Over the weekend I was forwarded an article from The Telegraph (India) about the ongoing issue of Southall Town Hall. Never before have I read an article so one-sided and poorly researched, containing so many half truths and opinions. It could hardly be called news, it is more a work of fiction.

There is a long running dispute about the future of Southall Town Hall, both sides have good proposals and both want what is best for the community. Sadly the author of this article is seemingly incapable of nuance and instead has to revert to lazy stereotypes.

I have maintained a position through the bidding processes for both options of neutrality, I will work with whichever proposal is finally successful to ensure our community is best served by Southall Town Hall. When the Southall Community Alliance’s bid was rejected by Ealing Council they arranged what they called a Public Meeting, but it was a rally against the local Labour Council. The group invited a pair of senior Labour politicians from outside the borough to speak, under the impression that this was a meeting about cuts to local authorities. I then wrote to the two attendees, letting them know that there was more going on than just the meeting on local authority cuts and asking them not to make the dispute worse.

Along other factual inaccuracies the article asserts that VHK are expanding the Mandir, while the specific details of the deal would base no religious activities in Southall Town Hall. The building would be used as a dining hall, offices and for social outreach events.

Both proposals had much to recommend them, and rather than waste time on fighting the decisions I want us to be working for the communities in Southall.


Virendra Sharma MP

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