This month Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans attends a trade briefing with the Secretary of State, meets the Portuguese ambassador to London and welcomes school children from Hurst Green to Westminster
I know I get to do amazing things as an MP, but a couple of weeks ago I got to stand in a wind tunnel! The tunnel is used extensively by Boeing to test new designs of wings and other additions to its aircraft. I am so proud this technology is in the UK and even prouder that this amazing piece of equipment is on UK soil in Farnborough.
I always love having people come to visit Westminster, but just ahead of the visit by St Joseph’s school in Hurst Green, I was invited into the school by the headteacher to answer any questions the pupils might have. I am always told that young people aren’t really interested in things like Parliament, but I know this to be wrong and it was proven by this amazing group of youngsters who were interested throughout my talk (no mean feat). They asked very intelligent and searching questions afterwards. Three cheers to all the youngsters and staff at this great school.
As part of the preparations for leaving the EU, I attended a trade briefing by Secretary of State for Trade, Liam Fox, in the India Room of the foreign office. This building is full of history harking back to colonial times and before, but it is amazing that these rooms are still in use discussing trade issues with many of the countries that were once governed from this building. This really is a new chapter in the history of our country.
I met with the dad of a young man, Oliver King, who sadly died at school in Liverpool several years ago. Since his death his dad has worked ceaselessly raising huge sums of money to donate over 2,000 defibrillators to schools throughout the country. I am so grateful for his work, as 20 youngsters are now still alive thanks to his charity work in his son’s memory. What an amazing legacy to come out of tragedy. Every school needs such a life-saving device.
I joined the Portuguese ambassador to discuss not only the fact that so many people from the Ribble Valley love going to Portugal for their holidays, but also that Portugal is the UK’s longest ally. The embassy is a fantastic building with portraits celebrating the marriage of Catherine of Braganza who married Charles ll and became our Queen from 1662 to 1685. Such are the historic links that bind us together.
I was pleased to meet American congressmen who are visiting the UK for a few days. I talked with Robert Aderholt, who I had met a month earlier in Washington. He is really keen to see a trade deal between the USA and the UK as quickly as possible. It is reassuring to see our special relationship is so strong.
This month I also met with a trade representative of New Zealand who reinforced his country’s ambition to start trade talks with the UK after Brexit is fulfilled. It is like history in the making when I have spent so much of my time this month in talks with our oldest ally, a country who won independence from us in 1776, and another country who shares our Queen and who is an integral part of the Commonwealth. It is incredible that looking forward our past is so important.