After his first 100 days as MP for Croydon North, STEVE REED is getting on with the job at Westminster, and in Croydon
I’ve just finished my first 100 days since I was elected last November. As a new MP, I’ve been finding out how Parliament works. The best way to learn is to get on with the job, so I’ve been trying to get some action on local issues.
One major concern is London Mayor Boris Johnson’s plan to impose savage cuts on Croydon’s police service. Just this week the Metropolitan Police released shocking figures that show Croydon has seen a 18 per cent increase in street robberies while most other London boroughs are seeing reductions.
We have the highest number of street robberies of any borough in outer London. Nearly 450 people a week become victims of street robbery in Croydon, and that’s simply shocking.
With crime like this on the rise I want the Mayor of London to think again before he cuts our police. I spoke in a debate on police numbers in parliament and pointed out it made no sense to cut the police while key crime figures are going up.
I went to see Boris Johnson in person and asked him to think again before he leaves Croydon with fewer police than we had immediately after the riots. And at Prime Minister’s Questions, I asked David Cameron directly in the House of Commons how he could justify closing every police station in Croydon North after he’d offered reassurances on public safety when he visited straight after the riots.
I thought the reply he gave me was evasive, so I’ve followed up with letters to him and the Home Secretary asking for a proper answer.
My hope is that, by going right to the top, I can win some change for Croydon. It’s disappointing that Croydon’s Conservative councillors and Tory MPs have decided to support the cuts proposed rather than work cross-party with me in the local interest.
I’ve been involved in the campaign to save the Upper Norwood Joint Library for many years now, and I’ve got to know Robert Gibson, one of the local campaigners, quite well over that time.
Robert works tirelessly for the library which has been threatened with closure by Croydon’s Tory Council. It was good to meet up with him on Monday morning to discuss plans to hand control of the library over to the community to save it from closure.
I’d seen Robert – briefly – on Sunday afternoon, too. I joined him in Crystal Palace, in the north of the constituency, to pick up some hops plants. I’m growing the hops as part of the Palace Pint Project. This is an excellent initiative that has brought together 100 local people to grow hops that will be harvested and brewed to make beer.
The idea for a community beer co-operative comes from Brixton where a similar scheme started last year with great success. It’s an inventive way to bring people together and build a stronger community – something I believe is very important.
I spent part of Saturday afternoon at the Norbury Village Residents’ Association, another strong community organisation that I’m keen to support. Chaired by local resident Julie McDonagh, they are eager to see more investment in their area and I’ve promised to help them try to get the council to listen.
After that, I was back at the House of Commons to lead a group of Irish residents on a short tour. As it was St Patrick’s Day they wanted to celebrate by visiting parliament, and I was delighted to show them round a place I’m slowly getting to know much better.
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