Commenting on plans by Labour-run Lewisham Council to this week agree the compulsory purchase of land used by Millwall Football Club at The Den for sale to a private developer, Simon Hughes, Bermondsey MP for over thirty years and now a trustee of the Millwall Community Trust and the independent Director of the London Football Association, said;
"However embarrassing for the Mayor and councillors to change their minds, if Lewisham Council have any understanding of the benefit of Millwall FC and Millwall Community Trust to the people of Lewisham and Southwark they should stop the compulsory purchase plan now.
"I am asking Lewisham Cabinet members in the strongest terms to talk to Millwall not threaten them. Lewisham Council should be supporting their borough's biggest sporting asset not putting the local future of the Club and the Trust at risk."
Liberal Democrat party leader Tim Farron MP said:
“Football clubs are a crucial part of British society and are at the heart of our communities. Aside from what goes on on the pitch, clubs create jobs, often support local initiatives and are a boost to local economies. Whilst I am a Blackburn Rovers fan I know how heartbreaking it would be for Millwall’s fans and the local community if their club was forced to move against their wishes. The details of this case seem quite extraordinary and I hope that the Council don’t take actions that could risk the club’s future in the area.
“Fans often worry about the impact a change of owner may have on their club’s future, they shouldn’t have to worry that a club’s own local Council would have a profound, unwanted impact.
“Sometimes fans and clubs want – or need – to move ground, or change how they operate, but this should be done with the fan’s having their say which is why the Liberal Democrats want to see recognised Supporters’ Trusts and fans should have input into major decisions affecting their clubs. We need to reclaim the people’s game – football is more than just a sporting contest and it is time that was recognised”
Responding to this week's new recommendations of the independent Boundary Commission for England, Simon Hughes, the prospective Liberal Democrat candidate and the MP until last year for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, said:
'Around the UK, the basis for the Boundary Commission plans should be the number of voters at the referendum not the lower number last year - but we may not win that battle.
'Locally, the new plans are not perfect but it is great that the Boundary Commission has dropped its last dreadful plans to carve up Bermondsey & Rotherhithe into two different seats, partly with Lewisham and partly with Lambeth.
'Under the new plans announced this week, only a little bit of Bermondsey stays outside this new seat, and the SE1 part of the Waterloo South Bank is added to Blackfriars and the Southwark South Bank.
'Whenever the election comes, Liberal Democrats are ready to win back the seat Labour snatched last year. The recent local election in Surrey Docks shows our strong local recovery; Liberal Democrats won more votes locally this summer than all the other parties put together.
'We also now have hundreds of new local members and helpers in our team.
'Another Labour MP who has to spend time on the fight in his own party is not what local people need. I will again put local residents first, and challenge the Labour council, the Mayor and the Tory government. We must urgently build hundreds of homes at affordable prices, and provide the transport, training and jobs which our communities need.'
The European Union may need many improvements but we have no say if we decide to leave.
Leaving the EU will risk jobs and trade and could cause a major economic crisis, with the value of the pound falling and major investment quickly moving away.
Leaving the EU is bound to add to domestic and international instability and insecurity.
And leaving the EU could threaten not just the unity of the UK but the unity of the rest of Europe, which has been peaceful and collaborative for 70 years.
At home it could lead to an even more right-wing Conservative government led by someone like Boris Johnson which would be even less willing to support the NHS and other public services and even less willing to support the poor and the less well off.
But worse even than all these things, leaving the EU means that we would for the first time since 1945 turn away from international leadership towards international isolation. At the moment we have the benefit of leadership in the UN, and the Commonwealth, and NATO and the EU. Leave and we will lose much of our influence in international development and diplomacy in all of these places.
We have never given away control of our country to unelected people in Brussels; what we have done is decide that our elected representatives will share decisions with other democratically elected government ministers, who very rarely take decisions we do not agree with.
The last thing I want is a new form of nationalistic Independence Day to mark the beginning of the UK moving away from collaboration with our nearest neighbours, reducing the European nature of Britain and which will give big problems to all of us and especially to Northern Ireland and Gibraltar.
Please, please, please vote remain. Let us lead in the world and in our continent and not retreat from them.
Each and every vote could make the difference. Please vote for a sane and civilised future this week, and don't be misled by some of the most dishonest claims in the recent history of British politics.
Simon has been appointed as Head of Public Affairs for the Open University. He will be covering the role on maternity cover on a year’s contract.
He will support the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Peter Horrocks, and report into the university’s Director of Communications, Lucian Hudson. Simon will lead the university’s public affairs team.
Further details via the Open University website here:
The appointment follows the usual procedure of any former Minister seeking the advice, and approval of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments. Their decision to approve Simon's appointment will be posted on their website here.
Simon was at Buckingham Palace today (Tuesday 10th November) for an investiture ceremony to receive his knighthood for public and political service from Her Majesty The Queen.
He said: "It was a privilege to accept the honour from The Queen. I was given the chance to go to the Lords, which I declined because I had always said I didn't agree with the idea of an unelected chamber passing laws. And I expected that would be the end of that, period.
"But then the honour was offered and I thought on behalf of my community I wanted to accept it. I have been privileged to live in Camberwell and Bermondsey since 1977 and I had the most wonderful time as the Member of Parliament and as the deputy leader and president of my party. I was privileged to be a minister for justice and civil liberties. So I thought the community, in a way, also would celebrate and be able to enjoy it."
After his trip to the Palace, Simon returned to Bermondsey with his knighthood by boat, reversing the journey he took from his constituency to Westminster when he first took the seat in 1983.
On Armistice Day, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, just as we did on Remembrance Day, we remember and say thank you. On Sunday, I was at the memorial to the 25 million Soviet war dead by the Imperial War Museum.
"May this festival of lights bring you every joy and happiness. May the lamps of joy illuminate your life and fill your days with the bright sparkles of peace and goodwill. Have a joyous Diwali, and every success in the coming year." Simon Hughes
Commenting on joining the board of the London FA as their Independent Director - his first additional public responsibility since the general election, Simon Hughes said;
'It is a privilege to be asked to join the board of the London FA as their Independent Director. I am much looking forward to this new role.
'One of the crucial issues for grassroots football in London is to make sure that there are maximum opportunities for individuals and clubs to play near to where they live or are based and at a cost that they can afford.
'I am determined to do all I can to make sure that local, London, and central government do not price children, young people, women and men out of amateur football. This will certainly be one of the issues I want to put on the agenda for the forthcoming London Mayoral and Assembly elections.
'We will never have the home-grown talent in the numbers we want at the highest level in football if we don't encourage and make it easier for people to play football regularly from the time they start nursery and school.'
For more details click here for the London FA website
On Rosh Hashanah, or the occasion of the Jewish new year, may I take this opportunity to wish Shana Tovah! - Simon Hughes