Wednesday, 26 June 2019
7 December 2010

Is Fiona Mactaggart telling "Porkies" ?

class="h1h4">Doubts cast over Fiona's 'Helping Children' Claims

I feel compelled to write and put right the misinformation quoted by Slough MP, Fiona Mactaggart, in her 'Commons touch' spiel of 26th November 2010.

Slough Observer, 26 November 2010, page 18

"I have recently been stirring things up on behalf of Slough children. First I had to stop a Tory-Lib Dem Council from concreting over Slough's playgrounds, then I helped win funds for new outdoor play spaces."

(ref: Alice 000203)

Firstly, Fiona's statement that she was 'stirring things up by stopping a Tory-Lib Dem council from concreting over Slough's playgrounds' is not the case.

Fiona may not have noticed but Slough Borough Council has been controlled by her beloved Labour party since May 2008, and therefore the only party with the direct ability to concrete over Slough's playgrounds is the Labour Party.

However, given her apparent commitment to keeping play areas, I wish Fiona luck in 'stirring up' her Labour colleagues who are hell-bent on concreting over Britwell's Kennedy Park and the Monksfield Way play area, all in the name of 'regeneration'.

Slough's Labour run council has already sold the play area in Upper Lees Road, Britwell for a paltry £1 for housing development!

Secondly, Fiona states that she is fighting hard to keep an MP for Slough and alleges that forthcoming changes in the law may split Slough amongst neighbouring constituencies. While I agree with Fiona that a town as large and important as Slough deserves its own MP, her scaremongering about this appears to be misplaced; the coalition government has announced its intention to reduce the number of constituencies from 650 to 600, and that each constituency should have approximately 76,000 electors. With over 78,000 electors (Editor: 84,000+) Slough would not appear to be at risk, unlike some Scottish seats which have a mere 30,000 electors.

Additionally, Fiona ought to know that the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill (which will enact these changes) is currently before the House of Lords, and as the actual boundaries will not even be reviewed by the Boundary Commission until after the law has been passed, her comments are premature and speculative.

In fact, the government's plans to harmonise constituency sizes is to address the ludicrously unfair position whereby the Labour party can form an overall majority with a mere 35% of the vote, while the Tory party would need to achieve 40%. That said, if the coalition government did abolish the Slough constituency, it would be a clear example of electoral gerrymandering to remove a Labour MP.

Two wrongs would not make a right and if Fiona is removed from office, it should be as a result of policy debate and campaigning at the next election, rather than constituency amalgamations.

Nevertheless, I think Fiona should perhaps save her 'stirring up' for stopping Slough's Labour run council from concreting over Kennedy Park and the Monksfield Way play area and for the Christmas pudding that she speaks of, instead of alarming her constituents unnecessarily about Slough losing a voice in Parliament.

Tristan Miles