Dealing with Drugs Offences

Tackling drug misuse and reducing the impact of drug-related crime is a key priority for the Home Office, James Brokenshire emphasised today on a visit to Kent. The minister - who has responsibility for crime prevention - met with police in Gravesend to see the success they have had tackling prolific offenders with drug addictions on the Kings Farm Estate.

100 Years of Guiding

James Brokenshire joined hundreds of Guides, Brownies and Rainbows from across Bexley to celebrate the centenary of the Girl Guide movement.  The special event in Danson Park featured a range of activities from crafts, dance and climbing.  The day was rounded off with live performances on the big stage with music and entertainment into the evening.

Government Appointment

James Brokenshire has been appointed as a junior minister to serve in the Coalition Government. The Old Bexley & Sidcup MP was called by the Prime Minister on Tuesday evening to invite him to join the Government as a Home Office Minister working with the new Home Secretary the Rt. Hon. Theresa May MP. James's ministerial responsibilities include policy on drugs and alcohol and measures to prevent crime.Commenting James said:"It is a huge privilege to have been asked to serve in the new Government. I'm particularly pleased to have been appointed to the Home Office. It will give me the chance to follow through on some of the policies and proposals I have been working on over the last few years. I'm very much looking forward to the challenges ahead and in helping to make our communities safer places to work, live and be." 

Action on Queen Mary's Hospital

James Brokenshire has written to the Health Secretary Rt. Hon. Andrew Lansley MP urging him to call a halt on proposals which would see A&E and maternity services stripped from Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup. The Old Bexley & Sidcup MP has been campaigning to retain services at Queen Mary's and to secure the long terms future of the local hospital. The Coalition Agreement for the new Government makes specific reference to a moratorium on further hospital A&E and maternity reorganisations and says that local GPs and the public will be given a much say on hospital services.

Immigration Controls

James Brokenshire has given his backing to an annual limit on the number of people from outside of the EU being given work permits. Speaking on the BBC1 London Politics Show, the Old Bexley & Sidcup MP said that controls on immigration were necessary after the last Government had failed to put appropriate measures in place. The annual limit would help to bring net migration to levels in the tens of thousands rather than the hundreds of thousands experienced under Labour.

Hornchurch Farewell

With the General Election imminent the boundary changes which will divide and abolish the Hornchurch constituency will come into effect in a matter of days. These changes will also mark the end of my period in office as the Member of Parliament for Hornchurch.

Combating Computer Crime

On-line crime is one of the fastest growing crimes in Britain today. Senior police officers estimate that a crime with an online element is committed every ten seconds. This has serious consequences for not only our economy, but our everyday lives where the virtual world has become an integral part of the day to day functioning of the physical world.

The Olympic Tower

One of the lighter issues discussed on LBC 97.3 last night was the Turner-prize winning artist Anish Kapoor's striking steel sculpture for the Olympic site. There have been various descriptions of the twisted steel design, most uncomplimentary. I described it as resembling inter-twining red musical treble clefs. Cathy by contrast said it looked more like collapsing steel cranes - you get the difference of view even in this household! The tower currently has the title of the Arcelor Mital ‘Orbit'. I suspect that in time a more everyday description will develop.

Preparing for the next drug problem

Tragically, the drug Mephedrone has been dominating the headlines over the last few weeks. The so called 'legal high' has been linked to the deaths of a number of people. Focus has rightly been placed on public health concerns and controls applied to the drug and moves to classify the drug are welcome. It seems that many young people are making the mistake that because it's legal they think it's safe. It isn't with the chemistry of Mephedrone being similar to that of an amphetamine.

Double charging for radio?

Tougher economic times have drawn into question part of the licensing scheme operated by PRS for Music. In particular, whether shops and businesses should pay charges for simply playing the radio in the workplace. Interestingly, I've had this issue flagged up from two sides. The stores and firms which balk at having licence fees levied on them when they are struggling to keep in business. And the radio stations who say that they are already paying a licence fee for broadcasting music and that this is effectively ‘double taxation'.