Most of my constituents will have voted in the local council elections yesterday in Richmond and Kingston.
Richmond's results were announced in the early hours this morning after an overnight count. They represented a stunning success for the Liberal Democrats; every single one of the 48 candidates who stood for the Liberal Democrats in Richmond borough won their seat. The Green party gained one seat in South Richmond and another in Mortlake and Barnes Common, increasing their Richmond borough seats from three to five. The only other party represented on the new Richmond Council will be the Conservatives, who retained one seat in Hampton North. You can see the full Richmond results here.
Kingston Council is counting today, with results expected this evening. As of right now, 27 seats have been decided and all 27 have gone to Liberal Democrats. Boundary changes mean that there are now five wards in North Kingston, and I am pleased to report that both Coombe Vale and Kingston Gate have returned three Liberal Democrat councillors each. We await the final results for the other three wards, and the full Kingston results will be announced here.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all candidates from every party and all of the council staff who work so hard to make sure the elections run smoothly. I am very much looking forward to working with all of our councillors, supporting their work on the issues that matter most to local people, and fulfilling their ambitions for making Richmond and Kingston greener, fairer and safer places to live for everyone.
CONCERNS OVER UKRAINE FAMILY VISA SCHEME
A number of constituents have gotten in touch with me to raise their concerns over the lack of support offered to those involved with the Ukraine Family Visa Scheme. Neither hosts nor refugees on this scheme are entitled to any financial support, unlike those in the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. This puts an additional pressure on families during the cost-of-living crisis. Additionally, many Ukrainian families who brought relatives over to the UK are struggling to cope with accommodating them due to limited space in their homes. This puts some refugees at risk of becoming homeless.
I have previously tabled several Written Questions to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to highlight the lack of financial support available in the Family Visa Scheme compared with the sponsorship pathway. After disappointing responses from the Government, I followed these questions with a letter to Lord Harrington, the Minister for Refugees, to set out my concerns in more detail and to call for increased support to be made available. You can read a copy of this letter here.
Local hosts and their Ukrainian guests are invited to a Friends of Ukraine Cafe at Aetna Centre in East Twickenham on May 13 from 4pm to 6pm. Please see the bottom of this page for more details.
MALDIVES DELEGATION VISIT TO KEW GARDENS
Last Friday, I was pleased to welcome a delegation from the Maldivian Parliament to my constituency for a tour of Kew Gardens. It was wonderful to explore our shared interests in conservation and to hear more from Kew about their Climate Positive by 2030 strategy.
The Maldives is one of the most climate-vulnerable nations across the globe. Hearing directly from their politicians about the threat that temperature increases and rising sea levels present to their country over the coming decades really emphasised to me the importance of global action in tackling climate change.
PETITION AGAINST FULHAM FC’S PIER PROPOSALS
Fulham Football Club is developing plans to build a passenger pier underneath the new stand at their Craven Cottage stadium. This pier would extend approximately 80 metres into the middle of the Thames, and offer a riverboat service into central London. There are around 4,000 members in 41 rowing clubs along this stretch of the river. The increased traffic from ferry boats and the pier construction itself would cause substantial disruption and make the river dangerous for those that already use it.
On Wednesday, I met with Fleur Anderson, MP for Putney, and other local parliamentarians, to discuss the impact that Fulham FC’s proposals would have on the sporting activity for which this stretch of the river is so famous. I am therefore pleased to support Fleur and local river clubs in their campaign to oppose these plans. If you wish to add your name to the petition, please do so here.
VISIT TO LATCHMERE REC BOOTCAMP
I was put through my paces last Friday on Latchmere Recreation Ground when I joined a group exercise session run by my constituent Charlotte Umney. Charlotte is a registered sports nutritionist and personal trainer specialising in women’s health. She offers exercise classes, personal training and nutrition advice including sports/performance, weight loss and general health.
I can attest that the atmosphere at the session I joined was supportive and convivial, and moving around the circuit was good fun as well as great exercise. Group exercise sessions are run mornings and evenings on Latchmere Rec in north Kingston. For further information please contact Charlotte on 07710 452 786 or email email@example.com
SEND CONSULTATION FOR PARENTS
Achieving for Children (AfC) has launched the latest phase in the consultation process for the re-commissioning of the SENDIASS service in Kingston and Richmond. Parents of children with additional needs have access to a free, impartial and confidential Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information, Advice and Support Service. In Kingston and Richmond, this service is provided by KIDS, a national charity. The current contract is due to expire 31 March 2023, so AfC is consulting to understand what parents and carers and children and young people want the future provision to look like. Parents in Kingston and Richmond are invited to give their views. This part of the consultation will close on 6 June. Read more details and find out how to take part