News from British and Canadian Conservatives

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Parking Strategy

Tonight I attended Shepway District Council's Parking Strategy Meeting. The council is currently developing a parking strategy, which it intends to adopt by the end of next month ready for full public consultation. The scope covers a wide range of options, including removing unnecessary yellow lines, seeking more parking spaces, parking charges, enforcement, parking restrictions and resident parking permits.

Most of Morehall is within the area that the strategy will affect, and I have asked that the area be extended to include Shearway, which was not originally. I also asked that Lucy Avenue should be included, so that parking around the new Folkestone Academy could be considered for the benefit of residents in Broadmead Village.

The meeting was for all District Councillors in Folkestone and Sandgate, along with representatives from businesses, Folkestone Town Council and Sandgate Parish Council. Sadly, neither of Morehall's District Councillors were there, but that's to be expected.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Shearway's still a mess

This evening I counted eight lorries parking without authorisation at Shearway. The signs requesting that they do not park there have been removed, presumably by lorry drivers, as well. In addition to that, most of the street lights in Shearway Road are out. I will ask SEEDA, the owners of the site, to take action. It is likely that Kent Highways will require that these problems be fixed before they will adopt the roads, and until the roads are adopted nothing can be done to prevent the lorries parking there.

Lighting in Cherry Garden Lane

I have reported the faulty street light and the missing lights on the Give Way signs and weight limit signs in Cherry Garden Lane today.

More graffiti busting

Today I have reported the new graffiti that appeared in Beachborough Road over the weekend. It's on the railway bridge that was only cleaned a few weeks ago. Some more has also appeared on the other railway bridge in Risborough Lane, so I will try to get that cleaned up too.

Monday, October 23, 2006

More controversy over postal voting scams

The Metropolitan Police have launched 30 investigations into alleged postal vote rigging in May's London elections. Most of the incidents relate to ethnic minorities with English as a second language who are unable to understand the complicated forms. Tower Hamlets seems to be the source of many of the allegations.

Howard called as witness in cash for peerages

In a statement tonight, Mr Howard said: "In response to a request from the police, I agreed to be interviewed by them in connection with their inquiries into nominations for peerages.

"The police emphasised that they wanted to interview me as a witness and that I was not under suspicion of having committed any criminal offence.

"The interview was not conducted under caution. It took place this morning at my home in London."

The move has heightened speculation that Tony Blair will also be interviewed. So far there have been three arrests made in relation to Labour's alleged sale of peerages for party funds, with aides close to the Prime Minister amongst those questioned under caution.

Invicta earn home draw in Trophy

Folkestone Invicta have been drawn at home for the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy on Saturday 4th Novvember. We will have to wait a little longer before we find out who our opponents will be though. Billericay and Aylesbury drew 2-2 on Saturday, and were due to meet again for the replay this evening. However, the game was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch and will now be played on Monday 30th October.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Staines 0 - Invicta 1

Folkestone Invicta continued their run of good results tonight, defeating Staines in the FA Trophy 1st Qualifying Round.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Shepway Youth Forum success

This evening's Shepway Youth Forum Question Time was a resounding success. Congratulations go to the Co Chairs for their success. I know that Jack Devine has been working hard to get things moving, and today that work paid off.

There must have been more than 60 11-19 year olds in the audience asking some very good questions of local politicians. Unfortunately, the Labour Minister who was due to give a keynote speech at the event was required to vote in Parliament. Labour were instead represented by Cllr Adrian Cirket of St Mary's Parish Council. Our own Damian Collins was also detained by an accident on the M20. Until he arrived I fielded questions on behalf of the Conservative - a daunting task with no preparation!

The Young Conservatives had a good night. We almost ran out of literature, with 39 expressions of interest and some firm applications to join on the night.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Coolinge House to be developed

Tonight, Shepway's Development Control Committee rejected my case against the development of 11 houses in the grounds of Coolinge House. Officers eventually had to concede my point that two of the houses had no parking, which they had previously denied repeatedly. Councillors picked up on that, but ultimately decided to allow the plans to go ahead. The result was 11 for (including Morehall Councillor, ex-Lib Dem Tony Baker) and 2 abstentions.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Prison Woes for Dover

It is looking increasingly likely that Dover will be lumbered with an open prison at the former army barracks. The Labour Government is desparately searching for any accommodation that it can find in a bid to deal with the looming prisons capacity crisis. Worse yet for Dover, it looks likely that the Government will also decide to use Open Prisons for Category C prisoners. Previously only Category D prisoners were considered to be of little enough threat to society that they could be reintegrated in this way.

The moved demonstrates the contempt which Labour feels for Kent, which already has 2 open prisons, a shortage of land for housing and suffers from some of the country's most deprived areas. This isn't exactly going to help.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

70 years of Bliss

Robert Bliss, leader of Shepway District Council and Conservative representative for Folkestone West on Kent County Council, turned 70 today. He celebrated with a gathering in Hythe to mark "70 years of Bliss". A popular figure across the political spectrum, Robert took the opportunity to flag up the way in which Shepway District Council has been turned around since the dark days of 2004, when the Lib Dems were raising our taxed 39%, closing our toilets and not cutting the grass.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Folkestone Invicta 4 - Walton & Hersham 3

Folkestone Invicta recorded their 3rd successive league victory, beating Surrey's Walton & Hersham 4-3 this afternoon. Invicta's steady climb up the table continues apace...

Friday, October 06, 2006

IYDU Committee comes to England

The International Young Deomcrat Union Committee will this year be held in London between 29th November - 3rd December, 2006. The international centre right youth organisation, with representatives from 80 organisations based in 50 countries, held its spring event at Ronald Reagan's ranch, so we can expect a highly prestigious event.

Speakers at the conference will include David Cameron with venues including the houses of Parliament, with no charge for attendance by members of the Young Conservatives. A group of us from Folkestone & Hythe will be going, so why not join us? Please feel free to contact me using my details in the sidebar if you'd like to travel up with us or arrange to meet up in London.

Kent Young Conservative Chairman post advertised

Applications are invited for the post of Chairman of Kent Young Conservatives, as part of the national Conservative Future heirarchy. The successful applicant, who will be co-opted by the national executive on 9th October, will be responsible for acting as a link between local constituency branches and the national body. He or she will also be involved in delivering Mark Clarke's pledge to create branches in the key targets seats, so many of which are in Kent.

Nick, the current chairman, has always been great to work with, and I hope that he will stand again. He is also running for Swale Borough Council though, so may not feel that he has the time. I look forward to working with the new area chairman whoever it may be!

Sandra on Question Time

Today Sandra Howard has made her long awaited debut on Question Time. It is something that she has long avoided as she is not confident in the media spotlight, much like most normal people. She performed well in tacking a task that would have made her most uncomfortable.

Her new book, Glass Houses, is performing very will with critics and the general public strongly endorsing her first foray into the world of literature. I look forward to reading it and hope that she will be part of this year's Folkestone Literary Festival.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Conference Roundup

It's hard to do this year's conference justice in one short article, but I will give it my best shot.

This year's trip to Bournemouth was notable for its much younger demographic than in previous years. I didn't feel out of place with dark hair, and most of us had our own teeth. Students have been a well represented group in recent years, but I'd say that there may have been a few more around this time. The biggest increase in attendence came with those in my age group though - late twenties, thirties and forties. A generation previously missing from the Conservative Party, but now very much at home with David Cameron's brand of Toryism. As a body of people, conference looked like the next generation preparing to take the reigns of our country, rather than the last generation looking back at the last time we ran the country.

Businesses and organisations had already detected this switch, with many more stands at the conference, and more events sponsored by the big names of business, including the likes of Tesco, Anderson and Next.

Many comentators have pointed to the limited number of policies. It is true that there's a long way to go on that front. We are however clear that we oppose ID cards and would use the money saved to strengthen border controls. We want to focus on social responsibility, which has been ignored by the Liberal-Left alliance running our country at present. To that end we will abolish the Human Rights Act to replace it with a new Bill of Rights. We will focus on the NHS, which is now better funded than almost any other, including the excellent German service, yet continues to under perform. We want lower taxes, but can't commit to them as the budget defecit is so high and national debt is spiraling out of control. We won't deal with overcrowded prisons by freeing criminals on the Early Release scheme; we'll build more prisons. We believe that Equality doesn't mean treating diverse people the same; it means giving everyone opportunities.

There will be more detailed plans built upon this basis of social responsibility and economic competitiveness as the policy groups come forward with more plans. These reported on their work at Conference and opened up the debate to the party membership and anyone else willing to help to build a better Britain. I will be making my submissions over the coming days, and hope that I will be able to influence policy as I have in the past. The Conservative Party's listening, so now's the time to speak your mind.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Welling 3 -1 Invicta (FA Cup)

Folkestone Invicta were knocked out of the FA Cup by Welling after last night second qualifying round replay at Park View Road. It's the 3rd time in 6 seasons that we've been knocked out by the Wings now - surely one day our chance for revenge has to come!

Dickie Murrill's full match report is online at

Monday, October 02, 2006

Speeches from Day One

Yesterday saw some stunning speeches by the prime movers of the Conservative Leadership. David Davis speech was stirring, and it is easy to see how the leadership election could have gone very differently had he delivered such a speech in Blackpool last year. William Hague was up to his usual fantstic standard, bringing the conference hall to its feet and providing a high point for David Cameron to enter the hall.

Senator John McCain was also impressive. He was not a politician with whom I was previously aware of, given that I pay much more attention to local politics than the international scene since becoming a councillor. He would certainly make a fine President and leader of the Free World, as David Cameron said. Certainly a marked improvement on Bush and Clinton!

Finally, Tory leader David Cameron made his opening speech, which built up as it progressed. I'm certainly looking forward to the crescendo on Wednesday after that!

Blogging from Bournemouth

David Cameron has launched his web cameron online at

This morning I will be attending the Conservative Councillors' Association policy briefing session, then straight on to the main hall to see David Davis speak about crime. This afternoon I will be joining Conservative Future at a local deconsecrated church, which we will be turning into a community centre serving a deprived area of Bournemouth.