Mike Praises Brighton & Hove Pride 2014

Mike Weatherley, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Hove and Portslade, has praised the annual Pride festival, which this year will include married same-sex couples.

Mike, and his local conservative colleagues, including Cllr Graham Cox, the newly-selected Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Hove and Portslade, are committed supporters of Pride. Mike pushed strongly for LGBT equality in Westminster and first raised the issue of marriage inequality with David Cameron back in 2011 and felt that it was right to make same-sex marriage a priority for the Government.

Commenting, Mike said: “I think that it is absolutely incredible that this year we will, for the first time, have married LGBT couples taking part in Pride. The Government was absolutely right to make same-sex marriage a priority. I wish everyone the best for the day.”

Commenting, Cllr Graham Cox, the Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Hove and Portslade, said: “I am delighted to be taking part again in the parade. As my first public event since being selected as the Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Hove and Portslade, I look forward to walking with pride that Conservatives pushed ahead and achieved same-sex marriage equality.

Hove & Portslade Conservatives Select Local Man, Graham Cox as their Parliamentary Candidate 2015

Graham said, ‘I am delighted to have been selected by Hove and Portslade Conservatives. To be chosen to stand for Parliament for my home town is a great honour. I aim to build on all the hard work done by Mike Weatherley, and ensure Hove continues to be represented by a Conservative in the next Parliament.

I would like to thank all those who have sent their best wishes, including many political opponents, and look forward to a positive campaign which can do Hove proud.’

Graham Cox, 52, was born in Portslade (Mile Oak to be precise) and has lived and worked in Hove for most of his life. He serves Westbourne Ward as a local Councillor on Brighton and Hove City Council, having won the seat in a closely fought by-election in 2011.

Prior to entering local politics Graham was well known as the last Superintendent in charge of Hove Police Division, before its merger with Brighton. Following this, he established the Sussex Police Major Crime Unit, overseeing all investigations into murders and organised crime in the County. As a Detective Chief Superintendent, he led Sussex CID for three years before transferring to the Home Office to lead the introduction of the national police intelligence system across the country.

Graham is the Conservative (Opposition) Spokesman for Transport on the City Council and has gained a reputation as a respected Councillor who speaks out persuasively on behalf of residents.

Away from the Council chamber he digs his allotment in order to relax and occasionally successfully grows some vegetables. He is a keen supporter of Brighton and Hove and Sussex County Cricket Clubs and a season ticket holder at the Amex.

Linda Freedman, Chairman of the Brighton and Hove Conservatives said, ‘ we are thrilled to have Graham Cox representing us as our Parliamentary Candidate 2015.  Graham has many qualities and is respected by all parties and all backgrounds as can be evidenced by his vast twitter followers.  He is a very hardworking Councillor and those skills will serve him well in the wider constituency.’

Conservative Group Leader on Brighton & Hove City Council, Geoffrey Theobald, added: “I add my congratulations to Graham on being selected. I am confident that he will be elected to succeed Mike in 2015 and I know he will make an excellent MP. He will bring his considerable local knowledge and expertise to the House of Commons and, just like Mike, will be a strong and passionate advocate for Hove & Portslade. My only regret is that I shall be losing Graham as a key member of my Council team next May.”

Conservatives call for action on communal bins

Conservatives are demanding Cityclean managers take action to improve the state of communal rubbish bins across the city, many of which are damaged, daubed in graffiti and subject to repeated fly tipping.

Communal bins were introduced in much of central Brighton & Hove in 2008 and 2009 after trials showed that they reduced the amount of rubbish strewn across city centre streets compared to black bin bags.

However, in the last few years the bins have deteriorated alarmingly. Few now have lids, enabling seagulls and rats to attack discarded food. Many are tagged with graffiti which is rarely removed and fly tipping of large objects around the bins has become endemic. Figures recently uncovered by Conservative Cllr. Graham Cox reveal that the Council has only undertaken 2 fly tipping prosecutions in the last 3 years.

Conservative Group Leader, Cllr. Geoffrey Theobald, has submitted a letter to the Green Party Chairman of the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee demanding urgent action to address these problems.

Cllr. Theobald, said: “A large number of these black bins have become an absolute eyesore and a public health hazard. For a city like Brighton & Hove, whose success depends so heavily upon tourism, the Council’s number one priority must be to keep its streets looking clean and attractive. It really shouldn’t be rocket science to get this right – after all, most other cities in the UK and abroad manage it – but at the moment Brighton & Hove is failing dismally in its duty.”

Conservatives seek to speed up brownfield house building

Conservatives have urged developers in the city to ‘get building’ as they uncovered figures showing that work has yet to start on 828 new homes which have already been given planning permission.

The figures were revealed in an answer to a question from Conservative Group Planning Spokesperson, Lynda Hyde, at last week’s Full Council meeting. There are also a further 1,510 homes which developers have started to build, but not yet finished.

Cllr. Hyde said: “Given the current surge in house prices in Brighton & Hove and with such a shortage of property, I was frankly pretty surprised to hear that there are so many potential new homes out there just waiting to be built. It is good news that over 1,500 new homes will be coming onto the market in the near future but I would hope that developers can get building these additional 828 as soon as possible. Not least because the Council has just put the city’s valuable green ‘urban fringe’ under threat by identifying sites here for a potential extra 1,200 new homes which it says are necessary to placate the Government’s Planning Inspector. However, these 828 homes that already have planning permission are all on previously developed brownfield sites. We believe that brownfield sites should always be developed wherever possible before greenfield ones are even considered.”

Mike Welcomes Music Education Funding

Mike Weatherley, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Hove & Portslade, and Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Music Education, has welcomed news that the Department for Education has increased funding for music education.

The Government has dedicated £75m to support music education hubs in 2015/2016, with this being an increase of £17m from 2014/2015 payments. Such payments are part of the Project Music Education campaign, led by the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) that is supported by 134 music education and industry organisations. The campaign has served as a united voice for music education, and continues to support and defend key funding for music education in response to a consultation published by the Department of Education which recommended that local authorities cut their funding for music services.

Commenting, Mike said: “I welcome the Government’s boost in music education funding. Ministers have clearly listened to calls from the Project Music Education campaign. The focus will now be upon urging all parties to commit to music education funding until 2020 and ensuring that the Department for Education remove their guidance to local authorities to cut education services when they respond to the recent consultation.”

Mike Presents Azaro With Tiffin Cup Prize

Mike at Azaro

Mike Weatherley, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Hove and Portslade, has presented the staff of Azaro with a special Tiffin Cup Chef Jacket and certificate as Azaro was Highly Commended in this year’s Tiffin Cup, following its entry into the Parliamentary food competition.

Azaro, located on Church Road in Hove, was recently nominated by Mike to compete in the competition in the House of Commons with the country’s top curry-creators for the coveted Tiffin Cup. Mike has pushed for a Hove winner each year and the Tiffin Cup 2014 makes this Mike’s fifth entry into the competition. Mike took the opportunity of the commendation to present the staff from Azaro with their prize to mark their achievement in this year’s competition.

Commenting Mike said, “While it is disappointing that Azaro missed out on the Tiffin Cup, their Highly Commended award nevertheless highlights the excellent quality of this restaurant. I am sure that they will put the chef jacket to good use and I hope that they will enter again next year.”

Unanimous councillor support to refurbish Preston Park toilets

At last Thursday’s Full Council meeting, Conservative Preston Park Ward candidate, Lee Wares, convinced all attending councillors that it was time to refurbish the public toilets in Preston Park. The toilets are next to the Rotunda Café.

Lee Wares presented to the Council a 1,400+ signature petition and spoke about the concerns of residents and visitors to Preston Park over the dilapidated and unhygienic conditions in the toilets.

Supported by a motion presented by Conservative Councillors Ken Norman and Carol Theobold, Council officers will now bring a report with fully costed options and timetable to the next Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee for consideration in October.

Lee Wares said “I very much appreciate the unanimous support of Councillors who recognised that this type of regeneration is not only vital for the City but essential for the thousands of residents and visitors to the park.

It has been my privilege to support the community on this issue but, we are not over the line yet. I will continue to pursue the matter through to the next Committee when I hope councillors will again unanimously approve the implementation of this much needed scheme.”

Francis Incorvaja, proprietor of the Rotunda Café said “This is fantastic news and will make such a difference in the park particularly to parents with young children and babies. It is also refreshing to have a Council candidate such as Lee Wares who is prepared to roll up his sleeves, listen to the community and then act on the issues”

Conservatives express disappointment at A27 vote

Conservative Group Leader, Cllr. Geoffrey Theobald, has criticised his Labour counterpart for failing to back plans to put pressure on the Government to tackle notorious congestion blackspots on the A27 which are impeding further economic growth in the Greater Brighton area.

Cllr. Theobald and Group Spokesman, Cllr. Graham Cox, moved a Notice of Motion at Thursday’s Full Council meeting urging the Council to sign up to the newly formed A27 Action campaign which is supported by all local councils along the route as well as local MPs and over 70 businesses.

The Government is currently carrying out a feasibility study into various solutions to the major bottlenecks along the A27, such as Arundel, Worthing and Chichester, which, if tackled would encourage business investment in the Greater Brighton area. It would also create a more pleasant and safer environment in the South Downs National Park by reducing the necessity for motorists to rat run through places such as Storrington, Pulborough and Amberley in order to avoid the A27 bottlenecks.

Cllr. Theobald said: “Despite the obvious environmental benefits for the South Downs, I am not surprised that the Green Party opposed road investment – that is their default position. However, for the Labour Group to do so is just astonishing. The only reason they were able to give for voting against our motion was that ‘most of it (the A27) falls outside the area of Brighton & Hove’. How short-sighted and parochial can you get? Our future economic growth and prosperity depends upon modern and reliable transport links in the whole of the South East and if they can’t see that then they have serious problems!”

Cllr. Cox added: “It will be impossible for us to prosper if we continue to handicap ourselves with inadequate infrastructure such as we have along much of the A27. I am staggered by the Labour Group’s stance, particularly as it comes just a week after they voted against £14 million of Government investment to improve Valley Gardens.”

Wish Ward Big Push

Our Wish ward representatives, Robert Nemeth and Garry Peltzer Dunn, have been campaigning extremely hard in their ward. They would very much appreciate your support. Please do join the team for a spot of canvassing this Monday. Details as follows:

Date: Monday 21st July
Time: 1.30-3pm
Location: Wish ward
Meeting point: 109 Church Road, Hove BN3 2AF

Many thanks

Brighton & Hove Conservatives

Mike Backs Parliamentary Motion on Responsible Farming

Mike Weatherley, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Hove & Portslade, has backed an Early Day Motion (EDM) that calls on the Government to promote a more responsible use of antibiotics in intensive farming.

EDM 247 (Use of Antibiotics in Intensive Farming) urges the Government to work towards reducing the use of antibiotics by farmers and veterinary surgeons, due to the public health threat that antibiotic resistance and the rise of superbugs brings.

The motion praises the Government for its work on decreasing the over-prescription of antibiotics by doctors, whilst also calling on the Government to take further steps towards eradicating the prophylactic use of antibiotics in farming. Moreover, the EDM calls for more stringent controls on the use of antibiotics in livestock that are essential in human medicine.

Commenting, Mike said: “The overreliance on antibiotics leads to antibiotic resistance, which could cause severe health threats in the future and exacerbate the rise of superbugs. I believe that it is extremely important to tackle this overuse of antibiotics in intensive farming so that we prevent such problems from occurring in the future.”