Sat Nov 25, 2017 London
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EDITORIAL

Editorial comment from Matthew SteeplesOur editor tells it like it is and he rarely minces his words

A Question of Borwick

Matthew Steeples asks Conservative candidate for Kensington Lady Borwick five questions; he put the same to the Liberal Democrats Annabel Mullin also whilst Labour’s Emma Dent Coad failed to respond

 

In the final hours of the 2017 General Election campaign, I asked the Conservative candidate for Kensington, Lady Borwick, five questions I considered relevant to voters in one of Britain’s most wealthy constituencies. I publish below her answers in full and unedited form and beneath also include the responses of the Liberal Democrat candidate, Annabel Mullin, to the same questions.

 

Emma Dent Coad, Labour’s candidate, was also given the opportunity to answer but failed to respond to several requests.

 

The five questions to Lady Borwick (initially and then more generally to Annabel Mullin and Emma Dent Coad) were:

 

  • Hidden homeless: “What will you do to help the ‘hidden homeless’ of Kensington?”
  • Money park Kensington: “How will you help local businesses counter such decline if re-elected?”
  • Brexit: “How, going forward, will you credibly represent the 48% who voted to ‘remain’, as someone who went on the phones to support ‘leave’?”
  • Answering constituents: “How will you improve your pathetically low 18% response rate to constituents’ correspondence, as registered on TheyWorkForYou.com if re-elected?”
  • Ivory: “Will you continue to lobby Theresa May about ivory in spite of such being highly unpopular with constituents and others such as Deborah Meaden?”

 

Pictured above: Annabel Mullin campaigning, Lady Borwick during the Brexit referendum and Emma Dent Coad

 

 

Pictured above: Annabel Mullin campaigning, Lady Borwick during the Brexit referendum and Emma Dent Coad

 

 

Victoria Borwick, Conservative Party A Question of Borwick – Matthew Steeples of The Steeple Times asks Conservative candidate for Kensington Lady Borwick five questions; he put the same to the Liberal Democrats Annabel Mullin also whilst Labour’s Emma Dent Coad failed to respond

 

What will you do to help the ‘hidden homeless’ of Kensington?”

 

In Parliament, the Homeless Reduction Bill was recently passed –which was almost the last bill to be “signed off” before Parliament broke for the election. This puts pressure on local councillors to provide a range of early intervention solutions.

 

Current local services – There are a number of local churches who are working in this sector such as St Cuthbert’s (who I visited earlier this week) and our local charities.

From my previous work at the GLA, I know that although there is a hostel place for everyone that is not enough. People need more and longer-term help which is why there are some good charities working locally, for example the Glass Door Project and Homeless Link. I have also worked with several of the veterans’ charities whose aim is not “no second night out” but “no first night out”.

 

The situation with those that are “street homeless” – these are the people who, for a complex number of reasons, spend time living on the streets. Some do have somewhere to sleep at night, but spend the day on the streets and some live on the streets full time, including overnight.

 

The first port of call for street homeless people is a hostel and these fall into two categories. “Direct access” and those that require a referral from an agency. These agencies provide not only shelter but some way to address the terrible loneliness, mental health and other problems that most street homeless people feel. We need to look at the provision of hostels, but also work with the organisations that provide longer term support, to help people get over their crisis and get back on their feet – and this can take months, and sometimes longer.

 

There has to be short-term accommodation but also ways of dealing with the causes of street homelessness. There needs to be “move on” accommodation, for those that have managed to get themselves into a stable state, and where they are becoming independent, but may still need some ongoing support. I have visited services where they have a range of provision in the same location, I.E. those in immediate crisis and those that are more capable.

 

We need to provide services to help people with drug and alcohol problems which causes so many people to become street homeless, and also with the mental health problems that afflict so many of these people. The council’s Public Health Department has made this a high priority. I particularly welcome the changes to our mental health laws that the Prime Minister has pledged to bring in. These should make a big difference for homeless people with mental health problems.

 

Money park Kensington: “How will you help local businesses counter such decline if re-elected?”

I have grown up in Kensington and lived here all my life, with my family.

Supporting our small and medium sized local businesses is very important for all of us in Kensington. Local businesses are the backbone of our economy and provide employment and opportunities in our community.

Firstly we have to stop losing small independent businesses, as you have refereed to, so that people do not lose their opportunity to be working locally and also to start business locally. RBKC has continued with our planning exemptions, otherwise across London small businesses were being turfed out of their premises. Many local restaurants have sadly closed.

 

I have lobbied the Chancellor, and if re-elected will continue to lobby the Chancellor against the rash of additional regulations for small business – the proposed quarterly reporting, the apprenticeship levy – should be for larger firms, the pensions levy and of course the revaluation which has negatively impacted on our shops – and not on the out of town warehouses for mail order.

 

I recently undertook a survey of many local shops and businesses, either in writing or by visiting in person. On the basis of the response, I wrote to the Treasury, as indeed did the Borough, and also raised it personally with the Chancellor to see if there is any other way of looking at the rates – so that rateable value could be examined to take into account factors such as turnover, size of premises, whether the shop is independent or a chain of premises and so on. If re-elected, I shall continue to raise these concerns with other central London MPs as they affect us all.

 

I will continue to support local businesses by supporting any legislation in Parliament which will promote businesses and support our local economy.

 

Buy to Leave – This is a real issue in Central London, and this is something that, as an MP, I discussed with other Central London MPs from all parties. As we are aware this is “investment purchasing” where investors buy, usually a new property, and then do not live in it, and treat it as “money in the bank” which is why they don’t want it to be lived in as they want to keep it new.

 

When discussing this and researching what is actually happening – RBKC undertook a survey, as have Westminster Council on this topic. There is a pocket of properties where this is very prevalent, however there is not overall interest in this because it affect so very few nationally.

 

That does not make it any less of a problem – the previous Mayor tried to address this by saying that properties have to be marketed in the UK first, but we are often used to getting a mortgage first and these overseas buyers are cash buyers so naturally they can jump in. The new Mayor is also examining what measures can be taken.

 

There are examples in Switzerland and Australia where they have tried to tackle this issue. Buy to leave homes have a very negative effect on the community as there are less “eyes on the streets” less community activity and it is difficult for local business to survive.

By continuing to have schools and local amenities it brings together a community and encourages homes for families.

 

Brexit: “How, going forward, will you credibly represent the 48% who voted to ‘remain’, as someone who went on the phones to support ‘leave’?”

 

I previously worked for Open Europe which was working with the previous administration on renegotiation, which was my preferred stance. I had hoped that the EU would and could use this time to examine its own processes and undertake reform. I realise the result of the referendum is not the outcome for which everyone might have hoped. My chief concern was accountability, and it became clear there was little that could be done to persuade the Commission towards greater transparency.

 

As a country we voted to leave the EU. Parliament has voted on two occasions to implement the result, with cross-party support. All sides have agreed to respect the referendum and to get on with the re-negotiations. The Lib Dems may have also offered a second referendum on the result of the negotiations. Theresa May has said she will bring the final agreement to Parliament for a vote.

 

For Kensington, if re-elected, my role will be to lobby for reciprocal rights for all our long-term residents. Over 50% of the residents in Kensington were not born here and many have made Kensington their home for many years. We should continue to make sure they are welcomed and can continue to play an active part in our community. Many are also great contributors to voluntary and charitable works.

 

I will represent the views of Kensington in Westminster if I am re-elected; working closely with Ministers to make sure they understand the complexity of Kensington.

The choice for everyone is: “Who should be leading the Brexit negotiations?” Which team do you want? I am supporting Theresa May and her team. I support the PMs ambition to strive for a good outcome for the country.

 

Answering constituents: “How will you improve your pathetically low 18% response rate to constituents’ correspondence, as registered on TheyWorkForYou.com if re-elected?”

 

I have always prioritised urgent casework when responding to the vast amount of correspondence my office receives. I receive referrals and pleas for help from individual constituents, charities, churches, the mosque and other religious groups, along with organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau and free legal advice clinics. We have helped several thousand families over my time in Parliament. These referrals, usually from someone in crisis, do not come through “They Work for You” thus they are not logged in this way.

People tend to write to us on “They Work for You” if they are asking for our views on a particular campaign. If the campaign has nothing to do with Kensington residents, then I put my views on the website, so that people can see my opinion. However, I try not to comment on things that are not directly relevant to the majority of Kensington residents.

 

As a team – my priority is casework and dealing directly with residents, and meeting residents each week. I try to avoid “lobbying emails”. Obviously with complex cases we need to see the residents a number of times, and help them with their various meetings with officers or officials and if appropriate I also work with their local councillors (from any party) to make sure they are not left without support.

 

A Member of Parliament is often the last resort for people on housing, immigration and benefits. I have been able to help a great many residents since elected and I hope to continue to do this if re-elected.

 

Ivory: “Will you continue to lobby Theresa May about ivory in spite of such being highly unpopular with constituents and others such as Deborah Meaden?”

 

I supplied a full response to Deborah Meaden who said she was content with my response and why I am representing the antiques trade in Kensington and our great museums. She kindly offered to send my response to others who were concerned. I have offered to meet her should I get re-elected.

 

I support the current proposals which are to make sure we enforce the ban on trading in modern ivory.

 

No antique dealer wants to kill elephants; no antique dealer supports poaching. The only ivory that can be sold in this country is antique and carved. However, there are countries, including those in Europe who still permit the trading of tusks, although this is shortly to be outlawed – not before time.

 

We can and should preserve works of art that are our shared cultural inheritance for future generations, while at the same time doing everything in our power to ensure that these terrible assaults on wildlife do not continue. The next generation need to be able to grow up in a world with healthy herds of elephants. However, these are not mutually exclusive positions. This is a view expressed by some of our leading museums, such as the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum.

 

As you will be aware many musical instruments contain ivory “tinkling the ivories – playing the piano” comes to mind as well as significant treasures in our churches. In our area we have three magnificent museums – the Natural History, V&A and Science Museums – and they all have ivory – antique and old ivory.

 

Both elephants and our shared cultural inheritance are there for us all; we need to work together to look after both, and I have no doubt that this is possible.

 

Annabel Mullin, Liberal Democratic Party

A Question of Borwick – Matthew Steeples of The Steeple Times asks Conservative candidate for Kensington Lady Borwick five questions; he put the same to the Liberal Democrats Annabel Mullin also whilst Labour’s Emma Dent Coad failed to respond 

What will you do to help the ‘hidden homeless’ of Kensington?”

 

Rough sleepers and the homesless have had a very tough time of late. Funding has dried up, centres have closed and specialist help has become less frequent. We need to provide holistic care – that means that we must look at social care with mental health for these individuals alongside.

 

Money park Kensington: “How will you help local businesses counter such decline if re-elected?”

 

I would like to bring a private members’ bill to fundamentally change business rates as they are killing our local businesses.

 

Brexit: “How, going forward, will you credibly represent the 48% who voted to ‘remain’, as someone who went on the phones to support ‘leave’?”

 

As a passionate European and Remainer who feels we are best placed in the European Union, I will fight especially for being in the single market (not just access) and to protect the rights of all EU citizens and their freedom of movement.

 

Answering constituents: “How will you improve your pathetically low 18% response rate to constituents’ correspondence, as registered on TheyWorkForYou.com if re-elected?”

 

It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know people in and around Kensington over the last nearly seven weeks. It would be a privilege to serve Kensington and communicate with everyone.

 

Ivory: “Will you continue to lobby Theresa May about ivory in spite of such being highly unpopular with constituents and others such as Deborah Meaden?”

 

I find it incredible that China has a ban but the current MP for Kensington does not support it.

 

Emma Dent Coad, Labour Party

A Question of Borwick – Matthew Steeples of The Steeple Times asks Conservative candidate for Kensington Lady Borwick five questions; he put the same to the Liberal Democrats Annabel Mullin also whilst Labour’s Emma Dent Coad failed to respond
Emma Dent Coad (pictured with Gina Miller of Best For Britain)

 

Ms Dent Coad failed to respond to repeated requests from The Steeple Times to answer the five questions. They were put to her via email.

 

Comments

30 comments on “A Question of Borwick”

  1. Very disappointed in Gina Miller. After all the support The Steeple Times have given to her campaigns, one would have thought she’d have joined you and backed the only decent candidate in Kensington – Annabel Mullin.

    Instead not so selfless Mrs Miller has shown hypocrisy and back a candidate who doesn’t really believe in standing up against Brexit – the hypocrite, hard left Momentum supporter Emma Dent Coad.

    Pathetic that Dent Coad did not answer your questions either Matthew. Speaks volumes about her laziness.

    More disappointed in Gina Miller however. She’s shown her true colours now – it’s all about me, me, me and more me with her.

    1. Zach
      You are an utter dimwit.
      Both Dent Coad and Borwick are ferociously hardworking.
      Stop making a damned fool of yourself

  2. Lady Victoria is spot on!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She deserves victory today and should be promoted in Teresa’s Team!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Looking forward to watching Teresa MAKE GREAT BRITAIN GREAT AGAIN and hope she kicks out the rotten terrorist pig immigrants wrecking your once great land!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! bring it on!!!!!!!!! Hell yo yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. I have cast my little vote for a Lib Dem in Westminster. The world will be all the better for a change but it looks like Theresa’s Team will have it nationally. I think Lady Borwick’s answers do show compassion – but she should explain her lack of response to constituents and laziness a little more clearly.

    1. Ethel
      The first point is that you do not live with the Kensington constituency so stop spouting tripe.
      You sound barking mad and should be ignored.
      Borwick has a reputation for assiduously responding to constituents.

      1. I made clear I don’t live in Kensington Pete. Where do you live? We should be told.

        It is you who should be ignored.

        1. Peter, to you.
          You live in Westminster. Do you have practical experience of dealing with Borwick? No, you are listening to the lying prattle from the Lib Dems.
          I notice that Mullin cannot answer any of the questions set by MS with either clarity& cogency.

  4. I am supporting Jeremy Corbyn today and it is good to see Gina Miller is supporting Emma Dent Coad, the best candidate for Kensington. Jonathan King says VOTE LABOUR, VOTE EMMA DENT COAD.

  5. After seeing the YouGov poll, I was considering voting for Emma Dent Coad this afternoon but now I will not. I shall vote for Annabel Mullin given Emma has not only Gina Miller but also Jonathan King behind her – two truly repugnant specimens!

  6. I voted for Victoria Borwick just now. She has been a good MP and will continue in the same vein when re-elected tonight.

    1. Exactly. The Lib Dems are a one truck pony…Brexit.
      Borwick is a hands on MP.
      Will Mullin be uprooting her family and moving to Kensington from Lambeth in the unlikely event of winning. NO is the answer.

  7. Emma Dent Coad lost herself a hell of a load of votes standing with Gina Miller. I’m a friend of Viscount St Davids and I think she’s awful.

    1. So we have a ‘Stacey from Essex’ who is a friend of a backswoods Welsh peer and who would normally vote for a republican Labour candidate with extreme Left Wing views. Call me out of touch but seriously……some of the Steeples Times readers seem unreal.

  8. Lady B. is a good MP. I’ve met her at lots of cocktail parties in Kensington and fundraisers and she tends to speak from the hip and with her mind. I like her for that and her directness is refreshing especially on antiques and the ivory markets.

  9. Annabel is splitting the vote. If you want to stop Brexit it is essential to get Emma elected as only she can beat Victoria. You should not be critical of her for not participating. She’s far too busy and so is Gina. Vote Emma for Kensington.

  10. Vote for Annabel Mullin.

    Victoria Borwick’s voting record is abominable – you can find it yourself on the Internet. The arrogance of the Tory party fielding her in Kensington, a pro-Remain, highly European constituency, is astounding.

    Emma Dent Coad has not given any statement of support for remaining in the EU. She is a Corbynista and will not win Kensington. Soft Tories will switch to the Liberal Democrats, not Labour. And there are plenty of those in Kensington.

    1. Well said RS. Emma Dent Coad is no democrat. She did not respond to me and has now belittled my letter on Twitter by claiming she’s busy with “TV and radio” and thus has no time for residents and constituents. I wrote to her not as The Steeple Times’ editor but as a constituent.

      I am also very disappointed Gina Miller chose to back Emma Dent Coad. I have a lot of respect for Gina in other spheres but she and Best for Britain have opted to support a candidate who has not openly supported remaining in the EU and a woman whose views are hard left Momentum.

      I join you in urging all those who haven’t already in Kensington to vote for Annabel Mullin. Kensington does NOT want or need Emma Dent Coad.

  11. Annabel Mullin has nil political experience.
    Like so many of the new political class her experience is limited to ‘uman rights law or criminology.
    She has been parachuted into Kensington and gives the quite misleading impression she knows the constituency well.
    A summer job at Monsoon is a poor substitute.
    Voting for the Lib Dems is a wasted vote: hence the reason why they have been decimated on K&C Council. Only one left standing out of 4. Why? Because they are inept.

  12. This love affair with Gina Miller is hilarious.
    Mrs Miller is able to indulge herself on the back of the fortune her husband Alan Miller grabbed when New Star floated.
    He and fellow directors sold at the IPO and made themselves multiples of millions.
    Sadly, ‘civilian’ shareholders who bought the shares at the IPO had no idea the fund management company was so badly run that it was about to go belly up.
    The general public shareholders lost everything. Mr and Mrs Miller made millions.
    I don’t accuse them of anything other than a sort of forward thinking that made him so successful.
    It’s the usual City story…..unless you are insider you get f****d.
    So, at the end of the day Gina is able to indulge her publicity seeking thanks to the poor bloody public

  13. I am going to be blunt.
    Emma Dent Coad didn’t bother replying.
    Annabel Mullin response was empty, lazy and full of platitudes.
    Only Borwick gave the questions the depth they deserved.

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