My Maiden Speech

Posted 18 Oct 2018 by Walaa Idris

It’s been almost a year since my last blogpost. No, I did not give up blogging all together, but took a break to focus on getting selected and elected Councillor in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

For those who don’t know yet. I was selected to stand in my home ward Brompton and Hans Town and proud to say in May 2018 I was elected Councillor. I have since, spent the past months settling in my new role and getting to know and understand my duties and the people around me who help me do them.

To date I have attended a number of committee and scrutiny meetings and three full council meetings. Last night I gave my maiden speech, below is the full text.

Good evening!

Thank you, Madam Mayor

I am honoured and delighted to stand before you as an elected Conservative councillor of this outstanding borough. And, especially as a representative of my own ward the beautiful and vibrant Brompton and Hans Town.

But before I get carried away. I would like to pay tribute to my former councillors and dear friends Tim Coleridge and Nick Paget-Brown. Who between them served this borough for 64 years. And, on behalf of the ward’s residents thank them for their long service and selfless dedication to public life.

Nick & Tim had many wonderful achievements Borough wide. More recently was turning Exhibition Road into a landmark and making it more accessible for disabled and elderly visitors to the museums.

Madam Mayor, 27 years ago, with a toddler and six months pregnant, I immigrated to the UK from the Sudan. London and RBKC became our home. But unfortunately, in 2002 we became homeless. After 3 years of moving from one temporary accommodation to another, we qualified for permanent housing south the borough, in the then Hans Town Ward.

Our 2-bedroom flat, with its charming balcony overlooking beautifully kept gardens was built in 1947 for war veterans and their families. Wiltshire Close is a warm and diverse community in the heart of Chelsea.
That is why, as a council tenant, I am excited by Cllr. Taylor- Smith’s commitment to build a variety of social housing. I am also delighted the government will lift the cap on how much councils can borrow to build new homes. Both are excellent news.

Madam Mayor, I entered politics to help those who need helping. After years of flirting with the idea of becoming a Member of Parliament I realised I will better serve my community and give back to my adopted home by becoming a councillor. By achieving small significant changes to improve people’s lives, I will attain more and help better. It took me a few years to get here but it was worth the wait. Because now, I represent my home ward and my neighbors.
Brompton and Hans Town with it’s pretty streets, historic buildings, boutiques, shops, restaurants and many international attractions, is also home to over 5500 residents and hundreds of fashionable and international businesses.

This beauty and vibrancy come with its own challenges. Millions yearly visiting the museums, high end retailers and establishments, puts enormous pressures on residents’ lives, council services and the community. But, it is also what makes this ward so desirable to live and work in.

As a resident, I know too well these challenges and face them daily myself. From roaring supercars, to the chronic begging outside Harrods or amplified busking around Exhibition Road and South Ken station. Plus let’s not forget the latest craze of motorcycle crimes. All these are issues I aim to work hard to reduce if not totally eradicate in my tenure.

As a K&C councillor, my duty extends to the whole borough. And as such I intend to passionately serve every corner of it. In the past few months, I saw clearly the pain felt by some in north the borough. My goal is to soothe that pain. I know it’s an ambitious goal, some might even say it’s a dream.

But Madam Mayor, I am a dreamer, who dreamt of studying in the US and I did. Dreamt of making London our home and I did. Dreamt of becoming a K&C councillor and I am. My dream now, is to play my part in easing that pain, and I will.

Thank You!

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