Sir Tony Baldry
Sir Tony Baldry

Sir Tony Baldry

‘Effective’ MP

I was surprised to see that the Banbury Guardian resorted to tabloid style journalism in respect of our local MP, Sir Tony Baldry (Banbury Guardian, May 8).

Surely the key question we should be asking ourselves is how effective he is as the MP for Banbury and in this context does any of his external work as a Barrister impact on this?

From my own personal experience and without any political allegiance, I believe Tony is a most effective and energetic Member of Parliament who looks after our local interests extremely well.

Surely we should be grateful that somebody who could have had a far more financially rewarding career in the legal profession decided instead to take on the role of our local MP.

David Richards CBE

Chairman, Prodrive, Banbury

Where was Tony Baldry on February 5, 2014? He was certainly not at the meeting at Rye Hill Golf Club, representing his constituents concerning The Horton General Hospital.

Perhaps he was already drafting his letter criticising the Keep The Horton General campaign.

Maybe he had his paid legal work to do or directors meetings to attend.

Maybe he was applying to be a director of a property group. Who knows?

As Tony Baldry has a safe Conservative seat and is unlikely ever to be voted out, I wonder whether he might do the honourable thing and resign his seat.

This would leave him clear to pursue his business and financial interests with the added bonus of the constituents of Banbury having a sitting MP who has the time and inclination to fight for the interests of our town.

By the way I am – or was – a Conservative voter, just in case our MP is interested.

Liz Hawes

Via e-mail


Work together

In the Banbury Guardian last week (May 8), there was an article concerning the capability of Junction 11 of the M40 to handle the extra traffic created by the proposed Gateway Shopping Centre.

In the same edition there is also mention of another large national company relocating its distribution centre to Banbury, this being an addition to the many other national logistics companies which have done likewise in recent years.

In neither case is there any concern of the affect this will have on local roads, which are already creaking at the seams.

HGV vehicles are becoming larger and larger and most of these roads are not designed to take such vehicles, both in a width or in a structural sense.

The increase in HGVs is disproportionate in this area.

The people of South Newington, Wroxton, Middleton Cheney (Welsh Lane) and Farthinghoe are all suffering greatly from this growing problem and the strategy of the local councils seems to be to turn a deaf ear.

South Northants District Council and Cherwell District Council now have joint higher management, but do not seem able to work together on contentious issues like this.

It is time that Oxford, Warwickshire and Northamptonshire county councils also worked together.

It is time for some joined up thinking and solutions.

It is a good thing to see the area prospering, but we have to invest in the infrastructure before it is too late. We can have a £50 billion (who said £80 billion!) high speed rail forced upon us, with no local benefit, but a very small proportion of that rail investment in the above mentioned problems would solve them.

It would also be a small dose of painkillers for those who will suffer the severe headaches of the construction traffic and disruption caused by the building of HS2

Mick Morris

Manor Lane, Farthinghoe

HS2 Hybrid bill

Why I abstained

I am not holding my breath that there is any Chancellor of the Exchequer who is ever going to find £50 billion for HS2.

Personally, I didn’t think it was sensible Parliamentary tactics for opponents of HS2 to vote against the Hybrid Bill.

Firstly, this forced the Labour Party to recommit the Labour Party to supporting HS2. As a consequence, 451 MPs supported the Hybrid Bill and that has been seen by all concerned as representing overwhelming cross-party Parliamentary support for HS2.

I think those concerned about HS2 should have made it clear that they would not have opposed the Hybrid Bill on the undertaking that there would be another Parliamentary vote at the conclusion of the Hybrid Bill process.

The Hybrid Bill Committee, akin to a public enquiry, is likely to take several years, and will be the first time that the arguments for and against HS2 will have been properly scrutinised and examined.

It would have been better to have negotiated for a meaningful vote at the end of that process.

This was most certainly an occasion when, in my constituents’ interests, the correct course was for me to abstain – better still, it should never have been forced to a vote.

Sir Tony Baldry, MP

House of Commons


Rail analogy

With reference to the ‘Horton Super Staff’ letter from A Gurney (Banbury Guardian, May 8), I share two recent Horton/Churchill experiences.

OUHT reminds us Oxford is a ‘Centre of Excellence’, local GPs support certain services not resuming at the Horton. However, without first-hand experience, how can ‘they’ be so emphatic, bigger is best?

An analogy! St Pancras – a huge railway station, routes to sundry parts of UK/Europe. Many platforms, different levels, much activity, thousands utilising it daily.

Banbury station – three platforms, same level, easily accessible from town centre. A direct trip to Paris is impossible, but journeys are quick and efficient.

I reckon the Banbury customer experience is happier/less stressful.

A Gurney’s comments about the Horton ‘first class attention, respect and courtesy at all times, improving quality of life, hardworking and giving individuals’.

The same description applies to the Churchill staff. But the environment! Surrounded by continual activity and noise, I was reminded of the field hospital in MASH! Innumerable people operated on amidst an atmosphere akin to organised chaos.

I empathise with the personnel. The propensity for error must be considerable.

The 2013 Surgical Forum paper (Royal Colleges/professional surgical organisations) recommended ‘There is an urgent need to ascertain policy commitment to the continuation of the DGH as a model for service provision.

Thus, there is a need to align the surgical curriculum for practice in this setting, and to avoid unnecessary emphasis on subspeciality training….’

At the Horton, a young woman with several cleaning utensils diligently cleaned everything around me. I commended her attention to detail and the importance of her work.

At the Churchill, I saw once a nurse wiping a plastic mattress with wet wipes. By 4pm, the female lavatory was awash with used paper towels, the bin propped open and the lavatory brush lay next to the basin. TripAdvisor for hospitals?

Name and address withheld

Via e-mail