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Bexley review of the year: May and June

PUBLISHED: 10:00 29 December 2012

May: Conservative James Cleverly was re-elected as the London Assembly representative for Bexley and Bromley

May: Conservative James Cleverly was re-elected as the London Assembly representative for Bexley and Bromley

PA Wire/Press Association Images

In the third of a six-part series between now and New Year’s Eve, we look back at the stories that made the headlines in Bexley in 2012. It was quite a year for the borough.

June: Protestors march through Sidcup concerned about the future of Queen Mary's HospitalJune: Protestors march through Sidcup concerned about the future of Queen Mary's Hospital

May

James Cleverly held onto his Bexley and Bromley London Assembly seat today despite his Labour opponent Josie Channer making inroads to his majority.

The Conservative incumbent gained 52.6 per cent of the vote in the traditional Tory stronghold, the same as he did in 2008.

But Miss Channer gained a lot of votes from the Liberal Democrats to reflect a bad day across London for the traditional third party.

She picked up 24.2 per cent of the vote, almost 10 per cent more than her predecessor Alex Heslop did four years ago with 14.5 per cent.

Mr Cleverly said: “I’m incredibly pleased and want to thank the people of Bexley and Bromley.

“I genuinely love this job and feel I have a great association with the local people.

“My biggest challenge will be maintaining the great level of service we’ve been providing in my first term.”

His Labour opponent was as pleased with her performance despite the defeat as her party tries to build a more solid base in the two suburban boroughs.

Miss Channer said: “This is a signal to the coalition that the people of Bexley and Bromley aren’t happy with the work the coalition are doing nationally.

“They need to consider their position because their support is collapsing across London.

“I hope James Cleverly doesn’t take the people of the two boroughs for granted any more and he will listen to people’s concerns rather than being on the side of the coalition.”

Lib Dem candidate Same Webber clung on to third with 6.7% of the vote, ahead of David Coburn for UKIP, the Green Party’s Jonathan Rooks and the BNP’s Donna Treanor.

Mr Webber said: “I’d like to thanks my campaigning team for the work they’ve put in. I really don’t think we could have done anymore.”

Also this month:

Two teenagers were convicted of killing 16-year-old Yemurai Kanyangarara in Welling.

Welling United vowed to bounce back from the disappointment of losing to Dartford in the Blue Square Bet South play-off final.

Belevedere grandmother Sharanjit Ubhi died of rabies after being bitten by a dog while on holiday in India.

Princess Anne and Prince Edward both made royal visits to the borough.

June

Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup is one of three in a south-east London healthcare trust that is on the verge of going into administration

South London Healthcare Trust, which also owns Queen Elizabeth in Woolwich and Princess Royal in Farnborough Common, Orpington, has had well-documented financial problems since being formed in 2009 from three separate trusts.

Helen Ellis of the Patient Action Group said: “This is a sad day for the hospital but it was inevitable.

“You can’t cram them all into another trust, think how that would affect the patients?”

John Hemming-Clark, of Independents to Save Queen Mary’s Hospital, added: “A hospital going bust is the sort of announcement we expect from a third-world country.”

SLHT is over £150 million in debt and has made significant cutbacks, most notably at the Frognal Avenue site in Sidcup.

Queen Mary’s saw both the maternity and accident and emergency wards closed down in 2010 and the Patient Action Group has carried out a number of protests against the trust, most recently last month outside Queen Elizabeth.

Old Bexley and Sidcup MP James Brokenshire said: “It’s been clear for some time that SLHT simply isn’t sustainable and remains burdened with debts it can’t repay.

“Today’s announcement is more of a sad inevitability than a surprise.”

The trust will be the first in the country to be put under the control of an administrator tasked with sorting out its finances.

Keep Our NHS Public are holding a protest outside the Woolwich hospital this morning in reaction to the news.

A statement from SLHT said: “We have entered into discussions with the Department of Health and NHS London on the best future for the Trust and our priority, and that of others involved, is to make sure that our long-standing and well-known financial issues are resolved.

“We expect these discussions to come to a conclusion in the second week in July when a decision will be taken by the Secretary of State.”

Also this month:

Garage boss Prabjot Singh Rayat was murdered in Thamesmead - three men have been charged and are awaiting trial.

Hundreds of carp died in Danson Lake due to poisoning.

Europa Centre co-owners Len and Yvonne Arnold were among those handed gongs in the Queen’s birthday honours.

Hundreds of people marked the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with street parties over the bank holiday weekend.


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