Into City Hall for an interview with LBC and also attend Ken’s press conference. Final gift for me – Ken announces a rise in penalty fines for fare dodgers (a Lib Dem campaign) and the earlier finishing of the congestions charge in the evening (a Lib Dem campaign) – so Ken’s obviously a closet Lib Dem!
Rush over to Commons (doesn’t that sound funny) to try and get a computer and understand what and where everything is.
More briefings followed by more briefings and then off to constituency for a meeting at Red Gables – a fantastic family/children facility in Crouch End that Haringey Council is trying to close.
Two Labour councillors were at the meeting to try to explain the Council’s plans. Impressive they weren’t! They want to close it to make savings and are promising to redistribute the ‘services’ to new childrens’ centres elsewhere in the borough. But they couldn’t say what, where or when. And whilst they made notes of what the packed meetings said – they batted away question after question without an answer. They didn’t seem to understand that when parents are asking what will happen to services for their children – they want clear, specific answers, not vague promises that something might be provided at a time and place unknown.
I think that the Labour duo were shocked by the depth of feeling in that room. I hope they were. And I hope when they reflect on the incredible contributions from the people in that room that they find enough understanding to change their minds.
It was a good first meeting to attend as MP as it reminded me sharply how much there is to fight for – and that fighting for residents is what comes first.