Veteran MP Hilary Benn joins Harlow Labour on the doorstep

News / Thu 4th Apr 2024 at 01:13pm

SENIOR Labour MP Hilary Benn joined local campaigners on the doorstep in Harlow.

Mr Benn is the Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and one of the leading lights in the Labour Party.

Over the past few weeks, a number of Labour MPs (David Lammy, Anneliese Dodds) have visited Harlow as they campaign to take back control of Harlow Council as well as an eye on the General Election.

It looks like Labour are doing a lot of work in the wards of Sumners ad Kingsmoor as well as Latton Bush and Stewards.

YH spoke to Hilary Benn and Harlow Labour leader, Chris Vince about the issues on the doorstep and the Labour Party’s plans both locally and nationally.

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31 Comments for Veteran MP Hilary Benn joins Harlow Labour on the doorstep:

James Leppard
2024-04-04 14:15:27

Interesting how Chris Vince evades a public hustings yet thinks he is worthy to stand in Parliament. If one cannot face local rival parties and the public, surely he should consider his position. Both Harlow Conservatives and Harlow Greens have proposed independently adjudicated public hustings. The Harlow Alliance Party and Reform UK have both confirmed their willingness to participate. Only Chris Vince and Harlow Labour are running scared and have not even replied, which is the height of bad manners from a person who hopes to represent our town in Parliament.

James Leppard
2024-04-04 14:23:12

Michael Casey, Chris Vince states how important it is to listen to residents. I don't disagree. However, what better forum than a public hustings? I must say that I am surprised you did not raise this given that several letters have been published in YH on this issue and only Labour have not replied.

2024-04-04 14:47:55

I,m surprised Chris Vince can say anything with his head rammed up Hilary Benns arse. They better not.knock on my door.

Dan Swords
2024-04-04 15:29:21

So what is Harlow Labour's plan for Harlow Council? What are their 5 missions for running Harlow Council? Chris mentioned this, but their plan for Harlow Council is not available anywhere?

2024-04-04 18:14:51

When hardly a day goes by without another tory mishap I think saying nothing is quite a good policy.

James Leppard
2024-04-04 19:33:17

Saying nothing as a tactical manoeuvre is one thing. When silence is because you have nothing to say (as we have seen with Harlow Labour) is quite another. Call mr old-fashioned but I would find it very difficult for someone who has no demonstrable plans or policies. Any, if Chris Vince participates in the public hustings he will have ample opportunity to elaborate on Harlow Labour's local plans. I am sure many are interested to hear.

Kim Oconnor
2024-04-04 19:53:25

Please give it a rest, James Leppard, we have heard about,labour hustings for far to long. People have short memories don't they.. did this Conservative council, listen to the people that signed a petition to stop the destruction of the river stort valley,, no,, 7,000 signatures against.. we all know you lot will do what you like.. just like this Conservative government, that's not listening to the people... Because you will do what suits you all, chasing the money .

James Leppard
2024-04-04 20:04:57

Kim O'Connor you and your Green chums clearly have a communication problem. It was your leader, Yasmin Gregory who sent a letter to each of the local party leaders inviting them to participate in public hustings. We have replied. Are you telling me you were unaware of this?? Incredible! Still, you have exposed your own cavalier attitude towards participative democracy and the fine traditions of British elections.

2024-04-04 20:16:28

You are getting rattled aren't you James?With regard to You banging on about Chris Vince all the time,consider he is acting as a mirror reflecting back to you what you refuse to accept in yourself.You keep saying why doesn't he attend hustings,well why don't you answer all questions put to you.

2024-04-04 20:39:23

James Leppard says "interesting how Chris Vince evades a public hustings yet thinks he is worthy to stand in parliament"Well,interesting how James Leppard evades answering questions yet thinks he is worthy of re election.

2024-04-04 20:51:32

James, is it better to have no policies or policies that continually screw up.

James Leppard
2024-04-04 20:55:08

Resident. Please provide examples of questions within my remit to answer and I shall be happy to reply. Rattled? No. You are way off the mark there. Rather depressed by the depths to which Labour standards have fallen. It is apposite that the son of a true Labour intellectual legend visited Harlow today. The contrast in terms of intellect could not be starker. Anyway, please send your questions and I will do my best to answer.

James Leppard
2024-04-04 20:59:54

Vote for me, please explain in the context of local policies. I hardly think this council would be shortlisted for the accolade of most improved Council by the independent LGA. Had we followed Labour's advice and recommendations, I can assure you that we would not be in the running. You really ought to come Cabinet and Council meetings to see the calibre of Harlow Labour.

2024-04-04 21:18:10

James Leppard,thank you.Please see news item"Harlow conservatives pledge to bring M&S back to Harlow"and read Nicholas Taylor's post 2024.04.04. 09.08.59 and answer his questions.

2024-04-05 03:38:41

James Leppard what date will building work start behind the new build hoardings at staple tye?And Dan Swords recent letter to YH about housing repairs being 100% cleared was obviously a lie going by residents replies.Your comments please.Thank you

James Leppard
2024-04-05 03:48:36

Dear Resident, thanks. My reply to Nicholas Taylor's questions/comments are as follows: 1. The figures we based our new Housing policy on regarding Band D allocations were provided by the Housing Department within the Council. From memory, I think it was stated that only 1 applicant from Band D had been successful in the past 3 years. Nicholas should take this up with the Portfolio Holder for Housing if he has doubts. Nevertheless, our figures based upon officer advice and as such, we have no reason to doubt them. 2. As for a new hospital, public health England, these are not matters managed nor decided by Harlow Council and are wholly extraneous to the May local elections. 3. Any building to the South of Harlow fulls under the HGGT project, signed up to by the previous Labour administration and set out in their 2020 Town Plan. Harlow Conservatives continue to oppose developments to the South and South West of the town. 3. Differing visions of the future of the Town Centre are natural. Nick's idea of a new larger theatre in the area around the Market Sq. does beg the question of the present Playhouse's future use, parking and access, etc. Just like Nicholas, I am neither an architect nor a qualified Town Planner. The plans have been on public display at a large unit in the Harvey Centre and feedback on the Town Centre plans is reported as positive. 4. The new Bus Terminus is funded by a specific grant for that purpose. I agree regarding an improved bus service, but that is a separate issue. 5. As for talking to developers, this administration broke with the utter failures of the past and undertook painstaking research and contact with other authorities that had undertaken successful regeneration. For example, comparable New Town Bracknell, built around same time as Harlow. Based on these experiences we approached several reputable developers with impressive regeneration track records. The selected company was Hill Group, fairly local with whom we have established an LLP for regeneration across the town, not only the Town Centre but estates renewal and new build council properties such as at Staple Tye. I think on balance we a well structured vehicle for Regeneration delivery. No previous administration has done anything similar. You and Nicholas might also note that Harlow Council has been shortlisted by the independent Local Government Association for the prestigious and coveted accolade of England's "Most Inproved Council 2024" in stark contrast to Labour's designation as the "Worst Council in Essex" for making relief payments during Covid. Basically sums it up.

2024-04-05 05:18:55

James Leppard,thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.Just one more please.Why,given all your expertise are you not helping the potter street residents get their bench?This is very sad,they're not asking much.

James Leppard
2024-04-05 06:06:24

Resident, Please send me details of the bench. We replaced two in Larkswood, Happy to take this up.

2024-04-05 07:52:41

I wish Labour would come to Old Harlow. They always completely miss this area, never so much as a leaflet let alone a visit. I would be interested in hearing what they have to say before the elections.

Kim Oconnor
2024-04-05 08:34:24

James Leppard, .where does it say that hustings is not a good idea... what I was saying is, that you don't hear or see the public, your council,, your government have ignored public opinions so often, and the promises just keep coming. How much longer will it be, till public know if burnt mill flats were cash bought or a loan..? And the total disregard of 7,000 signatures against the destruction of the river stort. And when will things start to get built, it's beginning to look like the desert. Lots of knocking down, when will it ever get built. One thing saying these things, seems like a lot of promises, but nothing materialised..

Nicholas Taylor
2024-04-05 08:34:54

James, I am absolutely flabbergasted by you comment about Band 4 applicants, you and Dan clearly do not read the Housing Annual Report published in the councils own Harlow Times. This states that 54 applicants were housed from Band 4 in the last 2 years. Your Party are adept at mis-leading the public. Your election leaflets clearly state that the formerly known organisation Public Health England are coming to Harlow (which staff have been told they aren't), the new (not in Harlow) hospital is just around the corner and that only your Party can stop development to the south of Harlow, when the decision to proceed was taken by EFDC a couple of years ago. Whether it is "we will stop the boats" or "M&S are coming to Harlow" I am afraid that millions of people across the country are now saying "Never trust a Tory". Problem is, Labour are no better, they just have headlines but no substance.

James Leppard
2024-04-05 08:48:39

Interesting Nicholas that your party never stands in traditional Labour wards. Don't you think HAP would have appeal? Very neutral I am sure. I will check the Housing Report and speak to the Housing Portfolio Holder. By the way, did you not see that Harlow Council has been shortlisted by the independent LGA for the coveted Most Improved Council Award 2024? Not bad from going from the "Worst Council in Essex" regarding Covid relief payments by the former Labour administration. Quite a turnaround, wouldn't you say?

Kim Oconnor
2024-04-05 09:09:13

Same old James Leppard, let's gloss over that bit.. But they are short listed for an award,,, I know,, what for, why,, 😄 🤣

Nicholas Taylor
2024-04-05 09:20:31

James, will you, Dan and David give an apology to the 2500 applicants removed from the Register when you find that you were wrong in you comments about the number of people housed? We are standing in the Wards we have done most work with residents, stopping Labours plan to build on green spaces and any long term plan to sell off land for development. As for covid payments, I am aware that it came to light after the event that some councils did not use due-diligence when making payments, so those rated good may have become bad!

2024-04-05 13:55:41

Labour by Name.... LIEbour by Nature......

2024-04-05 16:42:09

PSmithy, how witty! And ironic. Never known people to lie as much as this gov at the mo. Barefaced lies.

2024-04-05 18:48:25

James Leppard, we have a Jeckyll and Hyde political situation. Nationally, which my keeping quiet comments referred to, your party just keeps putting its foot in it, MP Wragg being the latest incident. Why confuse the issue with policies. Locally, I like the enthusiasm of you guys. You have acquired loads of money to spend, of course if you screw up it may consign Harlow to poverty for years. This is a concern as is the secrecy over the Burnt Mill flats acquisition being done in such a rush. Did you break the bank over this? I also dislike the constant bickering with Nicholas Taylor over housing policy, Nich quotes the Harlow Times but you guys rubbish his claims. I walked through the town centre today from the west, past the old Square. It is absolutely crap. This is where I revert to the national situation. 14 years in power yet developers can demolish buildings (or leave them standing in the case of the Odeon). Legislation could have prevented this but that might upset the tory supporters (was it Robert Jenrik's mate who saved £50million after sitting next to him). James, I am totally a floating voter, I actually admire councillors unless they talk drivel, don't insult me too much, I might be voting for you. Finally, I was the first one on YH to call for a local hustings, conveniently forgotten by Dan who then represented as his idea.

James Leppard
2024-04-06 02:31:45

Vote for Me and Nicholas Taylor, thanks both for your comments. I did reply, but somehow the messages have been removed for some reason. As for Nicholas' point on the Band D housing, Dan Swords considers this to be of public interest and suggests that Nicholas submits this as a question for the hustings and Dan will be pleased to address in public. As far as Burnt Mills is concerned, there is no secrecy, merely a commercially sensitive timing issue, again this will be fully divulged shortly. Suffice it to say that the deal will not break the bank nor involve any direct debt for the council. It has undertaken with some sophisticated, yet proven financial engineering. I don't disagree with you about the West side of the Town Centre and do urge you to visit the unit in the Harvey Centre showing all the regeneration plans and the different zones/quarters. One of the biggest impediments to regeneration was the fact that the council owned virtually none of the Town Centre. The previous Labour administration showed they were incapable of addressing this, which explains why nothing was achieved during a decade and the area deteriorated further. With the acquisition of the Harvey Centre we have completely reversed that, which together with the Masterplan planning policy and the Harlow Regeneration Partnership with Hill Group completely changes the dynamics and our leverage with other landowners. These are complete game changers that Labour would never have achieved.

James Leppard
2024-04-06 02:35:05

Vote for me. Yes, you were the first to suggest hustings.

2024-04-06 10:10:13

Use tax incentives to encourage more companies to provide corporate private health insurance for their staff. That gives more people the opportunity to see a private GP either in person or online via a video call, and any subsequent referrals are with consultants at a private hospital. This would take a huge load off the NHS. Personally, apart from getting repeat prescriptions, I have not used an NHS GP or Consultant doctor for many years. Maybe five years or more.

2024-04-06 21:28:22

John . At last a sensible idea.

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