Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans reflects on a month that saw him visiting Belgrade to discuss climate change and sitting in Parliament on a Saturday, for the first time in his career, to discuss Brexit
Last month I visited Chatburn Primary School where the youngsters had been discussing democracy and how the House of Commons works. These youngsters are the future of our country and they were incredibly excited to learn about the procedures and customs of Parliament. Who knows a budding future MP for the Ribble Valley may be amongst their number!
These youngsters have never known life without wi-fi, but I was rather excited to see BT turn up in my village and connect us to super-fast Broadband. It is incredible to think what new technologies will be around when the Chatburn children are my age!
My daily work has been somewhat disrupted with Extinction Rebellion protestors setting up camp in the middle of roads forcing long detours for taxis and emergency vehicles. I’m actually supportive of ensuring we have a sustainable future, but I don’t agree with blocking streets. I was able to plead with one of their spokespeople to at least clear the bridge access to Westminster Hospital which did happen the next day.
I was also able to discuss climate change at an international conference in Belgrade along with MPs from 180 other countries. We passed a resolution asking developed countries to do a lot more to assist developing countries. We have technologies that can assist them, which will protect their citizens. We need to urgently up our game and assist these countries especially as they industrialise.
I have been an MP for approaching 28 years and I have never sat on a Saturday before, but all that changed thanks to Brexit. I’m just sorry we continue to drag our feet on this hugely important issue.
At the end of last month, I was delighted to see that the Ribble Valley has been named the happiest place in the UK in which to live. I’ve lived here more than 28 years and I know why I love my home – but it’s great to see the news being shared with the rest of the world.
I said goodbye to Rose Hudson-Wilkin, the Speaker’s chaplin who has been made Bishop of Dover. Rose has said prayers for us at the beginning of each sitting day, and she ensures she includes special prayers when we have controversial legislation before us. She is someone who has touched my life for which I am grateful.
It is in that spirit that I wish you and your loved ones a restful and enjoyable Christmas. It has been a tough time in politics – I’ve never experienced such unease, anxiety and anger during my career as I have recently. It is the responsibility of all of us in Parliament to sort out this mess and move on to the issues which should be dominating our time.
Let’s also reflect on those working throughout Christmas in hospitals, prisons, the emergency services and other essential jobs, who do amazing work all year round but deserve extra praise at this time.
Thank you one and all and I hope that 2020 gives you good health and happiness even though in the Ribble Valley we are already well ahead of everyone else in that regard!