05:00PM, Thursday 05 October 2017
Heavy traffic and a third Heathrow runway were among the topics Slough MP Tan Dhesi was grilled on at the Langley Neighbourhood Forum (LNF) on Tuesday.
Speaking at Langley Hall Primary Academy, the UK’s first turban-wearing Sikh MP said he was proud to be a part of the UK’s most diverse Parliament.
Mr Dhesi, whose background is in construction, assured attendees at the Langley Road school that he is not a ‘career politician’ and promised to be a ‘hard working MP’ who will work ‘for the betterment of all, regardless of background, colour or creed’.
When asked about the heavy traffic in Langley and residents’ desire for a relief road through to Iver, Mr Dhesi said the responsibility rested with Slough Borough Council (SBC) but that he would liaise with councillors.
“Very slick answer but it won’t do at all,” said LNF chairman Eleanor Cryer, who called Slough borough councillors ‘as useful as a chocolate teapot’.
Traffic has been a heated subject of debate in previous LNF meetings due to SBC’s temporary closure of Chequers Bridge in Market Lane in August 2016.
It was closed as part of a trial-run to assess the impact transport projects like HS2 might have and re-opened early in January 2017 due to public pressure but it may be closed permanently in the future.
Members of the audience including Cllr Ted Plenty (Lab, Langley St Mary’s) said its relation to HS2 makes it a national issue and that money for a relief road would have to come from a minister as councils will not have the budget.
“If it comes to getting money out of a minister it has to be your job,” he said.
Mr Dhesi said: “At a national level I will be a strong voice for your good selves.”
He promised not to be ‘voting fodder’ for his party.
Things got heated when the discussion moved onto SBC’s decision to withdraw from a Government funded voter ID pilot scheme, which Mr Dhesi opposes.
When quizzed on Heathrow Airport expansion, he said: "If it's going to happen we need to ensure that measures are taken to safeguard the interests of Slough.
"What benefits are we going to get? Rather than battling the tide, that's what I'm going to focus on."
When asked by the Express if Mr Dhesi had moved to Slough, he said he picked up the keys for a new house in the borough last week.
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