Q&A: My Barking and Dagenham
PUBLISHED: 17:00 16 February 2018
After making headlines by defecting from Ukip to the Conservatives this week, Peter Harris is keen to tackle the borough’s challenges head on.
What is your connection with the borough?
I married and raised my family here. My sons all attended John Perry Primary School and I lived here for over 27 years.
I have run my own small business in Dagenham East for 12 years. I am a past president of the Barking and Dagenham Chamber of Commerce and remain as executive board member supporting local business.
I have served as a governor of Barking and Dagenham College and I am a current trustee of the May & Baker Eastbrook Community Club.
As a football referee I spent years on pitches across the borough!
Since 2013 I have been involved in politics campaigning on various issues on behalf of residents. In 2016 I led Ukip’s EU referendum campaign that successfully helped persuade Barking and Dagenham residents to vote leave.
What’s the best thing about working or living in the borough?
The people! Genuine, decent, patriotic, hard-working.
What one thing would you change?
Reduce the number of councillors to save up to £1 million over four years to invest in public services such as reinstating lollipop patrols that ensure the road safety of our children.
Use three words to describe the area?
Enterprising, diverse, changing.
Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met?
Nigel Farage. A man who fought and campaigned against the odds for 25 years in politics to get the UK out of the EU.
Whether you like him or not, without him the referendum would never have happened. His achievement should never be overlooked or underestimated.
What new law would you introduce if you were the prime minister?
I would introduce proportional representation to ensure every vote matters and counts.
If you were editor of this paper, what issues in the borough would you focus on?
There are major issues and challenges facing Barking and Dagenham such as the council plan to build up to 60,000 new homes. Hardly any will be for social rent. Hardly any will be for people currently living here.
When you consider that there are currently about 72,000 homes here it is obvious the effect on population size, culture, schools, hospitals and infrastructure will be massive.
This will change our borough forever. I believe the people should be more informed and consulted on these plans.