Please note: This site covers the period that I was a Member of Parliament from May 2010 to June 2017.
Bedford & Kempston
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, joined local MP Richard Fuller in Bedford town centre on Thursday. The pair sampled local food at the Gourmet Market, with Boris enjoying a Bedfordshire Clanger. They also made an impromptu stop at a local bookshop where Boris went to sign copies of his new book.
Boris proved a popular visitor with Bedfordians who swamped him with requests for selfies and autographs throughout the visit.
Richard commented, “I have never in my life seen a more popular response from the public to a politician of any party than Boris got here in Bedford.”
Richard secured an adjournment debate in the House of Commons last Wednesday night to discuss the safety of private hire drivers and their passengers.
Richard called for the debate following an incident in Bedford town centre in January in which a Kempston taxi driver was attacked and killed and another in which a taxi driver was assaulted when the passengers would not pay their fare up front.
During the debate, Richard called on the Transport Minister, Norman Baker, to consider using the “Proceeds of Crime Money” to introduce CCTV or screen shields in taxis and for the government to track more formally the statistics on criminal attacks on private hire drivers in order to use the information to make improvements in the sector.
“Private hire and taxi drivers are a vital part of our public transport system, and when it comes to their physical safety and the safety of their property, they deserve to be afforded the same protection as our bus drivers, airline staff and railway employees, but they are not.”
Citing the FoI request by the Bedfordshire on Sunday that showed that there had been 93 recorded assaults on drivers in the preceding twelve months, Richard noted that the local authority had estimated this was 2% of drivers being assaulted each year, stating “very few jobs have such a high rate of unprovoked violence.”
“Legislation on taxi licences dates from 1847 and 1976, so I welcome the Law Commission review and will be talking with them during their consultation.
“I was very pleased that the Minister, Norman Baker, had such a positive response to my calls for more to be done for driver – and passenger – safety. I hope the review of the legislation will suggest some initiatives to make our private hire and taxi sectors a respected part of our transport system, which is a status that both the drivers and the public deserve.”
For Richard’s full speech and the Minister’s response, please visit:
The announcement of the Olympic Torch’s route to London 2012 has now been made, and I am delighted to hear that the torch relay will be coming through Bedford.
I am pleased that LOCOG has recognised the diversity and sporting importance of our town, and that the residents of Bedford and Kempston will be able to share in this great festival.
So, make a note in your diaries that Sunday 8th July will be the day the Olympics comes to Bedford!
LOCOG are now looking for ‘local leaders’ to get friends, family and neighbours together to celebrate the torch relay and to organise local events. Please visit London 2012 Local Leaders to sign up
David Cameron will be in Bedford on Tuesday 8 September to answer questions from local residents as he prepares his plans for forming the next Government.
It’s a completely public event for anyone local wanting to attend, whatever their political beliefs. The meeting is taking place at the Harpur Suite in the centre of town from 6:30pm in the evening.
Places will be limited, so if you would like to attend, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07858 642346 to register.
Bedford has lost its leader and, in many respects, its visionary spirit. Frank Branston wanted the best for Bedford and he went about achieving his goals with vigour and purpose.
Over the years – and despite our political differences – Frank always had a willingness to hear a different point of view. I valued his directness and his entrepreneurial flair – both of which I shall sorely miss.
I met with Frank last three weeks ago, and his focus was very much on how, despite the recession, he could keep our community moving forward. At times like these, we badly needed his sense of purpose.
To Frank’s family and to his many friends across our town and beyond, my sincere condolences on his passing, and on this sad day, may our thoughts and prayers be with them.