BowenThe Feltham and Heston byelection on December 15 has yet to capture the excitement of the media but I think the result will be interesting. How will UKIP get on? What will the result mean for Boris?

Will the Labour Party be fighting a class war campaign wearing top hats? I think unlikely given that their candidate Seema Malhotra is a management consultant who lives in a house in Chelsea worth several million pounds. As senior manager in the Government and Public Sector practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers, specialising in change management and diversity awareness, she may be feeling the pinch after the Government sliced a billion a year from the spending on consultants that took place under Labour.

She is also a Labour candidate for the London Assembly list – though as she is placed bottom the prospect of two salaries is unlikely to arise.

The Conservative candidate Mark Bowen is not just local but ferociously local. He is a councillor in Feltham North Ward and leader of the Conservative Opposition on Hounslow Council. Reading his blog is to convey a sense of devotion to his residents on a par with Andrew Rosindell's to the people of Romford.

The Conservatives did a great job running Hounslow Council. Despite being a minority administration they deliver a freeze for every one of their four years. Labour narrowly regained control last year pleding to actually cut the Council Tax – not something they have yet delivered on and quite a contrast to the Council  Tax hikes they brought in when running the Council previously.

Among the savings that the Conservatives brought in was haviing a panel of councillors rather than bureuacrats arbitrating complaints. Mark wrote an article for us explaining the details here. It reduced costs by £90,000 and provided a better service – they were sorted out earlier, fewer complaints were escalated to the Local Government Ombudsmen, councillors learnt more about what was going on at the council.

I wonder what candidates think of the Human Rights Act? Hounslow Council tried to evict a resident in Cranford for not paying her rent – there were arrears of over £3,500. They were stopped after a legal challenge under the Human Rights Act ending up with a legal bill for Council Taxpayer of £200,000.

Given that the Boris v Livingstone contest is only five months away some voters may be influenced by that.

Boris has a strong record in Hounslow.

He has:

  • Cut potential delays on some of Hounslow’s busiest roads by introducing the permit scheme – this has meant 238 applications by utility firms to dig up roads in Hounslow have been refused.
  • Reviewed timings of 57 traffic lights to improve traffic flow.
  • TfL spent £849,000 improving roads.
  • Improving reliability and quality of service for commuters on the Piccadilly Line under the Tube upgrade programme, after years of waste under Labour’s part-privatisation.
  • Thousands of residents in Hounslow will benefit from London’s first orbital railway with one London Overground stations in the borough- Gunnersbury.
  • Cycle Highway 9 will run through the Borough when it is created in 2015.
  • 8 more PCSOs, and 73 more Specials Constables on Hounslow’s streets, introduced single patrolling leading to 3,730 more patrols annually in the borough. This has led to almost 4.8% fall in crime, including a 22% fall in robberies, a 7% fall in youth crime, and a 15% fall in bus-related crime.
  • Approved £50,000 to refurbish two pitches at Feltham Community College for hockey, rugby and football.

Here is Boris on a visit last year looking at the Freddie Mercury memorial and visiting The Moon on the Square pub:


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