Poplar & Limehouse Liberal Democrats celebrate best-ever constituency result

Candidate Elaine Bagshaw and Tower Hamlets Lib Dems are cheering their result in Poplar & Limehouse; an area Labour has held since the 1920’s and one which incumbent Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick has represented for 20 years. Bagshaw was the only challenger from another party that saw her vote share increase since the last General Election--capturing a total of 3959 votes--close to double the Lib Dem constituency result just two years ago and leapfrogging locally over the Greens and UKIP, while also beating controversial independent Oliur Rahman. Bagshaw says the result is a signal that more people are looking to the Lib Dems as a credible alternative in borough politics.

“We heard from a lot of people who feel let down by Labour, who take this constituency for granted as a ‘safe seat’, and ignore a lot of problems. Tower Hamlets has a 49% child poverty rate; the highest in the country, despite Labour having had a very free hand for years to do something about it. Our showing today sends a simple message, more and more voters in Poplar & Limehouse want and expect results--and they’re slowly turning to us.”

Bagshaw is a seasoned campaigner who also ran as the Lib Dem candidate for the area in the 2015 General Election, where she came fifth. Since then, local membership has increased by around 600 people to 730, which Bagshaw says was instrumental in her performance and leaves the local party well-placed to fight a likely by-election in St. Katharine’s and Wapping, following Conservative Councillor Julia Dockerill’s win in the Hornchurch and Upminster constituency, andon to local elections next year.

“We built this local party from the ground up and the growth has been simply amazing in the last two years,” Bagshaw says. “Our prospective by-election candidate, Stephen O’Shea, is already a dedicated campaigner for St. Katharine’s and Wapping.We’re energized by this result and are going to keep working hard to get great local results for people living in Tower Hamlets, while continuing to stand up for a Britain that is open, tolerant, and united.”

Liberal Democrats vow new push against antisocial behaviour in Tower Hamlets

Lib Dem parliamentary candidates are calling for a more coordinated response to crime and antisocial behaviour between police, housing managers, and Tower Hamlets Borough Council.


“This borough has some of the worst antisocial behaviour in London,” says Poplar & Limehouse candidate Elaine Bagshaw. “We’re hearing about incidents happening almost daily and the problem is  largely being ignored. It’s so bad that many residents are thinking of moving away from their homes.”


Lib Dem canvassers say they’ve been hearing about how severe the problem is all over the borough and have launched a petition to Eastend Homes in Island Gardens to provide adequate security to residents. Stephen O’Shea, who was recently selected to stand as the prospective Lib Dem candidate in a possible council by-election in St. Katharine’s & Wapping, met with Wapping police and local residents last week. They spoke of drivers racing their cars around the area, putting local people at risk.


“The problem of overstretched police resources in Tower Hamlets has left the car racing problem in Wapping to grow,” O’Shea says. “We have residents who are afraid to go out at night to walk their dogs.”


“This is a top local priority--and it’s something I will continue to work on whether or not I’m elected as a Member of Parliament,” says Bagshaw. “We cannot wait to act until out of control car racing leaves someone seriously injured or killed. That’s why we need a properly coordinated plan to tackle antisocial behaviour here and fulfill the job of seeing to resident safety.”


The Island Gardens petition referred to in this article can be found here: http://www.towerhamletslibdems.org.uk/asb_island_gardens

Stephen O'Shea selected to stand in Wapping

IMG_2461.jpgWe are delighted to announce that local campaigner Stephen O’Shea has been selected to stand for the Liberal Democrats in St Katherine’s & Wapping in the next election held in the ward. While local elections will be held across Tower Hamlets in May 2018, one of the sitting councillors is currently running as a parliamentary candidate in Hornchurch and Upminster meaning that it is possible a by-election will be called in Wapping after the General Election.

Stephen is a seasoned campaigner for the people of Wapping and has supported the local community on a wide range of issues. He was a key member of the local Remain campaign team during the European Referendum, helping Tower Hamlets get a 67% Remain vote. He has also led campaigns to increase local police presence to fight crime and anti-social behaviour, and has held the Council to account on housing, development and community issues.

On the possibility of a local election, Stephen said “I’m thrilled to be given the chance to represent the great community of Wapping. This is a unique part of Tower Hamlets, and has been ignored for too long by the underperformance of the Labour Council, and the complacency of the Tory opposition. We need a Liberal voice in Tower Hamlets, to hold their feet to the fire on issues such as crime and housing, which really matter to the people of Wapping.”

Ed Long, Chair of Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrats said: "Tower Hamlets is already seeing the benefits of having a hard working Liberal opposition in the council chamber. Stephen would be a fantastic champion for Wapping, ensuring that complacency over antisocial behaviour and disruptive development is rigorously challenged."

If you are a Wapping resident and want to contact Stephen for support with any local issues, please call him on 07505 982212, or email him at [email protected]

Lib Dems campaign to scrap dementia tax threatening to hit 99% of Tower Hamlets homes

99% of homes in Tower Hamlets could be eligible for sale to meet Theresa May’s so-called 'dementia tax', according to research by the Liberal Democrats.


The Poplar & Limehouse candidate, Elaine Bagshaw, and Bethnal Green & Bow candidate, Will Dyer, are urging Tower Hamlets’ residents, whatever their party affiliation, to join a campaign to stop Conservative social care plans that would saddle those with long-term illnesses with crippling care costs after their death.


"Caring for our elderly should be above party politics and that is why we want to urge anyone who opposes these plans to come together to stop them,” Bagshaw says. “We’ve seen a lot of Conservative policy proposals that would hit Tower Hamlets harder than anyone else, but this one is especially outrageous, because it would see almost every home in the borough put at risk.”


The Liberal Democrats are calling for a penny on income tax to boost funding for the NHS and social care by £6bn a year, as well as a £72,000 cap to protect people from crippling care costs.


“Every elderly person who needs care should receive it in the best place for them. People shouldn't have to worry about losing everything they've worked hard for over their whole lives to pay for crippling care costs,” says Dyer. "Together we can stop the so-called ‘Dementia Tax’ and put in place a cap on the cost of care."

Tim Farron drops by Tower Hamlets for Liberal Democrat Manifesto Launch

Liberal Democrats in Tower Hamlets say it’s fitting the national party chose to launch its 2017 General Election manifesto here, given the the number of policy proposals that directly affect local residents.


Lib Dem Leader, Tim Farron, and party members from Tower Hamlets and around the country, packed the Oval Space in Bethnal Green last week for the launch.


“I’m very proud to campaign on this manifesto,” says Bethnal Green and Bow Lib Dem candidate, Will Dyer. “It’s full of policy proposals that tackle the most pressing issues Tower Hamlets’ residents are facing every day.”


Elaine Bagshaw, the Lib Dem candidate in Poplar & Limehouse, added: “Tower Hamlets is a perfect location to launch a manifesto that has solutions for Brexit, housing shortages, child poverty and the NHS.”


The Liberal Democrats propose to invest an additional £7 billion per year into education for children, tripling the Early Years Pupil Premium to £1,000.


“The Pupil Premium specifically aims to give extra help to children from disadvantaged backgrounds, and we have the highest rate of child poverty in the country,” Bagshaw says. “Tripling it, as Liberal Democrats propose to do, will give an important boost to schoolchildren in Tower Hamlets earlier in their education. That’s key to giving them the best possible opportunities in life.


Bagshaw and Dyer also highlight Lib Dem manifesto commitments to reach a housebuilding target of 300,000 homes a year by 2022 and putting a penny in the pound on income tax as proposals that would especially improve life in Tower Hamlets.


“Labour has represented Tower Hamlets, both locally and at Westminster, for decades--and in after all that time we still have housing shortages and a chronically high child poverty rate,” says Bagshaw. “That’s why launching our national manifesto here is an appropriate signal. We’re serious about policy that gets results on these local issues.”

Lib Dems bid for a fresh start in Tower Hamlets at parliamentary campaign launch

LRM_EXPORT_20170430_163048.jpgLiberal Democrats in Tower Hamlets officially kicked off their General Election campaigns today, with candidates Elaine Bagshaw and Will Dyer laying out their three main priorities if elected: fighting a Hard Brexit, protecting local NHS services and tackling the crisis in affordable housing.

The local party has tripled its membership since the EU referendum last year, recently surpassing 700 members. It also raised more than £3,000 in the week of the snap election call.

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Wapping residents call for action on car racing and anti-social behaviour

Furious Wapping residents were left in frustration last night as Tower Hamlets Police were unable to give assurance on how the rising level of crime and anti-social behaviour in the area will be tackled.

More than 100 residents packed into the St George Town Hall, to quiz Borough Commander Sue Williams on rising levels of crime and ASB. Attendees stressed that, while the small metal canisters discarded by people inhaling nitrous oxide are viewed as simply a litter problem, they are also linked to harder drug use and dealing, intimidation, prostitution, and car racing.

Local campaigner Stephen O’Shea attended the meeting and said: “The current levels of anti-social behaviour and racing in Wapping need to be fixed now. Local residents are concerned to walk their dogs at night, and although the Police and Council have promised action, nothing has been delivered yet. We refuse to wait until someone is killed or seriously injured”

This car racing issue dominated the discussion last night, with residents standing up to report their issues and fears. Commander Williams listened to our concerns, but had little concrete to say in response. Their resources are stretched, and they focus on the North of the Borough, which they consider more of a problem. This is understandable, but the lack of focus on Wapping is leading to a massive increase in crime, and we made sure that Commander Williams was made aware of that.

The Police promised to increase surveillance in the evenings (when speeding is likely to occur), make more use of speed cameras and to bring in road traffic police to assess what can be built in to reduce the problem. They called for residents to report any speeding, but there were shouts of anger when it was suggested that “there has not been enough evidence of speeding to date”. We have all been reporting these events frequently for months.

The Lib Dems welcome the Borough Commander’s promise to increase action on car racing, but are concerned that this is the same information heard from the Police at every meeting in the last two years. Also, the Council has done worryingly little to support the Police with work on the roads, and providing activities for youths to keep them off the streets.

The Lib Dems call on the Police and the Council to present a plan on what will be done in the next six months to fix the issue of car racing, and ASB in general, and will hold them to this plan.

In the meantime, you can help in three ways:
• If you witness any speeding, drug use or other ASB, report it at http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/lgnl/community_and_living/community_safety__crime_preve/anti-social_behaviour/reporting_asb_online.aspx or phone 101
• Join the Wapping Safer Neighbourhood Panel – they set the priorities for Wapping police to follow
• Join up the Online Watch Link (OWL) at https://www.owl.co.uk/met/ . It’s a new online version of Neighbourhood Watch

On a final note: as we returned home from the meeting last night, there was another car crash on the corner of Thomas More St. Luckily no-one was hurt. We have made sure that this was reported, to add to the Police's data file!

Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrats ready for snap June election

Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrats are prepared to hit the ground running for the snap election sought by Prime Minister Theresa May in an announcement this morning and expected to be backed by the House of Commons in a vote tomorrow.

The two constituencies in the borough will be fought by experienced local campaigners, with Elaine Bagshaw standing for Poplar and Limehouse and Will Dyer running in Bethnal Green and Bow.

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Liberal Democrats demand Peer Review to tackle Labour’s failing Children’s Services

Ofsted-logo.jpgA damning report from Ofsted released today shows that children most at risk of harm are being failed by the local Labour Council. Children’s services and safeguarding were rated inadequate overall, with particular concern expressed that “Insufficient scrutiny by the chief executive, the Director of Children’s Services (DCS) and politicians has meant that they did not know about the extent of the failures to protect children until this inspection.”

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Lib Dems vote for emergency NHS funding and support for child refugees

Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrat members attended the party's Spring conference in York last week, voting with other party members for motions calling on the Government to provide emergency financial assistance to the National Health Service, create an 'NHS Passport' for the 59,000 EU citizens working for the NHS and reinstate the 'Dubs' scheme to provide sanctuary to unaccompanied child refugees stranded in Europe.


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