There is no specific law in the UK that makes cyberbullying illegal, does this need to be addressed?

Liam Preston

Anyone who works in schools, with youth groups or around young people will know that the levels of bullying in the UK are shockingly high. A recent survey found that 34% of young people (12-20 years old) have done something purposely to upset somebody. Now, this won’t always constitute as bullying but the old adage that ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never harm me’ is quite simply rubbish.

More than half of young people have been bullied at some point and for 20% of those, it was at least once a week. With more than a third of young people admitting to saying something nasty to someone online, you might think that the solution is to make cyberbullying illegal. However, the reality is that making cyberbullying illegal would be both difficult to implement, hard to police and not really addressing the root cause.
Whether a young person bullies online or in school, they are still bullying an individual and we need to get smarter at how we resolve this. If you ask young people how to combat bullying, working in schools and educating young people about the effects is more often than not the preferred solution.

What would be more effective than making cyberbullying illegal would be providing more resources for schools to bring in organisations to work with young people on the impact bullying can have and ways of gaining support when they are being bullied. Obviously, bullying isn’t an exclusive issue for young people – as it happens right through society – but if you want to tackle this issue long term, then it is something which has to begin at an early age.


Labour Soapbox – 27th April


Some may consider the soapbox not so political this week? Offering girls free entry, then four free drinks? I beg to differ. This is just the type of issue that weaves through our lives each and every day; starting at the top with our attitude towards alcohol and women. Politicians need to be involved, and involve themselves; step up when necessary.

We have been advised that this specific offer may be unlawful as it contravenes the mandatory licensing objective relating to the responsible sale of alcohol.

Brentwood officers have told Labour’s councillors that they will act immediately and advise that this promotion must cease with immediate effect. Brentwood’s nightclubs are generally responsible operations and I’m sure this is an oversight or misunderstanding on their part.

Regardless of the target audience, when offers encourage specific groups to drink for free or at a discount, then these groups may become more vulnerable to crime or be more likely to cause disorder.

Licensing conditions are in place for a reason, to prevent promotions such as:

  • “all you can drink for £10”
  • “pay £5 entry and then drink up to 12 shots”
  • “10 pints for £10”
  • “pay your entry fee then drink for free until 10pm”

Across society we can all do more. Supermarkets also have a part to play in the responsible sale of alcohol. The cost to our health services, the physical health and mental health of individuals who become addicted to drink is clear.

Let’s keep on a responsible path.

Cllr Julie Morrissey


Labour Soapbox – 14 April 2016


It’s not often that this Conservative government does something right and the distribution of 27m leaflets at a cost of £9 million being sent to each household about why the UK should stay in the EU is yet another highly questionable move.

I will be voting to stay within the European Union, and campaigning for reform within,  but there is no way that Cameron and Co. should be spending an extra £9million of taxpayers money on what is clearly election campaigning. The amount of election spending is capped to provide a level playing field and this move is quite rightly being scrutinised.

It is becoming very clear that many citizens of the UK are engaging with the EU referendum campaign and the turnout in June will be high. Most people that I meet are still undecided on how they will vote but tell me how much they enjoy free movement and the trade opportunities that being in the EU ensures. Many feel they do not yet have the information needed to make an informed choice at this time.

So people need information but the campaign limit of £7million for each camp should be the full extent of election spending. It is not the role of government to fund election material, with a clear steer towards a particular viewpoint.
Every MP in the government has a free vote on this subject so, my supplementary question is, who  actually authorised this leaflet?

In short, another poor decision by a very poor government.

Cllr Julie Morrissey

Brentwood South


Labour Soapbox – 21 April 2016



A&E delays are in the news this week, with the figure doing the rounds that performance sank to a new low in the latest stats published for February. What do you think the root cause for this is? Do you think the general public should be worried?

Simple answer? Yes.

……..although the right wing media is determined to convince you otherwise, with zero support for our incredibly hard working nurses and doctors and the strikes they have recently been forced to hold.

During the 2015 General Election campaign Labour MPs and councillors warned of the threat to our National Health Service if the Conservatives regained power. After 13 years of Labour government, satisfaction in the NHS was high and waiting lists for operations were low.

After six years of Tory rule the opposite is now true. We only have to look at the action taken by junior doctors recently to see the mess our NHS is currently in.

Of course people should be worried. Regardless of class and money, we all need the NHS at times in our lives and many of us will need treatment for illnesses and accidents. ‘Going private’, as a colleague mentioned to me last week, means that he will still have to use an NHS hospital, just bypass the queue. When that time comes we need to know our NHS is there for us, surely better that we bring our NHS up to ‘private standard’ for all, not just those who can pay?

Attacking our national institutions and public workers is a popular Tory pastime. Typically squeezing those who can least afford it while top earners get the rewards.
It’s a disgrace.

Mark my words, our local councils and public services are under threat.

Think before you vote on May 5th.

Cllr Julie Morrissey

Brentwood South

2016 Campaign

Candidates and Councillors launch Labour’s Manifesto for Brentwood

Candidates and Councillors launch Labour’s Manifesto for Brentwood
May 2016 Candidates
Brentwood Labour Party have announced their full slate of candidates for May’s local elections alongside their new ‘Manifesto for Brentwood’. The launch took place outside of Brentwood Town Hall and the local party’s five key pledges central to their conversations with residents so far.
The Manifesto focuses on five headline pledges that cover the local standard of living, responsible development, support for voluntary groups and investment in local parks, demanding more from
 the County Council and to further develop Brentwood’s appeal as a location to do business.
Of note within the pledges are commitments to invest in Brentwood’s social housing whilst challenging effective Government demands that we build thousands of homes on our greenbelt, develop a long-term leisure and parks strategy which supports local sports groups and families, invest in the redevelopment of the Town Hall as a hub for voluntary activity and launch new parking strategy that brings down the cost of parking.
These pledges will be pursued by Labour’s thirteen candidates, drawn from across the Borough who together have lived in Brentwood for over three centuries. This long term, local knowledge is key to the candidates who understand our town – knowing what must be protected and what must be improved.
To download a copy of Labour’s ‘Manifesto for Brentwood’ click here.
2016 Campaign Uncategorized

Brentwood Candidates for May 2016 Elections

P1030901Brentwood Labour Party have announced their full slate of candidates for May’s local elections alongside their new ‘Manifesto for Brentwood’. The launch took place outside of Brentwood Town Hall and the local party’s five key pledges central to their conversations with residents so far.The full list of candidates is as follows and there is more detail below about each one:
Brentwood North: Helen Witty
Brentwood South: Julie Morrissey
Brentwood West: Deborah Foster
Brizes & Doddinghurst: Emma Benson
Hutton Central: Susan Kortlandt
Hutton South: Toby Blunsten
Hutton North: Liam Preston
Ingatestone, Fryering & Mountnessing: Jane Winter
Pilgrims Hatch: Cameron Ball
Shenfield: Richard Millwood
Tipps Cross: Michele Wigram & Eric Watts
Warley: Tim Barrett
Helen Witty for Brentwood North
Helen is an Assistant Headteacher of an Essex Secondary School.She is married with two children who both attended Pilgrims Hatch Primary (now Larchwood) and Sawyers Hall College. Helen is a governor of Larchwood Primary and also Chair of Governors of Marner School, a primary school in Bow.Having seen some of the inside to local education she believes Brentwood needs to do far more for young people who want to take up training in Brentwood.Having moved to Brentwood in 2000 one of the first headlines that she saw was the closure of our cinema. She has been watching the shenanigans surrounding the William Hunter Way development and it is clear we need more openness about what is going on. Helen supports redevelopment that meets the needs of local residents, creates jobs for local people and will allow people to start their own small businesses and shops.
Julie Morrissey for Brentwood South
P1030892Julie has been honoured to represent Brentwood South residents on the council for the past four years and hopes to be re-elected in May. She has worked alongside many residents supporting them with their issues and worked hard to protect our town centre from Conservative over-development. Only a strong Labour council will support our most vulnerable citizens from Tory cuts to disability benefits and other damaging cuts like those to youth and library services.Julie lives in the town centre with people who have been let down by the Tories again and again. She believes plans for a further 200 flats in the Bay Tree Centre will bring more problems for current residents who have many issues to deal with due to an under-managed night-time economy. If re-elected the residents of the ward will be at the heart of everything Julie does.
Debbie Foster for Brentwood West
P1030881 Debbie is a Christian, mum, wife and Family Support assistant at a local school. Her role is to help pupils’ families and she enjoys making even a tiny, positive change in their lives.She spent her formative years in Brentwood and received a great education in the town – she was inspired to become a teacher before raising a family. She still retains a great interest in education both nationally and locally!The local community is very important to Debbie. It is where her faith and her politics come together. She is involved in the life of her church, a caring force in Brentwood West. Debbie supported the “Toddler” group at the church, where she became friends with a lot of local parents and carers.She wants to see a socially and morally just society and believes it needs to be achieved in her own town before conquering the world!
Emma Benson for Brizes & Doddinghurst
P1030876Emma has lived in Brentwood for her whole life and currently works for a communications and engagement agency, ensuring that local residents are properly consulted on local issues. Emma has always been passionate about local issues across Brentwood. As a young person, Emma set up Brentwood Youth Council and she was also a member of UK Youth Parliament, representing Essex.The current administration in Brentwood has cut Parish Grants by 37% in one year. This will also disproportionately affect Doddinghurst on a per resident basis, with Doddinghurst receiving just £3.04, compared to Stondon, which will receive £6.16. Emma believes that a fairer system, based on a per resident Grant, could achieve the same savings, but in a fairer way.Furthermore, whilst new housing is desperately needed in the Borough, this has to be delivered in a way which is sustainable and affordable. It is imperative that the local communities get enough chance to get involved with the Local Plan, and are properly listened to.
Susan Kortlandt for Hutton Central
Susan is married and has lived in Brentwood since 1997. After 30 years as a modern languages teacher and active trade unionist, she now volunteers at Brentwood Citizens Advice, enjoy walking and cycling, music and theatre.Susan really worries that young people are being forced out by the exorbitant cost of housing. We need affordable properties for first-time buyers, better oversight of the rented sector and social housing to meet growing demand.Secure, well-paid jobs are also a priority. She supports the real Living Wage and proper apprenticeship schemes. Community facilities are threatened by Conservative budget cuts. We certainly need to protect libraries, bus services, sports and leisure centres, parks and, of course, Brentwood Theatre. Susan also wants to see more GP and dental surgeries and improved mental health provision.She is pleased to be giving voters in Hutton Central an opportunity to support Labour.
Liam Preston for Hutton North
Liam is passionate about a society that supports everyone in the community and, in particularly, one which support those most vulnerable. In his day job he works for a national homeless charity so sees the challenges many people face just to get by. Liam has chaired a number of charities supporting young people in the past and has recently stepped down as an advisor to the Council of Europe.Liam was Labour’s General Election candidate for Brentwood and Ongar last year and continues to support residents he met during his time on the campaign trail. Liam has recently moved into Hutton North and is keen to show local resident’s how he would build on his general election pledges to support the community further.Through his work with young people who are homeless and also having an awareness of the housing market challenges we face. Liam is keen to see investment in low-cost properties within Brentwood specifically for Brentwood residents to access. Alongside this he would also like to see measures introduced to ensure enough social housing is built as well as the freeing up of brownfield land to create more homes.As the former of Chair of the Co-operative Party Youth and current eastern representative Liam will be standing as a joint Labour and Co-operative Party candidate at this election.
Toby Blunsten for Hutton South
P1030874Toby has been a resident in the borough for the past decade, throughout which he has attended the Anglo-European school. In 2015 Toby graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a degree in Politics and Sociology. Since graduating Toby has found employment as a Bid Writer for a multi-million pound organisation.Since graduating Toby has pushed himself to become increasingly involved in the political activities of the local community. Currently Toby is actively engaged within Chess in Chelmsford an organisation helping rough sleepers reintegrate into society.Toby’s main ambition if elected is to fight for greater opportunities for young people, allowing them to develop the skills and capabilities to continue to live in this borough. As such Toby would support apprenticeship schemes within the council and the community to encourage. Toby would also challenge developers to utilise brownfield sites to further sustainable development whilst providing affordable housing and reducing our waiting list.
Jane Winter for Ingatestone, Fryerning and MountnessingP1030894
Jane is a long term Brentwood resident, having moved to the Borough in 1972 and has lived in Ingatestone for many years. She worked for the NHS for 43 years after 3 years at the United Nations. She raised her family in the Borough and she’s very proud that both children are now working in the health and social care sector. She is married to a retired local teacher and enjoys the Arts and travelling.If elected she will strive for a decent standard of living for all local residents. She will make it a priority that the Local and County Council pay its directly managed staff a real Living Wage and include this clause in all of its contracted service providers.She will actively support apprenticeship schemes within the Council and community services for local young people, working with the County Council to achieve this.
Cameron Ball for Pilgrims Hatch
Cameron is a Sixth Form student at Brentwood County High school, studying Politics, History, and Psychology. Cameron has lived in Pilgrims Hatch his entire life and believes that it is a great place to grow up especially with the close proximity to the capital. Cameron believes that Brentwood Borough Council does not have a deep insight into the needs of young people in Brentwood and that he can bring to the table new fresh ideas along with passion and enthusiasm. Cameron understands the needs of young people through his own personal experiences and through the needs of friends and peers. He recognises the slow decline of public services in the town especially with the shutting of Brentwood police station and wants to fight to maintain a strong presence of public services workers in our town.
Plans to build many new homes across Brentwood are a brilliant idea as we have a distinct lack of affordable housing for young people who wish to live in Brentwood, however, Cameron believes that the current Local Development Plan is ill-thought out and needs to be based on capacity of the roads and local services and also the preservation of Brentwood’s green spaces, something he believes, only a Labour council will do.
Dr Richard Millwood for Shenfield
Richard has lived and raised his family in Brentwood since 1991. He is an education professional concerned with the innovative organisation of effective learning, particularly using technology. He frequently travels from Shenfield station and uses the local Shenfield shops regularly. Richard believes that issues around the condition of roads, street lighting, road safety and parking are not being addressed properly, and will campaign to restore street lighting using low maintenance and cost effective LED lamps.Richard is a strong supporter of the local Labour manifesto pledge to develop and promote Brentwood Borough’s excellent location as a great place to start, expand & sustain a business and work to encourage more businesses to move to Brentwood. He will help put the Borough on the tourist map by advertising its diverse heritage & leisure facilities, especially its beautiful parks. He intends to establish a working party to report within six months on how the Borough can attract employers.
Michele Wigram for Tipps Cross
Michele has lived in Brentwood for 30 years and has worked for the Citizens Advice Bureau service in Essex and London for the past 25 years. Her daughters attended St Thomas’ and Hedley Walter Schools.She believes that voluntary services play a vital role in supporting elderly, disabled, sick and vulnerable members of our community. It is essential that the Council ensures that all these organisations have long-term stable funding, which will enable them to deliver the best possible service to residents.There is a need for additional housing for our community and this housing must be affordable. However, it is also important to ensure that the area is not overdeveloped and that our green spaces are protected and cared for.
Tim Barrett for Warley
 Tim has been a Brentwood resident his entire life, growing up in the town and going to local schools.

Tim has long been an active member of the community and a keen volunteer. He has been a volunteer leader in the Scout movement and previously in St John Ambulance.

He has been working with your local councillors across Brentwood since 2010, talking to hundreds of residents on their doorstep and getting changes made to improve our community. Tim’s priorities will be reducing the impact of speeding traffic in the ward, tackling the chronic lack of parking and supporting our local businesses to succeed.

Dr Eric Watts for Tipps Cross
Eric moved to Brentwood in 1989 to work as a Doctor at Basildon Hospital where he established an award winning haematology department . He is a passionate supporter of the NHS and campaigns to prevent further fragmentation of the service and to restore a comprehensive service based on planning and co-operation.He has represented the UK in international conferences and is the Chair of Doctors for the NHS. He is now involved in representing patients through the Patient Participation Group and Public Engagement Group of the local health authority and is keen to help patients to have a stronger voice.
He is a keen supporter of comprehensive schools, being educated at one of the first comprehensives and his daughter attended Shenfield schoolIf elected he will work to ensure good public services and that everyone has the basic necessities; good housing, education and healthcare.
Local news

Chris Vince for Police and Crime Commissioner: Putting Policing back into the heart of Communities        

Chris Vince for Police and Crime Commissioner: Putting Policing back into the heart of Communities

In the last year violent crime in Essex increased by 14% yet since 2010 the number of Police Officers in the county has decreased by over 500. Our police has been underfunded by the Tories for years, and recent reports from the Her Majesty`s Inspector of Constabulary show that this had a real negative impact on the service we all receive.

If I am elected as Labour`s Police and Crime Commissioner I will focus on tackling the increase of violent crime across Essex and in particular the rise in domestic violence. I’ll do this by working to ensure that we have an effective, efficient and proactive police service that is in the heart of communities, to support victims as well as working to prevent crime. With my background in Education I understand how crime can affect communities and how vital a preventative approach to policing is.

I also want to help support police officers and police staff, who work really hard under increasingly difficult circumstances. That’s why, if elected as Police and Crime Commissioner in Essex, I will work hard to protect frontline policing and ensure that our officers are able to do their jobs and keep our people safe right across the Essex Police area .


Remember to vote in the PCC elections on May the 5th.  You have one vote in this election, use it to Vote Vince.

Do you have a question or a priority for Police & Crime Commissioner Labour Candidate Chris Vince?

Ask a question or tell Chris your priorities today, as essex residents alternative for police & crime commissioner he is listening.

Also here is a chance to see and listen to Chris Vince click here for video. And in his next video he will be able to reply to some of your posted questions.


Labour Soapbox – 9th March


Some might wonder why local politicians would be asked to comment on TOWIE but I’d say the only thing that’s not political is the weather; and that’s debatable when we often see a downturn in voting if it’s raining.

As TOWIE marks 200 episodes, we have been asked whether we feel the show has been good or bad for Brentwood. Of course the answer is in some ways yes, and in some ways no.
In many respects TOWIE should be great for Brentwood. A national spotlight on our town for the past five years bringing tourism and visitors from across the UK in times of great economic uncertainty. That’s political.

The owners of Sugar Hut open their doors to Brentwood life and host many events including their wonderful hospitality during Lighting Up celebrations, the real start to Christmas in our borough. That’s great politics

But as a resident living near the town centre I am well aware of the issues we have to face, especially in the summer, with such a lively night-time economy. And THAT is certainly political.

This can often be unpleasant for local people especially in my ward, Brentwood South, but TOWIE is not to blame. This is more due to the failures of past Conservative and Lib Dem administrations who have  given our high street the problems it has today. Political.

Brentwood Town has many attributes, including TOWIE and there is good, and bad, about it all.

Cllr Julie Morrissey

Labour Soapbox – 16th March


With the rise of online banking and an increase in the number of parcel couriers in the market today, how important do you think a post office is for a community?

Last Saturday was Disabled Access Day so it’s fitting we should be discussing the potential for change and re-configuration for our Post Offices. Post offices used to be the community hub; a lifeline for people needing additional support in particular but with technological advances, post offices will need to continue to creatively diversify to stay relevant. They are so beautifully positioned, with post offices present in nearly all our communities; and widely trusted with a continuity that few other organisations have.

I’ve been encouraged to hear about initiatives where post offices are branching out into all manner of enterprises but I believe we have only scratched the surface in realising their potential, especially when we consider that nearly 93% of people live within a mile of their nearest post office and it was estimated in 2014 that a third of residents and a half of small and medium sized enterprises visited one at least once a week.
Clearly branches could do even more to support local residents and businesses and continue to be successful….focussing on ‘community’?

Just look our ageing population and the need for community care. Perhaps post offices should engage with local authorities to help them face the latest raft of challenges coming their way.
I believe that the future for our post office could be bright, and their relevance in our community should be sustained, but I worry that we might wake up to that too late.

Cllr Julie Morrissey


Labour Soapbox – 24th February



Europe – In or Out?

Britain is stronger in Europe. It brings us jobs, growth and investment whilst protecting workers and consumers.

We are a proud trading nation with almost half of our exports going to EU countries– worth £227 billion last year to the economy and receive on average £26.5 billion of investment every year from EU countries. Future EU trade could create 790,000 more jobs by 2030 by opening up markets in digital services, energy and tourism.

Companies from all over the world choose to build their offices and factories plus recruit staff here because we are a gateway to the single market. It makes us a major player in world trade – thanks to access to 500 million consumers. Leaving risks investors taking their businesses and jobs elsewhere.

EU membership gave British workers’ minimum paid leave, rights for agency staff, paid maternity and paternity leave, equal pay, anti-discrimination laws, and workforce protection when ownership changes. An average family saves around £450 a year through lower prices, from being part of the biggest consumer market in the world.

The EU can be improved and that means staying, having a voice, not being spectators. Norway, outside and without a say, has to adopt nearly all EU law in return for access to the single market.

The challenges ahead are global: like climate change, terrorism and cross-border crime. We are better off working with our neighbours to solve these.

For our future jobs, investment, trade, security and addressing the global challenges ahead – I’m in for Britain.

Cllr Gareth Barrett

Labour Leader