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2015_07_Robin_James_portrait.jpgRobin James, a tireless advocate for social justice who campaigned for the Labour Party in Bedford, has died aged 70.

Robin was one of the town's best known and loved Labour activists providing help and support to the party in local and general election campaigns for over twenty five years.

He was an activist in the truest sense of the word and put his heart into campaigning to elect Patrick Hall as MP, Richard Howitt as MEP and local councillors. He was responsible for introducing the wide use of posterboards in the 1992 general election and took pride in erecting 1,000 posterboards for supporters of the party across Bedford and Kempston in the recent 2015 elections.

A great character, Robin’s other passion was dealing in antiques and for decades was a familiar face at Peacock Auctions in Bedford and travelled far and wide to car boot sales where he was a popular figure and highly respected for his knowledge.

Robin worked as a butcher in Bedford for many years, first at Safeway and then for more than a decade at Eric The Butcher's in Goldington.

Patrick Hall said: “Robin has been a loyal friend to me personally and to the Labour Party. He was dedicated to working to achieve social justice and worked tirelessly to elect others whilst never seeking the limelight for himself. He had a big character and was a much loved colleague. He will be truly missed.”

Robin died of natural causes. He leaves many friends and two sisters.

Robin James 1944 - 2015

Robin James, a tireless advocate for social justice who campaigned for the Labour Party in Bedford, has died aged 70. Robin was one of the town's best known and loved...

Labour Councillors despair as Bedford loses out on Network Rail investment. 

Bedford Borough Labour Councillors have voiced their disappointment that electrification works to the Midland Main Line from Bedford to Sheffield have been shelved.

Sue.jpgCllr Sue Oliver, Labour Group Leader said, “This is really bad news for Bedford. The Conservative Manifesto promised to electrify the Midland Main Line from St Pancras to Sheffield yet within weeks they have broken their promise.”

Queen’s Park Councillor, Mohammad Yasin, said: “We were aware of the plan to electrify the railway from Bedford to Sheffield, and that it would necessitate work to raise Ford End Road and Bromham Road bridges. Naturally, we wanted to know what the plans were and when the work would be undertaken so that we could ensure residents were prepared for the disruption. We couldn’t get a straight answer from Network Rail, this news explains why.”

Councillor Masud added: “The electrification would have meant faster journey times from Bedford to major northern cities. Rebuilding the bridges would have presented the opportunity for better cycle and pedestrian access to the railway station. It seems that yet again the focus of this Tory government is on the affluent London area.”

The Conservative Manifesto promised to electrify the Midland Main Line from St Pancras to Sheffield.

“We will back business by investing a record £5.2 billion in better transport, upgrading the M1 and M6, and electrifying the Midland Main Line from St Pancras to Sheffield – putting the Midlands at the centre of a modern, inter-connected transport network for the UK.” (Conservative Manifesto 2015, p. 13)

For further information or follow-up, please contact

Councillor Sue Oliver 01234 303029 s.j.oliver@ntlworld.com

Network Rail shelve electrification plan north of Bedford

Labour Councillors despair as Bedford loses out on Network Rail investment.  Bedford Borough Labour Councillors have voiced their disappointment that electrification works to the Midland Main Line from Bedford to...

For months I have spoken with local residents and listened to their views. The election is upon us, and it is clear that many who intend to vote remain undecided.

Nonetheless, people are clear about a number of issues. They want a secure future for Bedford Hospital and are concerned about the Tory drive to privatise health services.Too many struggle with the cost of living and want action on low wages and high fuel and energy bills.

Others cannot cannot understand why the government has refused to help foodbanks whilst cutting tax for the rich. Our schools are forced to compete with each other instead of cooperating. Rail fares shoot up and the cost of housing is beyond what most young people can afford.

Many residents are not comfortable with the Tories' negative attitude to Europe and divisive approach to Scotland, which risks breaking up the UK. I want to help unite our country and will support policies that benefit the many, not only the few.

If elected I will again be a full-time MP and will put Bedford Kempston first. I will never accept extra paid directorships and consultancies. I will work with the mayor, the council, local businesses, and residents to provide the leadership and vision we need.

Patrick Hall reflects on the campaign

For months I have spoken with local residents and listened to their views. The election is upon us, and it is clear that many who intend to vote remain undecided....

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