Letter to Editor: On Robert Halfon: His unrelenting service sets an example to us all

Politics / Wed 27th Mar 2024 at 11:22am

Dear Sir, 

FOLLOWING the news about Robert Halfon, I wanted to write to share my own story with him. It’s one that is characteristic of his unwavering passion for Harlow and education, both of which he has championed like no other for many, many years. 

I first met Rob in 2010 after writing a letter to him as my newly-elected Member of Parliament. I’d followed the election coverage on TV and decided I wanted to learn more. 

At that time, I didn’t think politics was for people like me but, lo and behold, Rob responded within a week inviting me to do some work experience with him in Westminster. I was the first of what ended up being hundreds of young people across the constituency who he helped, encouraged and gave these opportunities to. 

Hannah Ellis with Robert Halfon: General Election campaign of 2015

The week was a whirlwind. He could have left me filing papers at a desk, but no. Rob took me with him to a meeting with Liam Fox, then Defence Secretary, and to a filming of a BBC political debate which I watched from behind the camera with the cameraman. 

I saw all the less glamorous but much more important work that went on behind the scenes as well. He and his team worked tirelessly to help the people of Harlow and the villages.

Sir, in your own reflections about Rob, you mention how he inspired loyalty from his team. I can testify to that. I ended up working for Rob for many years. First as his diary secretary and then running his office.

Over the years, I’ve watched him work tirelessly for our Enterprise Zone, Junction 7a, soon-to-be new hospital, millions of pounds of investment into Harlow, to cut fuel duty and, of course, to champion apprenticeships.

I have many friends who worked for other MPs and I can tell you that working for Rob was like working for no other. He gave us a voice, a seat at the table. We worked hard for him and he worked hard for us.

We have stayed friends since our first meeting and he has always been there for me as a source of encouragement and advice whenever I’ve needed it.

Since leaving Rob’s office, I’ve worked in law, policy and, most recently, as an advisor to the Government. 

None of it would have been possible without him. It all started from that fateful work experience and an MP who is the most dedicated and hard working man I know.  

Harlow will lose the best champion and public servant it ever had. Most people will never know how much he cared for them and how much did for them, but that’s to be expected. I feel so privileged to know him and have learnt from him. His unrelenting service sets an example to us all. 


Hannah Ellis, a Harlow resident and Conservative Party Candidate for the Great Parndon Ward 

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7 Comments for Letter to Editor: On Robert Halfon: His unrelenting service sets an example to us all:

2024-03-27 14:00:54

I don't get the praise for lower fuel duty. Supply and demand economics suggest that if the price goes down consumption goes up so cutting fuel duty increased car use, pollution and global warning. Mr Halfon wanted to reduce both fuel duty and congestion, total opposites perhaps. Hannah, I see you are an advisor to the Government. Given the current mess I think I would have kept that quiet.

Nicholas Taylor
2024-03-27 14:01:56

More smoke and mirrors, I note this time from a conservative candidate in the Ward I am contesting for the Harlow Alliance Party. Junction 7a is a disaster for all those living that side of the town as everyone who lives there predicted it would be. How much longer can they keep trotting out the same old story about a new hospital which it is now predicted is some 10 years away and indeed the move to Harlow by the formerly known Public Health England which has been mothballed and indeed I understand staff in Wiltshire have been informed will never happen. Both claims are in the Conservative leaflets which some residents seem to be getting on a weekly basis. Nicholas Taylor, Harlow Alliance Candidate in the Great Parndon Ward.

I smell gas
2024-03-27 14:37:07

"soon-to-be new hospital" I would be very careful with that statement Hannah - We all know it's never happening, and even if in a decade or two it does it won't be Harlow's hospital, it won't even be in Harlow, well on the border serving a very wide area, including multiple counties. We aren't gaining anything so can we please stop with the gaslighting.

Mark Gough
2024-03-27 21:08:04

So that's two people given jobs by Robert who are praising him! Interesting but hardly a shock! How about a letter from someone he's had a row with? Plenty of those about too!

No bias please
2024-03-28 09:16:23

Good point Mark, they should ask some SFG parents for their comments too

Clare Harrison
2024-03-28 19:02:55

You’ve got to give it to Robert, he worked so hard. Standing there on the side of the motorway in all weathers with his disability . That has to be applauded. That’s true strength Winston Churchill style! I remember Robert telling me stories of what white van people would shout at him as he stood there on the side of the road. He would find humour in it. It was something I should put in one of my comedy films . It takes true strength of character, to take verbal bullets like that and never give up. Well done Robert. You showed true resilience. All the best to you and who you hand it to next. Best regards Clare Harrison McCartney

Harlow Parent
2024-03-31 11:21:00

I wonder if the truth about who paid for Mr Halfon’s apprentices will come out? Surely he wouldn’t have forced the college to pay? Well I know he did for the first few at least whilst claiming credit!

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