Phil Andrews - your community's own candidate
Isleworth councillor Phil Andrews was selected to contest Brentford
& Isleworth as an independent community candidate at a
well-attended meeting at Isleworth Public Hall on Friday, 11th February
Residents from Isleworth, Chiswick, Hounslow and Brentford gave
Phil their unanimous endorsement after subjecting him to an intense
one-hour grilling on policy and strategy issues.
He will take on controversial New Labour MP Ann Keen, dubbed "Mrs.
Expenses" by the London Evening Standard following revelations that she
and husband Alan, who is MP for the neighbouring Feltham & Heston
constituency, have claimed over £35,000 for a flat in Covent Garden
under rules which allow MPs who have difficulties travelling to and
from Westminster to claim for a second home to enable them to be closer
to work. The Keens live in Brentford, just nine miles from the Houses
Following his selection Phil promised "a very big campaign".
Announcing a campaign team which will include ICG Deputy Chair Paul
Fisher as his Election Agent and ICG Chair David Freeman as Campaign
Manager, he told the meeting that he was fighting to win, not just to
make up the numbers.
"We're aware that ordinarily independents don't win general
elections," Phil commented. "But we are not ordinary independents and
this is not an ordinary election. There is a real desire for change in
these parts and the ICG is best placed to provide it.
"The Conservatives have selected a young, inexperienced candidate
from outside the area, which would suggest that for them this
constituency is not a priority. He seems a nice enough lad but he is
not the local heavyweight whom they would need to be serious contenders
for this seat.
"The Lib Dems have a good, young local candidate but no real
strength in the constituency. Not only did the party not win a single
seat in Brentford & Isleworth at the last local elections, it
didn't even manage to come second in any of the eight wards it
contested. The fact is that if anybody is going to take this seat from
Ann Keen, it's going to have to be us."
THE OVERRIDING PRINCIPLE
As a sole independent MP Phil recognises that he will not be in a
position to influence national and international events, neither will
he have the ear of the party of government. His emphasis therefore will
be on issues of specifically local importance.
This, Phil considers, is actually what makes the ICG so attractive
in comparison to the conventional politics of the establishment
parties. "The strength of our argument lies not in my personal take on
major national and international issues," he insists.
"I'm not going to lie to the electorate by telling them that if
they vote for me I will be able to reduce Income Tax or amend the
"What I can and do promise is that I will be the constituency's
representative in parliament and not the government's representative in
the constituency. I will be able to fight for local people without
having to check first whether my position accords with some Official
"On so many issues our present MP has not supported local people
because our interests conflict with those of the government of which
she is a part.
"Where issues such as housing and development, transport and
leisure are concerned I will be free to take a position which best
serves my own constituents. I will also be free, if needs be, to change
"The overriding principle therefore will not be where I happen to
stand privately on this issue or that, but my availability to serve my
own constituents without any intereference from political or private
SOME OF THE ISSUES
Notwithstanding the above, voters are entitled to know what Phil
does think about the big issues. As ever, his views reflect
specifically local concerns:
Housing and development:
Shortage of housing is a major issue, as the population gravitates
increasingly towards the South East. The New Labour government's
response is to build more houses on existing open space. Meanwhile
councils in other parts of the country are demolishing perfectly good
housing stock because they cannot find tenants.
In this age of internet technology, Phil believes it is absurd that
the government is apparently unwilling to do anything to encourage a
reversal of this ridiculous trend.
Meanwhile in strictly local terms, Phil believes in regeneration
but only where it enhances the character of the existing community. He
would do whatever was in his power to resist profit-driven schemes
which rip the heart of our historic communities.
Phil categorically refuses to join those politicians from the main
parties who play to the gallery at elections on immigration and asylum.
"It is a delicate issue which the leading political parties variously
hide from or exploit for votes," he says.
"If the government was more prepared to explain the facts - and,
where necessary, to provide those councils which are most affected with
the resources to deal with any resultant problems - there would be less
ill-feeling. It is the government's silence for fear of losing votes
which fuels ignorance and prejudice."
The Third Runway:
Phil and the ICG have campaigned vociferously against the Third
Runway at Heathrow, believing that any alleged economic benefits to the
area would be massively outweighed by the environmental damage and the
effect on our local community life.
The Mogden Pong:
As a founder and active committee member for the Mogden Residents'
Action Group (MRAG), Phil has been in the forefront of the powerful
residents' campaign against the odour and mosquito menace caused by the
Mogden Sewage Works in Isleworth which brought about the recent court
victory over Thames Water.
"Come election time every politician appears outside the works to
have their photo taken for their election address or the local papers,
which is a credit to the potency of the residents' campaign," Phil
points out. "However it is a matter of record that the success of the
campaign thus far has been down to the organised community, with the
ICG playing a pivotal role."
As a lifelong Brentford F.C. supporter (though not always as active
as he would have liked), Phil is naturally enthusiastic about the
club's intentions to move to a new and more suitable stadium at Lionel
Road as soon as possible. As MP he would do everything within his power
to help make the dream into a reality, and is keen to work and liaise
with supporters and with the club.
Although a councillor in Isleworth, Phil has taken an interest
through local internet forums in the specific concerns of residents in
Chiswick that their interests are being disregarded by Labour-dominated
Hounslow Council, which seems to regard them simply as a "cash cow".
Phil is determined that his campaign should address these
complaints as a matter of some importance. "No resident of the borough
should be a second-class citizen just because it is perceived that he
or she doesn't vote the right way."
One major problem which Phil has encountered during his work as a
councillor in Isleworth is the cynical attitude which New Labour has to
tenants' rights, in terms of both individual service and of
representation and participation.
He notes with dismay that existing tenants' organisations within
the borough tend to be more or less the sole preserve of a particular
political faction, with dissenters (real or perceived) finding
themselves excluded from the process.
As MP Phil vows to fight to "depoliticise" Hounslow Council's
Housing operation and to make participation in the community life of
our estates an inalienable right for all tenants, irrespective of
ABOUT THE COMMUNITY GROUP...
For more information about the ICG, please visit our website at the address below:
ABOUT PHIL ANDREWS...
Phil, 43, is married to Caroline, is the father of seven-year-old
twins Joseph and Rosina, and was born in Isleworth where he has
remained throughout his life.
As a youth he developed an interest in far-right politics and was
for several years a member of the National Front. As a fiercely
committed anti-racist he naturally regrets his past views and
affiliations, however it was during these formulative years that he
started to become involved in his local community. "It is so much more
gratifying working to unite people rather than to divide them," he
In 1994, some years after he had first rejected his earlier
politics, he became a founder member of the ICG, formed by the late Tom
Reader, a legendary tenants' campaigner from Isleworth's Ivybridge
estate. He stood for election as an independent in May that year and
received a respectable 18.2% of the vote in Isleworth South.
Four years later Phil was elected as the London Borough of
Hounslow's first-ever independent councillor, beating his New Labour
rival by a mere two votes. Immediately he became the subject of a
vicious "non co-operation campaign" by political councillors and even
certain officers of the council who were upset that he had gatecrashed
the conventional political set-up as an independent with a radical
agenda for empowering the community at the expense of narrow and
self-serving political interests.
Notwithstanding this he and two colleagues - Dr. Genevieve Hibbs
and Fred Muston - were returned as elected members for the new
Isleworth ward in 2002 with a majority over their nearest (New Labour)
rivals of several hundreds.
As a councillor Phil has been at the forefront of several
high-profile campaigns, most notably in recent years the sadly
unsuccessful attempt to keep John Aird House, a residential care home
in Brentford, open for its residents. In this campaign he was joined by
Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors, as well as the
independent ABeeC member for Brentford.
Phil is a committee member of the Mogden Residents' Action Group
(MRAG) and of Friends of Isleworth Town (a PTA-type body at his
children's school), as well as being a deacon at Isleworth
He has also served as Secretary for both the West Middlesex branch
of the international aid charity UNICEF, and for the Three Estates
Residents' Association (TERA).
To ask Phil any questions about his campaign or to leave him a
message, simply visit his Guestbook via the link in the left hand
column of this page.
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