Millions of voters across the country went to the polls yesterday to vote in local elections. I have been very pleased to see my party make huge gains right across the country. On Wednesday, I took part in a Sky News PMQs panel during which I spoke about conversations I have had with lifelong Conservative voters on the doorsteps who are switching their vote to the Liberal Democrats. You can view a clip here.
These local elections were the first to take place after the Conservative Government introduced new rules that require voters to show an accepted form of photo ID at the ballot box. The Electoral Commission has released a post-poll statement in which they say that voter ID “posed a greater challenge for some groups in society and that some people were regrettably unable to vote as a result.”
It is difficult to measure the number of people who were unable to vote due to new requirements. However I have heard a number of concerning reports from those on the ground of voters being turned away from polling stations, or simply not attempting to vote. The Electoral Commission is now collecting data on the impact of voter ID rules on turnout; I hope that the Government will look again at their policy if the data shows evidence of vote suppression.
The Liberal Democrats have continuously opposed voter ID rules, and voted against this legislation in Parliament. Most recently, I sponsored a Bill presented by my Liberal Democrat colleague Helen Morgan to scrap the photo ID requirement ahead of the local elections. We will continue to fight for every voter to be allowed to cast their ballot.
PLANS FOR THE KING’S CORONATION
On Tuesday, The King and Queen Consort addressed Parliamentarians from both Houses in Westminster Hall to celebrate the forthcoming Coronation. As we prepare for this historic event tomorrow, I am looking forward to a wonderful weekend of celebrating our uniquely British traditions and our vibrant communities.
Many constituents will be looking forward to street parties taking place this weekend. Earlier this week, the Evening Standard reported that around one-fifth of the 1,000-plus street parties taking place across London will be held in Richmond – more than in any other London borough. You can read the article here.
You can find more information about the events and activities planned to celebrate the Coronation on the official website here.
CRIME AND POLICING
I know that car theft is a huge problem for my constituents across Richmond Park, as it is throughout London. Figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats show that over 30,000 cars were stolen across London last year and 82.7% of crimes went unsolved. I spoke to the BBC about this epidemic of unsolved cases spreading across London, and what we need to do to fix it. You can read the BBC article here.
People want to believe that if their car is stolen, the police will make every effort to catch the culprit. Yet the Government has decimated community policing, leaving victims of crime to fend for themselves. I am very proud to be working with our local force to foster community policing.
Two weeks ago, I launched my petition to reopen Richmond Police Station as part of my campaign for a more visible local police presence. Over 2,000 constituents have since added their name. If you feel strongly about this issue, please share the petition as widely as you can with your neighbours, through social media and on community WhatsApp groups. You can find the petition with the link here.
Inspector Jon McLoughlin, the Richmond borough Inspector for Metropolitan Police, has asked me to share two videos giving advice to the public about reporting crime. This short video shows him explaining why reporting is so important, and this video shows him specifically addressing discussions about crime on the NextDoor app.
I have also been asked to let Richmond residents know about a women's safety workshop on Wednesday May 17 from 6pm - 8:30pm at the National Archives. There will be discussions about women's safety in a variety of contexts: public spaces, public transport, socialising and carrying out everyday activities. The aim of the workshop is to start a conversation between residents of Richmond and their local police officers. This event is open to woman aged 18 and above and free parking is available on site. You can register here.
The image at the bottom of this newsletter shows how to contact your local neighbourhood team if you live in a Richmond Borough. I encourage all residents to report, report, report. If we are to tackle the areas of stubborn crime and ASB we must ensure that the police have as much information as possible.
VISIT TO HAM & PETERSHAM SOS
Last Friday I had the pleasure of joining the Ham & Petersham SOS volunteers for their monthly Fish and Chips Lunch at Ham Library, where I had a lovely chat with each of the guests and with local volunteers, Helen, Aiden, Chris and Wendy.
Ham & Petersham SOS was founded in the late 1960s to provide transport and befriending services on the Ham Estate and in the neighbourhood. The group's monthly Fish and Chip Lunch is a recent initiative, held on the last Friday of each month and supplied by local chippy, Great Fish and Chips. The lunches were organised in answer to the council's call for public libraries and local support groups to create "warm spaces" during the cost-of-living/energy crisis. It has proved so popular with elderly residents that Ham & Petersham SOS plans to continue it.
Ham & Petersham SOS is hosting a litter picking session for the Big Help Out on Monday 8th May. Meet at Ham Pond at 2pm to enjoy improving the area with your neighbours. At 3:30 there will then be a cream tea at St Richards Church. All equipment will be provided and you can do as much, or as little as you like. Families are welcome!
RECOGNISING SIGNS OF STROKE: F.A.S.T.
Healthwatch has written to me to ask me to share some information with constituents about recognising the signs of stroke. The sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the less damage is likely to happen. If you suspect that you or someone else is having a stroke, phone 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance. Use F.A.S.T. to tell if someone may be having a stroke:
Face – the face, eye or mouth may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile
Arms – the person may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there
Speech – their speech may be slurred, or the person may not be able to talk or understand speech
Time – it's time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs
Click here to read more about strokes.
UKRAINIAN SCHOOL OPENS IN HAM
Richmond Council has provided funds for St. Mary’s Ukrainian School to open a satellite site at St. Richard’s Church of England Primary School in Ham. The school operates on Sundays and offers Ukrainian language lessons as well as classes in Ukrainian literature, history and geography, allowing pupils to keep up with the Ukrainian national curriculum alongside their mainstream UK education. Over 60 children have registered to attend the Sunday school, which also offers enrichment and cultural activities such as choir, art and dancing. Ukrainian parents living in Richmond upon Thames can register their children here.
RICHMOND GREEN MAY FAIR The Richmond May Fair Committee is delighted to inform residents that the Fair is returning this year on Saturday 13th May 2023 from 10am-5pm on Richmond Green. Everyone is welcome to come and celebrate the return of the fair after the pandemic.
EAGLE BREWERY WHARF OPEN SPACE
Kingston Council and Kingston First are working together to make two public spaces in our town centre even better. The two spaces are Eagle Brewery Wharf - the open riverside space off the High Street - and Memorial Gardens, off Church Street. The team of designers asked to come up with designs for Eagle Brewery Wharf wants to hear residents' opinions about their ideas. On Saturday 20 May, they're inviting you to join them at Eagle Brewery Wharf to find out more about their proposal and share your thoughts on the future of the open space.
The event will include free interactive workshops for all ages, which will be led by young creatives from Creative Youth charity. There's no need to book, just turn up from 12noon to 6pm. For more background information, check out the project's website.
EADWEARD MUYBRIDGE ARCHIVE OPENS TO PUBLIC
Kingston Museum’s world renowned collection of work by pioneering photographer Eadweard Muybridge is set to open to the public for a handful of exclusive viewing sessions.
Eadweard Muybridge, a famous Kingstonian, is known for his trailblazing work in photography and the study of movement during the later part of the 19th century. This work is widely recognised as the origins of the ‘moving image’ and cinematography today. Kingston Museum is the owner of the extensive Muybridge collection. The collection has recently returned to the town in its new home in the archive of Kingston University’s award-winning Town House building.
There are a limited number of free tickets available for just three sessions at Kingston University’s Town House building on Tuesday 9 May and Friday 12 May. The complete collection is stored in the archive primarily for academic study, which makes these public viewings an extremely rare opportunity.
The viewings will be hosted by Kingston Museum’s curator Seoyoung Kim. You can watch a short video previewing 3 items from the collection here.
Tickets can be booked at the following links: