On Wednesday 29th October Jon Cruddas and a small delegation of people took the 10,000 strong petition against the prison plans to Downing Street. The campaign started 18 months ago and Jon Cruddas has said that with the Ministry of Justice still not ruling us out, the fight continues.
Jon Cruddas had this to say: “In April 2013 the Ministry of Justice, London Mayor Boris Johnson and Sir Edward Lister, the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Policy, unveiled renewed plans to build a 2,000 capacity prison between Dagenham and Rainham on the Beam Park site. Following over a year of tireless campaigning with the full support of the local community, we collected over 10,000 signatures on a petition to oppose the plans.
“Last November we marched to City Hall and handed our petition to Sir Edward Lister; we got him and Boris on side however the Ministry of Justice confirmed that they still hadn’t ruled the site in Dagenham and Rainham out. This is the second time we have had to fight off plans to build a prison in the local area. In 2010 following the last campaign David Cameron came to Dagenham and said that while he was Prime Minister there would never be a prison in Dagenham, so the logical next step of this campaign was to take the petition to him at Downing Street.
“The progress of the ‘SAY NO’ campaign has been a huge testament to people power, with individual volunteers campaigning all over the constituency. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the community that has got behind the campaign over the past 18 months. As the local MP it is my job to make sure that local voices are heard on important issues and I hope that we have been heard loud and clear by the Ministry of Justice and David Cameron.
“The petition has been handed in but the fight still isn’t over, I will be writing to David Cameron and back to the Ministry of Justice to follow up our petition over the coming weeks.”
The delegation to Downing Street included: Cllr Peter Chand, Cllr Eileen Keller, Cllr Rocky Gill, Cllr Margaret Mullane who works in Jon’s office, Andrew Achilleos Dagenham & Rainham’s Campaign Organiser also from Jon’s office, and local volunteer Janis Cottee from Chadwell Heath.