Last Friday MPs from all sides debated whether to approve limited air strikes by UK armed forces against ISIL in Iraq.
I understand that there is deep unease about the UK committing military force once again to the Middle East and I was personally very critical of military action in Iraq in 2003, and voted against military involvement in Syria last year.
But this situation is very different. The action which MPs voted in favour of last week is specific, it has broad international support and is about supporting a democratic state - and that is why I voted in favour of it. Ultimately, a sovereign state has asked for our help, and we are answering that call. However I also believe it must be accompanied by a wider political and diplomatic strategy in the region, in order to secure long lasting peace, and will continue to call for this. You can read more about the vote and my views here.
A walk in the park
Here in Wandsworth we all know how lucky we are to be surrounded by so many green spaces. For many, the best way to enjoy them is by running on a Saturday morning and when I was training for the London Marathon earlier this year, I was spotted by many of you running laps on Tooting Common.
In parks across London ‘ParkRun’ organises weekly, volunteer-run, 5km runs, bringing together people of all age and fitness levels and regularly attracts first time runners. But here in Wandsworth we’re missing out as Wandsworth Council has said no to local residents looking to set up free ParkRuns in Tooting and Wandsworth Commons.
In response local campaigners have launched a petition calling on the council to allow the local community to organise ParkRuns in the borough, free of charge and as a non-revenue raising venture. Already the petition has over 800 signatures. ParkRun would not cause the council to incur any extra cost, it brings people together and has obvious health benefits. For me it’s a no brainer and I don’t know why the council are dragging their feet.
You may remember a couple of weeks ago I told you about a Wandsworth Council Committee meeting taking place to decide whether to install a zebra crossing on the dangerous road outside Fircroft Primary School. Unfortunately the Council refused to listen to the views of local parents and residents and the Committee voted against installing the crossing.
But the campaign isn’t over yet. Cllr Leonie Cooper, who sits on the Committee, called for alternative measures to address traffic in the area, such as improving 20mph signage outside the school, improving parking enforcement and building out kerbs to narrow the crossing distance and slow traffic. It was frustrating that the majority of the Committee voted against pursuing these alternative measures, but Cllr Cooper has called for the matter to be reconsidered at the next full council meeting on 15th October. In the meantime I will be working with local Councillors Ben Johnson, James Daley and Annamarie Critchard to keep up the pressure – as something needs to happen before someone is seriously injured. Read more about the campaign here.
Until next time.
P.S. Best wishes to all those celebrating Navratri and Yom Kippur, and Eid Mubarrak to everyone celebrating Eid ul-Adha.
P.P.S. If you're looking for something to do this weekend, why not check out the Tootopia line-up? Lots happening to celebrate the best food, drink and live entertainment Tooting has to offer!