Winter 2014

Dear Resident,

It’s time to send out an update on some of my activities so far this year. It starts with Parliament and moves on to constituency news. Most of the items have links to further information, should you wish to read more.

If you would like more information on any of these issues, please feel free to get in touch by email at: zac@zacgoldsmith.com. I do not have email addresses for all of my constituents, so please do send this on to any interested friends or neighbours, and ask them to email me if they would like to be included on the list. I never pass on email addresses to 3rd parties.

Very best wishes,

Zac Goldsmith
MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston

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PARLIAMENTARY NEWS

HEATHROW

Stopping Heathrow expansion remains a top priority. For an overview of all of my activities on this issue please visit LINK.

Latest updates: I gave evidence last week to the Airport Commission in front of residents, campaign groups, elected representatives and Heathrow itself. See LINK for a transcript of my speech in which I lambasted Heathrow’s disgraceful PR campaign and explained why Heathrow expansion cannot and will not happen. I have since been heavily targeted by the Heathrow front group, ‘Back Heathrow’.

Earlier this year I organised a short-film competition to highlight the case against the 3rd Runway. The top 15 films were screened at a packed Richmond Theatre and were judged by Hugh Grant, Holly Willoughby, Rachel Johnson and Giles Brandreth. See LINK for winning entries. I have also set up and Chair the All Party Parliamentary Group for Heathrow and the Wider Economy. Its first Inquiry looked at noise, and reported on December 17th. See LINK

RECALL OF MPs

I led the campaign for a genuine system of Recall which would empower voters to hold their MPs to account in between elections. My campaign won support from across the political divide, from the Daily Mail to the Mirror, from the Taxpayer’s Alliance to 38 Degrees. I assembled a cross-party group of MPs to draft amendments to the Government’s Recall Bill, drafted by Nick Clegg. The Government’s Bill would allow Recall of MPs only with permission of Parliament itself, and only in the narrowest of circumstances. My amendments were supported by 166 MPs from all parties, but opposed by a majority after pressure was applied by the Lib Dem and Labour Whips. The local Lib Dem candidate has gone on the record to say he would have opposed real Recall. Here’s a link to the transcripts of my debates on the issue: LINK

ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE AND SUPERBUGS

Antibiotic resistance is without a doubt the greatest health threat we face today and I continue to challenge the Government to prioritise the issue. I recently met with the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, representatives from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate and the Chair of the Inter-Departmental High Level Steering Group on Antibiotic Resistance to push the matter. I have also initiated numerous Parliamentary Debates (See LINK), written articles (See LINK), tabled Parliamentary Questions (See LINK) and continue to be an active member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Antibiotics. Read more HERE

KEW GARDENS BUDGET CUTS

I have led the campaign in Parliament to protect Kew Gardens after it was announced that its funding would be cut by £1.5m each year. Kew is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a national treasure. It has been a world-class centre for botanic research for more than 250 years. It has seven million plant specimens, attracts two million visitors a year and it is hard to exaggerate its importance to the world’s scientific community. The proposed cut to annual funding would result in the loss of a sixth of the institution’s staff, mostly in scientific areas.Among other activities, I secured a debate in Parliament on the issue LINK which provoked an announcement from Government of additional funds. I continue to campaign for a long term settlement for Kew Gardens.

TRANSATLANTIC TRADE AND INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP

The ‘TTIP’ would be the world’s biggest-ever free trade agreement. It has huge ramifications for the UK. I am concerned that this agreement is being negotiated behind closed doors, with virtually no scrutiny by Parliament despite enormous implications for our democracy. I have helped initiate debates on the issue in Parliament and outside, as well as tabling Parliamentary Questions (See LINK). Please see here for an article by me on the subject: LINK

MARINE RESERVES

90% of the UK’s biodiversity exists in its Overseas Territories. I have led calls for Britain to designate three of its overseas territories, Pitcairn, Ascension and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands as giant nature reserves. At minimal cost, this would represent the single biggest conservation measure ever adopted by any Government. I have been working with the RSPB, the Blue Marine Foundation and the Pew Trust (see LINK), and have been meeting Ministers to make the case.

MP OF THE YEAR

I had the huge honour of being voted Parliamentary Newcomer of the Year at the prestigious Patchwork Foundation’s awards (LINK).

AIRSTRIKES IN NORTHERN IRAQ

Although I was able to intervene on the Prime Minister in the important debate on airstrikes in Northern Iraq (see LINK), I was not able to deliver the speech I had wanted to. This LINK shows what I would have said, had time allowed. 

ELEPHANT POACHING AND THE ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE

I remain very involved in the campaign to end the illegal trade in wildlife. As well as holding regular meetings with Cabinet Ministers, I also hosted the Parliamentary launch of a report by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) revealing the shocking numbers of endangered wildlife and wildlife parts for sale online. I strongly support their call for tougher measures to clamp down on this organised criminal activity. Read more HERE 

HISTORIC CHILD SEX ABUSE

One of the least enjoyable campaigns I have been involved in concerns historic cases of child abuse. For months now I have been made aware of very serious reports of abuse, and subsequent cover ups, including at Elm Guest House in Barnes. I coordinated a group of MPs to demand an all-encompassing Inquiry, and am grateful to the Home Secretary for agreeing to one. I spoke about the issue in a recent Parliamentary debate. Read more HERE 

FAIR DEAL FOR LOCAL PUBS

I was pleased to support a ‘Fair Deal for Your Local’ motion in Parliament that will make it far harder for the big pub chains to exploit their tenants. The amendment was passed, despite pressure from Party whips, and I believe this historic vote will help secure the future of the Great British pub. Read more HERE

IN BRIEF

I continue to support the campaign to end the use of wild animals in circuses in Britain by the end of 2015 (see LINK).

I took part in a debate in Parliament on the issue of the breeding, dealing and trading in puppies and dogs (see LINK) to ensure legislation is updated and improved.

I hosted a reception in Parliament for the The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust’s Wetland Manifesto which outlines a 10-point plan to conserve the UK’s remaining wetlands. Read more HERE

-Took part in a, ‘People’s Parliament’ Panel debate on the Right of Recall and the Need to Reform Parliamentary Democracy. See LINK

-Gave a speech to the Electoral Society on Direct Democracy

-Stood in for David Mellor to present LBC’s Saturday morning show with Ken Livingstone.

ANIMAL WELFARE 

A summary of my record on animal welfare issues as an MP. Read more about the issues I have campaigned on HERE

SCHOOL VISITS AND WORK EXPERIENCE

I encourage as many local schools as possible to visit Parliament, have a tour and then engage in a Q+A with me about the workings of Parliament. I have so far hosted more than 60 Q&A sessions for schools and local groups in Parliament. I also take on as many local students as possible in my Parliamentary Office as work experience.

ENVIRONMENT AUDIT SELECT COMMITTEE

As a member of the Environmental Audit Select Committee, I have taken part in Inquiries on a wide range of issues including: An Environmental Scorecard, National Pollinator Strategy, Growing a Circular Economy, Sustainability in the Home Office, Marine Protected Areas, Air Quality, Climate Change Adaption, Arctic Follow-Up and Sustainable Development Goals. Read more HERE. 

LOBBYING GOVERNMENT

I have written to Ministers on behalf of constituents about a great many issues, including: Illegal Wildlife Trade, Marine Protected Areas, New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, eviction of Masai Pastoralists, ivory Trade, wildlife cybercrime, antibiotic resistance, community energy projects, Kew Gardens funding cuts, Transatlantic Trade and Investment, Nuclear Power, Syrian refugees, ISIS, Gaza, NHS privatisation plans, NHS Pay, Ebola, immigration, EU budget, Gaza/Palestine, Bahrain, Mitochondrial Donation, animal welfare issues, Scottish Referendum, transport (improvement) services between Richmond/Kingston and Waterloo, investment in cycling, re-zoning of Kingston Station, military and non military Drones, fairer train fares, safer school runs, Nuclear weapons, Energy Justice, affordable homes, Mansion tax, Stamp Duty, Foreign Aid, Money Creation, International Human Rights, persecution of religious minorities, persecution of Christians, firefighters pensions, teachers pensions, Fracking, revenge evictions, Human Rights Act, Affordable Homes Bill, overseas residents’ pensions, EU Food Supplement Directive, the Child Abuse Inquiry, Russia/Ukraine, Equitable life, abortion clinics, dementia, the Cross Cancer Out Campaign, Thalidomide compensation, Off-patent Drugs Bill, hospital car parking charges, Charing Cross hospital, Faith Schools  

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PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES

I have participated in debates on a wide variety of issues since my last email update. Links to some of them can be found below:

To see more of my contributions in Parliament since I became an MP, click HERE

EARLY DAY MOTIONS

I have proposed, seconded and signed 193 EDMs since becoming an MP. See this LINK for a list

WRITTEN QUESTIONS TO MINISTERS

I have put over 1,000 written questions to Ministers on a wide variety of issues. Recent written questions include:

Read more HERE
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RICHMOND AND NORTH KINGSTON NEWS

KEW GARDENS FUNDING

As described in the Parliamentary section above, I have led the campaign in Parliament to press the Government to reverse its decision on cuts to Kew Gardens. The campaign has resulted in a partial U-turn, with Nick Clegg agreeing to delay the most serious cuts for over a year. Locally, I have held public meetings with Kew staff and concerned residents.  

CYCLING IN RICHMOND PARK 

I arranged and chaired a public meeting to discuss rising tensions between cyclists, motorists and pedestrians in Richmond Park.  The panel included representatives from Council, the Mayor’s office, the Royal Parks and police, as well as cycling clubs and other user groups. Over 400 people attended. There will now be further surveys and the creation of a working group to try to refine potential solutions. See here for notes of the meeting: LINK

SCHOOL FOOD PLAN LAUNCHED IN RICHMOND

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Liz Truss MP joined me in Barnes to launch a radical new Government Initiative to boost the quality of school and hospital food across the country. We spend well over £2 billion on food for schools and hospitals, and should of course be using that money to support sustainable British farmers, provide children and patients with good quality sustainable food, and cut food miles substantially. I have campaigned on this issue in Parliament a great deal, and I’m absolutely thrilled we’re finally seeing progress: Read more HERE 

RICHMOND BYELAW FOR ILLEGAL MOORINGS

After much lobbying by me and Richmond Councillors, the Government gave provisional approval for a new byelaw which will enable Richmond Council to tackle illegally moored boats that have blighted the riverside for many years. Read more HERE

ACTION IN KINGSTON ON ILLEGAL MOORINGS

Following decisive action from the Council, the number of illegally moored boats in Kingston has reduced significantly in recent months. Whereas three months ago there were 31 itinerant vessels being moored on a semi-permanent basis, as of mid-November, there are just 6.

PETITION FOR NEW FOOTBRIDGE AT WHITE HART LANE

The White Hart Lane crossing in Barnes is in desperate need of improvement. A large number of people use the crossing, including school children, and the narrow walkways and high volume of traffic make this a particularly dangerous area. I have therefore launched a Petition to encourage Network Rail South West Trains to install a footbridge. For more information or to sign up, please see HERE

WINNER TAKES £10,000 IN HEATHROW FILM COMPETITION

I staged a short film competition with campaign group HACAN to highlight the case against Heathrow expansion. The competition attracted well over 50 videos. Fifteen were shown at the event where some 800 people packed into the Richmond Theatre to watch and judge the best viral films reminding Mr Cameron of his ‘No Ifs, No Buts’ promise. A panel including Holly Willoughby, Rachel Johnson, Hugh Grant and Gyles Brandreth chose the best three films. See the top three films here: LINK

SUPPORTING LOCAL CHILDREN’S PLANS TO TACKLE WASTE

I hosted 60 school children from across the UK, including from Richmond and Kingston, as they took a stand in Parliament and presented their ideas on tackling plastic waste. The event was part of the Wastebuster Primary Earth Summit. Read more HERE

KINGSTON RECYCLING PLANS – AND THE LIB DEM PETITION

The local Liberal Democrats recently put out a petition to ‘save’ Kingston’s recycling. The claims on which their petition is based are false, and I have addressed them HERE

VISITING APPRENTICES AT THE NATIONAL PHYSICAL LABORATORY

I recently visited and spoke to students from the National Physical Laboratory’s (NPL) Advanced Apprenticeship programme in Teddington. Read more HERE

OPENING THE VISOR DROP IN CENTRE

I was honoured to be asked to open the V.I.S.O.R. (Visually Impaired Society of Richmond) Extended Drop-In Centre. V.I.S.O.R. is a registered charity run by unpaid volunteers who offer support and advice to the visually impaired. Read more HERE 

UNVEILED A NEW CARING HOMES INITIATIVE

I was asked to unveil an exciting new recruitment and training initiative at Galsworthy House Nursing Home in Kingston. Read more HERE 

CONSERVATIVE TAX CUTS TO REMOVE 5210 RESIDENTS FROM INCOME TAX

I welcomed new figures showing that Conservative plans for further cuts to income tax would take an estimated 5210 local taxpayers out of paying income tax altogether, as well as reducing others’ tax bills. Read more HERE

BORIS JOHNSON JOINS ME AT THE POPPY FACTORY

Ahead of the Remembrance period, I was pleased to accompany Boris Johnson on a tour of the magnificent Poppy Factory in Richmond, and to meet long-serving employees who made millions of poppies, wreaths and wooden crosses for this year’s Poppy Appeal. Read more HERE

JUDGING THE MAYOR’S LOW CARBON PRIZE

After judging the Mayor’s Low Carbon Entrepreneur competition earlier in the year. I celebrated the unveiling of the winner’s first ‘Solarbox’ – an iconic London telephone box transformed into a free solar-powered mobile phone charger. Read more HERE 

ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROJECT AT KEW GARDENS

I was pleased to welcome Climate Change Minister, Amber Rudd MP, to Kew Gardens to celebrate the Mayor of London’s RE:FIT scheme to retrofit public buildings. The scheme is currently working on over 400 buildings throughout London to reduce energy bills and carbon emissions. Kew Gardens was one of the first to join. Read more HERE 

CELEBRATING ‘PEACE DAY’ AT MEADLANDS PRIMARY

I celebrated the UN International Day of Peace on 21st September at Meadlands Primary School with the Kingston Peace Council. Read more HERE

UNVEILING FERN HILL PRIMARY’S NEW GARDEN

I had the honour of opening Fern Hill Primary School’s new garden, featuring a sensory area with pungent herbs, fruit and vegetable planters and a water feature lit with LEDs. Read more HERE

PROPOSED SAINSBURY’S IN HAM PARADE

I continue discussions with local traders, resident’s associations, Councillors and Sainsbury’s about the company’s plans to open a store at the Barclays Bank site on Ham Parade. We have pressed them on a number of areas, in particular the urgent need for a cashpoint, and difficulties around loading.

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OTHER ACTIVITIES IN BRIEF

Among other issues, activities and events, I have…..

  • Met the Richmond Ramblers Group to talk about their plans to encourage walking LINK
  • Cycled through Richmond and Kingston with Andrew Gilligan, Mayor of London’s Cycle Tzar, to look at how to improve cycling in both boroughs.
  • Celebrated the opening of the new Post Office in Ham with local Councillors LINK
  • Celebrated Diwali with Kingston Sarvoday Hindu Association
  • Co-presented Richmond Chamber of Commerce’s Business Awards 2014 LINK
  • Launched this year’s Barnes Fashion Show at St Mary’s Church, Barnes.
  • Visited my local Eyecare Opticians to hear about Sight Care Local’s awareness campaign, and to learn more about the value they contribute to the local community. LINK
  • Joined Chief Whip, Michael Gove MP, to present a lifetime achievement award to Ham resident, and long term Party activist, Vera Goodman
  • Joined Cllr Julie Pickering and Cathy Roberts, to launch the Enjoying Later Life Festival in Kingston LINK
  • Opened the new Abaca Organic mattress showroom in Richmond LINK
  • Took part in a Q&A with members of the Conservative Christian Group in Twickenham
  • Toured Kingston University Fresher’s Fair
  • Supported the Richmond Running Festival
  • Toured the Anstee Bridge Project in Kingston LINK
  • Placed wreaths in honour of the fallen – in Richmond and Kingston.
  • Took part in Kingston College’s Topping Out Ceremony, to celebrate the next stage of the new Creative Industries Centre. LINK
  • Hosted a screening of Environmental Documentary ‘Trashed’ at Wimbledon College; LINK
  • Visited Kingston’s newly-built Quaker centre, and took part in a Q&A with members.
  • Hosted two summer school programmes at my local Conservative Association
  • Spoke to members of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce at numerous networking events
  • Presented the Rising Stars Awards at Queens Primary School. LINK
  • Joined Richmond Borough Police to congratulate PCSO Guinnie Mooneesawmy as she was commended with an excellence award by the British Association of Women in Policing. LINK
  • Helped judge the Mayor’s Low Carbon Entrepreneur 2014 LINK
  • Joined Richmond Home-Start at their Carol Concert, which raised £14000 LINK
  • Handed out prizes to local children at the Jack Petchey Awards in Richmond Theatre
  • Toured Barnes Common with the Friends of Barnes Common
  • Spoke to Kingston Mosque goers and also Richmond Synagogue during the Israel/Gaza crisis.
  • Facilitated a series of meetings with relevant authorities to discuss concerns around funding for police in Richmond Park
  • Actively supported the Orange Tree Theatre’s bid to the Arts Council for funding
  • Facilitated meetings with Kingston and Richmond representatives to discuss concerns around mental health provision locally.
  • Supported calls for a long term health grant settlement for victims of thalidomide drug.

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PUBLIC MEETINGS AND COFFEE MORNINGS

I have held more than 100 public meetings and coffee mornings throughout the constituency since January, and will be organising many more throughout next year. Although we do attempt to put flyers through as many doors as possible, most people find out about these events via email, and on the events page on my website. Please do encourage your friends and neighbours to enter their details HERE if they would like to receive email updates. In addition, if you are interested in hosting a coffee morning, or similar event, please email me at: zac@zacgoldsmith.com

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SOME RECENT MEDIA INTERVIEWS AND ARTICLES

  • READ: My interview with Blue and Green Tomorrow, on Recall, the Environment and the Conservative party.
  • WATCH: My interview with the BBC about how the threat of Recall could prevent MPs from behaving badly LINK
  • WATCH: My discussion on Daily Politics about Recall LINK
  • WATCH: My interview with Going Underground’s Afshin Rattansi, about Recall LINK
  • READ: The transcript of my interview with Dominic Murnaghan on Sky News. LINK
  • WATCH: My speech to Parliament on Recall during the Report Stage of the Bill. LINK
  • WATCH: The highlights of this year’s Mayor’s Low Carbon Entrepreneur of the Year, which I helped judge. LINK
  • LISTEN: Discussion with Vanessa Feltz and listeners on BBC London Radio LINK
  • READ: My article on TTIP. LINK
  • READ: My article on Antibiotics. LINK
  • To watch more videos, please click HERE. To read more articles and interviews click HERE, and to read my blog, click HERE
  •  WATCH: My interview with the BBC about voters being duped by the Government’s Recall Bill  LINK

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ARRANGING PARLIAMENT TOURS, ELIZABETH TOWER CLIMBS AND SCHOOL VISITS TO PARLIAMENT

I have arranged and taken part in more than 60 Q&A sessions with local Schools, Universities and community groups in Parliament. If you are interested in booking a Q&A in Parliament for your group, please contact me at: zac@zacgoldsmith.com

As your MP, I also arrange individual and group visits to Parliament. Visitors can book tickets to watch parliamentary debates from the viewing gallery, climb the Elizabeth Tower or join a tour of Parliament. All these activities are free of charge, and if you would like to find out more, see: LINK and LINK. You can contact me to make arrangements at: zac@zacgoldsmith.com

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PRIVATE SURGERIES

Since becoming an MP, I have met with a great many constituents to discuss issues affecting them, and where possible, to assist with the problems they are experiencing.

If you would like to arrange an appointment at one of my surgeries, please email me at: zac@zacgoldsmith.com with your full name and address, and a summary of the issue/s you wish to discuss.

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DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

Monday 12th January: 9.15am, Ham Petersham and Richmond Riverside Coffee morning at Hand and Flower, 24 Upper Ham Road, TW10 5LA. LINK
Thursday 15th January: Toby Young at Conservative Policy Forum. See: LINK
Friday 16th January: New Members Coffee morning. Contact Richmond Park Conservative Association on 020 8878 7866 for more details
Monday 19th January: Coffee morning in North Richmond. See: LINK
– For future events, please check the events page on my website HERE

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SIGN UP

Please encourage your family and friends to get in touch if they would like to receive my email updates. They can contact me by email at: zac@zacgoldsmith.com, or register their details in a short online form on my website, HERE

I will not share email addresses with third parties: they will be used exclusively by me to keep residents up to date with important local and national news.

You can also find regular updates on my website HERE

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MY CONTACT DETAILS

 

Post: 372 Upper Richmond Road West, London SW14 7JU

Telephone: 020 8939 0321

Emailzac@zacgoldsmith.com

Website: www.zacgoldsmith.com

Follow me: @ZacGoldsmith