11th Feb: Weekly campaign diary for #dean4luton

It’s been another packed week representing Luton North, campaigning, canvassing and connecting with lots of residents across the constituency.

Beyond the visits and photos, I’ve been very busy this week investigating some of the financial and community decisions of Luton Borough Council. Sadly, it doesn’t seem like they are actively held to account by the existing Labour MPs in Luton. So I have submitted many Freedom of Information requests to Luton Borough Council to understand where taxpayers money is being spent. Disappointingly, I have already had a delay on a relatively simple Freedom of Information request from 2 weeks ago. Once I begin to find out answers, I will share here and on Facebook.

Tuesday 3rd February

I was thankful to meet with our former Luton North candidate from 2010, Jeremy Brier who shared some useful insights from his experience standing up for Luton at the last election.

In the evening, I met with a fantastic charity I support called Give Us Time. A great concept set-up by Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP which matches empty hotel/holiday apartments with armed forces families so they can have much needed time together. The charity team includes Belinda, Karen and Lady Spencer, who work tirelessly to help service families.

Meeting with team, Karen, Belinda and Lady Kitty Spencer at offices for Charity, Give Us Time

Meeting with team, Karen, Belinda and Lady Kitty Spencer at offices for Charity, Give Us Time

Wednesday 4th February

I was lucky enough to visit Number 10 Downing Street again, which is always such an honour.

Dean Russell outside Number 10 Downing Street

Dean Russell outside Number 10 Downing Street

Later that day, I had an informal meeting with Katie Redmond and a BBC Three Counties radio

representative to share our views for Luton and offer to take part in any discussions or debates with other local political parties.  I am hopeful in the full run-up to the election, that the democratic process will be in full flow, and I will get the opportunity to publicly challenge, and be challenged by residents and other parties.

Thursday 5th February

I spent the evenings preparing further details on my manifesto for Luton. I believe Luton deserves better. I have set out a bold positive vision, and I look forward to sharing details in the coming weeks.

Friday 6th February

I was lucky enough to spend the evening at a fundraiser with old friends from St Albans, Cllr Julian Daly and Anne Main MP and lots of new ones from across a range of businesses. From speaking to many small business owners over the past few months, it is obvious that business is confident in the Conservatives to support their growth more than any of the opposition parties. At the end of the day, businesses are the backbone of Britain’s economy, creating jobs and giving people the security of a pay packet. I get that, and so do the Conservative Party. It’s plain common sense.

Saturday 7th February

A busy day canvassing in the (freezing) cold with Sundon Park candidates Jonathan Saxty and Kevin Chapman. We were joined by other supporters including Luton council candidate Aziz Ambia and Vice Chairman of Luton Conservatives Margaret Simons too. The message from the doorstep was loud and clear – Labour Luton Borough Council is just not listening. In fact, one lady said she hadn’t seen a single councillor or MP in 20 years!

Dean Russell and supporters out in Sundon Park, Luton

Dean Russell and supporters out in Sundon Park, Luton

Sunday 8th February

Katie Redmond and I visited Dallow Community Centre to discuss local issues and community matters.

Monday 9th February

Spent the evening dealing with Luton resident enquiries and letters.  I was also preparing many FOI requests, including one to delve underneath the decisions around the proposed closure of Saints Community Centre. As noted above…more to come on this soon!!

Tuesday 10th February

Dean Russell at the Association of British Insurers to represent Luton North

Dean Russell at the Association of British Insurers to represent Luton North

Today I was invited to the Association of British Insurers to represent Luton North’s view around a range of issues from flooding to driverless cars, protecting personal health data to protecting younger drivers from accidents. I learnt that in the UK, 40% of new teenage drivers have an accident within 6 months. We learned that in other countries, like New Zealand, there are innovative measures to create a 6 month probationary period for new drivers which massively reduces the risk. I am going to look into this further over the coming weeks and will share my thoughts in more depth.

Lots to come this week, so I look forward to sharing here and on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dean4luton and Twitter on @dean_r.

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