ALMOST 200 residents took part in the UK’s first ever Parliamentary teleforum held by town MP Sajid Javid on Wednesday night (November 26).
Those who registered received a call at 7pm on the evening and, during the hour, a number of topics were discussed, including the economy, unemployment, the EU, immigration, arts funding and the NHS.
The system saw selected callers ask Mr Javid questions and the rest of the audience were able to listen in to the discussion.
After that call ended, another caller would ask a question – similar to a radio phone in.
It has been successfully used by congressmen in America but this was the first time it had been used by a British MP.
As well as the discussions, Mr Javid also conducted two polls where people could vote by using their telephone keypads.
One was on illegal encampments, where the MP stated he felt intentional tresspass should be made a criminal offence as had been done in Ireland to stop travellers occupying land. From the poll, 81 per cent of residents agreed with him, three per cent disagreed with him and 16 per cent said they did not know whether it should or not.
His second poll was on the Alexandra Hospital and whether the option for University Hospitals Birmingham to take over the running of the Alex should be worked up. That saw 79 per cent vote yes to the UHB option being considered, eight per cent say no and 13 per cent unsure.
Several callers praised Mr Javid for putting on the event and thanked him for doing so.
He said: “It was really successful and we have had some great feedback from those who took part – it’s great that Bromsgrove is leading the way in this.
“I have also had a number of MPs, who listened to some of the call, approach me about the concept.
“One of them said he definitely wanted to do it and even more have expressed an interest in doing their own teleforums.”
Mr Javid added he would be getting in touch with those who wanted to speak but were unable to on the evening.
And he said he was planning to do further teleforums in the future.