This morning I joined Boris and HRH the Duchess of Cornwall for a visit to the East London Rape Crisis Centre at Loxford. This was the first time I had met the Duchess and I was very impressed by her down to earth attitude.
We met volunteers from the Hackney based Nia Project and local Victim Support. The East London centre is unusual in that provides support for male victims of sexual violence as well as for women. I also spoke to DI Tim Wilkinson and DC Sadie Juncal who work for the Met's Project Sapphire in Havering and Redbridge - they also live in my constituency so they have a detailed knowledge of the area.
After visiting the centre we walked back to Ilford Station, accompanied by Cllr Michelle Dunn, the newly elected deputy leader of Redbridge Council Conservative Group and her colleague Cllr Matthew Chaudhry who represents Cranbrook Ward.
Ilford Lane is a very diverse shopping area and Boris visited butchers, sweet sellers, fashion boutiques, jewellers and the local pharmacist. Boris is hugely popular on these occasions and we were accompanied every step of the way by a photographer from local newspaper The Nation.
At Ilford Station Boris got a first hand view of the poor facilities which are supposed to be upgraded as part of the Crossrail project. Recent rumours are that Network Rail are cutting back on the overground elements of their part of Crossrail, but improvements to accessibility and security at Ilford Station are essential.