Friday, 27 November 2009

Residents' Survey - Have Your Say

Dear Resident

I wanted to write to you in advance of the upcoming general election to give you an opportunity to have your say on some of the key issues which we face, both as a country and locally.

If we win the election, a Conservative government will need to make difficult decisions to put the economy and public finances back on track. I want to ensure that this is done in the least painful way possible. In particular, if elected as our MP, I will first and foremost seek to represent my constituents in Westminster, rather than defend the government in Rochester and Strood.

I am not now an MP and played no part in the expenses scandal. I therefore share everyone else's anger about how MPs behaved, and I believe that we need a new Parliament with new MPs to clean up the system. Being elected as an MP should be a privilege and an opportunity for public service, not an opportunity for private profit.

I hope that you will take a few minutes to the complete the survey form online, or complete the survey on the back of the letter you received and return it in the Freepost envelope provided.

I particularly look forward to hearing your views on the local NHS, as Medway Maritime Hospital is about to appoint a new Chief Executive, and where you would like to see more police patrols, as I am our representative on the Kent Police Authority.

Yours faithfully

Mark Reckless
Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Rochester and Strood


Nimbus Lighting, 144 High Street, Rochester, Kent ME1 1ER.
Great Lighting At Great Prices.
Tel: 01634 407724


Monday, 23 November 2009

Protecting Britain's Pensioners From Labour Cuts

Labour want to cut Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance for over 65s in Rochester and Strood, wrecking their chances of living independently.

Nationally 2.4 million elderly people need support to cope with a physical or mental disability.

These people rely on disability benefits - a third of them through the Disability Living Allowance for over 65s, and two thirds of them through the Attendance Allowance.

Labour want to cut these benefits, wrecking their chances of living independently and having the freedom to tailor their care to their needs.

Those over 65 who claim Disability Living Allowance currently get an average of £75 every week, and those who receive Attendance Allowance get an average of £60. This compares to an average pensioner's income of around £250 a week.

This means that some of the most vulnerable pensioners in Rochester and Strood and around the country could lose around a quarter of their income - amounting to a loss of around £8 billion a year.

Speaking out against the cuts Mark Reckless said:

"I can't see how it makes sense to cut these benefits which are focussed on helping people carry on living in their own homes, often with family members caring for them, as this has to be much less expensive than supporting people in residential care homes."

These cuts are unwise, unfair, and unkind. Our pensioners deserve better.


Sign our petition against the care cuts
Email/Write to your MP to ask them to oppose these cuts
Add your name to this petiton to the Prime Minister


The Rochester Coffee Co. 45 varieties of tea, freshly ground coffee, freshly made Panini and so much more. 146 High Street, Rochester, Kent. ME1 1ER (Opposite Eastgate House)
Tel: 01634 540032


Friday, 20 November 2009

Southeastern Delays

This week I have been late to work three times and have had to either pay for a taxi or got soaked walking from Rochester to Chatham stations. From the looks of other passengers, many have suffered similar frustrations.

Commuters deserve a proper explanation and apology from Southeastern Trains, because the differing explanations we have had to date are wearing thin. Is it just that Southeastern can't cope with the rain?

It is particularly disappointing to have these problems now when Southeastern, almost uniquely in the country, and they still can't get their story straight as to why this is, are about to put up their season ticket prices.

At least there is one ray of light for my fellow commuters trying to get from Rochester to London Bridge or Cannon Street for 9 o'clock. After 13th December we will no longer need to catch the 8.06 to Chatham to get (or this week, mainly miss) the 8.10 back up to Cannon Street. That is because the service will make an 8.11 stop at Rochester.

This is the result of a long campaign which I have led and will save many commuters considerable time and hassle. Unfortunately, while almost all the evening peak trains will make the Rochester stop, not all the morning ones will, so I will keep up this campaign until Rochester commuters for the Cannon Street and Victoria trains leaving between 7a.m and 8a.m. can benefit too.


Thursday, 19 November 2009

David Cameron Reacts To The Queen's Speech

Cameron says the Prime Minister is more pre-occupied with self-survival than legislating on the measures the country needs.

Pointing out that it was the shortest Queen's Speech since 1997, Cameron said Labour have "run out of money, run out of time, run out of ideas".

Cameron said that the background to this Speech was a country facing "the most difficult circumstances for a generation", notably an economic crisis "with the longest recession since the war and the worst public finances in living memory".

But, instead of the real Queen's Speech the country needed he said what we got was "a Queen's Speech which is just a Labour press release on Palace parchment".

Cameron said that there should be an election "instead of wasting the country's time and inflicting further damage". "What is the point of this Government?", he asked.

Read the full speech here

Get Change For A Fiver - Make A Donation Here


Friday, 13 November 2009

Why Can't We Take Independent Legal Advice?

Last night at Council - actually this morning as the meeting went on until nearly 1a.m.! - I requested that we take independent legal advice to clarify whether Medway Council has acted lawfullly in deciding to close St John's Infant school.

My concern is that officers replaced one of the school organisation principles, which our policy framework requires Cabinet to follow, with a different aim and falsely stated to Cabinet that it was one of the school organisation principles.

This is what I said to Council:

"Last Friday we learned from the Medway Messenger that St John's campaigners were considering a legal challenge to the closure of their school.

Given that, I think the wording of this motion is unfortunate, since it implies we accept that this is a matter for Cabinet. I don't agree, because it is us as a Council who set the policy framework, and that requires Cabinet to apply the school organisation principles.

However, it seems that our officers were not happy with one of those school organisation principles, since it only allowed the gradual amalgamation of infant and junior schools.

Instead, they developed a different policy, one which could be used to justify the closure of any infant school, and falsely told Cabinet that it was one of the school organisation principles. They used that policy to try and close St Peter's. They are using it now to try and close St John's. And I fear they may use it to try and close St Nick's.

Given the legal risks, I have to say I am surprised that our monitoring officer has taken such a relaxed attitude to this. It certainly contrasts with the position she took with respect to my ward colleague earlier in this process.

I don't believe that passing this motion will help St John's, and I do not support it. What might help St John's would be for this Council to take independent legal advice on whether it is lawful for officers to ignore a principle in the policy framework and advise Cabinet to follow a different policy instead.

If our monitoring officer will not take such advice, and this Council loses a judicial review in consequence, I would question whether she should advise us further."


Thursday, 5 November 2009

Tickets For Troops

Mark Reckless is proud to be supporting Tickets for Troops.

David Cameron has helped to launch Tickets for Troops, a new initiative which offers the Armed Forces free tickets to big events including football matches and top music acts.

Thousands of tickets will be made available to all serving military personnel and to veterans who have been discharged through injury since 2001 at the new website.

David explained that Ticket for Troops is "all about people coming together to say to the armed forces: thank you, we respect you and we recognise the sacrifice you are making for us."

The Conservative leader first announced his ambition for this scheme in July 2009, and Tickets for Troops has since been set up as an independent not-for-profit company with huge support from the sports and entertainment worlds.

Tickets have been donated for top football and cricket matches, boxing contests, snooker, horse-racing events, theatre, and both classic and rock music concerts around the country.

Speaking at the launch, where he was joined by Lance Corporal Johnson Beharry VC, Gary Lineker and Joss Stone, David said:

"I'm proud of the part the Conservative Party has played in getting this off the ground and want to thank everyone for generously lending their time and support to this great cause."

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Campaign To Stop The Estuary Airport

Mark Reckless, along with Medway Council, Kent County Council, and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) have started a campaign to get this £40billion scheme blown out of the water due to its expense and the massive impact it will have on our area and the environment.

Seven years ago, we successfully fought off a similar scheme at Cliffe, on the Hoo Peninsula, thanks to overwhelming support from the public.

Writing on the petition, Mark commented:

"Boris, your proposal for an estuary airport is pie in the sky and has been disowned by our party. Surely it is now time to stop spending taxpayers' money on "feasibility studies" etc. and recognise that this plan is not going to fly?"

The best way to stop this new unnecessary and expensive proposal is to make your voice heard. Please leave a comment on the Mayor of London's plans for a Thames Estuary airport and register for our petition against the proposals below.

Sign the Stop Estuary Airport petition

Read the Mayor of London's feasability study

View the full press release

See what the insiders really think of the planned airport


Monday, 2 November 2009

Petition To Protect The NHS From Spending Cuts

David Cameron has launched a petition on NHS spending and announced the five Conservative priorities for a Department of Public Health.

The petition urges the Government to increase spending on the NHS every year, and to stop precious NHS money being wasted on targets and bureaucracy.

The five priorities are as follows:

1. We will create a patient-led NHS where patients are able to choose between a wide range of public and independent sector providers where and when they receive treatment, and where patients are able take control of their own health records.

2. We want to take day-to-day political interference out of the NHS and put healthcare professionals in charge of delivering patient care, according to the demands of patients and in competition with other providers.

3. We will devolve decision-making to doctors and nurses but they will be more accountable than ever for the results they achieve, but to patients not politicians, because we will measure health outcomes, publish extensive data about what providers achieve and pay those providers by results.

4. Having set the framework for these reforms to the NHS, we will be able to focus government action on improving public health.

5. That action will include reforming long-term care to enable people to stay in their own homes and communities.

David Cameron launched the petition and priorities in a keynote speech at the Royal College of Pathologists. In his speech he set out his vision for the NHS and tackled some misunderstandings of Conservative policy.

"Labour wasted their first term in power by failing to reform. And now, after they had finally assumed the mantle of change in the NHS, they have lost their nerve and failed to go far and fast enough. With the publication of our priorities for the Department of Health today, we are ensuring we do not make the same mistakes", he said.

Mark Reckless welcomed the announcement and added, "I particularly welcome the serious and consistent focus which our Shadow Health Spokesman, Andrew Lansley, has put on public health, an issue which I have raised with Professor Ian Gilmore, President of the Royal College of Physicians, and on which I know many doctors welcome our approach."

Read the full speech here and download the petition here