Working for the future of Bedford & Kempston

Please note: This site covers the period that I was a Member of Parliament from May 2010 to June 2017. 


Richard Fuller MP at the Great British Tennis Weekend in Bedford

Richard Fuller MP at the Great British Tennis Weekend in Bedford

On Saturday 17th May, local MP Richard Fuller joined over 400 people to take part in the first Great British Tennis Weekend in Bedford.

The weekend was a huge success with people of all ages given the opportunity to try tennis sessions at Bedford Park for free. This was just the first of four Great British Tennis Weekends in Bedford, so there is still plenty of opportunity to get involved in the lead up to Wimbledon and throughout the summer.

Richard Fuller said “The Bedford Park Great British Tennis Weekend event provided a fantastic opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to try tennis for free. One of the great things about tennis is that you can play at any age, making it truly a sport for all the family.”

The event in Bedford Park also saw the opening of the ‘Window in the Park’ café and the launch of a brand new tennis programme. ‘Play Park Tennis’ has been set up to offer local people the chance to access affordable tennis sessions in beautiful surroundings at Bedford Park. Each session will be led by a qualified coach to not only welcome people into the friendly environment, but also to offer some fantastic advice around technique and tactics.

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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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On Tuesday 5th February, the House of Commons debated a Bill aimed at allowing same sex couples to marry. I attended the House of Commons for the entirety of the debate because I wanted to listen to points raised on both sides, and I am glad that I did so. I also spoke in the debate to explain why, though I share the ambitions of the Bill, I would be abstaining in the vote in order to ensure that concerns expressed with anomalies in, and potential consequences of, the bill would be taken seriously as the Bill progresses. You can view a video of my contribution to the debate below, or you can read a transcript here.

Last Saturday, Richard waved off a train load of people from Bedford railway station, who were treated to a day out in Brighton by First Capital Connect (FCC).

On board was a party of almost 40 from Foxgloves Children’s Home and Sunflower House, as well as other children with disabilities from around Bedford. On-board, the group was entertained  by a clown, face painters and a magician and in Brighton, they enjoyed  events put on by the Brighton Fringe.

The trip was organised by FCC to celebrate the end of cross-London engineering works on the Thameslink route.

Richard has welcomed today’s announcement that disabled people living in residential care will continue to receive the mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and its proposed successor, the Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

The government had proposed to remove the mobility component of DLA from October 2012. Richard, who has campaigned on this issue for over a year, said he was delighted that since he first raised the issue in Parliament in November 2010, the Minister has taken the time to listen and consult to reach this decision, which allows disabled people in residential homes to maintain their independence.

As part of the listening exercise carried out by Maria Miller MP, Minister for Disabled People, Richard arranged for her to meet with a Bedford constituent, who had the chance to discuss the impact the removal of the mobility component would have on her son.  

The Government’s decision sends a signal that it will continue to protect our most vulnerable members of society, despite the difficult economic challenges we face. Richard thanked the Bedford residents that had contacted him, as well as the Minister for meeting with him on several occasions and listening to the strong arguments put forward by his constituents.

Richard with Lynne Summerfied from Sure Start

I toured local Sure Start centres in Kempston, Cauldwell, Kingsbrook and Bedford town centre with Lynne Summerfield, Programme Manager. For families with kids under 5, Lynne and her dedicated teams provide a range of helpful advice, run self-help groups and offer childcare at their day nurseries. Local charity, Spurgeons, provides additional support for the services. I was very impressed with the commitment of staff and happy to confirm Mr Cameron’s commitment to continue support for Sure Start under the next Conservative Government.

Sunday, as the clouds cleared and the sun came out, I was happy to help open the first Bedford Mela organised by our Bangladeshi community.  An afternoon of music and family fun on the meadows near Longholme Way. Another example of how the diversity of our town enriches us all.  Well done to all the organisers and here’s to next year !