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Posts Tagged ‘London’

Could it be all change in Harrow East?

A YouGov poll of London voters for the Evening Standard suggests that Harrow East will swing back to the Conservatives in the upcoming election.

 The seat, which went from Blue to Red in 1997 and has been held for the past 13 years by Labour MP Tony McNulty, is one of a dozen tipped to go Tory next month.

 The poll gives the Conservative party a six point rise on the 2005 election, putting their share of the vote in the capital at 38 per cent.

 Meanwhile the poll puts Labour at 35 per cent and the Lib Dems at 16 per cent, a six point drop.

 Among the twelve seats likely to shift from either Lib Dem or Labour control is Harrow’s neighbouring seat Hendon. Currently held by Labour MP Andrew Dismore, it is highly placed on the Conservatives list of target seats, which may be why Prime Minister Gordon Brown dropped by the area yesterday.

 Harrow East is not considered quite as marginal as Hendon, with McNulty enjoying a majority of 2,934 in the 2005 election.

 But as the poll indicates, his dismal record during last year’s expenses scandal and Labour’s wider national standing could well deliver a win for Tory candidate Bob Blackman.

 Still, with more than three weeks to go until May 6, none of the candidates can rest easy.

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Ready to run in Harrow (photo: LOCOG)

Harrow’s logo pin features St. Mary’s on the Hill, the Borough and Parish Church at Harrow on the Hill which is said to have once been a favourite haunt of Romantic poet Lord Byron.

The image was chosen by Londoners who last September were offered the chance by LOCOG and London Councils to vote for ‘the most iconic landmark in their borough’.

Each of the landmarks has now been re-created into a metal pin badge incorporating the London 2012 logo.

Sebastian Coe, Chair of LOCOG, said today on unveiling the designs that they were a ‘fantastic way to showcase to the UK and the rest of the world what a wonderful city London is’.

He added: “London is a fantastically diverse city and the variety of landmarks chosen by Londoners to represent their local areas highlights this perfectly.

The badges will be sold around London. See what features on other badges here

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Boris Johnson faces a grilling from Harrow residents at a question time event on Wednesday (photo: Simon Williams)

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The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, will be travelling north bound this evening for a ‘People’s Question Time’ at Harrow School. 

He will be joined by Navin Shah, Brent and Harrow’s London Assembly Member (and incidentally, the man who took over from Harrow East Tory candidate Bob Blackman) and Dareen Johnson, Chair of the London Assembly.

Tickets are sold out, but you can watch the whole shebang on your computer here.

The panel will be discussing topics including policing, the environment at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Also up for discussion will be transport. Perhaps Johnson will have tried using the Metropolitan line to get to Harrow this week.

If so, I’d imagine the audience will be waiting some time for him to appear; there have been severe delays on the line the last few days due to works between Aldgate and Moorgate.

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Stanmore Politics is moving up in the world.

Take a look at this map (coutersy of Hyperlocal genius @tubbyteals) to see Stanmore’s companions in the world of local London blogging.

North London is still looking a bit empty, though Northwood Local and West Hampstead Life have set some pretty high standards to live up to.

Know of another Hyperlocal blog that hasn’t been put on the map? Let Stanmore Politics know!

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The deputy leader of Harrow council has warned that there could be big trouble ahead if there is more heavy snow this week because salt supplies have still not been adequately replenished.

According to the Met Office London should be braced for as much as 15cm of snow across Thursday and Friday. But Councillor Susan Hall told residents at a public meeting that only 272 tons of salt remained. She said:

“If the weather gets worse we could be in real trouble. If we have a bad week we will be out of salt completely.”

The councillor said that efforts to replenish supplies were being doubled but the extra 2,000 tons of salt needed to prevent icy roads had still not arrived.

 However she said the council had done everything they should have done to prepare for the snowy weather last month, which was the worst in decades. Harrow’s grit shortages became a national story as Britain was blanketed in snow and ice.

 One resident complained that on Harrow’s border with Barnet, along the A5, there had been a marked difference in how much grit was put down. “Harrow had absolutely nothing on it for quite a few days,” they said.

 Yet pointing out that many boroughs, like Haringey, had not kept their main roads clear, Councillor Hall said that it was not always possible to grit side roads.

 “Often where the snow is cleared it is on big wide roads which we don’t have in Harrow. We can’t send gritting lorries down narrow roads because they might damage parked cars.”

 Councillor Hall also said that the legal department were looking into whether residents should clear pavements against the risk of accidents.

 She admitted it was possible to be sued if someone did something negligent, like put water on an icy pavement, and “somebody came along and broke a leg.”

 “But the reality is that if you just sweep it away everybody should be alright. As long as people are warned and told not to be stupid. For elderly people hopefully there will be a neighbourly spirit.”

 Council leader David Ashton said they were considering an umbrella insurance policy. “There is the danger that if somebody slips over by your house they might ring up the lawyers,” he said. “Nobody wants to go through that hassle.”

 He said severe weather had exacerbated the “pothole problem” in the area, after one resident reported counting a rise to 85 potholes at Pinner View.

 Councillor Hall said they were taking pains to repair roads, but acknowledged that she has been receiving up to 30 emails every day on the subject. Last month it was reported that potholes would cost the council an extra £1 million.

 Michael Burton, editor of the MJ, the management journal for local authority business, hosted the evening. He said the gritting problem was a national problem and blamed it on highway maintenance budgets being trimmed.

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Harrow council’s pension fund deficit has risen by more than £80 million in the last year, new figures show.

The shortfall in the borough’s pension pot rose from £108.4 million in 2008 to £189.6 million in 2009.

This comes as it emerged that London’s overall pension deficit had skyrocketed to. £10.23 billion. In 2008 this stood at £7.63 billion.

There are fears across London that councils are not putting aside enough money to secure the retirements of workers.

With Britain looking at an increasingly ageing population, the pension shortfall will become even more of a problem.

Although sizeable, Harrow’s deficit was by no means the worst in th capital. Since 2008, Southwark, which lies at the other end of the Jubilee line, has seen its deficit more than double to £450.3 million.

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London Mayor Boris Johnson “can’t even be bothered” to run the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), Tony McNulty said today.

Calling the Tory mayor a ‘clown’, the Harrow East Labour MP slammed him for his decision to quit his year-old leadership of the London police.

 According to the Press Association, McNulty criticised Johnson for a number of failings, including not delivering the money for rape crisis centres and raising the price of travelling on public transport in the capital.

McNulty also said the mayor had broken his promise to have more police operating in London. He said the most recent proposals meant a 500-strong decrease.

 Johnson is stepping down because he wants “reorganise and refocus” on other projects, and McNulty questioned those commitments.

 “This man can’t even be bothered chairing the MPA but still takes £250,000 from the Daily Telegraph.

 “Isn’t it the case that London has stopped laughing at this clown?”

 Johnson’s decision means his deputy will take over the reins at Scotland Yard. It follows a change in the law which enabled the mayor to take control of policing in the capital.

Harriet Harman said today she will call for a Home Office investigation into his decision.

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