Until his majority started to haemorrhage, the now disgraced former Two Cities MP Mark Field had a reputation for holding himself aloof from his constituents. Judged on her Twitter account, Nickie Aiken wants to be visible in the constituency but clearly gets around the Westminster parts of it far more often than the areas that lie to the east of the Temple Bar.
Although Aiken has posted a photo of a visit to the Barbican Wildlife Garden in Fann Street (7 February 2020), her square mile tweets rely heavily on ammunition supplied by the City of London lie machine. Particularly risible was a Skype interview with City council boss Catherine McGuinness tweeted on 5 May 2020, in which it is claimed sandwich shops make the square mile exciting. Interviewed by Aiken, McGuinness comes across as a sandwich short of a hamper – possibly due to the closure of her favourite takeaway outlets during lockdown. And if McGuinness really does believe the City’s sandwich shops are exciting, then her culture mile vanity project is clearly toast.
Returning to Aiken, in recent months we’ve noticed grumbles on Barbican Talk about her that resemble the complaints we heard about Mark Field for years.
Ted Bolt, 13 Dec 2019: Let’s wish our new MP well and hope she earns the right for a second term. She starts with more people voting against her than for her so she has it all to do…..
Caffeine, 13 Feb 2020: Has anyone had any reason to contact our new MP yet? I emailed Nickie Aiken in early January and haven’t heard anything from her at all. I was no fan of Mark Field but one thing I will say is that he did always reply to correspondence, at least on the few occasions that I wrote to him….
GoldenLane, 13 Feb 2020: …I wrote to her about the demolition of the Grade II* Richmond House in Whitehall by a Commission claiming to act on behalf of Parliament. This is an important site bang in the middle of her Constituency. I received only an automated acknowledgement.That was 29th December, and not a sausage from her since….
jmj77, 14 Feb 2020: I’ve emailed her a couple of times regarding air pollution in the City. The last one was about a month ago. I emailed both the constituency and parliament email addresses. No response at all, other than the automatic one. I’m pretty unimpressed so far, at least with her apparent lack of interest in her constituents…
GoldenLane, 21 Feb 2020: Aitken (along with all MPs) is entitled to allowances of £167k a year for staffing costs plus £28k a year for office costs (this is on top of her own generously remunerated time). She has been in post two and a half months. I imagine she does get lots of correspondence, much of it doubtless tiresome, but not replying at all to letters when you have that level of resource available to you is a disgrace.
apc, 17 May 2020: …I emailed her once about whether Regents Park could be closed to motorists as proposed years ago and blocked by Westminster. Would be rather nice during the lockdown. Not particularly important, but its suprising to hear nothing back. Doesn’t Nickie have parlimentry assistants?
Caffeine, 18 May 2020: …Still waiting for a reply to my email from early January.
Bill_S 18 May 2020: I hope she isn’t another Field.
Today Aiken put out a statement about the top government advisor Dominic Cummings who clearly broke lockdown rules and whose excuses include the claim that he drove 30 miles to a beauty spot on his wife’s birthday with her and his 4 year old son in the car because he needed to test his eyesight. Yeah, right! As an ambitious career politician and a member of the governing Conservative Party, Aiken has taken the line dictated to her by her superiors. A good number of MPs within her party have broken ranks with its leaders and have called for Cummings to resign. From what we’ve seen on Twitter, Aiken’s statement on this matter hasn’t gone down well with her constituents:
I have never met Dominic Cummings and I have been astounded by elements of the media’s obsession with him.
This weekend’s coverage has been the epitome of that obsession and has in my opinion been completely over the top and at times I felt it was trial by media….
Mr Cummings has now provided a full outline of the actions and the reasons for the actions taken by him and his wife. Obviously, there will be many people who feel his actions were unacceptable and others who believe what he did was perfectly reasonable and understandable in the circumstances.
I hope we can now put this behind us and allow the Government to tackle the huge challenges we still must deal with. This weekend has been a detraction from that. We must continue to fight this dreadful disease, prepare for the lifting of lockdown, and start to rebuild our economy.
I have informed the Prime Minister on the strength of public feeling on this matter and my own views.
Statement on Dominic Cummings by Nicke Aiken on nickieaiken.org: https://web.archive.org/web/20200526200422/https://www.nickieaiken.org.uk/news/statement-dominic-cummings
Moving on, like many inner London councillors, Aiken has close connections to the property development lobby. Indeed she is a company director at Sprucespace Property Management, as well as turning up for London Property Alliance events. So it is hardly surprising that when it comes to the issue of Dominic Cummings’ lockdown behaviour she should side with the property speculating elite. We assume Aiken is banking on a career payoff with the current conservative government, and hoping that by the time another election comes around her constituents will have forgotten about the current controversy. That, however, is a gamble – and one that may not pay off.
The header shows Nickie Aiken, Mark Field and City of London councillor Alastair Moss among others at the 11 October 2018 London Property Alliance Autumn Reception at the House of Lords.
Catherine McGuinness telling Nickie Aiken – on a video the latter posted to Twitter on 5 May 2020 – that sandwich shops make the City of London ‘so exciting to be in’. You couldn’t make it up! Lockdown has clearly left McGuinness a sandwich short of a picnic and her culture mile vanity project is toast…. Is a Pret a Manger fetish a thing?