South Ruislip MP sparks controversy with petition for fish and chip shop

A Conservative MP’s petition to get a fish and chip shop opened in Uxbridge has left some people baffled at how he intends to make it happen, with questions raised about the true motivation of the campaign.

Steve Tuckwell, Tory MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, who also serves as a councillor on Hillingdon Council, has been walking through Uxbridge Town Centre asking people to sign a petition for a fish and chip shop to open in the town centre.

Quite who he intends to present it to remains a mystery, as Hillingdon Council would need someone to come forward with a business proposal to take over a retail unit, or even build a new one, before the council could exercise any power to approve or reject it through planning or licensing.

This has led to questions over why Mr Tuckwell has launched the petition, with some pointing out online that there’s some small print on the petition asking people if they want to receive further communications from the MP, who will be contesting the seat once again when a general election is called later this year. It’s also been pointed out he voted against a fish and chip shop opening in the town in 2019 as part of the planning committee.

In his new campaign video, released on his official X account, the MP says: “We have a fish & chip shop in Cowley & one near St Andrew’s Park, but we don’t in Uxbridge Town Centre. That’s why I’m launching a campaign to get us a fish & chip shop in Uxbridge Town Centre, but I need your support to do it.”

The video shows Cllr Tuckwell, who was elected MP last July after Boris Johnson vacated his seat, walking around Uxbridge Town Centre asking pedestrians to sign his petition. He insists that the petition is crucial to getting a fish and chip shop in the area but many were puzzled by the whole thing.

One commenter responded: “Where is he going to send the petition? The sea?” Another jokingly added: “I think this petition is codswallop – it does seem fishy. Anyone who signs will become a prawn in his game.”

One X user added: “Ohhhhh, there we go,” sharing a screenshot of the petition’s small print. It reads: “I agree to Steve Tuckwell using the contact information I provide to keep me updated via email and telephone on this and other issues until further notice. I understand the information I provide will be used in accordance with the Data Protection and Privacy Policy, so that I may hear from Steve Tuckwell or their Party affiliates. By ticking this box I agree to my personal data being used in accordance with that policy.”

Sital Punja, a local Labour councillor, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “There’s something fishy going on here. This is clearly nothing more than a dishonest data collecting exercise. There are more important pressing issues in Uxbridge and South that need his urgent attention with the Tory-induced cost of living crisis.

“Ironically, Steve Tuckwell MP was on the planning committee that refused a planning application for a simple change of use in 2019 from retail to food.” On the council website, there is a decision from 2019 that shows that Cllr Tuckwell alongside his colleagues did reject a change of usage application for a fish and chips outlet on Windsor Road.

Indeed, the original post on X has now been amended with one of the social media platform’s community notes which reads: “As a member of the planning committee, in 2019 Steve Tuckwell voted against a fish and chip shop opening on Windsor Street in Uxbridge Town Centre.” This is confirmed by council documents as well as the MP’s office although it points out that Labour councillors also voted down the proposal.

In response, Mr Tuckwell said: “I will always be a strong voice for my friends and neighbours, the residents here in Uxbridge and South Ruislip. I’ve lived here all my life, and unlike the Labour Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, I listen to what people tell me – that is where the idea of a campaign for a chip shop in the centre of Uxbridge came from, by listening to people.

“The campaign is simple, and like my other literature, it contains an opt-in for people to provide their details if they would like to keep hearing what I am doing on their behalf as the local MP. We need to improve high streets and support local businesses. Any new ventures, like a new chippy, bring jobs to the area and support other local businesses if they source their products. Who doesn’t love a chippy? I look forward to inviting the naysayers to the new chippy when it opens.”

Uxbridge News – Harrow Online