Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans visits Whalley to observe traffic and parking issues, he meets with Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling and attends a service at Westminster Abbey
It is April as I pen this only to be awoken on Easter Monday with snow and cold temperatures. It feels more like Christmas but at least it’s getting lighter. I spent three days in Whalley last month looking at traffic and parking issues due to work on the new Co-op roof and Lancashire County Council doing work along King Street. There is also a drainage issue. Whalley is one of our gem villages and I was delighted to visit and chat to many people including the staff at the re-opened and much-loved Whalley Library. I took an opportunity to grab a coffee with Hilary Cookson and local councillor Joyce Holgate at Benedicts in the heart of the village. I wish Joyce a speedy recovery after her fall – she is legendary!
As the Commonwealth Games gains a huge following, I visited Westminster Abbey for the annual service to commemorate the Commonwealth. Her Majesty led the music service, which was part conducted by the Dean, John Hall. This made me especially proud as John was working in our area as Canon of Blackburn Cathedral for many years.
I managed to grab a meeting with Chris Grayling the Secretary of State for Transport and I stressed the importance of the rail network to our area, including our desire to see the routes extended from Clitheroe. Chris knows that trains are so much more important to rural areas like ours, after all Prince Charles did step out here just a few months ago in the snow and rain on his visit to the area.
I visited an exhibition in Parliament relating to arthritis – one of the most painful and restrictive conditions, which is no respecter of age. I tried a glove on which allows the user to experience how difficult it is to move fingers and therefore carry out simple jobs like picking things up. This is an area of health which needs much more research to alleviate the daily misery it brings.
I have received a lot of letters from constituents in relation to the new blue passports, which will be coming into use from October next year. I have put several questions to Government to find out whether UK companies can quote for printing French passports as I do believe in competition. But it has to be fair and UK companies must be free to put in bids to print foreign passports as we are experts in printing foreign banknotes for many other countries.
Finally, people write on many occasions asking if they can come for tours of Parliament. The answer is as long as it’s not a weekend or a Bank Holiday, we would be delighted to welcome you.
The place is undergoing a lot of repairs but there is something quite special walking where Winston Churchill strode, and seeing the great Westminster Hall where kings, queens and Winston laid in state. (A rare honour for a former PM.)
Please email me on: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 020 7219 6939 and we will do the rest.
Here’s to summer and let’s hope it stops snowing by then!