Day begins filming with Channel 4 a program about Sir Ian Blair’s first year in charge of London’s policing. Well – you’ll just have to watch when it comes out – but suffice to say in terms of honeymoon periods, I don’t think he had one.
Today is a mish-mash of meetings etc with the backdrop of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill – the Bill that has been nicknamed the Abolition of Parliament Bill as in its original form it gives sweeping ability to ministers to wipe out all previous legislation without proper Parliamentary debate. Today is the first day of two days of Report Stage. Judging from the avalanche of Government amendments – the penny has dropped and the Government have realised what a pig’s ear they have made out of this Bill. I don’t think anyone disagrees with the need to reform some of the processes to facilitate effective legislative reform. But this Bill was so flawed the Government should never have put it out in the original form.
In the evening meet Peter Hendy (Transport Commissioner for London) who I used to scrutinise when I was Chair of Transport at the London Assembly. I have a couple of issues to harangue him over – and business out the way – we discuss what we know about everyone we know. Peter is a good guy and I am glad he made it to Commissioner. London has some huge challenges ahead – not least Thames Gateway and the North London Line. I am optimistic that we will see a real change in the aspiration of overground rail with this addition to the TfL family. Peter is certainly very excited about its future.
Needless to say I bring up the North Circular – where an inadequate scheme to solve the problem is incessantly delayed. My plea is to get the funding in for the rat-running prevention now. I really don’t see why local residents should suffer endlessly because major schemes fall foul of one thing or another. In the latest case – if there is a public enquiry it could be years before anything goes ahead or not. We want our £4 million now. And just in case Peter was missing my campaigning – I asked him just exactly what I and local people need to do to make TfL extend the 603 bus route throughout the day and evening. What are the criteria? How can we prove we need it? What will persuade him to spend money on this route? I look forward to the answers in due course!