Defence Committee Visits Frontline NATO States in the Baltic

As a member of the House of Commons Defence Committee Bob visited Latvia and Estonia between 9th - 11th June 2014.  The purpose of the visit was to assess just how great was the threat to the security of the Baltic States from an apparently resurgent Russia. All the Baltic states, including the third one, Lithuania, have their security guaranteed under the NATO Charter which means that if they were invaded the United Kingdom would be treaty bound to defend them.  This visit occurred as a direct result of recent Russian expansion into Ukraine.  Bob was photographed outside NATO's Cyber Warfare Centre in Talinn, Estonia.

Defence Committee Visits Frontline NATO States in the Baltic

From 9th - 11th June 2014 Bob visited first Latvia and then Estonia with the House of Commons Defence Committee.  The purpose of the visit was for MPs to assess just how great was the threat from Russia; bearing in mind that both countries are on Russia's borders and the United Kingdom is expected to defend them under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. Obviously recent events in Ukraine worry the Baltic States greatly.  Bob is pictured outside NATO's recently established Cyber Warfare Centre in Talinn, Estonia.  

Hayes Fair 2014

Despite the fact that a thunderstorm had occurred just prior to Hayes Fair opening the weather luckily turned out to be warm and sunny. As usual the fair was a great success.  Bob spent several hours at the fair and was very impressed by the enthusiastic and very professional displays put on by local children in the arena.  In particular he really enjoyed the jazz played by Hayes School Jazz Band which he thought to be of a very high standard.  Bob is photographed with two friends - Steve (left) and Pete (right) - who he seems to meet at the fair every year! 

Shortlands Station Supporting Demelza Hospice Care for Children

Shortlands Station staff closed their car park and opened a small fair instead on Saturday 7th June 2014.  The station staff wanted to support the work of Demelza Hospice Car for Children which is a charity looking after children across Kent, South East London and East Sussex.  Bob visited the stalls, bouncy castle and inspected the stocks designed for the Station managers.  Sadly the weather was not ideal but nonetheless it was really good effort by the railway staff and showed how just how much Shortlands Station is a part of the local community.  In the photograph Bob is shown with two of the staff - holding a rather exotic flower which he had purchased for his wife!

Slimming World Members sponsor the Robinson Suite at the PRUH

On Tuesday 27 May Bob Stewart was present when local branches of Slimming World presented a cheque for £3,116 which supporters had raised to help equip the Robinson Bereavement Suite in the Maternity Unit of the Prncess Royal University Hospital.  The Mayor and Mayoress of Bromley, Councillor and Mrs Ernest Noad, were also at the event.  Slimming World's efforts were hiugely appreciated by everyone present - especially the PRUH's fantastic medical proffesionals who, very sadly, sometimes have to deal with the tragedy of the death of a baby.

Kings, the PRUH and the Beacon

The amalgamation of Kings Hospital and the Princess Royal University Hospital (PRUH) as well as the Beckenham Beacon seems to be going well.  On Tuesday 27 May Bob visited the PRUH and talked to staff who universally stated it was working well and was in the best interests of patients. He was also told that facilities at the Beacon were being enhanced as well.

Visit to Amnesty International Stall

On Saturday 17 May Bob visited the Bromley, Beckenham and Orpington Amnesty International Stall positioned outside the Churchill Theatre in Bromley.  There he met with activists who were campaigning for women and girls' rights in Afghanistan.  Bob explained that he had twice met with female Afghan MPs whilst in Kabul and would do all he could to help even though |british influence in the country was likely to diminish with the departure of our troops at the end of the year.

The Need for a Maritime Patrol Aircraft

In the Chamber of the House of Commons on Thursday 10 April Bob outlined his very serious concern that the United Kingdom currenty has no Maritime Patrol Aircraft. A tried, tested and top of the range maritime patrol aircraft exists and could easily be procured; the P8 Poseidon Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft as illustrated in the attached phtograph. 

The Need for a Maritime Patrol Aircraft

In the Chamber of the House of Commons on Thursday 10 April Bob outlined his very serious concern that the United Kingdom currenty has no Maritime Patrol Aircraft. A tried, tested and top of the range maritime patrol aircraft exists and could easily be procured; the P8 Poseidon Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft as illustrated in the attached phtograph. 

Remembering the Hyde Park Bombing of 1982

On Thursday 27th March Bob contributed to a debate in the House of Commons which lamented that John Downey, a suspect in the Hyde Park Bombings which took place on 20th July 1982, had been allowed to walk free because of a mistake made by politicians and the police in Northern Ireland.  His speech is detailed below.Today, we are talking about events in London on Tuesday 20 July 1982. In particular, we are debating the consequences of an explosion—about 20 to 25 lbs of high explosive was packed with nails to cause maximum casualties, and hidden inside a Morris Marina car—in South Carriage drive near Hyde Park. It was placed there by the so-called “England Department” of the Irish Republican Army, and the bomb killed four members of the Blues and Royals as they rode to change the guard on Horse Guards.Apparently, John Downey, who was arrested at Gatwick in May last year, was a leading operative of the so-called “England Department” of the IRA. Yet he felt he was immune from prosecution, because he had in his possession a letter saying that he was not wanted by the Police Service of Northern Ireland, which appears to have been issued as part of the bargaining between the authorities and terrorists during the Northern Ireland peace process. When the letter was issued to Downey, the authorities either missed the fact that Downey was wanted on a 20-year arrest warrant for his alleged part in the July 1982 Hyde Park bomb, or they decided to ignore the fact.I totally understand why so many people are utterly dismayed by the fact that a suspect for the murders of four soldiers by IRA terrorists has apparently been granted immunity from prosecution. To my mind, it was an extraordinary mistake by both politicians and police in Northern Ireland. All of us here today in Parliament should send a clear signal that murder is murder and those responsible for it should face the full rigour of the law.I remember 20 July 1982 extremely well. At the time, I was a company commander serving in Northern Ireland; unknowingly, I was also only six months away from being directly involved in a similar atrocity at Ballykelly, where I personally lost six soldiers killed by terrorists on 6 December 1982. It has had a tremendous impact on me.In the Hyde Park bombing, there were not just four deaths, but 31 other people were wounded. Seven horses were killed and several others hurt. Some older Members may remember the heroic Blues and Royals horse called Sefton, who became something of a national hero for making such a great recovery after the incident.To their immortal memory, like my friend the right hon. Member for Belfast North (Mr Dodds), I remind the House of the names of our men who were killed in this atrocious barbarism.Lieutenant Anthony Daly was aged 23 and had been married only 27 days before he was murdered. I gather his mother was waiting at Horse Guards to proudly watch her son carry out his duty as escort commander. Corporal Roy Bright, aged 36, was carrying the standard. A senior soldier, Roy did not die at the scene but in hospital three days later. Trooper Simon Tipper, aged 19, died on the street. He had been married less than a month and must have been looking forward to a great life with his new bride. Finally, I must name Lance Corporal Jeffrey Young, who was just a week before his 20th birthday. With his wife Judith, he already had two children, who will never remember their heroic father. He died in hospital a day after the attack.Neither must we forget—and we have not raised this matter—that the same IRA team, which must have consisted of several people, was also responsible for a second explosion that day. It killed seven Royal Green Jackets bandsmen in Regent’s Park a few hours later. It would be remiss of me not to at least name them, too. Their names, without rank, because it does not matter anymore, were Graham Barker, Robert Livingstone, John McKnight, John Heritage, George Mesure, Keith Powell and Laurence Smith. May their souls also Rest in Peace.I gather that Mr Downey has at some stage raised horses, which I find somewhat ironic, and I would dearly like to see him brought to trial in whatever way we can. However, I accept that may seem unlikely, but in the meantime, as I have mentioned, there were others in his team. One other person has also been identified and taken to court, but there must have been others in the team that carried out this attack. Everyone in this Chamber without exception will agree with this: let all who have committed criminal acts in Northern Ireland sleep unsoundly. I very much hope that one day the authorities will knock on their door, wherever they are, and bring them to book.