Category Archives: Security

MP launches petition to save Maidstone barracks

Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant is launching a petition opposing the closure of Invicta Park Barracks.

Campaigners with Helen Grant at the Invicta Park Barracks – December 2016
Campaigners with Helen Grant at the Invicta Park Barracks – December 2016

The petition calls on the Ministry of Defence to reconsider this decision in light of the negative impact upon some 800 service personnel and their families as well as our County town both economically and socially, and through loss of the army’s longstanding civil community support.

Helen said, ‘From all of the soundings I have taken so far I know that many local people are concerned about the decision to close Invicta Park Barracks, breaking centuries of military tradition in Maidstone. There is also great affection for the town’s vibrant Nepalese community and local people are wanting to show their support for them. I feel duty bound to launch this petition and provide an official platform for people to voice their opposition. I am also sending a survey to around 10,000 randomly selected addresses in the central Maidstone area to allow people to share their views about the proposed closure of Invicta Park Barracks. The survey can be downloaded here http://bit.ly/2kjPxSI and I encourage anyone and everyone to take part.’

The petition is available online at: www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-maidstone-barracks. Petition forms are also available at Helen Grant’s constituency office on the London-bound forecourt of Maidstone East railway station. The petition will be handed in to the Ministry of Defence before Easter this year.

Leader of the Maidstone Nepalese community Mr Dhan Chand issued the following statement;

‘We all feel that that this decision will have a devastating impact on our community. We have always been encouraged to take a long term view and create a permanent home here and we have worked so hard for many years to become an integral part of the Maidstone community.

We hope that people from across the borough will use Helen’s petition and survey to voice their opposition to the barracks closure and help us to keep Maidstone as our home.’

Lt Col J B Awford (ret), former Commanding Officer of Invicta Park Barracks, said;

‘I believe the decision to close Invicta Park Barracks is unsound. It will be a negative step for the army, for Maidstone and, no doubt, for the established Nepalese community.’

 

·       The proposed closure of Invicta Park Barracks was announced in November 2016 as part of the Government’s ‘A Better Defence Estate Strategy.’

·       It is one of 91 proposed closures to military bases across the UK.

·       Further information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/better-defence-estate-strategy

·       Helen’s survey download is here: http://bit.ly/2kjPxSI

·       The online petition is here: www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-maidstone-barracks

Helen Grant on the death of Jo Cox

I heard the dreadful news that Jo had died on the radio yesterday afternoon when I was on the way to an Amnesty International event in Maidstone High Street.

To be honest I am still in shock and this will take some time to come to terms with.

I didn’t know her well but on the occasions we were together she shone as a very bright light, with a rare warmth and energy.

Jo Cox with Helen Grant and other MPs
Jo Cox leading the Women’s Tug of War team

Only last week we were both together as members of the Women’s House of Commons tug of war team, raising funds for Macmillan. There she was at the front of the rope leading the fight.

We have lost a powerful advocate for many of the things that I hold dear – championing equality and diversity, exposing bigotry and racism, combatting hatred and promoting social cohesion.

I will continue to fight for those causes fortified by the memory of Jo and her tragic death.

Helen Grant comments on the Syria Vote

Helen Grant MP
Helen Grant MP

Following last night’s vote Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and the Weald, said:

“Yesterday’s Commons debate was detailed, wide ranging and informative. It was also sombre and respectful. I considered everything in the round, together with feedback from my constituents and other information provided to me in Parliamentary briefings.

Whilst the issues are multiple and complex, the Prime Minister in his opening statement and both the Foreign Secretary and his Opposition Shadow in their closing remarks set out the position succinctly and compellingly. It was therefore with a heavy heart but a clear mind that I supported the extension of our existing military action in Iraq to Syria.

The murdering of our citizens on holiday in Tunisia combined with the seven foiled attacks within our country, so far this year, amount to a declaration of war from Daesh. We must use the unique tools available to the RAF mitigate this threat, at its core in Syria, to protect our people.

I have no doubt that Daesh will try to perpetrate further atrocities, but if we do nothing to arrest their ongoing efforts to harm and kill us we will be failing in the defence of our people.”