The Lewisham Deptford Elections: Joan Ruddock

This Q&A is part of Brockley Central's virtual hustings. Joan Ruddock, the incumbent Labour MP for Lewisham Deptford, answers our questions. Click for Tam Langley and Darren Johnson's answers.

1. Outside of morning peak time, overland services to London Bridge have been cut from 6 trains per hour to four trains per hour. What will you do to restore the levels of service which were promised until last year?

I have met with the train operator about time table changes and reductions in service. They argue that there are technical limitations at London Bridge that cannot be overcome. I have pressed the case and they have agreed to meet with me again in July to review the effects and discuss possible compromises. Thanks to unprecedented levels of investment by Labour many commuters are benefitting from new lines and new trains and in future more carriages to reduce overcrowding, but I’m determined to pursue this vital local issue. I’m delighted that pressure from local Labour MPs like myself secured the East London Line extension due to open in May.

2. Do you support the local campaign to revive plans for the south London Loops service to Crofton Park?

Yes. I’m aware of the difficulties arising from the planned rebuilding of London bridge station and the proposal to close the line in 2012. The Save the London Line campaign has been chaired by my colleague Val Shawcross, Labour candidate for Bermondsey & Southwark and I very much support the alternative service running from Victoria through Crofton Park to Bellingham.

3. What, specifically, will you do to ensure that the Surrey Canal Station gets built during the extension of the East London Line to Clapham Junction?

I have argued the case for the Surrey Canal Road Station ever since the extension of the East London Line to Clapham Junction was proposed. I obtained a promise from the Department of Transport to provide £7m for the new station on the basis of a value for money assessment after Boris Johnson refused to fund it. Since then I have actively campaigned and intervened with both DfT and TfL as negotiations have stalled. The cost estimate of the station left a £3m ‘gap’ which Lewisham Council have offered to fill. I will continue to strongly argue for the station and if re-elected will meet with ministers again immediately after the election.

4. What will your top priority for Lewisham Deptford be and what are you going to do about it?

I have many local priorities for the different areas in the constituency ranging from the improvements to Brockley Station and Brockley Common (I chair the local stakeholders group) to Deptford Station redevelopment (I initiated and chair the group) to redevelopment at New Cross Gate Station and the Sainsbury’s site (another of my stakeholder groups). I will continue to press for improvements in existing homes, including greater energy efficiency and for more affordable homes to be built with on-site energy generation to enable people to benefit from the clean energy payback scheme introduced by the government. My overall priority is to support the economic recovery by getting Labour re-elected to government.

5. How will you reduce crime and improve policing in Lewisham Deptford?

Crime has reduced dramatically as a result of Labour policies on neighbourhood policing and better detection methods. However violence amongst young people is a huge problem which despite all our efforts continues to be completely unacceptable. I will guarantee that we will keep up police numbers. I will press for maximum police time on the streets, close contact with communities, engaging parents and supporting diversionary activities for young people.

6. How can national government help Lewisham Council improve its performance and achieve its aims?

The Labour government introduced a reporting framework of indicators and targets for local government. This has led to considerable improvement and efficiencies including boosting recycling rates and the use of green energy. National government also provides for the decent homes standard that has improved 5000 Lewisham properties in the social housing sector with many more in the pipeline.

7. What is the one policy you support that you would most like Brockley Central readers to know about?

As Minister for Energy and Climate Change, I have helped develop and execute the Labour government’s policies on energy efficiency and climate change. I am proud of our record – we are the first government in the world to bring into law absolute limits on greenhouse gases. Every government department now has a carbon budget and we have nearly doubled our achievement of the Kyoto target. We will provide 30% of our electricity from renewable energy by 2020. Our home energy efficiency programme will result in all cavity walls and lofts being filled by 2015; more complex eco-upgrades for 7 million homes and a ‘pay as you save’ scheme to enable home owners to meet the costs of installing green measures.

8. Name one thing in the party manifesto with which you personally disagree?

I voted against the renewal of Trident when it was debated in 2007 – I continue to oppose all nuclear weapons while supporting the government’s efforts on the non-proliferation treaty.


Anonymous said...

One further question for Ms Ruddock, on the off-chance that she or any of her aides or other local Labour types are reading this:

How can you reconcile your Parliamentary voting record (which is entirely pro-government) with the interests of your constituents?
I have written to you a number of times to ask you to vote against a government measure, but it never makes any difference because your position as a junior minister means you are obliged blindly and unthinkingly to vote for the government line at all times. This is not what I consider to be adequate representation.

Mezzer said...

I very much second Kate's point above.

Anonymous said...

did Joan support the new Labour gambling act which has helped to destroy Deptford?

Anonymous said...

Anon - this very useful site says that yes, she did:

Anonymous said...

wow. just checked her voting record. she might as well be replaced by a robot!

Anonymous said...

She is very robotic - this article, 'Joan's guide on how to tow the party line', is very telling. It's just annoying that the other main parties haven't turned up; not exactly a great choice of candidates. That said, it will be interesting to see the Green Vs Red as we go along. I think the Greens are sinking more money into LewDep than Labour are in the UK!

neanderthal d said...

I like Joan Ruddock.

She comes across as very modest in her answers above, and with her voting record she has a lot to be modest about.

StuartX said...

Joan has helped us enormously with Brockley Common and station/rail related issues generally. Pity we didn't ask her about BXAGs hot issue over the independently assessed continuing rail overcrowding and whether she supports the case for the re-opening of the High Level line?

Tamsin said...

@ neanderthal - that was a sneaky sticking in of the knife hidden behind your back!

Anonymous said...

Joan Ruddock attended a mtg to discuss problems reidents are having along Upper Brockley Road about two years ago. She promised to press agencies to raise their game and find a solution to drug dealing and associated anti social behaviour (including harrassment of elderly ladies living in fear and alone). We haven't heard a squeek from her since. Just shows how concerned she is. I know wheremy vote will NOT be going.

name said...

Maybe she did, press agencies as she said she would and left if for them to follow through.
Did you invite her to a follow up meeting?

Anonymous said...

She didn't press very hard if she did. She has ignored many opportunities to correspond since.

I heart cupcakes said...

Myself and my husband have written to Joan on several ocassions, and we always get the same response that with Labours help life is so much better..blah blah.She constantly claims crime is reduced in my area, yet when a woman was shot directly outside my house she was nowhere to be seen, nor was the CCTV they discussed installing -we're still waiting. She does the minimum she has to, as her voting record shows - she has done nothing to regenerate New Cross as far as I can see-oh except the fantastical "Making Kender Street a destination" project - the leaflet produced for that was comical - men in bowler hats and fancy shops along New Cross Road replacing the Christian and Chicken shacks we currently have. Her response re Surrey Canal and Sainsburys is the same thing, she's working on it, chairing groups, stakeholder meetings etc, yet there is no further news on IF and WHEN these projects are going to leave the planning stages

name said...

MPs can exert influence regarding local issues but they can't wave a magic wand and suddenly regenerate area. Politics doesn't work like that life does work like that. To get things done you have to get people on board, by arguing the case, achieving consensus (of some sort) and THEN delivery.

So when Joan Ruddock says shes working on it, to dismiss it as doing nothing. Is not necessarily fair.

Re crime, it has been talked about on this site about perception of crime and the reality. Crime statistics show that . Regarding CCTV it isn't a panacea and again for some CCTV equates to safety for others equally vehement it represents encroachment of the state, invasion of privacy. So before installing it ethical have to be discussed.

I think the point about Joan Ruddock not keeping informed is something that she & her office should address. Do you want your local MP to send our regular pamphlets updating on things particularly if things haven't moved forward.

If that's the case you should let her know, so she can do something about it.

Monkeyboy said...

May not vote for her this time - I change opinion daily. Having said that I've written to her twice and received replies - if a little bland - both times. Not sure what you expect an MP do about an individual crime? Amateaur sleuthing?

I heart cupcakes said...

I didn't actually expect her to solve the crime no, but in other instances of crime local MP's have commented yet Joan seems to never comment on such matters, except to spout the Labour party mantra when directly approached with regards the issue.
While I understand CCTV is an issue which divides people,we live in an area which has seen a large amount of crime due to lack of CCTV and a local knowledge from drug dealers etc that it's a great area to conduct business for exactly that point. I'm sure the CCTV will be installed once the tube line is forced through our local park, something that none of the local community was consulted on, even though Joan insists we were. I have lived in this area for many years and my point is that Joan hasn't really done anything in my opinion to make it any better for the local community to make it any better and perhaps its time to let someone else have a go!

Brockley Nick said...

@I heart cupcakes

What tube line has been forced through what park without consultation?

And you claim that lack of CCTV has directly contributed to drug crime. Where's your evidence for that?

Tamsin said...

The DLR took a huge swathe out of Brookmill Park.

Anonymous said...

Twas once Arcadia tis true.

Anonymous said...

I'd sooner have CCTV than bullets coming through my window. The drug dealing crew at the end of UBR are certainly not deterred by the ABSENCE of any cameras. The residents who live there who have asked for cameras to be introduced and who indeed have been promised by Steve Bullock that they would be made available would welcome them. They would also welcome the police doing their job and busting that ring once and for all. As someone said elsewhere, it seems nothing will be done until someone is killed. Shame on all if this is the way it happens. Shame on them anyway for allowing it to continue. They have known about this for a long time. It is a disgrace that people have to live like this. I know as I live there.

Anonymous said...

Do you really think that there will be a little man poring over the output of the video camera, barking warnings to police vans to descend on Upper Brockley Road at the first sign of any illicit activity?

Last time I looked, the budgets seemed to stretch to one guy sitting in front of at dozens of screens. People cost money and so do the video archives, which are regularly wiped and are only useful if they catch a serious incident. There are some very stupid criminals, but most will just ensure they out of sight of the camera.

Improving running of the local drug rehab centre might be a better bet.

Upper Brockley Road and Brockley Cross have been the location for illicit dealing for decades.

Estate Agents fail to include these facts in their property descriptions for some reason.

Anonymous said...

Are you for real? local drug rehab centre! They are doing the DEALING! raed the post before you dismiss them. And no, I dont think there is 'a little man poring over CCTV output' - I believe there is another little man though..

Marmoset said...

If I had any responsibility for the current state of Deptford station, it's the last thing I'd want to boast about.

name said...

What have labour ever done for anyone round here?

Introduction of the local assembly- that's no good, decisions should be made at the top.

Right to Maternity Leave boo!- why should families be supported and it favours women.

Education- they went on about it, but all they did was increase the numbers of people going to university and introduced classroom assistants and a new schools building programme and testing, that was awful, why should kids be tested who wants an objective standard to judge whether policies are delivering.
Seniors, received winter fuel allowance, free tv licences for over 75 and pension credits, it's just not enough.
Worker- part time workers get same rights as full time workers, after working for 6 months, is this fair?
New deal
Disability discrimination act
Equalities act
Civil partnerships
Devolution- Scottish parliament
Mayor for London
Winning the Olympics

Domestic violence down
Tripling of overseas aid
Ban on Cluster bombs
Peace in Northern Ireland
Free Museum entry
Banning Fox hunting
Education Maintenance Allowances
Child Trust Fund
Child Tax Credits

Yeah what have labour done in the last 13 years???

I love labour, said...

Whoop whoop! Go labour! Spring break, yeah! Peace and luv.

Oh, and iraq war, scrapage of 10p tax, more useless f*cking trident, flaming extremist religious views via wars abroad - hence july bombings, terminal 5, f*cked up pensions system. But the latter's ok, pensioners can watch free telly! Hooray!


name said...

Labour mistakes are there for all to see and they will pay at the ballot box. For the purposes of balance, it is important to remember what Labour has achieved.
The Greens haven't achieved power, so there isn't a record to judge.

Also Green policies tend to be a bit anti-human in that they don't believe that humans can provide the solutions to humanity problems. They see humanity as the problem.

Anonymous said...

Its a straight fight beween Labour and Lib Dems now...anything else really is a wasted vote.

name said...

Well whatever happens, happens. Joan Ruddock is the best candidate for this area, but if people protest vote for lib dems and don't prioritise this area, don't complain about it later.

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