This week sees the return of my weekly blog after a long period of suspension ahead of two elections – the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) Mayor and the recent General Election.
I would like to welcome the new Member of Parliament for Bath, Liberal Democrat Wera Hobhouse to the political fold in Bath, following the General Election last week. I look forward to establishing a good working relationship with her. I would also like to congratulate Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg on his re-election in North East Somerset. We have always worked well together and I am sure we can successfully build on that relationship in the coming weeks and months.
My congratulations also go to WECA Mayor Tim Bowles who was elected in May. I look forward to working closely with Tim on a range of issues, not least our plans to improve the transport network in Bath and North East Somerset.
Throughout the two election periods the Council has been limited regarding the questions it can answer and comments it can make due to pre-election restrictions. The period prevents central and local government from making announcements about any new or controversial government initiatives which could be seen to be advantageous to any candidates or parties in a forthcoming election.
This is a difficult period for a local authority, especially with many things happening in Bath and North East Somerset. We have been listening to your comments, suggestions and feedback and are now working on responding to them.
It’s been a busy week with normal business resuming including meetings with the Bath Independent Traders and the City Centre Action Group. I also met pupils at Somerdale School in Keynsham for the Primary Pupil Parliament, which included workshops and presentations around the ‘Go for it – getting involved in physical and creative opportunities in school’ theme. Well done to all those involved for some fantastic presentations.
Before my blog was suspended I wanted to highlight the Chairman’s charity event I attended in the Guildhall in March, which included a performance from Bath City Gospel Choir. It was a fantastic evening and for me one of the most poignant moments was during a duet in which a young girl was singing alongside another member of the group, who was so moved by the performance, it brought a tear to her eye. I later discovered that the pair were mother and daughter Tabitha and Rachel Lawson and the performance was the first time they had sung together. The concert was incredibly emotive and I would like to congratulate the pair for their outstanding performance, as well as the Musical Director Jo Sercombe.