Wednesday, 6 May 2009

History: Meg Hillier will defect to the Lib Dems

There hasn't been much news on Hackney over the last couple of days. Top stories appear to be Charles and Camilla turning up at Hackney City Farm which has a nice link - via the Princes Trust - to news that son-of-Hackney Idris Elba, star of US cop and gangster TV show The Wire, wants to be the first black James Bond.

Elba, who hopes to help persuade London kids to stop carrying knives, said that life here was similar to that of Baltimore gangsters portrayed in The Wire. The interesting thing about that idea is that the grimmest and most intriguing bits of The Wire were about political corruption and how politicians manipulate and abuse the police.

All of which has nothing to do with the rest of this post - a lazy trawl through Meg Hillier memorabilia on Google. An unfriendly Telegraph piece, written in April 2005, before Hillier won her seat, provides a problematic start. I don't know how reliable this article is - may be I'm just misunderstanding things - but some of its claims about Meg don't seem to fit.

Telegraph, 27 April 2005: "In her reasonable, I'm-happy-to-have-a-sensible-discussion-about-it style, Mrs Hillier reckons she would have voted against the Iraq war and against the introduction of identity cards, and her leaflets bear the headline: "Gordon Brown will help Hackney."

Info from shows that in August of the same year Meg Hillier "voted very strongly for introducing ID cards. votes, speeches" it also says she " Voted very strongly againstinvestigation into the Iraq war. votes, speeches"

Not from Google, but in 2005 the East London Advertiser reported that Meg Hillier was working as a press officer for Tower Hamlets Council. At the time she was a parliamentary candidate for Hackney South and Shoreditch. Normally a position in a council press office would be classified as politically sensitive and no one standing for, or holding public office, should hold the post. According to Labour-controlled Tower Hamlets Council this rule did not apply to Hillier because she was employed via an agency and so was not considered a council employee.

Obviously she won the seat but history - via - says that she'll be a Lib Dem soon: "Oddly enough two Labour MPs for Hackney South in a row have defected to the centre party. Ron Brown, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch from 1974-1983 defected to the SDP in 1981, when he was defeated by Labour’s Brian Sedgemore. Sedgemore in turn defected to the Liberal Democrats shortly before 2005 when he stood down from Parliament."

The Telegraph, 27 April 2005 article also quotes Hillier saying: "So far 60,000 Hackney residents are registered with dentists, out of a population of 202,000. What's that saying about the general dental health of the population?"

City and Hackney Teaching and Primary Care Trust report to the board mentions 7 MP's letters sent by September 2008 some of which feature dentists. It's an issue she's still grappling with:

Date MP Subject Acknowledged Actioned by: Final response
24/6/08 Mark Field Care issues 27/6/08 Steve Rowlands Ongoing
26/6/08 Meg Hillier Dental Poor advice/ treatment 9/7/08 Caroline Gilmartin 4/09/08
26/6/08 Meg Hillier Poor treatment received by son at Royal London 9/7/08 Marian Goodrich Ongoing
9/7/08 Diane Abbott Poor dental treatment 22/7/08 Ruby Mangal Ongoing
9/7/08 Meg Hillier National Health & Social Care Awards 23/7/08 Lesley Mountford 23/7/08
9/7/08 Meg Hillier Mental Health issue 23/7/08 Lesley Mountford Ongoing
15/7/08 Diane Abbott Poor GP Treatment at Medical Centre 23/7/08 Ruby Mangal Ongoing

Telegraph, 27 April 2005 article also said: "At one point Mrs Hillier predicted: "Britain will look like Hackney.""

Which may or may not be similar to the Hackney outlined in the 2001 Census demographic also provided by :

Total 2001 Population: 96269
Male: 47.7%
Female: 52.3%
Under 18: 25%
Over 60: 13.6%
Born outside UK: 34.6%
White: 57.7%
Black: 27.8%
Asian: 6.7%
Mixed: 4.4%
Other: 3.5%
Christian: 54.1%
Hindu: 0.7%
Jewish: 1.2%
Muslim: 12.9%
Sikh: 0.6%
Full time students: 9.1%
Graduates 16-74: 30%
No Qualifications 16-74: 30.7%
Owner-Occupied: 27.3%
Social Housing: 58.5% (Council: 36.3%, Housing Ass.: 22.2%)
Privately Rented: 11.8%
Homes without central heating and/or private bathroom: 11.2%

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