Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans visits Whalley Community Hydro, attends a birthday party in London and regains his position as Deputy Speaker
The new year has been kinder to me than I could ever have prayed. I put my name forward for my old position of Deputy Speaker and my colleagues did me the huge favour of voting me in. I can’t tell you how happy I am as it completes a broken circle. It brings closure and I feel I have been given a new lease of life.
With the new job comes a new office and I can’t begin to tell you how much stuff I’ve had to move – and how much I’ve decided I can do without. My spring clean has come a few weeks early but was seven years overdue!
I visited the hydro project in Whalley at the beginning of the year and what a tremendous energy creator it is! It also has the massive benefit of being clean and reducing the amount of carbon, which otherwise would have been put into our world. I’m completely sold on it and I will be lobbying the Government that more of these schemes should be encouraged. It even has a fish lane!
I attended the 60th birthday of one of my oldest chums in Parliament, John Whittingdale. It was a swish affair and Boris Johnson popped in with his girlfriend and Dylan the dog. As Boris put it when Dylan was around during the election campaign, people were drawn immediately to the dog. That’s life I guess.
Esther McVey MP, the Housing Minister, attended a social gathering of my association members at Foxfields. I can heartily recommend the light curry soup and the cod was to die for. We are so lucky having such brilliant foodie places in the Ribble Valley and this is definitely to be added to my rather long list. Esther was superb and my members wasted no time in informing her that we have enough new builds in the Ribble Valley. I agree.
I have been an ardent supporter of the UK leaving the EU – the recent election now means this is happening. Irrespective of which side voters were on, this is a historic moment in the country’s amazing history. I fully acknowledge that there are many ardent supporters of staying in the EU in my constituency, but the one thing that brings us all together is the desire to ensure that this country is successful. I will be working hard over the next four years plus, to ensure that this happens. The referendum was divisive in so many ways, there now needs to be a time of healing. I am really keen that we take a new positive direction ensuring that EU citizens living and working in the UK know how valued they are.
Finally, one of the wonderful things about working in London is that I get to visit some of the great churches in our capital. I visited one which has links with Stonyhurst College, Farm Street Church or Church of the Immaculate Conception to give it its full name. It contains some of the best Pugin work and has been described as ‘gothic revival at its most sumptuous’. I spent a half hour there in quiet meditation taking in the splendour and giving thanks in prayer.
As one of my sage friends once told me during the most stressful time in my life, ‘Nigel, it will all come good in the end. If it doesn’t, then it’s not the end.’ He was right, and I am so grateful.