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Letter from Parliament - Paul Rowen MP

July 10, 2008 12:00 AM

Paul Rowen MP - Taking Action For RochdaleLetter from Parliament - Paul Rowen MP

Last Saturday I had a very happy family occasion when my nephew Ryan married his girlfriend Gemma at St. Josephs R.C Church in Shaw. Both are serving police officers with Greater Manchester Police. It was a very happy family occasion.

Also last weekend, I attended the Bangladesh Association and Community Project for a cheque presentation to BRAC (a Bangladesh based NGO) for ?4200. The money was raised at a concert we held in the Town Hall in April and will be used to buy fishing boats for some of those villagers who lost everything during Cyclone Sidr last November.

It is a salutary reminder that though disasters often hit the headlines they soon disappear but the reconstruction work takes years.

Congratulations to Shuakat Ali, Councillor Farooq Ahmed and all those members of the BACP who helped raise such a large sum.

Following this I dropped into the fundraiser for the Ding Quarry Action Group at St Vincents Parish Hall. Dave Thomas alongside people like Rita and Eric Ollerenshaw are doing an excellent job leading the group.

The next few months are vital for the group in mobalising public support against the reopening of this quarry. Please get involved with this group, every signature and letter in support of keeping this quarry closed is vital.

Because I was in Kazakhstan at an OSCE meeting last week I missed the vote on MPs salaries and conditions. Several news organisations asked why I wasn't there. It is an example of how many different things MPs are involved in. Just because you cannot see us in the Chamber does not mean we are not working!

Nevertheless I was surprised at the outcome. Had I been there I would have voted to accept the recommendations of the review group which would have tightened the rules and subjected us to greater scrutiny. The outcome in my view is less than satisfactory - another review and further public disquiet. MP's should not in my view be voting on their own conditions of service. Far better that others decide!

I also met recently with Councillor Keith Whitmore newly appointed Vice Chair of the GMPTE and Councillor Zulfiqar Ali to discuss transport improvements for Rochdale. This will include a new shuttle service from the bus station to the rail station in preparation for Metrolink as well as new cross boundary services.

The Post Office campaign continued with an excellent barefoot walk organised by Jay and the staff in my office. The Liberal Democrat Group have now put a report to the Pennines and Rochdale Townships on the Council calling for the Townships to subsidise the Post Offices if they go ahead and close them. However, I am concerned that the Post Office might close other Post Offices instead and have sought urgent clarification from the Post Office on their attitude.

I was very sad to read about the death of Ernie Cooksey, former Dale midfielder at the very young age of 28 due to cancer. Ernie was hugely popular after his stint playing for Rochdale.

The credit squeeze continues to bite and we are now officially in recession. The Government must in my view delay the 2p rise in fuel taxes. Since Christmas both food and fuel rises have gone through the roof hitting those on fixed incomes.

Next Monday sees the remaining stages of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. I will be voting against the bill.