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Opinion

Wed, 11:12

Should flower arranging determine which school a child can attend?

East Ham MP Stephen Timms.

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!

My husband Christopher and I have just returned from a gorgeous holiday in Madeira, that volcanic island which lies quietly in the Atlantic Ocean, four hundred miles or so off the coast of West Africa.

This week (June 12-18) is Diabetes Awareness Week.

The stadium in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is used to rocking to the sound of applause for athletes like Usain Bolt and Mo Farah. Now it has been rocked by music.

East Ham MP Stephen Timms.

The referendum on Britain’s EU membership is approaching fast.

It annoys me when the referendum remain camp claim they have won the economic argument, as though our economy is so wonderful now and staying in is the way to keep it in shape.

The recent BBC documentary on why whites are moving out of Newham and the growing community concern about the West Ham statue and whether it should stay at the Boleyn or move to Stratford, although very different issues, are both stimulating residents to discuss their immediate heritage and that must be good for all.

This part of England has an interesting relationship with royalty. The territory that is now Newham was once part of Essex, of course, and supported Cromwell against the King in the Civil War.

The election of Sadiq Khan is a momentous leap forward in the evolution of our great city. It could be described as our “Obama moment”.

The State Opening of Parliament and the Queen’s Speech are always lavish and exciting occasions, but the pomp and ceremony have masked a government coming apart at the seams. The Tories are bitterly fighting amongst themselves. Whilst Cameron’s eye is on Europe, his potential successors are sizing up his job. A Tory Game of Thrones!

Last night (Tues) the BBC broadcast a documentary claiming to look at how immigration and white flight is impacting the make-up of Newham’s population.

One of the main reasons for leaving Europe is the continual pumping out of ever more burdensome regulations.

Recently, SATs for Year 2 pupils have caused a fair deal of controversy between parents and the government.

The House of Commons recently debated government plans for a national school funding formula from April next year.

We are busy on the park preparing for a spectacular summer of events.

Newham has the youngest population in England and one of the highest birth rates.

Moving home is rarely easy. And when that home has lots of memories tied up in it, it becomes harder, even if the new place is wonderful.

Like so many others, last night was an emotional one for my family, as the lights finally went out at the Boleyn for the very last time. The Boleyn has given me and my family so many memories to treasure over the past 60 years.

Last week we elected Sadiq Khan as our Labour Mayor for London.

Tomorrow morning at 7am polling stations will be opening across the borough. I hope you, like me, will be voting in the Mayor of London elections and for who you want to represent us on the London Assembly.

Elections debate is all you will hear these days, on TV, radio and in newspapers.

A remarkable house in Spitalfields is home to the extraordinary Museum of Immigration and Diversity, the oldest museum of its kind in Europe.

I saw in the news that a chair has been sold for £278,000!

Members of black and South Asian communities make up 14 per cent of the UK population.

The NHS affects us all - that’s why it’s always in the news! Whether for amazing life-saving procedures, care that goes beyond the call of duty, for financial difficulties or when things go tragically wrong. Equally as a service that cares for more than one million patients every 36 hours everyone has their own opinion on how it could be better. However, the NHS has to stay responsive to ever changing needs and demands.

Over Easter, the Panama Papers revealed the worst excesses of the super-rich. Most media attention was on the Prime Minister’s overseas tax affairs. The ‘did he or didn’t he’ benefit from shoddy tax avoidance practices left a bad taste in our mouths.

What is it about the word ‘offshore’ that conjures up visions of deceit and dishonesty that the word ‘foreign’ seems to evade. Or is that avoid?

It’s now a little over a year since Foundation for FutureLondon was established to help bring the Olympicopolis dream to life.

Do you remember Buzby? Back in the 1970s he was a big yellow bird who used to encourage us in adverts to “make someone happy with a phone call”. Forty years later, there are still lots of people who could do with that kind of phone call.

As spring gets into full flow and many of us are naturally thinking about cleaning our homes, sheds and garages, more of us need to think about spring cleaning our borough and keeping it clean year round.

Much has been written about the housing crisis and the impact it is having across the country.

In February, I joined the Education Select Committee. It’s role is to monitor “the policy, administration and spending of the Department for Education, and its associated arms length bodies, including Ofsted”.

Government plans to compel all council run schools to become academies will have a huge impact on Newham.

East London is one of the most vibrant and diverse communities in the county, and we deserve the very best healthcare. However, we know that we have a rapidly growing population and there are increasing numbers of people suffering from long term conditions, such as diabetes, where we have an occurrence of almost double the national average. We want to change healthcare in Newham for the better so we meet residents needs, now and in the future.

So here are my predictions for the three upcoming elections.

Happy Easter holiday to all. The school half terms have started, and most parents are stuck with a choice to go away or to stay local due to the inflated holiday costs.

I hope you and your family had a relaxing and rejuvenating Easter weekend. Easter is a celebration of new beginnings and the transition from winter to spring.

The European Aquatics Championships coming to the London Aquatics Centre at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in May is absolutely amazing.

The last decade has seen a transformation in the performance of London schools. Deprived students in the capital are almost twice as likely to get five or more A-C grades at GCSE than in the rest of England.

The latest 2015 index of deprivation figures indicate that Newham has risen 23 places from the second most deprived authority to 25th – a remarkable improvement over a five-year period.

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