Working for the future of Bedford & Kempston

Please note: This site covers the period that I was the Member of Parliament for Bedford from May 2010 to June 2017. I am now the Member of Parliament for North East Bedfordshire. Please visit my new website: for the latest news and information.

Community Relations

This week, Richard welcomed members of the Ravidassia community from Bedford and Kempston to a seminar in Parliament to celebrate the teachings and 640th birth anniversary of Sat Guru Ravidass Maharaj Ji.

Richard said: “It was a great pleasure to host the community at the Palace of Westminster and I look forward to joining their celebrations this weekend at the Sri Guru Ravidass Sabha in Bedford.”

Richard at Indian Republic Day Celebrations at Bedford Corn Exchange

Indian Republic Day Celebrations at Bedford Corn Exchange

At the end of January, Richard joined hundreds of local people at Bedford Corn Exchange to celebrate Indian Republic Day.

To mark the day, guests were treated to traditional folk music and Bhangra dance, performed by local Indian community groups, as well as a variety of traditional Indian food.

Richard said:

“I was delighted to celebrate Republic Day with the Indian Community in Bedford – it was a very positive, colourful and vibrant event and a fitting way to recognise the contribution the Indian community makes to our town.”

Richard explains the voting system to Access Bedford

Richard explains the various voting systems to Access Bedford

Last week, Richard ran a session for Access Bedford on our electoral systems and why it is important to vote.

Access Bedford is a group which aims to make Bedford accessible to deaf and hard of hearing residents.

A number of people attended the session and found the evening at the Salvation Army Cafe to be both useful and informative.

For more information on Access Bedford, contact

Richard pledges support for the My Voice, My Vote campaign

Richard pledges support for the My Voice, My Vote campaign

Richard Fuller, has pledged his support for My Voice, My Vote –  a new, independent all-party campaign to support young first time voters to take social action in their community as a way to encourage their involvement in the democratic process.

Richard commented: “I’m pleased to be lending my support to the My Voice, My Vote campaign to increase young people’s engagement in politics and the democratic process through taking social action. It benefits all of us if young people are more engaged in politics and exercise their democratic rights more actively.”

My Voice, My Vote is a programme of UpRising, a new charity that has Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband as its three founding Patrons.  Richard is a local Ambassador for the UpRising programme which has been running in Bedford for the past three years.

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Richard Fuller MP with refugee at 'Dignity in Pregnancy' event

Richard Fuller MP with refugee at ‘Dignity in Pregnancy’ event – Feb 2013

MP for Bedford and Kempston, Richard Fuller, spoke out for pregnant women in the asylum system at an event in Parliament on Monday 25 February.

Richard was hosting the launch of new research from The Refugee Council and Maternity Action that showed UK Border Agency policies are putting the health of hundreds of pregnant women and their babies at risk, by moving them to accommodation around the country, thereby removing them from essential healthcare and leading to isolation.

The charities are calling for women in the asylum system to be allowed to prepare for motherhood and access the healthcare they need.

Richard Fuller MP said:
“Every woman should be allowed dignity in pregnancy, no matter what their immigration status. The Government has recognised this with recent changes but I want to see them go further to ensure a health pregnancy and birth.”

The report explains that asylum seeking women in the UK have high risk pregnancies, often due to serious mental and physical health conditions having fled torture, or sexual violence in their own countries. The study found, however, that due to UKBA’s policies, such women are being separated from the specialist treatment they need throughout their pregnancies, contrary to guidance from the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

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Richard attended the Armed Forces Day parade, which took place in Bedford town centre last Sunday. The parade consisted of armed service personnel from the past, present and future.

On Monday, a ceremony was held for the signing of the Armed Forces Community Covenant – a statement of mutual support between the civilian community and the armed forces community, which includes service personnel and their families as well as reservists and veterans.

The Covenant aims to encourage local communities to support the armed forces community and to promote understanding and awareness of the issues affecting them, as well as remembering the sacrifices made by them.

Twelve town centres across the country – including Bedford – will have a unique opportunity to revitalise their high streets after being selected to be the first Portas Pilots.

Richard was delighted to learn that the Bedford “Town Team”, led by BedfordBID and created to bid for Mary Portas cash, has been awarded £50,000. Richard welcomed the announcement as another positive piece of news for Bedford that will bring a much needed boost to our town centre and he congratulated the Town Team for their “enthusiasm and vision, which clearly came across in the application”.

Local Government Minister, Grant Shapps, praised the exceptional quality of the winning bids, which will each receive funding and a tailored package of support from both the Minister and retail guru Mary Portas.

The winning video submission can be found here.

Richard welcomed more than 150 delegates to Queens Park for the first national conference on mental health in the Sikh community. 

The conference, which was held at the Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Ford End Road, was attended by faith leaders, healthcare professionals and service users from across the country. It  aimed to address the stigma associated with mental health in the Sikh community.

Richard opened the Diwali Festival of Light recently, welcoming a large crowd of people to Harpur Square in Bedford town centre. The event, which was organised by the Bedford Council of Faiths, celebrated the multicultural success of the town.

The day started with a procession through town and was followed by music and dance performances from the town’s cultural groups, as well as food tasting and a competition among local restaurants to find the best dish in town.

Richard recently became a Scout Leader for the day as 28 Cub Scouts, from across the UK – including members of our own Brickhill Cub Scouts – held the first ever Pack meeting at the Palace of Westminster. The event was part of The Scout Association’s drive to promote the benefits of volunteering to adults.

A collection of MPs worked with 12 adult leaders from around the UK for Volunteers’ Week. They helped the Cubs enjoy a number of activities including setting up a camp and going on an indoor expedition. (See below for video)

The benefits that volunteering has had on the lives of the adult leaders present was clear to all the MPs. Many of the leaders at the meeting only joined Scouting in the last two years.

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