Interview with Twickenham MP Munira Wilson as she confirms she will be standing for reelection

By Heather Nicholls

28th Mar 2024 | Local News

Interview with Twickenham MP Munira Wilson as she confirms she will be standing for relection. (Photo Credit: Munira Wilson MP).
Interview with Twickenham MP Munira Wilson as she confirms she will be standing for relection. (Photo Credit: Munira Wilson MP).

Twickenham's current Liberal Democrat MP, Munira Wilson, has confirmed that she will be standing again at the upcoming local election. 

Munira has been the MP for Twickenham since 12 December 2019 and also undertakes the role of Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Education. 

Munira has lived in Twickenham since 2005, and now lives with her husband and young family in Whitton. Prior to becoming an MP Munira was a Twickenham councillor. 

Munira previously worked for a science and technology company leading on Brexit and health policy between 2016-2019. Before that, Munira worked for health and children's charities, as well as the NHS, and holds a modern languages degree from Cambridge University. 

Nub News had the opportunity to sit down with Munira this week to discuss what she's done as MP so far, what she hopes to accomplish if she is re-elected and what she thinks the priorities are both nationally and locally. 

Munira said: "I want to stand as MP for Twickenham again because the country desperately needs a strong liberal voice and I want to make sure that, whether the Conservatives get elected or the Labour party gets in, Twickenham continues to have a really strong local champion that's standing up for Twickenham and issues that matter to our residents but also holding whoever is in power to account on all the big issues." 

She explained that since becoming the MP for Twickenham she has worked on a number of local issues, including 6,975 pieces of urgent casework and has replied to 70,000 emails from residents and on a national level she has worked as the Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Healthcare during the pandemic, as well as the Education and Childrens Spokesperson. 

She said: "It's been an insane four and a bit years, we've had a pandemic, several Prime ministers, the cost of living crisis and a range of local issues.  

"I've done a huge amount to help individuals in the constituency with casework, I've worked hand in hand with councillors on a range of local issues like The Teddington Direct River Abstraction Scheme, which I think will be a big local issue in coming elections, Teddington Police Station, Heathrow and South Western Railway.  

"We have had some wins along the way but there's still a lot more to do." 

She added that one of her earliest wins as MP was lobbying The Department for Education to get more funding for special education needs and disabilities, securing a change in the law so that Teddington Police Station can be secured for a new GP Surgery and social housing once it is sold and is currently working on a campaign on Kinship Carers. 

She said: "We managed to get the government to publish a strategy on kinship carers before Christmas it wasn't anywhere near ambitious enough but we managed to put kinship carers on the map." 

She said that nationally, she believes that the most important issues facing Twickenham residents are the cost of living crisis, healthcare, education and the environment. 

Locally, she is concerned about the provision of pharmacies, the Teddington Direct River Abstraction Scheme and Heathrow Airport.  

Pharmacy Provision and Healthcare: 

One thing that Munira is concerned about in the local area is the provision of pharmacies, specifically in Hampton, where two Boots Pharmacies have closed down. 

She said: "Health services are a concern at a national level but a couple of quite localised health issues that have come up recently is pharmacy provision, particularly in Hampton.  

"There's a bit of a black hole in the Tangly Park area where you've got a lot of elderly residents and a lot of residents with long-term health conditions, it's quite a deprived patch of Hampton with not brilliant public transport links.  

"I've been working really hard with councillors and trying to lobby various organisations to try and bring a new pharmacy there.  

She added: "We've also got a couple of GP surgeries in the area that are really jam packed full and they need to expand or move to a new site so I'm trying to support them to secure funding to be able to look at their options.  

"It's all very well demanding more GPs, which is a key ask for us as Lib Dems, but they need to have somewhere to operate out of and that seems to be a really big issue." 

Teddington Direct River Abstraction Scheme and Thames Water: 

In terms of the Teddington Direct River Abstraction (TDRA) scheme, she has been working with local people (explainer here) during the consultations.  

She said: "The TDRA is exercising a lot of people, especially in Twickenham and St Margarets where building will happen but it will impact everyone who uses the river." 

Responding to news reported by the BBC yesterday that raw sewage spills into England's rivers and seas hit record high last year Munira said: "It is scandalous the amount of sewage dumping that's happening in our rivers and waterways.  

"We know Thames Water was a huge culprit in this and some of the figures the Liberal Democrats exposed showed there was one day alone in 2021 where Mogdon discharged almost one billion litres of sewage." 

She outlined how the Liberal Democrats have been calling for Thames Water to go into special administration and for OFWAT, the water regulatory body to be scrapped. 

She said: "It's not fit for purpose and we want to see a new regulatory body put in place. 

"For many years the water companies have loaded themselves with debt, paid out massive bonuses and dividends and not invested in infrastructure. 

"At the end of the day, it's us bill payers that are suffering.  

"We're seeing our bills about to go up, more sewage going into our waterways and a quarter of the water being leaked on a daily basis.

"It's one of the reasons we want to see water companies transformed to become public benefit corporations where the company is not nationalised but it is run in a way that benefits the people it serves and the environment." 

Heathrow: 

In terms of Heathrow Airport, another prominent local issue, Munira said: "Heathrow continues to be an issue in terms of the noise, threat of expansion and air space modernisation which could see the noise patterns worsen or change depending on what they do." 

Hampton Court Palace: 

In terms of freee access to the gardens of Hampton Court Palace for residents, Munira told Nub News that she has been working on this issue for around a year. 

She met with Historical Royal Palaces at Hampton Court in the summer 2023 and in May 2023 wrote to ask the Secretary of State whether her Department has had recent discussions with Historic Royal Palaces on free public access to the grounds of Hampton Court Palace. 

She also added that in April 2023 she wrote to HRP to ask for free access to be restored – which you can read below. 

In April 2023 she wrote to HRP to ask for free access to be restored. (Photo Credit: Munira Wilson MP).

Munira said: "We are chasing up on some data that shows how the patterns have changed since they took the free access for local residents.  

"I know it's a concern for local residents and I've been working on it for more than 18 months." 

Budget and Cost of Living: 

In terms of the recent budget, set out by the chancellor for the Conservative Party, Jeremy Hunt Munira said: "It was a bit of a con really, wasn't it?  

"I was out on the doorstep a couple of days after and people were asking whether the government take us for fools. 

"It's not going to help the average person – the average household will be paying several hundred pounds more in tax than they were previously because thresholds have gone up and taxation has increased and at the same time our public services are struggling." 

Education: 

Munira outlined that she is hugely passionate about education and specifically children's mental health. 

She told Nub News that during her time as an MP she has been campaigning for a dedicated qualified mental health professional in every primary and secondary school. 

She coined the issue of children's mental health as a really urgent problem, setting out how it has been prevalent from her very first few weeks as an MP and featured in her maiden speech in parliament. 

Munira explained "Most adult mental health problems have set in by the age of 14 so we say primary and secondary and that should be funded by trebling the tax on social media giants who we know are fueling a lot of this. 

"The liberal democrats have also called for more community hubs where young people can go for advice." 

In terms of Labour's manifesto's point to add a 20% VAT to independent schools, a point which her Conservative opponent Jonathan Hulley is strongly campaigning on Munira said that she also opposes this. 

Munira said: "My opponent is using that as a point of campaign against the Labour Party but he is facing a Liberal Democrat here. 

"I've been very clear that the liberal democrats do not support putting VAT on school fees we don't believe education should be taxed at the moment all education whether its music tuition or private tutors, none of that attracts VAT and private schools are a part of that category and we think all education should be VAT free. 

"One of the areas we have really focused on is that we would like to see independent schools do more partnership with state schools and their communities." 

She cited the example of two local schools in Hampton, which work closely with Reach Acadmacy in Feltham, which is a more deprived school, to share resources and provide coaching. 

She added that the Labour policy particularly concerns her because she is aware that a lot of parents whose children attend Independent schools because they are able to cater to the needs of the children more and that many parents save hard to allow their children to attend. 

Ms Wilson said: "The labour policy is really very much focused about really wealthy individuals but I'm regularly coming across people who are saving to send their child to a small independent setting which can support a child with additional needs in a way our state schools can't because we have a massive crisis in special educational needs funding.  

"State schools are struggling to provide the support they need but ultimately as a liberal, I support parental choice and I want to see our state schools so good that frankly, most parents don't want to have to send their kids to private schools.  

That's where we should be and that's why I continue to champion a mental health professional in every school and above inflation funding for our state schools so they don't have to ask parents to buy glue sticks and cut school trips." 

     

New twickenham Jobs Section Launched!!
Vacancies updated hourly!!
Click here: twickenham jobs

Share:

Related Articles

Londoners will decide their mayor and assembly members on 2 May 2024 (credit: Cesar Medina).
Local News

Time running out to register to vote in elections for Mayor of London and London Assembly

Art & Soul artwork from a previous taster session
Local News

Free local creative workshops to improve mental health and wellbeing

WIN A £25 AMAZON VOUCHER!!!

To enter just subscribe to our FREE Stockport NubNews Newsletter.
Every subscriber will be automatically entered into our competition.
Deadline 31 March 2024.

Already subscribed? Thank you. Just press X or click here.
By clicking the Subscribe button you agree to our
Privacy Policy and Competition terms and conditions.