I pledged to campaign hard for Hove and Portslade, and that’s exactly what I have done over the past twelve months. I have aired my constituents’ views on live music, HIV/AIDS, squatting, and our local identity at a national level, just as I promised that I would do. It’s a tremendous responsibility – but I love my job! I am grateful to everybody who took the trouble to reply to me following my March bulletin. I would now like to fill you in on my activities in April.
On Friday, I had a fantastic time meeting with residents across Hove and Portslade during my visits to every royal wedding street party in the constituency. I even cycled between events to burn off some of the cake!
The week before that, I held a competition to find the best South Asian restaurant in Hove and Portslade. Competition was tough, but after visiting a shortlist of five restaurants, Ganges Brasserie of Church Road, Hove, emerged as the winner. Ganges will be put forward as Hove and Portslade’s entrant in the 2011 Tiffin Cup and, if successful, will have the opportunity to compete in the House of Commons with the country’s top curry-creators for the coveted Tiffin Cup itself. I was extremely impressed with the standard of the entrants. Hove and Portslade have some great restaurants and I am confident that, this time, Ganges can bring this cup home.
Last month I told you about the Rock the House competition that I set up to promote the intellectual property rights of unsigned and up-and-coming musicians and to highlight the importance of live music venues. Since then, I have held my own Battle of the Bands to decide who would be put forward to represent Hove and Portslade in the national competition.
Five bands made it through to the Battle of the Bands stage of the competition and were of all ages and genres. All were brilliant in their own right, but the independent judges determined Echo Rain as the winner. I am proud to put them forward to represent Hove and Portslade in the national Rock the House competition. They have certainly set the bar very high and I wish them the best of luck.
Many of my constituents have contacted me asking my views on the referendum on the Alternative Vote system (AV). On 5th May, voters throughout the country are being asked if they want to change our voting system. This system allows the electorate to specify their second, third and fourth preference candidates when voting.
I am more than happy that a referendum will be held to this effect and I have great faith in the British public to make the right decision for this country. However, I do not myself support the change. The current system, First-Past-the-Post (FPTP), has stood the test of time. Like all systems, there are pros and cons but all things considered, I believe that FPTP is best. I see the key difference between the two systems as the way in which the public are given the opportunity to eject failed governments. FPTP makes it much easier.
Finally, an issue that I want to draw your attention to is blood donation. The NHS in England and North Wales needs 7,000 units of blood a day to meet demand and yet currently, only 4% of the population who are able to donate blood actually donate. Brighton & Hove is a leader in so many ways, and I believe that we can yet again be a shining example for the rest of the country.
For more information on blood donation, visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.
Comments are always appreciated so please do let me know your views on my work to date.
I will be in touch again next month with an update but, as always, please see www.mikeweatherleymp.com if you can’t wait that long!
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