Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Enjoying Party Conference

Its been a busy couple of days at the party conference in Blackpool.

Yesterday I spoke in the health debate about hospitals. After all my parents were hospital doctors, my sister is a hospital doctor and I even sleep with a hospital doctor (my husband!). I therefore join patients in fighting for our hospitals.

I was incorrectly introduced as being from Grantham (not my mistake and sorry) - but I did want to tell the conference about hospital cuts in Grantham, where the Conservative MP recently switched to the Labour party. I said "Emergency surgery's been cut, A&E severely cut, the stroke service is facing cuts and as for the maternity service - they are still talking about those cuts. If that's how Gordon Brown treats his new friends I'm staying right here."

It is utter madness to be building thousands of new homes and then cut our most essential services. We have had similar cuts threatened in rapidly growing Cambridgeshire.

I was delighted to hear that the Conservative manifesto will include a promise not to close maternity or A&E services. My husband, a cancer specialist, is regularly frustrated that he can not prescribe the latest drugs to patients. He was pleased to hear the promise that the approval process for cancer drugs will be speeded up.

I went to a very poorly attended fringe meeting on Immigration. This is a huge concern all over the East of England. I said "We know how valuable migrant workers have been and don't want to send people back to persecution in countries like Burma or Zimbabwe but it already feels that our roads, housing, hospitals, police can't cope - uncontrolled immigration is a great worry for our services." I'm pleased to hear our pledge to bring back immigration controls.

On tax it was good to hear that first time buyers should be excluded from stamp duty up to £250,000 and inheritance tax thresholds raised to £1 million. This will help young and old. They are policies that I played a part in forming when I worked on the tax reform commission last year.

At other fringe meetings I heard about the disgrace of our prison service - It's not working when 2/3 of those released re offend within 2 years. We need not only to solve prison overcrowding but also to make sure those released are not just sent back into their old ways. I spoke to a PC last week who had just re-arrested a criminal with 26 previous convictions - and this was a 23 year old.

Finally I gave David Willetts a gentle handbagging on grammar schools. I know that in many parts of the country pupils don't have access to grammar schools and we must make sure they all get the benefits of education that fits individual pupils - however in many other parts they are working and if it ain't broke don't fix it!


Councillor John Ward (Medway) said...

I saw and heard you at Conference and was one of those puzzled about your apparent move to Grantham(!) My ears pricked up -- okay, it felt as though they did -- when I heard your name announced. You seem to have had some kind of impact on me to react so...

Anyway, it was a very good contribution, so well done, young lady!

Vicky Ford said...

Dear John
It is very good to have friends across the country - good luck down in Medway if we do have a quick election.


Vicky Ford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ellee said...

Vicky, I'm surprised the immigration fringe meeting wasn't well attended because it is of huge concern and has a great impact on our public services. That's fine if the government has made allowances for it, but of course, that hasn't happened. That's why I congratulate Cambridgeshire's Chief Constable for speaking out about the vast police resources spent on solving crimes caused by the new influx of migrant workers.

It sounds like you have had a great time, I wish I had been there to see you in action, you are such a good speaker and I know how hard you have campaigned on local issues in South Cambridgeshire.

shaggydog said...

Please don't move to Grantham, we need you in South Cambs ! You have been a breath of fresh air since being elected here.

John Flack said...

I heard your excellent contribution at conference. Can I say as a father of 4 sons, all of whom have benefited from a Grammar school education (& I to passed the 11+ !) that it is heartening to hear someone to speak up for the traditionalists who still think that Grammar schools have a huge amount to offer.

I remember when we spoke on opposite sides of the debate for new Green taxes on airplane flights last year, you were a formidable debating opponent, my side (no new taxes) may have won the debate in the hall last year but it seems with the Party’s announcements this week you won the argument in the long run. You are obviously much more in touch than I am.
Good Luck.
John Flack. (Immediate past Eastern Region Chairman)

Anonymous said...

Well done mate - I look forward to some decent education policies - government not changing their mind every five minutes and allowing teachers to concentrate on children and teaching rather than implementing frameworks and other fancy ideas.........we will not have any teachers left soon!! Look forward to fighting the next election.

Keith Barton said...

Really good to see you again. Interesting to hear who you are sleeping with these days! (Joke)
We enjoyed your contribution.
We have got IDS for our President's Dinner and we are hoping he will make a major announcement there which should give us some press coverage.
Good luck,
Keith & Sue from B'ham Northfield.

Malcolm said...

Hi Vicky,

The conference has seemed to go very well. I watched a bit on telly - but didn't catch your debate. Cameron's speech was really impressive. He has an attention to detail, and a statesman like capability that no-one can match. Makes GB look very tired and definitely 'old politics'!

Councillor John Ward (Medway) said...

Thank you for your kind words in response to my earlier comment, and for your good wishes.

The latest polls put us variously at either close to or level with Labour, which must be giving Gordon Brown the collywobbles. He has had the gauntlet thrown down to "Call that election", and will appear weak if he doesn't face that challenge head-on.

If he does call the election, then yes: "We will fight" here in Medway; and I for one am confident that, at least to an extent (e.g. a hung parliament, which is looking very possible) "Britain will win!"

JamesB said...

How many of the people commenting on your blog are made up? Most of them either don't have links which work or joined blogger in the last 5 days.........

mens sana said...

jamesb - why not try some other blogs and see how many anonymous comments there are-If you haven't got anything more interesting to say I suggest you blog off back to LibDem central!