Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP Neil Coyle on Lewisham Council’s treatment of Millwall

News Desk (15 September, 2016)

Neil says Lewisham's decision was disappointing, but hopes there will be more chances to examine the details with the London Mayor

2163MP Neil Coyle

I  was disappointed that Lewisham Council cabinet voted last week to forcefully (using a Compulsory Purchase Order) buy land around Millwall Football Club.

I’ve been contacted by many constituents about this issue – and by Millwall fans who live far outside the constituency. Many believe that the proposals for this land could be detrimental to the future of the club. I share their concerns. I worked with my Labour colleague, Vicky Foxcroft MP, to oppose the plans – and Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, also publicly backed Millwall on this issue.

Millwall, despite the claim ‘no one likes us’, have shown massive support for the club’s campaign and attract loyal, passionate supporters. I saw Millwall beat Blackpool in March and am proud to have seen the work of the excellent Millwall Community Trust for a few years.

I joined the celebrations for the Trust’s outstanding contribution in Parliament and believe they do more outreach work than any other major club. Millwall’s community projects, training and other opportunities help young people progress, participate and even avoid crime and gang life. The Trust also help co-ordinate fundraising projects, including for Bermondsey’s Harvey Brown (pictured) who was also aided by a petition at The Den.

Lewisham’s decision is disappointing but I hope there will be further opportunities to examine it in more detail in due course, including with the London Mayor.

Since my last column A-Level and GCSE results have been published. Apparently over 68% of students in Southwark achieved A*-C at GCSEs which is a great. Southwark also saw another fantastic year for A-Level results. We should be proud of all those who worked hard to achieve these results: schools, teachers, students, parents and our education authority. The results are a tribute to the amazing local effort and come despite the damaging education policies pursued by the Coalition and now Tory Governments.

I recently met with local secondary headteachers to discuss current challenges. Issues raised include significant problems recruiting staff and underfunding. Cameron pursued an end to parental choice and insistence on all schools becoming academies. May ditched this but only for a return to grammar schools. The Government’s chaotic approach is harmful to a sector already experiencing low morale. Students, parents and staff in Southwark deserve a clearer focus on quality education for all, with adequate funding and staff levels.

My weekly surgery is Friday, 4-6pm at my office, 149-151 Jamaica Road. I hold other surgeries across our community. If you’d like one near you, or want to raise any other issue, please contact me at Neil.Coyle.MP@parliament.uk

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