17-05-18 - A Tribute to Tessa Jowell

When I was first thinking of becoming involved in politics, I was lucky enough to spend some time with Dame Tessa Jowell. She was warm, funny and hugely engaging; the perfect role model for any woman wishing to enter Parliament and certainly an inspiration to me.

In particular, I will remember Tessa as one of the finest exponents of cross-party working I have ever encountered. She was fiercely loyal to her Party, but recognised the need to build consensus in order to achieve sustainable, positive outcomes for our country. Whether it was creating the 'Sure Start' programme or securing the 2012 Olympic Games for London, Tessa was willing to leave her party allegiances at the door in order to get the job done.

She set an example from which we can all learn, not least in tackling some of the biggest challenges we face here in Maidstone and the Weald, such as: reducing congestion, improving our air quality or championing the need for better train services. She showed we are stronger and more effective through developing consensus and working together as a team.

Whilst the London Olympics was historic, perhaps Tessa's greatest legacy will be the dignity and fortitude with which she confronted what proved to be her final campaign. Even when faced with the most testing of personal challenges, a diagnosis of aggressive brain cancer, she was far more concerned about how she could use her platform to help other people. I am pleased that, thanks to Tessa's brave campaign, the Government will double its investment for research into combatting brain cancer. This is much needed funding and is a fitting final testament to Tessa's enduring ability to persuade decision makers across the political spectrum.

My thoughts are very much with her family and friends at this most difficult time. I hope they will find some comfort from the wave of national recognition and respect following her passing.

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Helen's column is published weekly in the Kent Messenger. Please note the print version may differ from the content here.


MP Helen Grant gets the latest on Barming sinkhole site


Maidstone, Kent 03-04-18: Maidstone & The Weald MP Helen Grant visited Barming resident Mrs Noreen 'Nolly' Clarke today to check she was being suitably attended to, following the appearance of a massive sinkhole at the end of her garden and driveway on Easter Sunday.

Whilst on site Helen met senior officials from South East Water and their subcontractor Southern Testing. They are looking into the reason behind the geological movement that led to the collapse of the surface of Nolly's garden.

There will be several boreholes sunk in order to diagnose the problem and ensure the correct rectification works are undertaken. The situation is not expected to be resolved for two or three weeks.

Helen said 'The effect of this collapse could have been so much more serious and I am thankful that Mrs Clarke says she is fine and very happy with the way her interests and her property is being looked after'.

'I asked Nolly, who is a volunteer for Maidstone Dementia Society, if there was anything she needed. Her main concern was that she could still get to Maidstone King Street on Monday morning where she is helps Involve at their weekly coffee morning for older people in Maidstone. She is such a lovely lady, putting others first despite having a huge sinkhole to deal with'.

'From my investigations it is apparent is that everyone involved sprang into action extremely quickly and deserve some commendation. The loss of water to some 30 households was reported at 8am on Easter Sunday morning and was rectified by 11am, just three hours later. Southern Water and Kent County Council highways department are working together to find the reason for the collapse and then take the necessary action as quickly as possible'.


15 MAY 2018

Showing Support for The Royal British Legion

Helen Grant, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald recently met with The Royal British Legion in Parliament to discuss support for the Armed Forces community in Maidstone and The Weald and to show her support for the outstanding work which the...


15 MAY 2018

Maidstone's MPs bring KCC and MBC together on Relief Road

The Leaders of Kent County Council and Maidstone Borough Council met on Friday 27 April to discuss the proposed relief road to the South of Maidstone (the "Leeds Langley Relief Road") in a second meeting chaired by Maidstone MPs Helen Grant and Helen...


08 MAY 2018

Helen promotes rural community funding opportunity

The Prince's Countryside Fund is offering grants of up to £50,000 to rural community groups in Maidstone & The Weald. Applications opened on April 30th for community groups and charities to apply for grant funding of up to £50,000 from The Prince's Countryside Fund, until June 14th 2018. The Fund is...



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HELEN GRANT MP

Helen's column

17 MAY 2018

A Tribute to Tessa Jowell

Kent Messenger Column – 17-05-18 When I was first thinking of becoming involved in politics, I was lucky enough to spend some time with Dame Tessa Jowell. She was warm, funny and hugely engaging;...


10 MAY 2018

Breast Cancer Screening

Kent Messenger Column- 10-05-18  I was extremely concerned to learn last week about the failure, dating back to 2009, to invite 450,000 women to their final breast cancer screening. Firstly, I know...


03 MAY 2018

Engaging in local politics

Kent Messenger Column - 03-05-18 Today (Thursday 3rd May) is local government polling day. It's the day you get to choose who you want to run your local services and plan for the future of...