james duddridge

Question at Council: Southend MPs still refusing to work with Council

matt dent question council

On Thursday evening, I was at the full council meeting of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council to ask a question of the leader of the council.

This is actually quite a fun little feature. Any member of the public can ask a question to any member of the cabinet at any full council meeting. All you have to do is email it to council@southend.gov.uk clearly marked as question to the executive. You get to go along and ask it yourself.

Anyway, I went along on Thursday, and asked a question to Cllr Ron Woodley (IND – Thorpe).

Read on…

The top 10 maddest moments in Southend local politics 2015 (Part 1)

southend pier

Politics in Southend is, to be honest, a joy. You never know what’s going to come along next.

I don’t know if it’s something in the water, but politics seems to be particularly…weird around here. So in the spirit of the end-of-year listicle, I decided what better way to round off the year than with a rundown of my personal favourites of the lot (And split it over two posts to boost traffic -Ed).

Here it is then. Numbers 10 to 6 in my top 10 rundown of the maddest things that happened in 2015 in Southend local politics.

Read on…

James Duddridge: don’t you think he looks tired

Now this is interesting. It looks like the ministerial duties of Rochford & Southend East MP James Duddridge are being delegated to Michael Green Grant Shapps, due to James’ illness.

Regular readers might remember that James Duddridge suffered a rather nasty bout of illness a little while back, which left him hospitalised and out of action for a number of months. Has he suffered a relapse?

I also note that Mr Duddridge has recently been active locally, both blocking on Twitter anyone who dares to ask him questions about his voting intentions, and attacking the homeless in the local paper.

A mystery indeed.

UPDATED:  Apparently Mr Duddridge has been admitted to hospital. I have not verified this beyond my little birds, but regardless of political disagreements, I wish him a speedy recovery so that we can cross blades once more. Get well soon, James.

A letter to James Duddridge MP: keep the Fox Hunting Ban

james duddridge

The following is a letter sent on 11th June 2015 by myself to James Duddridge, MP for Rochford & Southend East; my MP. It was written in response to indications by Mr Duddridge that when a free vote comes before Parliament on the repeal of the fox hunting ban. I will be posting his response here, as and when I should receive one.

If, like me, you believe that the ban should be retained, then you can write to Mr Duddridge yourself, and/or sign this petition calling on him to keep the fox hunting ban.

Read the letter…

On the Rochford & Southend East election hustings (Bell Vue Church)


I like to leave a little space between a debate and giving my thoughts on how they went.

Partly, that’s related to my attempt to more widely document such debates, by recording and publishing them. As I discussed with fellow local politics blogger John Barber recently, I think my own views and commentary should remain separate from the actual recording itself, so that people can make their own minds up.

But also, I do like to digest what I’ve witnessed, to give a more thoughtful analysis (Some may disagree on that point -Ed). To that end, getting on for five days later, let’s take a look at the Rochford & Southend East hustings on Wednesday 22nd April 2015, held at Bell Vue Baptist Church.

The first thing I’d like to say, before looking at the candidates, is how well hosted I thought it was. The candidates were mic-ed up, it was all clear and audible, and the questions were wide-ranging and challenging. The evening was, in total, attended by somewhere between 100-150 people, if I had to guess. Most even lived in the constituency, I believe.

If you haven’t had a listen yet, I implore you to do so before reading my own views. Make your own mind up.

Read on…

LISTEN: Rochford & Southend East parliamentary hustings 22/04/15

(Note: This is an ambient recording, and as such won’t always be fantastic. Luckily, Bell Vue made their own recording of the microphone feed. So if there’s bits of this which are inaudible, try listening to theirs.)

Are the Rochford & Southend East Tory coffers running empty?

duddridge begging letter small

I’ve said before that I get interesting things turning up in my inbox. Especially so as we get closer to the election. An email from James Duddridge MP, begging for cash, for instance.

My little birds are a varied bunch politically (No, really. I receive tip-offs from supporters of all parties and none -Ed), but this actually came from a Labour supporter. Which begs the question of quite how he’s choosing which people to send to. Is he desperate?

Is Rochford & Southend East Conservative Association that broke, that in the heat of the short campaign they are indiscriminately soliciting donations?

Read on…

Southend Tory MP blocks voters, rather than answer questions

james duddridge blocked

In Southend, it seems, history repeats itself.

Back in October, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Rochford & Southend East, James Duddridge — my MP — decided that he didn’t want to answer my questions about the amount of public money he had claimed in order to stay in hotels. As a commuter myself, I thought these questions were pertinent, and deserved an answer, and I sent tweets to him to try and get one.

Since he didn’t agree, Mr Duddridge blocked me.

I don’t feel I deserved this, but I suppose I am an opposition activist. Maybe that trumps being a constituent. I happen to believe that an MP should work for all of their constituents, but in a constituency he plainly thinks is “safe”, maybe James Duddridge doesn’t see the need.

Thing is, I’m not the only constituent who has been blocked by Mr Duddridge for the heinous crime of asking questions. In fact, it seems to be his stock response to any that he doesn’t want to answer. Like his bizarre ideas on the UK’s relationship with the European Union.

Read on…

Rochford & Southend East general election candidates 2015

rochford & southend east

Nominations for the general election next month closed yesterday at 4.00 p.m., and the following is the list of the persons have been confirmed by Southend Borough Council as being nominated for the constituency of Rochford & Southend East.

The election takes place on May 7th, and the deadline to register to vote is 20th April.

Meet the candidates…

Southend Tory MP goes massively off-message on EU renegotiation

james duddridge

Last night the Southend Echo hosted the first in a series of general election hustings for the area, this one for my own constituency of Rochford & Southend East.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it there myself, but my impression from watching the online coverage — and the Echo’s rolling liveblog of the evening is still online should anyone wish to read it — was of a good, if uneventful, evening attended by all five candidates.

One point did catch my interest, tweeted by local radio journalist Tim Gillett, was Tory incumbent James Duddridge’s position on EU membership:

Read on…