My report from City Hall April 2017

No. 42: 11th  March to 12th April 2017


As you would expect, I start with the appalling terrorist attack on Westminster on 22nd March. I paid tribute to the victims, especially PC Keith Palmer, at the emergency meeting of the Assembly called for the following day. I also commented on the need, when we thank the emergency services for their response to such terrible events, to ensure that they are properly resourced: you can watch my speech here.

My International Women’s Day message is here.

Cllr Sarah Hayward, Leader of Camden Council, has announced she is stepping down next month after 5 years. Sarah has done a brilliant job and has achieved a lot when up against it with the Conservative Government’s huge cuts to local authorities. For whoever succeeds her in this very challenging role, Sarah will be a hard act to follow.


At the Assembly Plenary I spoke out for the child refugees and the Dubs Amendment.

Representing the GLA at the Congress of Europe Plenary in Strasbourg, I repeated this message. I also spoke on the interpretation of the European Charter of Local Self Government.

I attended the induction of the new Vicar of Hampstead, Rev Jeremy Fisher.

I also attended the Commemoration Service for the anniversary of the Rwandan genocide.

Finally may I wish my readers a Happy Easter, Καλό Πάσχα and Pesach Sameach.


This month’s London quiz question: (answer at the end):

Q: What was the name of Samuel Pepys’s wife?


1 Europe and ‘Brexit’

2 Economy Committee

3 Transport and HS2

4 Policing

5 Planning, Housing, Regeneration

6 Environment

7 Fire Authority

8 Education

9 Health

10 Mayor’s report

11 Written questions to the Mayor

12 Problem solving and casework

13 Quiz answer 

1 Europe and ‘Brexit’

This has obviously been a very busy month for Brexit issues, with the Prime Minister serving the Article 50 letter to being the exit process.

I have spoken out on the rights of Barnet and Camden EU citizens.

EU nationals fulfil a vital economic role as this ‘Observer’ report demonstrates: “The British Jobs Brexit Makes Hard To Fill”.

At MQT I questioned the Mayor on the Brexit challenges facing London; and demonstrated that the Government’s Budget economic predictions are based on high levels of immigration.

see also here.


I also wrote in the local press about article 50 and Brexit, setting out Labour’s key tests for the negotiations.

See also my letter and this Brexit article by Keir Starmer MP, Labour’s Brexit shadow spokesperson.

The Economy Committee published our report on Brexit and Business in London.

Anyone who thought leaving would be straightforward may be disabused by this excellent briefing we received at the Assembly from UCL, on the mechanics of the process.

Brexit is not just about Article 50, it’s Article 218, too (this Article governs future trade arrangements) and what the remaining EU27 want from Brexit.

See also this interesting lecture on Britain’s future trade relationships by Sir Simon Fraser, former Foreign Office and BIS Department mandarin:

You may be interested in Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Article 50 Brexit response.

And his comment in the Evening Standard.

Finally, some of my MQs of Brexit interest this month:

2 Economy Committee

At Mayor’s Question Time I called upon the Mayor to help facilitate the extension of genuine full fibre broadband, including to outer London, at no cost to the public purse.

I have since followed this up with a site visit to a leading full optic fibre provider and facilitated a number of contacts arising from that.

I attended the launch of Trust for London’s report on Minimum Income Standards, which showed that 4 in 10 Londoners cannot afford a decent standard of living:

The Economy Committee has commenced an inquiry into the problems facing local newspapers especially as the result of the growth of digital news.

I was concerned by the Budget plan for a NI raid on self-employed people, which has since been dropped.

I also visited Camden Unlimited Business Improvement District (BID), Euston Town BID and the Camden Collective, to hear about problems facing local businesses and start-ups.



3 Transport and HS2

At this month’s plenary, I questioned the Mayor’s Chief of Staff and the GLA Development and Planning Chief over HS2 and the need for a temporary terminus at Old Oak Common.

Two funds are available to local communities to help with the disruption that will be caused by the construction of Phase one of HS2 between London and the West Midlands.

Tube Noise has become a growing issue especially since the night tube, and I attended the Assembly Environment Committee to question TfL about this.

I also arranged a site visit at East Finchley tube station with TfL, to hear from residents direct about the problems there with tube noise.

You will know from previous reports my concerns over the 13 bus cut, and the disingenuous renumbering of route 82, which has now taken place with no notice to bus passengers at the stops, leading to considerable confusion: “TfL Slipping 13 Bus Changes Through Under The Radar”.

A serious problem has arisen in Colindale, and now West Hendon, of commercial operators using the highway to park their car fleets, taking up residential parking: this includes minicab companies as well as car showrooms. I have taken this up with Barnet Council and TfL.

There has been much in the local press about TfL’s plans for Golder’s Green station: In have met TfL to discuss these, and there will be a public consultation soon.

On a more positive note, please see some information on the Camden Town station upgrade here, and here for Holborn Station.

For proposed safety improvements at Brecknock Road/Camden Road/York Way Junction, please see here.

In October, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, appointed Dame Margaret Hodge MP to conduct an independent review of the Garden Bridge project. Dame Margaret has now submitted her highly critical report to the Mayor.


On a similar note, I conducted a site visit with local residents to see the site of the proposed Pimlico Bridge. This I suspect will not be proceeding, as it is yet another vanity project of benefit to few people and would devastate the north side of the river at its landing spot. The GLA Labour Group is opposing the scheme.

I also received welcome news that an extra ticket barrier has been added at Mill Hill East Station, after my lobbying. I hope this will help reduce overcrowding and improve the flow of people at the station.

Finally, my Transport Mayor’s Questions, March17.


4  Policing

The Mayor’s long anticipated new Police and Crime Plan has now been published. To read and download the Mayor’s Police and Crime plan please see here.

On the day of the publication, I went out with the police on patrol in the area response car; and Sophie Linden, the Policing Deputy Mayor, visited Barnet and spoke and answered questions at Barnet Safer Neighbourhood Board’s well attended public meeting.

Andrew Dismore AM and Sophie Linden

At Mayor’s Question Time, I raised the issue of the growth in moped enabled crime.

I commented on a new report which shows Barnet to be the most burgled borough in London with Camden ranked fifth:

I also had a very useful meeting at City Hall with Det. Chief Supt Catherine Roper, the commander of the ‘pathfinder’ merged borough command covering Camden and Islington.

Finally, my March 17 Policing Mayor’s Questions and Answers.


5 Planning, Housing and Regeneration

On the back of the Hasmonean planning decision, we now have another Green Belt application from St Vincent’s School in Mill Hill to which I have also objected.

The Regeneration Committee has published our report on the role and interaction of culture and regeneration. You can read it here.

I wrote of the appalling laissez faire attitude of Barnet to unacceptable housing schemes.

Historic England hosted a tour of City and East End sites, which I attended, to explain their approach to protecting valuable architectural heritage.

6  Environment

The main development this month has been the Mayor’s announcement on air quality and the need for a diesel scrappage scheme. The Mayor also announced further detail on his plan for an Ultra-Low Emissions Zone, and a checker scheme to identify the most polluting vehicles.

7 Fire Authority

We have now published the new fire safety plan for the next 4 years.

8 Education

There has been much written about the threats to school funding, including by me.

See also the London Assembly Labour Group’s response to the proposed National Funding Formula For Schools.

9 Health

I commented on local A&E waiting times being the ‘Worst On Record’

10 Mayor’s report

Each month the Mayor produces a report on his activities. You can read the Mayor’s 10th report here.

11  Written questions to the Mayor

For answers to my written questions to the Mayor, see:

late February MQT answers and MQT Answers for March

I asked the usual full range of questions to the Mayor.

12 Problem solving and casework

Arjun Mittra is my City Hall assistant who manages incoming correspondence, casework and my diary:

13 Finally, the quiz question answer:

Q: What was the name of Samuel Pepys’s wife?

A:  Elisabeth Pepys (Élisabeth de St. Michel) (1640–1669) was the wife of Samuel Pepys, whom she married in 1655, shortly before her fifteenth birthday.

Best wishes,

Andrew Dismore AM

Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden

Twitter: @andrew_dismore

Reproduced from an email sent by the Labour Party, promoted by Ammar Naqvi on behalf of Barnet & Camden Labour Parties both at 79 The Burroughs, London, NW4 4AX