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Opinion

Wed, 09:44

We all grew up with the term “hole in the wall”. To us that meant a cash machine and we all got used to the facility our banks provided.

A little over two months ago, the prime minister came to power proclaiming she wanted everyone, whatever their background, to be given the same opportunities to succeed.

Newham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) recently held its annual general meeting, highlighting key achievements in the local NHS and giving people the opportunity to speak directly with its governing body.

If crack cocaine was being sold openly in Newham, there would be an outcry. And yet the “crack cocaine” of the betting world – the Fixed Odds Betting Terminal – is available in every high street in the country.

During the Brexit campaign, I was often quoted as complaining that EU rules forced us to spend thousands of pounds on new packaging so that a packet of smoked salmon could have an EU warning sign on the back saying “contains fish”.

The “hopper” fare has launched and it’s estimated 30m journeys will now become free every year. The £1.50 fare allows you to make another bus or tram journey for free within an hour of touching in. Another manifesto pledge delivered.

Newham’s first ever Heritage Awareness Week scheduled for Monday, October 24 to Sunday, October 30 is approaching fast.

Burkinis on beaches has been a hot topic this summer. So, should the state interfere with what people want to wear?

We have fought for the government to change the amount that can be bet on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTS) as we have seen the damage that the clustering of these premises has wreaked on our high streets.

A few years ago, visiting Pakistan, I had a long drive from the airport. In almost every village we passed, a group of youngsters was playing cricket at the side of the road. So many have their family roots in countries where cricket is played from infancy, and followed passionately: India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as well as Pakistan, not to mention the West Indies. So why do we not see more cricket in the borough?

It was great to see so many people at the National Paralympic Day and Liberty Festival - an incredible celebration of deaf and disability arts and inclusive sports.

I am writing to remind residents that the NHS Newham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the organisation responsible for planning and buying most local health services, is inviting local people to attend its annual public meeting.

Parliament is in recess and it’s a time to reflect on what we achieved over the past session and prepare for the coming challenges.

Arabella, my oldest granddaughter, started four years ago at a school which is on the same road as one of our cemeteries.

I have just returned from a trip to Israel which included a meeting in Ramallah, on the West Bank with the deputy Palestinian foreign minister.

A friend of mine has just had to turn down a well-paid job in London because he couldn’t afford to house his family here.

The start of the Rio Olympics brought back memories of the wonderful games our capital hosted in 2012. Those games spurred on massive transformation in our local area and the changes were evident when I visited Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park recently. West Ham marked their first game in the park with a win and I wish them the best of luck for the new season!

With the European Championships, Wimbledon, Olympics finished and the Paralympics to look forward to – this summer has been jam-packed with sport.

The 2016 Olympic Games are under way in Rio and Team GB are on track to equal their success at London 2012.

The so-called ‘democratic deficit’ was a powerful argument for leaving the EU.

The short sighted draconian cuts in youth services across the country, including here in Newham, has resulted in hundreds and hundreds of clubs, activities, holiday programmes and youth camps to close, leaving thousands of young people without any form of provision.

The liver is a vital organ, removing toxins from the body.

I remember a time when I was a sub-editor on the Daily Jang London and used to travel from East Ham to London Bridge in 1995.

As the world enjoys the greatest show on earth in Rio, with West Ham having kicked off their first season at the stadium and tickets for the Slide at the ArcelorMittal Orbit proving to be a summer scorcher, there’s no better place to be in London this summer than Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, scene of those unforgettable four weeks of sport in 2012.

I grew up in a fifth floor flat in Silvertown. We didn’t have any outside space, which is why I value my little garden in Plaistow so much. I have tried to make it a haven for wildlife, though the hedgehogs still ignore the specially purchased hedgehog house.

Unsurprisingly, now that Britain has voted to leave the EU, the EU is re-examining whether it can offer us a better deal; a seven-year emergency brake on immigration.

In Newham, we have one of the youngest populations in England. We also have the highest number of people aged under 25 living with diabetes in the country.

One of the “tingle moments”’ of the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, here in Newham four years ago, was Emeli Sandé’s singing of Amazing Grace.

As we reach the fourth anniversary of the London Olympic Games it is a good time to reflect on the ongoing legacy residents continue to experience.

Nice brought home yet again the terror threat we all face.

Recently, I bought a new electric toothbrush and when I went online to extend its warranty, I was amazed to be asked for my date of birth!

Whatever your view on the EU referendum, you will probably agree this country has a very different feel and mood from pre-Brexit.

Days like the Great Newham London Run and family run on Sunday show the real value of the investment that Newham Council made to become co-owners of the former Olympic Stadium.

It is a very long time since I had careers advice at school. I wouldn’t say it was particularly good. But at least I had some. Too many young people today don’t get any.

So, I joined the campaign to Vote Leave and take back control.

Four years ago the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games were about to kick off.

It has been almost a fortnight since the European referendum and the result is still being hotly debated, but we must respect that the people have spoken across the United Kingdom and voted against remaining a part of the European Union.

One of the more encouraging sights in the past couple of weeks was that of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Mayor of London welcoming leaders and young people of all faiths for a celebratory iftar at Lambeth Palace.

I want to encourage residents to improve their health, have fun and discover their local area by taking part in the Beat the Street challenge.

Should flower arranging determine which school a child can attend?

For more than 150 years, east London has been shaped by railways. High Speed 1 made it possible to host the 2012 Olympics at Stratford. We can all see the big changes now under way there. Crossrail will have a big impact when it opens in 2018-19. Heathrow will be less than an hour from Manor Park or Custom House.

With the long summer holiday around the corner, I am sure parents are looking for suitable childcare arrangements if they are in work and/or opportunities to occupy their children during the long break.

Ramadan Kareem, to all! I was going to write about Ramadan but heart breaking news changed it all.

This week, as a nation, we make the most important decision in a generation, one that will impact upon our nation’s wealth and well-being, upon job opportunities and security, for us, our children and our grandchildren.

Summer is here – and that means it is time to ride the Slide!

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