John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Friday, February 26, 2010
  Election Results 25th Feb 2010
Bracknell Forest UA, Owlsmoor
Con 508 (54.2; -1.9)
LD Mark James Thompson 238 (25.4: +25.4)
Lab 126 (13.4; +13.4)
Green 66 (7.0; +7.0)
[UKIP (0.0; -18.2)]
[Others (0.0; -25.8)]
Majority 270
Turnout 24%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007

Broxtowe DC, Eastwood South
LD Keith Longdon 985 (53.1; +34.0)
Lab 484 (26.1; -12.1)
Con 387 (20.9; -0.4)
[Others (0.0; -5.2)]
[BNP (0.0; -16.3)]
Majority 501
Turnout not known
LD gain from Lab
Percentage change is since May 2007

Huntingdonshire DC, Fenstanton
LD Colin Saunderson 391 (51.1; +4.2)
Con 337 (44.1; -4.1)
Lab 37 (4.8; -0.1)
Majority 54
Turnout 31%
LD gain from Con
Percentage change is since May 2007

Mansfield BC, Portland
Lab 407 (45.8; +2.2)
Mansfield Independent Forum 263 (29.6; -26.9)
Con 116 (13.0; +13.0)
LD Nicholas Spencer 66 (7.4; +7.4)
UKIP 37 (4.2: +4.2)
Majority 144
Turnout 24.15%
Lab gain from Other
Percentage change is since May 2007

Mansfield DC, Sherwood
Lab 406 (46.4; +8.3)
Mansfield Independent Forum 171 (19.5; -42.4)
Con 156 (17.8; +17.8)
UKIP 93 (10.6; +10.6)
LD Anna Marie Ellis 49 (5.6; +5.6)
Majority 235
Turnout 24.84%
Lab gain from Other
Percentage change is since May 2007

Mid Devon DC, Yeo
Con 714 (59.4; +26.4)
LD Peter John Heal 489 (40.6; -26.4)
Majority 225
Turnout 45%
Con gain from LD
Percentage change is since May 2007

Nottinghamshire CC, Mansfield South
Lab 1342 (33.5; +13.4)
Mansfield Independent Forum 1108 (27.6; -12.7)
Con 774 (19.3; -9.2)
UKIP 489 (12.2; +12.2)
LD Danielle Kerry Gent 295 (7.4; -3.8)
Majority 234
Turnout 20.94%
Lab gain from Other
Percentage change is since June 2009

South Tyneside MBC, Primrose
Lab 854 (42.0; -6.5)
BNP 566 (27.9; -5.1)
Others (Ind 213 / Ind 174) (19.1; +19.1)
Con 124 (6.1; -12.4)
LD Susan Heather Troupe 100 (4.9; +4.9)
Majority 288
Turnout 32.25%
Lab hold
Percentage change is since May 2008

Eastwood TC, Eastwood South
LD Lorraine Perro 955 (51.6)
Lab 482 (26.1)
Con 412 (22.3)
Majority 473
Turnout 26.6%
LD gain from Lab

Great Cornard PC, Great Cornard North
LD Marion Press 273 (61.1)
Lab 174 (38.9)
Majority 99
Turnout 13.93%
LD gain from Con

Great Cornard PC, Great Cornard South
LD Richard Anthony Platt 203 (58.2)
Con 146 (41.8)
Majority 57
Turnout 10.97%
LD gain from Con

Sandhurst TC, Owlsmoor
Con 453 (48.2)
LD Mark James Thompson 201 (21.4)
Lab 124 (13.2)
UKIP 112 (11.9)
Green 50 (5.3)
Majority 252
Turnout 24%
Con hold

Beverley TC, Minster South
Con 322 (39.3)
Green 183 (22.3)
LD Bob Foot 165 (20.1)
Lab 149 (18.2)
Majority 139
Turnout 15% (approximate)
Con gain from Lab
 
Thursday, February 25, 2010
  The Swan and Freedom of Speech
The link is to the report of the Standards and Privileges Committee of today's date which finds Withers are indeed guilty of contempt of parliament.

Hopefully the development at The Swan will now progress.

Quoting from the conclusion:
26. The evidence in this case is very clear and in our view the conclusion is no less clear. We conclude that Withers LLP were in contempt of the House when on 4 August 2009 they threatened Mr Hemming with legal proceedings in respect of statements he had made outside the House concerning their client's behaviour, were he to repeat those statements in the House. The contempt was repeated and compounded on subsequent dates, notably on 11 August. An opportunity in October to withdraw was not taken by Withers LLP; and the contempt was denied by them even once the matter had been placed before the House. We are surprised that a firm of the standing of Withers LLP should have taken so long to understand the scope of Parliamentary privilege. It was only when they sought advice from Counsel that Withers LLP accepted they had erred and they apologised unreservedly to the House and to Mr Hemming.

27. It has long been accepted that the House should assert its privileges sparingly. In the light of the apology the House has received, we make no recommendation for further action on the matter referred to us.


My statement is:
It is the job of MPs to speak up for their constituents. Our Libel Laws now prevent people from telling the truth about people who have expensive lawyers. Parliament today has stood up for freedom of speech. We also need to change the law on libel costs so that people do not face ruinous legal costs for telling the truth.

The people who have been suffering from the legal row over the Swan are the residents of Yardley. To me they are the people who come first.
 
Friday, February 19, 2010
  By Election Results 18th February 2010
Bridgend UA, Pendre
Lab 200 (36.6; -12.7)
LD Anita Dawn Davies 193 (35.3; -15.3)
Ind 68 (12.5; +12.5)
Con 60 (11.0; +11.0)
PC 25 (4.6; +4.6)
Majority 7
Turnout not known
Lab gain from LD
Percentage change is since May 2008

Charnwood BC, Birstall Watermead
Con 674 (47.7; +2.8)
Lab 452 (32.0; +32.0)
BNP 288 (20.4; +20.4)
[LD (0.0; -55.2)]
Majority 222
Turnout 26.94%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007

Leeds City Council, Hyde Park and Woodhouse Ward
Lab 1054 (47.8; +9.4)
LD Michael Taylor 671 (30.5; -10.2)
Con 188 (8.5; +1.2)
Ind 150 (6.8; +6.8)
Green 140 (6.4; -3.7)
[BNP (0.0; -3.4)]
Majority 383
Turnout 14.8%
Lab gain from LD
Percentage change is since May 2008

Liverpool MBC, Fazakerley
Lab 1525 (57.5; 0.0)
LD Graham Seddon 807 (30.5; +11.1)
BNP 234 (8.8; -5.2)
Green 84 (3.2; +1.1)
[Lib (0.0; -2.2)]
[Con (0.0; -4.9)]
Majority 718
Turnout 23%
Lab hold
Percentage change is since May 2008

South Hams DC, Ivybridge Filham
LD Tony Barber 379 (44.3; +11.9)
Con 356 (41.6; -26.0)
Lab 121 (14.1; +14.1)
Majority 23
Turnout 21.76%
LD gain from Con
Percentage change is since May 2007

Wychavon DC, Evesham South
Con 358 (52.3; +1.2)
LD Diana Brown 176 (25.7; +2.1)
UKIP 150 (21.9; -3.3)
Majority 182
Turnout 16.26%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007

Chepstow TC, St. Christopher
LD Tony Redhead 195 (62.9)
Con 115 (37.1)
Majority 80
Overall: 16.55% (In-person: 11.67% Postal: 79.85%)
LD hold

Evesham TC, Evesham South
Con 432 (66.6)
UKIP 217 (33.4)
Majority 215
Turnout 16.16%
Con hold

Gainsborough TC, South West
LD Daniel Dand 250 (63.3)
Ind 145 (36.7)
Majority 105
Turnout 10.68%
LD hold

Pontypridd TC, Pontypridd Town
LD Phil Price 196 (31.9)
Lab 188 (30.6)
Monster Raving Looney Party 130 (21.2)
PC 100 (16.3)
Majority 8
Turnout not known
LD gain from PC

Patchway TC, Stoke Lodge
Con 370 (65.4)
Ind 101 (17.8)
LD Ken Graupner 98 (17.3)
Majority 269
Turnout 34.3%
Con hold
 
  The Battle of the Economists
There is a growing row about whether or not sufficient is being done to reduce the budget deficit.

The problem behind all of this is an absence of sufficient data. The inputs into the Treasury Economic Model remain a state secret. Hence we cannot be certain what is likely to happen and we cannot properly scrutinise the future of the Economy.

There is no question that a sudden and abrupt halt would cause a problem. It also appears that insufficient action is being taken.

The eternal question is one as to when the multiplier effect has a net positive effect on the deficit given the required inputs.

The biggest question in the 4-5 year timescale is what we can expect in terms of GDP growth. There are arguments that the treasury is over optimistic here. I think those arguments probably have some weight.

Whichever way this is a failure of our parliamentary democracy in that there is no detailed scrutiny of the assumptions behind the forecasts simply because the government won't allow it and parliament is controlled by the government.

Sterling does seem to be taking a bit of a downward trend at the moment. That started before the release of the January borrowing figures. Not really a sign of confidence in the UK.
 
Thursday, February 18, 2010
  CBT, National Council of Women and RNIB back John Hemming on buses
The campaign for better transport have written a letter to Gordon Brown in which they say:
We were surprised to hear your dismissive response when the issue of the number 41 bus in Birmingham was raised at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday 3 February.

John Hemming MP rightly pointed out that bus cuts are symptomatic of a national problem and that the London system of bus franchising should be an option elsewhere.
We were outraged to hear MPs laugh in response. It suggests they are out of touch with the problems people face in their everyday lives.

Two-thirds of public transport journeys are made by bus. 4.8 billion journeys were made by bus and light rail in England in 2008/9, many more than the 1 billion journeys made by rail. On average, 25% of households in the UK don't have access to a car and buses are particularly important during this recession to access employment, education and training. A reliable, high quality bus network gives people the option of leaving their cars behind, which reduces congestion and carbon emissions.

I am writing to seek your assurance that buses and the people who use them are high on the Government’s priority list. You could do this by:
- giving a clear statement of support for the use of new quality contract (bus franchising) powers in West Yorkshire and elsewhere (West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority is likely to be the first authority to use these powers)
- providing funds to WYITA and other transport authorities that want to use quality contract powers, but which need “pump priming” funding


As you can tell if you look at the letter this is backed by the RNIB, PTeg and
National Council of Women of Great Britain (NCWGB).

The response from the PM and the MPs, however, implies that bus issues are not even on the list at all.

Cat Hobbs has blogged about this here
 
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
  Swan Inquiry - Secretary of State confirms CPO
The Secretary of State has now agreed the inspector's report without going into details it basically means that the Inquiry has found for the development to proceed.

I am pleased that we are now in a position where further progress can be made on the Swan Development.

This will be particularly good news for the residents of Bakeman House who have had to live in a building site for months.
 
Saturday, February 13, 2010
  Election Results 11th February 2010
Ashfield DC, Hucknall Central
Lab 675 (38.4; +17.9)
Con 437 (24.9; -5.1)
LD Kenneth Cotham 357 (20.3; +6.8)
UKIP 158 (9.0; +9.0)
BNP 131 (7.5; +7.5)
[Others (0.0; -36.0)]
Majority 238
Turnout 32.29%
Lab gain from Con
Percentage change is since May 2007

Aylesbury Vale DC, Aylesbury Central
LD Graham Webster 354 (50.6; -1.9)
Con 213 (30.5; -5.9)
Lab 67 (9.6; +9.6)
UKIP 65 (9.3; -1.9)
Majority 141
Turnout 26.9%
LD hold
Percentage change is since May 2007

Aylesbury Vale DC, Luffield Abbey
Con 343 (49.7; -30.7)
UKIP 151 (21.9; +21.9)
LD Ian Patrick Metherell 133 (19.3; +19.3)
Ind 63 (9.1; +9.1)
[Lab (0.0; -19.6)]
Majority 192
Turnout 33.4%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007

Chichester DC, Plaistow
Con 504 (57.7; -20.4)
LD Ray Cooper 301 (34.4; +12.5)
BNP 69 (7.9; +7.9)
Majority 203
Turnout 23.3%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007

Durham CC, Easington
Lab 702 (55.8; -8.3)
Ind 311 (24.7; +24.7)
LD Carole Maria Harrison 126 (10.0; -25.9)
Con 120 (9.5; +9.5)
Majority 391
Turnout 20.90%
Lab Hold
Percentage change is since May 2008

Scarborough BC, Mayfield
Con 436 (38.5; -61.5)
Others (Ind 282 / No Political Affiliation 112) (34.8; +34.8)
Lab 238 (21.0; +21.0)
LD Christopher Julian Cawood 65 (5.7; +5.7)
Majority 154
Turnout 30%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007

South Oxfordshire DC, Henley South
Residents 642 (52.5; +0.6)
Con 472 (38.6; +10.5)
LD George Levy 110 (9.0; +0.2)
[BNP (0.0; -4.2)]
[Green (0.0; -7.1)]
Majority 170
Turnout not known
Residents hold
Percentage change is since May 2007

Telford and Wrekin UA, College
Con 252 (29.3; -5.5)
Others (Ind 237 / No Desc 127 / TAWPA 24) (45.2; -20.0)
Lab 219 (25.5; +25.5)
Majority 15
Turnout 39.7%
Con gain from Ind
Percentage change is since May 2007

Telford and Wrekin UA, The Nedge
Con 760 (42.5; +18.6)
Lab 688 (38.5; +15.4)
UKIP 237 (13.3; -0.6)
BNP 103 (5.8; +5.8)
{Others (0.0; -39.2)]
Majority 72
Turnout 27.2%
Con gain from Lab
Percentage change is since May 2007

Calne TC, Calne Priestly
Con 224 (47.3%)
LD J.R. Henning 192 (40.5%)
UKIP 58 (12.2%)
Majority 32
Turnout 26.6%
Con gain from UKIP

Henley TC, Henley South
Residents 633 (51.6)
Con 479 (39.1)
LD Richard West 114 (9.3)
Majority 154
Turnout not known
Residents hold

London Colney TC, North West
Lab 225 (34.1)
LD Vibs Nazeri 193 (29.2)
Con 181 (27.4)
BNP 61 (9.2)
Majority 32
Turnout 29.34%
Lab hold.

Nelson TC, Walverden
Lab 419 (44.6)
Con 268 (28.5)
LD Abdul Hafiz Malik 252 (26.8)
Majority 151
Turnout not known
Lab gain from LD
 
Friday, February 12, 2010
  No 40 bus to start on 22nd February
Thanks to the hard work of the Yardley and Hall Green Liberal Democrat teams there is to be a new bus service, No 40, to replace the 41 service which has been withdrawn by National Express. We will provide more details of exactly what the route is at a later stage.

A lot of effort has been put into this by your local Liberal Democrat councillors and MP. It has involved attempts by Labour MPs to silence the MP by shouting him down to stop him talking about local bus services and many many meetings involving councillors, the MP, Centro and National Express Group. We know how important these services are and have continued fighting for local people.

The underlying problem with the removal of the No 41 bus is that since the 1985 Transport Act most decisions as to where buses run are made by private companies (National Express) rather than democratically.

In December 2009 Councillor Gaved raised concerns with Centro about what was happening with the bus services locally and was told that the No 41 bus was to be cancelled. This caused concern with all the local councillors and the MP.

On January 5th Councillors Iain Bowen, Jackie Hawthorn, Penny Wagg, Paula Smith, Roger Harmer and Jerry Evans had a meeting at Acocks Green Bus Garage with National Express to ask them to keep the service. John Hemming MP also wrote to National Express and Centro calling for the service to be retained or failing that an alternative service to be provided.

A further meeting was organised by Cllr Jon Hunt in The Council House on 29th January 2010 involving Centro, National Express Group, John Hemming MP and Councillors Iain Bowen, Paula Smith, Jackie Hawthorn, David Osborne, Jerry Evans and Daphne Gaved. At this meeting National Express refused to continue the service, but it was agreed that Councillors Iain Bowen and Paula Smith would discuss alternatives with Centro.

On 1st February John Hemming MP spoke in the House of Commons about bus regulation highlighting the problems with the No 41 bus. On 3rd February John raised the same issue with the Prime Minister. Labour MPs tried to shout him down to stop him talking about bus services. The Prime Minister also made a joke about local bus services. On 4th February John asked other government ministers about bus regulation.

On 1st February Councillors Paula Smith, Iain Bowen and Barbara Jackson attended a Fox Hollies Green Neighbourhood Forum meeting at Fox Hollies Leisure Centre. A meeting about the 41 bus had been arranged, but was cancelled because too many people turned up.

On 2nd February Councillor Paula Smith presented a petition from about the No 41 bus to the City Council.

On 5th February Councillors Iain Bowen and Paula Smith met up with Centro. to discuss options for an alternative route No 40. Councillor Jon Hunt took up this issue as the Lib Dem lead on the Transport Authority.

On 10th February a test route drive for the new 40 bus service was successful and it was agreed that there would be a new No 40 bus route on contract to Centro.
 
Monday, February 08, 2010
  Labour and the No 41
The Yardley Labour Party are complaining that National Express Group have simply axed the 41 regardless of criticism.

That is because of the bus management or regulation system. It is no good Labour complaining about the system, but also criticising me for asking the Prime Minister about bus regulation.

They have had 13 years during which the system in Birmingham could have been changed to run the same way as that in London.

What happens in London is that the service is defined by the Local Authority - in this case the GLA or Transport for London. Then bus companies tender to offer that service.

It is known as Sector Tendering.

It is that system we need in Birmingham (and throughout England).

That is what I asked the Prime Minister about. Yardley Labour are quite happy that the PM ignored that question. Indeed they think the Prime Minister should not have been asked the question.

The Prime Minister has often been asked questions by Labour MPs about bus services. Why it is wrong for a Lib Dem to ask a question about bus regulation and not wrong for a Labour MP I really don't know.

In the mean time considerable work is going into getting a new bus service to deal with the problems caused by the removal of the No 41.

I will also continue working to get a better bus management system for Birmingham regardless of Labour criticisms.
 
  Heartlands Hospital A&E figures
One of the difficulties in looking at the stats for Heartlands hospital is that they include figures for Solihull, Heartlands and Good Hope.

I have obtained copies of the most recent statistics about A&E and put them in the window of my office.

What they demonstrate is that the primary concern relates to Good Hope. I had a number of conversations about this last week and the hospital is putting in some serious effort into resolving this.

Personally I have only experienced A&E at Heartlands and have not been to A&E at Solihull or Good Hope although I have visited patients at Solihull on a number of occasions.

It is important to have a good A&E service, but there are always challenges as to demand particularly with the complications now in the health service.
 
Sunday, February 07, 2010
  Freedom of Speech, Privilege and Expenses
There is a lot of confusion in the media about the attempt by those being prosecuted for Fraud to claim that the expeneses regime falls within Article IX of the Bill of Rights.

It is important that MPs are allowed to speak freely in the Houses of Parliament about issues. What you do not want is people being tied up in legal proceedings and unable to speak the truth about the problems faced by their constituents.

I have provided considerable information to the Standards and Privileges committee in part based upon work done by an Irish Barrister Kieron Wood. This submission is privileged and as such I cannot publish it at the moment. It will, however, be published later.

Whether something falls within the ambit of Article IX of the Bill of Rights is determined both by the courts and also by parliament. This is the principle of comity.

It is quite clear that this does not include the salary and expenses of a Member of Parliament. If it did, then there would be no tax. Furthermore legislation has made specific reference to the second home expenses of MPs. That indicates that parliament has legislated to ensure that the treatment of MPs expenses and salary is the same as for any other role.

The Labour Party's solicitors may intend to try this out as a defence, but it can easily be knocked out by the CPS. There is a mass of precedent that justifies this as well as various statutes in place.

The underlying test for contempt of parliament is whether something outside parliament has the effect of preventing parliament doing its job. I cannot see anyone arguing the ludicrous case that it is necessary for MPs to fiddle expenses so that they can do their job.
 
Friday, February 05, 2010
  Election Results 4th February 2010
Blackburn with Darwen UA, Queens Park
Lab 638 (54.2; +3.0)
LD Imtiaz Patel 366 (31.1; -17.8)
Con 174 (14.8; +14.8)
Majority 272
Turnout 28%
Lab gain from LD
Percentage change is since May 2008.

Newcastle under Lyme BC, Newchapel
Con 208 (33.5; -10.6)
UKIP 148 (23.8; +10.4)
Lab 138 (22.2; -1.1)
LD Adrian Rhodes 127 (20.5; +1.4)
Majority 60
Turnout not known.
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2008.

North East Derbyshire DC, Holmewood and Heath
Lab 373 (64.1; -35.9)
Con 209 (35.9; +35.9)
Majority 164
Turnout 21.45%
Lab gain from LD
Percentage change is since May 2007 (Lab elected unopposed)
(The seat was subsequently won by a Liberal Democrat in a By-Election in 2008)

Tandridge DC, Whyteleafe
LD David Lee 444 (57.0; +3.2)
Con 236 (30.3; -11.3)
UKIP 99 (12.7; +12.7)
[Lab (0.0; -4.6)]
Majority 208
Turnout 28.9%
LD hold
Percentage change is since May 2008.

Dronfield TC, South
LD Richard Bembridge 309 (45.0)
Con 296 (43.1)
Lab 170 (24.7)
Ind 65 (9.5)
Majority 13
Turnout 19.91%
LD gain from Con.

Shifnal TC, Manor
Con 289 (35.0)
LD David Murray 157 (19.0)
Ind 143 (17.3)
Ind 136 (16.5)
Ind 100 (12.1)
Majorities 146 and 14
Turnout 23%
1 x Con hold and 1 x LD gain from Con
 
Thursday, February 04, 2010
  Video of 41 bus question

John O Shea has said there was something wrong with the phrasing of the question. What exactly is wrong with this:

“At the weekend, National Express group cancelled without consultation the number 41 bus in Birmingham, causing major problems for people in Birmingham.”

“This is symptomatic of a national problem. When will the rest of the country be allowed to use the same system for bus management as exists in London?”


The good news is that we are close now to having a proposal for a replacement service. However, this should not have happened in the first instance.
 
  The Legg Report - an extract
Mr John Hemming MP
Birmingham Yardley
Mr Hemming has no issues.
 
  With the real John O Shea please stand up (41 bus)
John O Shea is trying to face both ways on the issue of the No 41 bus.

I raised a serious issue about how the 1985 Transport Act is continuing to undermine bus services outside London. I did this at Prime Ministers question time. The Prime Minister is in charge of a government that is responsible for the statutory environment for buses.

On The Stirrer John O Shea says:
"As a matter of fact, I would support re-regulation of the bus system and local control rather like that in London. It makes sense to try and integrate the operation."

On his blog he says:
"And before John Hemming burbles something about the Labour Party not caring, he's wrong. we've been campaigning on this as well."

On the other hand he quotes Conservative Councillor Gareth Crompton:
"You made an absolute tit of yourself at PMQs, provoking howls of derision from all sides.."

John O Shea has to decide whether it is right to raise the issue of how the problems with the regulation of bus services cause the cancellation of services like the No 41 bus or not.

Either I was right to raise the issue with the PM - who has the ability to get the legislation changed - or not.

It is no good Labour saying well ... we don't like the cancellation of the No 41 bus, but you mustn't say anything in parliament about it.

The simple fact is most Labour MPs don't rely on bus services for their transport and were quite happy to deride me for mentioning it. That says a lot.
 
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
  Shocking behaviour by the Labour Party about the No 41 Bus in Birmingham
At Prime Ministers question time today I raised the issue of cancellation of bus services. I referred to the No 41 bus which was cancelled at the weekend.

Bus services are being cancelled all over the country because we don't have the same system for bus management outside London that exists in London.

I asked the Prime Minister why we could not have the same system (Sector Tendering) outside London that exists in London.

The Labour Party ridiculed the question.

Bus services are very important to people who don't have cars. These are generally people who are less wealthy. I thought the Labour Party were supposed to care about these people, but clearly they don't.

I think the Labour Party as a whole should apologise for their lack of respect for bus travellers.
 
  The rules of war and gaza
The link is to a significant story about how the rules of war were rewritten for the Gaza conflict. It did seem obvious at the time that the rules of war which aim to protect civilians were not having a sufficient effect. The reason for this appears to be that the rules of engagement were deliberately changed.

Notwithstanding the fact that combatants in gaza would not be wearing a uniform this does not give carte blanche to the Israeli government to kill civilians.
 
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
  The No 41 Bus issue
The link is to my speech last night referring to the No 41 bus.

I would like to carry out what I call the “No. 41 bus test” on whether the new watchdog and the order are of any use. At times, it is good to look at specific problems and at whether they are likely to be improved. The No. 41 bus served part of Birmingham and Solihull until the weekend, and its withdrawal has caused major problems, particularly in Stockfield road, Dolphin lane and Shirley road. We have to ask whether giving the powers to Passenger Focus will enable something to be done for those local residents—probably not, I would say.

Together with local councillors, I have lobbied to keep the No. 41 bus service, but we have just been ignored—well, “ignored” is not exactly the right word; we have had meetings with the transport authority and with National Express. Passenger Focus has the right to ask for information, but not to prevent the service from being withdrawn. As a watchdog it has a bark, but in practice it does not have a bite. The transport commissioners may have a bite, but the bite to retain a bus service does not exist, and that is where the matter fails the No. 41 bus test.

Councillors Iain Bowen and Paula Smith proposed a circular bus route. That could have been proposed via Passenger Focus. The National Express Group has turned that down, and Passenger Focus would not make any difference to that. As the market stands, we can go to another bus company and say, “Could you do a circular bus route?” That brings us to the really crucial point. If we are to improve bus services outside London, we need London’s system for managing bus services—the sector tendering system. That is the crucial point.


The failure of policy is in having a situation whereby a key bus service can be withdrawn without any replacement. Notwithstanding the so called "partnership" with Centro there is still nothing direct that can be done about this.

Centro are looking further at the issue and I may look around for other bus companies who may do a service to cover the missing area as a circular service. We are currently awaiting a response from Centro.
 

Click Here for access to higher resolution versions of the photos The license for use allows use of the photos by media as long as they are attributed.

better brent chart

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12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 / 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 / 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 / 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 / 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 / 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 / 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 / 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 / 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 / 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 / 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 / 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 / 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 / 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 / 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 / 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 / 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 / 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 / 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 / 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 / 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 / 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 / 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 / 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 / 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 / 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 / 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 / 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 / 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 / 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 / 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 / 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 / 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 / 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 / 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 / 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 / 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 / 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 / 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 / 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 / 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 / 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 / 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 / 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 / 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 / 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 / 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 / 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 / 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 / 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 / 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 / 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 / 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 / 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 / 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 / 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 / 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 / 07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009 / 08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009 / 09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009 / 10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009 / 11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009 / 12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010 / 01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010 / 02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010 / 03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010 / 04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010 / 05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010 / 06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010 / 07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010 / 08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010 / 09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010 / 10/01/2010 - 11/01/2010 / 11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010 / 12/01/2010 - 01/01/2011 / 01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011 / 02/01/2011 - 03/01/2011 / 03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011 / 04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011 / 05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011 / 06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011 / 07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011 / 08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011 / 09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011 / 10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011 / 11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011 / 12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012 / 01/01/2012 - 02/01/2012 / 02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012 / 03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012 / 04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012 / 05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012 / 06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012 / 07/01/2012 - 08/01/2012 / 08/01/2012 - 09/01/2012 / 09/01/2012 - 10/01/2012 / 10/01/2012 - 11/01/2012 / 11/01/2012 - 12/01/2012 / 12/01/2012 - 01/01/2013 / 01/01/2013 - 02/01/2013 / 02/01/2013 - 03/01/2013 / 03/01/2013 - 04/01/2013 / 04/01/2013 - 05/01/2013 / 05/01/2013 - 06/01/2013 / 06/01/2013 - 07/01/2013 / 07/01/2013 - 08/01/2013 / 08/01/2013 - 09/01/2013 / 09/01/2013 - 10/01/2013 / 10/01/2013 - 11/01/2013 / 11/01/2013 - 12/01/2013 / 12/01/2013 - 01/01/2014 / 01/01/2014 - 02/01/2014 / 02/01/2014 - 03/01/2014 / 03/01/2014 - 04/01/2014 / 04/01/2014 - 05/01/2014 / 05/01/2014 - 06/01/2014 / 06/01/2014 - 07/01/2014 / 07/01/2014 - 08/01/2014 / 08/01/2014 - 09/01/2014 / 09/01/2014 - 10/01/2014 / 10/01/2014 - 11/01/2014 /


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