The Challenge Campaign

Earlier in the Summer Bob Stewart hosted young people from the Bromley Challenge Campaign taking part in the National Citizenship Service at Westminster.  By way of return Bob was invited to visit the young people when they put their challnges into action and he did so on Saturday 20th September.  Bob is shown with local young people who were campaigning in support of better mental health in Bromley.

Visit to Beckenham Royal Mail Sorting Office

On Friday 19th September Bob visited the Beckenham Roayl Mail Sorting Office.  After chatting to staff he went on a postal round to experience exactly what it was like being a postman.  He delivered mail up Croydon Road and then towards Marian Vian School where he had a quick word with the Head Teacher.  Bob accompanied Ozay as he did his daily route delivering mail and very much enjoyed being with him.

The First Eden Park Beer and Cider Festival

On Thursday 18th September Bob Stewart opened and spoke at the First Eden Park Beer and Cider Festival which took place at Club Langley.  The Festival was organised by the Bromley Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) which was reopened nearly 3 years ag0, with Bob present, in December 2011.  Bob was delighted to learn the Bromley CAMRA now has 1,220 members.  Since becoming an MP Bob has always been a CAMRA supporter and he has demonstrated that support in debates within the Chamber of the House of Commons.  The photogrpah above shows Bob with the four member Eden Park Beer and Cider Festival organising committee.

Bob Questions the Prime Minister

In the Chamber of the House of Commons on 1st September Bob suggested to the Prime Minister that soldiers, hopefully not British troops, had to defeat the ISIS terrorists in Iraq and Syria on the ground.  He stated: "Tragically, the only way to defeat people who are determined to carry out appalling acts, despite reason, politics, economic sanctions or whatever, is to defeat them on the battlefield. The only way that can be done against ISIS is for someone to go in there and do it. It does not look as if it will be us or the Americans, and it will probably not be the Kurds; the people who seem most likely to be able to do it are the Iraqi Government and their armed forces. Despite it being somewhat distasteful, can we give as much support as possible to the Iraqi armed forces so that they can do the job that no one else seems able to do?"            In response the Prime Minister commented: “My hon. Friend is fundamentally right that, at the end of the day, responsibility for a unified Iraq without the presence of ISIL, and without this extremism and terrorism, is with the Iraqi Government. To do that, an Iraqi Government is needed that includes Sunni, Shi’a and Kurd. We should not see support for the Kurds and support for the Iraqi Government as alternatives. To get rid of the cancer in their midst, we need an Iraqi Government who work with the Kurds.”

Visit to The Rock to show Solidarity with Gibraltarians

In the second week of September Bob was invited to Gibraltar by its First Minister The Hon Fabian Picardo QC.  Bob and the First Minister are friends and Bob has been visiting Gibraltar since his early twenties when he led Army diving teams to the Rock for training expeditions. Now, as an MP, Bob is an active member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Gibraltar and he speaks in the House of Commons in support of its British citizens frequently - especially to denounce Spain's frequent violations over border controls.  The photograph shows Bob aboard HMS Scimitar off Gibraltar in British waters.

Postcard from the Summer Recess

On Monday 1st September BBC Radio 4's PM Programme asked Bob to broadcast a brief 'postcard' in which he was asked to explain some of what he had been doing during Parliament's Summer Recess.  His broadcast words are repeated below. On 29th July I flew to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus and was briefed on the role of our troops there.  I have always considered Cyprus to be a strategic jewel in our defence crown and that was, once more, confirmed by my visit.  Some don’t realise that two large areas of the island, containing our air base and several garrisons, are legally as much a part of the United Kingdom as is, say, Beckenham.  Our bases in Cyprus are also the places where British service personnel ‘decompress’ for a day or so en route home from Afghanistan.  That short stopover – a buffer if you like between war and peace - is invaluable. I was home by 4th August; the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.   In early July I had in fact visited some World War 1 battlefields.  I was particularly conscious that the Cheshire battalion I would command some 80 years later had been decimated at the Battle of Mons on 24th August 1914.  The CO at the time, Colonel Dudley Boger, was the first officer to be helped by Nurse Edith Cavell – herself executed by the Germans in 1915 for aiding British soldiers. I marked the 4th August by visiting Beckenham’s War Memorial and then attending a vigil in St George’s Church.  At such times I suppose it is inevitable that my mind goes back 32 years. Tragically on 6th December 1982, in Northern Ireland, six of my soldiers were killed and over 30 wounded by a bomb at a place called Ballykelly.  I remain marked by the Ballykelly Bomb.   Forgive me if I have concentrated on memories but in this anniversary year I think that may be understandable. Of course in addition I lived and worked in my constituency of Beceknham for most of the parliamentary recess - apart from a week's holiday with my family.  But now all MPs are back at Westminster.  We have very serious matter to debate - p\articularly what to do about the situations in Ukraine and the Middle East.  Pray God we get things right.

Bromley Young People doing National Citizen Service visit Westminster

On Wednesday 9th July 2014, fifty nine young people (aged 15-17) from Bromley visited the House of Commons and met Bob to discuss voting and having their voices heard.The visit formed part of National Citizen Service, a government funded scheme which brings young people together from different backgrounds and teaches them what it means to be responsible and contribute to their communities  Bob gave the young people a tour of the Houses of Parliament and informed of the history of the building. They also sat in the Public Gallery of the House of Commons and listened to live topics being discussed.

Visit to St. Symphorian First World War Military Cemetery in Belgium

On Friday 4th July and in remembrance that the First World War which started almost 100 years ago Bob visited several First World War Military Cemeteries in Belgium.  In particular he sought the last resting places of officers and soldiers of our local regiment, The Royal West Kent Regiment.  The photograph shows him at the grave of twenty year old Lieutenant D.C.C, Sewell who died on 10th September 1914.

Visit to Coloma Court

On Friday 27th June 2014  Bob visited Coloma Court, the nursing and residential home on Layhams Lane.  On the estate pf the Daughters of Mary and Joseph the home has 68 bedrooms and sits in a beautiful location overlooking lovely countryside.  Bob talked to residents and also spent some time with the Resident Sister and Matron Manager.  The photograph shows Bob with Maria Covington, the Matron Manager and Sister.

Visit to HMS Somerset

As part of his parliamentary duties as a member of the Defence Select Committee between 20 - 22 June Bob visited HMS Somerset on operational patrol returning from the Arabian Gulf.  The ship had been away from the United Kingdom for almost 6 months.  In the photograph Bob is seen with crew members and a Scan Eagle device being trialled for possible use by the Royal Navy.