I was asked by the Romford Recorder to set out my highlights from 2018. I replied with the below:
British people have been engaged in politics this year in a way in which I have not seen in my lifetime, and one of the highlights of 2018 has been to meet such a fantastic range of constituents, get their take on things and achieve breakthroughs on their cases. The most rewarding breakthrough was securing access to new therapies to fight the childhood cancer, neuroblastoma. However, I have also enjoyed bringing Ministers to the constituency to show them the fantastic things happening here like the Railway Academy in Harold Hill, where Havering College is training jobseekers and ex-offenders to build UK infrastructure.
It seems a strange thing to list as a highlight, but the programme of events marking the centenary of the Great War’s end, including the Remembrance Day service I attended in Hornchurch, seemed really to strike a chord this year. I think the poignancy for so many people lay in the reminder of the scale of sacrifice for our freedoms at a time when we are debating our country’s future so hotly. I have really appreciated the opportunity to learn more about our military through my participation in the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme and by meeting people like Don, a D-Day veteran to whom I was introduced at the local Armed Forces Day celebrations.
Setting up an MP’s office from scratch at a time of political storminess has been a challenge but it has been a pleasure to see my team grow over this past year. I have also appreciated being able to put into practice what I have learned through my International Trade Committee work – such as bringing the trade hub to Hornchurch to advise local businesses on exporting.
And my TV highlight of 2018 was undoubtedly the Reverend’s speech at the Royal Wedding - television gold!
The following article was published by the Recorder on 4 January:
What a year in the world of politics it has been, both on a national level and locally across Havering, and the Recorder asked all Havering’s MPs to give their personal highlights of 2018.
L-R: Rainham and Dagenham MP Jon Cruddas, Hornchurch and Upminster MP Julia Lopez and Romford MP Andrew Rosindell. Photo: Parliament TV
With big new housing developments expected across the borough in 2019, the conclusion of Crossrail, and with everything still up in the air about Brexit it could be an even busier next 12 months.
But the Recorder gave Julia Lopez, Andrew Rosindell and Jon Cruddas a chance to reflect on the last year.
Hornchurch and Upminster MP Mrs Lopez and Rainham and Dagenham MP Mr Cruddas both said their highlights included Remembrance events they attended, celebrating 100 years since the end of the First World War.
Romford MP Mr Rosindell said the results of local elections in May was a high point – seeing every one of the 21 Conservative candidates in Romford win their individual seats.
Mrs Lopez’s other highlights included bringing ministers to the area and showing them the “fantastic things” going on, like the Railway Academy in Harold Hill, where Havering College is training jobseekers and ex-offenders to build UK infrastructure.
She said the most rewarding breakthrough for her was securing access to new therapies to fight the childhood cancer, neuroblastoma. Her TV highlight was America’s Reverend Michael Curry’s speech at the Royal Wedding, which she said was “television gold”.
She said: “British people have been engaged in politics this year in a way in which I have not seen in my lifetime, and one of the highlights of 2018 has been to meet such a fantastic range of constituents, get their take on things and achieve breakthroughs on their cases.
“Setting up an MP’s office from scratch at a time of political storminess has been a challenge but it has been a pleasure to see my team grow over this past year.”
Mr Rosindell said 2018 has been a “significant year in British politics”.
He said: “Our public finances have been kept under control, unemployment is at a record low, and foreign direct investment into the UK is the second highest in the world! So Britain is doing well and I believe with go from strength to strength. Most of all however, 2018 will be remembered as a year in which the EU’s intransigence had to be challenged.”
Mr Rosindell praised the work of Conservative candidates in the local elections in May and said the Keep Havering Special campaign “captured the support of Romford people”.
He also said he felt privileged when the prime minister asked him to become her new trade envoy to Tanzania.
Lastly, but certainly not least he said fighting for the Brexit Havering voted for has been a core issue throughout the year.
Mr Rosindell said he is not happy with the currently proposed Withdrawal Agreement and said “it does not represent the Brexit Havering voted for”.
Mr Cruddas said 2018 was a “whirlwind of a year” and certainly not short of parliamentary drama.
His most recent highlight was his annual Christmas card competition.
Mr Cruddas attended Remembrance Sunday events in Dagenham, and said he was “humbled” by the great turnout, and wanted to put on record a huge thank you to all those that helped pull the event together.
He too praised the results of the local elections, and said “whilst we didn’t secure any new councillors in Rainham, South Hornchurch or Elm Park we made a real impact across those communities”.
This new year will mark 18 years since Mr Cruddas was first elected, and he plans to campaign on police funding across the board, air quality in Rainham, and a Brexit that works for the economy, our environment and his constituents.
He said: “Who knows what 2019 will hold, they certainly don’t know in Westminster!”