"Working together with open, frank dialogue," says Wakefield MP Imran Ahmad Khan
"The Coronavirus pandemic presents us with challenges never experienced before," says Wakefield MP Imran Ahman Khan in his latest Express column.
"In response, the government has taken dynamic and unprecedented action to safeguard our lives and livelihoods. In certain circles, the response has been proclaimed as the beginning of a transition to a state-centric society and economy, however, these claims could not be further from the truth.
"In times of true national crisis, it is both right and necessary that the state steps in to ensure that the individual is protected.
"If those we place in authority work against the interests of the citizen, then there exists no justification for their being. You may have read in this very paper my disquiet against the proposed experimental order which would see the temporary closure of Northgate. I spoke with each and every business on Northgate, and, with the exception of one, they were unanimously against the proposals.
"In attempting to solve what was believed to be a problem, Wakefield Metropolitan District Council inadvertently and willingly have caused a larger problem without adequate and due consultation.
"A central government fund, aimed at aiding town centres and businesses to be COVID-secure in their reopening, is being administered against the wishes of its key stakeholders. The experimental order has been pushed through by unelected council officials who have paid no consideration to the business rates payers who it stands to affect the most.
"My disquiet was not about scoring petty points, but one grounded in my duty of doing what is best for Wakefield, and the need for democratic accountability.
"Further to the public letter I published last week, I would like every constituent in Wakefield to be made aware of the constructive meeting I have had with Denise Jeffery.
"I made clear my disappointment and indeed frustration that unelected officials within the council have not acted in a transparent and constructive manner to the level I expect from all public servants.
"I referenced my continuing discussions that I have had since my election with neighbouring Dan Jarvis, Labour MP for Barnsley South and Sheffield’s Metro mayor regarding the reopening of formerly closed ‘Beeching lines’ from Sheffield to Wakefield through Barnsley as a benchmark of the cross-party cooperation needed to secure investment for Wakefield.
"Denise acknowledged that ‘Wakefield Council needs to change’. To that end, we will meet every two weeks to ensure that local and national government works for Wakefield.
"Where I believe the council are misguided or wrong, I will raise issue. On topics that we both agree, I will work to achieve our shared goal.
"This will be the foundation upon which I hope to build my relationship with all local institutions, one where we work constructively together with open and frank dialogue for the betterment of all the constituents of Wakefield.
"For the first time in almost 90 years Wakefield elected a Conservative member of parliament, one that will work tirelessly for Wakefield, and champion the lives and livelihoods of all constituents with the private sector and with local and national governments."