Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Matthew Offord MP - Does he actually know where his constituency is?

I was shocked to read this report on the Barnet Press website yesterday about the relocation of the National Institute for Medical Research to St Pancras.

The article says

Accompanying the minister Hendon MP Matthew Offord admitted the residents of Mill Hill would be sorry to see the Institute leave its home after nearly 65 years.

He said: “We are greatly saddened to lose the Institute. But I would have to say I would agree with the minister, this is a national institute, not the Mill Hill Institute for Medical Research. And the opportunities that would become available at St Pancreas will not only mean that more scientists from around the world will be able to access it, but also the capacity of the building will be greatly increased.”

I could not believe the stupidity of Mr Offord in making this statement. It implies that Mill Hill is in the outback and difficult to access. Does Mr Offord not realise that there is a direct fast train on the Thameslink line which connects with St Pancras in 15 minutes? Does Mr Offord. Does Mr Offord also not realise that the NIMR is currently only a ten minute walk from the Northern Line at Mill Hill East? Does he not realise that there is ample onsite parking? Does he not realise that it would be quicker for the scientists he mentioned, arriving from all around the world, to drive to NIMR from Luton, Stanstead and Heathrow Airports given the proximity of Mill Hill to the A1/A41/M1/A406/M25? I run a business that has a large international client base and they choose us for this very reason.

The loss of the NIMR is yet another major loss to the Barnet economy. All Mr Offord seems able to see is the opportunity for a few flats. What prosperity and jobs will these bring to Barnet? I actually worked in the NIMR in the 1970's as a lab porter. The local Tories are obsessed with building flats, but don't give a stuff about real jobs for the young people coming through. Barnet Council should have fought tooth and nail to retain this global centre of excellence. The fact that our MP thinks St Pancras is easier to get to than the NIMR shows just how little he knows about his community. I saw his comments as an attack on his own constituency and a deliberate attempt to talk down what a great place the London Borough of Barnet is to do business.

Just to illustrate the point, here is a link to the page on my business website that shows just how easy Mill Hill is to get to from just about anywhere -

I will formally be writing to Mr Offord, inviting him for a guided tour of Mill Hill, just so he doesn't put his foot in it again, when speaking to the local press. Mill Hill is accessable and has great transport links and any local MP who doesn't realise this after four years in the job, really shouldn't be our MP at all.

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