Marisha Ray, the Liberal Democrat candidate for the Croydon North by-election, has criticised people who steal.
But a LibDem press release saw their candidate being a little light-fingered herself. Just ahead of Remembrance Sunday, Ray has claimed the credit for the passage of a bill combating scrap metal theft, which got through its latest Commons stages yesterday.
Islington-based Ray somehow forgot to mention that the bill was taken through the Commons by Croydon South’s Conservative MP, Richard Ottaway. It was as if she’d spotted a good idea and wanted to pinch it for herself.
Ray’s lack of familiarity with Croydon probably means that she doesn’t realise that we do actually know what our MPs are doing.
Ottaway has a good record in getting private members bills through the Commons. But it looked like he was going to lose this bill, on which he had been working for months with his parliamentary aide, Aline Nassif.
Inside Croydon reported on one example of the damage that metal theft can cause, at St Mary’s church, Addington Village. But there are saddening instances of memorials – often war memorials to commemorate the dead of the two world wars, but also the graves of many ordinary residents – being desecrated on a near-weekly basis by criminal vandals eager to rip-off, literally, the precious metal and sell it on for its rising scrap value.
Ottaway had guided the bill through the committee stage in the Commons after one grilling in the main chamber. Most bills fail to make progress beyond that first stage, confusingly called a second reading. The bills are often chewed up at that first stage by Tory backbenchers Christopher Chope and Philip Davies, who claim that most private members bills are so badly drafted that they are too dangerous to enact into law.
The Daily Torygraph reported that Ottaway would lose the bill to the deadly duo. However a clever late concession by Ottaway secured the bill’s passage across to the House of Lords. Ottaway was showered with compliments by other MPs in the chamber for his work on the bill.
But of Ottaway there is not a mention in Ray’s self-righteous press release, as she tried to win favour and a few votes. There is no gracious recognition of Ottaway’s work, even though, notionally at least, her party is jointly in government with the Tories.
Ray does say that, “As the MP for Croydon North I will work with Croydon’s other MPs, the council and the local police to tackle this real and serious issue.”
Perhaps she should start by introducing herself to the member for Croydon South before he sails off into the sunset of retirement and familiarise herself with his work on the scrap metal bill.
The Croydon North by-election will be held on November 29. The declared candidates are:
- Monster Raving Loony John Cartwright
- National Front Richard Edmonds
- Respect Lee Jasper
- Green Shasha Khan
- UKIP Winston McKenzie
- Liberal Democrat Marisha Ray
- Labour Steve Reed
- Young People’s Party Robin Smith
- Communist Ben Stevenson
- Conservative Andrew Stranack
- Inside Croydon: For comment and analysis about Croydon, from inside Croydon
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