James Brokenshire

Cabinet minister backs growth around Thames Estuary

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Ambitious calls for Crossrail to be extended though Bexley have been boosted as a leading MP lends his backing to plans for growth around the Thames Estuary.

James Brokenshire, Old Bexley and Sidcup’s MP and secretary of state for housing and communities, compared the scale of growth available to the Northern Powerhouse.

Mr Brokenshire said: “I’m excited by the bold and ambitious vision for the future of the Thames Estuary that’s been set out – as well as the clear-headed steps proposed to get us there.

“I’ve been really pleased to see the scale of ambition from partners in the Thames Estuary Production Corridor – helping the area become a world-class centre for production with a focus on the creative and cultural industries.”

Government backing for growth around the estuary will boost hopes in Bexley of an extension of Crossrail through the borough and out to Kent, which is central to the council’s own growth strategy.

“The Secretary of State’s visit demonstrates the importance of investment in the Thames Estuary,” said council leader Teresa O’Neill.

The government has committed £4.85m to help fund preparations for the widely supported scheme. Crossrail was originally estimated to cost £15.4 billion and open in December 2018.

A series of delays has seen budgets spiral and a new opening window scheduled for October to March next year.

Tory leadership: 'No embarrassment' in dropping out, says minister
Housing Minister James Brokenshire urges those "unlikely to get over the first fence" to drop out of the Conservative leadership race.

Clarke: Tory leadership contest could become a farce

BBC Politics

Ruschliffe MP Ken Clarke, has called the Conservative leadership contest a "shambles" and said there were too many people running.

Theresa May steps down on Friday and 13 Tory MPs so far have put themselves forward to succeed her.

Kenneth Clarke

Mr Clarke told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the race was "in danger of becoming a rather tragic farce unless some order is brought into it".

Housing minister James Brokenshire is also urging candidates with little chance of success to pull out before nominations close next week.