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  • Gill Collings image
    Article: Aug 15, 2018
    By Kate Onions


    It is with great sadness that we announce the death of former Braintree and Witham, local party Chair, Gill Collings. Gill died suddenly at home on Sunday the 12th of August 2018.

    Gill joined the party after her retirement. She brought with her invaluable organisational skills and quickly earned herself the affectionate title of 'Clerical Queen'. She was an indispensable part of Sir Bob Russell's 2015 and 2017 election campaigns, chaired the Stanway Parish Council and acted as regional secretary for some years.

  • Article: Jul 13, 2018
    By Kate Onions

    It would appear that Essex Police are now involved in the ongoing saga of the 'temporary' traffic lights on the bridge accessing the A12 Southbound from Witham.

    Commuters have had to suffer this for the last two years with ongoing failures of the lights meaning they get locked on red or turn red despite no traffic in the opposite direction. This realist in long queues and a two minute drive taking anything up to fifteen minutes.

    Previous strategies used by frustrated drivers (turning the lights round) have been thwarted by the installation of CCTV but sadly Highways East did not see fit to actually fix the problem. Local Liberal Democrat campaigner, Helen Waring has taken regularly to Twitter to vent her frustration - once being assured that she would receive a response 'within 14 days' only to still be waiting over 2 months later. The Witham and Braintree Times have dedicated news inches to the problem and in the last week a Highways England van has been seen regularly on the bridge raising drivers' hopes of a solution. But sadly this Tuesday proved this was not the case as queues extended even further than normal. Twitter has informed us that Highways England are 'running a couple of logs' and 'awaiting further info from Essex Police'. All suitable fluffy with no certain end to commuter misery.

  • Article: Nov 17, 2017

    Tantamount to admitting that her priority has been on her career, in a recent article in the Braintree and Witham Times, Priti Patel offered to turn her focus to her constituency. After her embarrassing departure from the Government, her statement has been met by skepticism and mistrust from many of its readers online.

  • Article: Nov 3, 2017

    The BBC report on DFID Minister Priti Patel's undisclosed meetings in Israel without informing the Foreign Office http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-41853561 reports that without the knowledge of the British Foreign Office or British diplomats in Israel:

    • She met the leader of one of Israel's main political parties.
    • She made visits to several organisations where official departmental business was reportedly discussed.
    • Shewas accompanied by a powerful pro-Israeli Conservative lobbyist, Lord Polak, honorary president of Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), an influential lobbying organisation.
    • She was unaccompanied by her office staff.
  • Article: May 13, 2017

    The drop in value of sterling since the EU referendum result last year is responsible for 5p of the recent increase in the cost per litre of petrol and diesel according to figures approved by an Oxford academic and endorsed by the former deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg. This rise will hit the pockets of people living in rural communities, such as on the Dengie Peninsula, particularly hard.

  • Article: May 8, 2017

    21,610 pensioners living in the Maldon constituency will receive at least an extra £772 per year under Liberal Democrat manifesto plans to protect the 'triple lock' for state pensions.

    Thanks to the triple lock guarantee, secured by the Liberal Democrats when they were in government, the basic state pension has risen in each year by whichever is the higher of earnings, prices or a rate of 2.5%. However, the Conservatives have refused to guarantee whether the triple lock will continue, raising fears it could be scrapped.

    The Liberal Democrats have committed to keeping the triple lock, meaning the state pension would be worth at least £137.15 a week by 2021, up from £122.30 in 2017, or an extra £772 a year.

    This would be paid for in part by restricting perks such as the winter fuel allowance so they are no longer paid to the wealthiest pensioners.

    Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Zoe O'Connell said:

    "Protecting the triple lock will mean an extra £772 a year by 2021 for the 21,610 people receiving the state pension in this constituency.

    "The Liberal Democrats are making a clear commitment to older people in the Maldon area, unlike the Conservatives who have repeatedly refused to give this guarantee.

    "The triple lock has succeeded in lifting thousands of pensioners out of poverty, but many are still struggling to get by.

    "An important test of a civilised society is the way in which it cares for the elderly. This commitment will ensure older people are able to meet their basic needs and that their living standards will be protected, especially with prices set to rise in the coming years."

  • Article: Apr 28, 2017

    Over three hundred 10 year olds in Maldon district are obese, according to government data released today. Despite the Conservative's publication last year of a Childhood Obesity Plan, over a third of 10 year olds in England are overweight, and one in five classed as obese. Public Health England regards childhood obesity as one of the most serious public health challenges for the 21st century. Obese children and adolescents are at an increased risk of developing various health problems, and are also more likely to become obese adults.

    Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Maldon, Zoe O'Connell, commented:

    "The failure of Conservatives to properly tackle childhood obesity is carelessly risking the lives of 326 of children in Maldon district.

    "We cannot allow another five years to go by without proper steps being taken to address this problem. Liberal Democrats know it is time to get tough on advertisers and food manufacturers, to protect the future of kids in Maldon and across the Dengie peninsula.

    "The Liberal Democrats are the only real opposition to this hard right Conservative government."

    Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Norman Lamb MP, added:

    "This should be a wake-up call to the Government that their approach to public health has been nothing short of disastrous.

    "Councils' public health budgets have been cut and the Conservative's paltry Childhood Obesity Strategy lacked concrete measures to tackle advertising of junk food to children and reduce levels of sugar in food.

    "Without real action to tackle ill-health in children the Government are inexcusably letting down our young people, and harming their wellbeing and life chances".

    This article hosted by Z O'Connell, published and promoted by M Elsden on behalf of Z O'Connell (Liberal Democrats) both at 93 Main Road, St Lawrence Bay Southminster CM0 7NA

  • Essex County Hall
    Article: Apr 26, 2017

    Our Priorities for the 2017 Elections

    End the Tory cuts to public services

    Over the last four years Conservative run Essex County Council has been savagely cutting services

    • Children's Centres have closed
    • Meals on Wheels have ended
    • Community Transport has been cut
    • Bus services have been cut
    • Side roads and pavements have deteriorated
    • Care packages for the elderly have been delayed
    • Charges for Home Care has increased five fold
    • Youth Services have been dismantled
    • Recycling Centres restrict home DIY waste
    • Local Highways budgets have been halved
    • Charges for home to school transport in rural areas has rocketed
    • Traffic congestion has got worse

  • Jo Hayes
    Article: Apr 25, 2017

    About Jo Hayes, the Liberal Democrat prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Witham

    Jo was born in Colchester, grew up near the edge of Witham Constituency and was educated at local schools. She is a barrister with chambers in London and is very familiar with commuting by train on the Great Eastern Mainline.

  • Geoff Keig
    Article: Apr 24, 2017

    Geoff Keig lays out his priorities at the Lib Dem candidate for Braintree East, for the County Council Elections:

    I have always believed that that the United Kingdom is at its strongest when it is Open, Tolerant and United. It is this society that others seek to emulate or indeed target; it is this society that is the greatest threat to totalitarianism everywhere and empowers and offers and offers the greatest hope to all its citizens. It is this empowerment and hope that I want for the people of Essex. It is these beliefs that I take to the County council, if elected, and the positive belief that we can make the positive change we need.

    Specifically, delivery will start with openness about the business of council and my key priorities for Braintree East such as; -

    • Housing Development - I will ensure that as well as exercising our duty to new residents and other buyers seeking property in Essex we exercise our duty to existing residents too. That means not blindly supporting vast sprawling developments that will change forever the nature of the locality where smaller developments will meet targets and preserve the character of our county too. It means holding developers to account and ensuring requirements for infrastructure are in place prior to development approval.
    • Social Care - I support the proposal to create a to create an ear-marked fund of £2.5m for 'Social Care Pressures' and to partner with our NHS to speed the discharge of patients from hospital and increase the supply of urgently needed care outside hospital. This will help provide the Elderly with the appropriate care and free up precious NHS resource to concentrate on the emergency and acute medical requirements of our community.
    • Promotion and Support of local Jobs and Business is something that starts at a local level. I will campaign for the softest Brexit possible to ensure all businesses have the best chance of not only surviving but prospering in the changed business landscape of the years to come. I am also aware of the need to support our businesses in terms of their technology requirements - starting with access to fast broadband - and with assistance in providing a work force with the right skills. I will work with employers and our further education centres to ensure access to the right training and reskilling for employees too to meet this need.
    • Creating a greener Essex. The Rivenhall waste facility application has again put the focus on how we deal with the waste we create within Essex. The problem with large facilities such as the one proposed is that they do nothing to encourage residents to recycle waste and then add to a reduction in air quality by the increased traffic flow and by their own process incineration. I am against waste being imported into Essex for processing and believe in the need to find local solutions, where possible, for dealing with our waste.

    Being Open is the way to a more transparent, democratic Essex County Council - one that really works for the people of Braintree East.

    It's time to challenge the status quo at Essex County Hall, where Conservatives have taken for granted the people of Essex. Creating a cash hoard while cutting services and putting up your council tax is not working for Essex - and is all the Conservatives have managed to do. If you want to see real change and real progress then vote for me on May the 4th as your representative to put the needs of Braintree East first.