Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Sally-Ann Hart MP for Hastings and Rye

MP moves into overdrive

Hastings and Rye MP Sally-Ann Hart has suddenly gone into overdrive, sending out half a dozen press statements in the last few days. This publication, however, is still waiting for her to respond to enquiries from more than two weeks ago. Nick Terdre reports.

Gatherings on Camber Sands, inconsiderate motorcyclists and post-covid economic recovery are all matters which have drawn pronouncements from our MP in recent days.

On Thursday 25 June she said:

“I am horrified by the images coming out of Camber over the last few days. We have already seen packed sand dunes, inconsiderate parking and disrespectful behaviour over the last few months, but this is all growing in intensity in recent days.”

Two days later, on Saturday 27 June, she reported that she had chaired a meeting of partners involved in the management of Camber and the surrounding area at which:

“…we agreed to put in place a plan that will ensure we can keep Camber open for business whilst reducing traffic levels, focussing on beach safety and ensuring residents are treated with respect and decency.”

A NEW multi-agency plan to help manage issues caused by thousands of day-trippers heading to Camber Sands in warm weather was to be drawn up, she said.

“Rother District Council, Sussex Police, East Sussex County Council and Camber Parish Council will work together to discuss what roles each can play in a strategic plan to cope with visitors during warm weather.”

Working overtime

Wednesday 24 June was a particularly busy day. First Ms Hart took up the issue of economic recovery.

“Now is the time for us all to play our part in turbo-charging our local economy once again,” she said. “I am so pleased that the Prime Minister has given the green light for more businesses to re-open. We are particularly dependent on the tourism and hospitality sectors here in Hastings and Rye, so this news is very welcome indeed.”

On the same day she “welcomed the Government’s announcement…of an additional £105 million to provide interim housing for rough sleepers through the Covid-19 pandemic…

“One of my top priorities as the MP has been to support the most vulnerable in our communities, including the eradication of homelessness from our town.”

Finally on 24 June, presumably on overtime by now, she took up the issue of the excessive noise and speeding exhibited by some motorcyclists.

“…Well, I am now calling time on this nuisance practice. In the coming weeks I will be meeting with Sussex Police to work through a plan of action to bring this bothersome practice to an end.” Watch this space, then.

Early outing

Economic recovery was also the theme of an early outing on Wednesday 17 June, when she announced that she had “written to the Leaders of Hastings Borough Council, Rother District Council and East Sussex County Council calling on them to open up our area to visitors and support local businesses…

“As we have got control on the health pandemic, with infection rates coming down and death rates falling, now is the time to be supporting our local businesses and getting the local economy firing on all cylinders again,” she said.

“I fear that if we don’t build confidence in people that our high streets are safe places to be with the correct social distancing guidance being followed, then we will see businesses fold and jobs lost.

“I am dismayed that the Hastings Borough Council continues to run marketing campaigns saying, ‘Please stay away’, and that the public toilets still remain closed even with local businesses now opening up.” She had asked council leader Kim Forward to drop the campaign and open the toilets, she said.

Question in Parliament

Ms Hart has also been vocal in her concern about asylum-seekers crossing the Channel in small boats to reach this country. In early June she tabled a question for home secretary Priti Patel, asking “What steps her Department is taking to stop migrants crossing the English Channel illegally.”

An article  in HOT reported about a representative of a refugee support group questioning her claim that migrants were crossing the Channel illegally.

HOT sent an email to Ms Hart saying: “We’d be happy to publish any comment you might have to make on this article, and on the answer you received to your question [to the home secretary].

It also asked her to define “people who come to the UK legally,” as referred to in her own intervention in the Commons debate.

In an appended email we asked if she had a comment on the removal of the Tory members from the HBC Cabinet which had taken place two days earlier.

However, no response has been received from the MP.


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Posted 19:11 Sunday, Jun 28, 2020 In: Politics


Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT

  1. Bolshie

    This failure to reply to people or if they do not to address a particular issue is common with MP’s. As one comment here says how Amber Rudd did the same and I can confirm that too.
    However, it is an endemic problem that extends to councillors and council officers too. Local councillors are notorious for this- both party’s. If it is a complaint or an objection to an issue you rarely get a response. However, if you are going to give them some accolade then a reply is usually rapid.
    It sounds like those commentators like me are well seasoned to the lack communication.

    Comment by Bolshie — Saturday, Jul 11, 2020 @ 08:46

  2. Ann Kramer

    I have emailed her 5 times: about PPE, care homes and Cummings. I had one anodyne cut and paste reply on Cummings, to which I responded. I’ve received one completely inadequate reply from her secretary to which I responded asking for more information. Silence was the stern reply. Otherwise no response at all. There’s no way she will reply to any opponent.

    Comment by Ann Kramer — Sunday, Jul 5, 2020 @ 22:44

  3. Matthew

    To be fair I’ve had a couple of responses from Sally but not on everything, but it was the same with Rudd – I think to be honest it’s probably the low hanging fruit that gets harvested first – things that are easier to respond to – you could imagine it being difficult to defend Cummings and maybe she disagrees with him but couldn’t step out of line – so I would take a non-response as quite indicative in itself. You could imagine the life of any MP is very busy right now – 2 5 letter acronyms (covid&brexit!) – as well as technology making it easier for everyone to write to their MP on impulse – it’s not a job I’d particularly want, and to be honest by and large the MP’s response rate won’t be the biggest factor in re-election (although it certainly helps)

    If an MP is going to invest their time, it’s most productive to target potential swing voters, and not give any ammunition to the press

    Comment by Matthew — Thursday, Jul 2, 2020 @ 17:31

  4. Steve Amos

    I have contacted her 3 times, twice about the Dominic Cummings affair and once about support for the self-employed. I haven’t received a response on any of these occasions. Maybe she’s only interested in representing constituents who agree with her?

    Comment by Steve Amos — Thursday, Jul 2, 2020 @ 10:39

  5. Jack

    We are all having that experience. I have only emailed her once during Covid-19, no relply from here and when I enquired of her office I was told that “I have not passed on your email to the MP, and have no intention of doing so”
    So much for representation, it’s secretaries we should be voting for.

    Comment by Jack — Wednesday, Jul 1, 2020 @ 17:54

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