Luton Borough Council and Bedfordshire Police have been granted a three-month banning order on marches by certain organisations and associated groups. Far right groups fascist groups and football hooligans had threatened to invade Luton with provocative marches.
Previous unofficial marches and demonstrations in Luton by one such group erupted into violence and disorder and ended in damage to property and assaults. 35 hooligans were arrested after a demonstration in Luton in May.
Intelligence recently gathered by police raised concerns about the groups' violent intentions. The banning order gives police in Luton the power to ban public processions and to search people and vehicles for offensive weapons if they believe serious violence may take place. Demonstrators can also be asked to remove balaclavas and masks.
Talking on BBC Look East, Kelvin said, "I have lived in Luton for over 40 years and brought up my family here. Our diverse communities in Luton have always live peacefully side by side. I welcome this banning order. Freedom of speech is important but when outsiders are determined to come into Luton and incite racial hatred they should not be permitted to do so." Kelvin is pictured above left live on BBC Look East.
Lord Mandelson Visits Luton GM Plant
Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson visited the Luton GM van plant on Friday 3rd July as negotiations for the takeover of GM Europe are taking place with talks between the Canadian car parts group, Magna and the German and British governments.
Talking about the planned GM deal with Magna, Peter Mandelson said, "The British government is absolutely determined to fight for every job, every plant. I realise that the workforce and the management in the UK want to know whether we will be at the table to underwrite this deal. We will be. We are prepared but we have to be assured because it's taxpayer's money."
After a private meeting with the unions, Lord Mandelson met with the plant managing director, Bill Parfitt and then took a tour of the plant. He said, "What I have seen here today shows a high productivity, low cost, no absenteeism, high-safety workforce where the unions are working closely with the management. People used to say that unions were the problem with the car industry, but here it is very clear they are part of the solution. That's why the government is working with them and we will do everything we can to save jobs in Luton." He went on to say, "The business is a key cornerstone of Britain's industrial future. I want workers at both Luton and Ellesmere Port to know that we are doing everything possible to secure a long term commercial future for Vauxhall. Vauxhall is an excellent and very popular UK brand. Continued Vauxhall production remains a top priority for this government."
Kelvin says, "I was delighted that Lord Mandelson agreed to visit the plant to see what a superb manufacturing facility this really is. He recently met with myself and the local Trade Unionists at his office in London and I put to him then that GM vans in Luton are not just vital for Luton but essential for Britain's future as a manufacturing nation. I am sure too that he was impressed during his visit today by the stunning statistics on how good the plant is and how it is one of the most efficient in Europe, producing one of the best vans in Europe. The local workforce and management have worked wonders to bring about this success and now I hope that Peter Mandelson will do everything in his power to secure its long-term future."
Pictured are (left) Peter Mandelson being presented with a model Vauxhall Vivaro van by Unite union rep Richard Clifton and (above right) Bedford MP Patrick Hall and Kelvin welcome Peter Mandelson to the Luton plant.
Unite the Union Campaigns For Vauxhall Jobs
Following the GM Europe deal with Magna, Unite the Union is campaigning to save Vauxhall jobs at Luton and the Astra plant at Ellesmere Port.
Unite is doing everything in its power to open and maintain dialogue with Magna on the issues on which the workers at Vauxhall and IBC Luton urgently need clarification - their jobs, their pensions and their working future.
Thousands of people across the country have already signed their campaign calling for government action to save the thousands of jobs at Ellesmere Port and Luton. Please join their Save Vauxhall campaign.
Vauxhall Luton Plant
The Luton GM van plant is vital to Luton and vital to Britain and must be maintained for the long-term. The Magna International deal to buy GM Europe must not mean the sacrificing of the UK plants or UK jobs, and this means that the British Government has to do whatever is necessary to support Luton with sufficient money on the table to keep the plant open for 2012 and beyond.
The Luton built Vauxhall Vivaro van is a superb product and has been again named 'Van of the Year' and there is nothing to compare with it in the whole of Europe. The Luton workforce is also top class and are building to a quality unrivalled elsewhere. The Luton employees have made sacrifices to make Luton a brilliantly efficient plant and have been praised by management for their flexibility in recent years.
I have been in discussions with the union representatives and am keeping in close touch with them. I have also spoken with the management and put my views forcefully to Peter Mandelson's office. I am continuing to lobby the government to ensure they do everything that is necessary to support Luton and I asked the Prime Minister to do just this at Question Time on 6th May.
I have made the point too that Britain has a serious financial deficit in manufacturing in general, including motor products. 90% of GM Luton's current production is exported and the country needs Luton to maintain exports at the highest possible level. GM Luton is about Britain's long-term economic viability as well as being a vital part of our local economy.
Kelvin is pictured above outside the Luton GM plant talking to Sky News. Watch Kelvin's report on the GM plant for Sky News here.
Statement on my MPs' expenses claim
I am not making comment on any other MPs' claims, but for my part I do not have a second home, I have just one house in Luton where I live.
I claim only for my staff salaries - which are paid directly to them by Parliament, for the cost of running an office and for travel. Occasionally I stay overnight in London in a (modest) hotel if I have a late vote followed by a very early meeting the next day.
I do find it tiring but it works for me, I live about a mile from the station so I drive there or get a taxi.
When I come home it means that I can check through all my letters and see my staff, and I can be here for anything in the constituency.
I believe that the state should own parliamentary flats and rent them out to MPs who need them and that all the expenses should be much more restrictive, with no scope for abuse. The rules at the moment are clearly nonsense but even if they are nonsense, they shouldn't be abused.
I am astonished at some of the stories that have emerged and I quite frankly I didn't know that all those things were possible to claim for within the rules.
Memorial to PC Jon Henry
On Friday 3rd October Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, came to Luton to unveil a memorial to PC Jon Henry who was fatally stabbed while carrying out his duty in Luton town centre on 11th June 2007.
Gordon Brown and Jon's widow, Mary Henry and Michael Winner led the tributes to Jon Henry and laid flowers at the newly erected memorial outside BHS in George Street. read more.......
Threatend Post Office Closures in Luton North
On Tuesday 8th July the Post Office Ltd announced their recommendations and public consultation as to which branches in the region should close. The Post Office has recommended that two branches in Luton North should shut. They are: Atherstone Road (map) and Trinity Road (map).
The formal public consultation lasted six weeks - ending on 28th August. Kelvin would like to thank all the hundreds of people who signed his petition objecting to the post office closures.
On Monday 14th July, Kelvin visited the two post offices in his Luton North constituency threatened with closure. He met the local postmasters and promised his support in resisting the closures.
Kelvin said, "I have spoken to both Mr Arvindbhai Patel of the Atherstone Road Branch, and Mr Mahendra Patel of Trinity Road Branch and it is clear that both post offices serve substantial local communities and are vital local facilities, especially for the elderly and those without cars. For others who do drive, there is also sufficient temporary parking - which is essential and not always available at large central post offices. Both post offices are also local general stores which might not be viable without the incorporated post offices and if they were forced to close this would be a terrible loss local people.
I am writing to the Post Office and to Ministers opposing the closures and hope too that many local people will contact me to express their views."
Kelvin has opposed post office closures in Parliament, on the radio and on television and is adamantly opposed to the wave of closures now being imposed across the country.
Luton's Labour council is opposed to the closure of Post Offices in the town.
Kelvin is pictured (far left) outside Atherstone Road Post Office and (left) outside the Trinity Road Post Office.
Let's keep our Post Offices open
The local Post Office branch plays a vital role in the social and economic life of many of our communities in Luton. Labour in Luton is determined to see that Post Office Ltd listens to the views of local residents.
The Post Office Ltd will start a formal public consultation about the future of branches in Luton on the 16th June 2008. As soon as the details are available we will post them on this website.
I want to see that the Post Office understands the needs of local people in our communities in Luton.
I will be making the strongest possible representation to the Post Office about the future of local branches and would encourage anyone worried about the impact on your local branch to do the same - together we can make our voice heard.
What you can do to oppose the Post Office closures:
1. Write a letter to the Post Office and let then know what you think about the closures.
A draft reply to the Post Office consultation for our local Post Offices is available by clicking here.
2. Send Post Office Ltd an email with your views about the closures.
Click here to send an email to Post Office Ltd.
3. Complete my online survey and let me know your views.
Click here to complete the survey and petition online - we will then pass your concerns onto the Post Office.
4. Write to me and let me know your views.
Send me a letter (to: Kelvin Hopkins MP, 3 Union Street, Luton LU1 3AN) expressing you concerns that I can pass onto Post Office Ltd.
5. Sign the Downing Street petition.
Click here to sign the Downing Street petition that we have set up to oppose the Luton Post Office closures.
In June the football club was deducted ten points and fined £50,000 by the Football Association after being found guilty of misconduct involving payments to agents. The Club had been deducted an automatic ten points back in November last year when it entered administration. On Thursday 10th July LTFC2020 (the fan led consortium trying to take the club out of administration) was told it had to accept a further 20 point penalty if the club wanted to play in League Two next season. This penalty was for not satisfying the FA's insolvency rules. These rules were broken by the Club's previous administration, not by LTFC2020. The Club will have to start next season at minus 30 points.
Kelvin and Luton South MP, Margaret Moran, put down an Early Day Motion (EDM) in the House of Commons. It reads: " Margaret Moran MP
is appalled at the decision of the FA to deduct a further 20 points from Luton Town FC, inflicting a crushing deficit of 30 points at the start of the Club's next season in Division 2; believes that this punishment is grossly disproportionate and massively unfair to the Town's many loyal fans who are entirely innocent of any wrongdoing; and therefore calls on the FA to reconsider its decision and restore the 20 points, recognising that the Club would still begin the next season with a heavy 10 point deficit."
Airport Flight Paths
The National Air Traffic Services Ltd (NATS) propose to alter the flight paths for aircraft arriving and departing London Luton Airport.
This is part of changes to the airspace above London and a large part of South East England called 'Terminal Control North' (TCN) and covers some of the UK's busiest airports - Heathrow, London City, Stansted and Luton plus some smaller airfields.
The proposals redesign aircraft routes through the region and over Luton and give Luton a new dedicated hold, where aircraft queue at busy times for their clearance to land.
NATS had a 13 week consultation period on the proposals which finished on 19th June 08 and feedback will be published here towards the end of July 08.
The full consultation is at the NATS website.
Aircraft flights over Luton North are too high to cause disturbance, but the proposed alterations will mean that residents who live closer to the airport might suffer increased disturbance. Kelvin is keen to support Luton South MP, Margaret Moran, in her campaign against these changes.