have already requested one, please do not e-mail again, they are currently being processed and will be sent out shortly. 

As I have for the Golden Jubilee in 2002 and the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, since being elected as your M.P. I will be presenting free Platinum Jubilee certificates to my constituents who would like them.

You can see the design above, which includes all the flags of every part of the world where Her late Majesty was Sovereign and Head of State.

If you would like one, inscribed to you personally, please e-mail Pierre in my office to request your limited edition souvenir certificate. 

Please include your name and address in your e-mail and my office will ensure you receive your Platinum Jubilee certificate which is a unique commemorative item to celebrate Her late Majesty's lifetime of service to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as well as to the wider Commonwealth of Nations and her territories across the seas.

An inscribed portrait of Her late Majesty The Queen is also available to local organisations, schools, churches, societies and businesses on request.  Please see below and if you would like one presented to your organisation, as your M.P., I would be delighted to make that possible in this special Jubilee year!

Such a happy Christmas celebration at the annual Christmas Fair of St. Edward’s Roman Catholic Church this Saturday, held at St. Peter’s School in Romford. Lovely to meet the ‘knit and natter’ ladies who made some lovely items for sale!

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