Archive for the ‘Jeremy Hunt’ Category

Today’s Farnham Herald carries an article about the growing support for Dr Louise Irvine who is standing against Jeremy Hunt in the General Election on 8th June

I had written to the paper urging Lib Dems to support her.

Here’s my letter …

I was the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate standing against Jeremy Hunt in 2010. I was pleased to have the support of over 17,000 people who voted for me, but not pleased by the result of the election which of course led to the Coalition between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives. I did not support the coalition and it did not turn out well for the Lib Dems.

Be that as it may, in this year’s General Election I am urging everyone who backed me in 2010 to support Dr Louise Irvine, the progressive alliance party candidate, because she represents by far the best chance to beat Mr Hunt who has been a disaster as Secretary of State for Health. I know to my cost that he enjoyed support as a local man in South West Surrey, but his tenure at the Department of Health has been calamitous, most recently demonstrated by his role in the shambles of NHS Trusts being subjected to damaging internet attacks in recent days. The national press have rightly criticised him for his failure to ensure greater protection for NHS IT systems. Even the Telegraph carried the headline, ‘Jeremy Hunt ignored repeated warnings over system vulnerability’. Professor Ross Anderson, of Cambridge University, said the incident is the “sort of thing for which the secretary of state should get roasted in Parliament”.  When you add this latest fiasco to the appalling record of Mr Hunt presiding over dangerously lengthening A & E waiting times, not to mention the junior doctors’ dispute, it is hard not to conclude that he is unsuitable for the job of Health Secretary.

Liberal Democrat members and supporters in South West Surrey have been saying to me that they are putting aside party allegiance to support Dr Louise Irvine simply because we cannot risk giving the Conservative Party carte blanche to continue its woeful management of our National Health Service. That is one reason why I will be in South West Surrey during this election campaign to support Dr Irvine. She took Mr Hunt to court back in 2012 and Judges found that he had acted unlawfully when he decided to substantially cut services and close departments, including maternity, A&E and intensive care units. That was gutsy of Louise and just the sort of passionate commitment to our NHS that an MP needs. I sincerely hope she is elected on 8th June.

Yours sincerely

Mike Simpson

UPDATE ON MY EARLIER BLOG ‘Coalition descends into Farce: Jeremy Hunt not the right person to judge on BSkyB and Murdochs’

I don’t usually quote the Daily Mail but they have quite a good article on Jeremy Hunt’s private and public contacts with the Murdoch empire. Click here for the article.

I wonder if more details about the Murdochs and Hunt will come out soon? Can’t see the Sun or The Times doing an expose! Murdoch must be laughing all the way to his lair.

I have been struck by how many local small business people are outraged by the foolish and illiberal digital economy act which Labour rushed through Parliament with support from my opponent Jermey Hunt. I wrote an open letter to Mr Hunt on 5th April about this.

On 11th April I called for the Digital Economy Act to be repealed.

I have been delighted to receive strong support from the local E-Commerce community. Here’s one comment:

“As a local businessman who voted Conservative in every election to date I’m changing to vote for Mike and the Lib Dems. I’m very impressed with the Lib Dems strong pro-business policies, in particular their balanced and sensible approach to E-commerce and the digital economy.” James Firth

And it’s not just the Act that is a problem in Farnham. Read this comment by local film and television producer Jack Jewers who I met recently:

“Britain’s digital infrastructure is seriously under-developed and it really does hurt us. In most of Farnham, broadband access comes down old copper phone wires (rather than fibre optic cables), so the average broadband speed is barely 2MB. That makes the internet slow and unreliable. I’m a filmmaker by trade and have recently moved two businesses here from London because I want to support my home town. However I may be forced to move back to the city because I cannot get the reliable, high-speed web access I need. There are wider implications of this too. Imagine if the thousands of people who live in our area could commute digitally, what a difference it could make to the environment, not to mention to our crowded trains. Given all of this, I simply cannot understand why, when Britain lags so far behind Europe and the wider world on digital infrastructure, Parliament chose to pass a bill (the Digital Economy Bill) that limits digital growth instead of one that improves access. I fear we’re going to be left behind, and that companies like mine will find it hard to compete with better wired businesses elsewhere in the world.”

Jeremy Hunt’s expenses got a good airing at a public ‘hustings’ meeting in Godalming on Friday night. Anyone wanting full details about his expenses should click here

There is growing support for our campaign to Save The BBC I am standing against Jeremy Hunt, the Tory’s Shadow Culture Secretary. If I beat him it will be a major blow to the Tory plans for the Beeb. And it looks like I can win, given the huge swing to the Lib Dems across the country.

Leading actors are today calling for voters ‘to protect the BBC on polling day’.

And across the country other groups are setting up to fight for BBC independence which is threatened by Tory plans. I wrote to the Tory Shadow Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt about his own position some months back.

It’s clear that the Murdoch press are desperate for a Tory victory as they would have much to gain from Tory plans. Nick Clegg’s rise could lock Murdoch out of UK politics for years.

Another very good reason to vote Lib Dem!

If it is accurate – the latest Opinion Poll on voting intentions must be very worrying for Cameron and his team. I don’t know if media-savvy Jeremy Hunt has been advising Cameron before last night’s debate, but if he has then he deserves the sack from the Tory front bench team.

Apparently Mr Hunt has been role-playing Nick Clegg in the Tory rehearsals for the debate. Clearly it is not a role that Mr Hunt has performed accurately – because Mr Cameron had no answer to the natural and relaxed manner of Mr Clegg.

Outside of the bear-pit of Parliament – where Nick Clegg is scoffed at by the boorish MPs of some sections of Parliament, there is no answer to his appeal. If he can’t be shouted down then his common sense straight talking is a winner.

See the poll by clicking here

I was out door-knocking last night in Godalming and was surprised by the number of people who raised the issue of MPs’ expenses but who didn’t know about Jeremy Hunt. There are very few MPs who have had to repay more than him but people don’t know about it. So for the record here are some facts:

1. Mr Hunt had to repay many thousands of pounds following investigations by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards;
2. Unlike many MPs who claimed for ridiculous things which were ‘within the rules’, Mr Hunt actually broke the rules. The Standards and Privileges Committee said in their report ‘We agree with the Commissioner that Mr Hunt committed two breaches of the rules’.
3. In one year alone Mr Hunt claimed £12,000 for his ‘second home’ in Farnham (he lived in Hammersmith and as far as I know he still does) but Hunt actually only stayed at the Farnham property for 60 nights that year, so the cost of his claim to the taxpayer was £200 per night;
4. He has now admitted that his political Agent lived in his Farnham home (he says for ‘3 or 4 nights per week’) at taxpayer’s expense;
5. This was a breach of the rules because ‘it provided a personal benefit to the agent from public funds’;
6. Mr Hunt had to repay £9,558.50 of the expenses he had claimed on his ‘second home’ in Farnham because of this;
7. In addition Mr Hunt had to repay £1,996 in expenses because he had claimed for two properties at the same time! (his home in Hammersmith and his ‘second home’ in Farnham);
8. In addition Mr Hunt had to repay £466 in respect of Council Tax claims and according to an interview in the Surrey Advertiser he has also repaid £659.75 because he double claimed on a stationery bill;
9. This makes a grand total of £12,680.25 in repayments that I know about;
10. In the separate investigation by Sir Thomas Legg only 16 MPs had to repay more than £12,500 out of a total of 646.

There are more embarrassing facts about Mr Hunt’s claims but I thought I’d stick to the main points here.

Despite my opponent Jeremy Hunt and the Tories backing Labour to vote through the deeply flawed Digital Economy Act this week we must not accept it as a ‘fait accompli’.

If elected on 6th May I will be pressing my Party and the others to urgently repeal the Digital Economy Act and to subject all the proposals to proper and rigorous Parliamentary scrutiny.

Why? Because:

– it’s a flawed piece of legislation which hadn’t been properly thought through or examined before it became law
– it was rushed through in the dying days of a failed administration after a general election had been called
– it seriously restricts people’s civil liberties (the opposite of the Lib Dems’ proposed Freedom Bill)
– the Government was too lazy to go into the details before legislating due to the lobbying of certain industries
– the Government was too lazy to pay attention to the impact on other businesses, which is remarkable at a time of economic crisis
– the law was supported, rather than opposed, by the Conservatives, who recognised it was flawed but passed it anyway – another example of the Labservatives

Mike Simpson

Mike Simpson discusses pressure for housing in Badshot Lea. The Tory controlled Waverley Council are considering doubling the size of the village!

Why is Badshot Lea being targeted by Tory-controlled Waverley Borough Council for major housing development which would double the size of the settlement?

In February I spent an afternoon with Badshot Lea Councillors, looking around the village and the neighbouring green spaces. I was shocked to read the Council’s Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment which suggests that the village might accommodate another 950 homes. The village clearly could not cope with such growth and the level of developer’s contributions would not be adequate to rectify major infrastructure problems in and around the village. In any case much of the land is unsuitable due to its frequent flooding.

Waverley Borough Council commissioned Baker Associates to conduct the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment and Badshot Lea is the largest housing site identified by them, with one area alone being earmarked for up to 850 houses.

The refusal to agree to the proposed eco-settlement at Dunsfold will inevitably lead to huge pressures on other areas to take major housing development. I will be urging Waverley Council to ensure a fair and reasoned approach to the allocation of housing and that at least 25% of any new housing is affordable housing for local families. Once again Farnham is being pushed by Waverley Council to take the pressure off other areas, but if past experience is anything to go by, Farnham will not get the facilities and services it needs to cope.

Hunt is said to be taking an interest in the issue, but he really needs to lobby his fellow Conservatives and get them to see sense over this issue. I suspect that, with the General Election coming up, there might be a re-think, at least for the time being.

Jeremy Hunt, MP for South West Surrey, this week continued his campaign of attacks on the BBC, a campaign which began several months ago. A weakened BBC is clearly in the interests of its competitor News International and surprise surprise The Sun is now backing the Tories.

If Mr Hunt were just an ordinary citizen criticising the BBC for its bad decisions and extravagant expenses I would not be concerned, but Mr Hunt hopes in a few months to be in control of the Ministry for media which will oversee the BBC and the press. Mr Hunt’s public utterances are therefore of great concern to all in the media industry.

I have written to Mr Hunt about my concerns that the Tories want to sell off or scrap key parts of the BBC including much of its online operations, Radio 1, BBC 3 and BBC 4. Mr Hunt’s attacks have been vicious and sustained. In a Daily Mail interview last month under the headline, ‘We’ll rein in the BBC, say Tories in radical plans to prevent one broadcaster state’, Mr Hunt talked about scrapping BBC 3 and 4 and taking action which the Mail said would ‘pave the way for channels such as Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News’. In August The Times reported that the Tories were planning to sell off Radio 1.

For months Mr Hunt has pursued an agenda of verbal assaults on the business of the BBC. Yet Mr Hunt, as far as I can see, has said nothing critical about the massive media power of the Murdoch Empire. Are the commercial interests of News International (owners of The Sun, The Times, BSkyB, etc) being deliberately favoured for party political advantage? “Nothing new there” some might say, but at a time when the reputation of politicians has hit rock bottom, we have a right to know.