I won’t let you down
Letter of the Week: Paula Sherriff, MP for Dewsbury, Mirfield, Denby Dale and Kirkburton
I’d like to thank all the voters who put their trust in me on Thursday May 7.
I am truly humbled at the support I received and it is a huge honour to be elected as the MP for the Dewsbury constituency.
I would also like to thank my fantastic campaign team for all their hard work and endless commitment during the last 18 months, I really couldn’t have done it without their unwavering support.
The hard work starts now and I am committed to being the hard-working, full-time MP that I pledged to be throughout my campaign.
My office is now open at 30 Northgate, Dewsbury, and any correspondence can be sent either to the office or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will be holding regular advice surgeries across the whole constituency and I look forward to meeting many of you over the coming months and years.
Thank you once again, I won’t let you down.
You’ll be made to feel welcome
From: John Appleyard, Liversedge
I visited St James Church on Heckmondwike, on Friday afternoon, as the church threw open its doors to the public following a £250,000 refurbishment.
Good to see that the church is wheelchair user friendly, and has access to disabled toilets.
The church can be hired for group meetings and now has under ground floor heating which gives a warm feel to it.
There is a fully-fitted kitchen that serves tea and coffee and full meals.
You can sit and watch a film of the construction of the building which takes about five to 10 minutes, but let’s not forget that the prime function of the building is for Christian worship and is a vital part of the community for those who wish to come together in prayer or just to have a cuppa and a chat, you will be made to feel welcome.
Masters of destiny
From: Greg Burrows, chairman of UKIP Dewsbury/Batley & Spen branch
I would like to thank all those who voted for our two candidates, Mark Thackray and Alexsandar Lukic, in the General Election and thank those who also voted for us in the seven council wards we stood in.
From a standing start in December 2014, when the Dewsbury/Batley & Spen UKIP branch was formed, we have achieved a lot in a short time.
In next year’s council elections we hope to have a candidate in all council wards and hopefully be able to make a change in the deadlock in Kirklees governance.
I would like to congratulate Jo Cox and Paula Sherriff in their parliamentary wins.
On a personal note I would like to congratulate Eric Firth in retaining his council seat in the Dewsbury East ward and would like to take this opportunity to thank all those that voted for me.
With a promised EU referendum due within the next two years, we at UKIP have to make sure this is going to be fair and balanced and will be working hard to make sure that our withdrawal from the EU is achieved, so that once again we can be masters of our own destiny.
From: Christabel Hopesmith, Dewsbury
An open letter to the Health and Wellbeing Board councillors on Kirklees Council
On May 13, two clinical commissioning groups met in Huddersfield to tell the public about the allocation of a contract for the Care Closer To Home initiative.
The successful bidder was not identified. The reasons for the weightings in the allocation discussions, of 70:10:20 given to a) service delivery, b) delivery of outcomes and c) financial planning and cost, were also not identified.
Since councillors are now involved in the allocation of NHS money through the Health and Wellbeing Board, and identified in the documents as the ‘sponsor board’, you may be able to help.
1) Who chose the weightings through which the allocation of the contracts was awarded, and why? I would have thought every patient wants a good outcome?
2) The winning bidder is able to sub-contract and various GP federations rightly declared a pecuniary interest, but is there any clause to reallocate the contract should the successful bidder, (recognising that foundation trusts are virtually independent businesses, so this question could refer to either bidder), be bought out, by another company?
This contract runs for five years and no-one knows what the tectonic plates of health provision will look like in three, never mind five years.
More questions than answers
From: Christine Hyde, Dewsbury
I attended Greater Huddersfield and North Kirklees CCG meetings in parallel on May 13, organised at an estimated cost of £22k, to explain the process involved in awarding the Care Closer to Home contract of about £284m.
It has left me with more questions than answers. The decision about which of the two bidders (the private sector with no shareholders or the hospital consortium) to award to, depended on weightings given to three aspects of delivering the contract – but the meeting failed to explain what the aspects covered.
How is a) ‘quality of service’, different from b) ‘outcome delivery’?
Why are they weighted with a ratio of 70:10:20, where 70 is ‘quality of service’ and 20 is ‘price and financial planning’? Who chose the weightings?
Would not ‘outcome delivery’, at a ratio of 10, be more important than ‘quality of service’? Patients want the best outcome possible, surely.
Except for the statement that both bidders needed to accept the ‘standard NHS contract,’ the meeting’s claims of transparency are hollow because it has left me, a member of the public and part-owner of the NHS, unable to assess whether the contract has been well designed, and whether the procurement process has been fair and appropriate.
• A spokesman for the NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group responded: “The meeting referred to by your correspondent was a meeting in parallel of NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Governing Bodies, which was held in public.
It was not a public meeting to ‘explain the process of the Care Closer to Home contract’.
The substantive item on the agenda for both CCGs was a decision to award the contract in relation to a range of community-based services, known as Care Closer to Home.
The evaluation criteria used to support the recommendations in relation to the award of this contract were established by both CCGs in line with their models of care and objective of ensuring improved patient outcomes and national NHS procurement guidelines were followed.
Real change soon
From: Aleks Lukic, UKIP parliamentary candidate for Batley and Spen
I’ve just about managed to catch my breath in the wake of a frenetic and unforgettable election campaign!
I would like to thank everyone in Batley and Spen for supporting UKIP in such large numbers.
The votes pouring out of the ballot boxes commanded the respect of everyone present at the count.
I was fortunate to have the help of some very dedicated people.
I can’t thank them enough for their guidance and for their shoe leather. I would also like to congratulate Jo Cox MP on her election. All the candidates fought the campaign in good spirits, and I commend the staff and officials involved on a job well done.
With support on this scale, real change is just around the corner.
There is a lot of hard work ahead for UKIP to achieve this. We had strong support in the Kirklees Council elections and we will aim to break through in these elections next year.
Not to mention the promised referendum. We will finally have our say on whether Britain should once again be an independent self-governing nation.
But what I am looking forward to in the short term is welcoming new members to the UKIP fold!
A strong local team
From: Coun Marielle O’Neill (Lab, Batley West)
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those in Batley West who voted for me with such a definite majority.
I will work hard to be a first-rate councillor who represents everyone in Batley West with fairness and compassion.
I’d like to thank my parents for their love and support and wish my father, former Coun Peter O’Neill, a happy retirement.
My father has been one of the most hard-working and respected councillors in Kirklees and is a hard act to follow, but I will certainly aim to continue his good work.
I look forward to working with my dedicated ward colleagues, Coun Shabir Pandor and Coun Gwen Lowe, and the new local MP, the fantastic Jo Cox to provide a strong, local team for Batley that puts constituents first.
Has to be a change
From: Ms A Rawat, Batley
I would like to follow up the issues raised by Steve Oliver last week.
The Labour Party people, never others, are always at my polling station in Staincliffe, and always inside, never outside.
I wrote to the Council’s Electoral Services to find out what the rules were.
I was informed that the candidate can be inside, God knows why, as well as the agent, who is entitled to keep a check that proper voting processes are taking place, including that people are not voting in place of others.
The teller, who is the person asking for the poll cards to take down the numbers, has to be outside.
The presiding officer at my polling station was quite obviously failing to observe this rule as the teller was always inside.
I wrote to Electoral Services asking them to instruct the presiding officer to observe the rule, and I noted that all of them were outside this year, but as they were just a foot outside the entrance door, it did feel like running a gauntlet.
The teller at my polling station never informs that we are not obliged to hand over our poll cards.
Most people duly do hand them over; as I know that I don’t have to, I never do, and just walk past them with a curt ‘no, thank you’.
I once acted as teller for the Labour Party many years ago, when I supported them, although I never officially joined them.
If I remember correctly, it was when Mike Wood first stood as MP, and I stood outside to do my (unpaid) job.
I don’t know what happened to the numbers after I handed them over.
I thought the Labour Party was a good party, but if they can’t support someone fighting malpractice then they are not, and I vehemently oppose them now.
There has to be a change round here, but it won’t happen until a party with better values becomes more active, and we vote for them.
This isn’t going to happen round here anytime today, as many people vote blindly and, particularly, the Labour Party know which people to keep happy to keep getting voted in.
I don’t think many voters even realise that councillors are not working on a voluntary basis but are actually paid and are doing it on the side of their other jobs.
In other words, they are asking for your vote so that they can keep having a paid part-time job, with no-one watching how many hours they actually work, and the amount they get paid is the same as many get paid to work full-time.
Thanks for help
From: Tim Wood & Co, Mirfield Rifle Volunteers
May I thank your newspaper for the coverage of our charity race the Tab Tonne Challenge, a fundraising event undertaken by the Mirfield Rifle Volunteers (MRV).
Within the time that it took a team of runners to race from Emley Moor mast to Roy Ellam’s gym in the centre of Mirfield, I was to lift 100 tons using various gym machines.
That Saturday, at approximately 1pm, the MRV runners set off at great speed from the base of the mast, and I started lifting in the gym.
The various runners were set a pace by experienced road runners John Dransfield and Van Carter, and were soon putting the mileage behind them.
Whilst pounding away at the weights, I was joined by event sponsor Graham Ervine, from Mirfield Mill Carpets, who congratulated me on the effort so far, and then announced he was off for a cold beer!
Sometimes, it’s the thought of throttling someone that produces just enough adrenaline to keep going.
The runners entered Hag Woods in record time, and descended at speed towards Mirfield, emerging from the woodland at various differing locations after supplying each other with conflicting navigational assistance.
After 66 minutes on the run, they thundered into the gymnasium with much gusto – they had beaten me.
Some remained in the gym to watch me complete the rest of the 100 tons with cheerful and sardonic smiles. Their encouragement kept me going.
Around about the 95-tonne mark I felt something go twang, and I had my first-ever out-of-body experience.
A quick check revealed my kneecaps were still intact, and I managed to do the final tonnage sporting three Adam’s apples.
The last time I had felt such pain and fatigue was about 38 years ago, at the hands of a team of instructors who were experienced in conjuring up all manner of demonic ways to enable us to chew our own lungs on behalf of her Britannic Majesty.
Former Bradford City footballer Ben Green, gymnasium fitness instructor, who was with me throughout the lift, verified that I had done the 100 tonnes.
I was grateful for his professional guidance.
So back to the pub. There were no cat calls, I had been beaten by 22 minutes, but monies were raised for a good cause.
Rifles RSM Dave Horrobin arrived from Newcastle, where he had just finished working, and raised a glass to us all.
The only problem I had was that I forgot to put any bar staff on for the celebrations.
So, after a couple of hours I was on my knees, but smiling.
Well done everyone who sponsored us, and thanks to Roy Ellam and his staff at his gym, and all the back up crew. Cheers.
I’m alright, Jack
From: Jack Hesketh, Mirfield
It is always entertaining to read David Honeybell’s letters to The Press.
Along with Len McCluskey and Ken Livingstone, David clearly believes that the way forward for the Labour Party is to move even further to the left.
Please keep plowing that furrow lads, you are a gift to the Conservative Party.