FOLLOWING the comments made by the three local MPs in last week's Gazette - having been one of the councillors at the first Ward Forums in Northfield on Thursday - I think the comments made deserve a response.

The real response to the slightly cryptic and half-cynical views espoused by our three local MPs was delivered not in words but in the 100 people who attended the Northfield event.

The old Ealing Area Committee covering six wards often attracted fewer than 25 residents.

The turnout, viewed cynically, may be seen as an expression of the newness of this initiative.

In my view it shows the desire for local people to become engaged with the councillors that they elected and the chance to be consulted in the decisions that affect them.

For Cllr Sharma MP to speak with affection of the old area committees when his own attendance at the Southall version is on record as being so poor is laughable.

The officer support to which he refers speaks clearly of the status-consciousness that informs his view.

As for decision-making: ask the people of Southall Broadway about their proposed public toilet and judge the response after years of inaction.

Cllr Sharma MP's non-attendance at the Northfield Ward Forum (in his own constituency) seems typical of his view of local engagement with the people who elected him.

As for the comments from the MP for Shepherd's Bush, Andy Slaughter,

I will not waste the newsprint.

I am sure that the ward forums will be a success; building on the wardbased working of the police and other council services.

This will be down to the hard work of the councillors in each ward and the energy of the people who attend. The ward forums will work, despite the cynicism and lack of support of our local MPs.


Town Hall Representing Northfield Ward